Friday, January 31, 2014

The Numbers Game

You know what is fun?  Statistics, numbers, spreadsheets, and charts.  That's what is exciting!  So last year when I discovered an app to quickly track and create a database of numbers and charts of my son's basketball games I excited to give it a try.  

I've been using Basketball Stat Tracker by Hachisoft.  They make this app for Android and iOS.  Here a link to their site.  

Before the game I set up the team along with player names and numbers.  During the game I highlight the player with the ball and when he takes a shot I touch that spot on the map of the court.  If he makes the shot, I touch and drag my finger toward the goal to indicate he made it.  I can also track rebounds, fouls, steals, turnovers, play time, and pretty much any other stat you would want to know in basketball.  You can track as much or as little as you would like to make it easier on yourself. 

During the game I can quickly see what % of our shots we've been making for free throws, 2 point, and 3 point shots.   If we get to half time in a game and we are losing because we've been making too many 3 point attempts, it's easy to show the coach or players on the screen where they are missing it.   

I can also track the same information for the opponents.  Now, this gets busy in a fast paced game so I don't usually track individual players for our opponents but I do track where that team is making or missing shots from.  At a quick glance we can see where they are scoring from and where we need to guard. 

At the end of the game I can email out a spreadsheet of the entire game.  I copied and pasted that info into a spreadsheet and customized it a bit by adding the graph and eliminating categories I didn't use but here is a sample of the information you can get:

I also wanted to point out that the guys at Hachisoft are super friendly.  Since I started using this app I have emailed suggestions, comments, and questions and they always reply quickly.  They genuinely are working to improve every aspect of this already great software.

Trust me, these basketball games are plenty exciting on their own merit.  But when I was able to add in the ability to create a spreadsheet during the game . . . you can't measure that kind of excitement. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

YouTube of the Week

Actually it should read:  YouTube Vimeo of the Week.

This is the best surfing video that I have ever seen - not that I have really explored the world of surfing videos - but this is pretty awesome.

Pipeline Winter 2013 from Eric Sterman on Vimeo.

Monday, January 27, 2014

A Piece of History

It's no secret that the textile mills of the Southeast are going away.  In Liberty the last mill closed completely a few years ago.  Since then, there were a few people that tried to get the funding to keep it going but never made it a reality.

The new owner of the building decided to sell the materials inside and take the building down.  I'm pretty certain they sell the bricks, wood, and other materials that the building was constructed of.  The large mill in town was built in 1902 (listed on tax records of the property).  

From the outside it's not exactly obvious the amount of work that has been completed.  They have already gutted most of the building and the front wall is most of what is left.   If you look through the windows you can see the sky where a roof should be.

By this summer when you drive into Liberty there will no longer be a large brick mill to greet you.   As you drive through the area, the neat rows of small mill houses will be the clue that something larger once dominated the area.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Lost Washer?

I found this note posted in the church hallway last Sunday.

It seems odd that you would take the time to make a note and post this for such an insignificant item.  I thought it was done as a joke but as I have talked with some people over the past week about this not everyone saw it the same way.  Some people thought this was considerate of the youth to do.  Perhaps a maintenance person had emptied his pockets into the money box and accidentally placed this vital washer in there.

Maybe so but seriously?  I could go to the store and pick up a pocket full of washers for a dollar.

So what do you think?  Was this done sarcastically?  

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


I found another game that has you lying and stealing from your friends to win.

I wonder if we are teaching our kids valuable lessons here.   No matter.  This is a fun game.
Up to six people can play and it only takes 10 minutes to play a game so it's great when you don't have several hours to play a long game.  Often we will play 3 or 4 rounds at a time.

The game is a deck of fifteen cards.  There are three each of five different character cards.  Each character gives you an ability.   Each player is given two of these cards to place in front of them.  The player looks at the cards they were dealt, but on their turn can take the action of any of the five characters.  It doesn't matter if you have the correct card or not.   What matters is if the other players suspect you and call you out on a possible lie.

