28 May 2020

Secretly Judging You By Your Shoelaces

Day 75 of quarantine.  Most of us have been on lockdown since π Day, the 74th day of this year.  This means we have been on lock down for more than half of the days in the year.  This also reason (or excuse) I have not put on real pants or real shoes since 14 March 2020.

Speaking of shoes, there is a detail on shoes that I have noticed since I watched an episode of Columbo.  The episode named "An Exercise in Fatality" (Season 4, Episode 1), staring Robert Conrad as the protagonist opposite Peter Falk.  Spoiler Alert!  The case is solved by Columbo when he notices the shoelaces on the victim's shoes.

So, for decades, I have been obsessing over not just shoes, but laces.  How the shoes are laced, and how they are tied.  I have always wanted to write up this tutorial-like post...so excited.  Here is a sample of my laces:

Proper lacing and tying of shoelaces...according to me

Keep this first image in mind, I will get to the details later.  There are many ways to lace up shoes.  Many of them are more for artistic and aesthetic reasons with funky patterns, twisting the laces, using different laces.  Most of these methods are not functional, meaning they do not secure the shoe as well, at least not efficiently.  We are going to look at three basic, and very similar ways to lace up.  The difference is in the details that nerds like me (probably only me) will notice and secretly judge you by.

First, we will take a look at the most common way shoes are laced up.

Common lace up
Go get a pair of trainers and look at the laces.  They are most likely going to be laced like the image above.  This is the common way to lace shoes when they leave the factory.  Sometimes only the first few eyelets are laced, but they usually start out the same.

In, out, out, out...
This technique starts with the aglet going into the first eyelets, then it goes out the remaining holes as we go up the eyestay.  The question is, why this pattern?

I have not figured out  the reason why the manufactures want an 'overhand' approach on the first set of holes, then use and 'underhand' approach for the remaining holes.  It just does not seem efficient to change 'attack angles'.  Why not pick one direction and and go with that?

Chevrons pointing up towards leg, huge pentagon gap

Keep in mind, that I am obsessively concerned about this stuff...in an unhealthy way.

This way of lacing creates an eyesore in negative space.   In the image above, note the chevrons (negative space between laces) are pointing upward.  The main eyesore is the pentagon or inverted home plate shape at the bottom that is created using this default lacing pattern.  Depending on the distance between the eyelets and thickness of laces, this gap can be really stick out.

It just seems like such a huge gap between the row one and two, and row two and three.  While the other rows are relatively even spaced and aesthetically pleasing, that bottom negative space is triggering all sorts of OCD alarms.

Here is one solution:

Alternate lacing method

We start off by going under, lacing from the inside-out, and continue until the end.  Simple.

Lacing from the inside-out, underhand method

Using this method, all the laces are going in the same way and you have nice, uniformed spacing between the laces.  I first noticed this method in dress shoes...you know, because of details.

Chevrons pointing up
Pro tip:  I used to work at a skating rink and we periodically had to lace up new skates or re-lace rental skates.  The underhand method is faster and more efficient.  Also, if you just want to lace up fast and do not care about pattern, you start off normally, then you lace up two holes at ones.  Two on the right, laces parallel, two on the left, two right, two left...etc.  While it is not the best way to lace skates, it is the fastest.  Take it from me, I was one of the fastest skate-lacers in the county.

Instead of going from the inside-out, I use the overhand method to lace up.  The first thing I do when I get the shoes home it to undo and re-lace both shoes.  I always start with the left shoe.  Why?  Because I am crazy, you should know that by now.

When I started playing hockey and needed my skates to fit snug and stay on.  So, I adopted the 'outside-in' approach of lacing. This method does a better job of 'locking' the laces, ensuring a tighter fitting skate.  I just transferred this technique over to my daily footwear.

Outside-in method

Keep it consistent, with even spacing of the chevrons, as shown in this and the previous approach to lacing.

Chevrons pointing down towards toes

Because we are coming in from the outside, instead of going out from the inside, the chevrons are reversed.  They point down...they also point forward to the 'normal' direction of travel.

In addition, I have the laces overlap on in alternating pattern to create a uniform look

For example, on the right shoe (pictured), the right side of the lacing overlaps the left.  Of course, this is reversed on the left show. Remember that first photo?

Of course, I take it one step further.  Noticed how the laces are tied.

