Thursday, December 26, 2019


(Hey, it's Boxing Day.)

I had myself convinced for years I wasn't a "pet person." Didn't have a dog nor a cat. Tried goldfish once. They died. Almost immediately.

Then my son brought home Lily about two years ago from the animal shelter. She was just a kitten. The story was she was found in a tree by a woman who named her "Lily" and took her to the animal shelter.

And now I'm a cat person. I might be a dog person if I we had a dog, too.

Lily is a stubborn kitty. She likes to go behind the TV and scratch at the carpet. So we blocked her way back there. Last night she tried to jump over a stereo speaker to get back there. It didn't work. But she was close.

One thing I really enjoy about Lily but haven't been able to do lately, is hold her while she sleeps. I have to let her fall asleep somewhere, then gently pick her up, shushing and scratching her neck to keep her calm, then sit down and keep shushing and scratching her neck until she falls back asleep. But lately she doesn't fall back asleep. She has stayed in my arms letting me pet her, but only for a bit.

But it's funny (to me) how I went from "I don't want pets" to "I love Lily." She is my son's cat so if he moves out, he'll take her with him. I don't know if I'll get a cat after that.

Lily loves Nerf darts. We'll throw them and she'll chase them (if she's in the mood, otherwise she just watches). She really isn't very interested in the laser. She likes to sleep. In the summer she'll sleep in sunbeams. In the winter she'll sleep on heat vents. I wonder how much that costs me to heat up the cat and not the house.

Yes, we love Lily.

Do you have a pet you love? Let me know about them in the comments.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

The Huskies Finish the Year 8-5

This will probably be my last college football blog post for about 258 days. (Stop cheering there in the back.)

Last night the University of Washington played #19 Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl. And it was almost a blow out. With interceptions and just great defensive plays, the Huskies held the Broncos to 7 points, while scoring 31 themselves. At first the Broncos were marching down the field and I thought it would be a tough game. But then an interception stopped that drive. And the Broncos didn't finally score until the third quarter.

Of the 37,197 people there (which is pretty good for a minor bowl game), most of them seemed to be BSU fans (lots of flannel in the stands). But it didn't help.

Washington quarterback Jacob Eason had a few miscues, occasionally throwing the ball too hard for his receiver to catch it. I seriously think he should spend another year in college to work out his kinks. 

Running back Richard Newton had a good night with 69 net yards, even beating Salvon Ahmed's 20 yards. Newton made one touchdown and Ahmed made two.

This was, of course, Husky Coach Chris Petersen's last game. Next year Defensive Coordinator Jimmy Lake takes over.

Before this game, BSU was #18 and the AP poll (#19 in the CFP). I wonder if in the final AP poll, Washington will move back until the top 25. If I remember I'll check that.

So next year, 258 days away, we'll see how Jimmy Lake does.

Back when the Huskies sucked, I made a list of a "good" season. It was:

  • Win 8 games (they did that)
  • Beat WSU (they did that)
  • Beat Oregon (they didn't)
  • Go to a bowl and win it (they did that).

So not a bad season. Just not as good as we've come to expect from the Huskies.

See you next year.

Friday, December 20, 2019

The Huskies' Bowl Game

Tomorrow the University of Washington Huskies play in the Las Vegas Bowl which, I assume, is in Las Vegas.

Ironically, for Coach Chris Petersen's last game, we are playing Boise State, were Petersen first came to national attention. The BSU Broncos are ranked at #19 in the CFP rankings and, of course, Washington isn't ranked at all. So BSU is likely the favorite going in.

The game is at 4:30 PST on ABC.

I'm not making any predictions about this game. But Chris Petersen has, during his tenure at UW, only won one bowl game, and that was his first year (the Heart of Dallas bowl). But I think it should be a fun game, either way.

Then next year we start the Jimmy Lake era at the University of Washington. Hoping for a repeat of 2016. We'll have to see.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Get Tweetdeck

I have a twitter account that I use to attempt to promote my novels.

Because I follow a bunch of people, I see what others do with their Twitter accounts. And one thing that really annoys me is when someone tweets 20 tweets (or more) all in a row, seconds or minutes apart.

I think the reason they do this is because they have busy lives but have twenty tweets they feel they need to get out. So they shoot them all out at once. This is very annoying and I doubt very effective.

Now I tweet about 15 times per day unless I decide to tweet something funny or cute in addition. But I don't shoot them all out at once. I tweet about every two hours. How do I do that? I use Tweetdeck.

Tweetdeck is a Twitter app that works inside your browser.

Why use Tweetdeck? Because you can schedule tweets. I sit down every day and schedule my tweets for the next day. I have yet to hit a limit on the number of tweets I can schedule, nor on how far out you can schedule them (I've done them a week out).

That way, you don't have to shoot out 20 tweets all in a row in 20 minutes.

Also, you're more likely to get retweeted if you don't shoot out all your tweets at once.

You can also have more than one account on Tweetdeck. I suspect up to four, but I don't know; I only have one account.

It appears what you do is your type into your browser and then sign in with your Twitter account. Tweetdeck used to be a stand-alone app but as far as I can tell, now it only runs in a browser.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

They've Gone Plaid!

Tesla Model S
When the Tesla Model S introduced a "Ludicrous Speed" mode, I wondered if that term was inspired by the Mel Brooks movie, Space Balls. But nothing I read about the Model S mentioned Space Balls. I thought maybe it was just a coincidence. In Ludicrous Speed mode, the Model S (a four-door sedan) could go from 0-60 mph in 2.3 seconds. That's faster than many supercars. The advantage the Model S has is, being electric, 100% of its torque is available at zero RPM like all electric cars. This is unlike a gasoline engine where the torque usually maximizes around 1,000 or so RPM (depends on the engine design). This is why in drag racing the drivers will have the engine running fast ("rev the engine") when they take off to maximize the torque available.

So, I went for a few years wondering if Ludicrous Speed had anything to do with Space Balls.

But now Tesla has a faster mode that involves cars having three motors instead of the two required for Ludicrous Speed. And guess what they call it. "Plaid mode." That has to be a reference to Space Balls. If you don't know why, watch this clip from the movie (Warning: NSFW language).

