Friday, August 30, 2013

2013 ND season kickoff

As a follow up to my award-eligible post of a few years ago, I'm changing speeds just a bit with a new kind of countdown list.  This year's theme:

Top 10 Reasons I'm excited about the 2013 reason in spite of Tommy Rees.

Here goes:

10.  This is the longest the coaching staff has had to prepare for a Tommy Rees start.  

9.    We don't know for certain that Tommy's still slower than the South Bend police.

8.  Speaking of the law, toughness runs in the Rees family.  Here's hoping Tommy can tap into that genetic talent.

Megan Rees: even in a mugshot, more photogenic than her brother 

7.  Opponent injuries in fall camp:  taking help however we can get it.

6.  The RB tandem of Amir Carlisle...

...and George Atkinson III.

5.  To my knowledge, Tommy Rees has no jurisdiction over tailgating.

4.  Hey, we've still got the band.

3.  No Tom Hammond!!!!

More Photoshop greatness (and humor) in this article from EDSBS

2.  Tommy's facial hair is improving, if ever so slightly.

1.  The (likely) final season with Stephon Tuitt and Louis Nix, and all of the sleep they will make opposing teams lose:

Well, that got me one hour closer to kickoff.  Go Irish 2013.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Random thought of the day

I've been meaning to post on here for a while, and I had a random thought today that I couldn't pare down to Twitter's 140 characters. Two birds. Here goes:

I bet you'll see a lot of relationship infidelity accidentally exposed as more people get smart phones and enable those check in services (Foursquare, Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc) without even realizing they are doing so.

"Honey, why were you at Cafe Romantic tonight?"

"What are you talking about? I was working late."


"I'm sorry. Let me explain. But how did you even find out?"

"Your phone told the whole world, idiot."

And that's my thought for today. Enjoy your weekend/next 6 months until I post again.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Airline Travel: The Idiot Fare

My unsolicited and biased opinion follows:

Let me start by making it clear that Southwest Airlines is, by far, my favorite airline. For the average, non-business, non-elite status flier, it's not even close. As you'll see below, they even cater quite well to idiots.

The airline offers multiple tiers of fares to purchase, ranging from their somewhat secretive "Ding" promotional fares to the high end "Business Select" fare. The latter offers the perks of being fully refundable, making you one of the first to board, getting a free drink, and receiving extra Rapid Rewards credits.

These are all seemingly nice incentives, but the Business Select is an Idiot Fare. Here's why.

The Business Select price is typically immensely more expensive than other available fares. By immensely, I mean $600 more expensive on a typical cross-country round trip flight. But what about all the perks? Let's grade them.

Priority Seating - SWA doesn't offer first class. They don't even offer assigned seats. It's all one big open-seating economy cabin. The exit rows offer better leg room, but that's about as posh as it gets. So the opportunity to board first doesn't really get you anything more special than the person boarding 10th or even 30th. You'll all have a window/aisle seat and plenty of overhead bin space. The others will just be slightly further back, unless you opted for a mid-cabin exit row. And you can still be the 10th or 30th person to board if you purchase the cheapo fare and if you are either on the A-list (16 round trips per year) or check in online exactly 24 hours before departure. Oh, and if your flight acts as a mid-trip stopover from an earlier city, then all of the good seats will already be taken before you even board and your priority will mean nothing. Perk Grade: D

Fully Refundable Fare: Hey, travel plans change, especially in business. That's a nice perk, right? No. While other airlines will charge you a fee of $100-150 to change your flight in addition to any differences in fares. Southwest charges $0. On top of that, all canceled or unused money from a ticket becomes credit towards a future Southwest Flight, good for one year. After a year, there's a $50 fee. That's it. Pretty low risk. Perk Grade: D

Free Drink: Two free drinks for a round trip = $8 <<<< $600. Perk Grade: F

Extra Rapid Rewards Credits: Ok, this is the real reason to use the Idiot Fare, right? Let's do the math:
Typical one way "wanna get away" fare: $150 for 1 credit.
Typical one way Idiot Fare: $450 for 2 credits.
Perk Grade: F

Adding it all up, you're paying $300 each way for about $154 in "perks."

And that's why this fare is so brilliant.

Nobody but an idiot would choose this as the best option. Luckily, business travel involves lots of idiots. There are 3 (maybe 4) situations where this fare is purchased:

1. The passenger is an idiot, and through poor planning frequently makes last minute flight purchases when this fare is the only one available. I'd say this accounts for 20% of the cases.

2. The passenger works with/for idiots and is subjected to last minute changes outside his/her control. 60% of the cases.

3. The passenger has an idiot for a boss and uses these flights to pad his or her rapid rewards account, thereby earning free flights faster and spending more time away from the idiot boss who somehow keeps approving these expenses. 15%.

4. An actual, unforseen emergency happens and the passenger has never heard of lastminuetravel, kayak, or any of the other dozen discount fare sites. 5%, and I'm being generous.

A lot of cases probably involve a combination of 1-3.

In closing, bravo to Southwest for realizing the untapped market of idiots out there and using these fares to boost profits and lower costs for the reasonable travelers.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Nerd Blog: Decade 2

Happy New Year!

