Those of you may have remembered my diaries from early about my Korean girlfriend. For those if you who drink like fishes (Rodriguez Era? What's that? I just remember drinking all the tequila on Saturdays…) or weren't around back then, allow me to explain.
It's a nice peaceful evening at home. I'm drinking a beer and doing laundry. So I'm wearing some stained undershirt and whatever else happens to be clean (not much) when I hear a knock on my door. I open the door to find three generations of Koreans standing there.
These three generations of Koreans represent my girlfriend's (now wife's) younger sister through grandparents. They're fairly confused as when she gave them her address she neglected to mention the whole live in white boyfriend thing.
We'd assumed we were safe from surprise visits since her parents didn't really like America that much (they had visited Michigan in February once when it was something like -17 and expressed a desire never to come back, understandable). So when we moved in we figured we were safe from visits. Even more so the "Let's show up unannounced and surprise our daughter for her birthday" kind of visits.
So I met my future in laws while wearing a torn up undershirt, holding a beer bottle, and trying to keep a pair of Alaskan malamutes from rushing out the door and slobbering all over them. All while explaining to them that yes they did have the right address and their daughter does live here too. My introduction to the extended family was when my wife's little sister took a photo of me on her camera photo in said condition and posted it on her social networking profile. For bonus points of course my future spouse is at the office, so I'm flying solo.
Back in the day I had some posts up about meeting the family, showing them around Ann Arbor and the like. Sadly I got a little to free with the personal information and some of her students (who also read this blog) put 2 and 2 together and got her name. So they're gone, however she no longer teaches so I figured I can end the saga for those who care.
All that said, lets do a story
The Genesis of our relationship and CRex being rather ungracious in victory:
So I met my future wife when she was my GSI (I'd play Hot for the Teacher, but Special K stole all my glam rock CDs, you'll hear it at the Air Force game though). At the end of class I Facebook friended her and she accepted. I knew she'd all be Ann Arbor for the summer, but that was all I had to go on. I Facebook stalked the hell out of her profile of course, but all her posts were in Korea and back then I had to rely on Google translate. I was wrestling though with when I should ask her out. Right after class would be creepy, but if I waited too long…
My best in was once before class I'd be talking about car racing with a fellow student, she overheard, and she expressed interest in American cars and how fast they are. So the first week of June the car club I was in was renting an oval track and letting members run laps. With nothing better I sent her an email asking if she wanted to come and see some American cars.
For two days she didn't reply and I alternated between compulsively hitting the "refresh email" button my phone and straight tequila. After work it was all "tap, tap, Oh god I messed this up, I should have asked her to the art museum, aaaaaaahhhh, shot, shot, tap, tap…". Then the "Sure, I'd love to" email came. I spent the rest of the week compulsively washing and detailing my GTO. To the point of running a 100 feet of extension cord and a work light outside so I could wax my brake calipers at 1 AM. Ah the things we do for love. As a side note, only the painted outside of the calipers. Don't wax the pad or the rotor, it's a bad idea.
Then I walk out on Saturday morning to pick her up and find my neighbor's cat on my roof. The only reason I didn't walk back inside, get my rifle, and send that cat to great litter box in the sky was because I didn't have time to clean both paw prints and blood off the car before I picked her up. That was literally my thought process "I'm going to fucking kill you, no wait that would make a mess…". No ethnical dilemma on animal cruelty or firing a weapon inside city limits. Had I walked out twenty minutes early that thing would have eaten a 3 round burst from an AR-10. For the record/animal rights, now that we're married I've let my grudge against the cat go. Although I don't exactly rush to call the dogs off when they chase it.
I also spent the first half of the date trying to covertly sniff my hands and make sure they didn't smell like liquid wax.
We hit the track and everything is great. The only real downside to the day is my car is a manual and she can't drive a manual, so she was reduced to riding shotgun on the track. Until my Uncle walked over, handed her the keys to his two month old Corvette (which was automatic, I have no idea why you buy an automatic Corvette, but I'm thankful he did) and tells her to take it for a spin.