So anyone who has seen Space Balls is in on the joke. And Elon Musk or someone at Tesla has a great sense of humor.

Of course, spending $100,000 or more on a car that can't go to Seattle and back without a long charging session still doesn't make sense to me.

Thursday, December 5, 2019


I have what some might say is eclectic taste in music.

I like (some) opera.

I love a lot of classical music.


And so much more.

I like (some) country

And, of course, I love classic rock (at my age, you kind of have to)


And so much more. But nothing since about 1994.

I don't like rap/hiphop. I don't like modern country. And I loath what's come out since the year 2000.

What do you like? Do you have any songs I should consider liking. Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

The Huskies are 7-5 to End the Regular Season

Note: I was going to finish this on Sunday after the rest of the Pac-12 played, but got distracted. Then had a minor family emergency which required me to drive to Seattle and back on Monday. So I'm finishing it and posting it today (Tuesday).

The University of Washington Huskies won their seventh straight Apple Cup game against cross-state rival Washington State University Cougars on Friday. Both teams went into the game with identical records: 3-5 in conference, 6-5 overall. So many WSU fans hoped this was their year. It wasn't.

On their first possession, after receiving the opening kickoff, the Cougars marched down the field and scored a touchdown. At this point, I was worried that the Cougars might win. Then the Huskies got the ball and did the same thing, tying the score are 7-7. At that point it looked like a high-scoring game might happen. But the Husky defense came alive and stopped the Cougars on their next series, holding them to a field goal. The score was 10-7 in favor of the Cougs.

As first the Huskies couldn't move the ball on the ground against the WSU defense. But by halftime, the offense figured that out and were able to run with the ball.

Then Washington answered with two touchdowns. Also, the UW defense made turnovers. The Huskies racked up points while the Cougars didn't. The final score was 31-13 for UW.

Some WSU fans complained about the officiating saying there were pass interference calls made when they shouldn't have been. I agree with one of those (not the four the WSU fans were claiming). But that's football. Until we have robot officials, there's going to be mistakes.

This is Coach Chris Petersen's sixth Apple Cup win. Cougar coach Mike Leach has lost seven and won one in his tenure at WSU.

Elsewhere in the Pac-12

The Apple Cup was on Friday. But the other Pac-12 games were on Saturday.

There were no surprises in the last games of the regular season. Oregon beat Oregon State, Arizona State beat Arizona, Utah beat Colorado, Nortre Dame beat Sanford in a non-conference game, and Cal beat UCLA. If Utah has lost to Colorado (it could happen), USC would be playing in that game, instead.

That means Oregon and Utah will play in the Pac-12 Championship game on Friday (5:00 PM PST on ABC). I'm rooting for Utah (but I always root against the Nike Ducks).

Washington is tied with Cal for second in the Pac-12 North.

Now we wait to see who wins the Pac-12 Championship and what bowl game the Pac-12 teams that are bowl eligible go to. That's seven out of twelve teams.

Big News

Yesterday (Monday) it was announced that Husky coach Chris Petersen is stepping down as head coach after six seasons. Defensive Coordinator Jimmy Lake will take over coaching duties (for now). Petersen will not even coach the Huskies through their bowl game.

This makes me sad. Word is that Petersen will stay at UW in a "Senior Athletic Advisory" position. I don't know, maybe he feels discouraged after this mediocre season. It's just sad, to me.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Pac-12 Dragon

First of all: Happy Thanksgiving in the U.S. Happy Thursday, elsewhere.

Now on with our blog.

During the fall, I watch a lot of college football, especially Pac-12 football because my beloved University of Washington Huskies are in the Pac-12 Conference.

This is the Pac-12 logo. You may have seen it on other post of mine in the fall about football:
I'm not crazy about this logo. I think it's over-complicated. I wish we had a logo like the SEC or ACC. Nice and simple.

SEC Logo
ACC Logo

I really like the Big 10's logo (even though there are now 14 teams in the Big 10).
Big 10 logo

Now, I'm assuming that the highlighted part in the picture below above the "12" is supposed to be a mountain:
But do you know what it looks like to me? It looks like a dragon. Don't see it? Does this help?
Now you see it? Every time I see that logo, I see a dragon. And now you can, too.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

The Huskies are 6-5

"Bowl eligibility," the rallying cry of mediocre teams.

Of course, you only have to win six (out of 12) games to be "bowl eligible."

The University of Washington Huskies are still bowl eligible.

Last night the Huskies traveled to Boulder, Colorado to take on the Colorado Buffaloes. This was a game they were supposed to win. They didn't

Quarterback Jacob Eason rarely hit his targets. The receivers, when they were hit, couldn't hang on to the ball, and the Buff's defense shut down our running game. We were lucky to have scored as many points as we did. Oh, and penalties were an issue for the Huskies. The final score was 14 to 20.

What's ironic is now Colorado is 5-6. They will have to beat Utah next week to be bowl eligible. And Utah is on top of the Pac-12 South at 10-1 overall. So, not likely.

Some are calling for the ouster of Head Coach Chris Petersen. My question is, who are you going to find who's better?

The Huskies are bowl eligible for the tenth season in a row. That's tied for a record in the Pac-12.

Next week the Huskies play the Washington State Cougars at home in the Apple Cup. It'll be at 1:00 PM PST on Fox on Friday. The Cougars are 6-5 over all so tied with the Huskies. And, it's the Apple Cup. Anything can happen. Coach Petersen has yet to lose one. The Cougars haven't won since an overtime win in 2012.

Elsewhere in the Pac-12

Speaking of the Cougars, they played Oregon State last night. The final score was 53-54 with the
Cougars winning. I guess they didn't "coug it." That's brings the Cougars to their 6-5 record, making them bowl eligible.

In the Pac-12 North, California, Washington, and Washington State are all tied with 6-5 overall records (and 3-5 in conference records).

Oregon is still on top of the Pac-12 North despite losing yesterday to Arizona State. Oregon's record is now 9-2 (7-1 in conference). This eliminates any hope Oregon had of making it to the CFP. There hasn't been a Pac-12 team in the CFP since the Huskies went in 2016.

As you probably know, I loathe Oregon. So I'm glad to see them lose. But I'm also sad for the Pac-12.

