Saturday, January 31, 2009

Up and Down

2/3 of a bottle of Chardonnay later I'm better, but I was ready to pack up kids and head home earlier. And I told them that.

We got a late start, leaving the house about 9 to start our skiing vacation. Tia was staying back to get some horse stuff done and Kyle had a Diversity conference, so they were supposed to come meet us. I just talked to them and they're about to leave, so not likely to be here much before 9:30.

We had an OK drive up, and got here, parked, rode the bus to Keystone and got on the gondola. It started almost right away with Delaney's board being set up for regular footing. He's goofy footed so we stopped at the top the reverse his bindings. Of course there were people waiting to use the tools, which almost never happens. That bench is empty almost every time I go up.

We did that and started down, Delaney first as I got him buckled up. Kendall waited for me and we started down, but I couldn't find Delaney. We got down to the turn right down the mountain (the first 1/2mi or so runs along the ridge, and we waited there for Delaney. That was after Kendall wiped out and was upset. Her boots hadn't been buckled, and so we got her squared away and started down. 2 minutes down she collapses at a spot and I stopped to wait for her. I was already 50 yards passed her and called for her to get up, but she wouldn't. We sat there for close to 10 minutes before she got up. About that time Delaney got to us and he had been waiting for us higher up. I told him not to wait long since he's the slowest one and we started down.

Kendall dropped off through the kids area and again I was past her. Coming out of there is a fairly high hill and she got scared and lay down again. Once again I had to wait 10-15 minutes for her to finally get up and get going, by this time Delaney was way past us.

She was upset, so I stopped her, calmed her down so she'd be safe, and we headed down. She pouted the whole way down and as we moved onto the last narrow pass, some kid cut me off and actually hit my board. A nice fall for me and a slightly sore neck didn't help my mood. I get to the bottom and can't find kids. Finally I locate Kendall down below the fences, 1/2way to the gondola. We're looking for Delaney and I'm sure he isn't behind us, but we spend 5 minutes or so looking. Finally we walk to the gondola and Delaney's there.

2 1/2 hours in the car (we did hit some traffic)

15 minutes running this am

15 minutes riding the gondola up (it actually stopped for a few minutes at one point)

20 minutes waiting for Kendall to get up and ski at various times

15-20 minutes looking/waiting for Delaney

probably 12 minutes boarding.

I was pissed when we got together and with Kendall saying she didn't want to ski, I was ready to pack up and go home. 3 lift tickets wasted, one run, Grrrrrrrrrrr

We left, got some Wendy's, and I sat there fuming. I couldn't reach Tia, but finally decided to go check in at our condo. I kept thinking I'd head home and Tia would be driving up.

So I got two bottles of wine, some pizza, juice, misc stuff and checked in.

Been reading and trying to relax. Wine helps.

Not a great start to a vacation.

Friday, January 30, 2009

How Big a Deal is the Super Bowl

This morning I heard the early morning radio guy talking about the Super Bowl. It's Sunday and it's an exciting day for people that like football, but this year we don't have any big market teams. No NY, Chi, Miami, etc., and a very surprising entry in Phoenix.

I'm rooting for Phoenix, they're the underdog, and I'd like to see Fitzgerald do well. He's been exciting to watch, but I don't care that much. I'm not much of a fan of either one of the teams.

The radio guy was asking how important the Super Bowl, and this one in particular, was to listeners. Was it a 1 where you were planning on something else, a 4 where you would watch (or go) if you got free tickets? A 6 where you'd work overtime. An 8 where you'd go into debt or a 10 where you'd do more.

It was an interesting idea and I thought about it. I think I'm a 6, meaning I'd work a little extra to go, and I plan to do it sometime. There's going to be a year where I just plan the trip, don't worry about who's playing, make it a 4 or 5 day event and just go enjoy the atmosphere. I think I'll have to plan for one of the really nice weather Super Bowls, Tampa or Miami, not one of the dome ones.

I've spent a lot on sports the last few years, so it will probably be quite a few before I try for a Super Bowl trip, but I'd like to do it sometime.

No Happy Hour

Tonight a bunch of the old JDEC crew were getting together for happy hour down by the Park Meadows mall. Tia and I were planning on going, but around 2 today we realized she had a big quote to get out and wouldn't likely be done. Ordinarily she'd think about working this weekend, but since we go to Keystone tomorrow, she doesn't want to have to work next week. She's supposed to have next week off, and me as well.

So we missed happy hour, and she's not quite done. I did put a bottle of wine in the fridge, so we'll have our own happy hour here soon, at least I hope so.


It happens once a year or so, and it happened again recently. If you use Firefox, or I resume Chrome, you'll get a message from Google that it's a hacked site. On one hand I applaud Google for warning people, on the other hand, it's annoying for me.

I went through the database and found a bunch of script stuff stuck in the tables from a SQL Injection attack. I'm sure it's someone trying to distribute malware, and I know I should have coded things better, but it wasn't a big deal when a lot of the site was built. Now it's just annoying.

So I cleaned things out and changed a little code this morning. I requested Google to review it again, not sure how long that takes, and I don't have time to recode everything, though that might be a good vacation project for me. Actually I should rebuild the site somehow with a new framework. I've considered DotNetNuke, and I've considered some other ones. Probably none will work great, maybe this is a good project for me to just undertake to learn some coding stuff.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Three days of karate this week, none last week, 2 for a few weeks before that and all spread out. I think that's made my knee more sore than normal, especially after the stick work yesterday.

I'm thinking I need to take a break, but I'm just trying to get through ski season and then I can let it rest more. It doesn't hurt while running, which is good.

Passing Away

I got a call from Kyle around 12 today, which was strange. He's supposed to be at school and getting a call is never good during the day. It usually means something bad has happened.

I answered with trepidation and he sounded off. He told me that another kid, someone he knew from Peace Jam, had passed away. He was a little upset, that teenager "I can't stop thinking about this" type of franticness, so I talked with him a few minutes. It's not my strong suit and I didn't know what to say, but I knew that he was struggling a bit.

He was in the office, didn't want to come home, and said he'd be OK. Hopefully this doesn't affect him too much and I didn't want to inquire a lot then about how well he knew this kid, but that sucks. I've had relatively few people I knew well die and so I'm not sure how exactly I'd cope with it.

He should be home soon and we'll see how he's doing.

Moving Stuff

It's a moving stuff morning, at least it feels that way. I got the kids up and fed without Tia and then packed them up for the drive to school. We were a touch late getting up so we missed the bus. Then I came back, drove to the barn and then got on the ATV. It's warmer today, but still about 32-34F and so I drove a bail of hay out to the west pasture and spread it around. I made it back with some cold fingers and drove to the house.

And remembered it was trash day. So I brought cans out of the garage, opened the Prius and found Tia's saddle in there. So I drove back to the barn, unloaded that, cranked the heat, drove back and loaded up 2 cans. Drove to the street, back, repeat, and I'm finally back at work, or rather, getting to work.

Feels like I'm moving stuff around. Now I need to pack up shirts and go ship them out.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Stick Fighting

Tonight was my second night of advanced karate class. Delaney really likes it, so he went with me and after 20 minutes of warm up and boxing, we moved on to the stick fighting drills again. It was interesting and I started to feel more comfortable, but still moving slow. Didn't get hit, so that was nice.

Free Agent

I've been thinking about it since last season, and today I finally made the decision. I'm taking advantage of my free agent status for baseball and moving to a new team.

Last night my coach sent out an email saying the state of the league, and wondering who was playing, up for practice, etc. I agonized a bit, but I knew that I needed to make a decision and so I sent him a note last night telling him I was looking to move on to another team.

Today he emailed back, we talked, left on good terms and then I called the league office and started the process of moving to a new team. It was a hard decision, and it's hard to leave the team that I started with 3 years ago after not playing baseball for 20. It's a great team, and a great bunch of guys, but it's not a good fit any longer.

Two years ago we got a couple new rookies and that was OK. I still got lots of playing time, moved from right field to first base for an inning or two every game, hit well and managed to get to 7th or 8th a few times and even got to play in our playoff game when 3  guys didn't get to bat.

However last year we got 3 new players (2 rookies, 1 free agent) and they all had more talent than I, or at least played better. So I was relegated to the end of the lineup more often than not, and about halfway through the year I lost any chance of playing first with 4 other players competing for the position.

That meant that I didn't enjoy the game as much. I had a lot of games where I played 4 innings in the field (or less) and then 2 or 3 at-bats. Not much fun, and I didn't realize it until early August when we played another team that was short players. I decided to go over and play with them so we could have a game and ended up with 7 innings at 2nd base and had a blast. It was just much more fun.

So I've been hemming and hawing, thinking about it, but decided it was time to move on. So we'll see what happens now.

Over 1Million

Last night we crossed the 1 million member mark at SQLServerCentral. A very exciting moment for me since I can remember when there were 4 members.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I went to check the home page for dkranch to see if Twitter was sending my last update, but immediately I found that blocked in Firefox. Apparently Google found malware on the site and Firefox respects the Google note. So I had a message this was malicious site. I checked the db and sure enough there were scripts embedded in there from some jackass that thinks it's fun to run SQL Injection on a site.

