Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Winding Down

I'm trying to finish up the last few things here at work before taking the weekend off. I scheduled off the next two days and plan on tiling my bathroom. Tia says it's not really time off, but it's a good project, it's mindless (relatively), I've been wanting to do it, and I plan on leaving the computer alone. I might still be tweeting from the iPhone, but no work on SQLServerCentral.

So I've scheduled out the next two newsletters, I'm editing Monday's podcast and uploading that, and will schedule that newsletter tonight. Then I'll be about done for 4 days.

Looking forward to unwinding a bit. Now I need to remember to pick up some more beer tonight :)

Lunch with Kendall

I've been meaning to do this all year. We're 6 or 7 weeks into school and I haven't taken a day to have lunch with Kendall. Last year I went about once a month, and so I've been feeling a little guilty. Today I decided it was a good day.

So after my conference call and a quick run, I showered and headed up to the elementary school to surprise my daughter. I got a big smile, and she sat near me, leaning on my as she ate.

It was a very nice 30 minutes out of my day that I really enjoyed.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Shutdown Day

I had a massage at lunch and I think I dozed off a few times. I had a new therapist, and I was beat. Then I had to go get Delaney from school where he'd volunteered to run the concession stand for a volleyball game and earn some money for his Technology trip next fall. When we got back, I just felt like calling it a day.

So I grabbed a beer from the fridge and sat on the front steps reading a little on the iPhone. Kendall came out and said she was going to ride and would I take some pictures. I didn't have much to do, so I wandered over. Tia was riding Gemini and I got one of her first.

Then Kendall got on and I got her on some of the obstacles.

And I snagged a nice silhouette of her.

Now it's time to relax and take it easy and try to get some sleep.

Barrett .50 Cal

300px-M82A1_afmil Yesterday, just before we left the Scout Jamboree, we got to see a Barrett M82-A1 sniper rifle fired. It was the loudest sound I'd ever heard in my life.

The Scout Jamboree was interesting. We drove out Friday, racing out of here about 4:30, later than I wanted, but we managed to get out. I had Delaney pack most of the stuff, and he helped load the Prius up and we headed to Elizabeth. We had errands to run, and just like at his first campout, there was no dinner Friday night. We ordered a pizza from Cheesie's to go, then hit the bank to deposit checks and Wal-Mart for a couple of things.

We'd lost some things when Delaney had his backpack taken at summer camp. I was also short a few things, so I grabbed a mess kit, ceramic coffee mug, bug spray, and a couple other small things I thought we might need.

Then it was out to Ben Lomond Gun Club east of Kiowa. It was a long drive, 7mi to Kiowa from Elizabeth, then 17mi E and 5 south. There was nothing out there, and I was thinking apart from the mini-mart/gas station in Kiowa, the closest grocery store was about 30mi away. Surprisingly, however, I had a cell signal and data connection out there.

We dropped our stuff off at the campsite for our troop and then I drove back to park. When I got back, Delaney had moved out stuff out to a spot in the grass. We set up the tent together, and then blew up our air mattress. I wasn't sure when last used it, so I was worried it wouldn't work, but it was fine. We were set up and then hung out with the troop. Not much happening, just people hanging out.

I did get to see a Scoutmaster cooking mini-pizzas on pitas and tortillas in the Dutch oven. More and more I think those things are pretty cool. I'd like to get one and make a few things, especially at scout events. Delaney and I weren't much for staying up, especially with a 6am reville. It was getting cold, so we hit the tent around 9 to read. I'd brought the iTouch, so Delaney listened to some music and read while I did the same on the iPhone. I didn't have a connection in the tent, which was only 50ft from the troop trailer and 10-15ft lower. My connection would flake on and off all weekend.


I was a little cold Fri night. I slept with a sweatshirt and hat on most of the night, especially as our plastic storage container was pushing me up to the end of the tent. I couldn't stretch out my legs and had to keep away from the wall of the tent, which had condensation on it. Plus the sleeping bag felt constricting.

I had to pee as well, and after tossing and turning, I got up around 5:50 and pulled on my boots to find the port-a-potty. A couple other Dads were up, but none of them worrying about coffee. I couldn't understand that and was glad I'd brought our camp peculator. I got coffee going while kids and others straggled awake and started cooking. I tend to help cook, and kept coffee going while cooking some things for our lumberjack breakfast.

We ate good, and I felt find by the time we headed off to flags. With a low battery and low signal, I didn't carry my iPhone. Instead I was thinking I could grab the pocket camera from the car. I did, and it took one picture, wrote it to disk over about 45 sec, and then said low battery. I searched through the car and Delaney's backpack, but didn't see any. I thought this would suck as we walked to the first shooting range. However when we got there, the camera had warmed up and was shooting pictures.


Everyone got patches, and the first range for our troop was a .22 range set up for patch shooting. Each kid got to put their patch up as a target at 50ft and then shoot it with a gun. Some kids were better than others, and it seemed the organizers were being generous first thing. They let some kids shoot 3 or 4 times, and even moved the targets closer for a few. I'm not sure if Delaney hit it on the 3rd or 4th shot, but he did, putting a round through the "i" on the edge of the patch.


Next was regular .22 shooting, 15 rounds, and after waiting around quite awhile, our kids moved through the range. Delaney had a good grouping, mostly in the upper right. Since the sights aren't necessarily set, that's not too bad. At least he's consistent. Delaney needs 5 rounds of 5 in a quarter hole, and while he had one group in that space, they weren't necessarily 5 shots in a row, so I'm not sure this would count. He seemed a little disappointed, but not too bad. I was a little worried as we headed to our next group.

After a long walk past camp, where I picked up my phone, we moved to the Shotgun/paintball/.22 range on the other side of camp. It was close to lunch, so the adults hung out and sat in chairs while Delaney walked with scouts and shot paintball guns at targets. After lunch, he wanted to shoot the .22 silhouette range. It has a bunch of metal targets down a hill. I was worried about his confidence, but he had a sitting bench, and he managed to hit 4 or 5 of the ten shots. A few of his targets fell down, and he was excited again when he got done.


I was a little worried about finding time to run, but this was Delaney's day. I figured the worst case was me going around dinner time. He got in line for shotguns, which was a long line. Delaney sat on the ground waiting patiently while we hung out. After about 30 minutes he got in and went to his orientation. The kids learn about what a shotgun is, the styles, how to shoot, the various sizes, etc. for 10 minutes while the group before them shoots. Delaney listened, and I stood outside watching, and learning a few things as well. Guns are neat to shoot, though I'm not a big gun guy. Delaney wanted me to participate with him, but so many kids were waiting I didn't want to slow things down.


After the briefing, the instructor asked if anyone had more questions. Delaney raised his hand and asked about the sniper rifle that was on a table nearby. The instructor told us that was his Barrett 82A1 and he would like to shoot it later. That got Delaney excited.


He got his shotgun, and then went and lined up in his spot. There were 4 kids at a time for each thrower, and the instructor would give them a shell, have them get ready, and let them call "pull" to launch the clay pigeon. This instructor was good, and while I was worried about Delaney having a larger shotgun, he did fine.


The instructor stood behind them, trying to help them aim. After Delaney missed the first three I thought he might be upset, but he then nailed the last two, hitting them cleanly and blowing them apart. I think all our kids nicked at least one, but it was good to have Delaney hit two cleanly. He had a big smile when he left the range.

Next up was muzzle loading rifles.


Delaney had trouble loading the shot, which is hard. You have to jam the ball and wadding down there, and quite a few of the smaller kids struggled. He did think it was cool to load the powder, then the wadding and ball, and shove it down there.


There isn't as much of a kick, but it is load over there. We had ear protection, but I still thought it was loud standing near the range. He got his 3 shots and then declined to move on to throwing tomahawks or archery. We done those on previous scout events, and he doesn't like them.