Utah beat Arizona to maintain their lead in the Pac-12 South with a 10-1 record (7-1 in conference). If Utah's one loss hadn't been in conference, they might have had a chance at the CFP if they win the Pac-12 championship. But in 2016 the Huskies had an in-conference loss and still went to the CFP. We'll have to see.

Next weekend is the last weekend of regular season play for college football. The Pac-12 Championship game is December 6th. I guess I'll root for Utah (since I loath the Nike Ducks).

High School Football

Also last night, the Blackfoot High School Broncos lost to Kuna in the Idaho 4A State Championship game. When I went to BHS, the football team couldn't win to save their lives. See what 41 years of team building will do.

Thursday, November 21, 2019


I watched the movie Lolita a while back. And I was surprised at the plot.

**Spoiler Alert**

In the movie I watched (the 1962 version directed by Stanley Kubrick; there's a 1997 version that apparently has the same plot), a middle-aged professor becomes infatuated with the 14-year-old daughter of his landlady. That I knew going in.

What surprised me is what happened. The professor (named Humbert Humbert) marries the landlady (presumably to be near Lolita) but then the landlady sends Lolita off to summer camp and says after that she's going to boarding school. Humbert plots to kill the landlady, but then she is killed in an accident or suicide when she is hit by a car.  Humbert goes to the summer camp to pick up Lolita and on the way back, they are forced to spend a night in a hotel room together, even though he has a cot. But in the morning, they apparently have sex. The rest of the movie is about how their relationship deteriorates as she's a silly little girl who cheats on him with another older man. Then she disappears and he doesn't see her for years. I won't spoil the whole movie by tell where he finds her (and in what condition).

Which wasn't the movie I thought it would be at all. I thought it would go more like this:  Humbert Humbert is a successful professor, married, and somehow meets Lolita. He become obsessed with her, and tries to be with her. This destroys both his marriage and career. But he doesn't care because he is so focused on Lolita. Finally, he manages to have a relationship with her, that might not include sex, and he finds out that she is a silly, shallow little girl (as 14  year olds tend to be).

I was so upset by the actual plot of the movie (which I assume follows the plot of the book because the movie was written by Vladimir Nabokov, who wrote the book) that I am seriously considering writing a novel with the plot I imagined. But that's not the kind of novel I write. Plus, what would I name the girl? I couldn't call her "Lolita."

I guess I'll think about it more.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

This Week in the Pac-12

The University of Washington Huskies had a bye this week, so there is nothing new to report there.

But there were games played in the Pac-12 including some interesting upsets.

The WSU Cougars demolished the Stanford Cardinal 22-49. This improves the Cougar's record to 2-5 in conference, 5-5 overall. They are still at the bottom of the Pac-12 North. They need to win one more game to be bowl eligible. So if they don't beat the OSU Beavers next week, it'll come down to the Apple Cup cross-state rivalry game against UW.

Stanford is now in fourth place in the Pac-12 North, moving the Huskies to third place.

The Oregon State Beavers (who have been improving all season), squeaked by Arizona State 34-35. That keeps the Beavers in second place in the Pac-12 North (after the Oregon Ducks).

In a no-surprise game, Utah beat UCLA 49 to 3. UCLA is actually still in third place in the Pac-12 South and, of course, Utah is on top of the Pac-12 South.

Oregon beat Arizona 34-6. Oregon is still on top of the Pac-12 North and Arizona is at the bottom of the Pac-12 South.

And USC beat Cal 41-17. USC is in second place in the Pac-12 South and Cal is tied for last place in the Pac-12 North.

So, other than the Cougars beating the Cardinal, not a lot of surprises this week. Remember when Stanford beat Washington?

There's just two weeks left in the College Football regular season. Teams with 6-6 or better records are "bowl eligible." Right now in the Pac-12 that's Oregon, Washington, Utah and USC. Oregon State, California, Washington State, and Arizona State are all one game away.

Next Saturday, the Huskies travel to Boulder Colorado to take on the Buffs. No time or station has been announced yet. Wouldn't surprise me if it were on the Pac-12 channel.

UPDATE: The Colorado game is on ESPN at the awful hour of 7:00 PM.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Get Rid of the Penny

A while back I explained how to measure the tread depth on your tires with a penny.

(Technically, in the U.S., it is the "one cent coin" but everyone calls it a "penny.")

But, basically, measuring tread depth is all the penny is good for. Pennies are pretty much useless and I wish the U.S. would get rid of them. Canada already did. Pennies basically exist to A) pay sales tax and B) keep the zinc lobby happy (pennies are made of zinc, these days). But it costs more than a penny to make a penny. They are so worthless I've seen people literally throw them on the ground. I'm, personally, too cheap to do that.

We've gotten rid of coins before. In 1857 we stopped making/using the half-cent coin. But here's the kicker: the half-cent coin in 1857 was worth more than the dime is now. So we could get rid of the penny and the nickle.

What they do in Canada, according to my Canadian friend, is round up to the nearest nickle unless you're paying by credit card. We could do this in the U.S. It would save money and hassle and time. Besides, eventually cash will be as obsolete as an Apple II computer.

So, get rid of the penny, please.

Agree? Disagree? Think I'm nuts? Let me know in the comments below.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Huskies are 6-4

The University of Washington Huskies played the Oregon State Beavers Friday night in Corvallis. Going into this game, Washington was #4 in the Pac-12 North and the Beavers were #2. Which, was amazing for the Beavers who have been the doormat of the conference for decades.

While the game wasn't brilliant, the Huskies dominated from the beginning. The only Beaver touchdown (and only score) was a pick six interception in the third quarter. Which brings us to Husky quarterback Jacob Eason. Eason has been amazing in other games, even ones the Huskies have lost. But last night he was 50% on his throws, and toss off two interceptions, including the pick six. No wonder the Huskies depended on Salvon Ahmed and Richard Newton to move the ball on the ground. Ahmed ran for 174 yards and Newton for 54.

It was a defensive game. The Husky defense held the Beavers to zero first downs in the second half. And the Huskies could move the ball, just not fast or far very often.

The final score was 19-7. The score would have been higher, but kicker Payton Henry, who had never missed this year before, missed two field goals.

