MGoProfile, Volume 25 - The CRex Interview

MGoProfile, Volume 25 - The CRex Interview

Submitted by Six Zero on August 9th, 2013 at 9:59 AM

 

Six Zero here, with a very special edition of…

This feature highlights some of the more famous personalities here at MGoBlog
and beyond.  Without pulling back the infamous veil of blog anonymity, we’ll get
to know some of your favorite posters better and possibly shed some light on
their definition of why it’s so darn Great, To Be, A Michigan Wolverine.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW PREVIOUS EDITIONS OF MGOPROFILE
(Scroll down to the MGoProfile section of the User-Curated HOF).

 

SIX QUESTIONS WITH CREX

WARNING:  If you are not well versed in the phenomenon known simply as the CRex Saga, drop whatever you are eating, holding, working on and/or breastfeeding and READ THIS IMMEDIATELY.  Upon completion of the first tome, feel free to follow it up with subsequent entries of CRex and Koreans, the memorable CRex visits Mongolia, The Wedding Part I, The Wedding Part II, and the most recent CRex Does China.

 

In short, if you're a reader of MGoBlog and you don't know who CRex is and what he does... well then, you probably don't read MGoBlog enough.  As the writer of possibly the most famous OT post in the history of the blog, CRex graciously chose to share his own personal adventures with all of us during the tumult and uncertainty of the 2010 transition between the Rodriguez and Hoke regimes.

But enough back story-- you know the guy tells a good story, and you can be assured he makes for an equally compelling interview.  So sit back, my friends, and enjoy this exclusive interview with everyone's favorite Korean-loving Ginger CRex...

 


 

 

 

1.    Few diarists at MGoBlog have had as loyal a readership as you. For a time, the drama of your relationship and life was simply must-read entertainment for the entire MGoBlog community.  What originally moved you to share the story with the blog in the first place?

It's hard to pinpoint one specific reason, rather it was a number of them.  While the surprise visit was stressful to say the least, I knew it was going to be one of those things that years later I'd look back on and laugh about.  Writing it down provided me with a way to step back and pretend it was years later and laugh about it.  I was able to do some venting and gain some perspective while the rest of the community got to have a laugh and some drama, so it was win-win.  As for why I picked MGoBlog as opposed to some other venue, I figured that given most of that offseason's topics centered around our head coaching issues everyone would welcome a laugh.  I was kind of fed up with some of the threads that kept picking at old wounds, so a chance to post something Michigan related that was humorous just seemed too good to pass up.  

We’re all collectively grateful you did.  When did you know that your simple tale had become the epic "CRex Saga," and how did it affect interactions in your real, non-virtual life?  Have you ever been outed as the "infamous ginger CRex?"

I know M-Wolverine spotted me at a Michigan football game.  Beyond that as far as I know I've never been outed in public, although I'm honestly not sure if I'd notice.  I'm still surprised how many odd glances mixed race couples get in Ann Arbor, so I just tend to assume that people who are staring at me are looking for that reason as opposed to any form of recognition.  For me, since I work for the university and am surrounded by coworkers who read MGoBlog, a lot of my focus is making sure they don't out me.  That means I creatively edit dates a little so they can't line up my vacations to the stories and things like that.  Also I have to keep a straight face when someone sends me the link or calls me over because a new installment of the C-Rex Saga went up and it is 'pretty good'.  Or when I step into an office to talk to someone and see them commenting on an entry.  I did tell one of my coworkers who also has a Korean wife who I am, but for the most part I keep it private.  I normally hope someone has also posted a big stats-laden diary right before or after me so I can just tell people I was reading the latest by LSAClassof2000 or Mathlete, as opposed to wasting my time on that OT K-drama diary crap!  

Also, for a time your wife's identity was compromised after the story broke.  Obviously some candid details of her life and her interaction with family were really put out there for our enjoyment. How did she handle your ascension into MGo-Immortality, and what does she think of it now?

A couple of my wife's students did figure out her identity somehow which got me in some hot water and put an end to the stories for awhile.  I didn't have to sleep on the couch, but she wasn't happy to say the least.  That led to that infamous suspension of the stories where I had to go dark.  Eventually we worked out a deal where I'd agree to alter certain facts and she was happy, especially once she graduated and moved on.  Thankfully if her adviser reads MGoBlog he never connected her to the diaries or at least never said anything to her, because if he had, I'd have been found floating face down in the Huron River.  Beyond that, my wife thinks we're all crazy.  She can understand the excitement for gameday and how the blog gives us all ties back to Michigan, but the fact we do this kind of stuff 365 days a year is an alien concept to her.  

Wives.  They actually believe the world doesn’t revolve around Michigan football.  Okay, now on behalf of all of MGoBlog, I feel it’s my journalistic duty to move on to a more pressing and paramount topic…

 

 

2.   Little sister.  Discuss.

Little Sister and one of her minions, err a friend, came over this year and we went on a road trip across America.  That lead to enough material for at least one diary, but I've been slow in putting it together.  My wife and I are in the process of relocation so my writing schedule has fallen behind and off topic season is now over.  So that would move it back to the 2014 offseason.  In larger scale news, the relocation likely means Lil Sister will not be a Michigan Wolverine, as with my wife and I leaving the area, my in-laws know better than to drop Lil Sis off in Ann Arbor without someone to monitor her.  After all, she might come back with a white boyfriend or something.  For all her trouble making, Lil Sis's test scores are outstanding and she's going to have her pick of the litter in terms of schools.  Although her dreams to walk onto the Michigan Football team are likely over and it will be a major setback to the program, she had the potential to perform those "Crable Noooooooo" type hits and then just unleash the cute little girl smile so the ref would just pick the flag up.  

We’ve got some pull with the staff—maybe Heiko can get her a tryout. You've since married your girlfriend and are linked forever with her South Korean family.  You seemed to have won over the father on the initial trip, but things were dicey for awhile there with the mother.  How are things with the in-laws now?

We're now firmly in the "Where the hell are the grandchildren?  Make with the grandchildren already." stage.  It was inevitable I suppose.  The in-laws relationship really improved with the wedding as they could now explain their daughter was married to me as opposed to randomly living with some American dude, so that was a major step forward.  I've also advanced my career enough that my mother in law can now brag about me to her exercise group, which was a bunch of old women who walked around the city park.  The minute my income set the record for son in-law income within that group, my popularity skyrocketed.  I'm now considered tall, handsome, and a perfect match based on the numbers I type into my 1040 form.  Ironically, of course, my wife (who clears significantly more coin than me) is criticized for not contributing enough to the relationship by her parents (read: not having kids).  I've debating trying to adopt Lil Sis and just pay for her college to get the parents to lay off the kid thing.  

 

 

3.    Since your ascension into MGoBlog lore, you've visited Mongolia, took part in the traditional Korean wedding, and had many other exciting adventures.  We've watched you grow and evolve into a cosmopolitan man and a purveyor of multiple cultures both Eastern and Western.  Did you ever see yourself growing up to be the man you are today?  And if you'd never met your Korean wife, who would CRex be today?

Not at all, I was from a very white area of the country.  Out of my high school graduating class of ~440, only 40 or so were non-white and just 3 Asians.  My sole international experience had been a senior trip to Western Europe, which I considered a major culture shock at the time.  I never had much of a desire to leave the country; my vacations were centered on visiting all 50 states and Canada.  If I hadn't met my wife I'd likely own a house somewhere in Ann Arbor, have started a small business of some sort, and settled down.  As for how it has changed me as a person, I came to Michigan right in the middle of the Affirmative Action lawsuits and my personal beliefs led me to favor admission based solely on scores over any kind of desire for diversity.  Looking back now I can't imagine how boring it would have been to come to a college version of my mostly white high school.  I wish I'd met my wife earlier and been able to experience more while on campus.  If this had been High School 2.0, I'd just be a better educated version of my high school classmates who never went to college, never really went out into the world, and now, based on their Facebook posts, must be bored to tears half the time.   

The other interesting, at least to me, question to ponder is if I'd be married.  I was what you would call an underachiever with the girls in high school.  I started out strong in 9th grade and made a name for myself when I obtained a prom invitation from an older girl.  However, midway through my sophomore year I came to the conclusion that high school girls are incredibly boring and the bullshit you had to put up with was not commiserate with the benefits.  During my junior year the principal actually called my parents to express his concerns I was gay, complete with an offer to invite me to his church where the gay could be prayed away.  Much of my relationship works because what might sound like "Omg not this again, why does every girl whine about this?" to a Korean guy, doesn't even show up as a blip on my radar.  

My view on Michigan's whole commitment to diversity has also changed.  When I first came here, I tended to roll my eyes and mutter something about "PC Bullshit" whenever diversity came up.  After meeting my wife and getting to know what she went through to obtain her PhD here, I'm honestly amazed at how bad Michigan is at supporting diversity.  Michigan offers some intro classes to all international students and the support pretty much ends there aside from whatever the International Center can offer (and they're not always trustworthy sadly).  Beyond that you need to hope your adviser or department is supportive; my wife's first adviser actually dropped her after telling her he only wanted to support her working on crunching for his numbers, but not contribute to theory because Asians are good at math but not new theories.  Luckily one of her other committee members felt bad for her and supported her.  When I first walked around campus I thought Asians were cliquish and didn't want to associate with Americans, but as it turns out much of that isn't necessarily a desire to be exclusive so much as a need to form social support groups with other people going through the same thing.  

I've discovered how elements of Michigan bureaucracy simply don't bother to properly handle requests from Asian students because they assume Asian students aren't confrontational and don't know how to complain even if they want to.  I actually managed to get someone fired after she repeatedly lied to my wife about sending out forms from the department my wife needed and had the audacity to lie about in repeated emails and when confronted directly.  Of course, the moment the angry American-- who knows how to complain and who to complain to-- shows up, people suddenly get rather cooperative.  It seems like every time I sit down for dinner with a group of international students, I'm amazed at how they don't know about a certain service offered by Michigan or channels to file complaints through, which I just took for granted.  I could just rant on and on about this, but really at the end of the day when someone at Michigan starts talking about diversity, I roll my eyes for entirely different reasons now.

