Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Decision Making

Everyday each one of us makes many, many decisions such as what to eat, going to the bathroom, getting a drink, etc. Recently I’ve been thinking about how I make decisions and I’m quite confident I make them in a different way. In fact most of my thinking assumes that the typical person decides in some different way. Frequently I make decisions based on what I think others would think…I have a hard time explaining this so I think it will be best to just give an example from today.

Tonight I had to do laundry and decided to do just one load since that would be sufficient to get me through the week. When I went to take my load and put it into the dryer I was faced with making a decision: Which dryer do I want to use? To help explain the rational I need to give you the laundry room layout. Starting from the entrance there are three washers, a large sink, and then three dryers all in a row. So when I have to make this very simple decision I start by deciding that I want to use the dryer with the least amount of use because that is probably the one that will be most efficient drying my clothes. So the question immediately becomes which dryer would have the least amount of use...now I have to make a guess at what the “typical” person would be thinking in my situation. I believe most people would be thinking I want the closest dryer so that I don’t have to walk far from the washer. That means that the first dryer is out of the question. That narrows it down to the two far ones. I could (and typically in this case) assume the same logic rules out the middle dryer since it would be the next easiest, but I typically won’t jump to that conclusion. I then tend to weigh various possibilities to select from the remaining two. Here are some of the questions that I asked myself before throwing it in the middle one:

1) What are the odds that other people in my situation think about this?
2) Is this like using urinals where if someone else is using one you leave a “buffer” urinal (if possible) between each other (if it is then the far one would be the one that should be used whenever dryer 1 is in use)?
3) Why am I still thinking about this when the outcome is going to be marginal at best?

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Keyword Search

So for quite awhile I have been planning on writing something about the keywords that people search with and find my blog. This has been avoided primarily because it would take some effort to go thru all the searches and organize them. Then today I happened to check what has been searched for this month and the vast majority this month had been related to quitting your PhD. This inspired me (out of curiosity) to count how many times variations of "quit my PhD" have led people to my blog. It turns out that this has been only recently that people have been searching for this...perhaps the summer time inspires people to give serious thought to quitting their PhD...who knew?

I hesitate to include the number of searches since they are so small that people like Ciara who has tons of hits might make funny of me, but hey I'm proud of every visitor.

So here are the leading keyword topics (excluding searching for me):
Amarillo Sky Lyrics (16) - yes dad your favorite post is the most searched for
PhD related (12) - 9 are related to quitting
Evolution (11)
Sister Renee (8)
Demoree (7)
Memphis Stuff (7)
Simpsons (4)
Mitchell Feigenbaum's 26-hour day (3) - I'm telling you this could work if we all got on board
Ciara (3)

Topic 5 Searches
(1) Harshest punishment in New Testament (hmmm....crucifixion)
(2) Stories of elbows that won't bend (that's right I won't bend...unless I dropped something)
(3) Superficial relationships (this must have been from prior to dating Demoree)
(4) Bloodshot eyes due to marijuana use (were they looking for examples?)
(5) Annoying Southern phrases (are they annoying?)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


I never expected to be impressed by headphones, but I have to say that I am impressed by these Jensen In-Ear headphones. No this isn’t an advertisement for them…in fact while I’m impressed by them I’m not sure if they are what I want. While they are really comfortable and have nice sound, they also completely block out all surrounding noise. I mean I was right next to a road and a bus went by and I didn’t hear it. It’s also a very weird feeling when I’m talking or eating with them in…I guess its kind of like trying to talk while underwater.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Trip Up North

This past weekend I had my first Cedar Polka Festival and Traverse City Cherry Festival experiences. I would have to say that both were quite enjoyable, though I didn’t spend much time at the Cherry Festival. I hesitated to write a post about this because this type of post really needs pictures to accompany the wonderful stories that I share with everyone. Well in typical fashion I took my camera with me and took a grand total of ZERO pictures (this actually includes my time in Pigeon…well with the exception of pictures of the mini-foosball table). In spite of that I’ve decided to update this because it was fun to me and to keep at least one of my readers happy I’ve included details of each meal I had.