So we headed to camp, and while he hung out, I went running. I came back to find him playing on the iPhone, not really bonding with these kids. I thin it's a little hard in scouts for him now as most of the kids that he moved up with didn't come on this campout. A few of them have quit, and a few were busy with sports. So lots of older kids out there.

Other people were packing up, so I asked Delaney if he wanted to stay. A few more kids had come with parents on Sat, so there were enough leaders. I didn't really want another cold night in a tent, and let Delaney waver a bit. As we walked to see if the Barrett would be fired, he said he'd like to go home. With a cough persisting over the last couple weeks. I thought it was for the best.

We went to see the Barrett and they guy said it would be a couple hours. So we went to camp, packed up, and loaded the car. I was glad we did it, since darkness came quickly and it would have been more of a hassle then. After loading, we ate and then headed back to the high power range. We got there as the sun was setting, and we weren't sure this would happen. There were also lots of mosquitos there and I was about to call it quits when the guy showed up. He went down the range (600 yds) to check if it was safe, then went to verify permission with the range owners. He left cantaloupes with the kids to go set out at 100, 200, and 300 yards. I could barely see the ones at 200, and couldn't see at 300, so it's amazing to think someone will shoot them.


The guy came back, and set up his gun. He then gave all the kids ear muffs and glasses to be sure they were safe. We had to either be behind him, or way to the side because of the muzzle brake shooting gasses back to the sides at an angle. He got set up and we all backed up. I had my hands pressed tight to my head, back about 25 ft to the side, and heard him barely call "fire in the hole."

Then he shot.

I could not believe how loud it was. My whole body shook, the fillings in my teeth rattled, and even with my hands pressed to my head it was the loudest thing I ever heard. All the kids jumped, and more than a few put their heads down.

The guy fired about 25 rounds over the next 15 minutes, evaporating 3 or the 5 melons down range. He kept missing one that was way to the side about 200 yards down range, and then had to stop when some scouts climbed on the ridge overlooking the range. A scoutmaster came down and was very upset. Personally I think he was out of line, but the instructor handled it well and agreed to stop.

A few of the times he fired I had forgotten to put my hands over my ears and I was actually stunned at how loud the gun was. It felt like a huge bolt of lightning had struck the shelter and exploded. It was a terrifying sound.

Delaney didn't want to leave while he was firing, and he was a little scared. He said he didn't want a gun like that, but he thought it was very cool to see it fired.

After that we walked back to camp, said good-bye, and headed home. Delaney was out pretty quickly, as I knew he would be. The adrenalin from the gun show wiping him out, at the end of a long day. We definitely liked the outing and I hope they do it again next year.

Dragging Myself Up

Tia had a 6:30am conference call today. Last night she told me about 9:30 that she had the call and she’d get Delaney up, but I might need to drive him. Since he normally gets up at 6:15 and then we leave at 6:50, I wasn’t saving much.

I didn’t do myself any favors. Tia fell asleep at 10, I stayed up to 11:40 watching the Dallas game. They struggled to complete drives, looking like the Broncos of the last few years. They managed to run the game, which was exciting to me, but I paid for it when the alarm went off at 6:10 this morning.

I slept in until about 6:30, but then got up, went downstairs, and ended up not needing to take Delaney. Kendall needed a shower, so I got her clean and that woke me up, but I’m still tired and will be struggling tonight. Fortunately we don’t have anything scheduled tonight to do.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Storing the Sun's Energy - Solar Power

I stumbled on this article about a spin-off from MIT using solar power to create hydrogen. I think it's a great idea, one that I'd like to have working in my house, but it's not as simple as having a storage tank and a solar panel.

To me this requires some fundamental changes in how we power devices. Whether it's a car, a generator, or my house, I need an easy way to not only produce the power and store it, in this case using hydrogen, but then easily consume it as well.

In a house that means that I need some power generator that can automatically take me off the grid, or reduce my usage, and use this power in my house. In a car, this means a way to get from this storage mechanism into my car.

I'm all for this idea, and I'd really like to get something like this working. I could envision this as a way to power our barn, or heat water, but automatically burning off the hydrogen to produce power or heat (or both) and then using that in standard appliances.

I envision some 2 tank system, one that is getting filled, and one that's being used. Some type of small controller that determines which is which, manages the load, etc. This could work, but I think it means a re-engineering of how we consume power in a residential situation.

A little off

We went out last night for my birthday dinner, a few weeks late, but that's OK. We've been busy and last night made sense. I chose On the Border, since I love their Mexican food. We arrived, ate chips, ordered, and then had dinner.

However I wasn't that hungry. I picked at fajitas, and just felt drained. It was like every bit of energy I had was disappearing as we ate. I think I actually fell asleep as the kids ate some dessert. I gave the keys to Tia and she let Kyle drive. I was asleep, waking up at home, going right upstairs and then I was asleep quickly.

Not sure what was wrong, and I was better this morning, but still tired. Lots of broken sleep at night, and feeling weird. I'm going to try a run to see if it wakes me up, but it has been a strange 15 or so hours.


I was writing about finding a mentor as an editorial recently, and it occurred to me that this is one of the items I talk about for the Modern Resume. A mentor is a kind of leader, providing counsel, advice, support, and knowledge to someone else. It's about helping someone get where they want to go and using your own experiences and thoughts to do so.

I guess you could be a type of thought leader when you are a mentor. Someone listens to you and considers what you have to say.

What does that have to do with you? I'd say for the most part that noting these experiences, documenting them somehow, and being able to talk about them, shows a skill that many people look for in an employee. You can blog about them, or just be ready to talk about them in an interview, but just as you should have stories about good and bad experiences, you should keep track of times when you've mentored someone.

The synergies from a team of people come from their interactions, their feeding off each other, but also when a person with a strength in some area helps another that's weak in that same area. That's part of what mentoring is.

Keep that in mind as you go through your career. Look to help, or inspire someone else.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Off to Scout Camp

Actually I'm knocking off a little early and Delaney and I are heading out to the Ben Lomond Gun Club, SE of Kiowa, for a weekend of shooting and camping with the Scouts.

As much as I'm not looking forward to camping, it should be fun for Delaney, and I know he wants to shoot some .22s.

No wires, until Sun, so I'm offline.

Everyone's Home

It's a teacher in-service day today for all three kids, in 3 schools, 2 school systems. So they're all at home. Not great since I have a busy day. Need to get a few things done before heading off on a Boy Scout campout this afternoon.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Taking a Break

Delaney stepped out of karate last night because he wasn't feeling well. He started coughing, and I guess the teacher asked him to take a break. He sat on the side, and when I had a break I walked over. He was upset, and I told him not to worry, just relax.

We'd gone to an urgent care just before class, while Kendall was at tutoring. He's had a cough for a couple weeks and we were slightly worried he might have a sinus or ear infection. No fever, no green discharge, but this is how things went over the summer. They said his lungs were clear, he looked OK, and it probably is some low grade viral infection. But they gave us a prescription to try if we wanted, said give it another week.

So we went to class. Other than the cough, Delaney's been fine. He asked if he could stay home today, and I was hesitant. He got a new video game yesterday, and I thought he was feeling a little sorry for himself. He has tomorrow off with a teacher's day, so I was going to send him today, but Tia said give him a break. He's been fighting this for 2 weeks without much of a break, let him rest.

So I agreed and shut off his alarm in the middle of the night. Tia and I had talked about it after he'd gone to bed, and something triggered about 2am. I got up, and shut off the alarm. I heard him coughing at 6:15, and I realized either he woke up, or his watch alarm went off. I got up and told him he should sleep more and rest.

"You rock, Dad"


It's the interaction

This is a great write-up that shows what is important in a phone. It's how you interact with it, not the features, not the specs, it's how you use it.

I tend to agree with that. With both the G1 and the iPhone, the interaction with the device for the most part, has not been on the phone. It's been twitter, web, reading, music, and the smoothness of those two devices is unbeatable.