Some characters allow you to block the powers of other characters.  This turns into a situation of a possible double bluff.   For example:  On Cari's turn she says she is going to assassinate one of my cards.  First I need to decide if I believe she actually holds the assassin card.  Then I can decide if I want to declare to have the card that blocks her assassination.  If I do, she needs to decide if she believes me.

If you challenge someone on their role and you are wrong then you lose a card.  If you you were right about them lying then that player loses a card.   You also can collect coins on your turn and with the right amount of money you can eliminate someone's card.   The last player with a face down card wins.

This is a great game for short bursts of time and has you stare down your friends as you try to determine when they are trying to fool you.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Just a Cat Pic

Things have been pretty busy recently and I haven't taken as much time to write.  So while I catch up on some writing today you can enjoy this photo of a cat relaxing in the sunshine on a cold day.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Bridge Closures!

There has been a lot of recent headlines surrounding a bridge closure and the resulting traffic problems that it created.  Over the past weekend I encountered a bridge closure as well. One that resulted in it's own set of traffic issues.
This bridge leads to the only grocery store in town.  I went over and walked the bridge and saw no visible damage or reason why it should be closed.  Nothing but a bunch of orange cones blocking my way courtesy of the City of Liberty.  

Have they been influenced by the likes of Chris Christie?  I can't say for sure.   But at the next city council meeting I'm going to have my say.  I may even include some strong language to be sure they know I'm serious.  You can't go around just closing bridges when you every you feel like it. 

Part of the speech I have planned goes something like this. . .

"Damn! Bridge. Cones. Grocery. Sixteen. Hell. Food. Oklahoma!"

I think every town needs a crazy man that speaks to city council in just random words and I'm willing to be that guy.  Especially if it results in un-blocking the bridge to the grocery store!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


The youngest daughter drinks very few soft drinks.  The times that she has an option to get a carbonated drink Coke is not one of her choices.  There is no need to pump a kid full of sugar and caffeine in the same drink.

I'm not going to say that she has never had a Coke, but I feel that we could count the times on one hand (not counting the sips she steals from her mom's drink).

So when we challenged her to get through a full week of school without taking a warning (mostly for talking) the reward became a Coke.

Many weeks she would go to school Friday morning declaring that she would have her Coke after school but then come home with the look that says, "no Coke today".

So you can imagine how quickly she jumped off of the bus last Friday after taking no warnings for the week!

As she drank the last of the bottle she told us we should buy some more for next week.   That's when we broke the news to her that we just expected this good behavior to continue and she would not be getting any more Coke's.

I'm not sure that's going to get us very far with this kid.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Pinterest Strikes (again)!

A very common statement in my house is, "I want to try this thing I saw on Pinterest".  

I've gotten to the point where very little surprises me anymore.  I just expect that we will be sawing glass bottles in half, painting with grout, cutting bookcases into the wall, or even this....
...putting wallpaper on the ceiling.  Most people don't want to be bothered trying to get the stuff on the wall but Pinterest challenges you to put it over your head.  Now, I admit that I don't always have an appreciation for the projects that come from Pinterest but this wallpaper on the ceiling is looking really cool.

She finished putting all the paper up and even added some elements of it to the walls.  Next will be painting it and adding some finishing touches like moulding.

Okay Pinterest, she completed that challenge.  What else have you got?

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Photos from My Phone

Here's some photos that have shown up on my phone recently:

1.  Sharknado.   Why is it that it only rains and pours on Saturdays?
2. Basketball.  I suggested at one point that both teams should just put every kid on the court and play this as 15 on 15.  How could that go wrong?
3. Mellow Mushroom pizza in Clemson.  Cari and I went for the first time this week.  The restaurant is in an old house and I thought it was really cool how the cut the floors from the upstairs rooms so that you could see into them.   

