Archive for November, 2011

The CUP Contest is OVER! CARLY Wins!

November 30, 2011

The answer to yesterday’s contest was indeed, the bottoms of my Vibram Five Fingers. Skeletoes was also acceptable.

Here’s the points break down:

Carly AND Lance Finney receive 100 points for accurately answering at the same time (per the time stamp on their comments).

Erin gets 25 points for guessing Vibrams, Jude gets 25 points for guessing the bottom of a trainer (a training shoe).

Noelle, Jeremy and Vicki get 15 points for pipping in with comments and congratulations for Carly. And speaking of…

Congratulations to CARLY for winning the CUP contest! Expect the CUP Winners page to be updated and finalized in the next 24 hours. For now, here’s the top 10 player rankings:

Per the CUP Contest rules, Carly wins bragging rights forever and ever AND she wins the lame-o prize of getting to choose any topic that she’d like to see me do a blog about.  From the CUP Winners page:

It can be a serious or humorous topic, it can be requested to be audio, video, written or – help us all – drawn/painted/sculpted or some other artistic rendering.  It can be on something I know nothing about, or something that I’ve written about in the past.  It can be dedicated to someone.  I will even include links if I approve of them beforehand.  I will reserve the right to veto any aspect of the request because I’m not going to do a post on something that could harm or embarrass me or other people in a bad way.  But other than that, all is fair game.

So Carly, let me know. You can email or tweet me the topic you’d like me to address or you can put it right down there in the comments.

I’m also announcing that I have special prizes for the top 5 ranking players. Since October 2010 there have been 29 CUPs. I am putting together a photo book of the 29 CUPs and the accompanying full-view photos. I will mail these to the top 5 players if they are wanted: Carly, Vicki, Erin, Noelle and Jeremy. With the exception of Erin, I’ll need you to email me ( your snail mail addresses if you’d like me to send them to you. Depending on price, I may have additional books or collections of the photos that I can mail out to other players if there is an interest. Let me know in the comments or by email.

Thanks for playing, everyone. You made this an incredibly fun endeavor.

CUP #28 – CUP #29 – The Last CUP???

November 29, 2011

Phew – you guys know your pentagonal bolts!

As Carly – and every single other player guessed – yesterday’s CUP was a fire hydrant!

Everyone gets an extra +10 points for sweeping me this time round.

CARLY gets 100 points for being the first one to answer correctly. She also gets +5 points for ujë. Congrats, Carly!

Vicki, Doug, Alan, Lance Finney, AnyEdge, Noelle, Ellie, Erin, Madeline, Michelle and Jude are awarded 25 points for some variant of “fire hydrant” or “fire hydrant bolt”. Lance gets an additional +10 points for making note of the pentagonal bolt, and Ellie gets +10 points for elaborating on why the pentagonal bolt is specific to fire hydrants.

Well done, everyone!

Top 10 Ranking Players

Jeremy has been knocked down to the #5 position by Noelle, but other than that the rankings have stayed the same over this past CUP. 

The big news of course, is Carly’s score of 970 points. The CUP Contest is OVER when the first player reaches 1000. Given that Carly is a mere 30 points away, pretty much the only ways for her not to win on this next CUP are

  1. For her to be beat out for first place AND she’ll have to give an incorrect or boringly similar correct answer (since I’ve been giving out 15-20 points for incorrect answers and 25-30 points for correct answers plus extra points for amusingness or accurately detailed answers)
  2. For her not play in today’s CUP.
  3. If I radically change the points assignment that I’ve created for this little universe MWAH HA HA! Pssst…it’s not going to be that last one.

So as far as I can see, if we want the CUP to last a few more rounds we’ve all got to do our part. I’ve got to pick a sufficiently challenging CUP for today, and you all have to beat Carly to the punch with the guessing. Either that or kidnap her or sabotage her internet connection. Pssst…don’t do those last ones. Those are naughty, and according to The Hubby, apparently illegal.

Okay Team Beat Carly – are you ready?*

Here’s CUP #29! Hvað er þetta?

*If you took the time to read all of that before trying to answer the CUP, Carly’s probably already beat you.

CUP #27 Answer and CUP #28

November 28, 2011

Welcome back! Before the Thanksgiving Weekend we had left off with CUP #27. CARLY was the first to answer and to answer correctly with her answer “the hinge in the center of an open backgammon board”.

