Monday, January 11, 2016

Counting Cards: Part III of III

The last time the Packers faced the Cardinals, AZ walked off with a 38-8 win. It was only the ninth time a Rodgers led team lost by 15 or more points. The Packers are 32-9 when the final score is decided by 15 or more points under Aaron. It was a pummeling. It was a bloodbath. 8 sacks surrendered to the Cards, and two fumble returns for TDs, plus another fumble on the Packers first play of the second half to give AZ and easy touchdown to start the half.
Let's start with the defense.
Sam Shields is a great cover corner. He is sticky, fast, quick, and jump, has ball skills, is a good tackler. He is a Pro-Bowl player. When healthy. In 16 regular season games, Shields played 12. the Packers surrendered 214 points in games that Shields started (17.83/gm),  and 109 in which he missed due to injury (27.25) including the 38 to the Cardinals. Carson Palmer thrives of tons of underneath throws opening up the deep game. Shields can cover both. He can play against big guys (he covers Dez pretty well and has a 39'' vertical) and shifty guys (6.79 3-cone drill and 11'1'' broad jump). He can cut out the deep game (4.3 40 yard dash). He can intercept balls (former college wide out). He routinely shuts down Post, Sideline, Seam, Curl, and Out routes. Only on In routes and big double moves does he have more trouble than not. He is the best corner the Packers have. With him in, I trust the pass defense, and therefore the base defense can be lined up to limit the run game (24 rushes for 123 yards) and the screen game (Johnson had only 3 catches, but for 88 yards [44, 29, and 15 yards]) as well.
On the O line, we didn't have Bakhtiari. In the last two games of the season (no David) Green Bay nation watched their beloved QB go down 13 times, nearly triple their annual rate. If he plays, I see the sacks against AZ (8 in week 16) getting cut in half at least. The rush will also buy more time for completing passes (15/28 for Aaron). I can envision the passing game having half again as much success (60+ completion rate, 7 yards/attempt, etc.). By also using Cobb in the backfield more, it disguises the play (look at the success against the Patriots in 2014). The running game is getting going more (140 yards on 29 carries from Lacy, Starks and Cobb against Washington, 123 yards on 20 carries in the second half alone). And if McCarthy goes with 6 lineman against the Cards, that could make improve things. After all, I trust our sixth lineman more than our 4th receiver against perhaps the fastest defense in the league.
So, limit the fumbles (-21 points, AZ), increased time in the pocket (+10 points, GB) and better running game (+10 points, GB). However, the Cards won't be letting their foot off the pedal this time. I see a potential slugfest.
Or we see a Cards team that is the best in the league dominate a flawed Packers team.

Dom Capers and the Suffocating Defense: Part II of III

The defense played well. Heck, they got six sacks on a guy who only went down 26 times during the regular season. He was sacked 5 times against Carolina, a 16-44 defeat. 
However, I saw too many glaring errors. On the first touchdown of the game, on a third and 10 from the 24 yard line (obvious passing down; go for broke on a pass. If it is incomplete, or even sacked, you are still in FG range). Prior to the snap, I see Safety Clinton-Dix charge down tot he line to take man coverage against a wide receiver. I mumble something along the lines of "losing safety coverage on third down? What the-" but before an expletive could escape my mouth, the ball was snapped. I knew what the play was going to be. You have Jordan Reed. I run this play five times a game in Madden. Run the TE up the seam, and maybe cut him in toward the middle of the field to gain a touch more separation from the defender. Easy touchdown.
When the Redskins lined up in the red zone with no one in the backfield, I called QB draw. It was a good pick by McVay. Sure enough, 3rd and goal from the three, the Redskins put 4 wide left, one wide right. The corners are lined up in the line, the safeties and a LB lined up deep. Micah Hyde is playing middle linebacker. At the snap, Burnett cuts to the outside to cover Jordan Reed, the lone right side receiver, who also has Damarious Randall in press coverage on him. The line rushes upfield, lanes are made, and Cousins walks in. I immediately berate the defensive call. My mom challenges me on it, and I quickly explain I would have put Burnett just behind the lineman, a yard or two off the line playing in a 4-3 OLB position. Randall should have played off and slightly inside Reed. If it was a pass play, Burnett covers anything to Reed short and inside Randall. Randall as the corner fade route covered, and anything deep. It also works against the run, as Burnett would have been clear of blockers behind the two D lineman in front of him, and free to make the tackle. 
Again, I think our defense played very well over all. However, it was against the Redskins. It is time to look at the Cardinals. 

