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About Gameday

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  1. Am I wrong or does State Farm Insurance sucketh?

    State Farm sucks. I had policies with them since 1975 and in 2003 I moved from one state to another. Since more than 90 days passed between selling one house and buying another, they denied me coverage on the new one. Their reason was that in the prior state I asked for a roof inspection after a hail storm, which was denied. I contested their denial for the hail damage but finally dropped the issue. Unbelievable that after being a customer for 28 years they would not cover me simply for that. Never again.
  2. Pinewood Derby Season

    Update: This past weekend the District Derby was held. The kids that win top places at their Pack race move on to compete in the District. I'm not sure how many Packs make up a District, but I suspect it approaches around 1,000 kids. At any rate, my older boy's car was a screamer and he won the overall top spot. He had a sheepish grin on his face when he went up to accept his trophy. His younger brother entered the Open division with his Elmo car and was easily the crowd favorite. Kids in the stands were changing "Elmo . . . Elmo". And Elmo didn't dissapoint. He ripped off faster times than his older brother's car. He, too, won a trophy. Here's a pic of the proud brothers. Check out the Elmo costume. This dude came ready for business.
  3. I Youngest Daughter to the E.R. Last Night

    From this thread it seems that the expectation is that people go to the ER only when they have a serious problem. I'm not sure that matches reality. A few months ago my knee swelled up and got worse throughout the day. I called my primary care physician, he referred me to a specialist. The specialist couldn't see me for several weeks. When I told him that I could barely walk and couldn't wait that long he told me to go to ER. I get the feeling that that was not a unique situation By the way, it's a good thing I went. I had a serious infection and had to be admitted to the hospital.
  4. What a great weekend

    About two weeks ago I made a post about my 8-yr old boy winning top spot at his cubscout Pinewood Derby. That was pretty cool but this weekend tops that. A few months ago he joined our local ski jumping team. The coach is a two-time Olympian and one of the jumpers is the reigning Jr. National Champ. So, these guys seem to know what they're doing. My boy took to the sport pretty quickly and I've been diligent about taking him to practice and encouraging him. As he's gotten better, he's progressed to bigger jumps. This past weekend the Badger State Games were held in WI and he entered the Ski Jumping event. His first jump was so-so but he nailed his 2nd jump. We ended up standing around watching all the other jumpers for 7 hours in -33 weather (that's with the wind chill, -13 without it) and it was worth it. The little bugger got the Bronze medal. You should have seen his face when his name was announced! But, it didn't end there. He's also on a youth wrestling team and on Sunday he entered a large, local tourney. This is his 2nd year of wrestling and he hasn't exhibited much enthusiasm or ability. But on Sunday something clicked. He lost his first match 11-9 to the kid that won the whole thing and he almost beat him. He dominated his opponent in his 2nd match and then he stuffed (pinned) his opponent in his last match and won the 2nd place trophy. The little guy is on top of the world. It was a lot of fun watching him clear off dresser space so he could add his new trophys to his growing collection. This Sat he's in another ski jumping tourney. I can't wait.
  5. I remember when (blank)

    when I installed my first payroll system on a Tandy TRS80. That baby had a cassette deck to store data instead of a floppy!
  6. What can you get for $89.95

    Regarding keyboards, I know I'll take a fair amount of grief over it, but I have this one. I know it's ridiculous but I'm typing much, much faster than I used to.
  7. What can you get for $89.95

    For people who miss those phones maybe they'd like one of these?
  8. Pinewood Derby Season

    That's a shame and isn't what it's supposed to be about. That's why in the 3rd pic you can see two cars. We built the one in the background as a test and to understand the process. Then, when we built the one in the foreground my boy had an idea of how he was supposed to do things. I'll have to admit, I was pretty nervous when he was cutting out the middle of the car with a scroll saw, and there was some angst when he ran his finger tip into the belt sander, but otherwise it was pretty uneventful. As a side note, one of the coolest things we did was to run a workshop for our Pack. Many dads and their boys showed up and we went through the whole process. We had a slide show of pics of cool cars we had collected over the last year, handouts on the basic process, and gave out a participation gift (a interchangable screw driver to begin their own tool collection) that they absolutely loved. We even divulged every speed tip we had discovered. By the end of the workshop every boy had a completely prepped set of wheels and axles. I got calls for days afterwards from dads telling me what a great time they and their boy had. My son helped do demos and took a lot of pride in doing them. We'll be holding more of them next year.
  9. Pinewood Derby Season