After reading the above, my wife did want me to add in that she really did enjoy her time at Michigan and how anyone who gets into Michigan is privileged with all the resources and status they're granted simply by attending Michigan.  She holds no grudges and recommends Michigan to her friends.  I also to admit that many levels of bureaucracy have been helpful in addressing in problems, but I tend to get my Irish temper worked up whenever someone starts preaching how great we are at diversity and supporting an international community, when really we have a long way to go.

To borrow from Wilber, your perspective borders on kosmocentric.  Most of us have lived a considerably sheltered life in comparison to that of an international traveler like yourself.  In your own words, CRex, tell us what the world is all about.

The world seems to come down to how people aren't that different, but the variations in culture can create seemingly great differences.  Plus when you talk in language barriers, weird foods, and phenotype differences the world really starts to look like a crazy place.  I've been amazed at how if you put me in with a group of non-Americans, I'll feel like in a group with a bunch of aliens, but if I spend time talking to each of them one on one, suddenly the differences aren't so severe.  This can range from social norms, such as I do X to show respect to my parents, but someone else does Y to show respect to their elders.  It seems different, but at the end of the day it really isn't, to the fact that some of my Korean friends grew up playing Street Fighter.  That was always kind of a shock: two kids on opposite sides of the world, growing up in different culture systems, but we both have the combo for E Honda's Super Head Killer Ram programmed into our muscle memory.  

Even so, though, individually nice people can come together or be forced together to form unpleasant organizations or societies with unpleasant cultural norms.  There are a lot of countries out there that aren't lucky enough to be bordered by two large oceans and Canada, leaving them with only one border that leads to issues.  You stand there at the Korean DMZ or the Sino-Viet Border (second heaviest fortified border in the world after the DMZ) and you realize the world is not a nice place and a lot of people are forced to make decisions that impact their survival everyday, not just in terms of personal survival and welfare, but in terms of how cold wars can turn hot.  Not to mention how people in large groups do stupid things due to cultural norms or the fact that they're just dicks.

A lot of times when you travel, you find yourself confronted with both realities everyday.  You'll see some amazing things and discover how some people have cultural practices and values that might be superior to your own, and sometimes you'll hop on the plane thinking "You know what America needs?  More carrier battle groups and strategic bombers, lots more."  End of the day you'll likely find yourself having a lot in common with many individuals and sometimes confused by how you can be so similar one on one but your cultural institutions differ so drastically from theirs.  

 

 

4.    Yeah, I feel the same way about New Jersey.  Upon my first reading of the saga, I, in no uncertain terms, publicly suggested that you take your story and storytelling talents to Hollywood, perhaps to sell it as a screenplay, become a sitcom writer or something to that effect. (If anyone doubts my assessment of his writing prowess, just wait until you get to the perfect meal question below.)  If they ever made a CRex movie, who would you want to play the title role?

Dave Chapelle, without a doubt.  I might go as far as to have a rider in the project that it only happens if Chapelle can be secured for the role.  He's perfect, he has Midwesterner roots and is in a mixed race marriage, so I think he'd have the perfect prescriptive to play the role.  Of course he's retired and I'm not sure if he can ever be lured out, but I can dream.  If this ever was turned into a movie, I'd see it being done Pulp Fiction style in terms of the scenes and I think Chapelle's history with sketches would play well there.

A Ginger Chapelle??  I'm game...  can I be played by Charlie Murphy?  You in fact were once a writer for the Review as well, and certainly have shown the chops for weaving an interesting tale.  What other sort of writing do you do?  Do you still write, or have any aspirations to in the future?

I come from a family of writers who made their money elsewhere, both my parents have English degrees but made their money in the construction industry.  I've always enjoyed history and writing, but stayed in the computer field because that is where the money is.  For awhile, when I had a World of Warcraft addiction, I used to write the lore for our guild, turning all the heroics and raids into epic tales and posting them on the forums.  Now that I've broken that addiction, I write short stories now and then, some fantasy, some sci-fi, and some humorous modern.  My goal—the one I keep failing at— is to produce say 100 pages worth of short stories with some kind of common theme and publish them as an E-Book.  Right now I'm telling myself that after I'm settled at my new job I'm going to take one hour a day to write and edit.  A lot of what I enjoy writing centers around world building, writing alternative history or building some future world.  I think this comes out of my political science interests and how much I loved books like The Prince.  I've honestly never really considering turning the C-Rex saga into something larger, I've never really had the personal belief it would play well outside of a Michigan crowd that had an automatic link to my writing simply because they loved the school and Ann Arbor.  

 

 

5.    Hey, man, believe in your craft-- you're a legend.  So what do you do for a living?

I'm an automation programmer.  I come into another environment and figure out their workflow.  From there, my job is not simply to automate it but to analyze the workflow and challenge why X,Y, and Z are done instead of A,B, and C.  After that we shape a new workflow and automate as much of it as possible (or as much as their budget allows).  My career path focuses on doing this for large academic institutions since it will let me move around with my wife as she potentially relocates to different research centers.  This is the kind of job where every time I think have some time to write, I end up getting some extra contracting work and shelving it.  

And when you’re not contributing to the future autonomy of SkyNet, what do you like to do for fun?

Before I met my wife I was a huge gamer and was excited to have a partner who is also a gamer.  However I've found it is rather depressing to play games with a girl who was competitively ranked in Korea for Starcraft.  When we were playing Starcraft 3 v 1 (with her being 1) she was getting up and going to the kitchen for drinks, and still kicked all our asses.  Currently we both play Kerbal Space Program, although considering her degree is in aerospace, her rocketry program is to mine as NASA is to North Korea.  She's also accused me of not playing Kerbal Space Program but instead playing Kerbal Murder Simulator (I fry my Kerbals more frequently than Russia fried cosmonauts early on in their program).

My main hobbies are motorsports, target shooting/hunting, and kayaking.  My big project right now is doing a modernization to a 1969 Pontiac Firebird, a modern LS7 V8 engine, heads up display, touch screen navigation, and all the goodies that will make old guys scream about how I butchered a classic.  Of course I'll just crank up the sound system and blast K-Pop so I can't hear them.  I'm still debating if I want a Screaming Chicken on the hood or a Hello Kitty.  I think with the latter I'll be able to make Mustang owners swerve into bridge pillars and kill themselves out of shame when the Hello Kitty Pontiac pulls past them.  Except when it’s just me in the pink Hello Kitty car and I'm cruising around with the top down, I assume AAPD will just drag me out of the car and beat the hell out of me on the grounds that I'm probably a pedophile.  The engine mounts to get an LS7 into that car are a real pain though.

Sounds like a future entry into the odyssey of CRex.  Describe the perfect meal.

On an island just south of mainland Vietnam.  It's been hot all day, with only the sea breeze to break it up or the water.  Now though the sun is going down and the storm clouds are rolling in.  Off at the edge of the horizon it is pitch black and the wind is picking up, blowing your wife's hair all over her face.  You can hear the surf pounding against the rocks as the tide comes in and the oncoming storm supplements it.  The trees are starting to bend and you hear the occasional thud as a coconut is blown off the tree and lands on the ground.  There is still some warmth in the air, but it is slowly being pushed out.  You sit there on the patio as the lights come on, but every time there is a gust of wind they flicker.  Dinner itself is simple, local beer, fresh grilled sea urchin with spring onion and oil, grilled calamari with salt and pepper, a bowl of pho.  All the seafood is well seasoned with a clear French influence and fresh, a boat pulled into the hotel early in the day and delivered it.  By the time pho comes out the rain is pounding against the patio and despite being less than 30 feet from the high tide line, you can't see the ocean, except for when the lighting flashes across the sky and you can see the the ocean with its wind whipped waves for just the briefest second as a frozen image before the darkness returns.  You sit there with the pho and a second beer, sipping at the pho and marveling at the complexity of the broth, but really just staring out towards the ocean and waiting for that next flash of lighting and listening to that unseen surf pound against the shoreline.  When dinner is done you linger on one of the worn old couches for a time before you need to run through the rain and back to your cottage.

In a word… perfect.  I’ll never attempt to find this place or eat this meal, since reality could only taint the amazing image you’ve just painted in my mind’s eye.

 

 

6.   Can you explain why you are a Michigan fan?

I was raised to be one.  My family has a long legacy of attending Michigan and from day one I grew up with Michigan gear and watching Michigan football on TV.  My parents met here, my uncle met my aunt here, etc.  The yearly family reunion was in Ann Arbor.  There was never really any question where I was going to school and Michigan was the only application I sent out for college my senior year.  If I didn't get in, I just would have worked for my father, polished up my volunteer work, and tried again in a year.  

Hail.  Finally, who’s your all-time favorite Wolverine?

I grew up watching Woodson on TV and if I could pick any Wolverine to have a second coming of, it would be Woodson without a doubt.  That said, Marlin Jackon and Lamarr Woodley are tied for my favorite Wolverine.  I watched both of them play in the flesh from the student second.  The CMU game where Woodley sacked the QB, forced the fumble, and then got up to get into the scrum and retrieve the ball, the 2004 destruction of Stanton, when Sparty led by double digits, guns don't kill people, Lamarr Woodley does, etc.  Same with Jackson, I lost count of how many times some WR thought he was open and signaled for the ball only to see it come flying out of his hands a second later when Marlin delivered the hit.  I still remember that in 2004, when he was a senior, his side of the field was only targeted 14% of the time and they threw to that side, someone ran the risk of dying.  

 

 

 


 

I must confess-- when the MGoProfile series originally began back in 1954 (that sounds about right?), the aura of CRex had already ascended and his name was on my original short list.  In fact, if I recall correctly he was contacted for inclusion about this time of year-- but it was around the same time that some of the disclosure mentioned above was creeping into his everyday life and general happiness.  So, in the interests of self-preservation and anonymity, CRex respectfully declined.

 

I don't know what it is about the guy-- we do share some common traits in our past and upbringing that we've discussed off the record-- but I get CRex.  When I read his stuff, I feel like it's someone I actually know, or have known for some time.  So perhaps that's what makes his posts so interesting-- I could read countless books about journeying to the inner confines of Asia, but reading a CRex post is more like hearing an old friend tell it from his point of view, a perspective I can relate to and understand.  He's also got a sense of humor that keeps the story going regardless of its length-- these have got to be some of the consistently biggest posts on here, but they never hurt for page hits, up-votes, and approving comments.

