Only In Arkansas

Arkansas, what is it famous for? Perhaps its natural beauty and numerous state parks. Perhaps it’s famous for a certain president who like to “mess around.” Maybe it’s for the World Championship Cardboard Boat Races.

Wait… what? Yes, you heard me right folks, Arkansas is home to the World Championship of the sport of racing boats carefully crafted of cardboard, duct tape, liquid nails, and deck and patio sealer. Hang on, you’re thinking. Cardboard boats? Yes, cardboard boats.

Why would I know this, you may be thinking. It’s because the event was held last Saturday and I went, for the second year in a row.

Yes, in the quaint little town of Heber Springs, Arkansas, on the shores of Greer’s Ferry Lake, a competition the likes of which would probably make you think, “Why?” is held annually at Sandy Beaches State Park. And this is not something new. This competition was in it’s twenty-first year. Twenty-one years, people!

You may also ask, “Why the heck were you at such a thing?” Well, one of my friend’s family has been building cardboard boats for this competition the past four years and last year, he invited me to go with them. I was invited back again this year, and I agreed again. Because if you think about it, what’s a better use of a Saturday afternoon than either racing or watching people race in precariously-built boats of cardboard origin? I mean, seriously.

The “base camp” for this operation is my friend’s “game room,” a separate addition to the house which includes a lower area with a basketball goal that can also be used for soccer, badminton, and other sports activities, and an upper “nook” area that is used for Lego creations and Xbox and Gamecube fun. Over the summer, one could walk in the game room and see random people working on their cardboard boats. Yes boats. As in, more than one. This year, our team (curiously named “Team Flower Power”. The origin of the name eludes me, but I believe it’s because the original entrants four years ago were Will’s sister and her friend, who had a flower-emblazoned boat) entered five boats in various divisions. Now, this is not as though these boats are built in a day or two, or even a weekend or two. No, this is a very detailed process from start to finish that took them (about seven people) nearly two months to complete. Granted, they didn’t work on this nonstop. Most time on these boats was spent during the weekends up until the race.

Now, what, you may ask, goes into a cardboard boat? First, obviously, is cardboard. Lots and lots of cardboard. My friend’s dad has a friend who works at International Paper, so he was able to obtain quite a supply of cardboard for free (two truckbeds full of sheets of cardboard, if I recall correctly), because the cardboard wasn’t “up to industry standards” or something like that. Now, just because it isn’t up to industry standards doesn’t mean it’s totally bad. In fact, if you didn’t know so, you’d probably think that is was perfect sheets of the board. Now, onto the construction. To begin, you glue multiple sheets of cardboard to create thick layers of cardboard for the hull. After the hull is complete, you must waterproof the cardboard. There are two main methods to do this. First, and most importantly, you surround the exposed edges of cardboard with duct tape. Now you may not believe me, but cardboard is actually pretty waterproof. The main problem with cardboard is that if water is allowed to get between the two “outside” layers (into the “waffles”, or corrugation), it basically becomes extremely heavy with water, and ruins the seaworthiness of the board. If you cover the edges with duct tape, however, the rate of water absorption is quite lower. However, duct tape alone is not enough. To fully water proof it, you must apply some sort of water-proofing sealer (much like you use for a deck or patio) to the areas not protected by the duct tape.

After the edges are sealed, and the surface coated with as many as four coats of sealer, you can begin to assemble your boat in the desired design (you may also assemble the boat before sealing, if desired). Most people use liquid nails to attach the pieces together (caulk is outlawed against use in the competition, but Liquid Nails are acceptable) and then cover all the corners with more duct tape. After the pieces are finally assembled into the desired shape, you may then apply a last coat of sealer.

Also needed is some means of propelling the boat in the water. For this, there are two divisions of races (both of which are further divided into two categories: youth and adult). The first is the mechanical division. In this division, you are not allowed to use any paddles. You must have some mechanism to propel your boat, such as paddle wheels, propellers, etc. However, you may not use some sort of motor to power your boat. It must be all human-powered. In the non-mechanical division, you must use paddles to propel your boat.

And this is not some wily-nilly hobbyist competition. This is governed by strict rules in regards to weight, propulsion system, and even the amount of duct tape allowed in the first heat (after the first heat, the judges do not care if you make repairs using duct tape, in fact, you can use as much duct tape as needed to keep your boat afloat for the second heat). If the judges believe that your boat is not entirely made of cardboard, they can take an icepick and poke a hole through your boat to test.