Hold on.  Go get a pair of shoes and tie both laces like you normally do.  They probably look like this:

"Right-handed bow"
..or this:

"Left-handed bow"

Now compare your bows to mine.  Yes, my method of tying might be a little different than yours. Some people use the 'butterfly', some use the 'bunny ears', some use the 'wrap around'.  There are other process you can use to tie your bow, it will usually slant to one side.  Your pair of bows are most likely both rest leaning to the same side, either right or left, like (traditional) windshield wipers.

Leaning to the left, Left-handed bow

If you tie a 'right-handed bow', it will always rest leaning to the right.  No matter how you twist the bow, it will rest leaning to the right...and vice versa. A left leaning bow can only be accomplished by tying a 'left-handed bow'.  I doubt these are officially called "right-handed" or "left-handed" bows/knots, but you get the idea.

Right-handed bow leans to the right

Spoiler Alert!  In that Columbo episode, the 'handedness' of the bow on the victim's shoe was what solved the case for Columbo.

Note that the angle of my bow follows angle and direction of the laces, and they are mirrored to each other.  I always lace and tie my shoelaces so they have a forward momentum look, and so they have the same 'flow'.  This can only happen if the bows are tied in reverse of each other.  The "left-handed" bow is tied on the left shoe, while the "right-handed bow" is on the right shoe.

Mirrored look
Yes, I taught myself to tie ambidextrous bows, just so I can achieve 'mirrored' bows.  No one ever notices this, but now that you know this phenomenon exists, you cannot unsee it.

Does it make me run or skate faster? No. Does it mean I am crazy?  Very likely!  But, if I get murdered by Robert Conrad and he puts shoes on me afterwards and ties some random bows, Columbo will notice that the bows do not match my other shoes, and the case will be solved.

04 May 2020

My Crazy Idea for NHL Restart

By now, we should be into the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  It is usually that exciting time of year for hockey fans.  But, like you, we are sitting at home watching random hockey related videos to try and fill that void in an effort to escape the reality of the global situation.

A few weeks ago, I came up with this crazy idea to salvage the season and award a champion.

First, we will follow safety regulations and will have this event  happen at a neutral site or sites.  It really does not matter as much as this wacko format.  Buckle up, here we go.

We go right into playoffs.  All stats will count towards Playoffs, so Alex Ovechkin will have to wait until next season to pass Mike Gartner in all-time goals list.

Sure, there will be conditioning and practices for about two weeks, but when it starts, it starts...right into a 32 team bracket.  Yeah, there are 31 teams right now...therefore, as defending champion, St. Louis Blues get a bye in the first round.  Okay, you can argue Boston with their top overall seed and eventual President's Trophy.  But, this is my stupid idea...and it gets stupider.

Crude Playoff Bracket
The bracket will be filled based on current Conference standings.  The first seed in each Conference will play the last (16) team.  It just happens that the Blues are first in the West, they will play the winner of Nashville vs Vancouver (8 vs 9)

There will be no re-seeding after each round.

The First Round will be a Best-of-Three format.  This will also act as your end of the season and final push into the traditional 16-team playoffs.  Every team gets a shot at the Cup, even Detroit.  Crazy, you say?  Well, we are living in crazy times, my friend.

Like back in the day, Conferences will alternate game days.  Example:  Day 1, all East games.  Day 2, all West games.  Day 3, all East...etc.

Here is a simulation of First Round with some upsets.

Round 2
The Second Round is Best-of-Five format.  I will explain why later on.  This is where the 'normal' playoffs begin with the 16-teams.

Round 3

Yes, I totally made all the Western Canadian teams get into the next round.  Come on, Battle of Alberta in the Playoffs.  We had the Battle of Pennsylvania and Battle of Ontario in the last round.  This is all fantasy, anyway.

With eight teams left, we go to standard Best-of-Seven from here on out.

Round 4
Okay, the only one that makes any sense at this point is Boston.  Three of the final four are Canadian team are highly unlikely...even in the CFL.


Totally dreaming of an All-Canadian Finals.  I will end it there, but you already know who I want to win.  Anyway, you get the idea.

Why the Best of 3 - 5 - 7 - 7 - 7 format?  In this format of 32 teams, you would need 17 wins to win the Cup, instead of the traditional 16 wins.  St.Louis, with the First Round bye, would need 15 wins.

So, there it is.  Every team gets to play at least two games and a chance to compete for the Cup.  Season saved and we have a legitimate champion.\

The longest this format can can go, with all series going the distance, and no rest days in between rounds, is 62 days.  If every series is a sweep with no rest days, we can crown our champion in 34 days.

This works for the NBA, as their season was cut short, as well.  The NBA schedule is usually about a week or two behind the NHL schedule.  With 30 teams in NBA, the top seeds in each Conference get a first round bye, they play winner of 8 vs 9.  Done!