Aaron Rodgers and the Resurgence of the Packers' Offense: Part I of III

First, read Ask Vic if you are a Green Bay fan. He is amazing. I love his writing, and I stand by him. His knowledge of football is fantastic, both the game and the business, but his willingness to admit he knows nothing relative to the coaches and management teams is refreshing.
I'm going to do the opposite. I'm going to pretend I know more.
In Ask Vic on 1/11/16, Eric from Strampoy, the Netherlands, wrote in the following.

"Vic, you expecte Rodgers to step up; he told us he would, and he did, and so did the entire team."

Matt from Clarkson, Michigan asked

"Was last night's game the turning point? Did Washington awaken the Packers' offensive giant[?]"

Well, I think this is stupid. Rodgers threw for even less than his incredibly low 216 yds/gm average that he had been throwing the last four weeks of the season, and completed fewer than 60% of his throws at less than 6 yards per attempt. He started out the game 1/8 for 11 yards in the first quarter, his lone completion being his first attempt. His passer rating was under 40 in the first frame. Granted it did jump to 93.5 by game's end (a 115ish rating if you drop out quarter 1). This is still not a great game for him. His career playoff average is 64.8 completion, 266yds/gm, 7.5yds/att. Is that Rodgers fault? I don't REALLY think so.
Going through my head (I don't have NFL rewind), I can recall dear number 12 over throwing a number of receivers. Do I blame him for it? Not really. On a few of the overthrows, receivers are being man handled by D backs way down field. On a throw down field, one defensive back gave the receiver a shove to keep him from getting in range of the ball. Another pulled on Cobb to keep him from breaking out on a corner route. Both ended up incomplete.
The problem I see is speed and quickness. Watch James Jones. His first catch was a comeback, an oft run route by the 31 year old pass catcher (or dropper, depending on your view of him).He runs up twelve yards, and then stops and turns for the ball. He hops back right as the ball is getting to him, and then is immediately tackled. This is a comeback. A COME-BACK route. Not a stop route. I hate these, cause I suck at them. You run up, and at a designated point, usually a few yards beyond where you want to end the play (13 yards on first and ten, for instance), and breakdown (powerfully, and in as few a number of steps and as quickly as possible, stop moving forward), turn around, and then come back to where the ball is expected. This route is used to get the defender to turn his back (to switch from watcher the receiver while backpedaling to turning to run downfield with him), and then add a few more yards of cushion when the receiver comes back a yard or two.
If you watch Jones' routes, there is little to no separation at any point during the play. He runs up, stops, and turns with no comeback to the ball. This allows for the DB to break on the ball better. Latter in the game, he runs another comeback that ends up incomplete, but this one he ran up, again stopped and turned inside (did not comeback), but then took a step toward the OUTSIDE while squaring up to catch the ball. That is a perfect invitation for an interception (see Xavier Rhodes in the Week 17 matchup. Jones stops, floats to the outside, and makes a half-hearted effort when the ball comes his way resulting in an easy pick by Rhodes).
On his 34 yard reception, former Packer Will Blackmon played Jones' poorly. When Jones stopped running across the formation, Blackmon ran up on him, and Jones went deep. Blackmon gets burned, but still catches up to Jones rather quickly, closing from a 3 yard gap to tackling Jones immediately after making the catch. Also note that Rodgers threw inside from Jones, causing him to come infield just a yard or two to get out of the DB's range of deflection. Jones lack of speed was obvious on that play.
On Jones' second to last reception of the night, he covered by Breeland in press. He comes up 6 yards before starting to cut inside (it appears to be a post route, or a terrible in route). The corner is so much faster that even with a double move he is slightly AHEAD of Jones, not trailing him. Rodgers makes a good read and throws the ball slightly behind Jones so he has to slow up and snag the ball with his trailing shoulder for an 8 yard gain.
Davante Adams is a different story. He isn't a burner either, by any means. He ran a rather pedestrian 40 yard dash (4.51). His 10 yard split and last 20 yards are both slow (1.64 and 1.92). On his TD snag, as with most routes I see him run, the ball is snapped,and Adams immediately, but slowly, takes a step to square up with the DB before making a move to lose coverage. In fact, he still has on foot on the line of scrimmage while James Jones (who is probably even slower) is already seven yards downfield of where he started. Adams gives a jump start to his routes, neutralizing any speed advantage against press coverage. This play only scored because Rodgers drew off the zone coverage by looking to the flat on his side. Even on Adams' his 20 yard catch two plays earlier, he again takes a slow step before making a move against his coverage.
The offense did not play that much better. Rodgers did not play that much better. There were fewer drops (though still some), the run game had some big runs that normally they don't get. But the core problems are far from over.
In the run game, the team started the first half 9-17 rushing. Cobb led the way with 8 yards on two carries (4y/a) as well as three good stiff arms and another possible stiff arm in there. Lacy went 4-6 (1.5y/a) and Starks was 3-3 (1y/a). By the end of the game, Lacy and Starks each had 12 carries for 63 and 53 yards, respectively, and Cobb went 5 for 24. Kuhn went 2 for 2 and Rodgers ran once for a one yard loss. Team total was 32 rushes, 141 yards at 4.4 yards a clip.
On Starks' 22 yard scamper, the defense knew where the run was going, but Starks made one guy miss; a 270lbs defensive end. Jones got away with a decently obvious hold to spring Starks an additional 10 yards.
On Lacy's 11 yard run, Sitton walls off, but doesn't stop, Will Blackmon. What should have been a 20 yard gain was 11, but a 4th down conversion is fine by me.
Lacy's 30 yard burst was slow, plodding, and he avoided contact with a DB, breaking down in the open field instead of barreling into a guy who he had an angle on to beat him to the corner, and whom he outweighed by 40lbs. Aim for the corner, and then sharply cut back in to attack the defender if he is about to catch you. Don't break down and give everyone you just left behind and stream in from the blocked side time to catch you!
Don;t get me wrong. I think that stringing the successful plays together (five straight scoring drives) is great work. But on the drives where things stalled, they were terrible. On the drives where things worked and they scored, it was mostly a game of inches that gave us our big plays.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Mirror Mirror on the wall, who's the biggest hypocrite of all?