    Yes, that's right. Some of the other things we learned were: 1) as already mentioned, the most important thing is to have very smooth axles and extremely round wheels. The axles are made smooth by filiing, sanding, and then polishing. Also, the heads can be tapered to eliminate even more resistance. The wheels are made round by shaving or sanding them as they're mounted in a drill press or by using a simple hand lathe. Also, it helps to cone the hubs (where the wheel touches the car) to reduce friction, and to polish the bore (the hole that the axle runs through). As a side note, my boy did all the wheel and axle prep by himself. 2) you have to maximize the weight and have it as far back as practical without having the front-end lift up as it goes down the track. We used tungsten weights since tungsten is 3.2 times more dense than lead. 3) the fastest way to the end-line is a straight line (duh). But, what it means is that if you can keep the front from oscillating back and forth it's a huge advantage. We did that by aligning the car so that it veered into the center guide strip and 'rode' it all the way down the track. I know, I know, that seems ridiculous since that involves creating friction, but everything we found on the web showed that these 'rail riding' cars were winning everything. So, we did it, and it worked.
  10. Pinewood Derby Season

    Until my boy joined scouting last year I never had any involvement in it so I'm not sure how it used to be. The way most of the Dads and scouts I know view it is that it's a cool project to do together, with the focus on teaching the kid and on spending time together. In his first year our focus was on safety. This year it was on the basics of using tools. Next year he's expected to do everything himself with the exception of using the table and band saws. The year after that I expect he'll be able to use even those tools. Since he won the whole thing this year I think next year I'll challenge him to come up with a very cool, complex design, and not focus so much on speed.
  11. Any Skiers on board?

    There is a small ski club one mile from our house that costs $250 for the whole family to join each year. There are 6 downhill runs, 4 ski jumps (5M, 15M, 30M, and 60M), and 5 miles of cross country trail. We have tow ropes instead of ski lifts, but they work fine. I have my two boys (ages 8 and 4) entered in downhill lessons and the older boy is on the ski jumping team. I think there are about 300 kiddos entered in the downhill lessons. It's an absolute hoot to see those little goobers making their way down the training slopes every weekend. Every Tue and Thur I take the older boy to ski jump training. It's absolutely amazing to see those kids blasting down those high jumps and sailing through the air, sometimes going a few hundred feet. The US record is about 300M. The coach is a 2-time Olympian and one of our kids is the reigning national champ. Who would ever expect to see this kind of facility in Madison, WI? Anyhow, I'm not a skiier but I took it up just so I could spend time with the boys. Two weeks ago I went down a steep run with my older boy and at the bottom he said "Dad, I heard you screaming like a little 2-year old girl the whole time." I also tried cross country skiing last weekend. I damn near froze to death, but it was a blast.
  12. Pinewood Derby Season

    Thanks for the nice comments, guys. The best thing about the whole derby was the time we spent together planning and making the car. We started in late Nov and just had the derby a week ago. Nearly every night all three of us were in the workshop doing one thing or another. The minute we were done with dinner they couldn't wait to dash on downstairs and get started. The day of the derby my older boy woke up at 5. I came downstairs about an hour later and he was so nervous and anxious it was hilarious. Before the race I had the talk with him about how to handle himself it he didn't win, but I forgot to have the talk about how to handle himself if he won. I was pretty proud of him when he was announced as the overall winner and walked right over, shook the hand of the kid who finished in 2nd, and congratulated him.
  13. Pinewood Derby Season

