Monday After The Oscars

As I write this it’s just after 7 am and I’m not fully awake, or at least, pretty tired. Really enjoyed the Academy Awards last night. Much better than last year. I had hoped for Hugo to win, but glad that Meryl Streep did and Hugo did get some statuettes.

I don’t really understand why my computer sometimes sends a letter back several words – even into the middle of a word. What key am I accidentally hitting with my big fingers? Does anyone know? This is actually NOT rhetorical. LOL

Darkness in our room with sunlight emerging. Our house is situated in such a way that light hits the back like we’re up in the mountains – we do have a little hill in our backyard. You could say that the little hill is most of our backyard and the rest is a pool and a barbeque. I joked with my cousin that it starts to get dark around 2:45 at our house.

We do love our little house. I would say that it’s not tiny, but it is small. Just about right for my wife, our son and me and the dog. Hypothetically we have cats, but only hypothetically.

Well…all of a sudden I don’t quite know where to go from here. Exercise is good for the body and I guess it’s good for the brain, too.

Do you ever become self-conscious about the way you write? I think I’ll come back to that another time. Be like the buddhists. Notice it and let it go. Forgive yourself if necessary.
Is that right? That’s what I got from Meditation in Plain English. I like to call it Meditation For Dummies. I guess that wouldn’t be considered polite for that readership, but it seems funny to me.

I have done a lot more praying than meditating and it seems to me that maybe you can get more of the same thing you get from meditation in other things. It just seems that being cross-legged for a long time with your eyes closed takes up too much time for what you get in return. Though I do appreciate the idea of “noticing and letting it go”. I’m pretty sure I got that right. Observing yourself without judgement is interesting. Although I guess it’s not supposed to be interesting. It’s just supposed to be, right? 🙂

OK. Right there. That’s what I’m talking about. I had a couple more sentences written and they just disappeared. That’s frustrating, but I’m going to let it go because I’m in the middle of an exercise.

To me, that’s bad design. I’m assuming that there is not a virus. This is not actually the first computer to do this. But the other computer actually had a keyboard even smaller than this one. This one is just barely too small. Apparently I hit a combination of keystrokes that somehow captured those sentences and then got rid of them so fast that I barely saw it happen. If this was designed better, that simply wouldn’t happen or it would happen once every two years because the odds of it happening by accident would be slim. Instead, it seems to happen once an hour or more and sometimes I just seem to by typing slow enough at that particular moment to catch it before it takes the words away.

I recognize that not everyone is the same size, but there should be a warning with computers: If you are larger than the average person, this keyboard is not for you. I understand phones are phones and they are the size they are. Ostensibly this is a normal laptop computer, but it’s really just a smidgen too small. I know that it can be different because I had a HP that I took for granted that was pretty wonderful in that regard. Then one day I was here in the bedroom and it was connected to the wall by the cord and I got up and went to the bathroom. When I came back I somehow caught my foot in the cord and helicoptered that laptop right into the floor with amazing force. It was over so fast and yet there was that slow motion thing that happens in your mind where you see it happening and you want to stop it, but it’s too late. The speed and force that it hit the floor with was really something to see. Heartbreaking and amazing.

So now I have this Sony VOMIT, er, VAIO. I won’t share all the reasons why I don’t like it. Being too small for my fingers is just one problem. Let’s just say I warned you.

Now…where to from here?

Luck is interesting. The program on HBO. It may be too dark. Or maybe I’m too close to that world. Or have been. I grew up around Del Mar and have been to the racetrack many times, though not for years except one special combination poker tournament and day at the races with my brother and Ocean’s Eleven casino a few years ago. When I was a teenager I went with my dad and brother fairly regularly. At least, that’s what it seemed for a kid who couldn’t legally bet. I guess it wasn’t THAT often, but maybe spending time with my dad and brother and seeing my uncles there gives the memories more emotional impact. I hadn’t really noticed the dark side of the track through first-hand experience. My life was happier than what you see on HBO. I heard of the possibility of corruption.

