There’s a haunted house in Canada called the Nightmares Fear Factory. They’ve been in business for many years, and apparently the “show” is pretty terrifying. There’s a part right at the very end, after the patrons have spent the last 20 minutes being scared over and over, when something absolutely amazing happens. It’s not clear what– I haven’t been there, nor will they “reveal” what it is– but at the very instant it happens, there’s a flash camera that captures the moment.

Who knew terror could look so funny?


Tonight I played in a Halloween ultimate tournament. We were under the lights at Sandstone Ranch, which has some really nice fields. Since it’s the day before Halloween, everyone was encouraged to come in costume. About half of the players did. I pulled out my “peace and love” jeans, an obnoxious green big-collar shirt, and my gigantic afro wig… a reprise of last year’s costume. I learned that playing ultimate while wearing an afro can be problematic.

The temperature was about 35 degrees, but with long sleeves and some wide receiver gloves, I was plenty warm. It was kind of cool to see fog on the field, and of course you could see everyone’s breath as they ran around. Our team struggled in the first game, losing 13-0. I scored the first point in our second game, putting us on top for the first and only time all night. We stayed with the second team pretty well, but eventually lost 13-10.

All in all it was a good time, and nice to get some exercise as the weather gets cooler. This is the part of the year where I tend to gain five pounds because I’m not running as much…


Apparently ultimate players, in general, are smart. According to 2006 a study at the University of Washington:

Participating in ultimate frisbee was an indicator of academic success. The decade-long study showed that, among all 86 private national universities, those ranking in the top half for ultimate frisbee have a graduation rate of over 85 percent, compared to a graduation rate of 60 percent among schools in the bottom half. The top half schools also had 208 Rhodes and Marshall scholars, versus 15 from schools in the bottom half.


Ahh, Kevin Chang. King of the yearbook quotes.


This is Lyons, Colorado.

Last weekend several hundred volunteers from church went up to Lyons (it had just been re-opened to traffic) and worked at various locations where flood cleanup was needed. I worked at a small farm with maybe fifty other volunteers. The St. Vrain River is behind those trees in the background, and the mix of mud, sand, and rocks used to be a huge grassy yard. There were trucks half-buried– we excavated two of them and managed to pull one free of the mud; the other was too big for a pickup to pull with a tow cable. We emptied mud out of sheds, tore down chain link fences that had been twisted into wild shapes, and collected literally tons of equipment and belongings that had been destroyed by water and mud. Sadly, after hours of work, it hardly looked like we’d made a dent. There’s a long road to recovery for the people in this nice little town.

It was inspiring to see so many volunteers helping, though. In addition to nearly five hundred Mormons from Longmont, there were several hundred volunteers from an organization called Samaritan’s Purse, and I saw a huge group of other people wearing matching shirts (but too far away to know who they represented). There were hand-painted signs around town proclaiming “Lyons Strong” and “We are no longer a community– now we’re a family”. Although the extent of the disaster is staggering, it’s nice to see it bring out the best in people.


Tonight we went to a big Halloween party. I was Waldo. Laralee was… Laralee.

The jokes about “I found you!” started even before I got through the front door. I counted six in the first ten minutes… no surprise.

Of course I photo-bombed Kyra and her friends (Hannah, Alex, and Chaille).

And then we decided to do a nice “Where’s Waldo?” photo of the whole group. Can you find Waldo? What about the cowgirl (Chaille) or Barbie (Kyra)?


I found this image on Google Plus last night, in a photo stream that I follow. Amazing.

I don’t know how “real” it is; clearly the colors have been tweaked. Unfortunately it doesn’t work as a background, unless I happen to have a tall, narrow vertical monitor. (Hmm…)


I’m setting up a Windows 7 virtual machine for some client work. Imagine my surprise when the installer told me…

I need 17 gigabytes of disk space to install Windows! Holy cow. Bloated, indeed.


Ahh, another beautiful fall week in Colorado.


Brent is finalizing details of a new project with one of our clients, and during the course of the email conversation, the client wrote:

Are you in conversations with my manager over growing POT in 2014?



