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About MickinMD

  • Birthday 10/01/1950

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Baltimore, Maryland
  • Interests
    chess, cycling, science, politics, history

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  • Bike(s)
    cheap mountain bike

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  1. Vitaminwater is running a contest where someone will be chosen to see if they can avoid using a smartphone for a year with a $100K prize and $10K if they last 6 months. You do get to use a provided 1996-era cellphone to make calls. For Tracfone users like me that don't use half their 100 minutes/month, this is a piece of cake - though I'd have to go back to my 2"x2"x4" dual camera/camcorder for pictures. Here's the story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2018/12/12/vitaminwater-smartphone-challenge-100-k-dollars/2298228002 Here's the vitaminwater link: https://www.vitaminwater.com/ Since I rarely have used Twitter (last post in 1995) and never Instagram - you need to send a message with one or the other to enter, I hope I got it right by simply ending my entry message with the two hashtags in the instructions below and a picture of me walking Jake. post a photo to Twitter or Instagram telling vitaminwater® why you need a break from your smartphone. what would you do with all that time? go wild, be out there, and wow us. make sure to include hashtags #nophoneforayear and #contest. guidelines to assist a successful transition note: not legally binding. at all. you may not use any smartphone for 365 days. if texting is a pleasant experience or you can get on the internet, it’s probably a smartphone. this means you may not physically operate, caress, hug or otherwise be physically affectionate with anyone’s smartphone. if you’re lying in bed and miss your phone, do not attempt to sneak a midnight scroll…just close your eyes and dream about vitaminwater®. that’s what we do. every night. and sometimes at the office. you got this.
  2. MickinMD

    You should have some ham, you know.

    I had my McMuffin-on-steroids today and it was superb: a 2 oz. slice of hot ham, a scrambled egg incorporating a little garlic powder, shredded sharp cheddar cheese and salsa, all encased in an soft, round onion roll instead of a much smaller muffin. It's a lot more egg and meat than in a McMuffin!
  3. MickinMD

    Today's cellphone find

    They're getting cheaper and cheaper. Not so long ago, anything more than 4 GB was relatively expensive. My Galaxy S7 that I got in March takes up to a 256 GB micro SDHC card. They were over $100 on Amazon but the 128 GB card I got was $39.99, more than enough memory to store a couple weeks of vacation pictures and videos plus a lot more.
  4. MickinMD

    Christmas stories

    I also have a short-of-nutrients Christmas story. There was a foot or so of snow on the ground, my parents didn't have a car to begin with, and we weren't going anywhere on Christmas. That didn't stop 16 year-old me from collecting my my best high school friends John (who became an aerospace engineer) and Mike (who became a career backup musician for the Beach Boys) and walking back to my house were we engaged in a snowball battle with another group of friends. Suddenly, my mother called us into the house. My one year-old brother was still using a bottle and Mom was out of milk. She handed me $5 and asked us to try to find a store open around 7 pm on Christmas despite a foot of snow. We walked a few miles in the snow passing closed store after closed store. Then, on the major highway, a couple miles from my house, a milk truck had pulled over into the snow-blocked slow lane selling milk, ice cream, etc. at highly inflated prices. We marveled at the luck! He was down to pints but we bought all we could get for $5. On the way back, John and Mike said it was magic - if we turned around and looked, there would be no milk truck there. Mom was delighted, even though the amount of milk would have cost about $1 in normal times. To this day, I tell my brother I saved his life and he owes me forever!
  5. MickinMD

