Reflecting

December 9th, 2010

DS106 was an interesting class for me. It was a class I took this year which, honestly, I didn’t think would have that much work. I thought it would be easy, kind of boring, and I would get an A. But after the first week I recognized it was awesome, it wasn’t boring, and I could (and possibly did) actually end up with a bad grade because of my lack of posting and commenting. While I regret being lazy (well, not ENTIRELY due to laziness, but just not having more time because of other classes), I don’t regret taking the class. I enjoyed my project (especially my final blog post) and enjoyed most of the assignments I was required to do. It was probably the best class I have taken since my high school film studies class in which we made a feature length movie (and I got to incorporate some of the skills I learned in that class in this one). It was easily one of the most interesting, innovative, and informative classes I have taken at UMW.

As far as criticism of the class goes, I have a couple. While we were actually in class, I honestly felt like I took very little away from most of the discussions. This isn’t because I wasn’t interested in the topics; this class actually touched on subjects I am genuinely interested in many times and usually multiple times in a class. More of my problem was that most classes were a lecture, and that at certain times people would almost engage in discussion with you as class was going on. I had no real problem with this in class (I would just do something stupid like play Hanger on www.addictinggames.com) , but it did take away my interest and got me going on to things that really had nothing to do with class. I believe in such thing as a follow up question in class, but if it turns into a one on one discussion it’s a little bit excessive. I would also have liked to have had more group projects. The fun thing about working with the same group all the times we had to do something (which I think was four) is that we would all know our roles and what we would have to do. This really helped us during the making of our projects and these were the most fun times I had in class. They were also the times when I learned the most about what I could do with the materials at my disposal, which I think was the entire point of the class (or maybe a side point).

All in all, I really enjoyed the class. I enjoyed my classmates, the content, and the professor. Keep teaching it.

And the dumbest video yet:

Foosketball: There are no guarantees

December 3rd, 2010

“A sport created by and for the Gods, combining football, basketball, and ultimate frisbee. Like in ultimate frisbee, a player cannot move with the ball. However, instead of a frisbee, foosketball is played with a football and instead of crossing an endline, a team must shoot the football into a basketball hoop in order to score a point.

It must be noted that in foosketball there are no guarantees. This refers to the difficulty of the game, most notably that even the easiest of shots can rim out due to the sport’s epic and intense nature.”

www.UrbanDictionary.com definition

knette

An awesome foosketball dunk, illustrating the extremeness of the game.

For my final blog post, I would like to introduce you to a sport nobody knows anything about except for about 50 people in my hometown. The game of foosketball was made up by a couple of my friends on a basketball court that is too small with an undersized football.The dedicated group of us that play regularly all have jerseys, and we all try and play around two times a week (at least) when there are enough people at home. It might be weird, it might not be a “real sport”, but for us its pretty f***king awesome.

Foosketball, An Introduction

Foosketball is a mix of football, ultimate frisbee, and basketball. It’s the best made up on the spot game I’ve ever played. It takes the court from basketball (although the court is smaller and the baskets are lower), the idea of not being able to move with the ball and for the ball never to touch the ground from ultimate, and it is played with a football. The motto of foosketball is “No Guarantees.” This motto is relevant because the shape of a football makes it difficult to score with. If you hit it off the wrong spot on the backboard, it could fly away. If you take a shot and it hits the rim wrong, it tends to just bounce right back out. You can see in the video (below) that even sometimes the easiest shots will continually rim out and cause frustration. There is also no guarantee that stupid plays won’t work either; some of the best plays in the video could not be done without the help of a football.

Rules of the Game

This is going to be a complete list, so if you don’t care about playing ever I guess you COULD skip it, but you’d be kind of lame. If you want a brief summary, it’s basically basketball rules but you can’t move with the ball and all games start with a full court shot.