To open, I wrote this post in anger and annoyance. Sorry!
Alrighty, so let's take a gander into the interwebs. The web is a somewhat marvelous place, filled with informative sites, entertainment, and also a huge bevy of things to be avoided. I spend a good deal of time online. I browse, surf, and generally waste too much time
One of the sites I can waste a portion of the day away on is Imgur. It is a somewhat terrible site, if I am being honest. I would liken it to the movie Legend; it is not good, and yet I enjoy it. So the basis of the website is somewhat convoluted, but the most simple way I can describe the site, and the culture, is an open sourced, image sharing site where the most popular images are viewed in a gallery. 
Somewhat more detail would reveal that the group is essentially ruled over by what the describe as "fake internet points." Each upvote is a positive point, and each downvote is a negative vote. The most upvoted reach front page, making it out of what is called "user sub," where content is introduced. Original content is deemed good, and yet reposted content is seemingly more often to reach front page. Memes rule, gifs are king, and themes (Javier, crappy Charmander, Travolta, banana for scale, cat tax) are almost necessity. The community is as harsh upon themselves for these own trends (posting negative comments regarding the ruling topics that reach front page) as they are supportive of them.
Anyway, I was recently browsing and found this post (some light vulgarity included in the post), the picture of which I included below. 
So why this image? Why share it?First off, I don't agree with it. I was not "forced to learn" the dogma in the Book of Mormon. And I don't agree with the statement of Joseph Smith being a con-man. Those are simply personal statements.
However, I would like to broaden the scope a little bit. I was pleasantly surprised by the positive voices regarding other members' relationships with members of the church.
Had a chat with a new batch that came over to Australia. they didn't mention anything until I asked them about their mission. Nice kids.
EfficientHorse 2,212 points : 119 replies : 16 hours ago reply
Say what you will about their religion, but every Mormon I have met has been kind, hospitable, and all around pleasant people.
LadyB0ner via Android155 points : 3 replies : 13 hours ago reply
I've only had one Mormon come to me door, we just told them we weren't religious and they were cool and left
reissherrill via iPhone295 points : 19 replies : 16 hours ago reply
Hello! My name is Elder Price! And I would like to share with you the most amazing book!
rabidporcupines via Android94 points : 3 replies : 13 hours ago reply
Mormons are some of the nicest people I've met. BYU fans on the other hand.....
SpaghettiandMeatballz via Android224 points : 8 replies : 14 hours ago reply
I was raised Mormon and say what you want, but I've never been in a group of Mormons that were casually making funa of other denominations
UnblestDevotee 124 points : 2 replies : 14 hours ago reply
They're usually nice people and you gotta admit. Takes some balls to go out to the world to try and preach your shit
Maori via iPhone308 points : 20 replies : 15 hours ago reply
As a return Mormon missionary: No one forced me to be out there, or read the Book of Mormon. I chose too.
FelixG 161 points : 6 replies : 12 hours ago reply
Op is a douche. I have yet to meet a mormon person that deserved to be made fun of. Good people and their belief doesnt hurt you at all.
Canofminus 51 points : 1 reply : 12 hours ago reply
I like the Mormon Missionaries, super friendly and can understand 'no thank you.' The JW's that come by can't take 'no thanks.'
basedhelloman 118 points : 3 replies : 12 hours ago reply
Did your fedora fall off when you were laughing while making this?
WhatMyHeartHeld 53 points : 1 reply : 12 hours ago reply
As a Mormon, I personally believe it's your OWN relationship with God to preach. I mean you can go on a mission, no one's forcing you to go.
A few of the comments above mirror my own regarding being "forced" to read the Book of Mormon. However one of the comments (second from the bottom) sparked a thought in me.
The definition, according to Urban Dictionary, of an Imgur user (imgurian) is "someone who resides on Imgur.com." The second definition is more precise, but slightly less accurate; "An oversensitive, depressed, person with very liberal views who spends hours upon hours on a website Imgur.com. Claims to belong to a community of internet people who all share sensitive emotions and prefer hearing nice lies instead of the harsh reality of the world. They are very gullible specie and will upvote anything that involves tragic events, cats, loss of fat, dogs, cancer patients, and other really gay stuff." A somewhat harsh definition, but not too far from the truth from my experience.
The reason I bring this up is more a rebuttal bourne from my vindictive nature. When I think of the sort of person who would post the above picture regarding my faith, I think of a young and opinionated college student at a liberal arts school or recent graduate who is angry at the world and voting for Bernie Sanders. 81% of the sites users are male, 75% have no kids, 60% are in households making fewer than 60k a year, and 72% are under 34, with 41% being under 25. These are simply basic demographics. But my thoughts aren't too inaccurate relative to these demographics (and just google "bernie sanders, imgur" to see how much support he has there).
I am reminded heavily of a dear friends brother. He was intelligent, from a religious centered middle class family (true middle class, not working), and attended a small college where he studied philosophy. His first summer back from college, he was a full blown atheist. He attacked my beliefs using a series of basic philosophical theories. It was annoying. He seemed completely intent on proving to me that I was an idiot to believe in God.
Now I will admit that I am religious. I try to follow the Gospel as I know it. I believe that I am a member of the true church. However, I think that I am accepting and welcoming of others. I do not try and force my beliefs of others. I allow my beliefs to shape my life and influence me, and hope that others ask me questions so that I can provide answers. I did serve a mission, and I loved it.
The reason this post irks me is simple; I know far more annoying atheists than I do annoying Christians. (Also, there are twice as many Atheists as Mormons in the US.) I view atheist the same basic way I do vegans; overtly vocal, and out to convince/offend you. LDS missionaries are spread across the world to spread the Gospel. They invite people to develop a personal relationship with Christ. They are one of the safest demographics in the world, with their death rate at 1/20th of the world average for their age group. They work hard, sacrifice a great deal, and are typically known to be polite, kind, generous, and knowledgeable.
TL;DR, I find it revealing and hypocritical that someone who hides behind screen name would go out of their way to bash the church for having charitable young men abandon everything to serve complete strangers.