Now, about the competition. I was extremely surprised at how many people actually showed up at this. Not only that, they held a competition last year to see who had come the farthest to see the farthest to attend this competition. They announced people from Mississippi (not too far), California (a little farther), Japan (umm… why?), and Korea (again, why… if they come to the States, is there not anything more exciting you can come see than the World Championships of Cardboard Boat racing?). [As a side note, the World Championship Watermelon Eating contest is held at this beach on the same day.] And this just wasn’t my friend’s family that went for our team. This year, the team expanded a bit, as a lot of our friends from the dorm came along to help us not only with the competition, but the actual construction of the boat. As I said earlier, we entered five boats in four different divisions.

The actual races are arranged in two heats, with you facing one (possibly two) other boat in the channel with you. For the race, a line of buoys are arranged into a small arc from one part of the harbor to the another, reaching about a quarter of a mile. While you do have another boat in the channel with you, your real opponent is the clock, as the tournament placement is based on your average time from both heats.

The team I was on, The Four Oarsmen of the Apocalypse didn’t do so well in our first heat, as our paddle wheels broke. So, we decided to jump off the boat and swim it in. The second heat, we switched to regular paddles (due a technicality that we had a rudder, we were still allowed in the mechanical division with regular paddles), and we did a lot better, but still not enough to win our division. However, it was in the demolition derby that we shined. During the derby, we expanded to “The Six Oarsmen” (we added two of the other people who helped to build the boat, one who lived in our dorm, and the other we’ve known since High School). The rules for the Derby changed this year, and once you were out of the boat, you were out for good (before, if you hurried, you could get back into the boat), which changed it up a bit. We had a truce with the other Flower Power boat that was in the derby to not flip each other until the very end, which meant that one of us was going to win. In the end, it was us against them, and we were able to pull the other team off their boat without any losses on our part. After the victory, some of us commandeered the other boat. :D

After the derby was the awards ceremony, where we got two trophies, one for Children’s Mechanical division, and one for the demolition derby. We loaded the boats back into the trailer we have for the purpose (it’s a racing trailer that one of the team members owns), and left for home. Afterwards, there was Xbox Live fun and pizza. It was a pretty amazing day.

Now, if you didn’t believe that cardboard boat racing was serious business enough before, then you might be surprised that the Smithsonian did a documentary on it. Our team was pretty prominent in there (I assume, they haven’t released it yet [obviously, it’s only been a week], but they took a lot of footage of us the day before and the day of the competition). I’m actually kind of excited about seeing that. Apparently, the documentary is one of the first that will be featured on a new television network that the Smithsonian is launching, and that they are going to feature a “viral advertisement” network… I’ll have to see how that works out. :P

Basically, that’s it for the description of the event. If you want to see some pictures of the event (there’ll be a crap load, so I’m not putting them on front page so that people’s internet won’t die :P), click the “Read More” link.


Humble Beginnings

Seal ‘er up!

The business end of the brush came off, so one of the builders took it in his hands and brushed it “manually”.

One layer complete!

The beginnings of “Brunhilda, Sea Goddess of Death.”

Forked tongue action.

The completed Brunhilda, and an almost complete boat. Notice the hawt wood-grain action.


Coming in for a landing after the first race. Notice the pirate boat in the back. It was built of wood, so wasn’t in the races, but it was still pretty neat.

lolpeople. In the back, you can see the Apocalypse and the Oarsmen celebrating our win in the Demolition Derby.

Two of the boats we destroyed.

Another Team’s Boat

This is the reason we didn’t win best design. It did a lot better in the race than I imagined, too. Apparently, they spent six months on it, so I guess they deserved the award. :P

The Perfect Playlist?

Well, over the summer, I’ve been playing around with iTunes’ “Smart Playlist” features, and I think that I may have possibly found what are the “perfect” random playlists. Now, before I begin, let me say that the original concepts are not mine. I saw a blog article about this somewhere before that gave me the “blueprints” to work from, so to speak. However, I’ve improved on them (greatly), and now I“m going to share ‘em with you guys.

First some pre-requisites. Though these were created and tested on iTunes, I would assume that they can be, if not replicated, then emulated fairly closesly on any music player that allows some sort of “Smart” playlist building feature. Secondly, these playlists really depend on you rating your collection. I’m not saying that every song needs rating, but… well, you’ll see. :P The third step is optional. You’ll need a “normal” playlist that includes songs that you absolutely wouldn’t want playing in any of your playlists. I say that this step is optional because if you rate your collection, then you can just rate those songs with a low rating and they won’t be included. I call this playlist “Slow Songs.”

Secondly, I make some assumptions on how you rate songs. This is how I interpret my ratings and how I base the ratings part of the autoplaylist, so if they do not accurate reflect your system, then you can monitor and adjust as necessary.