To clarify, though – the part most prominently featured in last week’s CUP isn’t just a “hinge”. This area of the board – the “bar” – has a crucial role to play in the game. From Wikipedia:

In the course of a move, a checker may land on any point that is unoccupied or is occupied only by a player’s own checkers. It may also land on a point occupied by exactly one opposing checker, or “blot”. In this case, the blot has been hit, and is placed in the middle of the board on the bar that divides the two sides of the playing surface.

Regardless, CARLY won last week and so she receives 100 points!

Team Backgammon had five members this time: AnyEdge, Ellie, Heidi, Noelle and Lynn are all awarded 25 points.

Vicki, Lisa, Lance Finney, Jeremy, Judi, Erin and koxl003 get 15 points for playing, but no additional points for guesses. This is koxl003‘s first entry, and so he is awarded +50 welcome points. Welcome to the CUP Contest, koxl003!

Top 10 Ranking Players

No shakeups in the Top 10 this time around, and Carly is a mere 145 points from the finish line!

CUP #28 – Çka është kjo? (Albanian: What is this?)

CUP #26 Answer and CUP #27

November 23, 2011

Indeed, yesterday’s CUP was Metamucil.

Madam? Would you like a glass of our house’s finest Orange?

And don’t any of you give me crap about “What? ‘Older’?!” Young people don’t worry about fiber. That’s a fact. I’ve got numbers for it. Somewhere. Let’s chat points!

You guys are awesome. Look at the time stamps on these two answers:

This hasn’t happened in the history of the CUP Contest, but yesterday we had two correct answers that were submitted at exactly the same time (according to the timestamp). I’m giving both Lance Finney and AnyEdge 100 points for their answers. AnyEdge is also a new player, and thus is awarded +50 welcome points. Thanks for joining the game, AnyEdge!

Anyone who guessed some sort of fiber is being lumped in with the Fiber Cadre. Metamucil, Benefiber, Psyllium, whatever. “Orange Metamucil” would really have impressed me, but any of these were acceptable. So Carly, Erin, Vicki, Judi, Michelle and Lynn all get 25 points for correct answers.

GroundlessPossibilities, Ellie, Heidi, Jeremy, Cate! and Noelle get 15 points for playing, but no extra for their guesses. Well, okay, Noelle gets +5 points because of her supposition that older people like denture powder and cocaine. I had to read that one twice.

There were no major upsets overnight, but with his recent win newcomer Lance Finney is edging ever closer toward the top of the rankings! Jeremy ducked in to save his 4th place spot for another day, and the order remains the same as yesterday. Carly is now 245 points away from the finish line!

CUP CONTEST UPDATE: There will be no new CUP Contests until Monday November 28th. I shall be entertaining family and joining the crazed hordes of Black Friday shoppers this weekend and expect that some of you will similarly occupied. The answer for today’s CUP will also post on Monday. Speaking of which…

What is CUP #27?

CUP #25 Answer and CUP #26

November 22, 2011

Whew! You know, I’m still not a great judge of what you guys will easily guess and what will stump you! Doug wins yesterday’s CUP with his answer “Lily pad leaves.”

Congratulations, Doug, you get 100 points for your answer + 10 points for being one of the very few to accurately identify the lily pads!

Cate! gets 35 points for joining the lily pad contingent.

Ellie gets 30 points for guessing “Oil slick with lily pad”. A couple of people guessed something about “oily water” and I’m not giving as many points for those answers, because what we’re seeing close-up is just good ol’ fashioned surface tension at the edge of the leaves. But you still get more points than wrong answers if you guessed something about leaves/lily pads on water (oily or not).

Lance Finney gets 25 points for his guess “Leaves on water.”

Vicki gets 20 points for “oily water on a leaf”.

Algae, Goop, Goo, don’t get extra points, so Carly and Noelle get 15 points for playing, but no extra points for their guesses.

Erin gets +15 points for playing, but no extra points for Incredible Hulk “emissions” because 1) Eww. and 2) I expect pandering for points to be much more subtle. 😉

Michelle, while I adore you for adjusting your lunch schedule to compete in the CUP Contest (seriously <3), you get no extra points for that. You do get the normal 15 points for playing, though.

Lynn Reese, Judi, Whitney, Madeline, Heidi and Groundless Possibilities all get 15 points for playing, but no extra for guesses.

Awesome. I give myself +1000 internet points for stumping y’all!

Top 10 Ranking Players

With the last CUP, Erin bumped up to third place. Carly and Vicki held strong at first and second place, but Jeremy, Noelle and Michelle are close behind. I (finally) updated the tables on the CUP Winners page, so if you don’t see your name in the Top 10, take a look and see how close you are!

