Tuesday, April 29, 2008


I woke up this morning completely devoid of ambition. I mean ambition for doing anything more ambitious than breathing. I woke up about 7:40am and found myself back in bed after 20 minutes of looking through the morning news. Thought I might look for a fallacy, but was back in bed by 8am.

I woke up again around 9:20am. I don't even remember what I did for an hour and a half, but I was laying back down by 11am. Got back up around 12:30pm and finally decided to get some caffeine in me and had one of those energy drinks. It definitely got me, normal. That's about it. I wrote for a couple of hours, to keep me on a pretty good pace for the week, so at least I did accomplish one thing today.

About 3pm, I decided to get some food. Up to that point, it had seemed,... encumbering and I didn't feel like dealing with it. I ate a sub I bought at the 7-Eleven. While there, I stocked up on more hyper-caffeine-type drinks.

The rest of the evening was spent listening to basketball games. Unfortunately, since the playoffs started, the free video feeds have disappeared and all I can get are the audio. Sneaky bastards giving us the free video all season now expect us to pay for it in the playoffs. Well, we all know how I feel about paying for TV! If I had been ambitious, I may have gone to the Hilton to watch a game or two.

I have been extra arrogant and cranky the past few days. I think the anticipation of my impending, rather large, sports betting loss is getting to me.

I am usually quite oblivious to stress. In fact, many times, a stressful situation is long over before I realize I should have acted as though it were even remotely stressful. Like dealing with the dunderhead who crawled into my window one summer day at six in the morning, back when I lived in the Knickerbocker. As I was asking the guy, as he was trying to discretely walk through my apartment in his boxers, "Can I help you?" I remember distinctly thinking, "I really don't want to get out of bed and deal with this guy. I'm tired and naked."

It never really occurred to me to do anything more than make smart ass quips at the guy. If it wasn't for the fact that I figured Charles would want to know about some strange guy crawling into people's windows, I would have just gone back to bed.

The point of the story being that I don't seem to get worked up by strange people breaking into my apartment, but I am now getting worked up over a silly sports bet. The incongruity of my reactions does not escape me. Perhaps, if I had had to deal with people crawling in through my window for more than a week, I would have begun to get more disconcerted.

I do not know if it was this impending doom that caused my lack of ambition today. It would seem like an atypical response for me, but I suppose it is as good a guess as ridiculously poor diet, lack of exercise, or something equally silly.

Either way, now that I am conscious of what is causing me to over exert my assness. I will endeavor to keep it in check.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Slip Sliding Away

Another not so interesting day in that I wrote 750 words and worked some more on my problem. I don't think I made any progress, but in some ways that is progress because I now know a few more things that don't work.

It was, however, interesting in the sense that my rather large pending bet is looking weaker and weaker. It will be settled by the end of this coming weekend at the latest and I will not enjoy losing it. It is going to hurt for sure. but then, if I weren't willing to lose it, I wouldn't have placed it. But there will be little solace in that knowledge.

I mentioned logical fallacies last time. There are a lot of them. The Nizkor Project is a website that lists 42 of them. Even one called the Gambler's Fallacy. Another good site: www.logicalfallacies.info. Unfortunately, most of the examples in both sites are especially weak and contrived for effect and demonstration. In day to day life, they can be more subtle.

I think the problem is that most people do not realize how complicated making a proper argument can really be. Even I am not perfect at it, but I like to think I recognize improper arguments more often than most. I would have to say my biggest pet peeve is reading fallacies built into the mainstream media. I've stopped reading and watching much of the traditional media sources for exactly this reason.

I have said over and over that a journalist is nothing but a person who goes to college for four years to learn to write like a six grader. I understand they may need to simplify their work, but there is no need to present the news through fallacious arguments. It is reprehensible in my opinion. News reporters should be akin to teachers in that they present information, but their standard is based on the advertising dollar rather than anything of merit.

It's late and I don't feel like ranting about it now, but perhaps I'll post some examples later this week.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


I have always been amazed at how Sunday is the first day of the week, but nobody treats it as such. Most people look at it as the last day of the week before they start their work week. I was even more amazed as an adult when I found that Saturday was the Sabbath day. How did our society grow to confuse this? I'll have to look that up one of these days. It's probably a Catholic remnant of the Dark Ages.

Anyway, another idle thought I had today is that I take far fewer naps when I sleep during the day. I slept pretty well last night, maybe eight pretty good hours, but I still took an hour long nap early this afternoon. I am convinced I can never get a job for fear of falling asleep while standing and end up hurting myself and those around me. How does everybody else do it?

I have managed to stay on a day time schedule all week. I think this is the first full week that I have managed this feat. As I said, I have had to nap most days to do it, but I have muddled through. This is also the first week that I have managed to write my 4000 words; 4472 to be exact.

Hmmm, is this a coincidence?