You can thank me later.

03 May 2020


Deep into the pandemic and quarantine.  While it does seem to slow down these calls, it does not stop them.

7 May 2020
  310-322-8705  El Segundo, CA - A week into the month, and this is the first call.  Obviously, this is another spoofed number.  I am amazed it took so long for the telemarketers to call.  The last call was over two weeks ago. Perhaps the they are cutting down on jobs.  Do robots get laid off?   Fuck you!

9 May 2020
 949-550-7135  Irvine, CA - Early Saturday morning, looks like "Micheal"got another text

No need to reply STOP, I will just BLOCK...fuck you!

17 May 2020
  657-274-2192  Morristown, NJ -  Same message, different number.

Also blocked.  Fuck you!

21 May 2020
  419-495-5007  Ohio - Call Protect, where have you been all this time?

Obvioulsy, I do not check my phone that often.  But, good thing Call Protect intercepted this Fraud Risk from Ohio.  Even when I did a search for this to find where the call came from, the search results say "telemarketer".  Yeah, I know.  But, from where?  Call Protect says it is from Ohio, I guess that is good enough...no that it matters. I am just trying to keep a consistent format, here.

Where was I?  Oh yeah.  Fuck you!

24 May 2020
 218-396-2705  Becker, MN - This is a spoofed number.  If you did a search for this number and ended up here...first of all, welcome.  Second, your number has been used to make telemarketing calls from the evil empire known as Door Dash.  I got five texts in 74 minutes.

Look at this mess.  Who orders food from five places?  Am I that hungry?  I guess it could be someone having a party.

Join me while I dive deep into this.

  • Number 'originates' from Becker, Minnesota
  • The Pickle Barrel has locations in Montana and South Dakota.  Closest location to Becker is about a four hour drive.
  • Bulgogi BBQ just sounds generic.  There is no establishment named "Bulgogi BBQ" near Becker.  The closest Korean restaurant (at least a good one) is near Becker is in Minneapolis, about an hour away.
  • Noodle Me is in San Francisco, about a 29 hour drive.  Does Door Dash have a fucking airline service?
  • Chinese Dumpling House is in Port Hueneme, CA, about six hours South of San Francisco, and also 29 hour drive to Becker
  • Red & Hot Szechuan House is in Rancho Cucamonga, CA, an hour East of Port Hueneme, so only 28 hour drive to Becker.  
So here is the route that one would need to take to pick up food for this order

Douche Dash
Star at Noodle Me in San Francisco.   Drive down to Port Hueneme to pick up the Chinese Dumpling House Order.  Head East to Rancho Cucamonda to Red & Hot Szechuan House, and you better hope the food stays hot for this next journey.  Now, head Northeast to Sioux Falls to The Pickel Barrel, which happens to be the only non-Asian food on the order.  Wait, did you remember to pick up the 'Bulgogi BBQ' along the way.  You better hope the restaurant the order is from is somewhere on this route. That only took 36 hours...with no traffic.

Yeah, I get that there are multiple drivers, perhaps pilots, doing the delivery runs.  Still this is ridiculous.  Okay, now I am hungry.  Who should I call?  Fuck you!

26 May 2020
  916-436-6090  Fair Oaks, CA - Well, at least this was not Door Dash.  Still...fuck you!

27 May 2020
  323-333-5484  Los Angeles, CA - Pretty damn obvious that this another phishing scam.  But, let us take a look see.

Uh, there is no reason for me to be at any of these listed stores.  I would be a shitty "Mystery Shopper" since these places are foreign to me.

We continue.  So they want me to go to these stores and purchase AE gift cards and groceries. Well, if that does not sound like a scam...   Also, who the fuck is going out these days?   We are in the middle of a pandemic.  I like not interacting with people and $295 is not enough money for me to hang out with strangers.  Heck, double that at $600...and it is still not enough for me to hang out with people I know.

HR Walter?  Yeah, that sounds like a legit name.  Fuck you!

  415-553-0484  San Francisco, CA - Call Protect with eight saves

Is it a complete coincidence that the last three digits of this call match the last three of the previous text?  Yeah, probably.  But eight attempts from this number.  No need to do a search, we got confirmation from Call Protect that these douche bags are a Fraud Risk.  Fuck you!

  419-495-5007  Ohio - Wait, these fucknuts tried to contact me last week.  Just look at the 21 May entry.  I guess this was the first time in a while that Call Protect kicked in.  Well, looks like good old CP did some overtime today.  Fuck you!