 

Finally, CRex contacted me yesterday to express that he's been called on an unexpected business trip today.  As such, he'll be unable to read and respond to your comments until later in the day, presumably once the workday is over.  So go ahead and post as you always would, but know that it will not be until later in the evening that he'll be able to read and respond to them.  Thanks and 22 DAYS until Michigan Football!!

 

MGoProfile, Volume 20

MGoProfile, Volume 20

Submitted by Six Zero on June 21st, 2013 at 6:21 AM

Six Zero here, with the triumphant return of…

This feature highlights some of the more famous personalities here at MGoBlog
and beyond.  Without pulling back the infamous veil of blog anonymity, we’ll get
to know some of your favorite posters better and possibly shed some light on
their definition of why it’s so darn Great, To Be, A Michigan Wolverine.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW PREVIOUS EDITIONS OF MGOPROFILE
(Scroll down to the MGoProfile section of the User-Curated HOF).

SIX QUESTIONS WITH LSACLASSOF2000

    If what they say about nice guys is true, it pretty much goes without saying that LSAClassOf2000 will pretty much finish last in everything ‘til the end of time.  I can’t tell you the first time I’d interacted with LSA, but I can tell you it was several years ago, and I can tell you he’s always been an exceptionally consistent class act each and every time since then.  Some of us here at MGoBlog are more anonymous than others, and some are more civil around here than others—but for those in search of a suitable online role model, someone who always treats everyone with equal respect while projecting a general vibe of lighthearted enthusiasm and positivity, look no further than our most recently anointed Mod, the ubiquitous LSAClassOf2000.  He pulled away from his crusade to keep the boards respectable just long enough to deliver the goods in this exclusive MgoProfile:


    

 

1.    First and foremost, let’s get this out of the way… Dude, what’s up with all the Rainbow Pegasuses and Unicorns?

For all of the time that I have had any avatar on MGoBlog, it has been some depiction of Rainbow Dash, the tomboyish cyan pegasus from the latest incarnation of “My Little Pony”, and while I will not name names, I do know there are a few fans on the board. Actually, someone got a little irritated when I changed it to the present one sometime in 2011, so while it may not mesh terribly well with a sports blog, the show is not unknown around here. Typically, I won’t talk about it unless prompted, for it is “Way OT” and not germane to Michigan athletics, but when I have, the response is generally positive from what I can recall. I am certainly not ashamed of it, as you can tell.

 

Why that avatar? It gives me something of a unique identity on the board, and the particular avatar that I chose comes from an episode of “My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic” where Rainbow Dash is playing pranks on people, so it has a little of my irreverent side in it. It also looks pretty cool as part of a desktop background that I rotate in with some of the fine football-related ones that are made available by users here.

  To tie that into my Michigan fandom, Rainbow Dash is also portrayed as loyal and always willing to be of service to her friends, and I feel like that towards my University and the MGoCommunity.

As for the unicorn, I actually tweeted out a photo of myself wearing a shirt with a unicorn with blue hair on it. That would be one of my other favorites – “Vinyl Scratch”, the village DJ basically. My love of music sort of drew me to that as being a pretty cool secondary character from the show.

<--  (LSA himself rockin' his My Little Pony style, used with permission)

Yes, my friends, you read that right—My Little Pony.  And he’s far from the only one; male adult fans are such an established portion of the show’s fan base that they have their own web sites, conventions, even a descriptive meme-like name. So tell us, in your own words LSA, what exactly is a BRONY? Are there others in the sphere of Michigania, or are you the only one?

There actually is a pretty solid definition of “brony” out there – it is the blanket term for adult male fans of MLP (My Little Pony). The show’s creator, Lauren Faust, repeatedly says in interviews that the whole idea was to create a version of the franchise which wouldn’t drive adults up a wall - worked on me anyway. It's pretty hip really - it makes references to X-Man, Spiderman, even Benny Hill, and for a show aimed at kids, has a lot for adults to like as well in terms of humor. I suppose that’s what draws me to it – it is written by people my age in part for people my age.

 

2.    I can respect that.  So, moving on, can you tell us what exactly is an “LSAClass of 2000?” Explain how you came up with the name that goes with the instantly identifiable avatar.

When I decided to upgrade my MGoExistence from “lurker” to “extant poster” during the coaching search in January 2011, the first stumbling block was, of course, my username. In all the time I had been lurking going back to a game in 2007 which will not be mentioned, there had been so many great ones which made references to Michigan’s past and present. I thought about some variant on these, but then I wanted to make it something that would make people stop and think, “Who exactly is this guy anyway?”

 The other consideration is that I finally decided to make it something personal regarding my time and experience at Michigan, and that’s when combining the college at Michigan from which my degrees come and the year of my graduation came to me. I toyed with a few combinations on paper that evening when I set up the account. It even took me a few tries to get onto the site because, at that time, thousands of people were glued to flight tracking sites and I wanted to be part of that.  

Of course, in the end, I settled on the name I use you now see and not once have I thought about changing it. Some months ago, there was even a thread where someone asked about the origins of usernames and second accounts, and invented the secondary purpose of my name in that thread – it also represents the collective voice of an entire segment of a graduating class. Well, I like to think it does – it probably doesn’t, but I like to think that. Having said that, of course, a few people have since come forward and said that they are also “LSAClassOf2000”, so it is no longer a crime to have graduated from LS&A in 2000.

 

3.    I assume we’re talking about the College of Literature, Science and the Arts, and not the rare genitalia skin condition Lichen Sclerosus et Atrophicus? Ahem.  So here at MGoBlog, you are a Moderator.  The Night’s Watch of MGoBlog, as it were.  So few of us readers understand the demands and difficulties of this position.  Define the unique responsibilities of this role.

Ah, yes. One of the things you may be surprised to know is that the MGoFAQ essentially defines the ground rules for moderating MGoBlog. In other words, there are not a lot of set rules – about 99.99% of it, in my admittedly brief experience to date, is done by precedent or subjective judgment based on our understanding of expectations more than anything. That’s part of why you will see a thread stay for a while one day and then, days later, when a similar thread appears, it will disappear quickly. We all approach these things differently.

It is that lack of set rules which makes scouring the board and its threads interesting, to say the least. In this role, you basically have to at least skim everything that passes into existence on MGoBlog. I am not a frequent presence in front page threads, for example, but whereas I could just read the articles before, now I read that and every response after it. I have even had occasion to delete the odd post from the front page threads as a result.

When I start seeing masses of greyed out posts – as I have my threshold set to +1 – I start getting curious, so I will open those posts and read them more carefully. On a site as active as this one, you have to create markers which may or may not lead you to potential trouble, and that’s sort of one. Beyond that, there is just quite a bit of reading involved, although I will say I feel like I could get to a point where, just based on style and content, I could guess at who posted what even without usernames. It is definitely a passive way to acquaint yourself with others.

You also have to step back and behave as a poster. You also sit there and read the title of every thread about ten times if it looks like it might be misleading. Quite a bit of the role is content monitoring, but that quickly leads into behavior monitoring. I like to think of it as essentially “background trolling”, only making an appearance when things have gotten out of hand, and something even then not saying anything. Sometimes, deleting and posting in the Action Sticky will do just fine.

Certainly doesn’t sound like a job for the casual reader.  What’s the worst part of being a MOD? What’s the best?

I freely admit to this – the best part of this moderation thing is that I can delete my own double posts. After all, with power comes responsibility as well as mad ability to edit things.

 That, and I can give back in a way to a blog that has enriched my MGoExistence. That’s the reason I really volunteered to do it, even in the full knowledge that it might change my relationship with the board and other users. I really felt that this was another way that I could make a positive contribution, and I like to believe that, so far, this has been the case.

 The worst part about it is that you know that, down the line, you’ll anger someone because you’ll delete a post or thread that someone thought was going well or was within the rules. I am pretty sure that you pick up the wrath of an aggrieved blogger in this role, but I like to think that my record as a contributor is enough to overcome such pettiness. It’s a judgment call, and I would like to think that I am a fair person – indeed, I am willing to restore threads if people can come up with a good reason they should be restored. I’ve done it a few times actually.

 

4.    See what I mean (Re: Nice Guy)?  Now we’ve seen many fine men crumble under the weight of this thankless responsibility. Did you know what you were getting yourself into back in March?  How have you endured it so far? Why do you think other mods get burned out so thoroughly and completely?

I approach modding a bit like my own job, which is in supervision. I manage people for a living, and I am finding that I can apply some of that philosophy to this blog. I try to be a professional about it, although admittedly the blog gives me an opportunity to be a little more playful about being in a supervisory role. If I approach it with a certain level of detachment, I don’t have a lot of issues with being “bad cop” from time to time. Like my job, in doing this, you will definitely get grieved, but if you’re able to explain yourself when asked, there shouldn’t be any problem after that.

Having talked some with other mods, I had some preparation for the position, but again, as it is basically done from precedent and there are many judgment calls and therefore many opinions – there are only really a few types of things that are non-starters right from the beginning. There is a level of collaboration among mods though, so sometimes we do talk about what we might do in a given situation or with certain threads or posts. Certain decisions are sometimes not made before a short consultation.

As for myself, I like to think I have done well so far – one of the reasons I have my Twitter handle in my signature line is so people can let me know if they do have an issue. I wanted the communication to be part of the moderation process.  It really does get to me when I have to do the MGoEquivalent of “handing out discipline”, but I do so in the belief that I am making the board a better place. So, really, I have no problem saying that it is not exactly a democracy on the board, but it is someone’s property ultimately so it probably shouldn’t be.

 Democracy’s so 1776 anyway.  But-- seeing the blog from your unique vantage point-- if you could change anything about it to make it better, what would it be?