Yeah well, actually, it is. As fond as most people are at making incorrect correlations; miscommunicating their causes and effects; making fallacious post hoc ergo propter hoc connections.... The list to most people's illogic is endless. Naturally, there is no relation between my being on a day time schedule with increased writing for the week. I'll let the audience convince themselves of this truth. All the evidence one needs is located within the entries to this very blog.

I wrote about 350 words today and as much as one might think that I slacked off by writing so little, I basically hung it up for the day when I finished chapter 23. I did plan out the next chapter, or at least what should be happening next in the timeline, so I didn't exactly waste the time that would have otherwise gone into writing. Tomorrow, I will have to update my character sheets. I wish I had made a "world bible" as well. By that, I mean a file that documents many of the important facts that I have laid out for the Federation that the story takes place in. I'll have to be sure to do this when I write the second draft.

I also finished my book. It was an equitable read, but I have read most of it before in other ways. I don't think I can recommend it to the nonmathematician though. The math, while trivial to myself, may be a bit too much for the average person. I have read books much better at dealing with the math in it's historical context for the novice. If anyone is interested in such a book, I am sure I can supply a recommendation.

Hope the first day of the week was as relaxing to everyone else as it was to me.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

It's about time

I woke up this morning with the full intention of going back to bed. I slept just terribly, getting up 4-5 times in 7 hours and struggling to get back to sleep each time. Having already attained my goal in terms of writing this week, I decided to just loaf around today.

First, I started suiciding one of my aliens off a robot 3092 times. (Don't ask.)

Then I napped for an hour.

Finished suiciding one of my aliens off a robot 3092 times.

Did some reading.

I have been reading, "Unknown Quantity: A Real and Imaginary History of Algebra". It is one of those "pop" math books. Mostly, I enjoy reading these books for their historical content, but I have read so many math history books and popular books such as this one, I really do not find them satisfying anymore. Invariably, I wind up reading about the same people over and over because prior to the last 125 years, the number of notable mathematicians in a generation typically maxed out at about three or four. Of course, they were also working at a time when a mathematician could reasonably be expected to know all of mathematics. A feat that would be practically impossible 125 years ago and definitely impossible 80 or 90 years ago. Of course, the mathematics in these books is a bit too watered down to be satisfying as well.

Eventually, I was inspired to work on a problem that I quit working on last spring. It is likely the oldest unsolved problem in mathematics, which means I have no chance of solving it completely on my own. But a math problem is not solved all at once. Most problems are like a giant wall that must be taken down brick by brick until, finally, enough of the bricks have been removed, allowing someone to come along and smash through the rest of the way with that one great idea. It would be nice if I could remove but one brick.

The problem is regarding the existence of an odd perfect number. A google search will yield all the information you could ever want on the subject. Mathematicians do not even know if such a number exists, but I suppose the leading evidence suggests there is not. I stopped working on it last spring when all of the current research relied on proving theorems that allowed the writer to create a more efficient computer algorithm than the last guy. Where they then used the computer algorithm and a number of days of processing power to show whatever it is they wished to show. Their proverbial brick as it were.

I didn't want to attack the problem in this manner so I hung it up for some time. I started looking at the problem again this afternoon and evening and I think I have chosen a single brick to attack. We shall see if I get anywhere this time around.

Friday, April 25, 2008

I still have a little magic in me; I'm not such a loser after all!

The title is taken from a line spoken by Winter in the stop motion animation cartoon, "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town". A Christmas favorite of my sister and myself. That line in particular was one we both found extra amusing for a children's cartoon. Alas, they don't make them like they used to! I have always, and still do, enjoy that type of animation over the more modern computer aided crap. You can just feel the personal touch the creators put into their work. As opposed to now-a-days where an artists personal touch is realized by subliminally or not so subliminally implanting sex words, objects, and organs into the background of their work. But I digress before this turns into a dissing Disney diatribe...

I am quite excited this afternoon because it is Friday and I just reached my 4000 word goal for the week. Thus, I have two more days of writing to do with my goal already achieved. I may just have to take one of those days off, go to the Hilton, and enjoy watching some of the basketball playoffs. Feel free to stop by Cullen. We can expound on the disappointment that is the Phoenix Suns this year.

I suppose I should be reluctant to call this an accomplishment seeing as it is my sixth week of writing and is only the first time I have actually achieved my goal. But then, with so little of myself to be proud of, I have to take my victories when I get them. You know, like farting in public without anybody being to tell it was you.

Speaking of victories. I have not made any mention of my gambling because I made a bet using a rather large portion of my liquid bankroll that prevents me from really wanting to risk anymore of it for the time being. Despite the bet being a pretty good bet, it will take another week to settle, so I probably won't have much in terms of gambling news in that time. Unless, of course, I get motivated enough to write about a particular concept. As I said before, at some point I need to write about run lines and puck lines.