I know, I know, I should fix the coding, and I did try to clean the db and I removed a few add links. Now I need to run through code and add some checks to prevent anyone from inserting stuff into the site.


I have no idea why, but my Twitter account is suspended. I sent them a note, but no reply today.


New Coffee Maker

Tia got us a Capresso coffee maker for Christmas, but I didn't like it. The kids weren't thrilled when we sent it back because it had a steamed milk attachment they liked for hot chocolate. But the coffee wasn't real hot and it was a pain, to me, to make. Too many steps and things to do, which I didn't like. I wanted something simple, like our perculators, but we haven't had great luck with those working over the years, so Tia researched some other types at coffeegeek and picked a Bunn one.

It arrived last night, and Tia messed with a little. I figured I'd let her get it working and then see. We had our first pot this morning, a little weak on the coffee, so Tia dumped it and brewing #2 now. We'll see how it works out.

We're not super snobby, but we both like coffee, especially hot coffee, and most coffee makers don't do it for us. We don't want to spend $800, but we are happy to go a hundred or two for a good brewer.

It's Your Ship

I saw this book (It's Your Ship) in a Barnes and Noble and the title and cover attracted me. So I picked it up and read the back, thought it was interesting, and later grabbed it for the Kindle. I do still buy books from B&N, but for friends and family. I prefer my books on the Kindle.

As I started reading this book, I thought this was a book that everyone in management should read. And everyone that is a worker should recommend this to your managers, directors, VPs, and especially C-level people.

That thought hasn't wavered and now that I've finished it, I think more than ever this is a great management book that really describes well how you can lead. In the military or in business.

This is the story of Captain Michael Abrashoff's tour on the USS Benfold. He took over this ship, his first command, and a ship that was below average in many ways. After he received the command, he turned around the ship, making it the highest rated ship in the Navy. And not just in terms of getting people to perform as qualified sailors, but he reduced turnover, getting almost all of his sailors to re-enlist, he improved morale, lowered accidents, and really built an amazing group of people.

In many ways this reminded me of how great JD Edwards was to work for, though I think I recognize more flaws in their operations that Captain Abrashoff points out.

The book covers a variety of aspects of leadership, usually with stories about issues and problems encountered and how the Captain worked at it. Granted the job on a ship is different than a company, but with more serious consequences, however there are a lot of similarities.

There two big things I've gotten from the book. One is that you should empower your people, trusting them to make decisions, which is an old idea, but one that many managers overlook. The second is that you need to act quickly and decisively on issues, not letting them fester. In your actions, you have to show that people have to take responsibility, but that they also deserve a second chance.

Too many managers and attempted-leaders try to control workers, telling them what to do but not sending the message with their actions. Captain Abrashoff illustrates where he found ways to show people he meant what he said and I liked that.

I would have liked to hear more about things that didn't work since those mistakes can really help us grow, and there is a little at the end where he talks about problems he created with his policies, but they are problems with peers, not problems with his decisions. It's a motivational book, so I understand some of that, but it would have been a great learning experience to see mistakes being made and how they are corrected, or you back out of your actions.

I highly recommend this book.

Monday, January 26, 2009


On the way home tonight from karate the car read 5F on the temp gauge. Kendall slightly panic'd saying it was a record. Delaney was hoping they'd cancel school from the cold. Neither one is true, but it is lightly snowing, so we'll see in the morning.

A great karate class even though our teacher was out. We had a substitute, which usually means a slack class, but they're getting better and kept us working hard. I went all out with the boxing combinations and was definitely gassed by the end. Good to work hard after a week of travel.

Moving the Office

For awhile at the end of the year I was thinking that maybe I should move my office to the basement. Tia's busy on the phone, I make noise, and there are times I need to be able to talk on the phone or use the speakers to edit stuff. Over the summer it was no big deal doing it in the basement, but with the heater kicking on and off now, it's hard to work down there.

I spent about an hour down there today, shooting podcasts, working around the heater kicking on and off, and at the end, I had to get upstairs. It is cold down there and it took me 30 or 40 minutes to warm up my fingers while drinking coffee and sitting in the kitchen. I realize that without major insulation work that the basement isn't likely to be a great place for working for now. I know we could open vents down there and shut off a room, but I'm definitely rethinking that after a spending time down there today.


I'm trying to eat well and debating if I want to start another Body For Life evolution with Tia. She wants to, but I just know it's a lot of effort and work to get the cooking done and so I'm a bit nervous. I shouldn't be since we likely would only make 6 or 8 weeks in our lives, but still....

I had a bar for breakfast and then a salad for lunch, but that left me very unfull, so I added a small plate of pasta. Still hungry, so a banana just went down. We'll see how I do with that.

A Good Pick

Not that I’d know a bad one, but I am glad to see President Obama’s choice for Secretary of Energy endorses nuclear power.

That needs to be part of our solution. More nuclear power. Tags: ,

A Bad Start

Grrrrrrr, I wake up this morning to issues a work. Some are mine, some are from another person.

We periodically have plagiarism issues on the site. I think the business of running a publishing site will deal with this from now until the end of time. It's probably been an issue in the past, but less likely to be noticed as it is these days.

I published an article today that had a number of poor grammar structures in it. Those are my fault, and I have to take the blame for those. I was in a hurry, skimmed the article, and it looked pretty good to me, but I didn't read it close enough. So quite a few people complained about that.

However someone noticed that there were a few paragraphs that were copied, or nearly copied from another article on my site!! That stunned me, but I wasn't surprised I missed it. Since the volume of stuff I get means I don't necessarily notice what articles were published when. And I don't necessarily have time to search Google for a lot of stuff. I've searched for the first sentence before and that usually has caught things, but not always.

Wrote a note to the author, not something I enjoy doing.

Kindle Review - Font Sizes

One of the neat things about the Kindle is that you can change font sizes. It's mentioned in many reviews, but if you're like me, most of you will play with this for a few minutes and then select a size that works well for you and never change it. For me that was spending a few days working with different fonts before I settled on #2.

For those of you without a Kindle, there's a scale from 1 to 5, one being the smallest and 5 the largest. There's a dedicated button on the front that you press, it brings up the fonts, and you select the size you want. The page reformats, which could mean you need to page backwards or forwards potentially since the device doesn't know where you were reading, but for the most part it works well.

When we were in the mountains on vacation, my wife was stuck in the condo and played with my Kindle a bit. When I picked it up, she'd set the font to #1, which is the smallest size. She didn't want to change pages that often and liked size #1. No big deal, when I picked it up, I could easily change it back.

A few days after we got back from vacation, I woke up one morning early and decided to read for a few minutes before getting up with the kids. Tia was laying on my arm and while I could reach the Kindle, I couldn't reach my glasses. No big deal, I changed the font to 4 and I could read easily, though it did mean turning pages often. Still, that would not have been easy to do with a paperback that I would have had to basically rest on my nose to see.

It's a small feature, but one that I'm sure I'll find more and more handy as I get older.

Kindle Update - Traveling without a battery

I had to go to the UK recently and took my Kindle along. I put some thought into my Kindle use before I left and ended up with things not working out as I planned.

The planning went into the trip because I usually read on planes and I expected to have lots of time flying from Denver to London and back. Since the Kindle can't purchase books overseas I read quite a few samples in the weeks before I left and then purchased about 10 or 12 new books to take with me. With the 3 or 4 I was reading, I had plenty to do.

That was good since I got stuck in Chicago with a broken plane overnight and read 4 books before I got to London. Plus I was partway into 2 more.

However I didn't really work on my computer on the way over, which was a problem. I didn't charge the battery in Chicago and by the time I arrived in London, my battery was almost dead. By the time I got through a day of work in London and back to the hotel, the Kindle battery was completely dead and I couldn't charge it.

The Kindle has a special charger, and despite being a miniUSB plug, it doesn't work with most mini-USB chargers, like cell phone chargers. There is a USB cable, which trickle charges, but it won't get things charged unless you can boot the Kindle first. I couldn't and spent all week without anything to read until Thursday night when I went to a Borders and bought a couple books.

From Thur night to Saturday night when I got home, I read 5 books and started a 6th. It was a hassle to carry them around, especially on planes with my bag stuffed with 5 paperbacks and overflowing. I missed the Kindle during those times, wishing I'd brought the charger.

Why didn't I? I have a travel adapter, but only one and the last time I was overseas, I was struggling to get things charged. Between my laptop and cell phone, I knew I'd be competing for plugs and so I brought the USB cable. What I didn't count on was running the battery low and not being able to charge that way. I did buy a 2.5A, 5V charger in the UK, but it didn't work. I read online that there is a Samsung charger that works, but I couldn't find one in a few stores and didn't have time to search widely. has one, but they didn't have express shipping or I would have ordered one.

I learned a few lessons here. One is that I need to charge more regularly on the road. Two is that I should just bring the wall charger. Three is that the Amazon Kindle team are idiots. How much money could they be making from selling spare chargers? Why wouldn't you just use a blackberry compatible charger? Poor, poor design choice.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Motivating Myself

Some days I run to get stronger, I push myself, I have a specific goal.