I hope that more phone manufacturers realize this and they start to build up their networks of apps. The app store with Apple, and integration with a PC to allow me to manage things either on the PC or the phone, it's unbeatable. If I could have read books from Barnes and Noble or Amazon on my G1, I might not have moved to an iPhone, but I couldn't and that mattered.

I'm not sure how big a deal it is for everyone else, but I see more and more people doing things on their phones that aren't involving making calls.

People building SQL Server apps, especially BI apps ought to consider these markets and look to build small applications that ensure a smooth interaction with customers. As much as I like browser apps onthe desktop, they don't work on a cell phone, even one with as large a screen as the iPhone of G1.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Rain and Snow

It's chilly today, and while working in the basement because of the maid, could feel it. When I came back up stairs it was a mix of rain and snow coming down outside.

Makes me think ski season is coming, but the rain makes for a muddy mess around here. I could feel the Prius sliding around as I went to get kids. I just know there will be a lot of mud to wash out of there on Friday when it clears up.

I think I'll be trying to find time to scrape the driveway Friday as well. Or maybe Sunday.


Another emergency trip to the ortho this morning. Not really an emergency, but Kendall said her wire had some out. She got it back in there, but it was still bothering her. So I drove her down, and they replaced some things, moving the springs a bit. It surprised me since she gets them off in two or three weeks.

But she said it felt better, so we'll see.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


I blew out the sprinklers tonight, in a race to get done and off to Scouts. 5:45, I started cooking dinner, wanting to get Delaney fed before we left. I knew that time was short, but I was also worried. We had a freeze warning last night and I regretted not getting it done. Then today got away from me in the afternoon, and before I knew it, it was 5:30.

So after getting kids going, I raced outside, running around to shut off the water first, and then drag the compressor outside, find the parts to hook it to the sprinkler system, then an extension cord to power it, and started it up.

I have a small, 2.5gal compressor, so it strains to clear a line of sprinkler hose. I had Delaney kick on each zone, while I'd blow it out, then close the valve and let the tank build a little pressure before moving to the next zone and cranking it open again.

We got through all 6 zones, and hopefully they're clear enough. I went a little quick, but since it was 39F at 5:30, I thought I shouldn't leave it another night.

Another chore done.

A great start with no coffee

I missed karate last night. Kendall has been arguing a bit with Kyle and wanted someone else to pick her up from piano. Since I'm down there with Delaney, it makes sense for me to grab her. That means I'm:
  • dropping Kendall at tutoring (5:30)
  • dropping Delaney at karate (6:00)
  • picking up Kendall at tutoring (6:30)
  • dropping Kendall off at piano (7:00)
  • picking Delaney up at karate (7:15)
  • picking Kendall up at piano (7:30)
A busy night, and not leaving me time for much else. I also skip the 7:00 karate class since the music store closes at 8 and I can't get there in time to get Kendall otherwise. Hopefully the Ks will start getting along again, but in the meantime that's my Monday schedule.

So my plan was to then to the Tuesday am karate class. It's at 9:30, which is early, and doesn't leave me a lot of time for other stuff. Last week I went and ran before class in town, but with the weather being so bad (cold and rainy today), I decided to hit the treadmill here. I worked for a little over an hour after kids left, and then hit the treadmill at 8:45, 15 minute run, then drive to town and have class.

Since it was an early start, I elected not to brew coffee. Instead I grabbed a bar and a big bottle of water first thing. I figured I'd be going early and didn't need it. I was right!

The run was nice, and then class was hard. It's a small class, a few of the advanced belts from the night classes and then 3 white belts who have kids in night classes. So we have this fairly basic class. If you push yourself, however, you can work up a good sweat.

And I did today. As we finished things off, and I sat on one knee after ab work, I had drops of sweat falling from my chin to my arms every 10 sec. I felt like I'd worked hard, and I felt strong. A good day.

Searching for Data in Images

I tried out Bing’s new visual search after seeing a few people note it on Twitter. I was a little excited to try it, thinking that it might help me to find images for the editorials easier.

It didn’t, and I was disappointed. I thought that this short review in PC Week summed it up. It just doesn’t work well, and the best quote:

Yet after every search trial I always come back to Google, because it works.

I tried typing something in, but that brought me back to the regular search. I clicked “TV Shows”, looking for images from Leverage, but I couldn’t make out detail in the images. Too many to look through, and too slow. I found myself looking up at the search box for the words as I moused over

I’ve given Yahoo and Live chances, and each time they just don’t do a better job. So why should I switch? I haven’t used Bing a lot, but unless it improves on Google significantly, why should I switch?

What I want

I’d use a visual search if it made things easier. What I’d like in visual search is a combination of meta data and breadcrumbs to narrow things down. If I search for “flower”, then give me some options on the side like Amazon does. Let me pick from

  • Media (books, movies, pictures)
  • Red, pink, white, red, or even “more red” or “less red” (or other colors)
  • natural, in stores
  • people

Then let me click those to narrow down the images I want. I can scan images quickly if I’m trying to narrow things down or find some type of image.

If someone could make search for better, I’d try it, but so far Google does the job.

(cross posted to my SQLServerCentral blog)

Monday, September 21, 2009


Our first day of snow for the season. Hurray!

I checked and there's snow at Copper Mountain and a touch at Loveland. Here's Copper:


Loveland has a little less snow today. This is the top of the mountain.


Copper looks good at the top.


Getting excited. I need to mount my bindings and get the snowboard read to go. I'm hoping we're < 40 days from my first day.

Before the Sun

It’s my week to get Delaney up, which means a 6:10 alarm setting. The alarm I’d ordered from Amazon didn’t work with my iPhone, and so I’m on the hunt for a new one. In the meantime I hooked up the old alarm to be sure I got up.

It was a jarring noise this morning that jolted me up. It was even more surprising that the sun wasn’t up. It’s been a week since I got Delaney up, and at that time the sun was still up when I went into his room, but it was still dark today.

Winter is coming. Cold and rainy today.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

More Chores

Not as productive today, but I got a couple things done that have been nagging at me for weeks. After a late start, I headed out to run a few errands. First was Home Depot, getting some plastic parts to work on the sprayer. I tried for some bolts for the other desk unit, but couldn't find any. I did grab a brush attachment for the weed whacker, since the string hasn't worked well with tumbleweeds growing.

I then went to Advance Auto, trying to get new bulbs for the Prius and trim screws. They didn't have either one, so I went a block down to NAPA. The guy there was more helpful and looked up the bulbs. He said it was ridiculous, but they were $15 a pair from Toyota. I declined to get them, though I was tempted. I thought I could order them online for that price and the guy agreed. We then talked about them and I said that my bulb was in the assembly and I couldn't get it out. He looked at his tools for a small grabber, but then tried my other bulb on a magnet. Sure enough, that worked.

He then looked around and found me a sheet metal screw. It was chrome instead of black, but I didn't care. He got a washer and said to just take them. It wasn't worth his writing things up. I'll be going back to NAPA in Parker if I need things.

Then it was back home. I grabbed some small magnets I had, taped them to a wire hanger, and fished around in the rear assembly. Success! I got the bulb out and plugged it back in. I didn't test it, but I'll try tomorrow.

Then I checked my plastic parts and they allowed me to fit the gauge back on the sprayer and assemble things. That done (again, not tested), I went to move the mower back to the driveway. Tia helped me out by getting a rope and then having Gemini pull the mower up the hill while I pushed it. I didn't look at what was wrong since I needed to get other things done.

I change out the string on the weed whacker for the blades, and walked down to test them. They cut through weeds and worked well. I'd have taken them up to the gate and cleared the ditches, but I was wearing shorts and it was looking like rain. So I sprayed weed killer on the lawn and then went running.

Can't work all the time.

A Productive Day

I wasn't sure what to do yesterday. After we got back from the Food Bank, I wasn't sure what to do. So I decided to tackle a few nagging chores around the house. First up was the Prius.