The Huskies are in third place in the Pac-12 North at 3-4 in conference and 6-4 overall. That makes the Huskies one of the few teams in the Pac-12 that are bowl eligible.

Upcoming Games

Next week the Huskies have a bye. Then on November 23rd, they go to Boulder to play the Pac-12 South last-place Colorado Buffaloes. The time and station for that game isn't set (it wouldn't surprise me if it's on the Pac-12 Network).

On the day after Thanksgiving (Black Friday), November 29th, the Huskies host the Washington State Cougars for the Apple Cup cross-state rivalry game. The Cougars are in last place in the Pac-12 North. But it's the Apple Cup. Anything can happen.

If they Huskies win both those games, they'll be 8-4 on the season (5-4 in conference). That's not an awful season. It's just not the 11-1 they were in 2016.

Elsewhere in the Pac-12

Four teams had byes again this week, including Oregon and  Utah (who are probably going to play
each other in the Pac-12 Championship game). So there were only four games.

In a surprise, Colorado beat Stanford.  But Colorado is still in last place in the Pac-12 South with a 2-5 in conference record and 4-6 overall. But that drops Stanford to 3-4 in conference and 4-5 overall. It's a little surprising that this late in the season, Stanford isn't bowl eligible.

And California beat WSU. That makes the Cougars 1-5 in conference and 4-5 overall and still in last place in the Pac-12 North. California is in 5th place, still.

And in the other game, USC beat ASU. That makes USC bowl eligible.

The only teams that are currently bowl eligible are Oregon, Utah, USC, and Washington.

The College Football Playoffs

The last time a Pac-12 team was in the CFP was 2016 and that was the Huskies. If the Oregon Ducks win all their remaining games and win  the Pac-12 championship, they will have won ten in-conference games. According to an announcer, no team has ever done that before. That might get them in the CFP. Might. This CFP got interesting yesterday when #2 LSU beat #3 Alabama.

But, if Oregon is in the CFP, I'll still root against them, always.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Why Tire Pressure Drops in the Fall.

The other day I saw something click-baity on Facebook (I think) that said "The science behind why tire pressure drops in the fall." And I said "That's easy: PV=nRT."

If you're saying "huh?" you never took freshman chemistry.

The equation PV=nRT is the "ideal gas law." An ideal gas is one that follow this formula exactly. A lot of gases come close and for those who don't, there's fudge factor called "fugacity." But we'll sick with the ideal gas law because air operates pretty closely to it (its fugacity almost equals 1).

But what does PV=nRT mean?

P = pressure. This is measured in psi (pounds per square inch) for tires but pascals in freshman chemistry class. Those are the "SI" units of pressure

V = volume, measured in liters in freshman chemistry class/SI units.

n = the amount of gas measure in moles. What's a mole? A mole is  6.0221409e+23 atoms or molecules. Technically, it should be written like this:

but that's difficult in a blog post.  6.0221409e+23 is the computer way to write scientific notation.

(That's 60221409 followed by 15 zeros or approximately 60 sextillion atoms. See below.) One mole of an element will weigh it's "atomic mass" in grams. If you look on a periodic table, Hydrogen's atomic mass is very close to 1. So one mole of hydrogen equals about one gram of hydrogen.

R= is Boyle's Constant and is equal to 8.314 joules/mole. Don't worry about that.

And T = temperature.

So, again, for our purposes, V is a constant (the volume inside the tire stays the same). "n" is a constant (you're not adding or taking out any air). And R is always a constant. So a little algebra and you get P=Tk (where "k" is a constant).

So if T (temperature) goes down, what happens to P (pressure)? The pressure has to go down proportional to k.

And what happens in the Fall? Ambient temperatures drop.

But wait! The math says that the pressure drops when the temperature drops. But why does that happen? The math is a model of the real world, not the real world. (See below for a math joke.)

What is temperature? It is a measurement of the vibration of atoms and molecules. The higher the temperature, the more they vibrate. At lower temperatures, they vibrate less. At absolute zero, all vibration stops (this is a concept, the energy to reach absolute zero is thought to be infinite).

As we all know (I hope), molecules are atoms that are connected together. Most of your air is a molecule with two nitrogen atoms.

So think of a balloon (tires are sort of like balloons). You blow air into it and it expands. Why? Because the atoms and (more likely) molecules of air are banging against the inside wall of the balloon more than the atoms and molecules are banging against the outside of the balloon. This is because of pressure, not temperature. You blew air into it, increasing the pressure of the air inside the balloon.

Now, if the balloon gets hotter, the molecules and atoms vibrate faster and hit the rubber of the balloon harder, causing it to expand. If the balloon cools off, the molecules and atoms hit it less hard and the balloon shrinks.

Same thing happens in your tires, except the volume stays pretty much the same (unless the pressure really drops) so when the temperature drops, the pressure drops. In the spring, the opposite happens. It warms up, and the tire pressure goes up.

This (and the fact tires tend to lose air over time, especially Goodyear tires) is why I strongly recommend checking tire pressure at least once per month. Buy a good tire pressure gauge and check that pressure. If it's too low, you'll need to add air. Your tire pressure gauge doesn't need to be fancy, but I'd stay away from the stick kind.

So there you have it, the science behind why tire pressure drops in the fall.

(That number of atoms in a mole is 60,221,409,000,000,000,000,000.)

Math Joke
Physicists think the real world approximates the math
Engineers think the math approximates the real world.
Mathematicians never make the connection.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

The Huskies are 5-4

I started doing these little game recaps in 2016. You remember 2016? That was the year the University of Washington Huskies went 12-2, were Pac-12 champions, and played in the College Football Playoff against Alabama. (Yes, they lost.)

But 2018 is looking a lot more like 2015. In fact, nine games into the season, the Huskies have the same record this year as they did in 2015: 5-4.

Yesterday the Huskies played the University of Utah Utes. And like two weeks ago against Oregon, they played well, until the third quarter. Then they ran out of steam.

One problem the Huskies have is their very young defensive group. And after a bye week, I was hoping they'd be more healed up. But they weren't. A lot of running backs were out of the game, putting all the running duties almost exclusively on Salvon Ahmed. It was, pretty much, a repeat of the Oregon game. The final score was 33-28.