If I could change something about MGoBlog, and this will sound pretty nerdy, it would probably be the module that leads to the death of threads from mangled HTML. Even with the expanded powers of a moderator, those are a pain in the arse to fix and some are not fixable. I say that because, on a recent occasion, I was the reason that a thread had to be recreated twice after a postgame posbang. Yes, I did that, if you recall that night. If there could be a way to deal with HTML better, I would be all for that. Failing that, of course, I am probably going to just read the programming guide again and not make the mistake that I did, but that wouldn’t be the easy road.

Another thing that I would think would help a lot of people is a more detailed FAQ. The site has reached a level of maturity where I think that Brian, Seth and the mods could probably develop something a little more detailed in the way of ground rules. It actually would take some of the stress out of modding, and it would mitigate sidebar discussions in the Action Sticky about perceived borderline calls. More importantly, it would keep people focused on the topics at hand.

 

5.    Before joining the ranks of the overworked and thankless, you were already a seasoned diarist known for fact-based commentary and a penchant for exceedingly professional pie charts, graphs, and other forms of tabular data. Tell us what it’s like to exist in this crossroads of sports and numbers. And what does the data tell you about the future of Michigan football?

I like to think that at the crossroads of sports and the data behind sports exists a better understanding of the story of sports. We love the wins and loathe the losses, but almost everything a team does produces data, and the data begins to provide an understanding of what is going well and what isn’t. I love football and basketball and other sports as much as the next MGoBlogger, but I am always looking for something more reliable than the “eye test”. What we see is important, but what we see or recall may not be the complete story.

Actually, when people say that someone doesn’t pass “the eye test” and they fail to provide data when data exists, I tend to get a little upset. In extreme scenarios, it leads people to say things about players unsupported by facts and that’s a situation in which no fan should ever be, in my opinion. MGoBlog is one of the most well-informed blogs when it comes to sports, and I want to add to that. When someone starts a sentence with “Anyone can see that…”, I will say that I get a small kick out of being able to post the data that asks the question, “OK, can you then explain this?”

In my mind, there should be a focused discussion on blogs like MGoBlog on the areas which your metrics are saying are deficient, and then a discussion on strategies to make it better. We aren’t the coaches, but using data, we can try to see if what they are doing makes sense. It has always been my belief that, armed with data, fans would be able to complain about the right things, if there was anything to complain about, and rather than calling into shows and sounding like they know nothing at all, they can call in to have a nice chat.

Especially during the season, I like to think that what I am helping us do is add to the narrative of the game or the season. We can look at the numbers and talk about what the adjustments should be, in our opinion. Same thing with personnel changes, plays, and so forth. It’s hard to get into that level of detail when many are being emotional, of course, but I think it would be refreshing. That isn’t to say that being emotional is bad – I get pretty upset sometimes too, but whether it is healthy or not, I am one of those people that tends to keep a cap on it.

If you look at the numbers and project it into 2013, the future for Michigan football is incredibly bright, in my estimation. We could easily have an offense that will be tough to stop in the air and on the ground and a defense that grinds people into a fine powder. I am totally OK with this.

Yes.  I’m sure we all are.  What do you do for a living?

Where I work is already fairly well-known, of course, but specifically, I am a Planning Supervisor at DTE Energy on the electric side of the business, which locals still know primarily as Detroit Edison. I started out as a service planner, designing overhead and underground distribution, and in December of 2011, took a position in management. Currently, I manage most of the administrative functions in one of our planning regions, providing services in Washtenaw County as well as parts of Oakland, Wayne and Monroe counties. I am also not averse to helping out MGoBloggers in the DTE service territory with their issues and I have in fact done this a few times for people. 

And what do you like to do for fun?

I am a voracious reader, choosing to delve primarily into subjects like history, philosophy, physics, economics and a few others. I also keep up with my French and German, trying to maintain my skills in both languages. I am a lover of music and – for better or worse – a huge fan of the 1970s and 1980s in particular, but I also have a heavy interest in classical music. I also make my own music, primarily keyboards and drum programming, so I am in essence my own 1980s New Wave outfit. In addition to sports, I am a fan of the BBC comedies, with some of my all-time favorites being “Father Ted”, “The Fall And Rise Of Reginald Perrin”, “Yes, Minister”, “Dad’s Army”, “Fawlty Towers”, and of course “Monty Python’s Flying Circus”. Of course, I also collect my favorite American shows – I own “Star Trek: The Next Generation”, MacGyver”, “All In The Family” and numerous other TV series. I also own something in the neighborhood of 600 DVDs ranging from movies like “Network” and “Bridge On The River Kwai” to admittedly lowbrow stuff like “The Hollywood Knights” and “Kentucky Fried Movie”, so it would be totally fair to call me a movie buff. I also like to spend time with my wife and two wonderful kids here in suburban Detroit. 

Sounds like a very fulfilling life!  Describe the perfect meal.

Believe it or not, for all of my attempts at making things as diverse as Thai and French cuisine, I am a steak and potatoes person at heart. The perfect meal for me came from something in the subfamily Bovinae and was grilled just enough so that the veterinarian could revive it. It would be served with a root vegetable and something which had roots but grew mostly above the Earth. Of course, I do go for classier meals as well, and I am one of those people who is also greatly troubled by wine pairings with various meals too, so there is that.

 

6.      Finally, let’s wrap it up with the staple questions.  Can you explain why you are a Michigan fan?

 Like a lot of kids in SE Michigan, being a Michigan fan was just a thing for me early on, but as I mentioned in a recent diary, I had a neighbor which gave me a three-dimensional perspective on Michigan, its sports and its history at a very early age, and I was hooked. From that point on, there was no question that Michigan would be part of my life. (http://mgoblog.com/diaries/recalling-my-first-experiences-mgoculture).

To quote myself, regarding my family’s former neighbor:

I don’t think I ever told him, and maybe I should this season as I walk past Edgewood and Snyder, where he tailgates more often than not, but I credit him primarily with starting me down the path that made me not just a knowledgeable Michigan fan, but a proud alum and MGoFanatic. Indeed, there are times on MGoBlog when, in the middle of a post, I stop to ask myself how Lou would respond.

And last but not least, who’s your all-time favorite Wolverine? 

There are so many good choices, so I will split my answer, if that’s alright. I shall also confine it to football, as it is the sport I follow the closest in Michigan athletics. My favorite coach would be Bo, and the reason for that became evident to me only recently. With some modifications, some of the lessons from his teams have been useful in my own professional growth. Indeed, I keep a copy of “Bo’s Lasting Lessons” at my desk. My favorite players would probably be Denard Robinson, Desmond Howard and Charles Woodson in a very interesting tie. They all went out there and just did the most incredible things and were able to make something out of what would have been otherwise a mundane incompletion or kick return or rushing play or whatnot. They just seemed to be on another level. That’s not to say that there haven’t been many players like that at Michigan, but these three stand out to me in that regard.

 


So there you have it—MGoProfile is back, and it’s only fitting that we caught up with one of the unsung heroes behind the scene that helps make this site what it is.  We’ll be turning a new page with the MGoProfile series as longtime regular M-Wolverine is joining the feature and will spend some time in the interviewer’s chair and put his unique spin on things.  In the weeks to come I look forward to seeing the series thrive under our collaborative input and become something far greater than one man could have ever envisioned. And, throughout it all, I’m sure LSA will be there to keep it all running smoothly!

 

MGoProfile with Heiko

MGoProfile with Heiko

Submitted by Six Zero on March 16th, 2012 at 9:30 AM

Six Zero back with the latest installment of: 

This monthly offseason feature highlights some of the more famous personalities
here at MGoBlog.  Without pulling back the infamous veil of blog anonymity, we’ll
get to know some of your favorite posters better and possibly shed some light
on their definition of why it’s so darn Great, To Be, A Michigan Wolverine.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW PREVIOUS EDITIONS OF MGOPROFILE
(Scroll down to the MGoProfile section of the User-Curated HOF). 

 SIX QUESTIONS WITH HEIKO

Heiko Yang… the living, breathing “media availability” liason between the University
of Michigan and the online phenomenon/empire known as MGoBlog.  I’ll admit, when the departures and subsequent replacements of Tim and Tom were announced, it was Heiko that cut under the radar the most.  After all, he was some water polo guy, what could he offer, right?  Well, we all learned quickly that Heiko took the press conference experience by storm, broadening the MGoBlog imprint in Schembechler and beyond, and ruffling some pretty big feathers in his own right.
 

I find it very impressive that despite all of the various outlets reporting weekly press conferences (especially Mattison’s), I always prefer to read Heiko’s first.  What he injects and interpolates from the press room is one of a kind.  And the fact that he makes it happen despite juggling some other imposing responsibilities makes it all
the more impressive.  He somehow found the time to sit down for this
exclusive MgoProfile:

 


 

1. In your own words, explain to what it’s like to be THE MGoBlog representative among the rest of the media types during press opportunities?

My first day on the job was as frightening as: A third year medical student’s first day on surgery.

I’m just kidding. It wasn’t bad at all, especially since Tim was still there to hold my hand. Plus no one was actively trying to make me cry. Not that I know of, at least.

It was surprising to find that the presser atmosphere was much more relaxed than I imagined it to be from watching the videos. It makes sense. Many of the reporters have worked together for quite a few years and know each other well. Game faces are on when someone like Hoke is in the room, but when they’re not peppering coaches with questions, the reporters turn around and talk about everything from their romantic lives to what they had for dinner last night. You can learn some interesting things by paying attention to the small talk.

If anything, I was nervous around the coaches and players since I hadn’t introduced myself to any of them. People like Angelique Chengelis from the Detroit News and Larry Lage from the Associated Press are on a first name basis with nearly all of them, and having that kind of rapport really helps when you ask an open ended question (“What do you think about _____?”) and expect to get a good quote.

The good thing about being a diligent MGoReader, however, was that I knew most of the pertinent storylines right off the bat and had no problem interjecting questions of my own. I settled in quickly after I popped my first one (“Are you playing more at 3-tech or 5-tech?” to Ryan Van Bergen). After that it was just a matter of not stuttering.