If I win the bet, I will have won enough in April to cover my rent again, but not much more. If I lose, well, I'll be back in New York a lot quicker than anyone anticipated.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Grandma Approved!!!

I recently sent my first 30 blog entries to my Mother and Grandmother. Of course, neither are particularly computer savvy, so I printed them up and sent them out via snail mail. I figured this would fulfill promises that I had made at Christmas time to write them a little something once I got out to Vegas. Unfortunately, after writing in my novel most days and then blogging many days as well, I found I had no desire to actually sit down and write a boring old letter.

I mean come on! These entries are boring enough. Could you imagine me compressing ten or twelve into a page or two. That would take work that I am far too lazy to do. So I just printed off the whole shootin' match on the rationalization/delusion that it would be better if they heard the full story rather than an uninspired shortened version.

I just received a card from my Grandmother today which started with the words, "Send me more!!!"

Yes, she did indeed use three exclamation points. A ringing endorsement if I ever saw one. I suppose that ought to be some extra incentive to at least try to be better about blogging every day. I mean, when your Grandmother asks you to do something, do you just ignore her? I think not. Of course, now when I send out the next round of entries the first one she'll get to read is the "Some Coke and a Smile" entry, so that's just great.

Anyway, going back to a previous comment I made about a podcast called "I Should Be Writing" with the interview featuring Jared Axelrod, I had said that he makes a number of excellent comments about exercising your creativity, and not in the demonic way. (I know it's not spelled the same way, it's a malapropism.)

One of his suggestions was to do a podcast or a blog every day. No excuses, no matter how silly, no matter how useless you make it. Just do it every day. I find this to be good advice and so I will make a serious effort to post an entry every day.

Now first things first. Every time I talk to someone now, invariably one of the first tings they say is that they don't read the blog every day. Do you think I don't know that? Get real. Just because I moved to Vegas doesn't mean I am not still smarter than you. In the same way that I am smart enough to know that exactly none of you downloaded that podcast to hear what that Axelrod said on creativity. If I were in your shoes, I'd be doing the same thing; only I'd be using the excuse that I was too smart to be reading the Vegas idiot's blog every day.

The reason I am bringing this up, is that I don't expect people to read this blog every day. So if I do indeed start writing every day it is not to make you feel even more guilty for not reading it, I will be writing in it every day for the same reason I write in it on most days now, for myself.

It keeps me honest.

Of course, when I call, or you call me, don't ask me what I've been up to. I'll just refer you to the blog.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Plodding Productively

The last four days, since I have started Book 7, have been quite productive. From Sunday through to today I have written just over 3900 words. Alas, that technically puts those words in two different weeks, so I am still yet to reach a 4000 word goal in any one week. I have written about 2700 words so far this week, which means I have 4 days to write 1300 more words. We shall see if my productivity continues.

For those who have read some of the novel, Book 7 is from Taveson's point of view. (The same character from the first book.) I am glad to be able to get back to his vantage because he is essentially the one constant thread that will be appearing throughout the story arc. I also like writing from his view point. Perhaps because his character was the first, it seems most natural to write in his point of view.

So I guess I have nothing
new to report since so much of my time has gone into writing. I really need to get out and check out that show at Harrah's I mentioned before, but then, I still have a number of things I ought to get out and get done.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Some Coke and a Smile

I have told people before that the one reason that I have never used cocaine, is that I know I would love it. I love that feeling that large doses of caffeine provides when you haven't had any in a couple of weeks. For some reason, that speedy feeling I get just focuses my mind and I am hyper productive. I get what martial artists call, “The Thousand Yard Stare.” This is when you focus on a point in the distance, but you are so focused on where you are and what you are doing, you can tell what is going on around you in all directions. This is what I feel like when I am doped up on caffeine. In addition the the fact that my mind is racing a million miles an hour.


It is my understanding that cocaine has a similar effect on people but to a much greater degree. If caffeine can get me going and it is an over the counter drug, I couldn't imagine what pharmaceutical grade amphetamines and narcotics would do for me. It is for this reason that I do not try them. I fear I would like them too much!

I mention this only because at the moment I am doped up on one of those energy drinks. They have a laundry list of chemical poisons in them that can from time to time get me going with that focus I love. Anthony said it best at the Mardi Gras party when talking to my sister, “They can be hit or miss.” I find this to be the case. If I am tired, they really don't do anything for me. They might keep me from being tired for a half hour, but I go through a sugar crash and have to take a nap rather quickly.