Setting up the Game

court

The Arena, the standard for all foosketball courts

The court at The Arena is significantly smaller than a regular basketball court. As you can see from the picture above, the court at The Arena is much smaller than the average basketball court. The hoops are also lower than a regular basketball hoop at 9 feet. Also, a smaller sized football is used, something like this one. The ball is smaller so that it is easier to handle and does not have to be thrown long distance how a regular football is thrown. Of course, the court and ball rules can be modified at your choosing, but if you’re looking for the most extreme game these variables should all be used. Once you have your court and your ball, you need people. Games of 3v3 and 4v4 are ideal. If your court is larger, 5v5 might be a possibility. 2v2 works (kind of), but it is tough to make any extreme plays

Scoring

Foosketball games can be played with a time limit or until a team reaches a certain point total. All shots on the foosketball court during regulation are worth ONE point. However, all foosketball games are started with a throw-off, a full-court shot taken from behind the endline. This shot is worth TWO points, and can only be taken at the start of the game. Only one throw off has been made in a regulation foosketball game (by yours truly), but if scored is debilitating to the other team.

Infractions

As is said above, the rules of ultimate apply. If the ball touches the ground, the other team takes possession. If the ball touches the ground inside of a team’s own half, the other team that is receiving the ball must bring it back into it’s own end. This is to prevent the ball rolling down to one teams end and the other team picking it up and scoring cheaply. Keeping with ultimate frisbee rules, players may not take more than one step while in possession. Also, the ball cannot be knocked out of the players hands while they are in possession. If it happens, the other team just gets the ball back. If done repeatedly, it can be deemed a foul.

There are two types of fouls in foosketball, flagrant fouls and accidental fouls. Flagrant fouls are intentional fouls that prevent a team from scoring an obvious basket. These fouls are punished by a 30 second sending off of the player. These 30 seconds must come during the run of play, and if the shorthanded team gets the ball they cannot intentionally waste the time on the clock. Non flagrant fouls just result in the ball being returned to the top of the key. However, repeated non flagrant fouls can result in eventually getting a flagrant foul, so they are not encouraged even with their relatively low punishment.

The Game


Well, now that I’ve told you about it, I guess it’s time to watch it. Thanks for reading, it’s pretty lengthy.

And, as always, a stupid YouTube video at the end. (Craigy? Craig-O!):

My Obsession: The Wire

November 23rd, 2010

For those of you who have never heard of The Wire, shame on you. Considered by many critics (and me, if it matters) to be the best TV show ever, I’ve never seen a show that payed as much attention to detail and was so completely written. It centers on the lives of different groups of people living in Baltimore, but mostly centers on the drug trade within the city. With that said, it certainly isn’t your regular run of the mill cop show; many of the characters have nothing to do with either side, they just get caught up in everything.

Whenever I watch The Wire or show it to someone new, I always get hooked again. I think I’ve watched the show in its entirety 4 times. All five seasons are fantastic, and my friend Ted and I can quote it back and forth at each other for hours. And the quotes are the best from any TV show… ever. While I might not be OBSESSED with it (I never really get obsessed with things other than sports or FIFA), it definitely has taken up enough of my life for me to feel comfortable doing an homage to it. Here are some examples of fan fiction I’ve found:

D'Angelo teaching Bodie and Wallace chess

Bunk and McNulty drinking

and also a fan story: http://community.livejournal.com/thewireficart/525.html#cutid1

The king stay the king.

Endurance Racing, this is a sport?

November 22nd, 2010

So, before I started to finish off my blog posts for this class, I thought I’d do at least one post on a type of racing not familiar to most people in America. First off, to all those who may disagree that racing is a sport, I have one quote:

Auto racing, bull fight, and mountain climbing are the only real sports… All others are games.

-Ernest Hemingway

While NASCAR might be boring (and it is, turning left for 500 laps is never cool) the drivers are still as in shape as athletes in other sports, if not more so. It takes a lot of strength and stamina to operate a high performance vehicle at a high level for long periods of time, usually in small, uncomfortable cockpits with a steaming hot firesuit on. Any professional racer deserves to be placed on the same level as athletes from other sports. That said, as with other sports, some types of racing are just way cooler than the rest. I can watch rally cars or Formula 1 on TV all day. Top Gear is one of my five favorite TV shows. And when I really started accepting racing as something fun to watch, I ran into what I thought was the most intriguing kind: endurance racing.

