2014 MLS Eastern Conference Standings Prediction

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Taking a look at the other side of the table, here are my predictions for the standings in the Eastern Conference. Despite not housing as many of the perennial powers in the league, the East is difficult to predict due to how volatile results have been across the board for the teams in the past few years. The rise of teams like Kansas City and New York have only occurred in the last couple of years, while teams like Columbus, Chicago, and DC have all slacked off in that time.

With the amount of player transactions this year, the East is going to be even harder to predict. But that doesn’t mean we can’t make ourselves out to look like imbeciles by trying! As always, feedback is most appreciated. Let me know your thoughts on my predictions in the comments or on Twitter, and if you have predictions of your own, make them known as well!

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2014 MLS Western Conference Standings Prediction

fgktnyaimgp9fs2rll5lhtmdtPredicting the Western Conference is always a tough battle, for differing reasons than predicting the East. For one, it’s been a perennial powerhouse of clubs for a good 10 years. Secondly, where the top clubs finish is always a crapshoot as the gaps in performance between them are almost non-existent. Most of this (as with the Eastern predictions) are my gut instinct, but it has a good dose of factual evidence and objective analysis to it as well.

For the most part, the West should remain similarly to the 2013 season. There are a couple exceptions, though. As always, feedback and commentary is always welcome. Let me know who you have in your own predictions. Or just berate mine!

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Your Revolution is Rather Resistible: a Critique

I wrote the following critique in February 2012 which I planned to publish on either a collaborative libertarian website or my own blog. Unfortunately, the document was “swept” into a random folder on an old computer, and neither ever occured… until now.

Irresistible Revolution by Shane ClaiborneI am a Christian. Whatever that means.

As a “Christian” living within the “Christian Church”, it’s apparent to me that there has been a growing divide, similar to how the Old and New Mennonite Churches split decades ago. That is, the Old seems to be set on fundamentalist ideas of rigid doctrine, working for salvation, and “getting saved”; while the New seems to be more focused on showing God’s love through social and community settings, ie, providing for the poor through state-sanctioned welfare programs. This is not unlike the aged-old divide in the American political spectrum of Right versus Left. Indeed, many in the Old camp claim to be Republicans just as many in the New camp claim to be Democrats. A quick read of Murray Rothbard’s 1965 essay entitled “Left and Right: The Prospects for Liberty” would seem to shed a new perspective on this political dichotomy.

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Handling the Emotions of Defeat

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Sport is a bitch sometimes. It’s a cruel mistress. It’s abusive and demoralizing and disenfranchising.

And yet fans continue coming back to it, to their team, to their players, to their city. Regardless of how many times they’ve been frustrated or mistreated or flatly denied and disappointed, fans come back. Only in the most dire and devastating of circumstances do fans ever leave (disbandment, lack of connection to a front office or organization, etc).

This begs the simple question:  Why?

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Between the Cracks

I’m very aware that I’m not mainstream. I freely admit to it. And I’m ok with that.

I was never the popular kid growing up. Anything but, actually. At the same time, I never really disliked the groups of people that were considered “popular”; the jocks, the wealthy, the socially connected, the attractive. To me, they just “were”. I got along with most people. I suspect it was because I was conditioned as a child to be non-confrontational, therefore I felt it necessary to accommodate people and meet them where they were for who they were.

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unpacking…

Coming home. Bittersweet emotions entwine my heart in a struggle as soon as I enter the front door. It is the feeling of being exactly who I am, on the path that I am on, at this exact moment- aka reality.

Gone are the fleeting ideas of who I could become, the places I could travel to, and the amazing things that I could accomplish. To say they are still dreams and dreams can come true is discouraging as I am now aware of the gaping gorge between ‘the present’ and ‘the dream’. Bills need to be paid, and somehow my dreams would cost a lot of money to get started or at least on their way. Children need to be cared for; I guess I forgot about the day to day requirements of meeting their basic needs. Real time exists- nothing happens with the wave of a magic wand or even over night.

As I fold my freshly laundered clothes and put them away without much thought into my closet and drawers, I take notice of the melancholy that has washed over me. It has washed me into a lighter shade than who I was hours before sitting in a lawn chair, pretending to live a different life.

As I crawl into my bed and pull the familiar weight of the quilt up to my chin, it feels as if my Grandmother is wrapping me in her arms and telling me, “it is okay to be who I am today and that I can change my tomorrow when I get there”.

Sigh. Why is it that vacation has to end?

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#MapMOOC Lesson 2 Map Assignment

This week’s assignment for Coursera‘s class entitled “Maps and the Geospatial Revolution”, we were asked to observe change between US Topographical maps and satellite imagery. I struggled a bit to find something that interested me. Toying with various parts of Ogden and Salt Lake City, Utah, I moved to my wife’s native city, Green Bay, Wisconsin.

It was here that I remembered that the interchange of US 41 and WI 32 was beeing massively reconstructed. The old diamond interchange was being virtually blown apart. In its place will be a huge fly-over interchange costing hundreds of millions of dollars. Also part of this project is something that’s rather unique and cutting edge:  superstreet intersections a bit further west on WI 32. Wisconsin DOT is choosing not to signalize these intersections like is commonly done, so it’ll be interesting to see how it functions once the project is completed.

Anyhow, this got me to thinking — I don’t really know anything about this project other than what I’ve seen on local Green Bay news stations whilst visiting the in-laws. I’m in the civil engineering field in Pennsylvania, so why not find one of my projects?!

And so I did.

Behold, my map of the US 15/PA 581 Interchange Improvement Project. No further explanation should be needed. Check out the map:

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