As my uncle said while she was doing laps "Look CRex I'm getting old and I might need a spare kidney or something soon. You'll be my first call and after today you better say yes." About three minutes after he said that she skids out and does a 180 on the track. So I guess I do owe him an internal organ of his choice (and some new tires).
I later found out she had been seeing a Korean guy for a few months before I asked her out. She'd actually been trying to come up with a polite way to decline, when…
She goes out for drinks at Ashley's with a group and wears a nice new summer skirt she bought. After they leave her boyfriend pulls her aside and chews her out for wearing such a short cut skirt and says he doesn't want his girlfriend looking like a sex worker. They fight, she goes home, and decides to take me up on my offer.
That same skirt was worn out when she came to the track. I was smart enough to compliment her on how fashionable it was. She officially dumped him about an hour after I dropped her off at her apartment. He would attempt to win her back, but he'd done a good job of burning his bridges already.
This also become relevant years later when I walk into the living room and say:
"Honey, how would you say prick in Korean?"
"Why would you need to know that?"
"I'm arguing with this guy online and I want to say he's a prick" (yes that was the best cover story I could come up with on short notice)
"Oh here, just use this…"
So I walk back in the other room, grab a wedding invitation and in Korean write out "Thanks for being a prick", sign it, draw a hand extending its middle finger next to my name, toss in our engagement photo and mail it. Closure bitches.
He did not attend.
Is not actually all that fun at times. For example lets say your significant other was taught English by someone that neglected to cover indefinites or the differences between past perfective and past imperfective. All kinds of openings for misunderstanding. Somewhere in Korea is a white dude who taught at her school and I kind of want to beat him with a hockey stick while screaming "There is a difference between I could care less and I couldn't care less". I'm weird like that.
Our best conversation though was when we at a Korean restaurant.
Her: I'll ask the server for a knife and fork.
Me: No I got this, I'm fine with chopsticks.
Her: No, no, let me ask.
Me: Seriously, it's fine. I'm getting the hang of this.
Her: You're so bad that all the Asians in the restaurant are staring at you, please use a knife and fork. It's so embarrassing to be seen with you.
She doesn't really do indirect hints that often.
The other weird thing East Asians do is clean each others ears. I think its trendiest in Japan, but it isn't really uncommon anywhere in East Asia. East Asians have really hard and flakey ear wax that you can scrap out, as opposed to the soft and gummy stuff most Caucasians have. So you take something that is basically a smaller chopstick and scrap the ear wax out. It's a bonding thing like giving each other a back massage. Or in Japan (Japan being Japan of course) you go to a salon and lay your head in a lap of a high school aged girl and have her clean it out.
I remain convinced this is a plot by Asian female kind. What they do is wait until you're laying there on the couch. You're helpless and they have a metal or wooden spike in your head, inches away from your brain. Then suddenly they have an announcement to make or a favor to ask. You damn well better agree if you love your ear drum at all.
The whole ear wax thiong sets up the trip to Mongolia, which I was hoping to get done but this Christmas season has been extra busy. So perhaps that will be pushed off until the offseason. My apologies. I normally try to stick around in these threads and answer questions, but I have a bunch of Xmas related stuff to do. So feel free to post a question and then check back in a day or two after I've had time to run down the thread and add replies.
As I sit here working through the middle of the second pot of coffee, watching my kids enjoy the plethora of gifts that now litter the family room floor, I would like to share something with my virtual MGoFamily – I consider this blog perhaps one of the best gifts to any fan of Michigan athletics, and the best part about it is that it indeed keeps on giving throughout the year.
I would like to thank Brian for the gift of MGoBlog.
My wife and I actually didn’t do gifts for ourselves this year. We decided to focus exclusively on the kids, but I began thinking about this blog last night and how I have been a member for nearly a year, and as strange as it sounds, it occurred to me that a place to express my passion for Michigan sports and, really, all things Michigan and Ann Arbor has been my gift.
Up or down, left or right, win or lose, I like to think that, for the most part, we’ve all been here to share, report and inform, and I believe that we do this at a level above and beyond any other sports blog out there. There are not many sports blogs that are as rife with intelligent references to everything from Mel Brooks films to Faust, where an article about the trees on the Ohio campus precipitates a detailed discussion on the origins of the Second World War, or where a near meltdown after a loss is so quickly curtailed with wisdom and humor. Things like this demonstrate the class and education of merry band of Wolverines, and they place this site on a different plane, in my opinion.