One time someone told me about – jeez- all these computer interruptions are annoying – would you like to restart your computer now or in 4 hours? your cpu is working really hard – how he watched how much money was bet and you could tell from betting patterns if there was corruption and you could bet on that corruption. I don’t know if it was true, but it seemed plausible. After reading and watching Freakonomics, my guess is that he was onto something.

Apparently, when you have the knowledge to do something like this – you know who is going to win the race – you wait until the very last 30 seconds to place your big bet. If my memory serves me they used to “flash” the amount bet every 30 seconds and you would be able to see how much money was bet on each horse to win, place and show up to that moment. You could also see all the money bet on the – High CPU usage message AGAIN – I guess the CPU on this computer is just too weak for my taste – exotic bets. I won’t go into all of those here.

If you saw that a bunch of money was bet on a horse in the 30 seconds before the race went off you could be sure that somebody knew something. Now, did that mean that the race was fixed or that the owner or someone close to him or her or them was supremely confident that their horse would win? IF, and you definitely had to be ready, if you were in line very close to the window, you could then bet on the same horse that all that money came down on seconds before. You had to be in the right place and you had to follow through and you had to hope the person in front of you was not taking too long. You could only have one person in front of you. This involved letting people go ahead of you in line in the minutes prior to this so that you would be in exactly the right place at the right time.

Get to the window too early and you had to awkwardly let someone else in front of you. Letting people go ahead of you was something that was better done several people back in line, so you had to be good at estimating. If you didn’t know how long people took on average, you wouldn’t be second in line just as that semi-final “flash” came down. If you were too far back in line or the person in front of you took too long, you could hear the cashier say, “We’re closed for this race” or “No more bets” or something like that. Can you imagine doing all that planning and letting people go ahead of you and then the person in front of you takes just a few seconds too long? I think my brother told me that once or twice in the old days of the 1970s, he actually missed a bet because the ticket only partially printed. This was before the computer sophistication of today.

Again, was that final, hugely disproportionate sum of money bet in the last minute from corruption or supreme confidence. I’m not sure you could prove it without some corroboration. Thank you, spell check.

I guess I haven’t told you WHY they waited so long to place the bet. Some have probably figured it out. They waited that long to place the bet because the bet changes the odds. I won’t explain the ins and outs of a parimutuel system here – just know that if a horse had $60,000 bet on it and the odds were 3-1 and then $50,000 more placed on it, you would no longer be getting 3-1. You might be getting 5-2 or 2-1 or less. And with that large of a bet, that makes a real difference in the money you get back. You might be wondering what difference WHEN you bet makes.

Well, people see those “flashes” and they see when the odds change and that can change their behavior. They might decide to bet on that horse if someone is THAT financially confident. BUT, if you put the money down very, very close to the time of the actual race, the crowd doesn’t have time to react. They may go stand in line, but it will be too late for them to place their bet by the time they get to the betting window.

I’m not saying it’s true, but it was what I was told by one guy who seemed fairly sharp. However, it could just be wishful thinking on the part of gamblers. I’ve noticed that many gamblers seem to see patterns where other people don’t. The question is – are those patterns useful?

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2 responses

  1. For what it’s worth, I think computers are our first step towards the cyborg: when they are born, when they are new; they are simple, amenable creatures. I’d like to be in the factory – I bet they cry like babies! They probably need their daipers changing. We get them just after infant school. They have the basics of learning, nothing else. That’s when we learn whether or not we’re good parents – if we treat them well they grow up into valuable members of internet society, with strong values and….oh, it goes on! Thing is, I don’t know about you, but I don’t see myself as a good parent. And so, I fear, my computer is a rebellious sociopath with recidivist tendencies. By the time most are in their prime, I fear mine will have gone completely and irrevocably insane, ready to join the little pile of similar casualties in the dark asylum beneath the stairs – great blog, BTY; sorry if I ruined it!

  2. You didn’t ruin it, Frederick. Your post struck me as funnier with the apology at the end, though! 🙂 Even now I had to tell it that I don’t want important Windows updates for another 4 hours. I just want Windows, Sony, Norton & all the rest to get out of my way! 🙂

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