Elsewhere in the Pac-12

There were only four games this week as four teams had byes. In a big upset, the Oregon State
Beavers demolished the Arizona Wildcats, 56-38. UCLA beat Colorado. And Oregon beat USC. That's good for the Utah Utes because it puts them on top of the Pac-12 South all by themselves.

In the Pac-12 Standing, Oregon is on top of the Pac-12 South. Amazingly, Oregon State is #2. The Huskies are #4 (after #3 Stanford).

Right now it looks like Utah and Oregon will play for the Pac-12 championship. No one is going to catch Oregon with their 8-1 record. And Utah is 8-1, also.

The Rest of the Season for the Huskies

The Huskies have three games left. This Friday they play Colorado in Boulder. They better win it. Then they have a bye again. Then on November 23rd they play Oregon State in Corvallis. They better win it. Finally on the day after Thanksgiving, they play at home in the Apple Cup against cross-state rival Washington State. That's always a tough game. And they better win it.

If the Huskies win all three of those games, they will be 8-4 on the season. Which isn't a horrible season. Just, after 2016, it's a pretty lackluster season.

And we need to win at least one more game to be "bowl eligible." We'd better win at least one more game.

The Polls

Who cares? Oregon and Utah will probably go up or at least stay the same. They are currently at #7 and #9.

The CFP (College Football Playoff Rankings) comes out Tuesday (election day). Again, who cares?

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Happy Halloween

Today is Halloween. Some people call it "Samhain." I have no idea why.

When I was a kid, Halloween was great, of course. Used to come home with a large paper grocery bag full of candy. And then get sick eating it. It was glorious.

These days, even adults get into the spirit of Halloween with parties and other excuses to drink alcohol. I don't drink alcohol much, so I stay home and hand out the candy. One sad thing (to me) is there are fewer kids coming to the door and exploring neighborhoods. This is likely because places like malls and stores and even schools will have trick or treating inside. For parents, this is great. It's well-lit, it's safer (no kids running into the street). But for those of us at home, it's sad. I always enjoy the interaction with the kids.

But people worry about poisoned candy or razor blades in apples. Even though that has almost never happened.

When I was a kid living in Idaho (at 4,500 feet above sea level), it usually snowed on or about Halloween. Then the snow didn't leave until late April. I remember thinking one October 31st: "It's snowing, it must be Halloween."

Well, I hope you all have a happy Halloween, or Samhain. I'll be waiting to give candy to the kids.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Upset Weekend

Since the Huskies had a bye this weekend, let's look at how other teams did, especially in the Pac-12 conference.

There were some surprising upsets this weekend.

TCU beat #15 Texas.

Oklahoma State beat #23 Iowa State

#19 Michigan beat #8 Notre Dame

And #2 LSU barely got by #9 Auburn. It'll be interesting to see if LSU drops in the AP poll a bit.

In the Pac-12, #23 Arizona State was upset by UCLA, 42-32. UCLA has been improving through the season. I'm sure this will bump Arizona State out of the Top 25. I doubt it will bump UCLA into the Top 25.

So there were some upsets this week.

In the Pac-12, pretty much every other game went as expected. The WSU Cougars barely lost to
Oregon. Utah shut out California.

In the standings, Oregon is still on top of the Pac-12 North. WSU is in last place. My beloved Huskies are still at 2-3 in conference (5-3 overall) and in 4th place (out of six).

In the Pac-12 South, Utah and USC are tied at 4-1 in conference record. Utah has more overall wins at 7-1 while USC is 5-3. UCLA is third in the Pac-12 South. Which is amazing the way their season started.

The Polls

Well, I was totally wrong. LSU moved up to #1 after beating Auburn. Auburn dropped to #11. Notre Dame dropped from #8 to #16. But Michigan only went from #19 to #14.

Oregon moved into the top 10 to #7. Utah also is in the top ten at #9. They are the only two Pac-12 teams now ranked. At one time (week 4) there were six Pac-12 teams in the tip 25. That's half the conference.

Washington is still not ranked in the top 25, of course, but they did move up to #29.

Friday, October 25, 2019

The Huskies have a Bye

The University of Washington Huskies have a bye this weekend. That means they don't play. This will be a chance for their running back squad to heal up and take some pressure off of Salvon Ahmed.

It's also an excuse to look at the rest of the season.

Right now the Huskies are 5-3 overall (2-3 in conference). They need six wins to be bowl eligible. The more wins they have, the better bowl they'll go to. So what does the rest of the season look like?

Next week, on November 2nd, we play Utah. The Utes are 3-1 in conference and 6-1 overall. They are tied for first place in the Pac-12 South with USC (3-1 in conference, 4-3 overall). We play Utah at home but they are still going to be a tough team to beat. Sort of like the Ducks.

Then on Friday, November 8th, we play the Oregon State Beavers. The Beavers are having one of their best years and are 2-2 in conference (3-4 overall). This is an away game for the Huskies but I think we can easily win this one.

On November 16th, the Huskies have their second bye of the season.

The Huskies travel to Boulder, Colorado on November 23rd to take on the Colorado Buffaloes. The Buffs are 1-3 in conference play (3-4 overall) so I don't think, even on their home turf, the Huskies will have much of a problem. But I said that about California. The Buffs are currently in last place in the Pac-12 South.

Then, on Friday November 29th (the day after Thanksgiving) the Huskies host the Washington State
Cougars for the Apple Cup. The Cougars are in last place in the Pac-12 North with a 1-3 record (they beat the Buffaloes last week). Obviously, last season's success for the Cougars was mostly if not all quarterback Garner Minchew. But, it's the Apple Cup and anything can happen. It'll help that it will be held in Husky Stadium. And Husky coach Chris Petersen has never lost an Apple Cup.

So where does that leave us. Worst case (lose to Utah, lose to Washington State) would make us 7-5. Best case we "win out" will make us 9-3. Likely case, we lost to Utah and then win the rest for 8-4.

Then we see how next year looks. Rumor has it that Husky quarterback Jacob Eason is going to go into the draft despite being a junior. So we'll be on the lookout for yet another QB.