As we begin to get out of bed, open gifts, eat breakfast, or what have you this morning, I submit that those of us who spend time here already have opened one of our gifts simply by clicking on a link which I am sure is on most of our bookmark bars.
I have enjoyed my first year on this site, and I intend to hang around for many more.
Yes, MGoBlog, I have already opened you this morning, but not before I had to literally unscrew a toy truck from a box. Really, modern package design?
This is my first diary post, incidentally, so hopefully you enjoy it.
Out of the many fine alumni who have posted or visited this website over the years, I consider myself privileged to have been lucky enough to study a major, clarinet performance, that called for me to spend most of my time on North Campus. Many words have been said about the fine night life, restaurants, and other amenities available on Central Campus. This diary is not about those parts of the city. I'm talking about driving up Division for a little ways, crossing the bridge, and heading further north past Maiden Lane and experiencing the fun times to be had there.
For one thing, North Campus has trees, and snow, and snow and trees. Walking to class is like walking through beautiful parkland. There are many hills and valleys which helps make the walk more physically demanding. There are paths through the woods where frequently groundhogs, deer, squirrels, cats, and other creatures can be seen prowling around. I had a garden senior year and took pride in clearing out brush and improving the property bit by bit, even if only temporarily. One winter the trees on North Campus were completely encapsulated in ice and glittered in the sunlight like living icicles.
In the summer these same trails are great for biking and running, or during the winter if you bundle up well. I and my friends would run through the engineering campus, Northwood III and beyond, and bike up Nixon into farm country. The hills at the Huron Parkway golf course are great for sledding in the winter, and Qdoba is just a little ways further down the road. There is also the North Campus Recreational Building (NCRB) behind Bursley for anyone with an Mcard and a desire to pump iron or play raquetball.
In May the pools open at Huron Towers and Highlands, the two main apartment complexes closest to North Campus. As long as you play it cool and know some of the residents at the respective apartment complexes it is OK to swim in the pools, and the pools are well-maintained and deep. There is also a large athletics complex on Fuller Road where intramural soccer and softball are played.
When not traipsing through the woods, North Campusers love to get together for parties both tame and wild. One great way to meet people was coming together for a game of Mafia and wine before carpooling out to play laser tag and video games. I met some of my friends that way. We also took advantage of whatever DVDs or downloads were available—The Office, Dexter, 30 Rock, Family Guy—and bonded over those shows while serving up soup and sandwiches. My Nintendo 64 skills never got better than they got in college.
Not everyone is an engineer, a musician, or a visual artist. But for those Michigan students lucky enough to spend an extended period of time in North Campus, I consider the experience second to none, and I hope to see some of you “up north” soon.
[Ed-S: Festivus Bump!]
In modern football, there are 2 popular base defensive sets. Most teams run either a 3-4 Base or a 4-3 Base.
The quick explanation of these defenses is that the first number (“3” in a 3-4) is your number of Down Linemen (literally people who line up with their hand on the ground in a 3 or 4 point stance on the line of scrimmage) and the second number (“4” in a 3-4) is your number of linebackers (people who line up in a 2 point stance, behind the down linemen).
This diary will discuss the 4-3 Under, its similarities to a 3-4 set, and make sense of our defensive line recruiting. For the purposes of this diary I’m ignoring the secondary. You need corners and safeties. They’re all similarly sized players, get fast ones. The front 7 is where you need guys over a 100lb range and some more major differences show up.
Here’s a base 4-3:
Here's a base 3-4:
Both of these defensive base sets have advantages and disadvantages, and both lend themselves to different styles of players. When it comes to what Michigan is running as a base defense, the 4-3 Under, recruiting starts to make sense if you look at it as a 3-4 defense.