Monday, August 3, 2015

An economists view. Don't worry; we are trained to be wrong.

I have often joked that by getting my degree in economics I was qualified to be a weather man. After all, I would be paid to guess and more often than not be wrong. Okay, the good ones are pretty accurate, but a simple mistake can bring a lifetime of work crashing to the ground.
I'm not here for that. I am here for something else (but keep in mind that my thoughts on this view are related to the first paragraph; incomplete and flawed, and I will have few sources as much of this information is being relayed from memory). I want to talk about two things. First; minimum wage. Second; trickle down economics. The first topic because it has dominated the news quite a bit due to Seattle's decision, and the subsequent decision of places like L.A. to follow suit. The second because of a conversation I had with my rugby club president while on the beach (okay, the bro jokes can now commence). 
Minimum wage is a tricky subject. I call still recall fairly clearly a picture on the front page of the Sheboygan Press from my high school days where an old lady looked sad and frightened. The article it was connected to regarded minimum wage, and how this woman would hardly afford food. She continually purchased a handful of staples to get her through her weeks. Rice and bananas were chief among them. I would love for people to be in a more comfortable financial position. I encourage it. I hope to find feasible and sustainable ways to make that possible.
Here are a few problems, though. In History of Economic Thought, I was tasked with researching minimum wage. The studies I found regarding it discovered that increases in minimum wage were hurtful to the employees gaining higher wages as well as the companies paying more. Increased wages pushed people into higher tax brackets, decreased financial supports in such things as food stamps, and decreased eligibility for other government supports. Higher wages also had a tendency to lead companies to either release people, cut hours, or decrease benefits (retirement matching, health, etc.) in addition to increasing prices for their products. What was found to be the more successful path was providing tax breaks and refunds for people. 
Additionally, with regards to Seattle specifically, things have taken an unexpected turn. The workers themselves have preempted their employers by REQUESTING to "cut down their hours to stay on those subsidies because the $15 per hour minimum wage didn't actually help them get out of poverty." Tipping is being discouraged, and restaurants are increasing prices by 15%, and some stores are selling what they admit to be near superfluous memberships to customers to simply cover costs. By the way, the wage is currently only at $11 per hour. Over the next few years there will be a much larger backlash to the increased wages as prices of food and goods soar. 
I am reminded heavily of Germany post WWI. Most every child had millions of Duetsch Marks to play with. Hear that; millions. As is common knowledge, it was easier to burn the stuff than go buy fuel. Increasing everyone's wage to $15/hr will only shoot inflation through the roof in my mind. As soon as the economy is reset, we will see that $15 is the new $7.50.
Minimum wage is not intended as a living wage. Many of these positions exist to give youth, high school and college aged individuals, chances at working and gaining revenue and experience. The job was not designed to support a family. In that project I did regarding minimum wage, it was the youth, not the adults, who were more likely to keep or get a job once wages increased. I am not intending to be rude or dismissive, by the reason the wage is depressed is because the available pool for workers in that capacity is large. (uh-oh. Here comes the math-ish stuff)