I got up early and went out golfing with my dad, Uncle Joe, and G’pa. We did best ball with my dad and me versus my Uncle Joe and G’pa. Our team started off a little rough, finished strong, but failed to catch up with them. We ended up losing by 3 strokes on 9 holes. Besides that I didn’t do too much besides driving up to Lake Ann (Demoree’s home town near Traverse City).

Lunch: Buffulo chicken sandwich
Dinner: Pizza

In the afternoon I went to a small beach on Lake Michigan and did some reading, eating, talking, and swimming with Demoree. It was pretty fun and I got to have some of Demoree’s favorite beef jerky…not going to lie it is really good (though I won’t mind some extra spice, well I always want a little more kick).
After the beach Demoree, her parents and I had a nice dinner outside. Then we went over to some friends of the family to watch the fireworks over Long Lake. The fireworks were done by an individual that supposedly spent $100,000 on them…they were pretty good. While over there we also played some euchre and ate some awesome mexcican chip dip that was made by Demoree’s mom.

Breakfast: Toast with peanut butter
Lunch: Sub sandwich, chips, and beef jerky
Dinner: Grilled stake, potatoes, salad, and brownies
Late night Snack: Mexican dip and tortilla chips

The morning and early afternoon was pretty lazy with us just watching Mythbusters and Dirty Jobs. Then Demoree and I went into Traverse City to get her grandma a birthday card. On the way back we stopped for some ice cream at Moomers, which is a local dairy farm/ice cream shop that has some pretty good ice cream. Later on I met Demoree’s friend Chelsea and we all went to the Cedar Polka Festival. Highlights of the Polka Festival include Polka dancing (with Demoree and her grandma), playing euchre, learning the difference between German and Polish Brats, and showing Demoree how fast I can chug a beer. I then finished off the evening at Demoree’s place playing some more euchre with her parents.

Breakfast: Pancakes, eggs, bacon
Lunch?: Moomers ice cream
Dinner: Polish Brat and chips
Late night snack: Nacho cheese and chips

The morning was pretty relaxed with Demoree and I just hangout some. Then we went into Traverse City for lunch. While at lunch we decided to take a stroll through the Cherry Festival since I had never been there for it. I guess the two best things that I saw while there was part of the air show and Build-A-Bear (I was completely unaware that this was a common thing). After that I packed up my stuff and headed back to Ann Arbor to resume my regular life.

Breakfast: Toast with peanut butter
Lunch: White cheddar ale chowder and Pub Club sandwich
Dinner: Chips and salsa

Monday, July 09, 2007

Family Heirloom

Well I’m back to work following a couple rather relaxed weeks. While I do plan on posting an update with details about the past few days (since July 4th), I have to first thank my Aunt Grace for something that was really nice of her. When I was up in Pigeon my Aunt Grace and Uncle Joe came over and my Aunt Grace said she had a gift for me. She then showed me an old picture and filled me in on how I was related to them. Now unless I’ve already screwed this up (correct me if I’m wrong), in the picture was my great-grandpa Henry Elbing, brothers and sisters, and his parents. Then she gave me a small box and when I opened it up there was a really nice woman’s wedding ring. It was my great-great-grandma’s wedding ring. My Aunt Grace wanted the ring to stay in the Elbing name so she gave it to me since I was the only boy on our side…Thanks Aunt Grace.

The Ring

Thursday, July 05, 2007

My First YouTube Video

Well I posted my first video on YouTube. It was done in hopes of solving the problem of how to get a video to my advisor, but sadly YouTube compresses the video resulting in too poor of quality for my liking. So I had to seek an alternative solution to the problem (thanks to both Demoree and Sherry for their assistance with that). While the video will look like nothing to everyone that reads my blog I couldn't resist posting it just for the fun of it.

While the YouTube compression did make it look worse, the higher quality video doesn't look all that much different from it. With that being said I also need to thank Ciara since she was the original person that converted the VHS tape to digital format, which required her to watch a lot of video that looked exactly like the 30 secs you just saw.

Happy Birthday to the USA

In typical fashion I'm a little late with it, but to everyone Happy 4th of July!!!