  • 0 Stars (Unrated) – You either haven’t listened to this, or you don’t feel strongly enough about it to give it a rating.
  • 1 Star (Absolute Crap) – You don’t want to hear this mess ever.
  • 2 Stars (Poor to Average) – You might want to hear some of this sometime, but most of the time, you’d rather skip it
  • 3 Stars (Good) – You’d probably want to listen to it all the way through if it came up randomly
  • 4 Stars (Excellent) – You could probably listen to this a few times in a row.
  • 5 Stars (Stupendous!!!) – This song is absolutely amazing! You could listen to it a million times in a row!

Now that I have all that background info out of the way… ON TO THE LISTS!

Daily Listening

The purpose of this playlist is to give you a random playlist that you can, well… listen to while going about your daily activities. :P

You’re probably not going to want to listen to Christmas music during your daily grind, nor are you probably going to want to listen Speeches, videos or podcasts. The country part is my own addition, feel free to add any genres you’d not normally want to hear in its own rule. The one and two-star rules are defined separately instead of using a “greater than” rule so as not to rule out the music that doesn’t have a rating yet. Now, the last played will vary greatly based on the size of your collection. A good rule of thumb is to set a value that will give you at least a quarter of your collection, even if you played your music non-stop. The number of items that you limit it to is a bit of personal preference, as well. 50 or 100 items are good choices.

Listen to This

This playlist is another random one that will play more of your favorite songs. Originally, I had this one set up as basically a “Random Top Rated Songs Playlist”, but then expanded it to included 3-Star songs as well, for more variety.

Use the same ideas set from the “Daily Listening” playlist, if you’d like to change around the rules to more closely match your own setup or preferences. For this playlist, I’d recommend limiting the number of items (depending on the size of your collection) to no more than 50 items.

New Shit

This playlist randomly play a song that was added in the last month, but not if it’s been played in the last day. It has the same basic foundations as the previous two playlists.


As the name suggests, this playlist randomly plays any songs that have not had a play in your collection.

Well, there you have ‘em. Quite possibly the “perfect” playlists. If you have any comments or suggestions, or have a playlist of your own you’d like to share, drop a comment on the article. :)


Yesterday, I got back from vacation to Colorado with my family. Though I had absolutely no idea what we were doing or where we were going, I still had fun. :)

The trip started off like many others before it have. We woke up early in the morning, piled up in the car and picked up my grandmother from my mom’s side. We do this because she goes to visit some relatives that live in Lahoma, Oklahoma (near Enid, if you know where that is) while we go on our vacations (I don’t exactly know how she’s related, to them, though >_<. I think it’s her sister, but I really have no idea).

After the drop-off, we were in Panhandle country. If you’ve never had the displeasure of driving through the area between roughly the Rocky Mountains and the north-south line that crosses through Oklahoma City, then thank the heavens. This part of God’s Creation is the most flat, dull, hot, boring land you will ever see in your life. Avoid it if at all possible.

After about a day and three quarters of driving, we arrived in Durango, Colorado, which would be the proverbial “base camp” of our expedition. We left on Saturday and arrived in Durango sometime in the evening on Sunday. We pitched a tent (yes, we camped), made plans for the next day, and went to sleep.

On Monday things started getting a little bit hairy (no pun intended). We were scheduled to ride the Durango and Silverton Narrow-Gauge Railway that morning at 9:45. But, there was a little kink in the plan. We decided to bring the dog along with us on vacation (my mom got a Pomeranian recently), and no pets were allowed on the train. So we had to find a kennel and quick. After a couple of calls we found one, but we had to get him some kind of shot, so we rushed to the local vet, got the shot, and then went to the kennel. We arrived at the train and boarded.

Now, the train. It was fun… the ride up. If you ever want to go ride it, then I’d recommend you just ride the train one way and get back a different way (they offer a bus ride back). The ride is through some amazing scenery, but it’s loooong. We left at 9:45 AM and returned to Durango at 7:05 PM. That’s a shitlong ride. My suggestion is if you have an even number of people with you that half ride up in the train and half in the car, and then switch at Silverton (though, if that’s “legal”, I’m not sure >_>). We took a crapload of pics on the ride, and I’ll try to get some of those up on the Interwebs sometime and give a link or something.

For the next few days, we drove around the “San Juan Skyway” which is a scenic loop through Southwest Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. There’s really not much to actually right about here, seeing as how you can’t really show Nature’s beauty through text (well, I suppose you could, but I’m no such writer). Like I said though, there’ll be pics up sometime in the future and you can see for yourself. :p

After the long trek through the Skyway, we went to the Four Corners of USA, which was pretty neat. On the return, we stopped at this Italian restaurant in Cortez, Colorado called “Lotsa Pasta” (I forget the name of the pizza portion of the restaurant). It was amazing! If you’re ever going through Cortez, be sure to stop by and be sure to purchase the bread sticks!!! Damn, those things were amazing.