    This looks suspicious

    Five of the six finalists for the final round of the Chess Team USA: Southeast Team Championship have been determined. The sixth spot is between myself and another player. We are tied in the semi-final round and each have 1 game to go in that round. He wins on tiebreakers if we end up tied. I saw that he (White below) was surely losing until his opponent, a 2058 rated expert who has already qualified as one of the finalists, just made the following move with his King instead of playing Queen to a5-checkmate, a move a Class E 1000 level player, with 2 days to think about the move, would have probably seen in an instant. Is the expert toying with Black, also an expert, because he should have resigned by now and it's almost an insult to play on? I hope so. Meanwhile, my final semifinal round game (below) is going well where I'm (White) ahead a Knight for 2 Pawns - probably soon to be 3 Pawns but I can easily win one back: if he moves his Knight to a threatening position, I'll play Queen to h4-check and his game begins falling apart. At this point, if I knew no hanky panky was going on, I'd offer my opponent a draw, gaining 1/2 point and advancing to the final round knowing the guy in the other game, tied with me now, was sure to lose. My opponent is eliminated from advancing, is slightly losing to me now, and since he is rated slightly below me, he'd gain several rating points for a draw (and I'd lose an equal number from my Class A 1878 rating). But I'm wondering in case the one expert does another expert a favor and lets him work his way into a stalemate (no piece can move without moving into check) or other draw, should I keep playing on to a win? If the draw occurs can I then claim the expert threw the game? Not if they're clever enough to generate a stalemate.
  6. MickinMD


    This is one of those "get a life" complaints. I coached a cross country runner who was also my chemistry student who had some mental problems. One of the things that severely bugged him was that the bells ending class were up to 30 seconds early or late compared to his accurate digital watch. I explained to him that the bell schedule was not controlled by a digital machine: it was on a rotating clock dial where pegs were placed in holes to make the bells ring at specific times, and the pegs were not engineered to be extremely accurate or precise (repeatable). But it still bugged him. The bell would ring 15 seconds early, I'd tell the class it was dismissed, and he would yell, "No! We can't go yet! The bell was early!" I then told him it was the bell that determined when I should dismiss class, unless there was a reason to keep the class going for last second instructions, not the exact time. It STILL bugged him - and continued all the way through high school! He probably grew up to be much like the jerk in the article.
  7. MickinMD

    You should have some ham, you know.

    Trichanosis! It's an infection caused by the roundworm Trichinella spiralis that is often found poorly kept pork. I'm sure it was the reason it was banned in the Middle Eastern religions. Today, it's not a problem and pork needs to be cooked to a lower temperature than beef or poultry to be safe, 140-145F.
  8. MickinMD

    Happy Wednesday!

    I'm tired today for some reason. It's one of those cold but no-wind and sunny "40 degrees feels like 55" days so I'm going to eat lunch and then take our 80 lb Jake for a walk. He got a haircut but has enough fur to stay warm - he also has a Mohawk! I'll have to take a picture!
  9. MickinMD

    Selling my favorite lens

    That's a very excellent lens - for those who have the urge or love of truly excellent photography. I used to be heavily into cameras and multiple big lenses and developing the pictures - a local weekly newspaper used to hire me to occasionally shoot local events like carnivals or the guy running through the streets with the Olympic Torch. Then I got older, didn't have the time and didn't like crawling through Egyptian pyramids and mastabas, etc. on vacations with lots of equipment. First I compromised to a relatively low-res mini VHS camcorder that took 640x480 stills then upgraded to an excellent 2"x2"x4" dual camera/camcorder - phone pics were not good enough yet. Then it got to the point where the video and stills on the latest smartphones were good enough quality for my memories, even in dim light. So cheap me decided to splurge more than my normal minor-brand smartphone for $150 last March when Tracfone dropped the Samsung Galaxy S7 to $429 from $629 which was previously $859 - it's $349 now. A $40, 128 GB SD Card meant I had more than the storage I needed for a couple weeks worth of vacations, etc. Before buying I went on YouTube and watched the side-by-side videos and stills comparing the latest phones, Note 9 (comes with two lenses - one for zoom), etc. to the Galaxy S7. The improvements in the newest phones were negligible and the S7's quality sufficed. Here are a couple camera and screen caps, where the large pics are resized to much smaller versions of the orig. 4032x3024 pixels: Goldendoodle Jake and me on a walk. In cropped images of the original, you can see the detail in the grass, asphalt, stones, Jake, my jeans and shoes, etc. and the fact I didn't shave: In bad light - bright light coming in through a window behind the photo subjects, the automatic settings adjusted enough to get a good picture - and preserve details like the happy birthday, etc. decorations on the cake: The camera takes great pictures in dim light. In the following video I didn't yet know that you can manually adjust camera focus on the fly. Even so, the attempts to get 10x zoomed images of our blonde Adam in the very back left side of his Saint Philip Neri Elementary School Orchestra in May, 2018 yielded ok results - these are all video caps of the 1920 x 1080 video and appear much brighter here than in real life where the girl in the left rear of the first picture below (slightly zoomed) was very much in shadow. Otherwise the video is fine. Here are caps of a handheld-while-walking 1920x1080 video of 10 year-old Adam, up to 30 feet off the ground (wearing a harness), playing American Ninja Warrior and struggling to complete the last phase of the Spider Monkey Adventure at Wisp Resort in Western MD on July 1: Adam scared the crap out of his mother by doing a look-ma-no-hands return to the base via a zip line: Here's the whole video done with my Samsung Galaxy S7 smartphone:
  10. MickinMD