We’re not quite at the end yet, but Carly is only 260 (post-publishing edit: I mathed wrong) 270 points from the 1000-point finish line! And that mean’s it’s time for…

CUP #26

This photo is slightly different than previous CUPs. I didn’t want to just do a close up because then it’s just a powder that can’t be identified soley by visual observation; it could be a lot of things. So, I’ll show you the picture and give you a hint. I mean, a hint other than it’s a powder. This one’s for the older folks. Happy guessing!

Twin Cities: First Snowfall 2011

November 21, 2011

Winter is here, and so is winter driving! Or, as one friend likes to call it: “The Season During Which Minnesotans Relearn Physics.”

Well, we knew we couldn’t avoid it forever. But man, things change fast up here! I mean a day prior it was a typical sunny, cool, fall day. And then on Saturday it was all like:

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Photos in order are: 35W South, Driving Across the 35W Bridge, Downtown Minneapolis and the Stone Arch Bridge, Near Hwy 7 & Hwy 100 in St. Louis Park, Lake Calhoun, Uptown, Our Front Yard, and The Hubby in the Snow.

Yuck! But there are a couple of awesome things associated with the first snowfall of the year:

1) I made an appointment to get snow tires put on my car on Friday evening. If I was a day trader I would so have been buying stock in tire companies in Minnesota at the end of last week. I don’t know how Discount Tire in Eden Prairie managed to fit me in, but they did. Off came the worn, barely-acceptable-for-dry-summer-roads tires, and on went shiny new Michilin X-Ice 2s! Considering what the roads looked like at the end of Saturday afternoon, I felt really lucky to have gotten this chore done just in the nick of time.

2) We managed to get the motorcycle put away for the winter on Saturday morning just as it was starting to snow. We didn’t really make it to our storage garage in Mounds View before it got gross out, but we did manage to minimize the damage.

I was the driver for this little expedition and had to get all winter-geared up for the 15-mile drive in 25°F, lightly snowing weather.

I’m wearing thick socks, insulated ankle-high workboots, jeans, carhart overalls, a t-shirt, a sweatshirt, my leather motorcycle jacket, a carhart coat, lined leather gloves, a neck wrap, a fleece hood that covers my nose and mouth, and my full-face helmet.

I’ll start out by saying that we made it to Mounds View without incident. But the ride overall…what’s the word…oh yeah – sucked. The Hubby rode behind me in the car and I slowly made my way up 35W on the light layer of fresh, blowing snow. One thing that I discovered right away is that the snow was heavier and wetter than I had anticipated. I had to keep wiping snow off of my face shield, and near the very end of the ride it started icing over and had to be scraped off. Blergh. But, like I said, this was earlier in the day, so the snow hadn’t started to really accumulate yet and clog up the roads. And now it’s done.

That’s about it. The snow stayed overnight and through the weekend. It hasn’t melted yet, but the temperature is supposed to rise up to as high as 50°F by the week’s end, which should make Black Friday shopping a bit more cheery!

CUP #24 Answer and CUP #25

November 21, 2011

Welcome back, CUPers!

As many of you surmised, last Friday’s CUP was the head and handle of a Swiffer mop without a cleaning pad on it!

Lisa was the first to answer correctly, and is awarded 100 points! This is also Lisa’s first entry into the game, and I am awarding her +50 welcome points. Thanks for playing, Lisa!

Erin, Vicki, Carly, Michelle, Ellie, Judi and Groundless Possibilities all get 30 points for their correct guesses. Erin gets +10 points for posting within one minute of Lisa.

Jude gets 15 points for playing, +10 points for his excellent answer “Whatever it is, I’m guessing that it’s circular, from the placement of the bumps. So it’s a physical representation of a logical fallacy.”

Lance Finney, Christopher Baye, Noelle, and Heidi all get 15 points for playing but no extra points for their guesses.

And with this last contest we have an upset in the rankings! Carly and Vicki have pulled ahead to the #1 and #2 positions! Jeremy is now tied with Erin, and Noelle and Michelle are potentially only one CUP away!

Top 10 Ranking Players

So, everyone, what do you think we’re looking at in CUP #25?

Cross-Country Connections: Iconic

November 21, 2011

Cross-Country Connections is a Biodork weekly blog entry dedicated to telling stories in pictures of three family members – me, my sister and Mom – living in very different locations across the country. Every week we choose a different theme and then take or contribute a personal photo that fits the theme. This week’s theme is Iconic.

