Posted by Admin on 7/24/2009 10:41 PM | Comments (0)


Goran got his interview back to me today, and I’ll post it now since I won’t be playing air hockey this week (I think I may have told peeps I’d be playing Thursday… I am mistaken again… I forgot I made other plans).

Goran is a great guy I hope to have more conversations with.. he’s the first person in Glendale Heights I ever played and was very encouraging. He’s a great ambassador for the sport and always seems to be in a cheerful mood. He’s never one to get cranky should someone like Mike, Geoff, or anyone take a set from him. He’s gracious like that. Plus with his command of the diamond drift and his chase game – he’s a fun player to watch.

Anyway.. the interview:

1. I’ve had a couple random ideas about how to promote air hockey. When trying to figure out where all the air hockey tables are – I think back to when I lived in Madison, WI and how UW had a student center and had a number of really good air hockey tables (there’s also a bar in Madison where I played every once in awhile). I imagine a number of universities would have something similar. I’m imagining it wouldn’t be too difficult to talk someone running the room to sponsor a tournament (and by sponsor, just have the tables free for a tournament), and then throw up flyers around campus advertising a relatively large cash prize. Say… $500 to the winner on a $2 entry. So long as you or Billy enter the tournament, it seems as though this tantalizing prize could bring people out, without the worry of losing that kind of money and 2nd or 3rd place could split up the entry money.

I figure if you get people out to play, you could talk to people about how air hockey is a serious sport, that there are national and world tournaments and there is a lot to learn should they be interested. Basically, if you can get 3-4 people playing regularly on their own – they have a chance to create their own small community of players. Perhaps one of these guys gets good and would be interested in traveling a couple hours every other week to play in a larger weekly like our own. Maybe 2 such nearby communities could get together and duke it out.

So… is this a good idea? Is this something that should be pursued at all, or will it bring out people thinking they’re good – then they’d get shown up and then decide they’ll never be any good and give up too early.
We try this every year for our Illinois state tournament by overstating the top 3 payouts on the flyer. I have posted flyers at all the Brunswick Zones and had little response. IMO a well run website is the best place to get new players.

2.Tell me the history of the Mitic rating… how and why you came up with it and what you hope to give the air hockey community by tracking how good people are.
The Mitic system is a copy of the “ELO” chess rating system. The weights and some rules have been changed to fit the size of air hockey today. I researched the rating system because it seemed that’s what larger organized single player sports were using. It is human nature to expect instant gratification. With the current system, the only way to get a ranking was to attend a nationals (which happened once and some times twice a year), or beat a ranked player in a challenge match. Playing shorter sets for something encourages play and shows we have more than 50 Air hockey players in the world. The 3 areas that have embraced the rating system as their ranking system account for more than half the active known players in the world (Illinois, Spain, and Russia).

3.As a person who seems to understand probability and statistics more than the vast, vast majority of people. When it comes to blackjack, you, of all people understand that a long series of good decisions can earn you money. The statistics seem to be generally easy and straightforward to understand. Life, however, doesn’t always seem to apply. My daily grind of the small decisions I’ve made about whether to splurge on lunch or stay late to get that assignment done doesn’t really seem to severely impact my life all that much. When I look back, I do find that there were some small things that I’ve done that have had vast repercussions on my life. Had I not decided to hang out with my friend on a certain night – and I may not have met my wife… and my life would be drastically different. If I didn’t have a friend who was just as good as me in air hockey when I lived in Madison – and we would not even know each other. I sometimes wonder if my happiness or my financial situation would be vastly different had I made slightly different choice somewhere in the past – or if I’d always be something relatively close to where I am now… neither much poorer or much wealthier, or what have you. I think of this like a strange attractor (
Where my abilities determine how big the space the strange attractor can operate.. and when I’m dead the point just stops moving and settles down on a single point.

So, do you think you’d be pretty much where you are in your life regardless of the decisions you’d make? Do you feel like each step towards tomorrow is slowly shaping who you are and no one decision will greatly impact where you settle, or do you feel your life is mostly affected by a small number of really big events that you may not even realize at the time – only in retrospect. Also – how much does chance or randomness do you attribute to your successes or failures? Decisions made in life are different than those in a game because in life there are so many choices and each choice can lead to good things or bad things.
In a game like black jack, you have rules and few choices in which 1 choice is superior to all others. I don’t believe in luck long term, even in life. Life is full of experiences that may seem lucky or unlucky at the moment. To be successful in life you need to take chances and step out of your comfort zone. Every decision you make in life can change the future. What seems to be a big decision can have a small impact and what seems to be a small decision can have a huge impact.