4. Boardgames.   This was an exciting Friday night as we hit the end of the game. 
5. I used this photo at Christmas time for a project I made for Cari.  From our wedding day.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

The Resistance

Winter seems to be boardgame season around here and we've had no lack of playing over the past two weeks.  

This morning I want to share a game with you that works great when you have six or more people that want to play.  

The Resistance.  

It's a quick game that keeps everyone involved the entire time so you aren't sitting around waiting for a turn.  We've had our kids play this and they now frequently request to play it when we have a group together.

Each player is dealt a character card.  You are either on the blue team or the red team (spies).  Depending on how many players the number of spies will be adjusted.  We played with 8 and there were three spies.

Your character card is secret - only you know which team you are on at first.   Once the cards are dealt everyone at the table closes their eyes, and then the spies open their eyes to know who each other are, then all eyes are closed again.  Finally, all eyes open and ready to play.

The game plays in five rounds - missions.   With one person starting as a leader, the leader will choose who goes on a mission.  Everyone at the table gets to vote on that team.  Once the majority approve a team (the number of players on the mission changes each round from 3-5) each member of the team will play a mission card.

Each person on the team can play a success or a fail card.  The blue team can only choose success (that's how they get the point) but the Spy can play a fail card to earn a point for the spies.  These cards are submitted face down and shuffled to help conceal who played what card.   It usually only takes one fail card to fail the mission and give a point to the spies which immediately puts all players on that mission as suspect.

Of the five missions, whichever team scores three victories for their side will win the game.  

This game has a lot of fun discussion throughout the game.  Can you convince your friends that it was someone else that played the fail card?  If you are on the blue team can you pick out which of your friends are spies?

You spend a lot of time defending your decisions about other players, accusing others of being a spy, and a lot of time telling everyone you aren't a spy.

The game is so much fun for all ages and doesn't cost that much to pick up.  If you don't buy it you are probably a spy.   Or is that something a spy would say?

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

YouTube of the Week . . . huh?

I was looking for a YouTube of the week worthy video to show you and then I came across this.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

I am in Love

I have been in love for a long time.  I just wanted to say it again.

Friday, January 03, 2014

The Ultimate Trophy!

A little more than a year ago we added an element to our family game night that has turned out to be a successful addition.   The trophy!

This was a little statue that Nintendo sent me a while back and was sitting in a closet.  Now it is the trophy that everyone covets as we sit down for some board games.  Tucked into the trophy is a small paper that lists the date, game played, and the winner of the trophy.

It has been good to look back at the paper over time and see what games we have played and who wins the most (not me).  At the end of each game the winner gets their picture taken with the trophy and they can run off to stash it in their room until the next game is announced. 

I typed the list into a spreadsheet this past week and I noticed a few games showed up more often than others and some games have never shown up.   A new rule has been put in place that requires two new games to be played before repeating a game.   We have no shortage of games around here so this rule should get more of them to the table this year.  

Hopefully I'll be getting my picture taken at the next family game night.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

The End of 2013

We ended 2013 on the trail.  Our last family hike of 2013 was a trip to Whitewater falls (lower).   It was a little cold and we fought a some resistance in the morning from kids that would rather watch TV but we eventually were all loaded into the van and headed to Bad Creek.
It is hunting season right now so I wore my hat that says "please don't shoot me".

 Crossing the Horse Pasture river.

 Don't lose your way to the falls.  Follow the blue blazes!

 The trail markers seemed to be confused on how long this trail is.  At each intersection along the trail the mileage to the falls increased.

After somewhere between 1.7 and 2 miles of hiking we reached the viewing platform and stopped for a snack.

This was also a chance to take our last family photo of 2013.
Along the hike out we discussed if there was any better way to spend the last day of 2013.  The answers included being at Disney, playing Nintendo, camping, a board game marathon, and eating in restaurants. Although this hike didn't match anyone's ideal New Year's Eve we all still had a great time on the trail.

Now to get started on 2014.