We'd had a bulb loose in the rear taillight. It had come out, and was floating around. So I grabbed a hanger and opened up the connections. Unfortunately it's a sealed container, and I couldn't get in there. About a finger's worth of space and I moved the bulb around with the hanger, but couldn't get ahold of it. With my iPhone playing next to me, I moved the bulb back and forth. Tried to get it close to the hole, and a combination of the wire hanger, needle nose pliers, a screwdriver, nothing could get it out. I'd even pulled off some of the trim work to make more space and get better angles. I think I spent 45 minutes on it before giving up. I have the bulb out from the other side and just need to buy another one.

Next up I needed to clean out the bottom trays that cover the underside of the car. They've been getting full of gravel and the ones on the driver side actually bent down a litle.

These are thin plastic coverings that smooth out the bottom of the car. I guess they are there for better airflow and lower wind resistance. On our car they get full of gravel and then the car doesn't run well. There are holes in the bottom of them, but they don't drain out unless we rinse them well and I didn't realize that until recently.

So I unscrewed the two outer ones which were full of gravel. It had dried to a concrete-like consistency, and so I had to get them off and rinse them out with the hose. Once they were clean and dry, I put them back up. I'd used Tia's wheel lifts to get the car off the ground, and found a few other places that needed to be cleaned out as well. Now I know what to do after each rainstorm, and where to clean out gravel. I started to pull off the inner two panels (the center of the car), but they didn't seem to have much inside.

Another hour gone, and now it was on to the gate. I took my new battery out there, along with the nylon bushings for the arm connectors. All that was replaced in minutes, and the gate should now survive a few cloudy days with a new battery.

Now the riding mower. I'd replaced the starter last week, but it wouldn't start. My plan was to take it in this week, but as I was walking to talk to the guy near our gas station that fixes go karts and stuff, I decided that maybe I should charge the battery.

But first I wanted to see if things were lined up well. I took apart the covers on the engine so I could see the started. It engaged, but wouldn't turn things. With the covers off, I could turn the flywheel with my hand, and the battery was looking like the culprit. I found the charger, lugged it in and a few minutes later the mower started.

Since it was apart, I turned it off and started putting things back together. Fussing with bolts and fitting them back in worked, but then the mower wouldn't start. A little cursing under my breath didn't help, but it did make me feel better. I was about to give up, but decided to check the connections from the charger. They slip under the seat and I thought maybe I getting on and off had loosened one. It hadn't, but as I looked at the charger, I noticed the line was at the bottom. The battery was only a year old, so I checked the connection to the extension cord.

It was loose. I tightened it up, gave it 5 minutes, and things started. I drove to the back door, called for Delaney, and he came out. He's been wanting money, so he grabbed shoes and a hat, and mowed for 30 minutes.

A good day. I got:

  • Prius cleaned out
  • 3 screws and a bulb I need to buy
  • mower working
  • gate fixed

Felt like a nice day.

Fun with Firewalls

We have a couple of boxes at a local Denver co-location facility for the training business, SQL Share. Our firewall died a few weeks ago, and so I called a friend that I've typically used for network stuff. He found us one on eBay for $200 and last night was the time to install it. We'd been trying to coordinate things, and last night worked.

I'd given him the IPs and setup, and some preliminary work had been done yesterday, but there are things that you can't test until you get the real network set up. I should have known things were bad when we arrived and I couldn't get Jordan in at first. The security is tight and I hadn't said "2 people" so we needed to wait and get authorization from the company I rent space from. Once that was done, we got in and needed to get cage nuts into the rack for the firewall.

There's a shelf right above us and we had little space. I managed to use a screwdriver to get the top two nuts in. Then I went to get the last one in and couldn't. So I tried to squeeze it with finger and slipped, cutting below the thumbnail, and starting to bleed a little. While I sucked on it to get the bleeding stopped, Jordan told me I didn't need to mess with it that way and then proceeded to do the same thing.

A nice delay while both of us stopped the bleeding. Then we mounted things, got it plugged in, and started to configure it. Jordan did the work while I stood around, coughing in the extremely dry air of the colo. Fortunately we were in the hot aisle, and not the cold one, but it was still hard.

We had issues getting the firewall to first allow things out, and then to allow things back in. It's a little flaky to work with IOS, and you have to go slow. We kept having issues and things went slow. Our expected 30-60 minutes turned into 120 almost. We finally narrowed it down to the ARP cache in the ISP switches. Once that was done, things looked OK. He drove to Barnes and Noble to check things from the outside while I hit the bank for funds.

We met up, thinks were fine, and called it a night.

Change of Direction

I jumped in the shower after getting things done around the house yesterday. It was just after 4, and I was supposed to meet a friend to work on our cabinet at 5. I was almost done and realized I hadn't run. A debated about a minute trying to decide what to do. I expected to be done pretty quick, but you never know. We had planned on dinner later, but Tia was still outside with horses and I thought she might not get done quick enough. Maybe I could run late.

I decided not to chance it. I jumped out of the shower, dried, off, grabbed shorts and shoes, and hit the treadmill. 15 minutes later I came up, stretched for 5 minutes to cool down, and then raced out the door.

With the way the night went, glad I did. The streak continues.

All Together

I got home late last night with food. Tia called me while I was at the co-lo and said she was feeling sick and could I bring back some food. As I got done, Delaney called, requesting some Olive Garden. It was about five miles in the other direction, but I had been gone so long, I went down there.

As usual they were fairly busy, but the bar was quiet at almost 8, so I ordered, got a Fat Tire for myself and then sat there reading a bit while I waited. I headed home, feeling slightly better, but still coughing and sneezing a bit.

I got home to find both little kids in our bed, watching Jurassic Park with Tia. She wasn't feeling good, and neither was I at this point. I got kids eating, ate myself, and then lat in bed, waiting for the movie to end. It was funny to see Kendall afraid of the movie, and I think I remember Kyle feeling that way when he first saw it.

We finally knocked off, kids going down, and us dropping off, both of us sick. We slept through to 10am, but it was a broken sleep for us. Delaney was also coughing and got Tia up a few times, but I didn't hear him. I was up and down at night, and feeling slow today. I'm ready for a quiet day and not much activity.

We're all worried we have some sinus or ear infection, so we might be heading to the doctor's office this week.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Kendall Riding

It's good to see Kendall back again riding outside. My sister-in-law snagged this picture, and a few more yesterday. Kendall was on Rain, jumping and getting her up on our tires.

A Helpful Girl

Delaney has been volunteering at the Elizabeth Food Bank once a month or so. He went a couple weeks ago with Kyle, both brothers doing good deeds together. Kyle had theater yesterday, so I said I'd take Delaney. I wanted Kendall to go as well, to get an idea of helping others. She's been a little spoiled, and if she was awake I thought it would be good for her.

She was up, so we ate breakfast and headed out. It was a slow day, but we stocked food in the kitchen from the basement, and organized the spare stocks back onto the shelves. Kendall was surprisingly gung-ho, and worked hard, happy to move things around. I think she liked the stacking thing and we got a lot done.

It's good to see her working. I tried to explain it a few times that we are helping people that might not have food, and it's a good thing. Everyone needs help at some point, and I wanted her to remember this. One lady came, and we loaded her up on food. She has cancer, can't work, and 6 kids. I hope Kendall understands the effort she's involved in.

As we were leaving she told me that she was being a good scout and that she felt like she was "helpful." I think she told me this was the most helpful she'd ever been. I hope to take her again.

Friday, September 18, 2009


I drove to the local gas station a couple miles away tonight to get spaghetti sauce and bread. When we returned from our run, I was tired, and hungry, and ready for spaghetti. A couple days ago Tia and I bought a big package of ground beef, intending to make a few things this week and I've been wanting to each night, but didn't. We were busy Tues and Wed, Thur I was sick, and so tonight was the night.