I learned that in high school when my teacher told me a gorilla could do my job as long as he kept his hair trimmed appropriately (I worked at Coldstone Creamery. Gorilla hair would be a bit upsetting in ice cream). These comics and stories people put out regarding "an alternate universe" or comedians spoofing sports shows for school shows are, unfortunately, largely unfounded. The reason that teachers make a low wage relative to sports figures is simple; there are more teachers coming out able to perform the job than there are athletes. In graduation years '03, '08, '12, and '13, just shy of 670,000 people graduated with a degree in education (667400 to be more precise) or an average of 166850 a year. The average class size in the US in 25-26 students per teacher in public schools. With 55 million students slated in Fall 2014, this anticipates about 2.11 million teachers. With 165,000 graduating each year, this means that the entire teaching industry would have to turn over every 12.8 years for there to be no gaps in employment. Strangely, even though each of us knows that one teacher who has been at the same school since Sabre-tooth tigers were the students and not just the mascot, the average career length is a mere 11 years with 25% of teachers leaving within 4 years and a whopping 50% leave an urban school within 5 years, But that still means that around 150,000 people are qualified for a position as an educator coming out each year. How many people are deemed able to play professional football each year? 1273 have been drafted in the last five years. Just under 255 people each year are picked to take the job in the NFL each year (I know there are undrafted free agents) with about 90 players per team at the highest (or 2880 players). Average turnover in the NFL, at least on accounting books, is about 5 years, meaning maybe 600 players each year are able to get the job. There are over 90,000 college football players, meaning 8% of high school players play some level of college ball (oh yeah, there are only 15,170 Div I players). 3%. If 20,000 players leave college football each year, 3% make the NFL. Of the millions that play high school ball, .24%, or about one in every 400, make it to the NFL. The skill set is far higher. The margin for error far greater. The skills you teach at McDonalds and Coldstone and Wal-Mart are relatively easy to match compared to a job as an educator, or a lawyer. The skill required for playing pro sports is rare, and is therefore paid as such. It is because of these (rather long winded) reasons that I am not a fan of increasing minimum wage.
Now let us go to trickle down theory. The argument arose when my club president said "Reagan is a douche." When I asked why (no idea what sparked the statement, by the way), he responded he just was. "I don't care if you are a liberal or a conservative, he was a douche." He ended up eventually bringing up trickle down theory as his argument as to why stating "giving rich people tax breaks so they give money to people doesn't work." He repeated this statement in some form or another multiple times as one of his only supports. He also cited human selfishness and unpredictability as forces for its failure. 
I am somewhat leery of this. I can understand WHY someone would see trickle down theory as a good idea. I don;t have data on it, however. But here is an argument for it.
Back in the 1800's, it would have been near to impossible for John D. Rockefeller or Andrew Carnegie to have run their companies from across oceans. If they were taxed at a huge and high rate, they would have to basically suck it up. Today, if you try and tax someone who doesn't want to be taxed at 90%, they are going to likely leave the country. I cannot recall if it was Rolling Stones or U2 who set up shop in different countries, as have professional tennis players, to escape high taxes. Imagine if Bill Gates were tight-fisted with his money. He would buy his own friggin island and never pay a government entity a dime. Today's technologies allows for business to be run around the world from a laptop tablet phone as you use the toilet in your own home. High ranking officials can now simply jump a border to escape a high tax. This is lost tax revenue on personal income tax. Now let's tax the company a high rate. At this point you may very well see companies uproot and move. Costs from the move are mitigated and more than made up for in higher profits by escaping taxation.
Again, I am not saying cutting taxes for corporations and CEOs is going to solve all the problems, but the theory is there, and it is pretty defensible. By providing financial incentive to remain put, or even start new businesses, self serving individuals will build business and spark the economy on their own in an effort to make their own profits. Theory? Works. Practice? A bit hit and miss.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Burdens and Dreams

