Hobbies & Fun

Dave Schwartz, Director of the Center for Gaming Research, at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, theorizes that “casino carpet is known as an exercise in deliberate bad taste that somehow encourages people to gamble.”  - Wired News

I had never considered a psychology to carpet patterns in casinos, but there may be something to this.

Check out Chris Maluszynski’s Las Vegas carpet collection and see what you think.

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What have I been up to in my spare time for the last 1½?  Bonding with my teenage daughter.
Surprisingly she wanted to watch an almost 35 year old classic.
Rocky.  You have to understand that when I talk of watching a movie made before the mid-90’s both of my teenage daughters look at me like I’m a dinosaur; as if they are in wonderment about whether filmography could have even existed in such an ancient era.
Of course watching Rocky lead to viewing the entire series of films spanning 30 years.  We have both thoroughly enjoyed Rocky thru Rocky V (she learned what Roman numeral IV stands for).  We have yet to make it to Rocky Balboa, the 6th in the Rocky franchise.  Maybe we’ll squeeze it in this week, maybe not.
Regardless, even with the relative simplicity of the movie as compared to similar in the same genre, it was endearing with more wholesome values than most fare out there.
Rocky (1976)
Rocky II (1979)
Rocky III (1982)
Rocky IV (1985)
Rocky V (1990)
Rocky Balboa (2006)
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Lost is done.  My first impressions after two days of mulling… not sure.
The brilliant writers of an awesome TV show did their best.  And they succeeded in a beautiful symmetry in the series.  Obviously (based on the series conclusion) the focus of the series was the characters understanding their interdependency.  This was handled well.  I have no complaints here.
I never watched the show for the characters.  The characters moved the story but I watched for the story-telling.  The story behind the characters is lukewarm in its conclusion.  Lukewarm because it is incomplete.  At this point too many “red herrings” were presented and never closed.  This is the point in which I am unsure.  Due to the brilliance of the writers these story elements could have been addressed and I simply missed them.  This is what I hope as I ponder the past 4½ years (I was pulled into the story half way through the 2nd season).
Here is a list of issues that were major enough red herrings as to require an answer:
    • The “numbers” were significant, at least to Dharma – why would Dharma broadcast via radio transmission
    • Going back a step – the radio signals were broadcast earlier than Dharma (70’s), again WHY would someone broadcast these numbers
    • If Jacob did not allow anyone to leave the island – why leave a loophole wherein, Dharma, Michael & Walt or even Ben could leave?
    • Ben has been to Tunisia and elsewhere by previous turning of the Donkey Wheel, as can be noted by various passports and currencies.  1) How did he get back to the island, 2) why when he turned the wheel did the island not go wonky in time like when John turned the wheel
    • When the island disappeared where did it go.  If it simple went to another time, then theoretically it went to the future in which it was sunk – but then it never sunk.
    • Why did Dr, Chang keep changing his name?
    • Did the man in black (MIB) take the form of black horses?
    • How did the drug running plane get to the island from Africa?
    • Was Hurley’s friend Dave really in Hurley’s mind?
More to be added to this list as this is a quick recap of 6 years in my head.  And please notice I am not asking why Dharma is still dropping shipments years after they have had no contact with the island… and who is Dharma anyway?
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Last week I speculated that I was generally unhappy with Lost and it’s series wrap-up.  With only ONE more episode left (2½ hours!) I may have spoken too soon.  We’ll see.
I was pleased with last nights episode.  It was what I have come to expect – by giving me something I couldn’t expect; something compelling and interesting.
Four days and counting.
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Lost.  Deep down I hope I’m not the one that lost something here.  I mean there are 3½ hours of air time (including significant commercial interruption) and, until this season, I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see what comes next.  Sure there were up and down episodes over the seasons, but without a doubt, this season is not equal to it’s predecessors.  I hope I am wrong.
The following Lost blog, which I have monitored closely over the last several years pretty sums up my feeling about this weeks episode.