Ok, as you were. See you in a few months probably.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Countdown to Gameday

My top 25 favorite things about a Notre Dame home football game:

1. Spending a day with loved ones and 80,000 of my other closest friends at my 2nd home
2. Escaping the craziness for a quiet walk around the lake
3. Giving those seated around me fair warning that I will, in fact, be cheering during the game
4. Watching the players run out of the tunnel
5. Watching the band run out of the tunnel
6. A Grotto visit - I love watching people experience that for the first time
7. Pregame military flyovers
8. Midnight drum circle
9. Listening to ND stadium announcer Mike Collins welcome everyone to the game
10. Waking up on gameday morning and feeling like I did on Christmas as a kid
11. Sgt Tim McCarthy's 4th quarter safety tips
12. Giving a darn good campus tour to the first-time visitors in our group
13. Enjoying the best view on campus from the 13th floor of Hesburgh
14. Stopping by Knott Hall to remember what college smelled like
15. Mandatory stadium hot dog & coke
16. Stopping by strangers' tailgates for free food & beer. Better than Sam's club!
17. Stopping by friends' tailgates for free food & beer
18. Jumping in on a game of catch on the quad with some future Irish greats
19. Visiting the Joyce Center and hopefully catching a bball scrimmage
20. Preparing for the weather: hot & humid, a hurricane, or sometimes both
21. Watching the stadium atmosphere at other schools and wondering why we can't follow suit
22. Watching the hospitality given to visiting fans and wondering why other schools can't follow suit
23. Supporting the students by buying a half burned, half frozen hamburger
24. Reading The Observer and convincing myself it was much better in my day
25. The smells of football season - charcoal, beer, fresh grass, & ethanol

Check back for daily updates!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tracy's Travels

A knock at the front door...

...of my blog...

...please just go with it.

What's that noise? Who's there? Oh, it's you! Hello again, loyal blog reader. What's that you say? You're a little miffed at me because I haven't updated this since that fantastic event in October, and, seeing how you've already gone through every magazine in circulation, the 30,011,749 books in the Library of Congress, and Matthew Lesko's book about free money from the government in 3 different languages, I'm the only thing left to read?

EDITORIAL NOTE: This post was originally drafted in January '09 but never published. Because I'm too damn lazy to start from scratch, I'm leaving the original post as is and adding edits in green. Deal with it.

Well, I'm truly sorry to leave you hanging for so long. But luckily, my excuse is also the inspiration for this post, as I've had the busiest 6 (now up to 12) months of travel of my life. Let's look at the final tally (from July 08 through the end of January 09) and review some of the highlights:

Chapel Hill/Durham, NC
Lake Tahoe
Las Vegas (2 trips)
Los Angeles - Thanksviging trip, otherwise known as "Dad meets the West Coast. Sorry, I kept him away as long as I could."
NEPA (3)
Notre Dame (3)
Prescott (3)
Salt Lake City (6)
Sedona...twice. In 2 days. Don't leave a credit card at a golf course 2 hours from home.
Tucson (5)
The wilderness of AZ (camping)
US-Mexico Border (2)

New additions, through the end of June:
Salt Lake City (A lot)
Grand Canyon/Flagstaff/Sedona (2)
Chicago (A few)
San Francisco
South Bend
AUGUSTA (This really deserves its own post...which it won't get)
Omaha (2)
Vegas (See Augusta note. Best hotel deal ever.)

That's the short list, anyway - also got to do plenty of fun stuff without traveling and even hosted some very special visitors. It's hard to pick a favorite from the list so I won't. But hey, I already did a writeup on one trip and there's no sense in deleting that:

Tahoe - A wedding between 2 of the greatest people I met at ND. Lake Tahoe in wintertime. Waking up to a fresh coating of snow on wedding day, and having the snow start again on cue as the wedding ends (hey, when you marry a pastor, you can pull some strings). By the time the reception the reception started - at an Irish Pub - I thought the wedding couldn't get any cooler ... until we all went out to the patio bar and danced to a Backer mix tape. Saw some old friends and made some new ones, played a kickass game of Egyptian Rat Screw, hit up the casinos, and got a LOT of experience in putting on snow chains the next morning. Oh, and introduced the greatness of In and Out Burger to 2 people. Just letting everyone out there know, if you plan to have the most awesome wedding ever, this is where the bar is set. There's also the part about meeting some girl, which seems to continue to be working out well for all parties involved.

2008 (and now 09 as well) was certainly a frequent flyer-y year -I actually flew enough to make Southwest Airline's A-list (and have now have already flown enough to renew my membership in under 6 months), which gives me a sweet boarding pass every time I fly for the next year, and also lets jump to the front of the line for security in Phoenix and a few other airports. That will come in handy, as 2009 may actually make a run at 08's record (no, it blew it away).

Add in all of the travel I'll be doing for work (60+ job visits) and hopefully a few visits to Vegas and maybe I should think about an airplane pillow. In fact, I think I'll go get a jump start on catching up on all of the sleep I'm going to miss. Wake me up in a week or so, will you? And don't forget to lock the door on your way out... of my... castle, judging from the picture at the top of the post.

And just because it was so much damn fun to research, here are even more awesome magazines for you.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Thank You, Comcast Center.

Because you did this...

...the Phillies could do this:

So thank you again for ending the Curse of William Penn and creating the greatest day in my life as a sports fan, one that will not be topped for a long, long time, if ever at all.

Now why couldn't anyone think of this 20 years ago?

Everyone - go find your nearest loved one and throw a battery at them, Philly style.

I finally get to write this somewhere besides my imagination:


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