    I have two boys. The older one is in 2nd grade and is in his second year of scouting. The other boy is four. Last year my older boy was too young to do much of the work on his pinewood derby car by himself, but I spent a lot of time teaching him about safety and the basics of using tools. He pitched in whenever he could, but I ended up doing most of the work. His car won his division at the Pack race and he finished 3rd overall. He also went on to win his division at the District race. This year he did a lot more of the work and was involved in every step of the process. About the only thing he didn't do was cut his block on the table saw. But, he did use the scroll saw, bench mounted belt sander, drill press, and he did almost all the painting. We did a lot more research this year and learned about all kinds of speed tricks. We spent hours and hours discussing them and he made the final decision on the design. Anyhow, he blew everyone away at the Pack meet and won the overall title. It was especially sweet because the two boys he finished behind in the overall standings last year are brothers and that family has won the race for the last 5 years or so. The older brother crossed over to Boy Scouting and couldn't compete anymore. But, a few months ago he told me 'maybe your son can win once my younger brother crosses over. Until then, he doesn't have a chance.' Well, that younger brother finished second. But the real highlight of the day was watching my 4-year old race his car. He's a big Elmo fan so we made a car that looked just like 'ol Elmo. Elmo was absolutely the hit of the Derby and he drew a big audience. And Elmo was blazingly fast! He had to run in what's called the Open division (for Dads and siblings) but if he had been able to run in the main races he would have finished 3rd overall. Here are some pic of the cars.
  14. This is an amusing story and reminds me of one my buddy Ted experienced. I spoke to him on a Sun morning and the conversation went like this: me: Hey Ted, how was golf yesterday? Ted: Fine, once I got out of jail. me: huh? Ted: Well, I showed up at the course and was put in a threesome with an old couple. Right before we teed off a younger, hippy-looking guy asked if he could join us. Hippy was quite a golfer and could drive that ball a mile. Everything was going great except that every so often Hippy would kneel down by his bag with his face right up to it, and we couldn't tell what he was doing. We were stuck behind a slow group that wouldn't let us through. Hippy became impatient and started intentionally driving into them. After a few holes of that one of the guys in front screemed back at us and told him to knock it off or he'd come over and kick his ass. Hippy-dude crouched behind his bag again, did whatever he was doing, grabbed a driver, and started running up to the slow group. Without saying a word he hit the mouthy one right on the noggin and dropped him. Hippy calmly walked back over to our group and started to tee it up as if nothing had happened. Within minutes a squad car caming ripping across the course with the lights on and the siren going. They handcuffed hippy dude, threw him in the squad, and then they came after me and did the same thing. Despite my protests to contrary, they figured I was his buddy and that I was in on the bashing. We were taken to jail and my wife had to come and get me released. The finally let me out and I found out afterward the knucklehead had coke in his bad and that's what he was doing crouching behind it. So, how was your day?
  15. Embarrassing Sports Memories

    The ones I can think of happened to buddies, but I'll tell 'em anyway. In Sr. High many of us on the wrestling team often had to spit off a few pounds the day of a meet. We'd be sitting in a row on a training table tossing spit onto a pile of towels on the floor. We could easily spit off between 2 and 3 lbs per person over 5 or 6 hours. Quite a puddle would build up. Spitting that much for so long puts a guy in a weird mood and we'd often start laughing uncontrollably. Sadly, one day my best buddy laughed so hard he lost his balance and rolled off the table into the lake of spit. Truly disgusting. The worst part is that we had to wear suits the day of a meet and for some unknown reason he was still wearing it when spitting. That thing was wasted. Another time a different buddy made the finals in a tourney and was wrestling a defending state champ. He was winning the match and during the final period the exlax he took to lose weight kicked in. He had a horrendous skid mark showing through nearly the entire bottom half of his singlet. He was so happy that he won that he didn't give a sh!t. And the last one happened in the training room, too. Another guy was buck naked and heard that some cheerleaders were using an adjoining training room. The door between the rooms was locked but he figured it'd be a good idea to crouch down by the vent in the door and give out a few hearty grunts. About the time he started bellowing he looked up and noticed all the babes were looking down through the louvers and had an almost totally unobstructed view of his crouching, naked, form. Truly hilarious.