Some days I run as a release, remove stress, work the body, knowing I'll feel better.

Some days I run just because I have a streak.

I was worried about running on my trip to the UK, especially the travel days. Anytime I'm out of my routine, I worry about how and when I'll get things done. Running on the trip over was a challenge when my flight got canceled and I was stranded in Chicago. On the way back, I had a 9am flight out of Heathrow, getting in around 7:30pm Denver time. That means that I'd get up at 6, or that's when I had a wake up call scheduled, was going to try and run, but if I didn't, 21 hours later I'd be home and could run then.

Or would I?

Flying all across the world and then trying to run was a recipe for disaster. I had planned on packing a shirt and deodorant in my bag so I could run in DC when I had a layover, but that was iffy.

So after tossing and turning, my internal clock still a mess, I got up at 5:36, shook off some tiredness, walked downstairs and was running by 5:41.

I'm proud of myself for getting up and moving, something that most people might not do, and I was tempted not to do myself. I'll still pack a shirt since you never know what could go wrong, but I'm confident that I'll figure out a way around it.

Chef Daddy

I don't cook that often, but with Tia working on horses and then heading to a massage, I got to cook for the little kids tonight. Macaroni and Cheese and Spaghetti probably barely qualify, but it was nice to be in my kitchen, all my stuff there, and able to just make what I wanted.

Lazy Day

I woke up late with Tia, went with her to pick up Kendall at a friend's house, then hung out watching some NBA while they rode horses, then came home, lay down with Kendall and watched some TV. Not much happening here and it's a nice break. I did answer a few posts this morning, checked on work. I know tomorrow will be busy, so I'm enjoying this today. Now time to run.

Back Home

After spending all day traveling, about 22 1/2 hours from the time I woke up until I got back to the house here, it was great to get home and lay in my own bed. Tia was out with Kendall, so Delaney said hi when I got home and that was it. Kyle came by to see how the trip was, and by the time Tia got back, I was almost sacked out.

I definitely have to avoid traveling like that, though I was glad I upgraded to business class for that last leg. Nice to get some drinks and then sleep on the way across the country. That definitely helps.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Sacking Out Early

I got down here early, perhaps later than I expected to the hotel near Heathrow. I missed lunch running around, so I was pretty hungry, but the hotel restaurant didn't open until 6. So I read a bit, got to talk to Tia and then had a nice steak dinner, some great French onion soup, a glass of wine, a cup of decaf, and a creme brulee. I was going to buy some Internet time and then work a bit, but I'm just going to read for a bit and then go to bed.

The State of Television in the UK

Is horrible, at least at the Doubletree Cambridge where I was staying. There were 12 channels, one of which was cartoons, one seemed to be music TV, both of which are good for traveling, but not for me. There was one more channel, SKY, that is a learning channel, but I never saw anything other than advertisements for learning. The others were a UK sports (ugh) and a BBC news, kind of like CNN, but then a bunch of UK channels showing dramas here and there and lots of documentaries and news, none of which is entertaining.

I suppose some of this is cultural and maybe that's why the British (and other non-US people) are more informed. They pay more attention to the world, do more things in the real world, not escaping with entertainment.

The hotel down near Heathrow had more channels, probably 15 or 16 and it seemed every half hour there was another US sitcom of some sort that was available to watch, which was better. Even bad sitcoms, something to escape, is preferable to me.

It's almost like the way I read. I can only read so much business and technical stuff before I need to get back to fiction. It's a struggle and the Kindle has helped me balance things out.

With work I need an escape sometimes at night, actually most nights, so I like to relax with some TV. Something I haven't been able to do here, working late most nights.

Book Review: Big Brown

The book is actually Big Brown: The Untold Story of UPS and it was written by a retired UPSer that spent his whole career there. I picked up this book after being on the Underground Tour in Seattle. As an aside that was neat, but the guide mentioned UPS was started in Seattle delivering drugs (I never knew either one of them).

While we were in Seattle at a Barnes and Noble, I saw this on the shelf and took a picture of it on my phone. I don’t mind supporting Barnes and Noble, but I also don’t want to carry more books than I have to and this was a reminder to get a copy on my Kindle later.

The book starts with a bit of the author’s career and how he came to work at UPS and love it. He definitely shows his enthusiasm for the company and culture and his admiration for the way that the company is run.

From there it goes back and talks a bit about Jim Casey, the founder of the company, or one of the founders and how he got his start as a kid in Seattle delivering packages for retail stores at the beginning of the 1900s. Some interesting things I’ve learned:

  • Prior to the late 20th century (sometime in the 70s), only the USPS could deliver packages person to person. UPS fought for exceptions state by state.
  • UPS started delivering retail packages, becoming more efficient than the retailers and putting their fleets out of business.
  • UPS was a private company, employee owner, until 1999.
  • UPS gave out stock for most of it’s history to employees and managers.
  • Very few employees were hired above package handlers.
  • The founder, Jim Casey, never married and lived in hotels for most of his life as he traveled and ran the company.

I recommended this to my business partner, Andy Warren, and he wrote a review as well. He didn’t like it as much as I did (I think), but it’s a good read and I think it’s a good company.  I’d like to build a company like UPS, though not exactly. I’m not sure I completely agree with all the things said about the company, but they have done things the right way from what I’ve seen.

The book isn’t all a rah-rah book on UPS. There are definitely some issues and the author does a good job of bringing them out, showing that he doesn’t like it, but it’s a part of the history.

I know my delivery guy loves the company and I need to see if he’s read the book.

The Last Day

I meant to get up, run, go by the bookstore and then head to work. I was supposed to do my review at 9:30, but I was out late at a lecture and couldn't hit the bookstore. Since I wasn't sure I'd find another one, and I saw my taxi for Heathrow leaves from the office, I decided to go in late.

And I overslept, waking up to Brad knocking on my door telling me the taxi was there. I told him I'd go in late, went for a quick early morning run, and then decided to hit the market area in Cambridge.

It was raining, and I tried to find the mathematical bridge, which was supposed to be close, but without seeing it quickly, I didn't want to get soaked. I made my way to Borders, grabbed 3 "real" books to pack in the bag and get me through the trip, and then got a cup of coffee from Starbucks, or rather thought about it. I ended up spying a Costa nearby, recommended by Rachel at Red Gate, so I went there. I tried to find a charger for the Kindle, but couldn't, so I'm out of luck. I have work to do, things to write, and then a few books to read.

So I made it to the office, had my review, and now need to get through one more meeting before I leave for the airport.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I am Tired

I'm up early, I'm up on time to get the cab to the office, but I am also beat. This has been a long week and I'm typically up late working at night after dinner, possibly after a few drinks, trying to get the podcasts and other work done after working all day on what the publishing group should be doing.

Looking forward to getting home Saturday and sleeping in Sunday. At least I have some football games to watch and relax with.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Kindle is Down

The Kindle is down, and it's a problem. I got a charger, or tried to yesterday, but it didn't work. And I forgot to bring it today when I could have exchanged it to try another. That annoys me because I had like 12 books to read, I'd read 3 or 4 on the way over, but I wanted to do more.

So tonight I hurried through my run, mapped a Borders, and walked over, hoping that it would be open. It was, and I found two of the books I'd sampled on the Kindle, but hadn't purchased. So I'm OK, and glad to be reading again after a few days off.

We'll see tomorrow if I can get it charged for the ride home.

Living in the UK

I've now been in the UK for 3 full days, a little over 2 more to go until I leave and I have to say that I'm ready to go now. Between the food, the lack of TV, things closing early, and the time difference from home, I could really do without this travel.

It's been good to see people I know, and talk with them, but overall this isn't my idea of fun. I would much rather be at home, even if I had to drive 40 or 50 miles each night to get home from our meetings.

I think there are a few things that really bug me. Not being able to sit down and watch some TV, some sports or highlights is annoying. I have kind of forgotten how much I enjoy watching a sitcom or two each night. And with bandwidth not being great, I can't even do that here.

That's another thing. I've had worse connectivity issues here in the UK, the office, the conference center at Cambridge, and the hotel, so that I can't get work done as quickly. Uploading podcasts is a huge pain and add to that the hassles of trying to get them done on the road, and I'm just annoyed.

Then there's the food. People drink a lot more, at lunch, dinner, etc. I can handle that, and I've been pretty good about not drinking during the day so that I can still run later, but the food is just not for me. By my standards it's bad, and it's not stuff I'd normally eat. I don't have high tastes, it's the opposite, my tastes are pretty plain, but the choices at most pubs that we've gone to aren't great for me. So I've eaten less, which is good, but it's not fun.

Tonight was my best meal, room service, a cheese pizza and Caesar salad. Anchovies were on there, but I picked them off. I'd forgotten to ask for them to be left off since most places in the US don't bother.

It's not been fun, but I think I'm going to go have another glass of wine and relax.

Meetings, Meetings, Meetings

A long meeting today, after a long one from yesterday. I am beat.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Bandwidth seems to suck in the UK, and particularly in this hotel. Slow, and it died once.