But days like today, they can be, in the most simplest of terms: Awesome! I went to bed at 9pm last night and slept until 5am. I did some writing, about 750 words. Listened to a podcast while doing dishes and then went grocery shopping. I came home and ate breakfast where I was then struck with a case of the sleepies and took a nap from 9:45 to 11:15. An hour later I ate lunch and washed it down with a Monster energy drink. Not being tired, I think my body only had one choice. I wrote another 600 words, giving me 1300+ for the day. Not a bad start for the week. Three hours later, I am still riding the wave of speed. The following excerpt is from an email I sent to Cullen last week:

I am a true lazy bastard. It is sad. I remember a time when I had much more energy for living. Not that I am looking to end that current biological process, mind you, I just miss that early 20's post teen angst that always gave me infinite energy. I fear I wasted the last of it with my dissertation and now it is time to just dry up and do whatever it is that people do when they have nothing left.”

I never seemed to need Monster energy drinks back then....

Friday, April 18, 2008


Well, that's the number. I finished Book 6 in the first novel tonight and that is the total number of words I have written thus far. I started writing nine months ago, but of course, it has been in fits and spurts. Taking a couple of months off at a couple of intervals. There is but one book remaining in the first novel. Then I get to start on the second one.

Since I have come to Vegas I have written over 13,000 words. I know it can seem a bit obscure to talk about total words written. People don't read a book and declare it to be 100,000 words long. They usually describe its magnitude by the number of pages. Alas, pages is really a meaningless attribute because it is so easily affected by the size of the margins, font size, line spacing, etc. But no matter how you format it, the number of words remains invariant. Which is why it is a better way to describe the magnitude of what I have written. As a point of reference, I offer the following: A typical first novel by an author is usually in the 80,000 to 120,000 word range. Granted this is just a first draft, and I don't even know how many of these words I'll even keep to the final draft, but it is a good sign that things are progressing along at an appropriate magnitude if not a suitable speed.

My pace, I feel, has been uninspired. At my current rate, I'll never be able to finish the second novel by the end of the calendar year as has been my plan. I still have plenty of time, but so far, it is not looking good. Additionally, I was writing at a good pace this week and thought I might be able to reach my goal, or come as close as I have come in a few weeks, but now I am going to have to take some time to set up the last section of this novel. So it is unlikely I'll get much more writing done this week.

Looking back at the first four weeks, I only broke 3000 words once and that was in the first week where I wrote 3803. The next three weeks production in order: 2390, 2675, and 2142. Last week was just pitiful. I already have 2345 this week. It seems 3000 words is truly the more realistic goal I should be setting for myself seeing as I am averaging a mere 400 words per day. i will keep plugging away at it.

I had planned on a different post for this morning. I was going to discuss run lines and puck lines in the betting sphere, but this information takes precedence in my opinion. Nevertheless, I suppose I should mention that after losing my first two bets this month, I was in a $500 hole, but since then, I have worked my way out and now have a small profit of $273.35 to show for this months betting. I'll need to come up with another $325 in the next 12 days to cover the rent again. We'll see if I have it in me.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

How Dry I Am...

The title of this post is taken from an old Bugs Bunny cartoon. It was a song that Bugs was singing while in the shower. I always wonder who will catch a reference like that. I am usually confident that people roughly my age will get it, but take someone 15 to 20 years younger and those old Looney Toons cartoons are a little out of their scope. Mostly because many of those old classics have been censored. I find censorship ridiculous and even more so when it concerns cartoons, but that is a discussion for another day.

The air here is really dry. Not really a surprise, seeing as I am in the middle of the Mojave Desert, but you really don't notice it until you are forced to have it as a piece of your lifestyle. I am forever blowing my nose and not because of allergens, but because my nose is simply producing a lot of mucous to compensate for the dryness of the air that I am breathing. I could get more descriptive, but I am sure most have already lost interest in my nasal passages.

I woke up tonight around 10pm after going to bed at 3pm. Sorry Matt, for not answering the phone. Obviously, I slept through the ringing. Anyway, the first thing I did was get some writing done. I have managed 1600 words so far this week, so I am doing okay, but I am still behind a 4000 word pace. After writing, I cooked myself some pasta. And yes! I did indeed have sauce on my pasta. (It's a long boring story for those of you who do not get that reference.)

Anyway, I was listening to a podcast called, "I Should Be Writing", featuring Mur Lafferty. I did not like the show at first, because I did not care for Mur's radio "personality". The show has managed to grow on me, mostly because the content is pretty good, although, I have grown more accepting of Mur's idiosyncracies. How can I not? If anyone is loaded with idiosyncracies, it is me.

The show featured an interview with Jared Axelrod, who seemed like a truly interesting person and I really liked his ideas in spurring creativity. I plan to listen to the podcast at least once or twice more and I am pretty sure I will implement some of his ideas into my own lifestyle. If you haven't even tried listening to a podcast, this is one I'd recommend just because it typifies the relaxed and personal nature of the medium, while still providing interesting information. The episode was posted on April 8th, and is special episode #30. At the moment it is at the top of the list of shows, but if you come back at a later time, you may have to scroll a bit to find it.

