September 29, 2003


More coolness from thinkgeek.com...
Posted by Jess in Geek Humor

Available here...

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September 26, 2003


Our future kids are never watching 'Poltergeist'
Posted by Jess in RI Stories

I think I mentioned once that about 20 feet from our property line lies an Indian burial ground. We live in Charlestown, RI, which is very near where the Narragansett Indians went after the Great Swamp Massacre.

After we moved into our house, our neighbors told us about the burial ground. They told us there was a little pile of about 10-20 headstones. We knew that there was a large gap of woods in between our house and the next (where there should have been a lot), and we were told it was Indian property, which is why they couldn’t build there. I was still so curious about it, though.

Here is a group of headstones in the burial ground… you might be inclined to trip over them, they are so small and inconspicuous.

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Finally, one day I got my chance to find out everything I wanted to know. A pickup truck parked right along side the cul-de-sac that my house is on and just sat there next to the woods. I almost called the police on him, when he got out of the car and walked over to the woods. I caught a glimpse of the long, grey ponytail and beads and hoped he could tell me more about it.

As it turns out, this man was the Chief Tribal Historian for the Narragansett Indians. The burial ground dates to the 1700’s, and contains members of the Narragansett Indian tribe. He told me that they could tell, because when they found the Indians, they were buried in the fetal position with their head pointed towards the sun, which was tradition for the tribe. The person who sold the lot to the builders did not tell them about the property, and when they started bulldozing, they found they were dozing bones.

When they brought in an archeological crew, they discovered not the 10-20 tombs we thought were there. There is evidence that there are probably around 80 burials in there, spanning all alongside our house on the property line. The headstones have probably long since sunk underground or disappeared over time. According to the Chief Historian, the way of the tribe is to make the headstones as humble and un-attention calling as possible.

He said that soon they would have to do something, as the bones are now dangerously close to the surface of the ground. I asked if I could do anything to help, and he gave me his card and told me to call him if I ever saw anyone over there vandalizing it. I told him how amazing I thought it was, and how I was honored to be living next to such incredible history. His eyes got rather misty and he told me that he was very happy that the grounds had such good neighbors.

Now my only concern is that Reboot doesn’t come home and drop a femur on the doorstep one day, and our future kids don’t try to have a séance out there at midnight.

In the meantime, I’ll just go on appreciating it for what it is. History.

September 24, 2003


The (I)nsane (C)raps (P)osse strikes again!
Posted by Jess in Gaming

On the spur of the moment on Monday, we decided to go to Mohegan Sun and play Craps. Just to be little goofy, (and, well, because we could), we also decided to wear these funny hats we picked up at Six Flags earlier in the summer, figuring it would be fun to try and get everyone into the game, as we always do. Craps is a very dynamic, very social game, and it’s incredibly fun to try and change the mood of the table.

So, four of us went, and picked a table, looked at each other, and brought out our hats and put them on. Immediately the whole table started giggling and asking us what they were for, to which we replied “absolutely NO reason at all!”

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Me, Matt, Bill and April (yes, ladies and gentleman, Bill is indeed the one and only Muggle F’uggly of half-orc fame. Sorry ladies, he’s a married man!) enjoy getting the mood of the table up, and also trying to help out the dealers. The bets started flying.

We’re throwing two-way bets (meaning we throw in a little more, like a dollar. If the bet wins, it goes to the dealers also), three way bets (meaning if the bet wins, it goes to the dealers AND the shooter), and start screaming our heads off. One shooter had NO idea what was happening when he won, and the dealer placed his winnings in front of him. He thanked Matt profusely for that one once he understood what happened!

The mood became contagious. A young woman next to Bill started throwing two-way bets. The dealers were incredibly thankful, telling us that it doesn’t happen very often. Pit bosses were coming up to us and asking us to “jingle our hats”. People at our table were cheering. April went to the restroom, and people were stopping her to ask why she was wearing her hat, and that the staff was talking about it.

Even the dealer turned to Matt and said that didn’t want to go to break, even though he had to because he didn’t want to miss the action.

I had a good rolling spree, but by the next time around, I was out of money and couldn’t play anymore. A man at the table said, “you’re not shooting this turn?”, threw me a five dollar chip, and said, “now you can.”

At this point I must add that as usual, before making my point, I managed to roll two sevens in a row much to the delight of the table. But at least now I know the odds of that.

We managed to stay cheering at that table for 4 and a half hours. Even on the way out, people were telling us now neat it was that we did something different.

Sometimes it’s fun to do things when there’s absolutely no reason for it at all.

September 20, 2003


They DO want to learn!
Posted by Jess in Tech Talk

As IT people, we've often complained how it seems we do our jobs for people who couldn't care less about reading instructional emails we send, ignore virus warnings, and skip training sessions.

As you may or may not know, I used to write a weekly "Internet for Beginners" column years ago for Bellaonline.com. I managed to salvage some of the articles and put them on my site, knowing that most of them were extremely outdated anyway.