While I’m not saying endurance racing is fun to WATCH at all, the concept of it blows most other types of racing out of the water. Endurance racing is usually done in one of two ways: drivers either try to cover as much distance in a set amount of time or take the least time to cover a set distance (like a normal race, but usually with much longer distances).  This type of racing is meant to test the durability of the car as much as it is to test the skill of a driver. If you enter a 24 hour race, not only do(es) your driver(s) have to be efficient and quick, your car has to be durable enough to last the entire 24 hours. This throws in extra variables to almost everything. For instance, if you want a bigger gas tank to last more laps, you sacrifice speed to do that. If you want softer tires for better performance, you have to make sure that performance will make up for the extra time you’re spending in the pits changing tires.

This form of racing is most popular in Europe, especially in England, France, and Germany. Part of the reason it has taken off is due to the fact that regular cars are used as much as custom built ones, meaning car companies can use the events to market vehicles that people can actually buy. Also, many amateurs enter their own cars into these races. In one episode of Top Gear, the three hosts (and their Formula 1 driver, The Stig) enter an endurance race with a regular, street legal diesel fueled BMW. While these amateur events are popular, the most popular race is the 24 Hours of Le Mans. This track is just outside of the town of Le Mans, France, and takes place on the Circuit de la Sarthe. The race is mostly on public roads, meaning that the wear and tear put on cars is only heightened.

Circuit de la Sarthe, the 24 Hours of Le Mans track

Also, since the track contains so many long straights, the cars usually operate at max speed and then have to drastically slow down, killing brakes and suspension. On top of the physical problems of the race, it’s also a FULL 24 hours long. Meaning the car, drivers, and pit crews are working for 24 hours straight. The strategy and planning that goes into these races is immense, and when I first found out it existed (about six or seven years ago) I was dumbfounded by it. The endurance races in video games are hard enough, I used to do endurance races on Gran Turismo 3 with my friends and it was super difficult. I can’t even imagine how it is in real life, but if I ever get any good at driving and get some money I would at least like to try and enter an endurance race sometime, and I feel like it’s worth knowing about.

Picture Captions

November 16th, 2010

I AINT GOT YOUR MONEY

sucky sucky five dolla

ITS MY DAUGHTERS HELMET

gotta catch em all!

why didn't you tell me you had a husband!

Don't just fill up on gas!

WAYNE'S WORLD, WAYNE'S WORLD

Window shopping!

rawr

Hey Maverick, lets go play volleyball

By Wesley Frank, Kevin Hernandez (blog.caughtinthehustle.info), and Kyle Nero (blog.kylenero.com)

Images from (http://9eyes.tumblr.com/)

Assignment 10: Falls Church Screencast

November 16th, 2010

Screencast of my hometown, Falls Church VA.

Mashup – The best basketball players ever

November 11th, 2010

When you find talents like these two guys, you have to make a movie.

Hockey’s New All Star Idea Kills It

November 10th, 2010


While this doesn’t really have anything to do with my project or our class, I figured that I could at least make it relate to my project. Also, the NHL (and specifically Brendan Shanahan, a great former hockey player and NHL Vice-President who’s brainchild this is) totally TJ Lavin’d this thing, and it deserves to be talked about.

News recently came out that the NHL would be switching its All-Star game format. The new format  would switch if from an Eastern Conference vs. Western Conference matchup to a playground style two captains pick format. The All-stars playing would still be determined by fan votes, but the two players with the most votes would become captains and pick the teams.

This is probably one of the best ideas any sports league has had in the last decade. Nobody cares about All-Star games. The players don’t, the fans don’t, and the teams would rather not have their star players play a meaningless exhibition game where their star player could get hurt. This new format gives us an excuse to watch and, hopefully, fires up the players to play harder. I’m not a hockey fan by any stretch of the imagination. I enjoy watching hockey, I like the  Caps, I like certain players but I understand very little about the game itself. I also have too much respect for real hockey fans to call myself one. They’re hard to find outside of hockey games, but following hockey is like being part of a cult, and it’s a very exclusive group.