But let's get through this season, first.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

NaNoWriMo is Coming

In just over two weeks it'll be November. And for a lot of writers, that means National Novel Writing Month, or "NaNoWriMo."

NaNoWriMo is a challenge to write 50,000 words of a novel in the 30 days of November.

I haven't done NaNoWriMo since 2015, mostly because I wrote novels that didn't correspond with November. I've written three still unreleased novels and some short things in the past 4 years. The last thing I wrote for NaNoWriMo was Treasure of the Rogue Moon. Which was published in May of 2017.

You might be wondering why it took more than a year for me to publish Treasure of the Rogue Moon.  And the answer is simple: I spent a lot of time polishing the novel before I published it.

One issue there has always been with NaNoWriMo are people who hammer out a 50,000 word (or more) first draft, and then upload it to Kindle. Even NaNoWriMo has discovered this problem and have been encouraging people to edit and revise their novels. In 2015, they had an achievement in which you promised to edit and revise your novel.

But there are good things about NaNoWriMo. The frantic pace of writing required (1,666 words per
day) means you can't have writer's block. You have to just keep writing. You can't worry if it's no good or if you're not writing it right, you have to "just keep writing" (as I say). So it helps writers actually produce words, which should be the goals of all writers.

I have an idea for a new novel. I might write part of it (at least the first 50,000 words or so) during this years NaNoWriMo. Or maybe I won't. I haven't decided.

Do you do NaNoWriMo? Do you find it useful. Let me know in the comments below.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

The Huskies are 5-3

Is was a great game. I just didn't like the outcome.

Yesterday the University of Washington Huskies took on the University of Oregon Ducks. The Ducks were favored going into this game because they were undefeated in conference play and their only loss was to Auburn, a very good and highly-ranked team.

On their first possession after receiving the kickoff, the Ducks marched down the field and scored a touchdown. I thought that meant we were going to lose and lose badly. But then the Huskies pretty much did the same thing. It was a hard-fought game for almost all of its 60 minutes of play. At one point the Huskies led 31-21. But in the fourth quarter, the Huskies' young defense was bushed. You could tell they were moving at about 8/10ths speed. And the Ducks were able to pull into the lead. The Husky offense was also tired and couldn't score, giving up the ball on downs which ended the game. There were no turnovers by either team. A Husky scoop and score or pick six would have helped a lot.

There is an adage that the toughest team wins the game. In this case, it was the Ducks.  The final score was 35-31.

But, no one since Auburn had scored a touchdown against the Ducks this season.  The Huskies scored four. And that was without running back McGrew and Newton, leaving Ahmed to do all the ground carrying. Ahmed ran for 140 yards.

And, frankly, there should have been a pass interference call on the fourth down which would have given the Huskies a first down. But the officials apparently missed it or didn't care.

And the crowd of 70,867 was in the game the entire time, despite early rain.

Next week the Huskies have a bye so maybe their team can heal up a bit. Then on November 2nd, they play Utah at home. The time and network for that game has not been determined yet.

I still love my Huskies. They fought hard for most of the game.

This game put the Ducks firmly in first place in the Pac-12 North with a 4-0 conference record (6-1 overall). The Huskies drop to fourth place (behind the Oregon State Beavers!)(and Stanford) with a 2-3 conference record, 5-3 over all.

Maybe we can go to a nice bowl game and win it (I think Husky coach Chris Petersen has only won one bowl game at UW). But, of course, that means we have to win one more game to be "bowl eligible." Maybe we can beat the Beavers.

Elsewhere in the Pac-12

Speaking of the Beavers, they beat California. That is amazing.  Well, maybe not, California has been
doing pretty bad. The Beavers now have a 2-2 conference record, 3-4 overall.

California is in last place in the Pac-12 North with a 1-3 conference record (4-3 overall), their only win that game where they beat the Huskies late at night.

Washington State got their first in-conference win by beating Colorado.

UCLA beat Stanford. And Utah beat Arizona State. Utah is on top of the Pac-12 South but USC is right on their heels (USC beat Arizona yesterday).

The Polls

The College Football Playoff (CFP) rankings will first be announced on November 5th (which is a Tuesday). I'm sure Washington won't be ranked in the CFP, anyway.

The AP Top 25 College Football poll today has the Ducks moving to up one to #11

Utah also moves up one to #12

And Arizona State, after its loss to Utah, dropped to #24.

Finally, as I feared, Washington dropped off the top 25. If you want to get technical, we're #30. I suspect we won't be in the top 25 again this season.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Pluck the Ducks

Tomorrow the University of Washington Huskies take on the University of Oregon Ducks. The game is at 12:30 PDT on your local ABC station.

The Huskies have two main rivals (and a few lesser rivals). Those are the Washington State Cougars and the Ducks. The cross-state WSU rivalry is almost friendly compared to the Washington-Oregon rivalry. As a Husky fan, I am required to loath the Ducks. And I do. I hate when we lose to them (such as last year's overtime loss) and I love when we beat them (like 2016's beat down of the Ducks and 2017's victory).

Going into this game, the Ducks are on top of the Pac-12 North with a 3-0 in conference record (5-1 over all but that loss was to Auburn). The Huskies are 2-2 in conference and 5-2 overall, putting them in second place in the Pac-12 North. Just looking at those numbers, it appears the Ducks have the advantage going into the game. And they do. But the Huskies have a few things in their favor. One: it's a home game and home field advantage is huge in Husky Stadium with the crowd noise. And, two: we really hate the Ducks.

If the Huskies play like they did against Stanford, we'll lose. If we play like we did in the second half of the Arizona game, we can win.

Question is, which Husky team will show up. This is one issue I have with Husky head coach Chris Petersen. His teams aren't consistent. Even the 2016 team that went to the CFP lost to USC. So I'm hoping the team that beat Arizona shows up. Then we have a chance.

Unfortunately, the forecast is for heavy rain. That may dampen the crowd noise some as people seek shelter. Or maybe not: it is the Oregon game.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Tire Tread Depth

Last week I talked about why you shouldn't buy studded snow tires. This week I'm going to talk about why you might need new snow tires.