While it’s possible to buy a big box of Tootsie Pops, everyone knows that two of the flavors are completely pointless: chocolate and banana. I mean, seriously? The only “true” flavors are grape, cherry, and orange. So who wants to buy a box where 40% of the pops are unpalatable?

The answer: Amazon has some program called “add-ons” where you can add random stuff to an order. For example, you can buy a box of 60 Tootsie pops where all of them are one flavor.

My latest Amazon package (Halloween costume) just showed up. And…



One of Zing’s clients sent us a bunch of frozen desserts. They arrived in a styrofoam box packed with dry ice. After we moved the desserts into the freezer (for later consumption as a team-building experience), we were left with a styrofoam box…

…That looked exactly like the kind of box they transport human organs in.

So, I grabbed Brent’s red marker and wrote HUMAN ORGANS, DO NOT EAT on the box, then set it right inside the office door so everyone passing in the hallway could see it.

Josh has a good view of the hallway from his office, and he said there were quite a few people who walked past and did a double-take. A few laughed, and a few just shook their heads sadly.

I crack myself up.


Halloween is approaching, so I’m thinking about a costume this year. I was poking around Amazon, and stumbled upon an amazing banana outfit. Because hey, who doesn’t like a giant walking banana?

In the “customers also looked at…” section, I saw something that took my breath away. A bacon costume! Wow, I never would have imagined.

Even more funny than the costumes themselves are the expressions of the models. I can just picture the photo shoot, where the photographer is clicking away on his camera, yelling out, “Work it, work it! Be the bacon!”

Fortunately I came to my senses and didn’t get either one. I’m not sure what I’ll end up being this Halloween, but it sure isn’t going to be a breakfast food.


When I was a kid, I collected coins. One of my special interests was bicentennials, probably because they were in general circulation and not very difficult to find. Back in those days, the U.S. Mint didn’t redesign the coins every few months like they do now, so it was fun to find a quarter that was different than the normal “eagle” variety.

I played a lot of poker as a teenager, and our games were always nickel-dime-quarter stakes. With all of the coins flying around, I’d offer to buy any bicentennial quarters from my friends… and I’d pay a premium, so they could sell me a quarter for thirty cents. I was able to amass quite a few of them over the years.

The other day, Laralee bought a roll of quarters and a roll of half-dollars. (It’s kind of a long story.) Looking through them, I was excited to find a bicentennial quarter.

You generally don’t see many of them these days, possibly due to the fact that I’m not the only one who collects them, but also because they were minted in 1976, which was thirty-seven years ago. There aren’t nearly as many old quarters in circulation. So I bought this one for thirty cents from Laralee.

Then I looked through her half-dollars– there were fifty of them. I found a staggering thirteen bicentennial half-dollars!

I bought these from Laralee as well (she only charged me their face value of $6.50) to add to my collection. But it got me thinking. Statistically speaking, it seems highly unlikely that in a roll of fifty coins you’d find thirteen from the same year. I wondered what the odds would be.

Kennedy half-dollars, in their current copper-nickel composition, were minted for general circulation from 1965 to 2001. Prior to 1965, they had a high silver content, so it’s exceedingly rare to find any of them in circulation today. After 2001, only proof sets and collector’s sets have been minted. That means in all likelihood, one will find half-dollars spanning about 36 years. Using simple math (not accounting for actual production counts by year, nor taking into account the possibility that people hoard the 1976 coins for the same reason I do), one could conclude that in a pile of 36 random half-dollars, it’s almost certain that one of them would be a bicentennial. Thus, a single roll of 50 would be expected to have one. But thirteen?

I was going to sit down and do the math to figure out the actual probability of that happening, but quite honestly despite majoring in applied mathematics, I always kind of sucked at probability theory. A little internet poking might turn up a solution, but frankly I’m too tired for it now. I’ll just enjoy my good fortune, and probably end up digging out my old coin collection to bring back some good memories.


Pandora just barfed up a Twisted Sister song in the middle of my nice 80’s pop mix. What the…?


In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.

— Albert Einstein


We received a shipment from Amazon; the box contained a bunch of big air pouches for padding. I emptied the box and asked Zack to pop them so we could throw them away.

He shouted, “This… is… Sparta!!” and proceeded to stomp the living daylights out of them.