Anyways, back the the main point. I’m not a hockey fan, but I would totally watch Team Ovechkin vs. Team Crosby in the All-Star game, and I’ve never even seen an NHL All-Star Game. Wouldn’t this idea make Ovie and Crosby play harder? Wouldn’t Ovie try and prove he was better by taking it to Crosby in the All-Star Game? What if Ovechkin got the first pick and took Crosby’s right hand man Malkin? Would Crosby counter and make sure he picked Backstrom so Ovechkin didn’t have his center? What if the Sedin twins (for those of you who don’t know, they are identical twin brothers who haven’t ever played against each other and both play for the Canucks, and Henrik Sedin is the reigning NHL MVP) had to play against each other? And think of all the individual battles. What happens if hockey star A finds out he was picked lower than hockey star B? Does hockey star A try and one-up hockey star B throughout the game? I don’t know if this is a good idea from an NHL perspective, but I do know that I WILL be watching their All-Star Game this year, and I still won’t be watching anyone else’s.

To end a hockey blog post, there really is only one proper way to do it. Goalie Fights.

Image: http://www.cleveland.com/olympics/index.ssf/2010/02/superpower_pucks_canada_russia.html

Jai Alai – The Fastest Game on Earth

November 6th, 2010


Jai Alai, pronounced something like “Hai Elai”, is a centuries old Spanish ball game that originated in Basque Country. The origin of the game is unclear. Theories include that it is descended from ancient ball games that the Greeks and Romans used to play, or that the conquistadors brought it back from countries like Colombia which had similar games before the Spanish takeover. More likely though is that it just descended from the same line of games tennis comes from, a game called jeu de paume (or ‘game of the palm’) that originated in France around the 12th century. The game eventually had a racket added to it, called a xistera in basque country, or a cesta in the United States. This enabled the players to hurl the ball, or pelota, at tremendous speeds around the court, also called a cancha, the fastest recorded speed being 188 mph.

A xistera, or in America the cesta, the racquet used to play the game.

Jai Alai courts are usually around 180 feet long in the and are marked with 14 lines. The lines have 0 significance to the rules (although they are helpful in judging the flight of the ball and where you are on the court) other than the 4 and 7 lines, which is where the ball HAS to bounce after it hits the first wall on a serve. The game has three walls, a side wall, front wall, and back wall. You always serve to the front wall behind the 11 line and you have to throw all subsequent balls at the front wall. The ball CAN hit the back wall, but it has to be off of a bounce, of if you can somehow hurl the ball so it bounces 180 feet back in the air off of front wall. There is also a 15 foot wide ‘foul area’ that runs adjacent to the court. If the ball bounces here, the point is dead. You can score a point in five ways: if a player…

  • fails to serve the ball directly to the front wall so that upon rebound it will bounce between lines 4 and 7
  • fails to catch the ball on the fly or after one bounce
  • holds or juggles the ball
  • hurls the ball out of bounds
  • interferes with a player attempting to catch and hurl the ball

So basically, if you catch the ball, you have to throw it immediately at the front wall so that it bounces off of it and lands in play. Here is the coolest video I’ve found of the game (it starts a little weird, fast forward to around the 1:27 mark where some of the best players in the world come in):

And, if you needed a reason to be interested in playing this game ever, the Most Interesting Man in the World plays it:

There are other tidbits I left out about the rules, but those are boring and not fun to read about. What makes Jai Alai awesome come from other things, first of which being the chance of death. To even play a Jai Alai match, you’re putting your life on the line. The rubber/goatskin ball travels extremely fast, and players frequently get hurt, and once in a while someone even dies. You have to be extreme to play this sport well, one mistake could cost you dearly and end your career, or your life. Also, you HAVE to wear the cesta on your right hand, so lefties are pretty much excluded. Always a plus. But what makes Jai Alai so popular in America (it’s huge in Florida) and other places is gambling. You can bet on pretty much everything. Players can even bet on themselves. Sports are much better when gambling is involved (March Madness, Fantasy Football, everything) and Jai Alai is just about the most gambled on sport in the world. For me, that makes it so much more worth knowing about, and maybe even trying someday.

Image credits:

“jai alai” pitchtotherhino.com

“xistera” ligue-pelote-basque.com

Kyle Nero’s Halloween

November 2nd, 2010

By Kyle Nero, Kevin Hernandez, and Wesley Frank