The 4-3 Under:
First, look at the D Line from the middle out. In a 4-3 Under you have a defensive tackle on the Nose, in a 0 or 1 Technique (NT) (Technique definitions:
You then have 2 players lining up at the 3 tech (DT) and 5 tech (SDE). Then you have 2 players further out on the line, at a 7 tech (WDE) and 9 Tech (SAM). Finally, you have 2 linebackers off the line of scrimmage (MIKE and WILL).
Now, compare these positions to the 3-4 Base. You still have a huge space-eating Nose Tackle (NT) who lines up at the 0 or 1 tech, 2 Defensive Ends over the guards, tackles, or in between (4 tech... hmmm, just a slight shift from the 3 or 5 tech...) and 2 people outside of them near the line of Scrimmage (OLBs). Finally you have 2 linebackers off the line of scrimmage (MIKE and WILL).
If you look at these two defenses, the only main difference is one of your 3-4 OLBs has his hand on the ground. That’s it! There are minor shifts on the line and other intricacies, but big picture the 4-3 under has personnel requirements very similar to a 3-4.
For the 4-3 Under OR the 3-4 in your front 7 personnel you need:
- 3-Tech DT and SDE (5-Tech)
- WDE and SAM
Michigan is recruiting the right numbers for the scheme they run. These are 17-year-old guys we’re discussing with recruits. Some will get bigger, some are maxed out. Some of the WDE/SAM types will be better at coverage and will play SAM. We saw Frank Clark and Beyer make this switch this year, one was a LB, one a DE in High School, and they switched at Michigan. Some will be better pass rushers and will drop into coverage less at the WDE.
The “Glut” at SDE doesn’t exist since the 3-Tech DT is a very similar position in the 4-3 Under, so some of these guys will play there. The coaches know what they need to run the 4-3 under, and hopefully this diary provided some insight into the personnel requirements so we can somewhat understand the method to the madness.
A very observant MGoUser (I can’t remember who it was though) mentioned in a thread about the Sugar Bowl Jerseys that ALL of Michigan’s athletics jerseys now sport a Block M, across all sports. This wasn’t always the case. The Block M just found its way onto the “normal” home and away football jerseys this year (on the neck)
Not just with Football Jerseys, we’ve seen Block Ms appearing all over campus like never before. No longer is the “split M”
Acceptable, at this point, it’s Block M or Bust.
Old Scoreboard front:
Old Yost Scoreboard:
Now this isn’t a rant, and I’m not trying to criticize Michigan for the proliferation of the Block M. In fact, Michigan is just following current marketing and branding trends. All over the corporate world the trend is towards the simple. Get rid of words, use symbols, and use them everywhere. Simplicity is king.
A few examples of the corporate world:
Michigan is just following industry trends at this point with the Block M. One simple symbol. Everywhere. Get used to seeing this, it’s not going anywhere.
“The Game” has come and gone, the good guys prevailed, and our collective mindset has mostly reoriented to the future, as visions of Sugar Bowls dance in our heads. So is there any reason to rehash the already much-debated issue of the Toussaint Touchdown Takeaway?
Of course there is, because such things live on in Michigan lore forever and sometimes, you have to beat a dead horse just for the sheer fun of it. Besides, I had an unsatisfied curiosity combined with some unaccustomed free time, so I set about to try to resolve the controversy once and for all.
This analysis may not appeal to you unless you are almost equal parts Michigan football fanatic and geometry geek, but in the end, I believe there is an important point to be made here. To discover my purpose, you will have to read on (or cheat and jump to the end).
The Evidence Speaks to Us
I start with Exhibit A below, a camera view that seems to suggest that Fitz planted his knee with the ball just short of the goal line. Almost certainly, it was this view that convinced the replay official to reverse the call on the field and overturn the touchdown. The shot appears to have been taken by a crane-mounted camera hovering about 10 feet in the air just beyond the goal line. It is not an ideal angle from which to make a definitive call. The knee may or may not be in contact with the ground and the relative position of the ball is distorted slightly by the angle. (Note: for formatting reasons, I am including scaled down versions of these screen shots; full resolution captures were used for the actual analysis. Click the photos for larger versions).
