Friday, July 29, 2005

25-Year-Old Not Washed Up

The U.K. soccer player with our name may have a few more kicks left. He is 25 and has been at the Scottish Premier League Rangers for three years without a championship cup.

As the article in the Glasgow Evening Times put it:
Since arriving at Ibrox just over three and a half years ago, he had been forced to look in from the outside as four Hampden final victories passed him by.

So, if ever there was a moment in the 25-year-old's career that he was going to enjoy to the full, it was yesterday as the Gers players gave boss Alex McLeish glory in this competition for the third time in four seasons.

Ball smiled: "It was great to earn my first medal at Rangers. Being a part of that yesterday was very special for me.

"There had been four finals I had missed out on because of my injury problems, and that was obviously tough.

"We won the Scottish Cup and the CIS Cup twice but I was just up there in the stand.

"You don't really feel a part of it when you are injured.
He has a good fan base.You can buy his poster here.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


In East Sussex, U.K., Michael Ball will design your Website. He has a full range of services, through promotion.

His own minimalist site is Beyond the North Wind. It includes a page on the company name.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Australian Actors and Antiquities

In Australia, you don't have to be a mansion or battle site to be recognized as a monument. The National Trust of Australia recognizes and preserves the best of the nation, including humans.

It recently added 15 folk to its list of living treasures. The chairman of the committee that made it happen is Michael Ball.

The first such list of 100 Living Treasures appeared in 1997. Since then, 15 of them no longer fit the living requirement.

Our MB announced the replacement process last year. It prepared a slate of candidates and accepted fax, letter or email votes nationwide. MB noted the broad cross-section of society among candidates. There was a do-gooder priest Father Chris Riley, two wealthy citizens who devoted their lives to philanthropy, opera conductor Simone Young, human-rights campaigner Elizabeth Evatt, artist Peter Booth, and swimmer Ian Thorpe, among many others.

When the resulting list of 15 appeared, MB said,"Some of them I'd never heard of and obviously some are very famous, but no, some of the scientists and academics and those involved in social service, some of those were very unfamiliar to me and to others. So it proves the good sense of the Australian people."

Among the new treasures were:
  • 2003 Australian of the Year Professor Fiona Stanley
  • Refugee advocate Julian Burnside
  • Australian Breastfeeding Association founder Mary Paton
  • Actors Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman
  • Sportsmen Pat Rafter and Steve Waugh
You can see the whole list, old and new, here.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

RPG Confession

Role-playing game author Michael Ball provides his professional bio here for his games. You can download his main game with docs here.

This MB started with a basic Dungeons and Dragons set when he was in high school. He admits early blunders (elves get one spell, forever) and `fesses up that over 20 years later, his friends are those from way back in D&D and AD&D days.

Four years after starting, he was bored. He wanted a set with "modern combat rules for spy/espionage gaming." The short of it is that TGTA (The Guide to Adventure) was born from his efforts.

In tree game-geek fashion, the bio includes a detailed timeline.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Hot Foot Mike

Out of Smithfield, Virginia, home of hams and hotrods, Mike Ball is on the Charlie Daniels Racing Team.

Along with his pic (near the bottom), it describes him as:
Hometown: Newport News , VA
Team Responsibility: General Technician
Racing Experience:
Nascar Late Model Stock Car Team general mechanic 1990-1994.
Mike has been working at Charlie Daniels Racing since 2002.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Mike: Waiting for Dave

Prolonged liner notes as literature as Web-page band bio...catch it at Snow Blind Records on the Waiting for Dave? pages.

Mike Ball is the lead guitar for the Canadian band. The group is actually pretty good. You can listen to clips and read the lyrics from their Rock Show album.

You have to read the whole page to grok the process, but a flavor is:
Meanwhile, across town…

Mike Ball was playing Pong. Also from Thunder Bay, Ontario, Mike and his band, Cold Fusion recorded an album in Vancouver in 1992. The band toured in Western Canada, and like most bands with success just around the corner, they promptly broke up. While drinking tea at a local club, lamenting the break up of his band, Mike saw another local act with an awesome drummer. Needing a drummer for his next musical adventure, Mike thought, "Hey, we should get this guy!" The next night Mike came back and immediately asked the drummer to join up with him. The drummer: Arek. The band: Indecision. The story: A different kind of band than what Mike had seen the previous night. Good thing Arek could drum.
They may have morphed into another band this year. If I re-find this Mike, I'll post his whereabouts.

A capsule on a festival site includes:
Waiting For Dave is an Ottawa, Ontario, Canada four-piece rock band with lead singer Bart Marcoux, Kevin McParland on bass, drums by Arek Wojciechowski and guitarist Mike Ball. Think rock. Okay ... got it? That's about it. Rock. The band formed a few years ago. They like rock. It's a rock band. So they made the album.... ...ROCK SHOW. Recorded over a few very long and hot days in September 2003 in Ottawa in the Laundry Room Studio. It's a rock studio. The album was mixed and engineered by the drummer - that's why the drums are so loud! Waiting For Dave released their debut CD, ROCK SHOW, on November 20th, 2003. The album contains 10 songs. The first single is One Time (track 5). The album is released on the band's own record label, Snow Blind Records. It's a real record label - honest. The CD graphics, artwork, design and promotion are also done by the band. It's a rock album. The band is currently performing and touring.