I browned beef, started heating water, buttered a few slices of bread and hit my first obstacle. We were low on bread. Not a huge big deal, but I knew we'd be short some bread. Just a slice per person. Then I got the ground beef in a pot and went to get spaghetti sauce out to add.

No spaghetti sauce.

At this point my plans were in jeopardy. We had some tomatoes and paste, but I wasn't sure I'd make a great sauce in a hurry. I decided to just hit the local store, praying that they carried what I needed.

They did, though I got small jars at $4 apiece, and a loaf of bread, but we were in business. I cooked it up, leaving Tia some ground beef for enchiladas tomorrow, and we had a nice pasta dinner. It hit the spot.

Hidden Mesa

A nice afternoon for Tia and I. She wanted to get Gemini out and so we decided to head out to Hidden Mesa. She was thinking to walk/jog with Gemini, not thinking that he'd be OK to ride. I planned on running, trying to loosen my chest and feel better after a long night last night.

We got there and Gemini was going OK. I walked with them for about a half mile and then she tried to get on him. He wasn't behaving well, so I left them and headed up the trail to the top of Hidden Mesa. My chest was OK, but the legs were really sore. All the stretch kicks had my groin and hamstrings sore, and I knew this run would hurt. However that's a good feeling as well, it reminds me that I've been using my body. I like that feeling.

So I headed up the trail, feeling like I was moving at old man's pace. It was about 1.4 mi to the top of the mesa, and that's about what my Nike + measured. The last bit is a steep hill and I felt every step. Made me think that despite the good shape I'm in, I'd be lucky to get a mile into the Pike's Peak marathon.

I came back down, and then felt my foot a little sore, so I started walking, eventually meeting up with Tia and Gemini. They were jogging in the fields. We walked back and I felt pretty good afterwards. Tired, legs sore, but I felt pretty good.

Now I've showered and am getting ready to cook some spaghetti for the kids.


With 3 classes this week, lots of leg lifts at karate, I am sore. The hamstrings feel like they've been worked a lot more than usual, and I think they have. My warm-up has been abbreviated quite a few times and that means I've been doing the left stretch kicks only on alternating weeks.

Between that and a little fever last night, it was rough night.

I'll persevere, and go for a run today. Tia is taking a horse to ride this afternoon at Hidden Mesa and I'll go along to run and walk with her. She's not sure she'll be able to ride, most likely walk next to the horse, so it will be some nice couple time.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Morning Karate

A few weeks ago my karate studio, 5280 Martial Arts, opened up a Tues/Thur morning class. It was to boost business, and give a few other options. One of the senior students that teaches is free during the day as her kids now are both in school, so she offered to teach it most of the time, with our shihan teaching here and there.

I've been considering it as an alternative for me since getting down to town at night is tough, and there are times Delaney needs a break when I don't. With the need to have the Prius tire checked again, and us thinking to have dinner out, this seemed like a good day to try.

So I grabbed my stuff, including running clothes, and headed down this morning. I arrived about 15 minutes early, and went for a short run around the block. I'd mapped out a 1.1 mile course around a few blocks and ran that. I'd taken a sweatshirt, and a hat down there, but it felt warm when I arrived so I didn't use them.


The run felt good, a nice jog getting me moving. I grabbed my stuff and walked in, finding 2 of the other men from the night classes that have flexible schedules and 3 other women that have kids in classes. The women were new and I was expecting a lot of basics and a light class.

One thing I've learned is that you get out of class what you put into it. We could do an hour of front punches and I could have no sweat, or I could be exhausted. It depends on the level of effort I put into each thing.

I started hard, and regretted it a little. As we went through basics, we did a lot of repetition. Pushing hard means that I was tired when we moved to some self defense. We stopped at about 45 minutes and did some CORE exercises with 6lb balls. Sit ups, tossing a ball around, and then some movement stuff. It didn't seem that hard, but I know that I'll feel some of it tomorrow just because I'm using new muscles. We also finished with some yoga-like exercises, holding a position off the ground for 30s-1min and it was hard. I literally had a small puddle of sweat under me at the end.

A good class, and I think I'll do them at times.

I did start to feel sick later. My chest got tight, and I wish I'd run with a hat on since I'm still fighting this cold.

Just a Sliver

I went back to Tires Plus today, and the manager met me at the counter when I walked in. He knew something was wrong. Sure enough, I told him the tire was still leaking.

So he apologized, pulled it in while I went to Burger King for a Whopper and diet coke. I came back, and a few minutes later he walked up with a tiny sliver of metal. He wasn't sure where it came from, part of a tire that shredded or something else, but it was causing a slow leak.

I got the Prius back, and hopefully that's it. We'll see over the next few days if I need to go back. They've had great customer service, and so I'm not too annoyed. I can understand some mistakes, and it's the friendly, local touch that has me still going there.

Now I just need to clean out the bottom of the Prius. There's a pan that covers the bottom on each side below the front seats and the one on the driver's side is full of mud and dirt. That's going to be a messy job.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Busy Day

And a good workout at karate. Errands at lunch, and work to get a couple podcasts done today. I have a few things to do tomorrow, and that will eat up some time, so it's time for me to unwind with Tia and a little TV. More and more I find myself wanting to just lay down at night and unwind without working.

Genius Bar Rocks

I had an appointment to go to the Genius Bar at the local Apple Store today and have them check out my Nano. I'm glad I went as the "genius" who helped me actually gave me a new Nano, replacing my suspect one with a refurb for free.

Very cool for me, and great customer service.

This after AppleCare declined to do anything, and didn't even tell me anything. There's a disconnect in Apple customer service, possibly on purpose, and it's a little annoying. However the service at the Apple Store I got will ensure I am happy and willing to stick with Apple products. At least some of them. I'll also be heavily considering a Macbook for my next laptop.

This started when my Nano started acting up. It constantly rebooted when I attached it to my PC. So I did a few troubleshooting things online and decided it needed a repair. Actually I didn't do much since almost nothing would work. I'd hoped to reformat it, but that didn't work.

So I scheduled warranty service with Apple. I'd bought this in Jan. and since it was post 6 months, I had to pay a handling charge. $30, which isn't bad, I guess. I could have bought an Apple care support item, but that would have caused me to pay $40 more for 2 years coverage. Debatable if that's worth it. Best Buy wanted even more ($49).

So I paid it, a couple days later a FedEx box arrived. I packed it up, sent it off, and about 3 or 4 days later I got a box back. I opened it, found my iPod with a pre-printed form that gave various scenarios. Actually it gave 3, all of which were bad news. One was liquid damage, so sorry, one was something else, and one was "damage caused by excessive force." Mine was the last one, with a nice little X in the checkbox.

That's it. No other information about what was wrong with my Nano. For all I know they opened the box, put the paper in there and shipped it back. I looked over my Nano, checking for issues. I find no evidence of damage. A few people suggested online I check the connectors, but they look fine. They charge the device, but it won't sync. It plays music, even logs Nike+ stuff. The only thing it doesn't do is sync. Sounds like software to me.

The options on the paper were almost non-existent. A few people suggested contacting the Apple Store, so I did. They said I'd likely have to buy a refurb, but that only the Genius Bar coudl look at it.

And I'd need an appointment.

OK, no biggie, I go to make one online, and they don't have any for 2 days. I make one, and show up today. Every person in the Apple Store has an iPhone, they can check me in, and they Q me up for the next slot. There are like 8 or 10 Genius' people, at 12:30pm on a Wed, helping people. My appt was 12:40 and 12:42 they called me up.

They guy asked me what happened, looked at the paperwork, and then plugged in my Nano. He agreed it was likely software, but said since he couldn't format it, and it sounded like that was the issue, he'd give me a new one.

It took about 20 minutes, mainly him typing and filling out paperwork. They didn't have another green one, but I said no issue, and got a refurb, 8GB blue one to replace my 8GB green one.