2am, podcasts uploading, going to bed.

It's Official

I still am amazed to think that we have a black man as President of the United States. I missed the inauguration, but I'll try to find it online. The time difference and work didn't work out for me, and I haven't had connectivity all day, but I'm happy and amazed that he was sworn in today.

Not my choice, perhaps a better choice than McCain, and certainly Bush, but time will tell.

Monday, January 19, 2009


I woke up around 3, having trouble sleeping. I got a solid 5 hours and felt much better, so I lay around, thinking, trying to go back to sleep. After all tomorrow ill be a long day. I was going through my thoughts and all of a sudden an idea for JumptStartTV occurred to me.

It was a good one, or I think so, so I got up, fired up the laptop and started writing it down. It needs work and I need to debate with my partners, but glad the laptop was handy to get things down.

4:40 am as I write this in the UK.

A Very Long Day

The flight from Chicago wasn't too bad, and I managed to get some sleep on the plane, but not a lot, maybe a couple hours. Despite being late in leaving CHI, we landed early, about 5:40am this morning. We must have been the first plane because I waited in line for about 5 minutes for immigration and no one was manning customs, so I breezed through.

I was slightly nervous, but Rachel at Red Gate came through and the taxi guy was standing there as I walked out of the secure area. Grabbed my bags and we drove to Cambridge, me reading as the sun came up.

I was hoping for an hour to do a run and wake up a bit before work, but I only had about 30 minutes, so I showered, changed, and went downstairs to meet the rest of the US group. After a taxi ride to the office, which took 30 minutes, about double what I expected and made me a little nauseous because I was facing backwards, I got to work and got coffee, wandering around and greeting people.

It was a quiet day, a few meetings, and I made it back to the hotel. I did my day 132 run and now it's time for dinner before I come back here and crash.

FYI, bandwidth in the UK stinks.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Wake Up Call

My phone rang at 5:15am, CST this morning.  I sleepily got up, thinking perhaps United had cancelled another flight and I could go back to Denver.

Instead it was my colleague, Tony, from the UK. He was asking if I wanted to go get lunch. I told him I was in Chicago and went back to bed. I was hoping that he would call someone and let them know, which I forgot to ask and didn't feel like getting back up to make a call.

Surprisingly when I got up I found that a few people from Red Gate had responded to my Tweets at Twitter and rebooked the taxi and hotel.

Making Do On The Road

No suitcase, no change of clothes, stuck at an airport hotel with no toiletries, but I knew I needed to run this morning. I have a 4pm flight, will fly all night and there's no time to do much else. My flight was cancelled last night, so I was stuck in Chicago and they wouldn't release my bag.

I suppose I could have searched for toiletries at the airport and then jogged lightly around the airport, but I decided to hit the treadmill here in the hotel first thing. I stripped off my shirt, since I don't have another one right now, ran in my Merrills and jeans, taking a slow jog.

I got through it and immediately got back to my room and stripped everything off the minimize the sweat. I had time, so I washed the socks in the sink with soap to minimize the smell of flying all night. I only did it because I had a hair dryer in my room. So after washing, I stood there, blow drying my socks. They got mostly dry, so I went to breakfast, no socks, and then came back to do more blow drying.

The Hassles of Travel - Part 2

I didn't want to go on this trip, but I agreed to do it. Now I regret it.

My flight to Chicago was fairly uneventful, but it was running late. At 4:30CST the pilot says we should be on the ground in 30 minutes, which is good since I have to get to the London flight by 5:45. at 5:00 we're finally descending and then we arrive at 5:15. I rush out and find a monitor to learn I need to change terminals, which is fun for the kids with the underground tunnel, but not much fun when you want some food and need to get to a flight.

I luckily stopped for a sandwich that I stuffed in my bag when I got in sight of the gate. That would prove fortuitous later.

I get on the plane with about 5 minutes to spare before they close the door. I get settled, start reading, listening to music and then 20 minutes later I'm wondering why we haven't left. Eventually they say that the plane has an issue and we need to deplane. This bird isn't going anywhere. It's annoying, we pack up and get off, they say they'll look for another plane, announcement at 7.

OK, I go get a bit of food (I'm saving my sandwich for the flight in case the food stinks) and wait around. I call home, no one there, and then finally here we're leaving at 8 from a few gates down. Same type of plane, same tickets.

So I walk down, we get on the plane, get settled again, and then push back. They de=ice, we taxi out, moving slowly, making the journey along the runways. I'm not sure how much bigger CHI is than DEN, but we taxi'd for a good 10 minutes around. The engines rev up and we start to turn, then they go down. A couple minutes later the stewardess comes on and says that the de-icer in the engine isn't working and since it's snowing they want it checked.

Back to the gate.

It's 8:45CST and we get to the gate, they look at it, don't want us to de-plane. We sit there, people are on cell phones trying to re-book, change plans, etc. Finally at 9:30 they tell us this plane can't fly so we deplane WITHOUT the flight being canceled. I'm glad I got in line right away because they canceled the flight 5 minutes later and started booking us in hotels.

Without our bags. I can't get my bag, which means no clean clothes, no deodorant, no running shoes, etc. I get 3 vouchers for food (dinner, breakfast, lunch), and of course nothing's open at 10:45 when I get them. When I get to the hotel, their kitchen is closed. Fortunately the bar is open, I grab a beer, get to my room and then get my chicken Caesar wrap out of my bag. At least I got dinner.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Actually stuck is not right, more like delayed. The last 3 times I've flown across the Atlantic there have been plane issues. First coming back in college, new plane there. Then 2 years ago the last leg from CHI to DEN my plane died and I had to wait hours for a new one. That was 24 hours from leaving a friend's house in the UK to my door.

This time I flew into CHI again, which was my first mistake. Now our plane has an issue and we were taken off it. Waiting on a new plane, getting supplied now. If this doesn't work I'm going home

Up and Moving

I have a 1:00 flight, so I need to get things packed and get out of here by 10-ish to get to the airport.

Tia slept in after her long ordeal getting home from Atlanta and I got up to run. That's done since the rest of my day will be spent on planes. I arrive at about 8am tomorrow morning and I'm not looking forward to it.

Now it's time to shower and pack and get a touch of work done before I leave.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Hotel For Dogs

I got distracted tonight, taking Kendall to the neighbors briefly to drop off some tickets, ended up having a beer and then going to dinner and a movie with the neighbors and kids. We saw Hotel for Dogs and all the kids loved it. It was OK, not great, but not bad either.

So now I didn't get everything done, not sure I'll get my podcast done for Monday, but it's not the end of the world. If I can't get it done in the am, I'll just go with an editorial for Database Weekly.

Learning to let go.

@#$@#$@ Barn Light

The barn light died a few weeks back and so I grabbed the bulb and went to Lowes for a new one. There wasn't anything that matched and the bulb didn't have much printed on it, so I talked to a guy, he said Metal Halide bulb, grabbed one, brought it back and Delaney helped me install it.

And it didn't work.

So today I finally decided as a last minute chore to get it fixed. Kyle or the kids will help Tia somewhat next week and it would be nice if she had light out there, especially after the full moons this week and likely less light next week. The old bulb is gone, new bulb box went to the trash yesterday. So I go to Home Depot and they have nothing close, nothing that seems to match the ED-17, 70watt bulb.

Go back to Lowes. They only have one Cooper light on display, which is what I bought, and it's a High Pressure Sodium. Apparently all these lights have different ballast, so I have to get the right one. I decide to try HPS, return the MH one which is a pain (another post there), get the HPS come home, put it on, cover the light sensor with my hand and it doesn't start.

I get all the info, every number off the light and come inside, and sure enough this is a metal halide lamp, but not sure why it's not working. Who cares, can't @#$@#$ with it for now, so I'll return that bulb, try another one and if it doesn't work, order some from the Internet.


Tia missed her flight, so she's not getting in at 5:20, instead coming in around 9:20 tonight. We had planned to meet her at the stock show, but that's broken. Need to figure out what to do on my last night with kids. Maybe a movie?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

User Group

I did my "The Modern Resume" presentation tonight at the Denver SQL Users Group and it went well. About 20 people there and they seemed to like it. At least no one left early.

I had to take the little kids since Tia was gone and it worked out OK. They were well behaved and Kendall even came up to stand by me and flipped a couple slides for me at the end.

I need to do more of those. This wasn't that time consuming, as trips to Boulder and the Springs have been, and this way I can give back a little to the community, which I should be doing.

$30 Tire

I made it to Tires Plus, where I'd purchased the tires last year and they checked the tire. I dropped it off and went to eat lunch, which was good since it took them almost an hour to patch the tire, actually look at it and decide a new one was needed and they were going to mount that on the rim. Then I went back and spent about 25 minutes waiting while they switched it on the car.


I wasn't sure I was going to town today since I have to go tonight for a presentation to the Denver SQL User Group, but as I arrived at the school someone said I had a flat. So I signed in the kids and then checked and sure enough a screw worked it's way into the tire. I made it a block to the gas station, got coffee, and then changed the tire.