4. Ok, so when we were over at Billy’s – you mention that you have chili about once a week and that Billy’s was “pretty good”. My wife makes a chili that is good, but it seems to be geared towards being healthy… sometimes it doesn’t even have meat in it and odd things are thrown in… like carrots. I mean, it’s good, but it’s not20the tastiest chili in the world – and I don’t think it’s meant to be. Anyway.. I love to cook. Would you share you chili recipe or some other favorite meal of yours?
My wife does most of the cooking so she would have to share the recipe. I know she uses ground turkey which is healthier than ground beef. Everything else is from scratch. First she seasons the meat with Cumin, chili powder, Cayon pepper, and salt. Then she adds onions, crushed tomatoes and peppers (I like it spicy so she puts in a couple of Javenerio). Then the beans (Light and Dark Kidney, Black Beans, Pinto Beans) about 1:1 meat to bean ratio. Then she puts in some tomato paste for thickness. I might be missing something, but with chili you have to experiment, find out what you like and make a lot.

5. The ‘ol Brunswick Zone features a lot of loud music – especially when it gets all fancy and the lights go down and it’s all black-lit and whatnot. I’m troubled by the music that is played and have a hard time ignoring it… while it can be fun – I can’t for the life of me imagine what it’s like to work there and hear the same music over and over again. I hope you can cope better than myself. What kind of music do you like and how do you come about new music to listen to?
I tune out the music played at Brunswick just like I do the video games in the game room. I listen to mostly punk rock and pick up on new music from friends that have similar taste. I also like most everything from the 80’s.

6. So, I gave Mike a logic problem to solve in his interview and maybe that’s why he’s taking his time getting back to me. I kind of intended for him to not know the correct answer and I was just hoping that he’d just invent some kind of ridiculous solution. Here’s another kind of question that perhaps I should have asked him… it’s another Google interview question.
How much should you charge to wash all the windows in Chicago? Show your reasoning.
I would charge $100 Billion dollars because I would not want the job.

7.I like to eat meat. I have no problem with butchering animals or hunting or any of that kind of stuff. If I needed to eat something and someone told me the juiciest part of the cow was somewhere in the middle and gave me a claw hammer and a cow, I’d have no problem getting the filet that’s somewhere inside of it… ok, maybe not a claw hammer, but if I had something to kill the thing quickly and safely (for me), I’d be able to do it. I’m not squeamish with blood, is what I’m getting at.
My dog, on the other hand. Here she is – in her natural habitat – the couch:

taking it easy

taking it easy

well.. that’s a different story. I couldn’t harm her let alone fillet her. In fact, I would be outraged if someone tried to harm my dog. I know there’s some weird disconnect between the two actions. I have no problems eating chickens or cows, but when it comes to dogs… I just can’t even imagine harming one. Clearly I’m emotionally attached to *my* dog, but even other dogs I wouldn’t consider harming. I can’t figure out why some creatures are deemed food and others are deemed companions and our interaction with them is completely different… So, tell me – why is one action ok and another action not ok? Or is it?
In some counties they eat dogs and others they worship the cow. There are many different cultures and I believe it comes down to #1 what you were taught, and #2 what taste good.

8.One thing that I always ask in my “interviews” is that I ask my subject to say a bunch of good things about me. Even though you don’t know me very well, I’ve found that when I’ve asked people who do know me very well to do this, their answers are incredibly varied and don’t overlap much. Of course, I imagine these same people could come up with an non-overlapping terrible things about me as well… but let’s focus on the good things. Go ahead, let it all out.
You seem to be a lot like me, which is the best complement you can get : )

9. What do you think of the whole Mark vs. Don for $10k thing?
I didn’t think Mark would go for it. Mark has a chance in winning, but it’s a small chance. I think regardless of who wins it will be great for air hockey and create excitement. I predict we will see more money matches in the future.

10.Tell me a story from your childhood. One where something good or bad happened to you that will shape how you treat your children.
I was given alcohol to drink by my dad at a young age. I don’t think it had a huge effect on me, I drank more before I was 21 then I do now. I wouldn’t give my kids alcohol to drink. I wouldn’t even give them soda until they are over the age of 5.

Original story

Comments are closed