Tread depth is very important to tire performance. In racing, you want as little tread depth as possible. Which is why most race car tires don't have tread as all. In Europe, they drive in the rain and have tires with tread for that purpose. In the U.S., we don't race in the rain. Tread makes a tire wobble in corners, which means you have to go slower in corners. Thus, the effort to avoid tread in racing.

But we aren't racing. We're driving on the street. Legally, you have to have at least 2/32nds of an inch of tread depth. Anything less than that is illegal.

You can test this with a penny (hey, they are useful for something).  Put the penny in the tread with Lincoln's head down, touching the bottom of the groove. If all of Lincoln's head is visible, you need to replace those tires because you have less than 2/32nds of an inch of tread.

But, to be practical, if you're planning on driving in rain and/or snow, I personally recommend at least 6/32nds of an inch for a snow tire or a regular tire in the winter. I base that on advice from Tire Rack. Yes, Tire Rack wants to sell tires. But they have always been very honest with me.

So, before winter hits, measure your tread depth. If you don't have a tread depth measuring tool, any tire store will likely measure your tread depth for you for free. Yes, they want to sell you tires.

I measured mine and they are at 9/32nds. So they will last one more winter.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

The Huskies are 5-2

Going into last nights University of Washington Huskies game, I was a bit wary. The Dawgs hadn't won a night game this year and have always had trouble beating University of Arizona at home. I guess I didn't need to worry.

The first quarter was very defensive and only field goals were kicked. The only Husky touchdown in the second quarter was by the Huskies' defense when the Wildcat's vaunted quarterback, Khalil Tate, tried to throw the ball away as he was being sacked. He ended up throwing a lateral pass, which, even after it hits the ground, is a live ball. And a Husky defensive play picked it up and ran it in for a TD.

But Arizona managed to score 17 points in the second quarter and halftime came with the Wildcats up 17-13. The announcers, who spend the whole game bashing the Huskies, pointed out that Washington hadn't won a game that they were behind at the half since 2015.

After halftime, a different Husky team emerged. They quickly started running up the points and held Arizona to no points in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, Arizona did manage to get ten points, but the Huskies scored 24. The Wildcats tried an on-side kick after a touchdown but the Huskies recovered it and that ended the game. The final score was 51-27.

It was an all-around team effort, which seems to be what the Huskies need to do to win. Sean McGrew ran for 106 yards while Salvon Ahmed ran for 95. The top receiver for the game was Puka Nacua with 97 yards. "Who?" you're saying. This was apparently the first time the freshman played.

This makes the Huskies 5-2 overall, 2-2 in conference. That puts them tied for second place (with Stanford) in the Pac-12 North Division. The Oregon Ducks are in first place.

Next Week

The Huskies return home next week to take on the Oregon Ducks. The game is at 12:30 PM and on ABC, so not a night game. Oregon is 5-1, their loss being to Auburn. They are 3-0 in conference. This week they destroyed Colorado 3-45 in Eugene.

That it's a home came will help the Huskies. The stadium is sold out so there should be a lot of crowd noise. But Phil Knight's money buy a good team and it will be a challenge for the Huskies to prevail. Although I'm feeling better about it after this win over Arizona.

Elsewhere in the Pac 12

As I predicted WSU didn't do very well, losing to Arizona State 34-38. This puts WSU 0-3 in
conference and in last place in the Pac-12 North. I watched part of the game and WSU played well, just not well enough to beat ASU. The close score reflects that it was a good, exciting game.

Also, as I predicted, USC lost to Notre Dame. But it was a close game with the score 27-30. I didn't watch that game. I watched Serenity instead on Blu-Ray.

Utah destroyed Oregon State, 52-7. Utah is still on top of the Pac-12 South, tied with USC.

The Polls

(I don't know why I say "polls" because I'm only talking about the AP poll at this point in the season. Later the CFP rankings will come out. Which, technically, isn't a poll, either.)

Last week the Huskies were technically #29 (in the top 25 poll). This week (week 8) we're ranked again but at a lowly #25.

Arizona State is at #17 after beating WSU. Utah is at #13 and Oregon is at #12.

So we'll see who wins, loses, and is ranked next week.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Pac-12 This Weekend

This weekend there are five games slated for the Pac-12

Tonight at 7:00 PM PDT, Colorado plays Oregon. Oregon will likely win.

Then tomorrow at 12:30 PM PDT on Pac-12 Networks, Washington State plays Arizona State. I'm thinking ASU will win with the problems the Cougars are having on defense.

At 4:30 PM PDT, USC plays Notre Dame in a non-conference game. I'm sure Notre Dame will win.

At 5:00 PM PDT, Utah plays Oregon State on Pac-12 Networks. I'm sure Utah will win.

Then at the ungodly hour of 8:00 PM PDT, University of Washington plays University of Arizona in Tuscon. The Dawgs haven't won a night game yet this year, including last week's loss to Stanford. If we lose this game, I'm worried about winning the six games needed to be bowl eligible. And we're 50% for away games, having beat BYU on the road but, again, lost to Stanford. And we've always had trouble int he desert playing either Arizona or Arizona State. If the Huskies can overcome their lost to Stanford and beat Arizona, that would be great. But if not, this season will be over with still five games to play.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Don't Buy Studded Snow Tires, Please

Studded Snow Tire
Winter is coming.

I was talking to my tire guy the other day and asked if he had Nokian snow tires. I'd read those were the best snow tires available. He said they only have studded Nokian tires. So I said I'd stick with the Blizzaks or try the Michelin snow tires (if I need new snow tires; I've yet to determine that by measuring the tread depth on the ones I have).

A lot of people where I live swear by studded snow tires. These tires have steel studs in the tread to, supposedly, increase traction in snow and ice.

Unfortunately, they don't work. Studded snow tires are less safe than a good winter (snow) tire in dry and wet conditions. They are also less safe on snow and ice, what they are supposed to be best for. That is because the studs lower the size of the contact patch of each tire down to the size of a postage stamp. (The contact patch is the area that your tire touches the road.) This reduces traction, not increases it.

In addition, Washington State estimates (PDF file) that studded tires cause
Ruts repaired in a road
between $12 million and $18 million in damage every year in the state alone. You can see this on interstate, or other busy, highways where there are ruts worn in the pavement. Ruts that fill with water that can cause hydroplaning or, if the water freezes, slides. The roads then have to be expensively  repaired.