So now I need to go get a new one, or get this one repaired. I need a haircut as well, so it's not too bad, but still eating up time in my day.

Honoring a Contest

Over the last six months or so, Pepsi has been running a PepsiStuff promotion on many of their products. They had codes printed inside bottle caps, packaging, etc, that you could enter at their website. Each code was worth a point or two and you could trade in your points for various things like caps, shirts, and MP3s. There were larger prizes, but I never got close to those.

Typically I’d buy a Diet Pepsi instead of a Diet Coke to get the code, I’d save them and enter them in the site and use them to download Amazon MP3s. They had a great link with the Amazon site and for 5 points I could get an MP3. That worked out great for my son as he got a bunch of songs for his Zune that he wanted and I got a few here and there that I’ve wanted.

Just after the new year I took a few caps that I’d gotten while skiing and went to enter them into the site. I got the notice that the promotion had ended and I could send away by mail (mail!?!?!?!) for coupons. I wasn’t overly concerned about the caps in my hand, but I was a little annoyed as I had 12 or 13 points at Amazon already and could have gotten a couple more songs. I immediately went to Amazon, but sure enough I couldn’t “buy” songs with my points.

The $1.60 worth of songs isn’t much, but it creates a bit of bad-will between myself and Pepsi. Their product isn’t different enough from Coke’s and now they’ve annoyed me. I know the promotion has to end, but they could have easily let my points exist for a month or a week beyond the end of the redemption. What’s more annoying is stores are still full of products with the Pepsi stuff labels. They manufactured too much.

What should they do?

First, I’m not sure this hurts Pepsi a lot. It annoys people, but only until the next contest and we’re used to it. I see this stuff all the time with local businesses.

But they’re missing an opportunity here. They could easily generate a lot of goodwill in a few ways.

  1. Extend the promotion. Get another splash and base the new date on the amount of product in the store.
  2. Ping people with points in their accounts a week before it ends. They could get a boost in sales here.
  3. Let people have an extra few weeks to redeem and/or spend.

None of the these would break the bank for Pepsi and they might give them a boost.

Running a contest is always a tricky thing. You cut into margins to try and boost your visibility and hopefully gain more market share and profit in the end. But the contest has to produce goodwill to be effective. There will always be a percentage of people that want something for free and then will never come back, but you can get a good percentage of people interested and if they’re happy, then they might continue to use your service/site.

I think Pepsi made a mistake here.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Sore Back

Not really hurting, but just sore from using new muscles. I went to the first adult advanced class tonight and Delaney came with me to try out the "sticks" for Filipino stick fighting. I was worried he'd be the only kid, but there were three others, so he had a partner.

It was interesting to try and work with sticks, and hard too. It reminded me of sword work with Hamada-sensei years ago, but slightly different. I tried to go slow, but all the twisting and moving in new ways made my lower back tight and sore throughout the class. Definitely need to practice a bit at home.

Delaney really struggled and was upset after class since he couldn't do it well. I told him I'd practice with him, but it was good to see him struggle. Most things come easy to him, so a little struggle is a good thing.

All Alone

Tia just left for Atlanta, after a busy day yesterday and won’t be back until Friday. So we’re passing in the wind again as I leave Saturday for the UK. I had planned on snowboarding Friday, but since she won’t be back, I’m hoping that we get to spend a little time together, especially as she already has tickets to take Kendall to the Stock Show Friday night.

It’s quiet, too quite here as I try to get ahead on some work for the next two weeks. The trip next week and then holiday in two weeks are jamming me up.

Increasing Productivity

There was a time that I really felt I would be more productive with two monitors. I think I found myself flipping between two windows a lot, so I made the decision to buy a 2nd monitor, got a second video card, and set myself up with dual displays. It was something like this:


I’ve had a setup like this for nearly 5 years and it’s worked well. I’d figured out how to move certain windows to certain screens and it made work much better.

However over the last 2-3 months I’ve noticed that I’m still flipping windows around more than in the past. I think some of that is the addition of some social networking gadgets and more video stuff to my desktop. I find that I’ve watched some video shows or podcasts and it’s nice to have them up, but if I give up monitor space for those, especially if I’m reviewing my own podcasts, then I can’t flip windows and that impacts productivity.

I last week I decided enough was enough. I ordered a low end nVidia based card (I learned last year you can’t mix ATI and nVidia very well) and it arrived over recently, I stuck it in there, and then fired things up.

Now things look like this:

I’ve decided that I’m using the two on the left as my main workspaces with the one on the right being saved for Twirl and video displays as well as iTunes. We’ll see if this makes me more productive. If not, I can add a 4th as long as I can find space on the desk :)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Catching Up

Well, I am slowly getting caught up at work, or rather getting ahead enough to survive a series of meetings at Red Gate. I leave for the UK and while everyone else can kind of take a few days off for meetings, I can't. The newsletter still goes out, editorials need to be done and I could potentially avoid podcasts, I hate to do that.

So I shot 5 today, finishing off this week and getting 3 done for next week. I still have 1 more to shoot and I'm planning on shooting one over there. I thought about doing more, but I'm not sure how much editing/writing time I'll have.

I also really need to get one done for the following week to ensure I don't come home to a bunch of work.

However I forgot to edit, so I edited after Girl Scouts and school stuff and am uploading now. Along with the 10 or 12 articles I loaded, I'm almost ready to fly away.

A Good Pick

Not that I’d know a bad one, but I am glad to see President Obama’s choice for Secretary of Energy endorses nuclear power.

That needs to be part of our solution.

A New Car

I want a new car. Not a new-new car, but a new-to-me car. Kyle got his car last year, but it's been a few years for me and I feel the itch. Actually each time I take the Prius into the mountains, where it's done OK, I wish I had a bit more space and a truck that would get me up there in comfort.

Not very energy efficient, huh?

What would be great is if there were a way to easily rent a car for a day to go up there. Actually I could rent one for a day, but it costs me $70 a day, plus tax, plus insurance or something, so it would be $100. I do that 10 times a year and I'm at $1000 a year, which isn't a lot better than it might be for a used car.

Like a Trooper :)

I was looking around the other day, killing a few minutes, and I found a used Trooper for $3000. It had 200,000k miles on it, but still!!

I don't know what insurance would be on an old car, how reliable it would be (I wouldn't drive it much), and if it would be worth it, but it is tempting.

Or maybe I should cut a deal with a friend that has one. He gets the Prius for a day and I get his SUV :)


Tia had a presentation this morning, a big deal for her company and the result is that she gets to fly to Atlanta tonight for emergency meetings with the client and try and figure out how to move forward.

I definitely don't want her job.


OK, I think I have some experience here. I went through school, I went through about 7 years of college (I graduated in 4 before you start laughing), and I've got three kids. One is in high school, one fifth grader, and one second grader. All together my kids have been in 10 schools, three school districts, and a variety of teachers.

Tia has a big presentation, so I'm working in the bedroom, watching the Today show. I know, it's silly, but they were looking at new cars when I turned it on, so I haven't changed it.

There's a group talking about too much homework for kids. There's a writer from Parents magazine complaining about hours of homework for kids. I agree with that, but I do think that of all the grades my kids have been through (18 total so far), only one time did we have too much homework. Kyle's third grade teacher was a little over the top and eventually we and other parents had a meeting and complained to the principal. That got stopped and I agree that he had over an hour a night, which is a lot.

However most of the time my kids have 5-10 minutes of homework, which I think is light. I think 10 minutes per grade level isn't a bad idea, with perhaps slightly more for advanced kids, a bit less for struggling ones. Reinforcement is a good idea, as is the need to struggle a bit.

On a side note I got my weekly mailing from the Libertarian party yesterday evaluating the Bush Presidency. Or rather evaluating his teams' evaluation. One thing there was that the "No Child Left Behind" program is a failure. I tend to agree. I think some kids should be left behind, or rather held back.

We want standards, we want people to meet levels of achievement and performance, but that means that some people won't make it. That's reality. Not everyone can work for NASA as a rocket scientist. And we shouldn't slow things down for those who can.

But I don't think we abandon kids. We do need to help them along, find them things they do well at and help them succeed in other areas. And remove the stigma that working at a job, and doing a good job, is a bad thing if it's not a cool job.

I don't know how to do that, but we need to find a way.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Eagles

Pencil them in for another Super Bowl? Not sure I agree.

Sure they're impressive for beating the Cowboys, the Vikings, and now the Giants. They looked pretty good, not great, for what I saw of the 4th quarter last night. More I thought the Giants looked lackluster. I'll go watch more today and tomorrow, but I also saw the Cardinals on Sat and they looked good.

I thought the Cards might lose to Atlanta, but after watching them beat the Panthers, not just by stopping them, but by avoiding the huge rushes of that Panther front four and complete passes, I think they will give the Eagles quite a game.

Slipping and Sliding

I drove the little kids to school today. Actually I drove Tia as well. We were leaving the garage and she was coming back from feeding horses and wanted to ride along.

It's snowing, a couple inches outside, and it was a slippery ride. School was delayed and hour and I know why. The gravel road was plowed, but there were times I still slid around and I felt as though I was slipping the entire time. Like the wheels weren't rolling, but sliding.

