Tuesday, March 1, 2011

66 - Answers

[Editor's Note: As this is the final Ask Mitssob it stands to reason that Tim would be very late with it. And look at that, he is! I've been pinging him weekly for the past four months. He blames the snow, NaNoWriMo, his video editing business, work travel, every tired old excuse he's ever had. The answers finally showed up on my doorstep yesterday along with a bouquet of flowers. I don't know if the two are related. If they are I'm touched, otherwise I'm mildly creeped out.

One more thing: after editing these answers I have to say that they are, without a doubt, the most average set that Tim's ever delivered. The overall quality of answers throughout the past four years and 65 episodes was not increased or decreased by these answers. It's really remarkable.

Q: Dan - if there's nothing missing in my life then why do these tears come at night?
A: The song poses the question "if there's nothing missing in my life," so I answer, "There is." Now, why the fact that there is something missing from your life causes tears to come is another question. I supposed the most likely explanation is that you are a very sensitive man who finds no shame in showing emotion through crying.

Oh, and another thing: I could have gone my whole life without hearing this song and died a happy man. But no, Dan, you had to ask this question and make me find the song and listen to it. For that, may you roast in hell for all eternity.

Q: MattB - What does Jarsh's dance to the aforementioned song look like? Good/bad/hilarious/other?
A: Jarsh's dance to that song, like all of Jarsh's dancing, would be epic. Simply epic.

Q: Luke - How many times will Serena try something?
A: Out of respect for Serena, who is one of my oldest and best friends, I will not even discuss the circumstances of this question, much less answer it.

Q: Phil - why did luke come back to jolinko or life?
A: Luke came back to Jolinko because Jolinko is, as the kids say, "da bomb". Actually, I'm not sure if kids say "da bomb" anymore. In fact, I haven't got the foggiest idea what kids say. Popular culture and I agreed to see other people sometime in the mid-2000's and frankly it's been for the best.

But that's irrelevant. The point is, who wouldn't want to come back to Jolinko?

Q: Luke - Why did Phil feel the need to write "or life" in tiny font?
A: Apparently you and Phil have some personal issues that you both need to work through. Do I detect some subtle tension between you two? Maybe some unresolved feelings? Do we need a group hug? Maybe a drum circle?

Q: Vanessa - I want the latest info on the Arrested Development movie. I know thats not a question...but run with it.
A: Here. [Ed: You were just trying for shortest answer with that one, weren't you? Yup.]

Q: Bill J - Gimme some tips on routers. What's the difference between the 30 dollar one and the 100 dollar one? First person to say $70 gets a virtual punch in the face.
A: The difference in price likely reflects a difference in features found in the routers. Below is a quick list:

- Ethernet Ports: 4 is common and usually sufficient. You'll pay a bit more for an 8-port router. Unless you're networking together a lot of stuff in one office you don't need 8 ports. 4 will be plenty.
- Wireless: The most common standards are 802.11b, g and n. Higher letters are faster (802.11b is 11 megabits per second (Mbps), g is 54 Mbps, and n is over 160 Mbps). Those speeds, though, are the raw over-the-air bit rates. When you talk real-world data they're about 2/3 as fast on average. Anyway, higher letters will cost more, but will also perform better. Additionally, newer hardware (such as newer laptops, smart phones, TVs, etc) will drop older standards. Unless you've got something that requires 802.11b I'd just go as high as you can.
- Security: Most routers come with some kind of firewall software built into them. Basically speaking firewalls allow the router to filter out IP ports that outside users can use to get into your system. You might pay a little more for the super-smart filters but frankly you'll be fine with any firewall.

Incidentally, I know very little about the other kind of router. I'm not much of a woodworker and have never even used one. I know that they're used to cut grooves into wood (for decoration, creating joints, etc.) but as far as providing tips I'm the wrong guy.

Q: democko - What do you plan on doing with your life after Ask Mitssob is over? 2 chicks at the same time? Also, who are we going to ask our random questions to? Jolinko at large?
A: Two chicks at the same time? I've had enough trouble maintaining zero chicks at the same time, much less two. Come to think of it, I haven't discussed my adventures in single-hood here. I guess that's because there's nothing that interesting to tell. [Ed: Also, no one asked. Because frankly, who cares? You're single and lonely. We get it. True, but this is my column and I'll cry if I want to.] I joined a couple of popular online dating sites in an effort to find true love and have had some interesting experiences. Nothing against any of the women I've met through them, but let's just say that I haven't yet found what I'm looking for. I did gain a lot of experience in first dates, and I did drink a lot of coffee, but as for "the one", she's still out there.