So imagine my delight when I received this in my inbox recently:

Subject: Thank you! Your article was very informative!

You are exactly right in your article, "Of Course I Know What Browser I
Use
". I've been using a computer for years for personal and business use and
thought I was fairly computer savvy, in regards to what I need to use
the computer for, but I have to admit, I did not know what a browser was until I read your article today.

I've been asked the question before, but never realized
what they were asking me. Thank you for your wonderful explanation!

But even though I now know what a browser is, I do not know how to find
out what mine is because when I read your article, I have no title bar, just
the red heart to save my favorite places, the minimize button, the maximize
button & the close button. There is nothing else at the top, sides or bottom,
except for the scroll bar. Is it possible that I'm just using an AOL built in
browser or do they even have one? Now you have me puzzled! O:(

Charlotte

September 17, 2003


Ladies and Gentlemen, we have validation!
Posted by Jess in Announcements

I finally figured out how to change my RSS feed so it shows the ENTIRE post in proper formatting. It's also been validated.
Here ya go!

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I realized the need for this after what I thought was a clever blog title was very misleading, at least up to the first 150 characters. ;-)

September 15, 2003


A really crappy blog entry.
Posted by Matt and Jess in Gaming

In addition to silly things Matt and I come up with to think about (how do they get soda bottles filled so close to the top without the foam overflowing? When exactly is the carbonation added? Ok, so that one was mine…(do you see what I have to put up with on long car rides? Keep reading, it only gets better), we think about math questions.

In fact, there’s nothing better than a terrible, horrible, KEEP YOU UP AT NIGHT brain buster of a question (if it keeps me up at night, I think I would rather it be something good then terrible. She makes it sound like heartburn). Well, this one is probably quite easy for some people. Though however difficult it comes, I love trying to work them out myself, or, what usually ends up happening, with Matt.

Matt and I live very, very close to two major casinos on the Northeast, Foxwoods (bleh) and Mogehan Sun (amazing).

We’ll be the loud ones screaming “IT’S TWO-WAY YO TIME, SHOOTA!” at the craps table.

I have this uncanny knack for always rolling the same number twice (always is a bit overboard. To say that means 100% of the time and though recent events would suggest that this is pretty close to 100%, I don’t want all you notes people camping out in my driveway to go on a get rich quick trip to the casino though we’d love to see you all!), before making a point value.

So I got to thinking, just HOW amazing of a feat, if at all, is that?

I started talking to Matt about it. We quickly discovered that we needed to clarify the actual question. For example, ‘what are the odds of rolling two numbers in a row’ and ‘if I roll a 7 on the come out roll, what are the odds that I’ll roll a 7 again?’ are two entirely different questions.

By the way, click 'continue reading' at the end for a quick lowdown on how Craps works, by Matt.

The first question doesn’t care what the first roll is, only that the second roll comes up with the same number as the first. The second question means that it has to include for odds that the 7 MUST come up on the first roll.

(on a side note, that first question could be misinterpreted… this is usually the root of my confusion when Jess asks me a question. I say there is a 100% chance of rolling 2 numbers in a row. However, rolling 2 numbers that are the same is an entirely different story. Granted, over time, I came to understand they way she thinks and just answer the “real” question) Matt’s a smarty-pants.

What I tend to do that’s unusual, is before establishing a point (4,5,6,8,9 or 10), I will always roll either two 12’s, two 7’s, or two 11’s, etc.

At this point I think I’ll “hand the dice” (craps joke, har har) over to Matt because this is where he wrote up a document for me that I didn’t understand. So let’s see if he can explain it a little bit better for me (and you of course).

Ok, to answer this question you first need to understand what the odds of rolling each number is.









NUMBER(s)ODDS
2 or 121:36
3 or 112:36
4 or 103:36
5 or 9 4:36
6 or 8 5:36
76:36

Simplified the 3 and 11 are a 1:18 chance, the 4 and 10 are a 1:12 chance, the 5 and 9 are a 1:9 chance, the 6 and 8 are a 1:7.2 chance and the 7 is a 1:6 chance. This table also shows that there are 36 possible outcomes of rolling the dice (keep in mind that all values on the left in the odds column are doubled EXCEPT for the 7… you do the math unless you want me to get funky with combinatorics. )

Now onto the real question asked by Jess. “What are the odds that I don’t roll a point on my come out roll and the second number I roll is the same as the first?” ( I still did not understand this question until she started writing up this blog. I still don’t understand the answer… let’s see if his continued rant will help!)

So the first question we need to ask is what are the odds of not rolling a point. Having already established the 4,5,6,8,9, and 10 as points, we can see that there are 24 ways of rolling a point. That leaves 12 ways to NOT roll a point. Jess has a 1:3 chance to not roll a point on the come out roll. Now it is time to get all mathematical on yer asses. The numbers in question are 2,3,7,11 and 12. The odds of rolling a 2 or 12 on the first roll are 1:36. The odds of rolling it again on the next roll is 1:1296 (or 1 in 36 squared chance). This is because the second roll is based on the first roll. The odds on the 3 and 11 are a 1:324 chance and the 7 has the best odds which is 1:36.

