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Life &Sports by Spencer on January 28, 2012

Slow Off the Blocks

One of my resolutions this year is to continue to increase my fitness and I had mentioned that there was an aquatic center near my work that I was looking into. Well, that place didn’t suit my needs but I found a recreation center with a nice 6 lane pool near our house and joined up.

My plan was to build up to a mile (1650 yards straight, not a true mile, but what is considered a swimmer’s mile) and I found a plan that helps get you there in six weeks starting with 700 yards three times a week. I figured that would be easy as I did 3000+ yards in practice in high school. Boy was I wrong. My first workout was a Friday a few weeks back, and I couldn’t even do 300 yard and made myself sick… I had to pull over on the way in to work because of it.

So, I took a step back and have been working up my yards gradually… I was able to do 600 yards this past Friday (4 x 100 then 4 x 50). I am hoping to start the six week trek officially on Monday with the 700 yard workouts.

My start has ended up a little slower than I wanted but I really like the rec center pool and am enjoying swimming as a workout again. Hopefully six weeks from now, I can do the mile and go from there with my swims.

NCAA Tournament &Technology by Spencer on January 14, 2012

March Madness in January?!?

As I do every year, I work to make my NCAA Tournament website a bit better and more streamlined. This year I wanted to focus on providing a bit more functionality for the users, as well as minor updates to design, changing colors as I also do each year. Basically I had three things I wanted to do this year:

  • Change color scheme
  • Make it so players see and can print their bracket upon submitting it
  • Create a new area where a user can look up their bracket(s) prior to the games starting

I get requests nearly every year for people to see their brackets and in the past, I wasn’t able to provide that and really wanted to this year. Players will still need to contact me if they want to make changes to a bracket, but now they have the tools to see what they need to.

While just doing the above was a major undertaking, as I started working, I ended up doing those things as well as a complete reworking of all of the pages and nearly all of the code. Most of these are behind the scenes but here are some new additions that really advance the site into newer techniques.

  • All PHP. In the past, I have used a Perl script generated by my pool software to insert entries into the database staging area. This year, I completely wrote that functionality into my own PHP.
  • Complete CSS. I replaced nearly all inline style declarations and created solid CSS in two files (one for the pages, and one to specifically define the bracket and location of teams and results).
  • 100% Validation. HTML has changed a lot since I was first introduced to it back in 1995. Now pages have important DOCTYPES that follow particular formatting to ensure that all browsers interpret the pages properly. I updated every page to ensure and check for XHTML validation. I can even have the seal of approval on the site to prove validation.

I am very pleased with how the site is turning out and should only have to make very minor changes when the 2012 version of my pool software comes out. I don’t plan on any more changes/enhancements for this year, but am already trying to think of possible changes for next year (perhaps looking into using AJAX instead of iframes to serve up the pages).

I hope you are all planning on joining this year as well. Details will be sent as the time draws near!

Bowling by Spencer on November 12, 2011

Wish All Nights Were Final Nights

Wednesday night was my last night for league this year as we are soon going to move (more posting on that possibly later). I had a very solid night of 224, 212, 217 for a 653 series. It is too bad I can’t build on that as it will probably be a long time before I bowl in a league again. We took 5 out of 7 points as a team so I went out on a high note there as well.

I will miss my team here as well as the league bowlers and wish them all the best going forward.

Bowling by Spencer on October 27, 2011

Strange Night

Last night was a very strange night for our team and for me.

As a team, we were all but one below average and the last was just around average.  Despite that, we won the first game by 80 pins, the second by 3, and lost the last game by 82.  That means we took total by 1 pin… 1 pin difference across 8 bowlers for 3 games; as they say, it just doesn’t get any closer than that.  We took 5 points, and should be in the top 5 going into position round next week I would guess.

Individually, things were even stranger.  I missed a couple of easy spares in the first and second games to wind up with a 170 and 184, respectively.  The last game the wheels came off.  I’m not sure what it was other than maybe being a little tired, but I wasn’t able to get anything to go down and wound up with 3 splits (2 in the first three frames).  I couldn’t ever find a line or speed that would work, and the final score was 138.  That gave me a season low series of 492.  I’d prefer not to see me go below 500 ever again!

As noted, next week is a position round.  I don’t think we’ll be realistically in the hunt to win the quarter, but to finish top 5 would be pretty sweet.

Bowling by Spencer on October 22, 2011

Two Week Recap

Let me start by apologizing for missing my post last week. It was a bit strange since we didn’t have a team against us as they were going to have to make up so I couldn’t report how we did. Personally that week was my worst of the year, with a 537 series. We were on the left side of the house (lanes 1-32) and I could never find a line that worked for me. That being said, we still ended up taking 4 points and found ourselves in 2nd place!

This week we were back on the right side of the house which plays much differently (not really sure why, but both sides always have played quite differently) and our team bowled quite well; all of us were at or above our average throughout, but the other team bowled lights out so we only one the first game, and that only by 5 pins. They killed us in the team score the other two games, so we were lucky to take the one game, but I don’t expect us to be in 2nd next week.

My League Summary

Take care all and have a great week.

Bowling by Spencer on October 6, 2011

Solid Performance

Tonight, once again, we took all 7 points as a team which is always a good feeling.  Additionally, I had a very good night with many firsts of the season for me:

  • First 200 game (games 2 and 3 actually)
  • First 600 series (632 to be exact)
  • First clean game (game 3)

My scores overall were 186, 200, 246.