There is an invariable battle in my life between what I want to do and what I am required to do. Requirements, including things such as work, take up my time and energy when I would rather be devoted to something else. Desires, reading for pleasure and working out for instance, are activities I wish to be able to spend my time doing. Easy distinction, right?
A few weeks back, I posited the question regarding (to paraphrase) "If everything you hoped for and work for come to fruition, would you be happy?" Yesterday, while doing clinical observation hours for my Master's program, someone asked "What is your goal?" My immediate reaction was to over analyze, and think 'what ARE my goals???' but I reigned in an responded that I wanted to work at Roncalli, teaching and coaching. I eventually expounded upon my answer to include "getting to the point where I don't have to worry about money."
My thoughts tend toward mathematical, but slightly simple mathematics (lots of multiplication and division, budgeting, mortgage analysis). I will always THINK about money. However, I anticipate getting to where I don;t have to think "I need this much for student loans, this for my car payment, this for mortgage, this for savings, this for emergency fund." I am excited to be free of being shackled by money, ruled by it, and my actions commanded by it. I don't need a hugely paying job to buy a mansion and drive a hot rod of a car. I want a simple house with room for a family of 5, parks and play sets within easy walking distance, and cars that are safe.
So often I let myself get overly affected by stress. It is a bad habit. I am trying to overcome it. However, one day I won't have these problems, and that'll be great.
Of course, I will probably find other problems to succumb to by then.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