After eating, I turned on Mike and Mike in the morning on ESPN radio and cleaned my apartment. Getting back to the full circle concept, over 80% of dust in your home is supposedly dead skin cells from the people who live there. A concept that I have heard many times, but the quantifiable figure I give was given to me off "The Naked Scientist". A British podcast that I have since given up on due to the dryness with which English people present information. Whatever group of scientists sat around in a lab to feverishly determine this number obviously never checked this figure whilst living in a desert. I keep my doors open quite a bit to allow in fresh air. It is quite nice, however, as the air flows from one side of my apartment to the other a grit seems to get deposited on many of the surfaces of my apartment. Mostly in the path that the wind blows (which should be obvious).

And so I conclude my driest post to date with the report

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Text To Speech

As with many modern computer technologies, I like to at least have a passing knowledge of them. One that I have always found to be quite interesting is synthetic digital voices and the most obvious use for them is having your computer read text to you.

The first digital voice I remember hearing was way back when I was in the neighborhood of eight to ten years old. It was on a PBS show called 3-2-1 Contact. It amazed me that a computer could replicate the speech of one of the guys on the show. The program took the words spoken by the guy and kept repeating it over and over, until it had a digital version of the speech. Just as if someone had heard something in a foreign language and were repeating it to themselves until they had a close approximation of the phrase. Granted it was a bit hard on the ears and lacked any sort of inflection or depth, but it was pretty much what one would expect from a computerized voice in the 80's.

A number of years ago, sometime in the last ten years, very basic programs started coming with the Windows and Mac operating systems that could read text and convert it to speech. Such programs are referred to as Text to Speech (TTS) software. Of course, this is significantly different than what I saw in my childhood because the computer now has to figure out how to sound out the word without hearing a sample. Honestly, I don't think the final voice itself was significantly improved over the one I heard on 3-2-1 Contact. What I find interesting, is the research for the creation of a digital voice was done 25 years ago and it was finally implemented 10 to 15 years later.

Of course, nothing but improvements have been made in the digital voices in the last 10 years. Last year, on a whim, I decided to check out the best voices currently available and it seemed AT&T had a TTS voice named Crystal. I tried it relative to the basic model voice that comes in Windows and the Mac OS, and there was a world of difference. Listening to the basic model is a bit painful and the inflections that end up occurring are very weird, but the Crystal voice isn't so bad. Don't get me wrong. The voice is quite obviously digital and, again, some of the inflections and pauses that arise can still be weird, but the voice is at least tolerable. I find it akin to listening to someone with a mild foreign accent, only the accent is digitized English.

Advances come much more quickly these days, and on another whim, I checked for the latest a couple of days ago. I came across another set of voices from a company called NeoSpeech. I suspect these voices were around last year and I missed them, but since I found them this time around, I can claim them to be new advances in my own personal knowledge base. I must say they are a quantum leap better than the AT&T voices. Paul and Kate were the two voices I checked out and not only are they mild improvements over Crystal, they take only 1/3 of the hard drive space. Crystal weighs in at about 700MB to install and these two are each about 233MB.

I don't use TTS software very often. Mostly because I can read just fine on my own and these programs are primarily being developed for those with poor eyesight and dyslexia. Also, reading something to oneself is much faster than having someone or some program read it to you. However, I do find all three to be equitable computerized voices and use them from time to time when I want to read something, but I also need to do something else that doesn't require my brain. Perhaps 95% of the time that I do use the TTS software I am cleaning my apartment.

Hope you enjoyed your little technology lesson!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Losah! Move to the back of the bus!

The post title is a phrase Kim is fond of saying and it applies to me. I still haven't made that 4000 word goal in a week yet. In fact, I was not even close this week managing just over 2ooo words. not only that, I am making this post after sleeping all day yesterday and getting up at 5pm, so I am still on a night schedule.

Since it is more important to me to get some writing done. I am going to focus more on the writing this week rather than worrying about my sleep schedule. Of course, sleeping all day is going to make it difficult for me to do something interesting as promised last Wednesday. If I am up some time in the afternoon this week, I want to go to Harrah's to see the Mac King Comedy Magic Show. It is a show that I have wanted to see since my first visit to Las Vegas. There are all kinds of specials to this show, usually, buy one get one free tickets but I'll just have to suck it up and pay for the one ticket. If I am not up in the afternoon at any point this week, I'll just have to push it off until next week.

At the moment, I am listening to Mike and Mike in the Morning on ESPN radio and they just had a commercial for Arena Football. I have grown quite fond of Arena football. I find the community mindedness of the leagues to be very refreshing in an era where corporations are taking no responsibility for their local communities. Albany has a team, the Conquest. Kim, Charles, and myself went to a game once and it was quite fun. I dare say, the stands were noticeably more packed than to most River Rats hockey games.

