Michael Rand started RandBall with hopes that he could convince the world to love jumpsuits as much as he does. So far, he's only succeeded in using the word "redacted" a lot. He welcomes suggestions, news tips, links of pure genius, and pictures of pets in Halloween costumes here, though he already knows he will regret that last part.
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We wrote for Tuesday's paper about the Arrowhead 135 -- an annual race in the dead of winter that starts in International Falls and ends in Tower, Minn. Participants cover 135 miles, and they have their choice of biking, running or skiing. Five people have completed at least one race doing each of the disciplines.
All of this is mind-boggling for most of us trying to escape the cold. The elements will do crazy things, and as of 5 p.m. Tuesday 92 of the 142 people who started the race had dropped out.
But 14 have finished, and the second-place finisher apparently had to go to extreme lengths to make it all the way. Tom Puzak was 8 miles from the end, on bike, when he ran out of water:
Puzak nearly became one of the stats with just a couple miles to the end. His water was gone, he could barely move.
But he had to pee.
He put some snow in a water bottle, unzipped and urinated inside. The slosh melted and made some liquid, then Puzak drank it. “It saved me,” said.
The Bear Grylls move got him back on his bike, pedaling. He’d been walking at less than 2mph, too weak to balance. But on the bike, in a granny gear, he could move at around 5mph, fast enough to finish without losing fingers and toes, just strong enough to stoke the fire that staves off hypothermia.
Think of that as you complain about the walk from your office to your car.
In an interview with season ticket holders, Rockets GM Daryl Morey apparently didn't mince words when it came to the 2012 first-round selection of former Minnesota prep standout Royce White -- who started his college career with the Gophers but never played here before flourishing for a year at Iowa State.
“I take some sort of pride that you could argue that Royce White is the worst first-round pick ever. He’s the only one that never played a minute in the NBA that wasn’t just a foreign guy staying in Europe. It just shows we swing for the fence."
Is that really fair to say given White's public battle with anxiety?
Your thoughts, please, in the comments.
The restructured lineup at 1500-AM, set in motion last week when morning show co-host Jeff Dubay was let go, will prove to be a significant shakeup at the sports talk station, according to a source.
Phil Mackey, who had been on from 4-7 p.m. -- the first two hours with Star Tribune columnist Patrick Reusse -- will move into the 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. slot as the co-host with Judd Zulgad.
Reusse will remain in the 4-6 p.m. drive time slot as a solo host.
The changes will become effective starting Feb. 3, the Monday after the Super Bowl.
In announcing the decision on Dubay last week, the station said it "is not a reflection of Jeff’s performance. It is a reflection of our current operating environment."
As many of you know, I have never been a big sports fan. It took a few years after I started dating RandBall for me to understand baseball play-by-play on the radio, and a decade to understand football — on TV OR the radio. That is not to say I have had no exposure to sports or competition. I grew up playing soccer, and as a child I was one of my brother’s number one spectators at his soccer and hockey games. Seven years my senior, my brother and his teammates took the games seriously — and in my eyes were the true athletes; they suffered injuries, played through rainstorms, and behaved as though the fate of the world hinged on the results of one game. It was nothing like the level of competition I experienced in RAAA soccer.
While I’ve never been much for sports themed video games, I do like strategy games. Tetris was a big hit in my household, and when Sega Genesis came out, Columns was my game of choice. In my adult life, I have not happened upon any other video games that have held my attention as much as those early strategy games, save one: Bejeweled.
Bejeweled is like columns on steroids. Not only is there strategy involved, but if you play particularly well— what I call “getting into the zone” — what unfolds is a series of events not unlike the domino effect. The simple goal of matching three gems in a row becomes four or five or SIX gems in a row. A Normal Gem soon becomes a Flame Gem, then a Star Gem — then a Hypercube. Your points add up, the levels fly by, and soon enough, you’ve got your all-time high score. It’s riveting, it’s exciting, it passes time in the waiting room at the dentist, it keeps your mind alert, and it’s fun!
But that’s the only real goal — surpassing your own previous high score. This is not the case with Yushino, RandBall’s new obsession. (Don’t even get me started with online Scrabble.) In this numbers strategy game, players get 7 "tiles" at a time (like Scrabble) and compete against each other to make numerical sequences that each add up to the last digit of the next number. For instance, 1-2-3 is a sequence you can play. So is 9-4-3-7.
Each player’s ranking among all players globally is available to see. RandBall was ranked No. 2 for several weeks. Currently, as he has not had enough time to keep his ranking up, he has slipped to No. 28. Curious, I checked the high scores for Bejeweled. For Classic Bejeweled (one of several modes) of the 3,043,459 registered players, “kamizoom” is in first place, with a high score of 9,223,372,036,854,775,807. For comparison, my high score is 435,360.
I suppose we all fall somewhere on the spectrum — from non-competitive to super-competitive. While I like to tell people that I’m not competitive at all, I do make comparisons against my previous efforts. When marathon training, I pay attention to my pace and set expectations and goals around my previous accomplishments.
RandBall is a different breed: not only does he compare his efforts against those of others, but he can compete at such a level that the best of the best competing head-to-head includes none other than RandBall himself. Of course, it would be great if his talent were developed in more profitable or notable pastimes. Imagine RandBall as a world class poker player, or a 10 time Olympic gold medalist.
As it is, though, I’m impressed with my once-mathlete husband. He’s no AP, but he will pummel you in a game of Yushino.
Editor's note: You will be pummeled. Seriously.
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