After Cortez, we were back to Durango, where we began the return trip home. I would say that the trip was pretty awesome except for one fact: I had a sinus infection. It really sucked. Headaches, running nose, coughing. Glad I’m going to the doctor for that. >_>

Basically, that was my trip.

Lack of …. Stuff

So… I realize that lately, I haven’t had all that much new content up here on my blog. I suppose that can be attributed to a lot of different things, the main reason being that not much exciting has been going around these parts. Mostly what I do these days is one of the following four:

  1. Sleep
  2. Work
  3. Internet
  4. Watch TV (usually on my computer >_>, usually anime).

So yeah, not too much exciting has been going on. HOWEVER! All is not lost! Later this week, I leave with my family for vacation to Colorado. Even though I have absolutely no idea what we’re going to be doing there, it should be fun.

Not too long after that, I’ll be going to the World Championship Cardboard Boat Races (Yes, you read that right). I went last year, but then I only helped my friend with his boat. This year, we’re doing a team race with 2 other people we know. It’ll be pretty awesome. If you’d like to see the entry I made about the event last year, you can look here (lol, old skool Xanga).

So yeah. Right now, the content flow is a little slow, but it should pic up in the coming weeks. :)

Mexican Tycoon Overtakes Bill Gates as Richest Man

Microsoft founder Bill Gates looks to have lost his title as the world’s richest man, toppled from top spot by the Mexican telecoms tycoon Carlos Slim.

Three months ago the cigar-chomping Mr Slim quietly slipped past legendary US investor Warren Buffett to take second place in the global wealth league.

Now, thanks to a surge in the shares of his America Movil group, Mr Slim has claimed pole position, according to the Mexican online financial publication, Sentido ComĂșn.

I guess Billy-boy’s going to have start increasing production on Vista-only products to catch back up. ;P Though, I do agree with a certain digg reader:

definition of irony:

Millions of Mexicans cross the border into the US to find jobs and make money. Meanwhile the world’s richest man is now a Mexican.



Last night, Clent and I, with another of our friends, Will, went to see the Transformers movie. It was AMAZING. Easily one of the best movies of the year.

Basically, without giving away too much of the plot, the Autobots (the good guys) and the Decepticons (the bad ones) are both on Earth looking for the “Allspark”, which can create sentient beings from Human technology. Fight ensue, things blow up, and so on.

The CGI was amazing. The transformation from car/whatever to Transformer mode was extremely well thought out, and just looked absolutely stunning.

Music was good, especially at the beginning when the radio would change itself. :P

Overall, it was just an incredible film, and I would highly recommend you go watch it. NOW. GOGOGO.

Pirate Bay Launches Image Uploader

I’m sure we’ve all heard of The Pirate Bay, that one torrent tracker that seems to be the brut of all MPAA/RIAA anti-piracy attacks, but can never seem to die. They’ve recently launched a new image uploading service that touts the ability to upload anything: is a place where you can host all your images. We do not censor them. We believe in freedom of speech, it’s of utter importance to us. As long as your pictures are legal they will be hosted here, but we reserve the right to remove images due to technical reasons though. If something crashes here, you better have a backup yourself – hopefully that won’t happen. Usually we know what we’re doing.

Looks like people finally have a place to host all those pr0n images they’ve been saving up. :P

Check it here.

Epic Win

EDIT: I Photoshopped the text around, so now it’s “in the right order.” (If this is your first visit, then the original picture had the text displayed how it actually would be on Facebook. I.E., newest post at the top, oldest at the bottom.)


If you have no idea what all this is about, then read here.

iPhone Release Date Confirmed

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past half a year or so, then you probably know that Apple is going to release the iPhone. This little device is an iPod cell phone.

Here’s a pic:

There was rumor that the release date for the iPhone was going to be on June 29th, but during 60 Minutes, a few ads confirmed the date.

So, I guess you have the next 25 days to save the $600 for the iPhone itself, and then enough money to pay for the mandatory 2-year Cingular contract. Then, on the 29th, you can do like this digg reader:

I think I have June 29th planned out:

4am: Camp out in front of Cingular Store.
9am: Purchase iPhone
10am: Call into work sick
11am: Record myself opening the box
12pm: Transfer mp3s onto iPhone
9pm: Go to local bar and use the phone in front of a hot chick
9:30pm: Get some ass

Yep, all in all, it should be a pretty good day.