Anyway, one of the things I was looking forward to when moving out to Vegas was to go to a few of the national level games (the Albany Conquest is a regional team) because Las Vegas sported a team called the Gladiators. They were the worst in the league last year, but I was looking forward to supporting them. I like a good underdog. Last week, I decided to look into where these games are being played only to find that the Gladiators had moved to Cleveland! What the heck is so wonderful about Cleveland that a sports team would leave Las Vegas for it?

Nothing! Vegas is just a little less wonderful for the loss. The next paragraph is a synopsis from a wikipedia article about sports in Las Vegas. The article is located here.

Las Vegas is the largest metropolitan area in the U.S. that does not have a major professional sports team. It is feared that with the legalized sports betting problems could arise. Last year, the NBA all star game was played here in Vegas and one of the requirements the league made for allowing the game to be hosted in this city was that the casinos were not allowed to accept bets on the game.

Personally, I tend to be the sort to give people the benefit of the doubt. Don't assume there is going to be a problem, until you can show that there is indeed going to be a problem. As with anything, I am sure I can come up with exceptions to that standpoint, but more often than not, that is where my thinking will take me. I leave it to you to ponder the merits of the situation. Either way, I don't get my Arena football this summer.

Friday, April 11, 2008

A Copy of a Copy of a Copy...

The only thing I guess I can report for the past day or so, is that nap that I mentioned in my previous mammoth post and said it would likely screw up my sleeping, did indeed screw up my sleeping. I went to bed and slept for a whole hour. I was then up until 10am, went to bed, and woke up again at 3pm.

The main reason that sleeping all day is such a problem is in regards to making my sports bets. I can't always get up in time to make the bets that I want, or force myself awake and don't have the motivation to hike my arse to the Hilton. More importantly, I can't always get the proper news during the night. Injury reports and such are obviously really important and sometimes they don't come out until a few hours before game time.

Another problem, with me fighting it all the time, I am perpetually tired. Those that have watched "Fight Club", may recall one of the comments Edward Norton's character makes about his insomnia, to paraphrase: Everything seems like a copy of a copy of a copy.

It's really true. When I sleep 5-6 hours out of 40, by the end I just don't have anything in me to write, whether it's the book or this blog. It sucks.

Anyway, I'll just apologize for the extra long post last time. I hope it was entertaining nonetheless. I had to edit it down to keep it from being much longer. Unfortunately, I had to cut out the whole section regarding the alien invasion, but it was much too long with that.

I'll add that in some other time.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

A Day in the Life

Okay, so yesterday I comment on how my life is not so exciting and I maintain this is true. People may want to read Kim's comment after the previous post as this is a bit of a response to that.

I get up around 6:30-6:45ish, relieve myself. Pick up the crap I left on the floor from the previous evening. Fill my water bottles. I have a Brita water filter and drink 3-4 liters per day, so I'll leave it out of this post, but you can pretty much assume I am going to the bathroom every half hour or so.

About 7am, I start writing. I am one of those weird people who is ready to start their day about five minutes after getting out of bed. I don't really require a lot of wake up time. I wrote 697 words today. That puts me at 1400 and change for the week. A good start, I suppose, but still a long way from my goal.

Some time between 9am and 9:30, I decide I am hungry and make myself some eggs and toast. As quick as I am to wake up, it takes a while for my stomach to catch up. I rarely can eat just after waking up.

I then continue to sit in front of my computer for about 2 hours researching sports bets. This actually takes a bit of work. I pour through articles, team records, recent play, and often I watch ESPN snippets about the teams I start narrowing in on. Today was a particularly involved session, as I was researching hockey. The NHL playoffs started tonight and I wanted to see if there were any opportunities to make any bets.

You're thinking: I didn't know Patrick watched hockey. Honestly, the number of hockey games I watched this year: zero! But in most sports, you can count on two things in the first round of the playoffs. One, both teams are highly motivated. Two, the cream rises to the top. By that I mean, the better teams tend to win.

Depending on the sport, one can be more important than the other. The latter is particularly true in basketball and hockey because the matches between the two clubs is best 4 out of 7 games. There also tends to be a bigger disparity between the "good" teams and the "weaker" teams in these two sports as compared to baseball and football. Perhaps some other time, I will discuss this further, but for now, I'll get back to my day.

Anyway, though I have watched no hockey, a couple of hours of research yields a prime candidate for betting. Recall that I tend to bet on the teams with the best motivation. This is so important when you are competing I can't even begin to describe. It is universal in all sports. The second bet I lost the other day was a stupid bet. I ended up betting on a team where I didn't properly research their motivation. It turned out they had none and they got killed by a weaker team. I made a blind bet at the casino and I should know better. DO YOUR HOMEWORK!