These days my job is as frightening as: Asking Al Borges about bubble screens, which (see below) is kind of fun!  I like going to the press conferences, and I always feel incredibly lucky when I’m there. To be able to interact directly with the coaches and players on a daily basis is any Michigan fan’s dream, and the nature of my job -- transcribing quotes, as opposed to coming up with angles and writing stories on deadline -- doesn’t ruin the experience for me or dampen my fandom at all.

Who in the press has impressed you, perhaps by being welcoming to the blog guy, etc?  Or has anyone in the mainstream media given you something of a cold shoulder?

I already knew Chantel Jennings and the kids from the Daily because I worked with them last year. They were immensely helpful last season whenever I got confused by protocol or my tape recorder didn’t work or I just needed a ride back to lab, which was often.  I’m not terribly close with anyone else in the MSM, but I did also get to know Kyle Meinke from AnnArbor.com later in the season. He reads MGoBlog. Cool guy.

 

2.   So you get to go behind the curtains inside Fort Schembechler and sit in the press box during games.  What’s the best part about those opportunities?  What’s the worst?

The best part is hearing the other members of the press, particularly the ones who have been around a while, talk about their experiences. I love listening to Angelique go on about what Brian Griese was like in person or how crotchety Lloyd Carr used to get when she’d get cheeky with him -- her memories are always entertaining. It’s not just the other writers, either. The staff, when they’re not in super serious official Michigan athletic department mode, gets in on the chatter sometimes, and they’ll occasionally drop little hints or make offhand remarks about things the coaches or players would never tell you. I guarantee that I learn more about Michigan football when my tape recorder is off than when it’s on.

Gamedays at the Big House are even better, when guys like John Bacon hang out in the press box and shoot the shit with you all afternoon. You’ll be having a coffee with him during halftime and -- hey, was that Mike Hart who just walked by? Wearing green and white? That’s ironic. Oh, and there’s Gene Smith talking to Eddie George, who’s still enormous and hate-inspiring.

I feel silly admitting this but I am a kid in a candy store every week during football season. I’m sure Ace feels the same way. Two more years of this and we will develop diabetes.

The worst part … if there is even a negative aspect of the job … would have to be the cheering prohibition in the press box. I have to make an active effort not to talk during movies, so trying not to react out loud during football games is extra tough. My knuckles ended up in my teeth pretty often last season.  I also sort of miss tailgating with my friends and staggering into the student section in a jersey (on time, of course), but I’m okay taking the bad with the good. They get rained on; I get free cookies. 

 

3. Let’s talk about the coaches (Borges, obviously, more on that in a second).  We all read the words, watch the interviews… but what have you learned about these men as people sitting in that room with them week after week?  Your favorite, or favorites?

I probably don’t know whole lot about the coaches that astute readers wouldn’t figure out for themselves from reading the transcripts and watching the videos, but I’m guessing not everyone reads every word of the transcripts nor watches every minute of presser film.  Off camera and off record they’re all lighthearted guys. Rarely does a press conference start without a joke or witty remark of some sort with the media. I used to transcribe the jokes and use them as my photo captions until I realized they weren’t funny to anyone but me.

The coach I enjoy listening to most is Greg Mattison. You can tell there’s no bullshit when he says that his number one passion is for coaching his players and developing them into “Michigan Men.” He’s so eloquent when expressing his pride in his players that I regularly got chills last season just hearing him talk about it. Here’s another penny for the broken record bank: it’s easy to see how he is a fantastic recruiter. He could probably convince me to drop out of school and transcribe Michigan football pressers forever if he wanted to. Please don’t, though.

Mattison’s personality is reflected in how he coaches his defense to play. He’s not the complicated, scheming type, and it rarely seems like he’s trying to hide anything. He knows who he is, nothing tricky about it, and he doesn’t care if you know who he is. He earns his salary and his defense wins games the same way: through maximum effort and attention to detail.

If Mattison could be considered a dog person, Al Borges would be a cat person. Borges strikes me as a lot more cerebral and calculating, which are probably good traits to have if you’re an offensive coordinator, and more on guard.

The last bit might be a product of his environment. Compared with fans’ expectations for Mattison where anything he did would have been an improvement over the last few years, the expectations for Borges really put him in a hard spot. Where are you going to go but down when you inherit a NCAA-record setting 2500-yard passer/1500-yard rusher who played in a system you don’t believe in? Early in the season it seemed as if he was more sensitive to the pressure to use the spread and run Denard or not run Denard. He was defensive about his decisions and often said things like “everyone wants to kill the offensive coordinator when a play doesn’t work.” He eventually opened up once he got comfortable with the personnel. As with most things in sports, a successful record was instrumental to the survival of the Al Borges-Denard Robinson fusion cuisine.

Personally, I like Borges a lot (I know, I know, death stare, bubble screens, etc.). Whereas with Mattison I could sit in a seminar room and listen to him all day, with Borges I can totally imagine myself hanging out with him at a bar and having a couple beers and talk about, idunno, women or something. Speaking of women, his young daughter made occasional appearances at the pressers last season. I suspect baselessly that it was a ploy to lessen the wrath of the media after the Iowa game.

I have the least to say about Brady Hoke because to me, Brady Hoke is an enigma. The man is so much smarter than he lets on. He’s so adept at playing the media and parrying loaded questions with mollifying non-answers, and he’s so impressively diplomatic in the “foreign affairs” aspect of being a head football coach.

Ten bucks says that he makes up words on purpose.

Let’s get back to Borges and the bubble screen.  Or Coach Hoke and the spread punt.  Your ability to provoke tete a tete showdowns with the staff has quickly become the stuff of legend and a bona fide MGoMeme.  How does this happen?  Are you simply carrying out the orders of Brian, or are you pushing for something printworthy?  Tell us about the experience of ruffling their feathers.

Man, you make it sound like I go to these things in a helmet and pads. Actually, you know what, I kind of like that image. Let’s go with it.

Before I head out to the press conferences I usually get online and check with Brian to see if there’s anything he wants me to ask. Brian’s questions are often about schematic nuances or game decisions, things that he notices while watching the game or doing the UFR that he can’t explain, e.g. assignments when defending the veer option, why Craig Roh crashed down inside the tight end instead of keeping contain outside, and what’s the point of sending Koger as a U-back across the formation when linebackers end up in Denard’s face anyway.

I started adding the “MGoQuestion” tag to these questions halfway through the season upon request but felt silly doing so because Brian’s questions are so obviously different from ones like “How did you feel about such and such position group last game?” Especially when juxtaposed with my own questions, which I come up with occasionally when Brian has nothing for me and I just want to satisfy my own curiosity. You can tell which MGoQuestions are mine by whether you can imagine an excitable dude wearing a No. 16 jersey shouting them from halfway up section 28.

Anyway, the spread punt question to Hoke falls into the Brian category, although if I remember correctly it may have been prompted by a reader email. On that note, if you have questions about Michigan football, ask Brian, and he’ll ask me to ask a coach, and the coach will likely stare at me impassively before giving me an answer from Monosyllabia. Yeah, I probably could have done better. Instead of asking “Have you considered using the spread punt?” I should have asked, “What do you feel is the advantage of using the traditional punt formation as opposed to the spread punt?” They teach us how to frame our questions strategically in medical school in a unit called “The Difficult Patient Interview.” Lesson learned: Brady Hoke is a difficult patient.

The bubble screen question to Borges was completely my own (un)doing. During the season I keep up with a bunch of other Michigan-related blogs. The day of the bubble screen question, I had just read BWS and what must have been his second or third rant on “Why no bubble screen?” when I decided, you know what, maybe I’ll just straight up ask Borges and see what he has to say about it.

It was actually a lot funnier than a lot of readers made it out to be. Because of that incident and that I’ve been bugging him about it off camera ever since, Borges now knows my name. At least, I think he does. He recognized me at the NSD presser and asked me my name.

Over the course of last season, I’ve definitely asked my share of annoying questions, but I don’t think the coaches really care. They understand that the media are there to increase exposure to the program, which is usually a good thing. They’re just not thrilled when their methods are questioned by people who have never played or coached a single down at this level. I have to give them a lot of credit for their patience and humility -- especially Mattison and Borges, who are willing to explain their thoughts with such honesty and such detail that no MSM reporter would ever be able to use the quote in a 500-word story. To us, however, and to the readers, those quotes are gold because they truly enhance how we watch and appreciate Michigan football.

 

4. On top of all of this, you’re pursuing an MD/PhD??  First of all, how do you make all that happen?  What sort of unique perspectives does your medical pursuits give you with regards to following Michigan sports?  And finally, where would you like this unique skill set take you in the future?

It sounds impressive, but the secret is that the MD and the PhD don’t happen at the same time. It’s two years of med school, four years of thesis work, and then two more years of med school. It’s an eight year slog, and right now I’m somewhere between year four and five overall. For all you math majors that have been keeping track, it means I’ve been working in a lab for two years now.

Being in the PhD phase of my training is what makes all of this possible. My project is independent and my hours are fairly flexible, so I can duck out of lab for an hour or two a few times a week during football season to hang out in Schembechler Hall. They feed us on Mondays, which is nice.

I’m not sure whether my medical/science background offers anything unique per se regarding Michigan athletics. I recognized Denard’s staph infection the minute I saw it on his hand and made the connection to the abscess on his elbow when that news broke, but that’s about it. I certainly don’t know enough to even begin to discuss sports injuries (except for concussions, but only because I had one recently). That kind of stuff isn’t cool to talk about without actual expertise, nor is it cool to talk about until they officially release it anyway because private health issues are supposed to be private.

This is where I’m going to sound like a job application essay or a self-help book: While there aren’t many obvious parallels between science, medicine, and sportswriting, an important connection that I’ve drawn is that the people who are most successful in any of these fields all possess the ability to ask the right questions. Of course, a lot of effort goes into finding out what the right questions are -- that’s why it takes so long to train doctors, why the best scientists often spend more time reading papers than doing experiments, and why Brian has his own UFR -- but it seems to be a winning formula. (/end PSA)

I’m not sure what specialty I want to go into yet, so I can predict even less how the sports aspect will fit in with my future. Check back with me in four years. I’m keeping an open mind as to how everything plays out, but I’m perfectly okay if this ends up just being “That sweet hobby I had for a few years through which I got to meet Denard Robinson.”