I know that the United States isn't perfect by any means, but quite honestly I don't think she gets the credit is properly due her. Other nations expect/demand that we help them in times of crisis and offer little to no assistance when we are in trouble. However to some extent it adds to my pride in the nation when other countries will show us no respect and still when they are in trouble we are ready to offer help. We're a great nation and I'm proud to be an American.

Sidenote: Foosball is coming to an office near you (if your office is located in the Lay Autolab)

Monday, July 02, 2007

Tigers Game

As promised in my previous post…here are more details from the Tigers game I went to. So basically this outing started with Trudi planning on taking my sister Teresa and Sherry (Sherry and Trudi became friends thanks to blogs and had never met). However Teresa had to work and thus the invitation was extended to me and Demoree…thanks Teresa for working.

Sherry, Trudi, Demoree, and Myself at the baseball game...thanks to the stranger in front of us for taking the picture and Trudi for sending them to me.

So we get to the Comerica Park and go in and start looking for our seats. Trudi had gotten them from her mom (who got them from someone she knows through her job), and her mom said she thought they were good seats. We were walking around the park looking for section 130 and as I looked at what section we were at and the direction we were heading I was thinking these are going to be really close to home plate. Sure enough we get to the section and it is immediately behind home plate. Then we all look at which row we are in…row 15!. To give you an idea of how close that is, we were in the same row as the guy with the radar gun for getting the speed of the pitches. And if that doesn’t give you an idea here is a picture from our seats of Sammy Sosa at bat.

Picture from our seats of Sammy Sosa batting against Kenny Rogers.

The only weird thing about getting such great seats is that you sit with the diehard fans. This is odd only because I’ve always sat next to the casual fans or the people that go just to drink. It was actually kind of neat since if we were talking about some stats or explaining to Sherry the rules of baseball (which are much more difficult to explain then one might think) people around us could immediately provide answers.

Then to top of this awesome experience the Tigers won 5-2 and we got to see a homerun. All and all a pretty good outing…thanks Trudi.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

A Week in Fun

While this past week I actually did manage to get work done, I also was able to have quite a bit of fun. First, this past Tuesday I drove up to Pigeon (actually drove up Monday night) to go golfing with my dad and a couple of his buddies. Even though I got pretty sunburned and didn’t win it was still totally worth the trip.

The match was best ball between my dad's team (my dad and Cooper) versus my team (me and Galen). The back story is that every year my dad’s team golfs against Galen and someone else (whom ever my dad gets) and every year my dad loses. So this year I played with Galen, and I’m really not a good golfer by any means. Dad’s team jumps out to a 3 stroke lead after the first 3 holes. With the exception of a stroke gained here lost there the lead remained through hole 13. On hole 14 my team cut the deficit to only 2 strokes and we were feeling pretty good about our situation. Then on hole 15 we quickly gave back the stroke plus one…we were now down 4 strokes with only 3 holes to go. We figured that that ended any hopes of an awesome last minute comeback to win. But then on holes 16 and 17 we gained a stroke on each one leaving only a 2 stroke lead for my dad’s team. Leaving one hole left with a slight chance to comeback (though, if my memory serves me correctly, they hadn’t given us two strokes on a single hole all day).

Now hole 18 I would love to give a blow by blow recap of it, but frankly I just don’t remember how each shot took place. However what I do know is that my team both hit great shots right up near the green while my dad’s team ended up in trouble along the woods with a ditch between them and the hole. When my dad’s partner hit it into the ditch my dad was forced to make the smart decision and play it safe…Galen and I knew we had a chance because it is so difficult to hang onto a lead while having to play it safe. In the end my dad’s team had to make a putt to tie my team…I would have to say that I’ve never been so excited to tie a game in my life.

Then on Thursday I was able to go to the Tigers game against the Rangers. Thank you to Trudi for inviting me to go and to her mom for being able to get such awesome seats for us. Basically Trudi got tickets to the game and invited Sherry, Demoree, and myself to the game. It was a whole lot of fun and I’m actually going to hold off saying too much because I plan on posting more details of the trip once I have acquired pictures from Trudi…so everyone is guaranteed another update shortly.