At one point I went to turn and we slid, so I stopped braking and added a little gas to try and get traction. Our traction control kicked in, or rather the light flashed and the alarm sounded. I don't think it really works, or at least it doesn't feel like it to me. However Delaney popped up and asked if that was a fire alarm. He was worried. We explained things and he felt better.

He even tried to cheer me up by getting into color wars with the dash. The kids always want the background orange and I'll switch it to green to play with them. It requires three touches on the screen to change it and as Delaney will hit one or two, I'll hit the button on the steering wheel to stop him and reset it to the map or fuel consumption.

I was annoyed by both kids. At 8:40 I went to get them to pack up and they complained they hadn't eaten. I'd given Kendall cereal and told Delaney to eat, but they didn't and got yelled at. I'm getting tired of hand holding them and it's time they grew up, which is something long overdue. Need to start holding them to standards. Delaney realized that he was in the wrong, but Kendall wanted to get upset and dodge blame. She is going to take some work.

Tag Cloud for Blogger

I have come to enjoy the tag cloud on my SQLServerCentral blog and was wondering if I could do that at Blogger as well. Tags and clouds are so popular I was sure that there would be a widget already there to do this, but alas I didn't see one in the search.

So I Google'd and found this one from phydeaux3. I was a little worried about adding the code to my blog, but I decided to use one that I don't depend on, give it a try, preview, all the testing I could from a remote place and it worked great.

I had to futz with it a bit, especially as it seems the directions are a little sparse. Here's what I did:

Go to the Layout, shown here:

Now click the "Add a gadget" item on your layout (it may be on the left or right).

Then add a Labels element to your page.

Click the plus and it will add it. First you get the chance to edit it. I set mine for frequency and then renamed it.

This will hold the place for the tag cloud.

Put the first set of code from the link above BEFORE the line so it looks like this:

Next you need to put the script code, which doesn't want to render here, AFTER the line, but before the head:

You can get the code from the link above.

Lastly you need to find the label widget in the code. It should be near the bottom.

Highlight the line I've shown here and paste in the third set of code from the link above in it's place. It should go from the b:widget to the /b:widget sections.

That's it, preview it and you should see a cloud like the one I have to the right.

A Delayed Start

Kyle's school started, so he drove, Delaney got up and finished his homework, which he'd neglected this weekend, and Kendall was on the iMac when I came downstairs. Doesn't look like a lot of snow, so I'm a little worried about ice with the delay.

Tia's still asleep, but she was up at 5:30, computer on her belly in bed working a bit. I got up a bit after 7 and the computer was still there, but she was asleep.

What a crazy life it is.


When I was in graduate school I wanted an internship for the summer to get some experience and get ready for the real world. I looked around a bunch of opportunities, applied, and got some interviews. One of these was with Virginia Power, which had been bought by Dominion Resources just prior to my interview. I grew up with Virginia Power, it was still logo’d everywhere, so that’s how I thought of them.

In any case, this was before most places had web sites, the Internet was still mostly text-based (Archie, Gopher, etc.) and so I went to the local library to do some research. I looked up a bunch of articles on the company. In one article, I saw a note about how some of the larger industrial companies in the Richmond, VA area were working with Virginia Power to build cogeneration plants. They were using waste heat, usually steam, to produce some electricity onsite. Virginia Power supplied and maintained the generators and the company lowered their electric bill a bit by producing some power onsite.

This idea for cogeneration at restaurants makes a bunch of sense and it’s a similar idea. a small engine that can use waste vegetable oil to produce power. It can save the restaurant power, and the costs of having oil removed. And it’s local, potentially giving them power in an emergency as well.

Is it green? It’s better than a diesel generator, but it’s probably less efficient and more polluting than a larger, more central plant. Or it is? There is a decent loss in sending electricity across transmission lines, perhaps as high as 7%. So if that’s the case than is this 10% worse from a pollution standpoint? I’d like to see some research done on this to make some sense of what the carbon cost is.

From a cost standpoint, if you can lease one for $450 and save about $800, that’s interesting.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Under 500

I got above 500 posts, or points at least, for much of December to reach my goal of 4800 posts for the year. However after the New Years weekend I dropped down and actually found myself below 450 on Friday. I got back up, but dropped again.

This morning while watching the end of the Arizona/Caroline game from yesterday on TiVo I was trying to clean up my laptop drive and answer questions. I got like 10-15 in there, but still I'm showing 453 now. Better than my goal (400 each month) for next year, but still lacking, especially since I'm gone next week and will struggle to get work done. Between that and editorials, it's going to be a busy couple of weeks for me.

Pros v Amatuers

I think that's the issue with Tiger Woods golf. I set up a character for me, appropriately named "dad" and I picked him when we played last night. Delaney and I got Tia to play, Kendall declined, but we set up a 9 hole course at the Boston TPC. Tia had a female pro, Delaney stuck with Daughtery and I had my character.

As usual Delaney and Tia did well, and my character struggled. After dropping a few in the water again, Tia figured out that my character's confidence was low and I wouldn't hit as well as they did. Plus they had the All Play preview set up and I didn't, so I was handicapped. As a result I lost, but I did a respectable 46 on the front 9. About what I would really shoot, or used to be able to.

Delaney won, scoring 6 eagles, 2 birdies and a hole-in-one on a Par 3. Amazing. Tia was like 3 or 4 shots back, but close. A fun night.

This was after Kyle's play, where we actually had a good time. It was "Once Upon a Fairy Tale", it was short, 30 minutes, and good for kids. They made fun of some kids books with characters from the books on stage. Kyle was Chester the Cat from some book and dressed up like a cat. A good role for him and he played it well.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Play No One Wanted to See

Kyle's in a children's play tonight, a short one showing just last night and tonight and Tia planned to take the little ones to it. Kendall's at a birthday party and we were thinking she might not want to go, and I didn't want to. I'm happy to support Kyle, but I'm not a play person when they're done well. High school plays aren't much.

So Tia's been outside working horses all day. She comes in and Delaney doesn't want to go, she doesn't feel like it and she's cold, but I said we need to go. Even though I don't want to, we need to support Kyle.

So we're packing up.

Flip No 2

I went and exchanged my Flip at Best Buy today. It seemed to be freezing up yesterday, not coming on (no pun intended), and I wondered if it was the cold. Probably need to carry it in an inside pocket most of the time. This morning it came on and I could get the video off it, but it seemed to play funny on my laptop. Not sure if it's a driver issue.

In any case, we looked at the Aiptek at Target, but I decided to try this Flip and see if it will work OK. It certainly is very convenient to carry around.

Delaney The Tiger (Woods)

Last night Kendall wanted to play some Wii and so we set up Tiger Woods golf (2009 edition) for us to play. I bought it last week thinking the family might get into it, maybe have a Wii night one night a week, but hadn't had a chance to mess with it. The kids played some when Tia and I went out for dinner one night, but that's it.

We started working on it, but Kendall wasn't feeling well, so she lay on the couch and watched me play. It's pretty cool, and not as hard as I thought. I shot a round at the Sand Hill course at -1, and felt pretty good.

Then Delaney wanted to play, so we set up a round of 9. At first he was upset since he was having trouble controlling the thing and getting through the tutorial. When I was up 2 shots after 3 holes, he wasn't pleased, but then we hit the 5th hole. I dropped 2 shots in the water off the tee, and then struggled to get up, finally leaving an 11 on the hole after more hit the water. It was strange since I hit things according to the display (except one where I brushed my leg), but the ball wasn't flying well. Delaney eagled and was up 6.

Then he dropped 2 more eagles and a par and ended up whipping me pretty good. I couldn't believe it. Granted he was playing Steve Elkington and I'd built my own character, but still.

Guess I'm done winning video games with him for the most part.


I must have fallen more than I thought yesterday because my elbow is sore and the back is a little tight. My neck feels better than it did last night, but it was sore then as well. No karate this morning. I missed the two weeks and was thinking I'd do a workout this morning, but I think I'll take it easy and run later on.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Our Little Girl

Sometimes she is so difficult, stubborn, and trying. Other times she things like this:

Snuggling Up

Last night Delaney came in our room, which was strange. That hasn't happened in a long time. I'd watched some TV after Tia fell asleep and found Delaney laying in my bed. He wasn't very responsive and almost seemed to be sleepwalking. Tia asked him if he'd had a bad dream or was scared, but he didn't answer, so we put him between us and dropped off.

This morning he had no memory of coming in our bed, asking us how he got there. I don't think he was kidding, but who knows. In any case, a sleep in morning all around, all three kids slightly late to school and us getting a late start.

I'm still debating about running up to ski this morning for a half day. Trying to decide if it's worth it. Snow supposed to be coming in and I'm a little worried about traffic.

The Future Looks Old

I grew up watching the syndicated version of Star Trek every evening as a kid, 12-14 and dreamed of being on a spaceship. The idea of communicators in your hand, beaming up, and more were still futuristic and amazing in the late 70s to me. It seems silly now, but at that time few houses had cordless phones much less cell phones.