 

Crazy.  I’m sure you are no stranger to hard work.
So what do you like to do for fun?

I play a bunch of intramural sports with other med students, and I play music. In fact the reason I’ve been AWOL the last month was because I was spending all my waking hours in the pit band for the annual musical that the med school puts on at the Mendelssohn Theater.

On that note, recently I acquired a didgeridoo. Does anyone know how to play a didgeridoo? I’m having trouble learning how to breathe circularly.

 

5.  Well... I know there are rules against cowbells and airhorns in the stadium, but to my knowledge there are no such restrictions in place concerning the preeminent Aboriginal instrument of Australia. Why are you a Michigan fan?

I went to high school in Ohio but was oblivious to the rivalry until one day I showed up to class wearing a Michigan shirt. It was pretty easy to pick sides after that. And now I go here, so I mean, duh.

 

6. And finally, who is your all-time favorite Wolverine?

It would be difficult not to say Denard, but there is a special place in my heart reserved for former Michigan volleyball player Lexi Zimmerman. Anyone who has ever written for Daily Sports knows that you will never forget the first time you deploy the Massive Profile Machine. For me it was Lexi.

 


 

Imagine yourself, ten or fifteen years from now, having to visit the doctor.
Perhaps you need your cholesterol checked, or maybe it’s even the dreaded prostate examination that becomes more and more terrifying as I get older.  But either way, you’re led into the doc’s office and find yourself looking back at a small shrine of Michigan lore.  Pics of your doctor shaking hands with Denard, or being held in a headlock by the offensive coordinator.  You see all those framed diplomas, adorned with that famous golden seal with the magic lamp.  And, as he walks into the room, either in block M-bedecked scrubs or sporting a striped maize and blue tie under his crisp lab coat, you hear the song in your head.  By the time you get to the part
that says, “Leaders and Best,” it all fits perfectly.

You spend a little time interacting with Heiko and one thing immediately makes
itself clear:  this dude is going places.  Ambitious, well-written, yet without any presumptions about how people should treat him.  He’s a fan, and he’s one of us—but at the same time you can’t help but feel that’s not all he is, or is capable of or will become. Who knows, maybe one day it’ll be Al Borges telling stories of the time
he was interviewed by Dr. Yang.

Feb. MGoProfile delayed

Feb. MGoProfile delayed

Submitted by Six Zero on February 29th, 2012 at 7:55 AM

Happy Leap Day to MGoBlog!

Just wanted to make a quick announcement regarding MGoProfile, which I previously said would run monthly during the offseason.  Well, yeah, about that...

In truth, it was Alex Kozan's fault.  That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

Actually, both the honoree and myself have had a lot going on lately and agreed to just push it back a week or so rather than throw together something less successful.  In short it just means we'll probably have a delayed profile for the beginning of March and another at the end of the month.

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming of bball, hockey and the most insanely proactive recruiting effort since 2011.

MGoProfile with Ace

MGoProfile with Ace

Submitted by Six Zero on January 25th, 2012 at 10:21 AM

Six Zero back with the January 2012 installment of: 

This monthly offseason feature highlights some of the more famous personalities
here at MGoBlog.  Without pulling back the infamous veil of blog anonymity, we’ll
get to know some of your favorite posters better and possibly shed some light
on their definition of why it’s so darn Great, To Be, A Michigan Wolverine.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW PREVIOUS EDITIONS OF MGOPROFILE
(Scroll down to the MGoProfile section of the User-Curated HOF). 

 SIX QUESTIONS WITH ACE ANBENDER

BIG SHOES TO FILL: 1. Definition(expr.) when a job that was
done by a great person will now be done by someone new.
Ex: Bob was so well-liked and successful; The man
replacing him has some very big shoes to fill.

When the acclaimed TomVH packed up his bags for the bright lights of ESPN, Brian put out the call for his replacement. And, to our surprise, the position was filled rather quickly, by some guy named Ace who previously wrote at some other blog or something.  As if other Michigan blogs exist, right?

Since then, Ace has quickly carved out his own niche, both interviewing prospective recruits and covering sporting events and pressers as well. His style and writing voice has blended seamlessly with the existing culture of the blog, and yet he clearly seasoned the official content in ways we have never tasted before. And all the while, he is omnipresent, and certainly his biggest day of the year will fall next Wednesday as we learn of the luckiest two-dozen plus young men who will get to call themselves Michigan Men.  In celebration of next week's National Signing Day, Ace broke away from the phone long enough to sit down for this exclusive MgoProfile:


1.    First off—in your own words, explain to us the responsibilities and opportunities of being the Recruiting Analyst at MGoBlog?

To be perfectly honest, I’m still trying to figure this out myself. I know the opportunities—a chance to cover the team I grew up watching, a huge amount of exposure for my writing, making great connections, and being a part of the best team-specific blog out there, to name a few. As for the responsibilities, I’m still trying to find a balance between recruiting and football/basketball coverage; Brian has given me a lot of freedom to carve out my niche, and I’m trying to figure out what that is right now. Making sure readers get enough information to be able to follow the important recruiting stories is my main goal, and if I can help them become familiar with the type of people Michigan recruits, that’s a huge bonus and something I really enjoy doing.

As for day-to-day stuff, I’m learning it really changes depending on the season. Football season is a grind, especially when I’m checking out a high school game (or two) on Friday and then turning right around and covering the Michigan game on Saturday, and it’s also incredibly fun. Transitioning to basketball—while trying my hand at UFRing games—has also required a fair share of work. I hear things ease off a fair amount in the summer, and I can’t say I’m not looking forward to chilling out a bit and taking a week or two off in there. At the very least, every day I’m either writing a post or gathering information for one (read: watching film, usually) while also monitoring any recruiting info and trying to continue building my contacts. Though there’s a lot to do, you won’t hear any complaints from my end—I know how lucky I am to be in this position.

 

2.    What was the hiring process to become a FT member of the MGoBlog team? And what on earth is it like to have Brian Cook as your boss?

The hiring process went so fast I barely had time to absorb everything that was going on. I’ve checked MGoBlog on a daily basis going as far back as high school, so I noticed pretty quickly when Brian posted the job opening on the site. I’m pretty sure that was on a Monday morning, and by that afternoon I’d finished up my resume—tailored specifically for the job, since this wasn’t your normal job opening—and sent it to Brian. I heard back within a day or two that I was one of the finalists, and I interviewed with Brian in person that Friday. Before the weekend was over, he informed me I had the job, and from there I hit the ground running.

As for having Brian as a boss, it’s a different experience than with any other job I’ve had (though, admittedly, this is my first full-time job). Most of my interaction with him is through GChat, and he’s not telling me what I should be writing about on any given day—football season had a relatively rigid schedule, but that’s not the case right now. I initially was worried that I would have trouble getting feedback on my writing, but I’ve found that Brian is great about helping me out as long as I take the initiative to voice my concerns to him. I know Brian trusts me to get my work done, and at that point there’s no need to micromanage—if I need something, I ask him about it, and otherwise we’re both focused on taking care of business.

[Ed: remainder after jump.]

A Very Special MGoProfile with... Lloyd Brady

A Very Special MGoProfile with... Lloyd Brady

Submitted by Six Zero on December 8th, 2011 at 9:47 PM

Six Zero here, proud to announce the glorious return of…

This feature highlights some of the more famous personalities here at MGoBlog
and beyond.  Without pulling back the infamous veil of blog anonymity, we’ll get
to know some of your favorite posters better and possibly shed some light on
their definition of why it’s so darn Great, To Be, A Michigan Wolverine.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW PREVIOUS EDITIONS OF MGOPROFILE
(Scroll down to the MGoProfile section of the User-Curated HOF).

 

And now, my friends, I give you…

Man.  Myth.  Legend.  Lloyd Brady.

I submit to you a young man, a seemingly random spectator who-- through no machinations of his own, mind you—found himself thrust into the spotlight of MGoBlog and beyond.  Doing a simple search on MGoBlog doesn’t quite do it justice; this guy registers prominently on the search engine of your choice. The phenomenon now known as “Lloyd Brady” has, for better or worse, become a part of the common lexicon of the site and the fan base as a whole, and for all we know may go down in history with the jingling of keys and the term ‘Little Brother’ as part of the fabric of traditions that is Michigan football.

This week I was able to get in touch with arguably the most famous fan of the Michigan Wolverines, and rest assured, this is indeed legitimate.  It’s my pleasure to bring you this MGoBlog exclusive interview with the one and only Lloyd Brady:


 

1.    So first and foremost, in your own words—who or what is ‘Lloyd Brady?’
Lloyd Brady started as someone’s description of my appearances, but has kind of evolved into something more than what I look like. It has become me, kind of, as in that’s how people recognize me and people that recognize me as Lloyd Brady probably don’t know my real name so it’s me as two people in a sense.

Like, in a Bruce Wayne/Batman kinda way?
It’s hard to explain. But, when people see me and my expressions, it’s usually how they feel as well, I think. For example, last year at the Penn State game I was on TV with kind of a depressed look as we were losing and it seemed likely we were going to lose. People posted pictures and comment “This is how I feel,” and other things like that. Then, at another game that we won, I was captured on television with a huge smile and people were posting, “if Lloyd Brady is happy, Michigan must be winning”. So Lloyd Brady is me, but is also a representation of Michigan, and a feeling or sensation. I think that there is some Lloyd Brady in every Michigan fan, but I have become the representative figure of them all I guess.

Yes.  You are the embodiment of Michigan Men everywhere.  Whatever Lloyd Brady is feeling during any given play, we’re probably experiencing the same thing.  And yet, none of uscan possibly imagine what it was like to be caught in the center of this phenomenon.  Can you describe what it’s like to, well, be ‘Lloyd Brady?’
It is interesting. I didn’t really like it at first because it seemed a little weird seeing my picture and people making comments, but have learned to accept it and enjoy it now. It makes me happy to make other people happy and if meeting me or seeing me enhances someone’s Michigan experience, I guess that is what I like most about it. There are threads that people post their stories about seeing me on TV and telling their wives and kids, and now they look for me as well. It is just crazy how much attention it has gotten. I have progressed to a point that if it makes people happy, then that’s probably a good thing.