This squaring holds true only for numbers that have the same odds for coming up. It does not suggest that the odds of rolling a 7 followed by a 12 will be 1 in 1296… the odds for this are 1:216 which is the odds of rolling a 7 times the odds of rolling a 12. (ok, enter a bit of combinatorics. This is where I stopped understanding when he sent me the document. The number of possible outcomes on a single die is 6 (1,2,3,4,5, or 6). The number of possible outcomes on two dice is 36 or C(6,1)*C(6,1) where C is defined as 6 choose 1 and has a mathematical formula of 6!/(6-1)! or generically, C(x,y) where 0<=y<=x equals x!/(x-y)! and ! is defined as factorial.) *** LADIES AND GENTLEMEN… SHE UNDERSTOOD IT!!! *** Well, he still had to explain it out loud after writing it. (please see SAT = Stupid Annoying Test for more on <-( Say it fast it sounds like MORON) that.)

Well I hope my open parens have matched my closing ones, that always gets me when I write up code. Too bad I can’t compile my document before I sign off on it. I also hope that my math is correct. I in no way make a claim that I am, or ever will be, a master of combinatorics… that stuff is like a bad hangover (please see my trip to Japan for MORON my hangovers).

At least it’s not heartburn.

Quick Craps Primer:

To the person who has only “seen” craps, they, more often then not, think that it is the most confusing game at the casino. Between the dice rolling, the players shouting, and the chips flying across the table, it is no wonder why this is the assumption. Well this couldn’t be any further from the truth. Here is the low down.

There is a round puck on the table with the word “OFF” on one side and “ON” on the other. This is a marker. When it says “OFF”, the person with the dice, a.k.a. the shooter, has not yet rolled a point. This is known as the “come out” roll. When it says “ON”, it is placed on the “point” that the shooter rolled. A point is a 4,5,6,8,9, or 10.

Now there are 5 numbers missing and depending on what the puck shows, they behave differently. When the puck shows “OFF”, a 2,3, or 12, a.k.a. “craps”, are usually bad, and a 7 or 11 are usually good. When it shows “ON”, a 7 is usually bad. I say usually because you can bet with the house or the shooter. Most, if not all, players at the table are betting with the shooter and if they are not, I don’t play at the table. As a result, the rest of this “low-down” will be describing how to play with the shooter.

The first bet you should make on the table is called a “Pass Line” bet. This one is really easy to do. When your standing at the table, simply take an amount of chips totaling no less then the table minimum, and place it on the pass line in front of you. If you have never seen a craps table before, don’t worry, the pass line is clearly marked. If a 7 or 11 is rolled, all bets on the pass line pay 1:1 (ex: if you put $5 on the pass line, you win $5). However, if craps is rolled, all pass line bets are collected by the house and you must place a new bet on the pass line. Any other number rolled is a point.

Once a point is rolled, you can place an amount of money behind your pass line bet, also known as backing your bet. Depending on the odds the house gives on the specific numbers can determine how much you can back it with. For instance, at Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, you can back the 4 and 10 with up to 3 times your pass line bet, the 5 and 9 with up to 4 times your pass line bet and the 6 and 8 with up to 5 times your pass line bet. What you are betting on is that the shooter will roll their point again before they roll a 7. If they do, pass line bets win and if the shooter should “seven out”, the house collects all bets on the pass line.

Well, that is a brief introduction into craps and there are plenty more bets that can be made on the table. From one time bets like craps and yo, to place bets and hard ways, the table always offers plenty of excitement. Just remember, go with money you can lose and not money to gamble to make enough for the mortgage.

September 12, 2003


Growing up too fast...
Posted by Jess in Day to Day

Here's some updated pictures of Reboot, who is growing too fast. Well, just fast enough to turn into a couch-hog.

I want to tell you how much trouble she is, but truth be told, aside from the traditional puppy antics, she's a damn good dog!

Must be the parenting. :-P

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September 03, 2003


Movie titles that were picked first?
Posted by Jess in Day to Day

Have you ever watched a TV commercial of a movie, or a preview, and see a movie with a title that's so appropriately convenient, you have to wonder which came first, the plot or the title?

I thought of this when Matt and I recently saw a preview for a movie called "Cabin Fever", in which a group of teenagers head to the woods for a camping trip, and end up battling a flesh-eating virus.

I can just see some screenwriter sitting around one night, thinking, "hmmmmmmmmmm... ha ha ha, they'll be in a CABIN, and get sick, FEVER, get it, get it, ha ha ha!"

(This is all regardless of the quality of the movie. I've never seen it. I'd actually be incredibly impressed if someone crafted a great movie out of a working title. Which could happen all the time for all I know!)

Here's some more I could think of with extremely convenient titles... you be the judge:

Daddy Day Care
Cabin Fever
Shallow Hal
Legally Blonde
RoboCop
TimeCop

Any others you can think of?


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