Great customer service, the people were nice, and the constant videos on the wall, all showing hints on how to use your iPhone, iMac, Macbook, or iPhone were cool. I learned a few things while I was waiting and want to try them out. I actually did try one thing out.

I also got a hint for my books on CD ripped to iTunes, so I need to try that.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Long Day

Busy at work, discussions with people that needed to be done, some writing, not exactly how I wanted to spend the day.

I did get to go to lunch with Tia, but it's been a rush around that. And we have Scouts tonight.

I am looking forward to turning my head off and going to sleep tonight.

Car Update – Electric plug in survey and algae hybrids

The Prius is having a few issues. I’ve had a slow leak in a tire that required two trips to the tire guy to get fixed. It wasn’t so bad since I had to get an oil change as well. I combined a few trips and things worked out well.

I ran into this survey that said half of US citizens would buy a plug-in electric hybrid, or consider one. That’s interesting to me as a hybrid owner. It’s worked out well for me, but it was more an economic decision for us living in the country, with relatively good weather. We drive a lot, and the 50mpg has helped us.

My last tank of gas, with the kids watching, got us to 482mi, with about 9.3 gallons of has. It averaged out at almost 52mph (51.8), which is pretty cool. Especially as we crossed 50,000 miles this month on the Prius. That’s 50,000 in 25 months, quite a lot of driving! A lot of commuting from the country to kids’ schools and even ski trips. I bet half my trips to the mountains last year were in the Prius. Saving fuel, money, and enjoying myself.

The survey above also surveyed people why they weren’t interested. Almost half (45%) listed that they weren’t sure about the technology. I think that’s interesting because the Prius has been around since 2001. While it has matured, a lot of people don’t trust it. I have a friend, who works for the city of Denver. He heard from a friend that all the Prius’ purchased by the city were being sold because of maintenance. He said that in 3 years they needed to have their batteries replaced as a recommendation from the manufacturer.

Hogwash. I can’t convince him it’s not true, even with my owner’s manual. I think his friend (and likely him) have a thing against the idea for some reason. I have a 2nd gen Prius, 2004-2007 age, and my manual doesn’t say anything like that. I’ve seen lots of people putting 200k miles (reportedly ) on their cars before replacing the hybrid batteries.

There’s also a lot of stink about the batteries being polluting and worse for the environment than a Hummer. I can’t believe it. It seems that some people are just upset for no good reason. Maybe they just want big cars, or more power. The batteries are mostly recyclable, as is most of the car. I know these are figures from Toyota, and might be cooked, An argument from Bad Templeton, and an interesting rebuttal as well in the first comment is worth reading.

I’m not sold that hybrids are the answer for the long term, or that they work for everyone, but they’re not horrible cars that break down all the time either.

There’s a cross country tour, using a hybrid that runs on a renewable fuel made from algae underway now. They’re driving from San Francisco to New York in 10 days, stopping in various cities. They go to Salt Lake City, and Cheyenne, but skip Denver. I would have gone to see it, so I’m a little disappointed.

The idea of using a renewable fuel made from algae is great, but I’m a little skeptical that they aren’t saying how much energy is needed to produce the fuel. Ethanol seems OK, but it isn’t necessarily the most efficient way to produce fuel.

However it’s another area of research, which is good to see. The more things we try, the more likely we are to find a good, renewable alternative.

(cross posted to SQL Musings)

Monday, September 14, 2009

No More Dodgeball

I heard on the radio recently as Alfred Williams and Scott Hastings that there was a report on Real Sports that some school districts were elininating not only dodgeball, but any other form of contact. I found one report of this in the Albuquerque Green Business Examiner.

I know dodgeball can be a little dangerous, and I can agree that we might not want the hard rubber balls I’ve seen used. I don’t think, however, that we should be eliminating the game entirely, or even all types of contact sports.

I put Delaney in football last year, partially because of the contact. I wanted him to get knocked on his butt and experience some hard contact. It’s part of being a kid, and I think it matters in being a man. You ought to understand there’s a roughness involved in life, and you can't be protected from everything.

Sure, some kids might get hurt, but they won't get permanently damaged, and I'm not advocating kids running amok with no supervision. Some adult should be there to try and keep things from getting out of hand, and kids getting overly picked on, but having some contact isn't bad.

I think it's sad that dodgeball, and most contact sports are being removed from schools . Life gets hard, we're not the same, things aren't even or even fair. Learning to deal with that should be a part of growing up.

A Broken Dinner

It was a fitting end to a long, and stressful week last week. The kids didn't want to go out, so fortunately Tia and I could go because of my sister-in-law being around. We headed out to Ted's Montana Grill.

We got there and the waiter mentioned red beans and rice as the soup. I like soup, it was chilly, so I ordered some. A few minutes later the waiter came back and says that they don't have the soup. They ran out of the clam chowder, and said they were making red beans and rice for the Sat soup, but didn't. It was gumbo, so I passed.

A few minutes later he came back to say that they didn't have the creamed spinach I'd ordered either, and that I needed to pick another side. He apologized, and said he'd buy desert. When we finished eating, we ordered desert, stawberry shortcake, which was pictures on a table flyer. Guess who came back to see us a few minutes later?

The waiter. No more shortcake, so we ended up getting a brownie thing, which was good, but not what I wanted.

Not a great way to end the week, but it fit with how things had gone to that point.


My Nano came back from Apple today, and it wasn't repaired. It had a  sheet in with it, with a checkbox next to the "was not repaired due to external force damage."

No other explanation, no other recourse, no note. How cheap and bad is that. At least a clue to what's wrong ought to be provided. I looked it over,  and it doesn't look like  a scratch on it. It's been in a case, hardshell, for almost every minute I've owned it. The connector looks fine, and it connects and is seen in my computer, but it rarely populates a volume and so it doesn't ever sync up.

I use this exclusively for my Nike+ runs, so this is really annoying. I now can choose to either take it to an Apple store and see about a repair for $80 or buy a new one. I'm thinking to take it in tomorrow for a repair and see where that gets me.

Down and Out

Tia said she'd get up with Delaney this week, and it was a nice break for me. I started to feel like a cold was coming on yesterday and was worn out. I fell asleep early, 8-ish last night, and slept fitfully. I heard Tia get up, drifting in and out of sleep, finally getting up around 7:20 when Tia woke me up to get Kendall ready.

Sore throat, tired, this is going to be a long day.

Pain is my Friend

I came home one day to find a box of Lidocaine patches in my bathroom. I had no idea why they were there, so I ignored them. A day or so later my wife asked me if I was going to use them.


I said they weren't mine, and she then mentioned my sister-in-law had dropped them off. They had them for some reason and noticed that I was limping, moving slow, or generally icing some part of my body on a regular basis. So they thought that I might want some relief from the pain.

For the most part I don't, and told them the next day that I appreciated the offer, but I wouldn't use them.

Pain is my friend. While it's not pleasant, it helps me to better understand my body. It often warns me that I'm flirting with injury, or more serious injury. It reminds me that I'm getting older and also lets me know where to focus my training. It tells me what's weak, and what I should be careful of.

And in my running, karate, and baseball, let's me know how hard I can go on a particular day.

I hate taking drugs, and hate masking symptoms. It's easy to hurt yourself more, or create a bigger injury if you hide the pain. Professional atheletes do it all the time, and with career-ending results at times.

Unless the pain interferes with recovery, I tend not to do anything. Even Aleve/Tyleno/etc is something I rarely take unless I'm hurting and might have trouble sleeping.

Pain helps me, and I appreciate it.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Blind Luck

I watched the opening Bronco game today, seeing the Bengals blow a chip shot field goal in the first half. Neither team looked great, but the Bengals looked like they had bad karma. Two long drives that ended with mistakes by the Bengals.