I'm really not sure if I'm nice

This post will go through a couple different phases I'm realizing, now that I am considering the material to be covered. My mind is not always linear, for which I sometimes apologize. 
My mind first went to this title as I considered my interactions with a few people over the past week. I had a rather trying time, and the conversations I began to have with people in my mind (not out loud) were, at times, laced with profanity and insults. These interactions continued with my family. I was playing a new game with my mom and sister, and the two of them teamed up on me right out of the gate. The game was still fun, and I had to leave early to go to work, but as I was trying to decide how to best approach my family regarding my being upset at their conduct towards me, my thoughts again became aggressive and angry. I don't want to cuss at my mom! Sometimes I want to cuss at my sister, but not usually. It really put into perspective that I was not in a good place.
It also got me thinking about why I behave the way I do. Having studied economics, I have been reinforced in some ideas regarding why people act the way they do. Jeremy Bentham argued that all people like pleasure and hate pain. Adam Smith claimed that by pursuing ones own goals, they would benefit the whole. John Stuart Mill took these ideas one step further. Mill wanted everyone to benefit, but also encouraged our behaviors to not infringe on others (his works included pushing for state education, while minimizing taxes and government spending, but I don't think I'll go too into depth on that). Mill, generally known for his philosophical work over his economic work, adapted from a cold calculator to a deepened romantic. He determined that people should behave a certain way, but that they usually don't. 
Economics teaches that people choose based on pleasure; more pleasure equates to a higher likelihood of the choice being made. So why are people nice? Why do people do charity work? Why calm children instead of yell at them? Hopefully people make that choice because it gives them a sense of happiness and satisfaction that they are doing good. I determined last Friday something strange regarding myself; many of my choices are made with regards to how others perceive me. Now, this probably isn't a rare occurrence, but I do wonder how many people recognize it about themselves. I don't think I really wanted to go to college, though I am glad I did. I didn't want the job I have, but I went though the application process because I thought it would be easier to do that than it would be to deny the person encouraging me a favor. Again, I am glad I did. But last Friday, I was leaving a friend who I had visited, and I thought about why I was leaving. It came to mind that I simply didn't want to go through the hassle of getting a new job, dropping responsibility on others of leaving work, it would be trying finding an apartment, etc. I mean, this was all a knee jerk reaction to wanting to stay an extra day, but it was still a strong urge. I made my decision (to go back to work in a timely manner) because I didn't want to tip the boat. 
So, what would happen if I pursued only my own happiness a la Adam Smith? Well, I would be semi-broke at best, probably. Scouting doesn't pay so hot. I would be joining a bunch of club sports and playing video games every night. I would have fun! But something else came up to me. When reading about the life of Mill, he had a mental breakdown. Not surprising; he was raised by a father who never showed emotion, a mother described as cold and unfeeling, relegated to thinking he himself was an imbecile because his father made him re-write his analytic papers until they were perfect, and had no friends. His epiphanous break down was regarding happiness; he stated in his autobiography "Suppose that all your objects in life were realized; that all the changes in institutions and opinions which you are looking forward to, could be completely effected at this very instant: would this be a great joy and happiness to you? And an irrepressible self-consciousness distinctly answered "No!" At this my heart sank within me: the whole foundation on which my life was constructed fell down. All my happiness was to have been found in the continual pursuit of this end. The end had ceased to charm, and how could there ever again be any interest in the means? I seemed to have nothing left to live for."
I decided I should test this; What am I working for, and what will I feel if I accomplish it all? 
Well, that will be a post for another day!