 

2.    I’m sure we can all remember the day or at least week* when this whole thing broke.  How did you find out about it?
I found out for myself actually when I was looking through MGoBlog after the game and clicked on the original Lloyd Brady thread and it was “woah, that’s me!”

As someone who wrote a little piece called “WifeDay,” I know what it’s like to have something blow up around here and grow beyond your control.  At what point did you realize how big Lloyd Brady had truly become? Was there a point where you just threw in the towel and learned to live with it?
When did I realize?  The Photoshop thread.  I never denied it, it was just I think I took it the wrong way to start.  It started as poking fun which I didn’t enjoy too much, but now it is completely different and I think I accepted it when Brian threw out something about it on the main page that he showed his support for me and that it was a good thing, not a bad thing.

Yeah, I think an epic 386-response thread would be hard to ignore.  So you’re a reader of MGoBlog, then?  After all this, I don’t think anyone would blame you if you boycotted us for the rest of your life.  What are your thoughts on the site?
I have been a fan of MGoBlog before this started even. I love the breakdowns of Michigan sports and besides, the MGoBoard isn’t always just Michigan related threads; there’s others that keep me up to date on other sports related news as well.

I agree—even popular culture and news (like this summer’s northeastern earthquake, personally) has a way of breaking on MGoBlog for the loyal readers.  So now we know, people—when Lloyd Brady needs an update on the Red Wings score, you know where he turns.

 

3.    Does the ‘Lloyd Brady’ meme exist only as an online entity, or is it alive and well on campus also? And how has it affected you on a personal level in real life?
Lloyd Brady started online, but there are people behind all those computers and many of them attend the University of Michigan (a lot of them go here) or attend football games or some of the other sports. Yes, it is on campus, I take pictures with people at parties, bars, games. On a personal level I don’t think it has changed me much; I don’t go and exploit it and say, like, “I’m Lloyd Brady” and try and get free shots at the bar or anything. I’ve had it happen, and it’s fun to see someone on campus that recognizes me: it usually leads to a conversation of Michigan sports which I am always up for talking about. Last year, people were calling out to me or taking pictures at the Gator Bowl. It also comes up at the basketball games, hockey games, etc…

Last week while at work one of my co-workers told me he was in California for the Ohio game and said at the bar he saw me on TV and some other random person at the bar yells “Lloyd Brady!” which is crazy to think about I think.

   

4.    Yes.  You are a national ambassador for the fan base and arguably one of our biggest fans.  What is gameday like for the student section’s most popular face?
Gamedays. If you ask my roommates they may hate me, but I make sure they are up and ready to go. Usually for noon games I’m not allowed to wake them up until 7 am. And later games, 9 am. On gamedays, I naturally wake up around 6 or 7 ready to go. Shower, wake people up, then go and tailgate for a while. Tailgating at Michigan is extremely different than any other campus I’ve visited. I enjoy the campus atmosphere during gamedays a lot. After some tailgating, it’s time to go to the game, usually a little earlier than other students.

Especially for you.  I’m sure there’s pictures to pose for, autographs to sign, babies to kiss.  What’s your secret for getting so much screen time?
I’m not sure there really is a secret, I just go be myself and enjoy the games as much as possible cheering, celebrating, doing things simply. I don’t dress up, bring signs or do anything real extreme to get on TV. I guess it’s just location and it’s a lot easier to pick me out I guess because people are looking for me.

That’s true.  Let’s see a show of hands out there—as soon as ESPN cuts to the student section, who doesn’t start scanning the crowd to see if you can pick out our boy Lloyd?

 

5.  Let’s talk more specifically about the student section.  And, well, Denard.  You’ll be forever immortalized celebrating with him on the wall on national television after the UConn game last year.  Tell us about that moment.
It was the first game of the season. We had some hype going into the season and didn’t really know what to expect since it was about time for Rich Rod’s offense to finally take effect. Denard came out strong and Michigan won, and everyone was excited for the time being as how things were going. After the game, the players came running over and Denard jumped up into the crowd, and then the moment that was captured was me pulling him up into the crowd. And with the angle the photo catches me at, I do look like a mix between Tom Brady and Lloyd Christmas. I was the starting QB for our state championship high school team, and back then people were referencing the “Tom Brady” look-alike appearance… but the Lloyd Christmas was definitely something new.

A former athlete, and now you’re obviously a UM student.  One day you’ll graduate and be on the job hunt.  What would you do if the ‘Lloyd Brady’ thing came up in a job interview?
If it ever came up in a job interview-- I would actually think of showing someone in an interview maybe, give them something easy to remember me by. But, if someone else brought it up, I think I would be excited and shocked. It would give me a larger perspective to how big Lloyd Brady is known and also how many people read MGoBlog.

 

6.    And you will forever be a part of its lore. Can you explain why you are a Michigan fan?
I was born and raised to be a Michigan fan. I have been attending games since I was 2 years old. As a child I had a Michigan helmet and played one on one tackle football against my dad and somehow won every game on some dramatic play. My sister’s first words were “Bo Schembechler;” she used to pretend to be on the phone and when you would ask her who she was talking to she would respond, “Bo Schembechler.” I actually did some volunteer work with Bo during a cancer drive for former Wolverine Tom Slade. I’ve never thought of switching loyalties or ever considered being a Spartan. When applying for college, I received my MSU packet in the mail, my parents were excited for me (well, maybe not my dad because he bleeds maize and blue).  But when they handed it to me, but I didn’t even open it; instead I said “Great, I’ll go to Arizona if I don’t get into Michigan.”

Arizona?  I bet that’s much more ironic now than it was, say a month ago.  Finally, who is Lloyd Brady’s all-time favorite Wolverine?
Lamarr Woodley.  I’ve followed him for a long, long time and it was great to see him excel at Michigan and beyond. He was a great defensive linemen and super-exciting to watch since you knew he could always get to the quarterback on every play. That whole defensive line, though, with Woodley, Branch, Watson, and Jamison, was one of the greatest D-line groups in Michigan history. Also, I guess it would make total sense if I included Tom Brady on that list as well. There are so many people that I could list … and Bo would be right up there too.

Yes.  Lamarr is one of my favorites as well.  And right up there on the list of many others is a man known as Lloyd Brady.  Thanks so much for sitting down with us, and can we expect to see you in the Mercedes-Benz SuperDome on January 3, 2012?
Yes, I’ll definitely be going!

 


*THE ORIGIN OF LLOYD BRADY

The original ‘appearance’ of Lloyd Brady, at least according to national television and Michigan football, is vs. UConn, September 4, 2010.  The famous DENARDING of Notre Dame takes place on Sept. 11, 2010, and LB once again makes appearances during that game as well, and I think that’s when the meme truly grows wings and prepares to take flight.  He then makes a famous local appearance during the remote Colin Cowherd show in Ann Arbor, and that's when heads really start to turn.  The first concrete evidence of it truly blowing up isn’t until September 22, when Shredder posts this thread  professing his nigh-offensive preference for the young fan, but at that point the name still has yet to drop.  For the first week and a half he is referred to simply as Tom Brady/Lloyd Christmas fan or TB/LC Lovechild. The next day there is a post by Yostlovesme concerning Cowherd’s B1G road trip in which LB is referred to simply as ‘Lloyd,’ with regards to whether or not Michele Beadle actually threw him a t-shirt during the Cowherd broadcast.  The next day (Sept. 24) Blazefire writes a charming Friday-morning lovefest for all things maize and blue in which LB is again revered in a post by Block M, yet he is still not officially named.

As for who is TRULY responsible for the name, it’s hard to say, but Brian himself has admitted that he feels he is responsible for coining the nomenclature, and there is archived materials to support this.  One thing is certain:  It officially goes supernova on September 30.  He is officially recognized by Unverified Voracity in a front-page post in which Brian starts off calling him “TomBrady/Lloyd Christmas fan, and even posts video in which he claims to see him (‘I’m saying there’s a chance at 2:02’).  Just after the video, Brian refers to him as LLOYD BRADY, and throughout the rest of the thread multiple posters embrace the name, starting chronologically with LoyalBlue15 at 10:03am, who ironically calls for yours truly to design a Lloyd Brady shirt. At 10:46 mdoc answers Brian’s seemingly innocent call to begin photoshopping LB into historical situations like the stunned Okie fan meme. Not long after at 10:50am, Aquaman2342, already using it as his avatar, posts a full-size image of the Lloyd Brady Time Magazine cover which sets off the feeding frenzy.  Mdoc drops another mash-up job at 11:04, thus inspiring megalomanick to start the now-legendary OT Lloyd Brady Photoshop thread at 12:30pm.

The rest, as they say, is history.

 


 

Lloyd Brady.  The meme really has taken on a sort of mythical presence, and it’s easy to forget that there’s an actual guy out there who wakes up and goes to classes and lives his life when he’s not in glorious High Definition in every one of our living rooms on Saturday.  As he himself said above, it’s almost like an alter-ego, except in a maize tee and blue base layer instead of a cape.

Let’s face it, Lloyd Brady is something of a celebrity within our fan base, and it’s been fun for all of us to be in on the joke, along for the ride.  But it hasn’t always been fun for him—at its birth, this whole spectacle was ridiculing and almost cruel in nature before gaining an air of respectability.  It’s a testament to this guy that he took it as well as he did, and even found a way to claim a sense of ownership over something that he originally had no control over.

With that being said, Underground Printing and MGoBlog are pleased to announce a new partnership with the man behind the face, and are proud to release the all-new Lloyd Brady Collection at the MGoStore.  These three new designs celebrate the phenomenon of Lloyd Brady and are now available for order:

 

I BELIEVE

CLICK THE ABOVE IMAGE TO ORDER!
Bigfoot.  Santa Claus.  The Loch Ness Monster.
Little green men from Mars.  And Lloyd Brady.  If you believe with all
your heart, then he must be real, kids.  THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE!

 

HOMEBOY

CLICK THE ABOVE IMAGE TO ORDER!
Because, you know, he is.  For all of us.

 

 

WHERE IN ANN ARBOR?