Friday, July 15, 2005

The Few, The Sharp

Corporal Michael Ball is assigned to the Marine Corps Security Forces Battalion Shooting Team that won this year's Wirgman small Unite Rifle Team Trophy at the Eastern Division Matches help at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina in April. You can see a photo of some of his teammates and the trophy here.

For two days, nine four-man team competed individually. The final day was a series of teams matches.

To prepare:
The team trained for 19 days at Dam Neck, Va., prior to the matches. Members underwent instruction in marksmanship fundamentals, shooting positions, data book procedures, competition shooting and courses of fire, as well as match range procedures. They were also issued weapons and match equipment, and were given instruction in the proper use of each during competition firing. Finally, the team underwent live-fire training in preparation for the division match course of fire.
According to the team captain, Chief Warrant Officer 2 James B. Woodfin, "What is unique about this situation is that we had the most junior Marines in the matches, but they did not get intimidated by the competition."

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Hand on the Throttle

In England, Mike Ball writes a FAQ about being a train driver, what we call an engineer. On a site devoted to the Network Southeast lines, he and a couple of commenters kick around what you need to be and do.

He discusses initial tests, such as:

These tests include things such as looking at lines of dots on a page, and only checking those that have, say, patterns of four dots. You would have a whole A4 page, and the dots are small, and you only get a short time, so you are unlikely to reach the bottom of he page. The point is to work as quickly and accurately as possible.

In another test you are played, via headphones, a short story, and you then have to answer questions about it from memory.

Then there are the reaction tests. For example, a green light you push a white button, a red light you push a black button, a high buzz you use your left foot, a low buzz your right foot. The sounds start off slowly, and get faster and faster.

If you pass these tests, and the interviews, and medical, and you get the job, there are several months training to do, plus route learning, before you get to drive a train on your own.

For those of us who like trains, it's a nice peek. My maternal grandfather was a yard foreman for the B&O, who let me run a little coal-fired jitney around the tracks, from his lap. I got my first striped railroad cap at four.

With Mike's comments and those of others who have been through the process, you can get a good sense of what it takes in the U.K. and Ireland.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Mike Ball is a practitioner of BEAM robotics. As the site describes them:
BEAM is an acronym standing for Biology, Electronics, Aesthetics, Mechanics:

Biology -- It's tough to beat 4 billion years of evolution; the world around us is a wonderful source of inspiration and education. Bear in mind, of course, that unlike Mother Nature, you also have the advantage of gears, motors, bearings, and good glues!

Electronics -- It kind of goes without saying, but this is what we'll use to drive our creations. BEAM robotics, though, strives for rich behaviors from simple circuits. Here's the key: simple and understandable circuits, surprisingly complex in behavior.

Aesthetics -- This just means your creations should look good. I'm an engineer, but even I appreciate a good-looking design. Besides, if a design looks "clean," it's more likely to work (and easier to test / debug) than a design that's tangled and unruly.

Mechanics -- This is the less-than-obvious secret of many successful BEAMbots -- with a clever mechanical design, you can reduce the complexity of the rest of your robot (reducing the number of motors and sensors, for example).
Quite a few of his little mechanical devils are on display here. Check the November 2002, listings.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Red Bird Font Office

In St. Louis, Missouri, the Cardinals have a Mike Ball. In Stadium Operations of the Front Office, he has the title, Director of Quality Assurance and Guest Services.

I don't know all that entails, but an article on the baseball team's charitable works quotes him. The game-day employees have raised $21,500 for local causes over the past six seasons (for such as two children's hospitals and the American Cancer Society).

Mike said, "As you can see, not only do we have very dedicated employees who provide our fans with the best service in baseball, we also have some very generous people working as ushers and event attendants at the ballpark."

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Manly Fishermen

Field & Stream `fesses up that 51 years ago, their Mike Ball who ran their bass content was actually Mary Ball. The figured that even for fame and bucks, guys who wave their skinny poles above the water couldn't handle a woman running the show.

Check out this sordid vignette of the Big Bass Contest here.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Another Squamous Mike

Michael Ball seems to be a heretologist or at least a herpetophile. You can catch is pix of hypo-melanistic boas here.

Such snakes are apparently also called orange tails because of their blotchy coloring at some stages of development. The site explains their various coloring phases and breeding results.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Desirably Round Butts

According to Cameron Diaz "“Usually pockets are squared off and it makes your butt look like it's sagging and a little flat, the cut-out (on the pocket) gives you that little roundness, which is nice."

Michael Ball founded his Rock & Republic jeans company in Los Angeles. While working at another job, the 37-year-old designed jeans in his spare time. A pair he made for his honey got her lots of compliments. Then a chum bought 300 pairs to sell in Japan.

He names his pants after musicians. He came from a musical family, but the butt seems to be what he is about. "When I design, [my] drive is to make a woman's [behind] look even better. I want it to frame her," He told Entrepreneur magazine.

His $150 to $300 jeans are in high-end, if you pardon, department stores and boutiques. He says he an outsider, not a garmento. So he has to struggle to get international distribution.