Better luck next time

Better Luck Next Time

“Better Luck Next Time” – January 4th, 2011

It’s few and far between that I ever play this, but with $355 million up for grabs? Why not?

The results? Things went about as well as expected!

The 12 year old matador

The Justin Bieber of bullfighting?

I can say for a fact, this is something I never considered doing as a kid.

Though he stands just four feet ten—short, even for a kid who is about to turn 13—Michelito has become internationally renowned for his exploits in the ring. By his own estimate, he has already put the sword to 300 bulls. Ask him if he remembers his first kill and he says, “It was October 27, 2005, in my mother’s home state of Tabasco. I was 6 years old.” Four years later he tried to set a Guinness World Record for novice bullfighters (novilleros) by slaying six bulls in a single appearance—and succeeded, but Guinness refused to recognize it. (“We do not accept records based on the killing or harming of animals,” its website explained.) This past June, Michelito became the youngest matador ever to perform in the world’s largest bullfighting arena; he was such a hit that he was invited back in August.

[Via Daily Dish]

Crazy emails from strangers [updated]

Alright, so someone keeps emailing me, thinking they have someone else named Dave Schumaker. This actually happens a lot. After receiving a number of recent forwarded joke emails, I decided to respond. Check out conversation.

It reminds me of this earlier thread I wrote, about receiving strange email.

Update: I just realized that it’s the same Donna in that post!

From: Donna M.
Date: September 17, 2010 3:10:41 PM PDT
To: Dave Schumaker
Subject: FW: Poor mushroom

Forwarded message:

Date: Fri, 17 Sep 2010 12:26:44 -0400
From: [some random person I don’t know]
To: [some other random person I don’t know]
CC: [a bunch of random people I don’t know] Subject: Fwd: Poor mushroom


This is the second or third random forward I’ve gotten from her. I considered adding a filter to my account, but I thought that maybe, I should inform this person they have the wrong email address.

Subject: Re: Poor mushroom
From: Dave Schumaker
Date: Fri, 17 Sep 2010 15:12:34 -0700
To: Donna M.

I think you have the wrong Dave Schumaker’s email address.



There, I think that does the trick! Wait — I just got a reply from her,

From: Donna M.
Subject: RE: Poor mushroom
Date: September 17, 2010 3:42:22 PM PDT
To: Dave Schumaker

I don’t think so 😛



You are not my Mom! I have NO IDEA who you are!

Update! I just received a follow up email. It looks like things have been cleared up, folks! It looks like I only have one mother again.

From: Donna M.
Subject: RE: Poor mushroom
Date: September 17, 2010 4:54:53 PM PDT
To: Dave Schumaker

So, so sorry I just talked to my son and I did have the wrong e-mail. Again, I’m sorry

So long, Axl-dog.


I remember when we first picked Axl up, back in August of 2001.

We went down to a nearby pet store, specifically looking for a new dog. The local humane society had setup a small pen with dozens of adorable puppies. All of them were yipping, running around, playing with each other. How could one choose between so many animals? My sister, mom, and I debated. There was a cute dalmatian sitting in the corner.

My mom shot down that idea, “No! Besides, dalmatians often have health problems.”

My sister focused on this adorable pile of black fur sitting in the middle of the pen. It looked happy as can be, ignoring the other rambunctious pups tussling around it. Sitting on his hind legs, ears flopped over, head slightly cocked, tongue hanging out, and mouth stuck agape as if he was smiling.

My sister said, “I want that one!” And so, it was.

Axl as a Puppy

– – –

All puppies are adorable. But Axl was especially so (at least in our eyes). Nearly perfectly behaved, not too overactive, easy to train. Compared to previous dogs we’ve had, he was incredible!

He’d love to be nearby, that way he could always have an eye on what you were doing. Whether it was on the couch, or on my homework.



– – –

Little did we know, that cute, compact pile of fur (which we initially thought was a chow / black lab mix) would grow into a large beast of a dog. A beast, but a gentle giant. It turns out, he was a newfoundland.