CLICK THE ABOVE IMAGE TO ORDER!
Designed as an homage to Carmen Sandiego, it’s everyone’s favorite
pastime between the whistles.  Searching for Lloyd Brady is more
than a gametime activity, it's a new Michigan tradition.

 

Lloyd Brady looks great in the student section and even better on your HDTV… but he’ll never have looked better being worn on your chest, or even under the Christmas tree for your favorite Michigan fan.  Order now before they’re gone!

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND GO BLUE!

MGoProfile, or lack thereof

MGoProfile, or lack thereof

Submitted by Six Zero on May 16th, 2011 at 8:27 AM

Yeah, so it's not gonna happen.

After a celebrated 2010 run of blog personality profiles collectively known as MGoProfile (collected here in the final entry's index), I've heard the rumbling of requests for new 2011 entries continue to grow louder and louder since Signing Day.

Truth is, new developments in both my personal and professional lives have effectively made it impossible for me to continue to meet the deadlines I'd set for myself.  Or, at least, to be able to do so and yet still maintain a level of quality I am comfortable with.

As MGoShoe, Brian and others can testify, I went back and forth on this for several weeks now, trying to decide if I can pull it off.  One of the biggest reasons that made it hard to decide is because I enjoyed doing it last year, especially because it has been fun building correspondences/friendships with some of the fellow MGoBlog community.  Thanks to everyone who helped make it possible last year... and have kept in touch since.

But, in the end, life is just too crazy right now.  So thanks for the interest, and sorry.

Unless you guys would be happy with one every two weeks...?

PS
 If anyone is truly interested in taking over the concept this year, please feel free to express interest.  I'd certainly be willing to hand over any artwork or otherwise help get you started.

 

No MGoProfile Tomorrow

No MGoProfile Tomorrow

Submitted by Six Zero on June 16th, 2010 at 12:09 PM

Blame the infrastructure, blame the weather, blame the Bay of Pigs quality of conference realignment this week, blame Nebraska, blame the Big XII which now equals ten, blame the Athletic Director of Texas, blame Ralphie the Buffalo, blame the Libyans Marty, blame the half naked barely pubescent girls to the left of this message, blame BP, blame the damn Buckeyes, blame the word 'blame', blame the World Cup coverage (even though I've never watched a soccer game in my life), blame the empty promises of THE KNOWLEDGE if you must...

but there will be no MGoProfile tomorrow.  Sorry friends.  We'll be back next week.

.

YES

.

MGoProfile: Volume 5

MGoProfile: Volume 5

Submitted by Six Zero on May 27th, 2010 at 7:58 AM

Hello everyone, Six Zero here with the latest installment of: 

Photobucket

SIX QUESTIONS WITH MATHLETE

Inspired by the official site’s “Two Minute Drill” series and TomVH’s famous Q&A segments with potential recruits, this weekly feature highlights some of the more famous personalities here at MGoBlog.  Without pulling back the infamous veil of blog anonymity, we’ll get to know some of your favorite posters better and possibly shed some light on their definition of why it’s so darn Great, To Be, A Michigan Wolverine.

 PREVIOUS FEATURES:
TomVH        formerly anonymous       Misopogon       Shredder

 

Math.  Nemesis to many, and friend to so very few.  Some of us get it, and the rest of us use it only when we absolutely have to, like a plunger or Mucinex (ed:  nasty stuff).  When it comes to MGoBlog, we all know that the resident expert is Mathlete, who seemingly can use statistical information to prove everything from what players are more valuable than others to which Sparty player is most likely to next act with felonious intent.  His posts are well-written, tirelessly researched, and busting
at the seams with factual analysis and conclusions.  And yet, despite all that
number-crunching, he was still gracious enough to sit down with us
for this exclusive MGoProfile interview:

 

1.     Mathlete, known far and wide as the only man capable of making numbers sing “Hail to the Victors.”  Few login names fit their owners as well as yours.  Were you, or are you, a competitive mathlete?  Is there a story behind the selection of your name?
     Growing up, my dad was a math teacher and a coach so I always had a strong mix of math and sports in my life.  Sports were always the thing I wanted to be good at and wasn't, where academic competitions were the thing I was good at but mostly embarrassed of. When I first registered at mgoblog, I originally was going to pick an obscure reference from The Wire (Always, Boris) but at the last minute decided to embrace a more accurate name and attempt to embrace the title that had
created so much teenage angst.

Ahh, yes—surely the most famous type of angst has to be the teenage variety.  And if it makes any difference, I think if you had any other login name it’d simply be wrong.


2.      Your posts are legendary for their vast raw data, their accuracy, and their ability to recognize facts where others simply see coincidence.  Do you live in a black-and-white world?  How do you see life differently from others?
     My interest in numbers actually has the opposite effect on me.  We ultimately measure the results of things in black and white, but when I look forward, I am always viewing things in terms of probabilities.  If the numbers say Michigan is better than their opponent, I don't see that as a guaranteed victory, I want to understand how much better Michigan is and what their probability of winning would be.  I think is what separates me from most other people.  Our brains our wired to eliminate complexity so often times we look at results and the then identify the reasons that the result had to have happened, when in reality, there were probabilities associated with a number of outcomes and a lot more luck and randomness than we are comfortable with contributed to the specific result.  Over the long run, these variances will usually
cancel themselves out, but they can wreak havoc on smaller time frames.

 
3.     Some of your pieces take significant amounts of time (not to mention brain power) just to read--  How long does it take to put together a solid, statistically accurate post from concept to completion?
     That's a really tough one to answer because I often have a hard time focusing so it’s often done over multiple sessions.  Usually I have a couple of ideas kicking around in my head and once I get one I think I can go with, I start writing.  Usually as I start writing with one key chart, table of conclusion but as I go I get a clearer picture of the hard data that is going to be needed to build the case.  Once I do get going it moves pretty quickly and I am terrible at proofreading my work, so once the last sentence is penned
I tend to just hit publish and live with dumb errors!

 We’re all guilty of that.  I’ve always been impressed not only by your talent for gathering and analyzing large amounts of information, but also your ability to present it in a way that the common reader can understand.  Is that a challenge? Or, should I say, how much do you hold back to keep it accessible for the masses?
     My goal is to provide something that is as accessible as traditional stats but more valuable.  Sometimes it’s difficult to bring it around, but I am still approaching it all
as a football fan first.

 
4.     Sports and statistics have always gone together like maize and blue.  Why is that?  Why do we, as fans, enjoy rattling off numbers as much as watching the games themselves?
      The numbers help tell the story of what we just saw, they affirm and shape our feelings about our favorite players and teams, they expand the experience.  They give us a connection to our teams in between games.  Since I started doing The Mathlete work, one of my favorite times of the week is after all the games have been played and all the play by plays are available.  Going through game by game and adding them into my database and then seeing what comes out.  Whose performance was better than I thought and who seemed to do well but didn't show up in the numbers. 

 
5.      I’m going to go out on a limb and say that you work with numbers.  But, without divulging too much information, can you describe what sort of field you’re involved in?  And what do you like to do when you’re on your own time?
     Believe it or not I do work with numbers for a living.  For the most part I do demand planning and a production scheduling for a large corporation.  In other words, I sold out to the man.
     Most of my spare time is spent with my family.  I have an 18 month old son who I am convinced is going to be the next Jake Long.  Mrs. Mathlete isn't too keen on "offensive lineman" as my dream for our son, but she'll come around.
     Aside from family, my life is generally sports related.  Playing basketball, watching whatever sport is in season and thinking of new ways to analyze, predict or understand sports takes up enough of my time.  I am working on getting a full-blown website up and running before football season starts so that I can make more information available but right now all I have is themathlete.com and absolutely no content. 

Show your wife Jake Long's paycheck--  She'll come around.  Describe the perfect meal. 
      My grandma used to make a dish called porkies.  They had a ridiculous name and were never the most appetizing things to look at, but man were they good.  How can you go wrong with what is essentially a giant meatball made of ham and sausage covered in a sauce that is 90% brown sugar.  Add in some homemade mashed potatoes (no gravy) and you are likely to find me on the couch for the rest of the day watching football and regretting how much I ate while contemplating going back for more.

 
6.     Can you explain why you are a Michigan fan?
     I probably came by my Michigan fandom in a very different manner than most at MgoBlog.  I grew up in Kansas with absolutely no connection to the state of Michigan.  I think the only reason they came to be my favorite school is because growing up they were on TV more than anyone else other than Notre Dame and my dad hated the Irish, so I picked Michigan.  The first time I remember cheering for them as "My Team" was in ‘91 with Desmond Howard.  The next year saw the arrival of the Fab Five and I was hooked.  I got accepted to Michigan for grad studies in Operations Research but a series of events led to it not happening.  I am ashamed to admit I have never
attended a Michigan game live.

 I was a fan for many years before finally making it out to my first game.  I might argue that it meant more than a local’s first game, because of the pilgrimage, ‘Bucket List’-esque nature of the whole experience.  When you do get up, it’ll be a life-changing trip.  Finally, the staple last question-- who's your all-time favorite Wolverine?
     It's not technically a player, but it would have to be the Fab Five.  I had the book, I had a drawer full of the hideous black Nike socks, it didn't get any cooler than the Fab Five.  My favorite Wolverine football player is probably Braylon Edwards if for no other reason than the damage I could do with him on NCAA Football.


 Being a creative person both by profession and personality, I deal with abstract thoughts and ideas.  My boundaries are only defined by the limits of imagination, and my work is grounded more by production details and budget than logic or validity.  Perhaps that’s why I’m so fascinated by the results of Mathlete, and others like him who pour over numerical information to find the truth.  Statistics are just raw data.  It takes someone with a specific process of thought to manifest those numbers into concrete information that can prove one argument or disprove another.  I, or anyone, can make ridiculous claims about a football team without any degree of accountability —the entire field of sports radio is built on this convenient truth— but a guy like Mathlete can take a box score and, with a fair degree of research, a certain level of intelligence, and a little bit of math, turn that raw information into indisputable fact.  Unlike politicians, New Jersey women, and Michael Rosenberg… numbers do not lie.

 See you guys next week for another edition of MGoProfile!