Now for a little on my goals for this year and the biggest one is actually not score related, but a little more on that in a bit.  Score wise, I have two goals; the first is to have and maintain the elusive 200 average.  My last full season I ended up with a 192 average.  Just one more completed spare each game and I’m right there at 200 so it is achievable.  My second goal, also score related, is to not have any series lower than 550.  A 550 series is still a 183 average so in order to achieve that I have to remain fairly consistent.

That of course leads right into my third goal which isn’t directly score related, but more of a mental goal and mindset: bowl within myself.  I have found that it is fairly easy to do that during practice because there usually isn’t a lot of people around or even when bowling with friends and family as there isn’t any pressure on scoring.  But at league, I see people with much higher velocity and rev rates than myself, and quite frankly, I get a little jealous that I don’t have that tool set.  My ball speed is about average (maybe a touch below) and my rev rate is nothing to shout home about.  So while some others can hook the entire lane and make the pins fly everywhere, I start around center lane and bowl up 2nd arrow.  I still create a reasonable angle into the pocket, but nothing spectacular.  My goal then, for this season, is to just not care about the flash and style.  My game still produces good scores as long as I make my spares, so if I bowl within myself and my abilities instead of trying to ramp it up and impress (not that anyone really cares anyway, the score is all that matters) I believe I will be much happier and will bowl better.

Bowling by Spencer on September 29, 2011

Getting Back in the Swing

Last night was week 3 (2nd week for me) of league and I’m feeling ok.  My scores this week were 168, 190, and 206.  I was hitting my marks most of the night and when I made a decent move left for the third game, things really started to open up for me.

My biggest area of rust are spares.  If you don’t include splits, I’m losing 20 pins (give or take) due to missed spares.  I’m sure that will get better as the season goes along, or at least I hope so.

Unlike previous years, where I’ve tracked our entire team include scores and recaps; this year I’m only going to track my personal scores and information.  The other bits were taking a bit of time best use elsewhere and the rest of the team didn’t mind my not keeping track.  I have updated the web site for the details of my site and that is located here.

Take care, and potentially soon I’ll start blogging about more than just the bowling but I’ll keep it simple for now.

Bowling by Spencer on September 26, 2011

Back to League Bowling

Wow! It’s been a long time since I’ve posted and there are many contributing factors to that. Not least of which was one of the primary reasons I’ve taken the last year off of bowling, and that was the birth of our second child.

While the year off was great daddy time, it was nice to get back to league this past week. I missed the first week of the season (I tend to do that) because we were on vacation, but upon my return, I was actually able to re-join my old team so it was almost like I hadn’t left.

My scores were also like I hadn’t left… 193, 192, 189 and almost all of the games had a similar flow and all only one or two open frames preventing the 200 each time. I will work on getting the web page back up with details; hopefully for the next week.

Hope all is well for my one or two fans that may still check out the blog… here’s to the surprise to see something new.

Bowling by Spencer on December 10, 2009

Bittersweet

Last night was bittersweet.  As a team, we took all 7 points, something that hasn’t happened much (coming into the week we were 39th of 40 teams for this quarter).  Individually, I had my worst night of this league.  I only shot a 503 series.

The bowling center I bowl out has two banks of 32 lanes.  Most of the time, we’re on the left (lanes 1-32) and that side plays much differently than the right side (33-64).  The amount of oil seems to be different and the change in the lanes differs as well.  I’m used to bowling on the left side the majority of the time that bowling on the right is like going to a completely different center.  This week and next we’re on the right side.  I will try a different ball to start with next week hoping that gives me a better reaction.

Bowling &Life by Spencer on December 3, 2009

Solid Night

Greetings all,

First, let me apologize for my lack in posting this season.  There really isn’t any excuse other than my time was being used in other ways (more on that a bit later).  I hope to be back to regular posting for the rest of this season.

Last night was finally a consistent, solid night.  Earlier in the year, I had  a 299 and finished with a 716 series for my best overall series.  Since then, however, I had been seeing more red than green and my average had trailed from a 198 to a 194.  Still so far my best average in a league, but short of my 200 goal I have for this season.

Last night, I shot a 201, 235, 203 for a 639 series and my first night where all games were above 200.  That was a pleasant feeling.  Of course, I needed to strike out the last 5 shots on the 3rd game to keep that alive, but was able to pull it off.  If you want to take a look at my stats for this league, you can click here.

Now for one of the reasons for the lack of posting.  A couple of years ago, I wrote a program to keep track of all of my leagues and scores and those of my teammates as well.  It worked well for the most part and I was happy with it since it was my first time trying to develop an entire application.  While it did work, there were areas for improvement and I decided if I was going to work on it again, I should try to get it to a point where I can make it available to people.  So I spent my free hours on weekend evenings redesigning and coding from scratch bowlingSTATS, along with all the help files and registration information needed to make it public.  It is available freely to download, and is fully functional for entering up to 8 weeks worth of scores; after that, registration is required.  Please check it out and let me know what you think.  Any feedback is welcome.

I know this is getting to be a lengthy post, but if you’re still with me I’ll give a quick resolution update:

  • Bowling Blog – D, this is only the second week of 13 where I’ve posted any notes at all.  My apologies.
  • Devotional – B, I’m reading most of the passages most days, but do tend to rush through instead of taking the necessary time to reflect.  This has still been my best year for doing a devotional, but better habits are still needed.
  • Weight Loss – A+, I’m currently settled in around 185 and am very happy.  I have exceeded my goal of 190 for the year.  I don’t have any immediate goals right now, but for next year may want to add some weight training to build overall strength.

Have a great day and I hope everyone had as wonderful a Thanksgiving as I did.  Take care!

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