So after doing my homework, I take a shower and meander down to the Hilton to place this bet. On the way there, I am met by a guy who claimed his vehicle just died under such and such overpass an hour and a half ago and he was a mechanic of 23 years and needed $15 bucks for a part so he could fix it. Apparently, up to that point no one would help him out. He said he would make it financially worth my while if I were to do so.

It's not as though I didn't believe him. You know how you can look at someone and know they have never done a hard days work in their life? You know, someone like me. Well, he looked like a person who had worked hard every day of his life and he obviously wasn't homeless. I still couldn't help him out.

Here's the thing. I would say three or four times out of five, on my way to and from the Hilton, I am solicited for some sort of handout. I have walked to the Hilton maybe 15 to 20 times in the 5 weeks I have been here and he is not even the first person to ask for money for their car! If I tried to help everyone who asked, I would be in serious trouble myself. I don't have much, and as much as it pains me to not help these people, in some ways, I am in as much need as they are. So I just can't do it.

Anyway, at the Hilton, I look over the NHL bets and I watch a little soccer. Eventually, I place my bet: $500 to win $250 on the Pittsburgh Penguins. I then play a little electronic roulette. I was thinking today that I haven't yet had an alcoholic beverage since moving out here. If I were to have "getting drunk" as my goal for the afternoon, I would likely play electronic roulette. It has a low house edge for slot machine type game. I would just sit there and let the waitress bring me drinks until I was sufficiently cooked. I wouldn't relish the walk home. I'd probably plan ahead and spring for a cab even though I am not much more than a half mile away. Since one of my eventual goals out here in Vegas is to become an alcoholic, I probably should get on that.

I won a whole dollar from playing my roulette game for fifteen minutes, but since I was down as much as ten dollars at one point, I call the session a success. I then walk back home and was not pestered for money.

I get home a little before 3pm and decide it is time for lunch. I had every good intention of doing a little more writing, but I got bogged down playing my alien game and started listening to the radio feeds of some of the basketball games. As you can see, it had been a long arduous day at this point, so I took a nap from 5-6pm. I didn't want to, for fear of ruining my sleep tonight, but since I was falling asleep in my chair, it seemed to make sense.

I get up and do the dishes. Decided I am too lazy to vacuum and sweep the floors and swear I'll do it tomorrow. I go back to listening to the basketball and start kicking myself for not betting on the Phoenix Suns. I had considered it while at the Hilton, but decided earlier in the week after losing my second bet, to lay off the basketball for the last five games of the season. With so many meaningless games being played just prior to the playoffs, it can be tough to figure out who will be motivated for the day.

Around 9pm I checked the score on the hockey game as it should have been over. It was, and the Penguins had won four to nothing. Phew! Stopped my losing streak at two.

I spent the next hour writing this post and in an hour or so, I'll go to bed. So if this post allows people to have had a good day vicariously, the pleasure was all mine.

Really, it was.

Back on Track

Theoretically, I am back on track towards my two goals of writing a bunch and staying up all day. That statement sounds so ironic considering it makes me sound like a narcoleptic when I am closer to an insomniac. Last night, I went to bed at 11:30pm and woke up at 6am. Not completely ideal, as I think sleeping from midnight to 8am is what I would call ideal, but then who gets exactly eight hours of sleep every night?

I have also managed 1500 words so far this week. It's a good start. We shall see if I can continue and successfully make my goal.

And this is what my blog has been reduced to. Comments about my poor sleeping habits and my inability to focus on a simple writing task. Occasinally, I'll throw in a comment about a bet. (I lost another one the other day by the way.) When people first heard I was moving out to Vegas, I must have easily had a half dozen people exclaim that they would have to live vicariously through my adventures. And look at my adventures! If I were any more boring, I'd be reduced to talking about my bowel movements. I've already gone through that phase of my life. No one wants to hear it anymore. (But for those who want to hear, things are going just fine.)

Vicki emailed me a couple of days ago and commented that she had nothing to report about her boring life. Clearly there's nothing wrong with that. I've moved nearly all the way across the country and what can I say that I have done the past couple of months? I've moved across country and written 11,000 words in my book, and I am not even convinced that they are good words.

That's all I've done. Really, that's it!

So I fear I have disappointed my "fans", but I have never considered myself to be particularly interesting. I mean, I have lived as myself all my life and I have managed to keep my attention, which makes sense, but I know not why others find my actions interesting. Everything I do is usually well thought out and comes with a (reasonably) logical explanation. (I think.) But, at the end of the day, they do not fall very far from the norm.

I suppose I will have to add a new goal: Sometime in the next week, I will do something interesting.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Try, Try, Again...

The past few days have been weird. I have been staying up all night as is my custom, but I continue to fight it. I intentionally stayed up a lot the past few days in order to start swinging my schedule back to days.