I, frankly, wish the state would just ban them. Buy a good set of stud-less snow tires. I personally recommend Blizzaks.

But don't buy studded tires. Please.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

The Huskies are 4-2

What is it about night games?

What is it about Palo Alto?

Well, maybe we can go to a nice bowl this year.

All those thoughts went through my head last night as the University of Washington Huskies lost to the Stanford University Cardinal (it's a color). The game started at 7:30 PM PDT. Our only other loss was also a game that started at 7:30 (the California game) The Huskies haven't beaten Stanford at Palo Alto since 2007. And losing this game means we have nearly zero hope of being Pac-12 North Champions. Unless someone beats Oregon (not likely) and we beat Oregon (looking less likely).

From the beginning, the Huskies played as if they were wading in molasses. Quarterback Jacob Eason couldn't hit his receivers and, when they did, the receivers couldn't hang on to the ball. Of course, I have to give credit to Stanford's secondary who did a great job keeping our receivers from catching passes. Even Salvon Ahmed, who didn't play much for some reason, couldn't move the ball.

Meanwhile Stanford had almost no problem with their third-string quarterback and beat up offensive line moving the ball up the field. The Husky defense did stop them, holding them to a field goal, more than once. But it didn't help. The final score was 13-23.

We'll be lucky to still be ranked in the AP Poll after this (see below)

More bad news: we play Arizona in Tuscon next week. That game starts at 8:00 PM PDT. And we've always had trouble playing in the desert, for some reason. That game is on FS1 which, right now, I don't get because Dish and Fox are fighting. I might have to go to my father's house to watch it.

Arizona is on top of the Pac-12 South Division right now.

Do I sound discouraged? You bet I am.

Elsewhere in the Pac-12

California was up on Oregon for the entire first half of the game, 7-0. Thought maybe California
might beat Oregon, but the Ducks came back in the second half to win it 17-7.

The two worst teams in the Pac-12, Oregon State and UCLA, played each other. And Oregon State won 48-31. (Too bad we don't play UCLA this year.)

And Arizona beat Colorado in Boulder 35-30. I guess everyone else had a bye this week.

The Polls:

And...we're not ranked. Washington dropped off the AP Top 25 College Football poll.

Oregon stayed at 13. Utah moved up to 15 (and they had a bye, I'm pretty sure), and Arizona State moved up to 18. And that's it for the Pac-12.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Manspreading Mansplained

New Chair
Some say that "manspreading" (the fact that men tend to sit with their legs apart) is an aggressive posture to take up more space and assert dominance.

I think it's just to be comfortable.

Let me explain. I go to Starbucks nearly every day. The Starbucks I go to recently remodeled and changed their "comfy chairs." The old chairs were plush and the seat was farther from the floor.  The new chairs (see picture) have their seats lower to the floor. While sitting in the new chairs, I find myself "manspreading." Why? Because my legs are too long to sit with my feet flat on the floor and my legs together. This isn't comfortable. So I either spread my legs or put my feet out with just the heels of my feet on the floor. Either way, it's not to assert dominance, it's to be comfortable. And a lot of chairs, such as in subways, buses, etc. have low chairs that are comfortable for most women and shorter people, but too low for most men.
Old Chair

Woman tend to have shorter legs. My wife says she likes these new chairs because her feet touch the floor. So women don't need to spread their legs to be comfortable, generally. And yes, there are cultural taboos against women having their legs spread in public for any reason.

But I think it's mostly chair design, not some cultural plot for male dominance.

So there ya go: manspreading mansplained.

Agree? Disagree? Think I'm nuts? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday, September 30, 2019

The Huskies are 4-1

(I know I usually write this blog post on Sunday morning, but I was traveling yesterday morning/afternoon.)

The California game is looking more and more like a fluke.

Saturday, the University of Washington Huskies took on the University of Southern California Trojans at Husky Stadium in Seattle. This was the Huskies' second conference game after that Cal game loss. So a lot was riding on it. And the Huskies came through, beating USC 28-14. The Huskies made two touchdowns in the first quarter, one off an interception. All together the Huskies made three interceptions on USC during the game, one stopping a Trojan drive almost at the Huskies' goal line.  UW one turnover, a fumble, and no interceptions. But the Trojans couldn't capitalize on that fumble.

In the first half, the game was basically a battle on short passes and runs. But in the second half, the Huskies started trying some explosive plays. Then Salvon Ahmed had an 89 yard run for a touchdown. And Husky quarterback Jacob Eason threw a 36 yard pass to Cade Otten. All together, Eason threw for 180 yards.

This game was important because, 1) it was USC and we hate USC almost as much as we hate Oregon and WSU. And, b) it's a conference game and that counts toward your standings in the conference. Right now we are tied with California for second place in the Pac-12 North. This was USC's first in-conference loss this year.

Next week, we play Stanford at Palo Alto. Stanford isn't doing great this year so that should help. But this is our first in-conference away game. The game is at 7:30 PM PDT on ESPN. I hate those late night games.

An Experiment

I added up all the points the Huskies have scored and all the points their opponents have scored. And it's telling. The Huskies have scored 191 points through their first five games. Their opponents have only scored 87 points. So the Huskies have scored 104 points more than their opponents. Or over 20 points per game (20.8 to be exact).

Elsewhere in the Pac-12

Oregon had a bye. Washington State lost to Utah 38-13 at Utah's stadium. Coach Mike Leach was
reportedly not happy.

California lost to Arizona State, handing the Golden Bears their first defeat. Stanford barely beat Oregon State, the doormat of the conference.

Right now the Oregon Ducks are still on top of the Pac-12 North. The WSU Cougars are in last place at 0-2 after their losses to UCLA and Utah.

Arizona (who we play in two weeks) is on top of the Pac-12 South, tied with Colorado at 1-0 in  conference.

The Polls:

Oregon, who didn't play this week, stayed at #13 in the AP top 25 poll. Washington moved up two spots to 15. Utah moved up two spots to 17. And Arizona State is at #20, back on the top 25 poll. California and USC dropped off.