We found this out while taking Axl for a walk in the park a few years ago. A lady walking her dogs passed by and said, “Oh wow! I love your newfoundland! He’s so beautiful!”

Confused, we said, “I think you’re mistaken, he’s a black lab!”

But the lady was insistent, “No! He’s definitely a newfoundland.”

So, we looked it up when we got home. After seeing photos, we were flabbergasted.

Here is your average, typical photo of Axl:


And here is your average, typical photo of a newfoundland (according to Wikipedia):


– – –

Well, that was certainly exciting news. And it earned Axl a new nickname. We called him the Goofy Newfy. And the descriptions of typical newfoundlands certainly made sense.

It is known to be one of the kindest and gentlest dogs. It is for this reason that this breed is known as “the gentle giant”.

All of this was true. Axl was the absolute sweetest, most well behaved, and loyal dog we’ve ever had. He was at his happiest when someone was there to pet him. That’s really all he ever wanted.

The Happy Newfie!

– – –

Of course, with the newfound knowledge of Axl’s ancestry, was the stunning realization that newfoundlands often have serious health problems — their lifespan typically ranges anywhere from 8 years to 13 years, which is quite a bit shorter than your average dog.

But surely, our Axl would be an exception He was always so limber and active.

Axl as a Puppy

Axl playing with volleyball

And he loved playing in the creek, or sitting in front of a fan to cool off.


Axl-dog being cool

Though sometimes, you got the impression that all he ever did was sit in front of a fan…


– – –

Sadly, over the past year or so, he’s become a bit slower, more lethargic, and even larger. It seems his “old” age was catching up to him. You’d often find him just sitting around. As long as he was next to someone who could pet him, he was happy as can be.




– – –

One of my favorite things about visiting my parents’ house was how excited Axl would be to see me. It didn’t matter how long I had been gone — 3 months, 9 months, nearly a year? He would always remember who I was. When I got out of the car, he would be right next to the window, looking at me with his cheesy grin, his tail straight up in the air and wagging.

You could easily imagine him saying something like, “Oh yeah! You haven’t given me a good petting in awhile, buddy! Oh, good to see you again too.”

The Most Awesome Dog in the Universe

The other thing Axl would always do, every single day in fact, is greet you in the morning. And it was only in the morning.

He would attempt to speak. It sounded like something between a growl and a howl — a very deep throated “WOOOO WOO WOOOOOOO WOO WOOO.” But it wasn’t threatening at all. It was an affectionate sound. And you could speak right back to him too. Sometimes he would even reply, “WOOOOOOO WOO.”


– – –

When I went home last Christmas, we talked about Axl’s health and mentioned this could be the last time I’d ever see him. It was heartbreaking. He was still sharp, but he struggled to get up and move around.

I visited my parents again back in April, and saw that his condition had deteriorated a bit more. It was obvious that something had to happen in the next few months. So, I spent a few hours playing around with him — which basically involved him sitting in one spot and me petting him!


Axl and Dave

Anyway, I had to leave for the airport the next morning. I said goodbye, gave him a big hug, and sadly had tears in my eyes. And I took one final photo as I walked out the door. It was the last time that I would see Axl.


He was just over 9 years old.

So long, you Goofy Newfy. You’ll be missed!

If only my tardiness were equally productive

(Yes, at this point I’m just plundering my Google Reader shared items feed… but I’ve been sick!)

If only my habitual tardiness could produce something equally as great.

One day in 1939, Berkeley doctoral candidate George Dantzig arrived late for a statistics class taught by Jerzy Neyman. He copied down the two problems on the blackboard and turned them in a few days later, apologizing for the delay — he’d found them unusually difficult. Distracted, Neyman told him to leave his homework on the desk.

On a Sunday morning six weeks later, Neyman banged on Dantzig’s door. The problems that Dantzig had assumed were homework were actually unproved statistical theorems that Neyman had been discussing with the class — and Dantzig had proved both of them. Both were eventually published, with Dantzig as coauthor.

“When I began to worry about a thesis topic,” he recalled later, “Neyman just shrugged and told me to wrap the two problems in a binder and he would accept them as my thesis.”