I use Exhibit A not to attempt to resolve the issue at hand, but to call attention to the item highlighted in magenta. There is a cameraman clearly visible in the shot and it is his footage that will provide the basis for further analysis. We don’t know his name (Abe Zapruder?), but we have a very good idea of the physical position of his camera. The dashed boundary line he is standing very close to runs 12 feet outside the sideline. By analyzing statistical data on the average height of college cheerleaders, we can fairly accurately estimate the center of the lens to be 5’ 4” off the ground. I estimate his standing position to be 11 feet east of the side line and 2.5 feet south of the goal line. These estimates probably place the camera position reliably within an error sphere less than 1 foot in radius. This is important as we move forward with the analysis.
Let us move on to Exhibit B, which was definitively taken before Toussaint’s knee fell to earth, and Exhibit C, a shot in which he is definitely down. The time interval between these two shots is presumably 1/60th of a second, given the parameters of 720p HD video. I will focus my attention on Exhibit C.
The time has come to let mathematics work its wonderful magic. Again, the viewing angle is not perfect, but because we were able to accurately determine the viewing position of the source camera, some surprisingly precise calculations are possible.
The dimensions and positions of the gridiron lines and hash marks are well known and presumably accurate. The only thing I am not quite sure of is the crown of the playing surface, which appears to be about 6-9 inches at midfield.
This allowed me to create a three-dimensional computer model of the playing surface and made it possible to determine the orientation of the camera (azimuth, elevation, zoom, and tilt) by matching the grid lines appearing within the frame with that of the rendered computer model.
Knowing this, we can now focus on the position of the ball within the frame. A more closely-cropped view is presented in Exhibit D. The projection of the ball in the frame spans about 40 pixels. Therefore we can determine its position within the 2 dimensional space of the video frame to an accuracy of about a quarter of an inch.
The real world has the inconvenient habit of being three-dimensional, so there is one additional parameter required to ascertain the position of the ball relative to the plane of the goal line. This would be the distance from the camera to the ball, or alternatively, the perpendicular distance from the near (Zapruder) sideline to the ball. By examining other angles from the game video and observing grid lines, hash marks, and end zone lettering, this can be determined to be about 90 feet, plus or minus 2 feet.
The final calculation will be slightly sensitive to this distance, so I went ahead and determined the corresponding position of the ball over a range of two foot intervals between 88 and 92 foot distant from the sideline. The plot below (Exhibit E) shows a top down projection of the ball’s position relative to the goal line over the range of possible values. Due to the near perpendicular viewing angle from just off the goal line, the error contribution from this uncertainty is quite small (.3 inches per foot of error) and yet this is the largest source of potential error. Any imprecision in establishing camera position is largely cancelled by adjusting angles to precisely overlay grid line positions within the frame. I won’t bury you with an avalanche of error sensitivity equations; suffice it to say that I am confident that the final estimate of ball position relative to the goal line is accurate to within half an inch.
Based on the best estimate of distance from the sideline (center ball), the results sadly report that Toussaint is holding the ball 2.5 inches short of the goal line with his knee clearly down. So, technically, the officials got the call right. Did the replay official have irrefutable evidence to overturn the call? Of course not! The ball was just inches from the goal line and he did not have the resources to make a definitive determination.
The play was so close that it was not humanly possible for an official on the field to make the call with complete certainty. The difference between touchdown and being down short of the goal line was a matter of inches and hundredths of a second. While the determination was ultimately correct, I think we can also safely claim that the replay official overstepped his authority by reversing the call on the field, based on the “irrefutable evidence” criterion and the limited technology available to him.
But my real point in all of this is to call attention to the fact that making an accurate determination is possible and current technology could accomplish this in real time, using techniques very similar to those employed to superimpose the first down line over the playing field, or track pitch trajectories in a baseball game. There is no need to put sensors in the ball or anything like that and accuracy within a fraction of an inch can be achieved. Higher frame rates and faster shutter speeds (super slow motion) improve the accuracy further.Multiple camera angles help as well. Cameras already have sensors to report their positions and orientations. I am calling on companies like SportVision that do enhanced sports graphics to develop the software to provide accurate ball positioning information to the fans and, dare I say, to the replay officials so that in the future, key plays like this can be accurately adjudicated.