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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.

Life by Spencer on January 1, 2010

New Year’s Resolutions – Looking Back and Forward

Greetings and Happy New Year to all!  First, as I’m writing this, Purdue has just knocked off West Virginia in Men’s basketball and that was very enjoyable to watch.

This is really the first year where I (mostly) kept up with and tracked my previous resolutions.  Here are my final thoughts about 2009’s resolutions:

  • Daily Devotional – This had its ups and downs throughout the year and ended more down than up so I can only give myself a ‘C’ for this (as you can tell, I am MUCH more honest about my grading myself than Obama is).
  • Weight Loss – My goal for the year was 190, and I ended up the year at 182.  This gets the ‘A’.
  • Regular Blogging – I took the summer off from bowling and blogging and had a rough time getting back into it in the fall.  I’ll give myself the ‘B+’. 🙂

This year, while I will work to maintain my weight, I don’t have any specific loss goals or resolutions.  As far as blogging, I’m taking the same approach.  I’ll try to post fairly regularly, but don’t really have any targets or goals.  This year, I have one resolution; something I’ve never tried before and there isn’t any grading except for pass/fail… read the Holy Bible in a year.  I’ve found a schedule that has me read it through in book order which I felt was important for my first attempt.  Today I will start with the first 3 chapters of Genesis.  I have always tended toward the New International Version of the Bible and plan to use that for my first go through.

To keep myself held accountable, I will continue to give updates through this blog of my status and any setbacks I may encounter.

I hope you all have a safe and wonderful 2010.  Our country especially has a lot of trials coming up with our government set on taking away our freedoms and liberties right in front of our eyes.  I have hesitated on turning this into a primarily political blog, but expect more political commentary and insight as it suits the times.

Life by Spencer on December 19, 2009

Recordable CD Woes

We are about to embark on a long trip across the mountains for Christmas.  For the last few months (on and off, but more off lately) I’ve worked to create MP3 and WMA versions of all of our music on our CD’s.  The purpose for the two formats is fairly simple; MP3 is a bit more accurate and WMA is smaller so more can fit on a data CD.

I had run some tests a while back of burning WMA discs to use in our mini-van and they worked well.  Now that we are about to go on a trip and I have completed ripping all of our CD’s I wanted to burn the WMA files to discs to take on the trip.  Great idea but one issue: the brand of CD-R I bought don’t match those I tested with…

I have long heard that different media can have trouble in different players, but I really thought we would be past those days.  Apparently not.  I don’t know if I’ll be able to for this trip or not, but in order to try again, I’ll have to buy a different brand (preferably those that tested well before).  I’ve gone through 5 discs burning different ways to get a playable one without success.  I’ve been using the same burner so I know that isn’t the issue.

If I do go buy another set, I’ll let you all know how that plays out.

UPDATE:  Now we’re trying plan ‘B’… using our MP3 players instead.  This had some drawbacks as over time and moves I had lost the AC charger for my MP3 player and we can’t find the USB cable to charge/transfer on Kylah’s iPod.  We also didn’t have just a straight through stereo cable to plug into the AUX jack in the van.  Luckily, Fry’s Electronics is the best store ever!  I was able to get a new charger/transfer cable for the iPod, a universal AC adapter with the proper connection for my MP3 player and the straight through cable.

I’m currently charging my MP3 player and have downloaded our entire music collection to it.  After the charge is complete, I’ll test it out in the car and hopefully we’ll be good to go.

Bowling by Spencer on December 10, 2009


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!

Bowling by Spencer on September 10, 2009

A Bit Rusty

So, my first night back had it’s ups and downs.  I started out very timid and didn’t trust my approach and shot a 148.  The second game, I recovered fairly well and ended up with a 224.  I finished out the night with a decent 188 for a 560 series and a 186 average (which is where I officially ended last season).

Overall, not too bad coming out of the gate.  We did however, lose all 7 points and I can only suspect some serious sandbagging the first week.  If it were one team member, that’s understandable.  Even two… but when all four bowlers carry averages in the 180-190 range (for years) and have a first week average in the 130-140 range so that their handicaps are through the roof, I get suspicious.  I took the whole summer off and still kept my average.  50 pin differences from the first week to the second are not statistically normal… not when it is everyone on the team.  I try to be positive and look at the best in people because I don’t want to believe that people would really do that, but in this case the numbers don’t add up.  Teams don’t get 3000+ pins with handicap for a night; it just doesn’t happen without some manipulation.

This has been a long standing league and I believe that the first 7 weeks should use the ending average from the previous season if you bowled in that league; or your USBC book average if you didn’t.  Only if you have never bowled in league should your first 3 games establish your average.  It’s infuriating.  That would nearly eliminate the possibility of purposeful sandbagging at the beginning.

While I am fairly pleased with my performance, maybe it would have served me better to bowl 150 all three games to establish low.   Of course, under no circumstances could I even bring myself not to try my best; it’s just something that doesn’t enter my mind as a possibility.

Bowling &Life by Spencer on September 9, 2009

Bowling Starts Tonight

Greetings to all of my fine friends,

After a summer hiatus, bowling starts for me again tonight.  The season technically started last week but I was on vacation so I missed it.  My goal for this league is a lofty 200 average.  This will be tough especially considering that I only bowled twice all summer (had planned to continue to bowl practice regularly, but it didn’t pan out that way).  We’ll see how rusty I am after tonight.

As for the rest of my resolutions for this year… I’ve hit the weight goal of 190 so I’m really excited about that.  The summer has seen a bit of a drop in the devotionals, especially during vacation so still some room to improve.

Take care and you can expect more regular posting to start up again!

Technology by Spencer on June 27, 2009

From Money to Quicken…

UPDATE: The guide can be found here (http://spencer.stantonfamilyonline.com/MoneyTransition.html).

A couple of weeks ago, when opening Microsoft Money; I got the pop up message stating that Microsoft will stop supporting Money over the next couple of years and will no longer produce new versions.  I have been a user of Money since I graduated college so this was quite devistating.  Now I would have to switch to Quicken or eventually lose the online services of Money (stock quotes, bank transactions, etc.) that I really enjoy.

The problem is this: there is NO GOOD way to move from Money to Quicken.  A number of years back, I ran Money and Quicken side by side to see which was better.  Money barely edged out Quicken and I hadn’t looked back since.  Now that I have to, I wanted to see if there was any better method for transitioning.  They have a new data converter; hopefully that will be better.  I tried it, and there is a lot left to be desired.  Accounts all come in as either banking or investing (no differentiation between credit cards or others you can create in Quicken, but once created can’t be changed, a short sighted error on Intuit’s part).  I’m fairly picky when it comes to the details in my finances, so that option just didn’t work for me.

I’m told that Quicken 2010 will have a better transition option from Money since they know now that Money won’t be updated; well I’m a bit bitter so I wanted to switch to Quicken quickly and get it over with instead of waiting for a transition plan that they’ve never gotten right in the 20+ years that they have competed in this market for personal finance software.

So, the bottom line is, I figured out my own method using as much automatic information from Money as possible and doing the rest by hand and I have now officially finished the switch to Quicken… would have been better to have made that decision 6 years ago.  I am sure that there are others that are interested so I will be writing an extensive guide and will post a link here to help out others who don’t want to wait and see if 2010 will have a good transition.  My guess is no matter what, there will be some manual work that needs to be done.

Overall, I still like Money and am sad that it is going away.  I’m sure Quicken will do all that I want and more and as I get used to it will forget all about Microsoft’s product.  Money, R.I.P.

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