As I grew up, I moved on to other shows and interests so by the time that Star Trek: The Next Generation came out I wasn’t watching a lot of TV at night and wasn’t that interested in the show. When it was released, we shared on TV in our college apartment and studies, girls, and beer were much more interesting than TV. Come to think of it, I didn’t even watch a lot of sports then.

However lately as my 10-year old has gotten interested in some science fiction, and I’ve been reading a few (I recommended Dauntless and Red Thunder to a few friends, including Andy Warren), I wondered what I’d missed. I might have seen 3 or 4 episodes of The Next Generation over the years, but that was it.

I mentioned this to my wife and lo and behold, Santa brought me Season One of The Next Generation. I finished off the movie I was watching and then plugged Disc 1 into the DVD player the next time I went running. I run every day and for about 15-20 minutes, so I watch a bit of a movie or TV show at a time. In this case I get through an episode and a half each week.

The show started in 1987, so at this point it’s 21+ years old, but it feels out of date. I enjoy the characters and it’s an interesting evolution of the original series, but it still feels old. Watching them communicate by tapping their insignia seems silly when we have bluetooth headsets that we do that with now. Shouldn’t the communications be embedded?

There are a lot of those futuristic things that seems outdated now, given the progress that we’ve made in 20 years since this was written and produced. I’m still enjoying it and I know that predicting the future is something that can’t last forever. It just seems dated, beyond the production work that went into it. Slightly disappointed, but Season One should get me through quite a few weeks of running.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


I definitely ate too much for lunch. I had a chicken fajita burrito that I should have eaten half of, but I ate the whole thing, felt full at 5:30 when I ran, full at 7:00 when karate started and still full now. Drinking a little Bud Light to calm the stomach.

Hopefully I'll learn my lesson on that. It was really good, but I should have stopped much earlier.


When Tia came in the other night and said the trailer lights weren't working (but the brake lights were), we were sure that Parker Trailers had done something wrong. We both could rewire things, but we hate to spend the time, plus we just paid $300 for them to rewire things. So I drove down, complained lightly to get them to look at it and so they came outside.

They have a tool that plugs into the socket, so they did that and immediately the guy walked back and popped the hood. He said that there are separate fuses for brake lights and parking lights for the trailer on these newer trucks, which I hadn't realized. Sure enough the running lights fuse was blown, so he replaced it and I was on my way.

I felt a bit dumb, but I learned something, which was good. And it's a good design on the 04 Dodge Ram 2500 we have.

A New Snowboard

I had to run Tia's trailer to the shop today to check the lights and decided to swing by and look at Sports Authority for snowboards. I looked a bit the other night at Colorado Ski and Golf when I replaced the little kids equipment, but I didn't see a board under $250 and the service was horrendous. I need to write that up since it's a big mistake I think they're making.

So I walked in and first checked bindings. I like the easy entry, flip up back bindings and sure enough they had some Flow bindings for $130. That's more then the $110 I paid last year for the K2s, but it's close enough and I liked the larger front pad instead of two straps. Then I looked at snowboards and they had a bunch on sale and an extra 20% off of more. I found a Morrell 163, good base board for $140 and 20% off, so I ended up paying $110 for that. So $240, add in $20 for a binding protection for another year in case something breaks and $260 out the door. I'd barely have gotten a board for that at CSG.

That made me feel better after the trailer incident (next).

Everyone's Gone

Well, not Tia and I, but all kids are in school today!

Kendall woke up feeling better, actually she was up with her coat on when Tia and I got up at 7:15. After being up late with Kendall we were tired and both slept in, waking when the alarm on my watch went up, signaling the time to pack up for the bus.

Laptop Prevents Fire

Last night, Steve Jones, 41, was preparing a pot of brown rice. After feeling all, he was making a bland bowl of rice to get some nourishment and try not to upset his stomach anymore. Placing a pot on the stove to boil, he returned to finishing up some work for his job.

Prior to the invention of laptops, this would have meant his returning to his office to work, and hopefully remembering to check the pot periodically for boiling water. Alas, something that rarely happens and didn’t last night.

Fortunately Steve was working on his laptop in the kitchen and heard the sizzle of rice starting to burn. Jumping up, turning off the gas, and moving the pot resulted in a minor burn on his hand, but no ruined pan, or potential fire in the household.

Thanks to the availability of a laptop, all ended well.

Batting 1000

Nobody bats 1.000, or one thousand. Not in baseball and not in any aspect of life. You might be able to get good hits for a short period of time, maybe a game, a week, a year, but if you keep working at what you’re doing, you are going to make some mistakes, make some wrong or bad choices, or fail. Hopefully it’s not a catastrophic failure, but you will fail.

I was thinking about this while reading Andy Warren’s Investing In Yourself post. We’ve debated about this and I tend to agree with Andy. YOU have to own your training decisions and you have to take responsibility for advancing your career. Your employer may help, but ultimately it’s your responsibility.

He talked about some of the failed technologies in SQL Server like English Query or Notification Services. If you’re bet your career on those are you in trouble? I’d hope not, and I’d like to think that you learned other things along the way and you can switch.

I started programming macros for Lotus 1-2-3 a long time ago, I dropped that for Clipper and moved to FoxPro. Each time I’d made an investment in a technology that got dropped. I moved to SQL Server and I’ve done well there as a generalist, but I don’t think that’s necessarily the best thing for everyone.

If you pick XML now, or SSRS, or SSAS, you are choosing to compartmentalize yourself a bit if you specialize. That’s good and bad as niches tend to pay better, but have fewer job choices. Depending on your situation in life and what you enjoy, that can be good or bad. The important thing is that you are learning and doing something you enjoy.

And along the way remember that your chosen specialty can get dropped by Microsoft. That’s no different than things that have happened in other professions throughout history. Think about what blacksmiths went through 100 or so years ago.

You won’t always pick the right technology to learn, but that’s OK. There are still jobs out there in C and COBOL, there are still people writing in FoxPro. You might not want those jobs, but that’s your choice and you get to make that. It doesn’t mean that your investment was lost. Plenty of people in the world make investment decisions every day and they have to re-make them on a regular basis.

Don’t worry about what’s out of your control, and the decision to keep a technology around is up to some vendor, not you. Do what makes you happy and continue to invest in yourself. You won’t go wrong.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Value of Twitter

OK, today I see something useful about Twitter. I'm stuck in bed, my daughter sick, trying to work and listening to "I, Spy" and various other annoying things on TV. It's not much fun, and I could use something to cheer me up since my wife is gone.

@JoeWebb says "Has found the switch from a pot of coffee every morning to a single cup of tea has been easier than expected.  Also having some green tea"

I tell him "tea is for girls, not farm girls, but girls."

I get back a "LOL!!! My son has strict orders to kick me in a place of his choosing if he catches me sipping with my pinky sticking out."

@BrianKelley says that "Good thing you moved to Colorado and not down South with that attitude towards tea."

And I reply "Hey, I grew up in VA. Sun tea is OK, hot tea is for girls"

At this point the Southerners start talking about sweat tea v hot tea.

Brian comes back asking where @RachelHawley is in this conversation and why hasn't she called me out. I say it's coming, probably from Neil Davidson who replies "Huh?" and we fill him in.

@ScottDevereux asked "Is it still manly if its a low fat double mocha skinny latte in a hot pink mug?"

I answered "Hmmm, low fat, -1 man point, double, +3 man points, mocha, even, skinny, -1, pink, if you're tough, Sum=+1 for tough guys!"

@SusanLennon says she represents my remark and I say it's OK for her, just not @JoeWebb.

@AirborneGeek asks about diet coke and I respond "Diet coke is OK, depending on your "paunch of success""

@BrianKelley tells @NeilDavidson about my remark that hot tea was for girls.

@NeilDavidson said "@kbriankelley I agree totally. But real men grind the beans with their teeth"

My response: "grind? Don't you just throw them in the pot? Cowboy coffee"

At which point NeilDavidson replied "Pot? You use a pot? Real men just swirl boiling water around in the mouth."

And I said "touche!"

And I think we're done. Many smiles on my face.

Is it a distraction? Sure. But it's like being in an office where people are walking around, joking with each other, maybe from the next cube over even as we get work done.

Joe Webb is at home, I'm at home, a few others of us out of touch and I'm sure we're a welcome break for the others that are in the office. We're friends, colleagues, and acquaintances that are enjoying a few fun comments across a few hours. I'm still answering posts and on the phone as we do this. It's another fun medium.

The Missing Ring

The other night when I got home form karate Tia was in a bad mood. She hadn't gotten to go riding and Kendall had been a little difficult. The topper was that her wedding ring was lost. Kendall had it on the bed, was looking at it, and then needed to go to the bathroom. Somewhere between our bed and the bathroom it was gone and they couldn't find it. A bad ending to a long day, the first one back at work.

I lay with her, we talked a bit, played some Bookworm, and then dropped off the sleep. Last night I started to worry that the maids would come this week, vacuum the room and it would be gone. So I started my search.