On the Bronco's side, ineptitude. Lots of 3 and outs, and not looking good. They had a nice drive to get a field goal at the half, and then another one later, but with the chance early in the 4th to go up 9-0, Orten takes a sack and they punt. Then Palmer drives them down nicely for a TD, which puts them up with 0:38 left. There was some weirdness because the clock had run down to 0:20, but I think that was after the TD it didn't get stopped.

The next drive, Orten isn't looking great, but throws a long one to Marshall that's batted up, and Stokely catches it, racing down the sideline to score. I applauded him for killing an extra 5 sec when the pursuit broke off by running along the 1 yard line until Bengals got close to force him in. The 2pt conversion was no good, but that was it. They win 12-7 on a poorly played game.

I still think they won't win more than 3 this year, but we'll see.


This morning Kendall brought a few friends into my room for breakfast.

Tiffany and Trixie enjoying breakfast.

She put them on my chest, and then went to get a cucumber. They ate half of one on my chest before I moved them to the bed. They sure are cute.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Cold, cold, cold

I took Delaney to karate and then ran some errands this afternoon. And it started raining and getting colder along the way. When we got home, I went outside to replace a fence post that had broken. It snapped in half, but left jagged vinyl edges, and we were worried about horses getting hurt.

So I changed clothes, into jeans, a sweatshirt, and a beanie, and went down there to dig out the old one. As I dug down, into the hard Colorado clay, it started to rain. That helped loosen the post, but it was a muddy, miserable time when I finished getting the post in. Too messy to drill out the holes for the cables, but it's in.

We got a new horse today, driven up from Austin, to board with Tia for awhile and get a little training. Kind of cool to have someone want to bring a horse to Tia for her to train it. A nice little income enhancement as well, though we need to spend a good portion of that to improve a few things around the property.

I went up and talked with the new boarders a bit and when I came in to cook dinner for the kids, I was cold. Had to take 15 minutes and stand in a hot shower before I felt better and could make some spaghetti.

Friday, September 11, 2009

I like this

Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted. - Albert Einstein

from 37 signals blog.


A horse got loose today, hanging out next to the neighbor's fence, eating grass next to their horses. Delaney and I saw him as we drove away this morning to the bus. Not a huge deal with one loose, since he'll stay next to other horses. They're herd animals and don't want to be alone. Now if two were loose, that's another story. Then they might wander.

When Delaney and I came home last night, we opened the gate, drove through, and headed home. This morning it was open, and I think the battery is about dead. We have had issues a few times lately with it not working at night, but it's fine the next day when it charges in the sun. It's too far away to run electrical wire, 1700+ ft from the house, so we're completely solar, which has challenges.

I added a 2nd battery last year, but I bet the first one is about dead, maybe both of them. That means another repair to take on this weekend, or maybe tonight.

A Moment of Silence

Today is the anniversary of one of the worst attacks in the US, the September 11th attack on the World Trade Center. I wanted to pause my blog to remember the people who lost their lives that day, many of whom were innocent workers in downtown New York City.

I still remember that day visibly. I had family in town, it was the morning after the the Bronco game in Mile High Stadium where Ed McCaffrey broke his leg. I watched that game, went to bed, woke up the next morning and turned on the TV. This was the day that Michael Jordan was going to announce if we was returning to basketball. ESPN, however, was showing the World Trade Center instead of anything else.

My normal routine was to stretch in the morning, watch some TV, and then ride my bike 9 miles to work. I did that and found the entire office glued to a TV in the conference room. I arrived in time to see the second tower get hit by a plane. I still get chills thinking about that, especially as I spent a couple days on the 80th floor in Tower 2 working with a business partner in 2000. My heart went out to the many people I'd met, and talked with over months the previous year.

No work got done, and after watching the towers collapse, we went home with heavy hearts. I had family in town, and my sisters-in-law were terrified of flying home in a few days. They weren't even sure they'd be able to go home.

I don't know exactly what happened, who's to blame, or even how I feel about the events since. But I know many people died that day, too early in their lives, and the pain continues for the many more they left behind.

Take a moment of silence today and remember those people.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

NFL 2009

The NFL is back, opening night with Titans/Steelers on TV.


Short Workout

I was glad for a short workout last night. After doing 3 miles on the gravel, I felt tired. My plan was to take it easy at karate, and I got my wish. We arrived to find power out at our school for some reason. Delaney did the kid's class, which went normally. There was plenty of light coming in, and the big garage door was opened on the side.

However it was getting dim when we started out class at 7. Our instructor decided to just do some jujitsu moves, so we worked on escapes from the ground for 30 minutes, no warmup, and then canceled things.

A nice break for me, giving the body time to heal. Especially after a slight twist while running yesterday.

Five Fingers Running

My wife bought me some Vibram Five Fingers shoes a little over a month ago, and today was the first day I tried running in them. It was interesting.

It has been my plan to try it out, but I was worried about hurting myself. So I waited until I'd finished a year of running, gave my feet a few more days to get stronger, and decided today I'd try. I went on the treadmill, at it's softest setting, and did my 1.3 mile run.

It felt like my first few days wearing these shoes. My feet seemed to be "slapping" the ground hard, and it didn't hurt, but it wasn't super comfortable. I found myself missing the cushion of my running shoes, and while I ran at my normal pace, it wasn't something that felt good.

I could feel my feet sliding a touch and the beginning of a blister on the right pad (ball) near the end of my run. Even when I walked to cool down, I had trouble not slapping the surface of the treadmill.

I have the classic model, which is low cut, and doesn't tightly grab my feet. When I flex, the sides bend out a touch, and it seems that my feet slide a little in them. If I were to get another pair, I think I'd go for the flow model to more tightly fit on my feet. Especially if I were to keep running in them.

I might do some more outside running in the, maybe on the road or on some softer trails. I don't think I'd run on pavement, concrete or asphalt, with these. At least not without much stronger arches.

A Good Denver Sports Night

The Rockies win, Dodgers and Giants lose, the race is getting more interesting. Only 2.5 back, the Rockies could still win the division, and they could even have a winning record on the road. Kind of exciting.

I haven't seen a Rockies game in 2 years, since the World Series. The franchise angered me with their policy of requiring a large package (25 games) to see opening day. And so I haven't been back since.

I think I'm still a little angry, but I've been thinking of going back at some point. I enjoyed the games and sitting in the sun for an afternoon game. We'll see.

It looks like they should make the playoffs, which is kind of exciting. Just two years after going to the World Series, and trading away their big hitter, they could potentially meet him again in the post season. I liked their moves toward building from within, and it looks like it's worked out well for them.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

One Year

I finally made it. A year of running every day, 365 days in a row.

I really didn't think I could do it. At least not at first. I'm not sure when I finally could start to see it as a probability and not a possibility. Maybe when ski season ended, or sometime after 180 days it felt like something I could just do forever.

Through numerous sprains and twists, a season of snowboarding and baseball, karate, a busy year of traveling and vacation, and I managed to run every day. A very cool feeling, though I'll get up tomorrow and do day 366.

Be Careful of Facebook

Even the President thinks so! In his talk yesterday, he warned kids about Facebook, and being careful what they should post. It’s also what I talk about in my branding and blogging talks, be careful what you post.

However it’s not a permanent thing you can’t get over. At least in the US we are likely to give you a second chance if you post something in appropriate.

Each post, however, adds to your reputation. If you have too many things that show you’re not very responsible, it looks bad.

(cross posted to The Modern Resume)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Almost for Delaney. I've been encouraging him to work through a few requirements a week, and last week he got most signed off. The last thing was his fitness assessment and that was done; he just hadn't brought his binder.

So he did tonight, go that signed off, and then had his Scoutmaster conference after the meeting. He was a little nervous, and got quizzed on a number of things, but he got through it and then set up his board of review for next week. If he gets through that, and I expect him to, he'll get his Tenderfoot badge at the next court of honor in November.