From Erin in Bellingham, Washington:

“The Man Who Used to Hunt Cougars For Bounty” by Richard Beyer is the gateway for many at Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA. It is quite literally the first thing I saw on campus and I laughed my way all the way to my first day at work, because my sense of humor got stuck at the 12 year old stage. It wasn’t until about 6 months later that I heard what everyone else on campus called it: “Man Humping Bear” and I knew that everyone thought just like me. 

From Mom in Carbondale, Illinois: 

This is perhaps the most Iconic building in Carbondale.  It was built the year I was born – 1952.  It is one of the last of the old style Dairy Queens – no grill and they close after Halloween and don’t reopen until sometime in April.  The retaining wall in summer is what passes for “al fresco dinning” on the strip that runs north through town.

From Me in Minneapolis, MN:

Among the glass and steel structures in downtown Minneapolis sits Foshay Tower. From Wikipedia: Modeled after the Washington Monument, the building was completed in 1929, months before the stock market crash in October of that year. It has 32 floors and stands 447 feet (136 m) high, plus an antenna mast that extends the total height of the structure to 607 feet (185 m). The building, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978, is an example of Art Deco architecture. 

CUP #23 Answer and CUP #24

November 18, 2011

You all owned me yesterday. I mean…you guys just annihilated that CUP. In deference to being incredibly, thoroughly owned I am awarding 20 points to everyone who played yesterday on top of the points listed below.

Lance was quickest with his answer of “carpet” and is awarded 100 points. Lance is on fire, y’all.

Okay, now we have a lot of additional points to award…

Ellie was the first to specify berber carpet. That is absolutely correct. Ellie gets 25 points for a correct answer plus 10 points for specificity.

Then Judi upped the bar for specificity with her answer “I’m even going to go so far as to say it’s industrial strength carpet found in the hallway of your apartment complex or place of employment or in your car!” Judi gets 25 points for a correct answer plus 15 points for specificity. This carpeting is found in the jury assembly room in the Hennepin County Government Center in downtown Minneapolis.

The following people guessed “carpet” and may have even included something about “berber” or “office” or “commercial” in your guesses. You do not get additional points for these because Ellie and Judi beat you to it. But you do get points for siding with Team Commercial Berber Carpet: Michelle, Noelle, GroundlessPossibilities, Erin and Vicki all get 25 points for correct answers.

Carly and Jude decided to be different. *shakes head sadly* You get no points for nonconformity, you rabblerousers. You get 15 points for playing. I’ll give Jude an extra 5 points for somehow working Tourette’s Syndrome into the comments. There’s no logic here…it just seems right.

Top 10 Ranking Players

Alright, so that CUP might not have been too challenging, but I enjoyed your answers and putting points to them. Well done, everyone! Thanks for playing.

And we’re off and running for CUP #24.

Oh, but before we get there I have a quick housekeeping note: I’m going to cut the CUP Contest for the weekend. I’ve been jonesing to do some other writing for the blog, so I’m going to take a break from CUP over the weekend. We’ll be back for the answer to #24 on Monday at noon. I’ll leave comments enabled until sometime Sunday evening. At that point I’ll close them so I can score and get the CUP Winners page updated.

Without further ado, may I present CUP #24! 

What are we looking at?

CUP #22 Answer and CUP #23

November 17, 2011

And we’re back!

Thanks to everyone who stopped by yesterday. The following people get 40 CUP points for telling us about your favorite or favorite giggle-inducing words: Lance, Noelle, Michelle, Judi, Ellie, Erin, Carly. Carly gets an additional +5 points for starting a poop conversation in the comments. Noelle gets +5 points for dedicating her long thread on pelican poop to me over on Facebook yesterday. I really did enjoy all of your words and stories; thank you for sharing them.

CUP #22 was guessed fairly quickly by CARLY with her answer “looks like a net, perhaps one used to clean out swimming pools/hot tubs.” It is, in fact, a pool skimming net!

Well done, Carly! Carly gets 100 points for winning CUP #22!

Erin gets 25 points for siding with the Team Pool Net.

Ellie, GroundlessPossibilities, Michelle and Doug get 15 points for playing, but no additional points for their guesses.

With this most recent win, Carly has managed to jump up to third place, shifting most players down a place or two. But the race is tight at this end of the rankings. One can only wonder where Jeremy and Vicki have been for the past few days, and if their absence will continue, clearing the way for other competitors who are hot on the tails, such as Noelle, Erin and Michelle!

Note: The CUP Winners page has not yet been updated to reflect current scoring and rankings.

And now for a new CUP.

I can’t directly embed mp3s in this blog, so be dears and click on the 5-second video below:

Thank you so much!

May I present…CUP #23!