    No more Intercourse

    I've visited a number of towns in Amish Country, PA, including Intercourse, Bird in Hand, and Blue Ball.
  11. MickinMD

    isn't it romantic...

    I've always had great respect for Audrey Hepburn for things other than her great beauty and talent. She worked for the Resistance against the Nazis in her native Belgium as a young teen in WW2, including many dangerous missions where she was nearly caught delivering crucial messages on her bike, etc. Her family moved to England after the war and she trained to be a dancer. She was eventually told she'd never be a professional. She turned to acting and was supposedly "discovered" by major movie producers on the steps of the Monte Carlo casino in Monaco. All of the songs she sang in her movies used the dubbed voices of other singers except for Moon River in Breakfast at Tiffany's.
  12. MickinMD

    You should have some ham, you know.

    Note that it's forbidden by the religions of 1/4 of the world's people. I love it. I just bought a 12 oz. package of 6 round ham slices at Aldi, a package of round, sandwich-sized, onion rolls, and I'm going to make my own McMuffin knockoff tomorrow with a slice of hot ham, a scrambled egg incorporating a little diced onion, garlic powder, shredded sharp cheddar cheese and salsa, all encased in an onion roll instead of a much smaller muffin. I have those rubber rings you can put right on the frying pan and pour the egg mixture in it to keep it round. It's a lot more egg than in a McMuffin! When I was an industrial research chemist, a fellow chemist named Aziz was a Muslim from Pakistan who was not religious at all. Every so often, our research group would send someone out at lunchtime to pick up pork BBQ subs from a great local restaurant. Aziz would never taste one. I asked him why he wouldn't eat pork, since he wasn't religious. He said, "It's sort of how you're brought up and the culture gets ingrained in your brain. I would be like someone inviting you to eat dog meat."
  13. MickinMD

    I never liked Julia Roberts...

    A woman and I have been planning to lose weight and climb Mt. Kilimanjaro (the easy hiking route) within a few years. I saw a documentary where Julia Roberts was doing some heavy hiking and said to my companion, "We ought to invite Julia Roberts to climb with us." For the next half-hour I learned how my companion could not stand Julia Roberts. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. So it's a shame I won't get to see how her holes have developed.
  14. MickinMD

    I won an award

    Congrats! Nice to know we have some hard-working people in the group!
  15. MickinMD

    I think I tried to kill myself tonight

    Some days it just all goes wrong and you have to laugh about to keep from going crazy. If you live to tell about, it could always have been worse. Like it was for the hoard of mice that invaded my home. Today all the mouse noises in my house stopped. Some bags of poison pellets from TomCat did the job - they ate them like peanut butter!