First I started under the bed where I could reach, running my hands around all the edges. Then I pulled the mattress up and searched under the headboard. I found lots of trash and stuff  and dust, and had to take a couple breaks to clean up, but no ring. Then I started going through the sheets, pulling them all off.

No ring, but as I put things back together, it appeared. I'm not sure if it was in our remote holder, stuck in some sheets and I dislodged it or what, but I returned it to Tia, asking her if she'd marry me (again).

She said "yes," which is what I was hoping for :)

A Sick Little Girl

Kendall came in our room last night, telling us she'd thrown up in the bathroom. Tia grabbed a bowl and she lay down next two us a bit after 2. From then until 4:30, about every 30 minutes she'd wake up, throw up in the bowl, I'd hold her, rub her back and she'd go back to sleep in a few minutes. I'd get up, empty the bowl, spread the towel out again, put the bowl down and try to go back to sleep.

I drifted in and out and struggled to get up. Tia had a riding appointment this morning, so she got Delaney to school and I fired up the laptop next to Kendall, who's thrown up twice this morning. She still can't keep water down and this reminds me of Delaney.

She's handling it better than she used to. She's not too upset, she's mature about grabbing the bowl and she's dealing with it. A mixed bag today.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Seventeen Weeks

It doesn't sound like a long time when you write it in weeks, but today was day 119 of my running streak.

I feel OK, a sore knee, slightly tweaked ankle, and struggling after going back to karate last night. This is definitely a bit of a lull for the running streak as I struggle to get down here the last few days and run.

It might be a let down after last week when I had two runs outside, and the week before when I stretched to some 2 milers, but in any case, I don't hate it and I'll keep pushing.

I haven't tracked my totals in a few weeks and don't really want to dig in and do them now, but it seems that I've been averaging about 10.5 miles a week, so I'd be about 170+ miles since September, which is pretty good. Not sure if that's a record in my life since I ran a pretty good amount in college when training for a marathon and I've had lots of weeks where I ran 15-20 miles a week, but I don't know if I've kept it up for this long.

In any case, I feel good overall, and feel stronger in my lungs. The weight hasn't gone way down, but I think that's a function of not great eating, especially with travel and the holidays. I do feel proud I've managed to get this far and to get runs in around snowboarding. Those days are a challenge, but for now I think I could maintain this for another 17 weeks.

I Want a Macbook

Video editing is a bit of a pain on a Windows PC I definitely have some flexibility with ULead’s Video Studio, but it’s still slow and cumbersome. Even the base iLife ‘07, which we have on the kid’s iMac makes it easier. Granted it’s limited in what it can do, less tracks, etc., but it still is a breeze to edit compared to what I go through on the laptop.

I’ve been doing it for a year, I’m used to it, but after watching the Geekbrief people blog live from the Macworld keynote, I decided to go check out iLife ‘09, which looked interesting.

The first thing I saw was GarageBand lessons from artists. Now that is cool! I looked at some previews and I could see how this would get kids interested in music. Heck, it gets me a bit motivated. It’s a great idea and give it up for Apple’s excellent way to enhance their products and make a compelling reason to upgrade.

So I’m drooling a bit and wanting a MacBook Pro. At $2000+ that’s a bit of an investment and I’m not sure I’m that much more productive, but I bet I’d be a lot less stressed about video editing and it would be quicker. I don’t want the 17”er, but a nice 15” one would be cool and I bet I could make do with iMovie. I might have to since the upgrade to Final Cut is well over $1000.

Will I make the investment? It’s hard to say. It’s a lot of money to spend for an upgrade that arguably doesn’t get me a lot. If I could get my boss to go for it, I’d definitely move to a Mac, but I got shot down last year when I tried.

I’m tempted to make it myself and I might need to check out an iLife machine in the store the next time I go and see if the editor has enough stuff for me. If I move it to the basement, then I could set up for music, which isn’t really practical, but it might be fun with kids. I could definitely try to do more with video as well. However the smoother ability to edit stuff is something I’d like.

We’ll see. Maybe I can get some side writing gigs going and end up with a few thousand that I can blow on this.

Who Do We Choose to Follow?

Think about your career and the managers, and potentially leaders, that you’ve had in your life. Think about life in general and who do you admire, who have you modeled yourself after or who you wanted to follow in sports, in a hobby, in life, etc.

I’ve heard about, read about or seen many people on TV, in newspapers, books, and more. Some of them I admire, most I don’t, but as I learn more about some of them, there are always some I like that I start to question whether they’re good leaders. To be fair, someone can be a good leader in public, or in some roles and have a mess of a personal life. They’re not necessarily related.

I started thinking about this after reading a post on herds. No, I still don’t like horses, but it’s my wife’s blog and I follow it just to see what she’s doing. I’m interested in her, not the horses and it helps me to better keep in touch with her.

Everyone needs someone to follow. We have to decide who inspires or motivates us, but do you know why any particular person does so? As I read about horses, I’m not sure that we’re much different. We feel drawn to one person or another, or some group, and we don’t always know why.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Back to Karate

It was good to go back and I think Delaney had a good time, but two weeks off and I was struggling with the warm up. I'm not sure why, maybe my stomach was still a bit off, but it was hard to get through the quick stuff. Luckily we slowed down then and had an easy second half.

Much Better

After having a stomach that was gurgling all day, a good night's sleep, rice, and water seemed to help. Much better today, though not quite 100%. I did get my run in and am planning on karate. I think pushing the body a little will help clean things out.

Back to the grind

It’s not that I’ve been off of work completely for two weeks, but it’s been a bit slack and I noticed my post counts at SQLServerCentral fell from about 525 on the rolling 30 day average to 450 today. So I’ve spent a bit of time around other things trying to get them back up.

We slept in a bit, but Tia’s up, back in the office, and on the phone as life and work roll on. Kyle’s in school, but the little ones have one more day off.

Setting New Limits

I’ve had a sore knee for a few weeks and recently I was talking with my Mom and, of course, she was worried. She asked me how I was doing, how it felt, etc. and I replied fine. I mean, what else can you tell your Mom?

I did tell her that I felt old, which sounded silly as soon as it came out of my mouth. I mean, how do you complain to your Mom that you’re getting old?

In any case, as I talked through it a bit with her, we agreed that you have to slow down as you get older. She’s not an athlete, but she has had a yoga-like routine that she did every morning for years and has had to change slightly. In my case, I’ve had to re-think how I exercise, especially with a bad neck as I age.

I think we can keep going, and keep strong, perhaps improve some areas of our performance as we age. Certainly we should be smarter, and be able to concentrate better. I think some of the older body builders have more discipline as they age, which is why they get great results.

I’m not in that category, but I have gotten better at some things. Running every day, running smarter, it’s something I couldn’t have done 20 years ago. I’d have pushed too hard on my body, running to a good sweat, but breaking things down. I’ve always pushed a bit hard, and then 3, 6, 9 weeks in, I need a break.

I could probably get back down to a 22min 5K, but I think I’d be hurting myself a bit and I’d damage some of my body in doing so. I don’t want to do that, I want to get my body in great shape, at this point in my life.

That means setting new limits and goals based on where I am now, not where I was 20 years ago.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


I'm not sure what I ate yesterday, but my stomach has been gurgling and upset all day. Not a fun way to spend the day.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

A Long Day

Up running first thing, getting everyone packed up, driving to Keystone and then skiing before coming back. I'm beat, my eyes are very tired, legs sore, ice being applied.

But a good day. I had run skiing with the boys, alternating with waiting for them and racing along myself. I even tried running up some steep sides and then flipping my board and some goofy foot work. I had a pretty good fall trying with the other leg forward, but it was interesting to try it.

Looking forward to a quiet day tomorrow.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Unit 3, Deploy to Whiskey

Delaney’s adventure with Endwar continues. We hear him calling out commands from the other room.

Kids and Dogs

The doorbell just rang and Delaney and the dogs ran to answer it. Tia remarked that it was nice the dogs didn’t feel the need to bark everytime it rang. I remarked it was nice that Delaney shared.

He opened the door and said “Look, we got a package, Oscar.”

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Packing Up

It’s nice outside, so Tia, of course, wants to go to Hidden Mesa to ride horses. She’s taking Kendall, who protested slightly, but she’s going. The other day Kendall didn’t want to ride and Tia kind of pushed her and afterwards Kendall said “I’m glad you motivated me, Mom, “ so she’s doing it again.

She asked if I’d want to go, and since we’re not going skiing, it’s sunny, warm, about 50F with a light breeze, I thought it might be good to go with her, run, and maybe relax with the Kindle for a bit. Delaney’s also coming with his bike to ride.

So I’ve changed into running clothes, packed an extra shirt to change in to, the Kindle, the Flip camera, the cho-pat strap, my cell phone, and Tia’s new camera. I think we’re set.

Now we just need people.

MVP 2009

I was re-awarded MVP status from Microsoft for 2009. Since I didn’t hear anything to the contrary in the last few days, I thought I was getting it, but you never know.

But I had the email this morning, right before I got a congrats from Allen White :). He’s my roommate for the MVP Summit in March, and he’s in Germany for the holidays visiting his daughter, so he had a head start on me.

A nice way to start 2009.