Monday, January 22, 2018

2017 Stay-At-Home Bowl: Congrats, Kansas City

It has come time to see if there is a winner of the 2017 Stay-At-Home Bowl, the dubious honor I bestow on any NFL team that has beaten both Super Bowl participants.

The 20th winner of the Stay-At-Home Bowl is the Kansas City Chiefs, who defeated New England and Philadelphia in the first two weeks of the season, perhaps the high point of their season. This is their second win in three years. They join the Chargers (1979, 1980), Cowboys (1980, 1996), Dolphins (1985, 1993) and Seahawks (1986, 2016) as two-time winners. There are no three-time winners, yet.

Last year's winner, Seattle, missed the playoffs, so only 11 of the 19 previous winners made the playoffs the following year. Still better than random!


Friday, December 29, 2017

Geocaching Update: Busy Fall 2017

I last posted about geocaching after my trip to Tennessee, which took place at the end of (astronomical) summer. Now, three months later, we've past the winter solstice, so it's a good time so summarize all the geocaching fun I've had since then.

In that time span, I have found 42 caches in 5 states and one foreign country, so let's see how they add up.

Well, in that time span, I've had my busiest and third-busiest days.
Also, my busiest weekend and week.

I hit three states in a day by taking advantage of the nexus of where Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland meet. West Virginia was State 14 for me, and Washington County, Maryland was County 37. Jefferson County, West Virginia was County 38.

Fauquier County and Alexandria City in Virginia got Counties 39 and 40.

I had my 13th FTF in October.

A trip to Maine (as well as finding a cache in Virginia before leaving) broke my maximum distance in a day record.
Maine was a new state (State 15), and also allowed me to get five counties in a day. This actually broke my record set previously in the Maine trip of four in a day. All in all, I hit eight new counties on the Maine trip (Counties 41-48).



By the way, that puts me in a 6-way tie for 6th of the most counties found in Maine by a cacher from Maryland. (According to their algorithm, I'm still from Maryland because of where I have found most of my caches.)

I found three caches in Hong Kong (Country 11). I am only one of seven cachers in Maryland to find a cache in more than one region of Hong Kong.

A trip to California added four new counties (Counties 49-52). I am now tied for #31 in most counties found in California (8) by a Marylander.

I found caches placed in October 2013 (in Virginia), August 2009 (Virginia), September 2001 (Virginia), December 2003 (Virginia), June 2010 (West Virginia), August 2017 (Maryland), October 2017 (Maryland), August 2003 (Maine), March 2012 (Maine), February 2013 (Maine), December 2014 (Maine), April 2014 (Hong Kong), and December 2017 (Maryland).

Now at 154 placed months, 58 missing months.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Scotland's UEFA Coefficient: Knockout-Round Preview

Good news for Scotland: there's a knockout round to preview this year! Bad news for Scotland: Celtic got there with the minimum number of possible points.

Bad news: they've fallen to 27th! Good news: can't fall more than one more spot!

Group Stage Review

I gave a series of analyses in my group stage preview. Let's see how I did.
  • Romania: "expect them to widen then 1.05 gap with Scotland." It's now 1.925, so yes.
  • Azerbaijan: "They could well be shut out of further points." They were!
  • Scotland: "one could dream of picking up 1.25 more in the group." Dream denied! They picked up 0.5 with a win over Anderlecht. One-goal losses to Anderlecht and Bayern indicate more points were not out of the question.
  • Belarus: "BATE Borisov...only have a 14% chance of advancing, but they should pick up enough points...to keep Belarus close to or ahead of Scotland." They did not, in fact, advance, but picked up a full point.
  • Sweden: "Scotland's lead of 0.15 is more likely than not to hold up." Wrong! Two points, and into the knockout round.
  • Bulgaria: "The 0.25 lead Scotland has over Bulgaria could evaporate quickly." It did!
  • Norway: " I think the 1.2 point gap is safe." It was, but shrunk to 0.7.
  • Kazakhstan: "At 1.5, the gap is probably even safer [than with Norway]." Maybe not safer, but it held up.
I'll note that Serbia has unexpectedly pulled ahead (more on that later), which just goes to show how important it is for a nation to field two teams which can be competitive in Europe, rather than just one.