Getting back to your question, I have several projects that will keep me busy once this is over. First and foremost is my video editing side-business, "Changing Seasons Productions". I recently wrapped up a DVD project for local band "The Beaumonts". On November 19 I and several of my friends filmed a double-header show at Waterstreet, after which I will have two new DVDs to produce. I also filmed the Tuba Christmas 2010 production in Rochester, during which a nice woman asked if she could buy a copy so I made that DVD, and also provided copies to some friends who had both played in the show and attended. After that I'm not sure what's next but now that I'm getting my name out there as a video producer I'm starting to get some attention. Hopefully it turns into more business.

I also want to dedicate more time to writing. NaNoWriMo has come and gone, and as usual caused a big delay in these answers. I have to admit that I had a lot of trouble this year. I didn't like my characters, didn't like where my story went, and basically felt like writing was a huge chore. But I slogged through and wound up with my 7th NaNoWriMo victory. Hooray, I guess. I'm going to spend a little time editing the story, then get back to my much-worked-on novel from the past few NaNoWriMo sessions. Another draft is coming in the summer and then maybe I'll start shopping it around.

Finally I'll be working on my house. I've recently finished up work on my second guest bedroom and will next turn my attentions to the room off my garage. It's currently my office but I've always hated having my office there. The room, being right off the garage, practically begs to be turned into a mud room, so that's what I'm going to do. While I'm at it I'll be moving my laundry up from the basement and installing it there. It's the most major home project I've ever done and I'm looking forward to driving it through to completion.

So in short, I've got a lot on my plate in the place of Ask Mitssob. I'll miss it, I know, and I might come back to it in the next few years, but there are only so many hours in the day and I just can't dedicate any time to this project any more.

As to your second question I am currently working through how to set up and moderate a weekly "Ask Jolinko" feature, similar to Brett Gobe's wildly successful "Quiz of the Week" feature. Consider it my legacy in retirement. I think harnessing the collective intelligence of Jolinko could be a fun project. I think the big problem is going to be keeping track of the questions and answers such that people can search through and get good information. I've also secured @askmitssob on Twitter, but this is mostly a placeholder. If you follow it you'll be sorely disappointed, at least for the time being.

Q: MattB - Last night I had a dream I got a 4 on the QOTW and I was really excited. What does that say about my life?
A: Nothing good, let me assure you. You have fixated upon Brett Gobe's famous Quiz of the Week (and by extension Brett Gobe Himself) as the source of your happiness. We'll get more into this in a little bit.

Q: democko - lets really lay it on Tim since this is the last one. think about all kinds of questions you might have. past, present, future, alternate reality...
A: That's the spirit! Bring it on!

Q: Phil - when will the bills next win more than 8 games in a season?
Q: Sarah - When will the Bills be decent again?
A: 2013. Of course since this will occur after the forthcoming end of the world in 2012 Bills fans have nothing to look forward to. But they should be used to that by now.

Q: Vanessa - I need a rollerderby name. What should it be?
A: Some thoughts off the top of my head:

- Xena: Warrior Princess
- Unholy Roller
- The Rolling Pin
- I'm Gonna Take Off My Skate And Try To Stab You With It

Q: Banjo - Why wouldn't Matt Barrett dream of a perfect 5 on the QOTW? Is his low expectations going to hurt him in later in life when he sees the relative achievement of everyone else around him? Or will he be the only one happy and content with the life he is living, and therefore lead a better and more fulfilling life than those of us striving to meet unobtainable goals?
A: I think Matt's issues with Brett Gobe are the reason that he didn't dream of a perfect 5. He knows (or more accurately, his subconscious knows) that he doesn't know Brett well enough to score a perfect 5, and his dream reflected that.

The second part of your question (other than being a grammatical trainwreck) touches on an interesting subject. Expectations management is definitely a key to one's happiness. Personally I try to have desires but not expectations. Expectations can be let down. Desires can be acted upon.

Digging a little deeper, I think that it's a false comparison to say that people striving to meet unobtainable goals won't be as happy as people who are content with their situation in life. I understand what you mean but I don't think that it's true. Whether one is striving for unobtainable goals or sitting on one's ass eating Cheetos all day doesn't have anything to do with one's happiness. People can be happy in any circumstance in life. Any old saying tells us that money cannot buy happiness. I believe that this is true. Happiness, I've learned, is a choice. If you're happy chasing the unobtainable, good for you. If you're happy sitting on your ass eating Cheetos, good for you too. Ultimately it's up to each person to decide what a fulfilling life is and strive for that.

