This has been an exciting year for me, I’ve discovered the wonderful world of association football or soccer as it’s know here in the United States. I jumped in head first in March by following the local team Real Salt Lake and watching the World Cup during the summer. I’ve even picked up a subscription to Dish World to allow me to watch European football as well. You might say that I’ve become obsessed with football, and rightfully so. It’s action packed the entire match if you know what to look for. While I do enjoy watching the various matches on television, I do have a fondness for watching matches life. There is nothing more exciting than standing in the crowd and cheering your team on to victory. I’m lucky enough to live close to a major league team, so attending games isn’t much of a hassle. The only downside is the cost. At twenty bucks a ticket it adds up quickly when you start purchasing multiple tickets for multiple games. Season tickets help some by lowering the cost per game, but the cost of season tickets for Real Salt Lake are out of the range I would feel comfortable spending.
Luckly this year Real Salt Lake announced they were forming a new USL Pro team, Real Monarchs SLC. The Monarchs were specificly formed to bring younger players into the Real system and provide more playing time for some of the reserves on the first team. This exciting news because it allows fans of Real Salt Lake a chance to see a quality brand of football for a much lower cost. For example I can purchase two season tickets for Real Monarchs SLC less than the cost one season ticket for Real Salt Lake … and that exactly what I did.
I’m super excited for next year. Not just because of the season tickets, but because of were the are located. Because I purchased them within a hour of going on sale I was able to snag two seats on the first row of section 24 at Rio Tinto Stadium. It’s going to be a long winter this year, but the thought of Real Monarchs SLC’s inaugural season should help it fly by.
It’s been one and half weeks since I started skating and I’m happy to report that I’m alive with no broken bones. However I have plenty of bruises, lacerations, and sore muscles to show for my efforts. I’ve been skating almost everyday for at least a half hour and I’ve become more confident in my ability to just ride the board. In the beginning I was obsessed with learn how to Ollie stationary, but quickly discovered that I was far better off become more comfortable riding than I was at attempting any tricks from the start I’ve also discovered a few details I would have liked to have know prior to beginning skateboarding as a fat guy. So below I present my tips for those of us who have put on a few pounds over the years.
Beginner Skateboarding Tips for the Overweight Gentleman
- Complete skateboards still need to be properly setup. If you buying your first board get a complete setup. There’s no need to worry about picking out compatible components; the board is “ready to ride.” That’s the marketing pitch for the pitch you’ll get when you go to buy a complete and for the most part it’s true, but I found out the hard way that my trucks needed to be tightened down and that the king pin needed to be tightened to prevent wheel bite and excess movement while I rode the board. As a beginner you’ll want a tighter ride as you learn to balance on the board. This is especially important as you try to get that fat gut of yours centred over the board.
- Skating is exhausting. I use to make fun of kids I’d see walking with their skateboard. Like most people I assumed skating was easy. Push, push, coast…sounds pretty easy right? Well, turns out I was wrong. You use an incredible amount of muscle pushing the skateboard and balancing while you coast. Every must from your lower back and abs down is used all the time. It’s amazing how out of breath I was after just travailing one mile. I’ve had to change my shirt after thirty minutes of riding because I’m drenched in sweet.
- Your wrist is pretty weak. FOOSH is a termed often used for an injury that occurs when you try to break a fall with your outstretched hand. Trying to stop two hundred plus pounds from hitting the ground with your outstretched hand will remind you exactly how weak the wrist is. Needless to say I’ve sprained my wrist and have been wearing a wrist brace for the past few days. You should consider investing in a pair of wrist guards.
When I was about eleven years old I got a Nash skateboard for Christmas. I use the term skateboard loosely, because basically it was a piece of quarter inch plywood with four wheels and about five pounds of plastic crap bolted onto the bottom. By today’s standards it was a piece of crap, but it was my first exposure into the world of skateboarding. I never learned any tricks or even how to ride the thing properly, but I’ve always had a fascination with skateboarding. After all the pros make it look so easy. Hell the teenagers at the local skate park make it look easy too. So after twenty years of fantasizing about being the next Tony Hawk I went out and bought a skateboard. What’s the worst that could happen?
If you’re wondering I didn’t bust my ass. I busted my hip, which has zero fat on it, not once or twice, but three times. I would have preferred to land on my butt since it has so much cushioning, but the skate gods demand human sacrifice. Bytheway skateboarding is hard as hell! I can’t stand on the stupid thing let alone kick it, flip it, and stick it. Clearly those teenagers have magic powers or are in league with the devil.
The whole reason I bought a skateboard was because my youngest boy wants to take up skateboarding. I figured it would be a great way to spend some father-son time together, but I think I’ll teach him how to drive first. That way we can bound together as he drives me to the emergency room after I break my hip.
It maybe cliche, but truth exists in the quotations about inspiration within everyday life. Such inspiration stuck me while at work this past week for a game design based of regular expressions. Before I continue on with the story allow me to lay the ground work as to why I began brainstorming ideas for a board game. I enjoy board games; you might even go as far as to say it’s an obsession of mine. Like so many of us who are into board games, I have a desire to design and develop a board game which will be enjoyed by millions around the world. Well maybe not millions, but you get the idea. After all just how hard could it be? Well it turns out it’s very difficult; the gold standard continues to increase each year. And with thousands of new games released each year it’s very difficult to create something that stands out among the sea of new games.
In the past I’ve had several ideas for games, but none of them seem to be the right fit for some reason or another. Which leads me back to my original story. I was at work trying to solve a problem with filtering text out of log files using our system monitoring software. As the old saying goes:
If you have a problem and you try to solve it with a regular expression, then you have two problems.
For those of you not familiar with regular expressions, they are series of characters used to match a string of text or numbers. For example, if I created an telephone directory application I would use a regular expression to determine if a series of numbers entered as the phone number were formatted correctly. I would use the expression below to match and validate phone numbers entered as 123-456-7890, 123 456 7890, 123.456.7890, or +91 (123) 456-7890
As you can see regular expressions can be very cryptic.
I don’t work with regular expression on a daily or weekly basis, so I’m pretty rusty when I have create them. While reading more about negative look aheads I thought to myself how it would be much easier if I knew the regular expression syntax rather than having to look it up each time. It didn’t take me much time to make the connection between my need to learn something and to thinking about how I could develop a game to help me learn the syntax for regular expressions.
From this one idea the inspirational flood gates have opened up for me. I have the basic idea for my game and have even thought of a way to theme the game to mask the regular expressions so as to make the game more appealing to a wider audience. I hope to begin developing this game soon, and to begin play testing this summer.
From this, I hope you begin to look for ideas for your own game designs from everyday problems you encounter. You never know when you may stumble upon a great game design idea.