Round of 32 Preview

I'll hopefully title this as a preview for just the next round, since Scotland could be competing beyond that. In fact, Fivethirtyeight basically gives them a 1-in-3 chance of advancing past Zenit St. Petersburg, while Clubelo gives them a 1-in-4 chance.

Probably the best-case scenario is advancing with 0.5 points for the coefficient (1.0 is possible, but Scottish clubs seem only to advance by the skin of their teeth). The expect scenario is drawing one of the games to get 0.25, and the worst-case is flaming out with 0.0.

Where We Stand

They're 27th now. Blech. Unless a miracle happens, all the Scottish clubs get a first-round entry in 2019.

Any nation can get at most 1 point from this round, so Scotland could theoretically end up tied for 24th or as low at 28th. All of the clubs left representing nations in the 20s are underdogs, but expect the two Serbian clubs to do a little bit better (combined) than Celtic, so I would bet on staying at 27th. But, y'know, if Celtic wins all remaining matches, they end up 18th. (Spoiler: they won't.)

Note that Celtic have already equaled their point total from last year, so if Scotland stays in 27th place, blame other clubs. (They'd be in 25th with an equal contribution from the non-Celtics.)






Friday, December 08, 2017

Country 33: Hong Kong

My slow climb towards membership in the Travelers Century Club continues, as I added Hong Kong this month. If I had planned better, I could have made it to 34, as Macau was an hour away by hydrofoil. Oh, look, Macau is a World Heritage Site. Sigh.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Bowie Restaurant Project: (98) Pho D'Lite

Pho D'Lite,
6840 Race Track Rd,
Most Recent Foursquare Check-in: 9/30/2017
Total Foursquare Check-ins:2
Pre-Foursquare Visits: No
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Welcome to the latest entry in the now-defunct but still-breathing Bowie Restaurant Project.

It's pho. In Bowie. That's novel. There are actually 3 different places to get pho not too far from Bowie, if you're willing to head up north around Route 3. I don't know that I'd say that Pho D'Lite is any better or worse than Saigon Noodle House, Pho Golden (which I actually haven't visited), or V N Noodle House. But it's here! In Bowie!

In general, any restaurant in this space has a high bar to clear to get me to visit rather than Chesapeake Grille. But after a less than ideal last visit there, and the sense that pho is so completely different, I was able to convince myself to head there.

Anyway, if you're in the mood for a big bowl of Vietnamese noodles, you've come to the right place.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Geocaching Tennessee

As noted in my previous post, I went to Tennessee recently. This was an opportunity to find some geocaches and generate some geocaching stats.

My first stop on the day of the trip was a geocache near Dulles airport (and my kids' school) that I had been saving for this occasion. It was easy to find, and it set me up to break my maximum per-day distance record, a task that eluded me last year. As a reminder, this is the old record:

I had the chance to break a few more personal records. I could have driven to Kentucky after landing, to get 3 states in a day, but seeing the World Heritage Site seemed more interesting. I could have found a cache near the hotel after checking in, to get 4 counties in a day, but I was tired, and I figure I will save that record for the next trip.

The Knoxville airport is in a different county from Knoxville itself. Rather than stop right by the airport, I drove to nearby Maryville College. My grandfather spent a year there, and played on their 1932 JV football team. It was a nice place to stop, and there I found a geocache. It was my first September 2016 geocache. That completed 2016 for me, and gave me Month 141 (still at 68 missing months because of the addition of September 2017), State 13, and County 34 (Blount County).

After that, it was off to the Great Smoky Mountains. There was a virtual cache there at the John Ownby Cabin. That is in Sevier County, County 35 for me.

And there's a new maximum distance!



The next day, on my way back from lunch to the conference, I found a cache on campus, giving me Knox County, County 36.