Finally, let me close with some suggested reading. My favorite radio talk show host right now is a man named Dennis Prager. Through his show I've learned a great deal about human nature, philosophy, and happiness. He's so serious about happiness that he dedicates an hour per week of his show to the subject. If you're looking for information about happiness you should read his book Happiness is a Serious Problem: A Human Nature Repair Manual.

Q: Phil - why does banjo care so much about matt's dream? is it because he has a secret love interest with matt? or is it just his true caring nature to care? further why do i care that banjo cares?
A: When I started this feature in 2006 I never expected to be using my skills as a writer to address the issues inherent in an all-male threesome. Yet here we are.

Q: Mr Rob Allen - what is the most disappointing experience I will have in my life
A: Your final words. They're going to suck. But just about everyone's final words suck, so I wouldn't worry too much about it.

Q: Brett - Who is the most viable GOP 2012 presidential candidate?
A: The field as I see it today can be divided into the following categories:

Thanks For Playing (Again)
Ron Paul, Texas Congressman and perrenial Republican and Libertarian candidate for President - He falls into the protectionist wing of libertarianism, which is not a wing that I occupy. He'll never win, but he'll keep running until he pulls in his final breath, so we're stuck with him.

Maybe Next Time
Bobby Jindal, governor of Louisiana - I really like Bobby Jindal and think he'd make a fantastic Presidential or Vice Presidential candidate. His management of the Gulf Oil Spill stood in stark contrast with the bumbling response of the federal government, which couldn't seem to get out of it's own way. He's young, articulate, and learning fast how to be a major political player. But he's not ready yet, and fortunately for him he seems to know it. I think we'll look him up in either 2016 or 2020.

Chris Christie, governor of New Jersey - Chris Christie is one of my favorite political figures, bar none. He doesn't take lip from anyone, stands up to political "sacred cows", and has a quick response for things that would cause most politicians to run for cover. But he has said that he's not running in 2012 and I believe him. Hopefully he reconsiders for 2016 or 2020.

Sarah Palin, former governor of Alaska - Despite being on the national stage for the better part of the past 2 years, Sarah Palin is not ready to be a Presidential candidate. I do not believe that she is as stupid as her detractors claim, nor as smart as her supporters believe. Unfortunately she's been so vilified by her detractors that she can't possibly be an effective candidate this time around. Call me again in 2016 or 2020 and we'll talk. Until then, best of luck to her in whatever venture(s) she chooses to pursue.

You're Still Around?
Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House - Newt's been around a long time. He's a thinker and a man of action in the Republican party, but for some reason I just don't like him. These days I feel like the only thing he has to offer is himself, and frankly that's not enough for me.

Rick Santorum, former Senator from Pennsylvania - Defeated narrowly in 2006, Rick Santorum is the most socially conservative of the candidates that I can see. And for that reason people (and by "people" I mean "non-conservative Republicans") don't think he has a chance. Personally I think he would be good, but I also really hate the idea of Senators as Presidents. Senators deliberate and compromise and talk and deliberate some more. Executives (like governors) lead and do. It's why they, as a rule, make better Presidents.

Should Have Been You Instead of McCain
Tim Pawlenty, former governor of Minnesota - I like him. Republican governor of a relatively liberal state. He wasn't perfect, but he was effective.
Sarah Palin, former governor of Alaska - Already talked about her, but let me just add that if she had been the candidate instead of McCain it would have been a much closer race. She still would have lost, mind you, but it would have been a lot more interesting.

Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts - I like him too. Another Republican governor of a very liberal state. He's run successful companies, managed the Olympics in Utah, was an effective governor, and was a fairly good Presidential candidate. His biggest black mark is RomneyCare, a precursor to ObamaCare. Personally I think he can sell the Republican party on the differences between the two but it's going to be a very hard fight.

Mitch Daniels, governor of Indiana - He has recently been in the news as part of the trend of governors taking on public employee unions. I think he's done a good job so far and am interested in seeing how he does as a candidate.

So what's my final answer? I'm going to go with Mitt Romney. I've been a fan of his for several years and think that he will be a fantastic presidential candidate in 2012 and an even better president come 2013.

Q: Banjo - How do you feel about Quantum Suicide theory? Does reality really split into multiple diverging universes with each and every choice that is made, or is there simply an abundance of universes for every possible outcome of ever possible event with a fixed starting point?