I am sure by now, everyone is wondering why I am struggling to get myself on a day time schedule when my time is effectively my own. The answer is simple. I'm thick headed. One of my goals when coming out to Vegas was to get myself on a normal day-night cycle. I have been struggling to achieve that goal, but having only been out here for a month, it seems a bit early to give up on it.

I feel my writing has suffered from it. The lack of sleep and staying awake for the sake of staying awake does nothing to improve ones creativity. Yet, I do not offer it as an excuse. For the third week, I missed my goal of 4000 words. I can, at the least, say that I have managed just under 9000 words since I started writing again three weeks ago.

I will continue through April with these two goals in mind. If I cannot manage them consistently by the end of the month, perhaps, I think too highly of myself. I will have to consider resetting my writing goal to 3000 words a week or something.

There's no better feeling than lowering the standards you set for yourself eh?

Friday, April 4, 2008

4 A.M.

Here it is, quarter to four in the morning and I am doing laundry. I guess not a lot has changed in terms of my life schedule despite my efforts to try to exist on a day-time basis.

I just opened the back door and the front door to let in some of the cool night time air. It has been getting down to the mid-50's the past week and although it seems cool it is also very nice. Of course, to keep the bugs out, I had to turn out all of the lights. I am curious to see how well my semi-basement-like apartment keeps cool in the summer. I have a feeling it's not going to be so bad, but then, that will be a relative issue considering the temperatures are likely to hit 110 and higher at the peak times.

The laundry facilities are right outside my apartment. So is one of the three outdoor pools. I have not seen anything in the lease or the signage that forbids use of these facilities at night, so I have been running under assumption that I am allowed. Not that I have used the pool as yet. It has been much too cold. I think the max temperature I have seen thus far is eighty, and that was once. Mostly the daily highs have been low seventies. Thus, the only people capable of putting up with the pool temperatures have been children and I have only seen one use it. There are not a lot of children in the complex that I have seen.

I have just passed the halfway point in my writing goal for the week even though the week is more than half over. I had to spend some time earlier in the week planning and outlining. It is necessary work, but it doesn't translate into anything quantifiable. The number of words is very easy to quantify. Which is why it is used as the accounting method. Hopefully, I will be able to reach my goal this week.

I am unhappy that it was not achieved last week and I am really determined to reach it this time. I think that is why I have let my schedule slip into my old habits. I have focused a lot of energy in trying to get up early and make a full day of things before going to bed early and it took its toll last week. This week I have been sleeping when I am tired. Eating when I am hungry. And writing as soon as I get up from resting when I am at my freshest. It has paid dividends, but I don't like the thought that I can't bring myself into the "normal world" of people when it is necessary, because someday, it will be necessary.

Thursday, April 3, 2008


Today was a good day of writing. Over 1000 words and I'll try to eek out another couple hundred a bit later. Since I was writing a good portion of the day and there were no bets I was interested in I guess I don't have much to inform people with today. So I leave everyone with a short fairy tale I read somewhere. It is purported to be the shortest fairy tale:

There once was a young man who asked a young woman to marry him. She said, "No," and he lived happily ever after content to do anything that he wanted.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Loser

Sorry (Kim) for not posting for a few days. I've not had much to say. I did not reach my goal for 4000 words last week and decided I'd focus better this week. My writing is going smoother as a result. We shall see if it is effective.

Also, I had a post all set for yesterday, but ditched it once I realized it was April 1st. I decided I'd just lay low. Of all the ridiculous holidays we must endure throughout the year, April Fools is, by far, the most puerile. I really can't stand the stupidity that it brings out in people just in the hopes that they get a cheap laugh. If people were actually clever, I might enjoy it more. Alas, they are not.

I was going to post about my first betting loss. I dropped $280 on the Houston Rockets and it was a bet I didn't love, but felt I was playing the odds. I was going to bet the spread and take the -2.5, but once I got to the sportsbook, I opted for the moneyline because it was a better bet. I won't get too into the analysis, but the end result was the Rockets lost by a point. So as easy as that, I lost about half of my winnings for last month, but that's the way it goes. The reason I didn't post about it, was because I didn't want people to think that it was a joke. I don't really see any good bets until Friday.

I sent out a couple of packages yesterday. If you're reading this, then it wasn't to you. The two packages I sent out were for people who probably don't take the time to read the blog or at least not very often. I mention it only because of the scarcity of post offices around here. Not just that, but there are no mail boxes either. If I want to send out a letter, and not walk 2 miles to the post office, I have to send it out with the mail at the leasing office. Not that I mind, it just seems strange that there isn't an outgoing mail box outside for an apartment complex with close to 400 units. Perhaps I was just lucky to live within 10 minutes of the Capital building in Albany. There is a post office in there that I used most of the time.

I'll try to post something more substantial tomorrow.