I understand why this episode was produced. It’s half origin story and half mythological brain dump. And there were some interesting bits, no doubt there. But let me sum my opinion up this way: If “Lost” had focused on Jacob, MIB and their wacky “Mother” from the very beginning, I never would have watched this show. I just don’t care about these characters and their deep psychological scars. For six years we’ve watched a fantastic ensemble of great actors playing great characters battling with their own Big Problems. The Jacob-MIB-Mother trio felt like window dressing. And is it just me, or was the acting a little meh?

That said, I’ll give the writers credit for revealing Jacob to be the island’s Norman Bates. Discovering that for many years he was a naive and gullible pawn in his crazy adopted mother’s machinations … well, that just wasn’t expected.

Please give me the brilliant writing that I have learned to expect over the past 5 years (I came to the island late).  Please do not disappoint with one of those endings that answer your questions but leaves you saying “that was lame.”  Please tell me I am wrong.
In the words of Captain John Miller (Saving Private Ryan), “Earn it.”
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Last night as I watched one of those television shows I’d grown up with I was prompted to jump on the Internet and do a little research.  Instant access to information of all kinds is a blessing and a curse.  But last night it was a blessing.
In episode 1 of season 2 of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea the diving bell was swallowed whole by a whale.  A very fast, very big whale.  I for one appreciate the sensational, over the top shows Irwin Allen prolifically produced in the ’60’s.  Allen wanted Voyage to be riddled with science and last night was no exception.  In the “belly of the whale” dying words discussion between Admiral Nelson and his guest in the diving bell, Nelson mentioned the story of a late 19th century sailor swallowed by a whale.
James Bartley was that man.  See a synopsis of the story below:

…A whale was sighted, the harpoon boats were launched, and the whale was successfully speared.  In the violence that followed, however, one of the smaller boats capsized, throwing two crew members into the sea.  One of them drowned and the other, said to be a man named James Bartley, disappeared.

The whale was eventually subdued and its carcass hoisted onto the ship where the crew started carving it up for blubber.  After a couple of days of work, they got down to the stomach, where some workers noticed something large inside, ‘doubled up’, and showing signs of life.
They cut the stomach open and there lay James Bartley, unconscious and somewhat digested, but alive.  They doused him with sea water, put him in the captain’s cabin and after a couple of weeks of recovery, he was back on the job.

Truth or Fiction.com

A fantastic story, yes.  A bit fanciful, maybe.  But don’t you love it when the writers incorporate a bit of mythos in with fact to increase the believability?  Where it becomes difficult to separate fact from fiction is where new fiction can begin.
When these story elements I find it easier to ignore fishing line pulling submarines thru their diving maneuvers or fantastic stories of men in scuba gear swimming into the mouth of a whale and journeying to it’s stomach  to find their diving bell.
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At best there are 366 days in one year.  What are the odds of someone else having the same birthdate as you?  Duh 1 in 365¼.  Funny thing is that in a high school graduating class of 9 I had one other of the same birthday and if you count my small circle of friends growing up you can add another.  What are the odds of that?
So who all shares the day of my birth?
1468 – Charles I, Duke of Savoy
1483 – Raphael, Urbino Italy, painter (School of Athens)
1836 – Frederick Pabst, American brewer (d. 1904)
1899 – August Anheuser Busch, Jr., brewing magnate and American baseball executive (d. 1989)
1905 – Marlin Perkins, Carthage Mo, TV host (Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom)
1955 – Reba McEntire, McAlester Ok, country singer (Can’t Even Get the Blues)
It all fits, royalty, artist, brewer, narrator and singer.  Many more yet to be famous people are just waiting in line to call this date the day of their birth.
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It’s time for the self-confidence to come crashing to an end.  For 5 seasons I have developed and formulated theories.  Most have not panned out but I could at least develop and test my theory each week.  This final season I am at a loss to do anything of the kind.  I simply cannot postulate a coherent theory about what I am seeing on or off island.
Flashbacks and flashforwards were fine but how in the world do I reconcile flashsideways, in alternate timelines that don’t fit the pieces I know to be true… or do I know that?
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