How do you feel about Schrödinger's cat? Furthermore should Schrödinger be brought up on charges of animal cruelty?

If a tree falls in a forest, and no one is around to hear it, does it really even matter if it makes a noise? Furthermore, if we have all these forests full of trees, and there's no one around to hear anything, have we succeeded in protecting our natural resources?

A: I like your enthusiasm. Let's dive in!

1. Before I answer, allow me to state that how I feel about Quantum Suicide Theory is irrelevant to whether or not it's true. It's kind of like asking how I feel about gravity. Sure I hate gravity, but so what? My hatred of gravity does not lessen its hold on me.

To more directly answer your question, I subscribe to the "many worlds" theory of quantum mechanics. The 4th dimensional reality that we live in is collapsed down from all the possible outcomes of all the possible decisions for this instant in time. For example, there is a universe in which I finished this answer a month ago and one in which I'm never going to finish.

Strangely this isn't the first theoretical physics question to come across my desk. I tackled it in the first few months of this column back in 2006. I highly recommend watching the Flash animation that kicked off the debate three and a half years ago. It's educational, funny, and very well made.

2. I think that Schrödinger's cat is a very silly thought experiment. Basically it goes like this: seal a cat in a box with some (non-deadly) radioactive material, a glass vial of poison and a hammer connected to a Geiger counter. The radioactive material will begin to decay and at some point the Geiger counter will be triggered, which causes the hammer to fall and break the vial of poison and kill the cat. But (and here's the point) when is the cat dead? According to the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics nothing is known about a system until it is observed. Therefore in the above thought experiment, the cat is both alive AND dead until you open the box to find out, at which time it becomes alive OR dead.

I do not think that Schrödinger should be brought up on animal cruelty charges since there's no evidence that he actually did what the thought experiment. Anyone who actually does this experiment should be brought up on charges, though.

3. No, it doesn't matter, but this rhetorical question is one that will never die.

The second part of this question is a non-sequitor. A well-phrased and humorous non-sequitor, but a non-sequitor nonetheless. [Ed. Seriously? Seriously.] Whether there's anyone around to hear trees falling in the forrest has no relation to whether we've done a good job protecting our natural resources.

Q: karyn - If CUPBAA promised bumper stickers and watches for each donation, would more people donate to support the band? Also, are you donating anything to Clarkson (and/or the band) this year?
A: It might. It's a nice gesture and a nice incentive to provide potential donors. And yes, I'm planning to make a donation to the recently-introduced CUPBAA Scholarship Fund, and also a donation to Clarkson University as a whole.

Also, I'd be remiss if I didn't thank you personally, Karyn, for all the great questions over the years. Looking back I have learned more answering your questions than anyone else's, so thank you!

Q: SteveFaux - Other than the two games against NE, how many Bills games will I get to see on TV in the greater boston area?
[Editor's Note: Tim answered this question halfway through the NFL season. Normally I'd delete this answer outright but since this is the last episode I'll leave it in.]
A: Not as many as you would like but more than the good citizens of New England would like. So in the end you'll both be unhappy. And that's a good thing.

Seriously, a quick check of the schedule reveals that Buffalo is playing all of its remaining games at 1pm on Sundays, sometimes on CBS and sometimes on FOX. New England's remaining games are spread all over the place, and more often than not they are not playing at the same time and on the same network as Buffalo. In fact, the only two weeks where there is a definite conflict are 14 and 17.

Unfortunately it's not as simple as that, though. Since Buffalo is not a good team (which is like saying "Potsdam is not a warm place" or "Bill is not a quiet man") the draw in any matchup will be their opponent. There are some complelling matchups in your future, though. I count more than a few weeks where it's possible that you'd get to see them (Week 9 vs. Chicago, Week 12 vs. Pittsburgh, Week 15 at Miami, etc).

My verdict: You'll get to see the Bills get beaten three more times this season, not counting the second beating at the hands of the Patriots.

Q: Luke - How many tears were shed by Steve Faux when cloves became illegal due to being dubbed a flavored cigarette?
A: As has become the new tradition in Ask Mitssob, I'll let someone else answer this question. In this case, Steve himself:
SteveFaux: There were a few tears of anger, then i quit smoking.

And there you have it, folks. The final Ask Mitssob. It's been a pleasure. Thanks for reading, thanks for the questions, and thanks for the laughs. Goodbye.