Actually I'm hoping he gets his second class as well by then. He's got a lot of it done, just needing to handle a few first aid type requirements and go on one more scout outing. With the rocket launch coming up in a couple weeks and some more volunteer work, I think he'll be up for 2 more merit badges as well as two ranks by Nov. Pretty cool!

There are a few boys that passed their Life rank tonight, and they're 12 years old. Not sure Delaney can get there by then, but he ought to make Star by the time he's 12 or shortly thereafter. We're pacing things, especially with karate. No hurry, but we'll do a few things every month and slowly plug along. I think the keys are to hit the merit badge colleges and large campouts when you can, and then work on a few requirements a month. Doing that will get you most of the way to Eagle in about 4 years.

Tonight was a long meeting, the annual planning meeting, and it was 2 hours as we talked about the plans for the year for the troop and then his patrol, trying to fit things in. I was amazed that there are 2-3 things every month. A bit much for us, but it will give us the chance to choose from what's there and hit 1 or 2 things where we can. - Training Log for way0utwest - Training Log for way0utwest

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Back to Weight Lifting

I made it a point to lift today, after doing it Sun as well. I haven’t lifted since I fell snowboarding in March, trying to let my wrist heal, but it’s good enough now. I noticed a couple weeks ago that I could do a normal push-up instead of needing to use my knuckles, which I’d been doing.

That and Tia said my arms were smaller. I’d lost a little weight, and changed my body shape slightly with the running, but my arms had shrunk, and likely some power hitting, so I decided to start 2-3 times a week working out.

I’m going slow, just 3-5 sets of one exercise to start, but I’ll add in more over the next few months.

Almost Ambidextrous

I can do most things with both hands. I can play baseball with a glove on either hand, and even have done both in a single game. I can catch either way, and throw with both hands, preferring left handed for the outfield and right handed for the infield.

I can even write with both hands, and surprisingly, when I do it right-handed, my handwriting looks kind of like my brother’s penmanship.

However today I found something I couldn’t do with my right hand. I was trying to take apart the ping pong table in the basement to make some space for a new studio. I had been taking a screw off in between each set of weight lifting, and finished one side. So I went to the other side, bent over, and had to use my right arm to loosen the screw.

I couldn’t do it.

Not that I can’t use a screwdriver with my right hand. I do it all the time when the left one is tired, but I couldn’t get the leverage or pressure at that angle to loosen the screw. It surprised me, and if I weren’t trying to get things done, I’d spend a few minutes trying to build that skill.

Maybe tomorrow.


Our little girl used to have lots of constipation problems when she was young, and we’d tried lots of things. Miralax, not over the counter, used to be prescription only, and we had quite a few of those written. She’s been fine for a few years, only getting stuck once in awhile, but this weekend was one of those.

She’s home from school today, and we’re trying to get her to go so she will feel better. She had some medicine last night and we don’t want her to go to school and have an accident.

One more reason it’s nice to work from home.

Question of the Day

What are you going to do that you’ve never done before?

From an iPhone app I got, but it was interesting. I’m not sure what I’ll do new, at least not today. I’ll cross my one year mark running in a couple days, so that’s interesting. I guess I’ll join the running association at that point and get my streak on their site. A new thing for me.

Monday, September 7, 2009

No Free Day

I went with Kendall to Christy Sports to buy a couple Copper Mountain 4 pack ski passes. If we got them today (or the previous 3 days), we'd get a 5th day free. We drove over, but there was a line out the door, and around the corner of the building. I waited for about 15 minutes in line, Kendall standing in the shade before giving up.

So no 5th day for us, but I searched around, trying to plan what to do for the season.

Expense Reporting

I got a $25 app card with my iTouch, and forgot about it. However when we had guests over last night they had a great iPhone game, and Delaney loved it. He asked me to get it, so today when I was looking for a charger, I found the card, entered it, and bought Delaney's game. It's Flight Control, if you care.

Then I realized that I needed an expense application. I really liked the one I had for the G1, which let me take photos of my receipts and email them to myself. I figured "there's an app for that" on the iPhone, and started looking.

Mobile Receipt looks good, and there are a few more. I think I'll try that one after seeing a YouTube video if it in action. Nice to see how it works.

I'll entertain other suggestions, and I've asked for a few on Twitter.

Dinner Party

It started out trying to find a few people to play cards and ended up another dinner party, with 6 other adults and 3 other kids over for tacos and drinks last night. A good time, and I’m glad we did it. Now we need to get it going more often with some other families. As the kids get older, it gets easier all the time, and it’s fun. A nice break from our busy, busy lives.

Lazy morning

Once again, it’s nice that the kids are getting older. Tia and I lay in bed, taking it easy. She read a bit, I watched some Defying Gravity, and we had a quiet morning.  Then Tia was off for horses, and I headed down for coffee, checking the digital world, and taking it easy.

I ‘m t-2, day 363, and I had a nice treadmill run. Now time to calculate ski pass rates and decide what to get. There’s a sale today for 5 days on a 4 pack that I’m thinking to hit.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Trees are Defensive

There was some type of tree that started growing next to the walk-out patio on the east side of the house. I think it was last year. I noticed it, thought it was some weed, and meant to pull it over the winter.

I didn’t.

It grew and grew, and it was a tree of some sort this summer. I wanted to cut it down, but wasn’t looking forward to digging through the leaves, and I still thought it was some weed that might give me an allergic reaction. So I delayed, until yesterday. since I’d fired up the chainsaw, I thought I should try, so Tia went down there with me and we cut it down.

I started killing limbs, giving me space to get close. My plan was to cut it into easy to hall pieces, but Tia said we should tow it out. We had the truck, so I cut it down and we dragged it to the gully and pushed it in.

While doing it, and pulling limbs, we noticed this tree had some serious thorns on it. Some of the larger branches had thorns that were easily 2 inches long! And sharp, needle-like items that hurt. We both got poked a few times and I actually got stabbed once. That drew blood and I bandaged it up, and now it’s fine.

That was some tree. Either 2 or maybe 3 years old, 12+ ft tall, and the base of the trunk was easily 3+ inches across.

Well Built

I have a Ryobi weed whacked that’s 6 or 7 years old. I typically run it out of gas around this time of year and then stick it in the shed until the next year. I then fill it with the gas/oil mix and start it.

I have a chainsaw as well that’s about 4 years old, I bought it to trim a couple trees at our last house, used it over a couple days, and then packed it in it’s case. It’s been in the shed since we moved. I did run it out of gas before putting it away.

I broke out both those devices yesterday for the first time this year. I filled them with gas, and they both started inside of 10 pulls. Now that’s well built!

Chores Report – Mostly Done

I had a list of things that I wanted to get done yesterday: After making the list, I then headed out to get started. Here’s how I did:

  • run – check!
  • fix the mower – Put the starter on, but it didn’t start. Walked away muttering and annoyed. I needed to get things done. 
  • go take a load to Goodwill – Done!
  • cut down a tree at hour condo  - Done!
  • mail packages – I was running late, and Tia was supposed to go on an errand, so I skipped this.
  • come back and fix the sprayer – Started raining before I did this
  • get the weed whacker going. – Check, and I weed whacked a bunch of stuff at the front.
  • get supplies for our party tomorrow. – I skipped this for the same reason I didn’t mail things. I’ll do this today.

So the plan for today?

Coffee – Check!

I need to run, work on the mower, and sprayer, but the supplies for the party are the most important. Mailing will wait until Tues. So I’m thinking to run soon and then go get supplies next. I can come back and play with the stuff around the house and be ready for when people arrive.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

e-Readers - $50?

I don’t think this survey was done well. Most people want an e-reader for $50, according to the survey. That’s the price at which they’d buy one. However I disagree with that. People purchased iPods at $200, and I’m sure some people would do the same for e-readers, but they’d have to include some connectivity. Maybe they ought to work with carriers to piggy back on your phone service and register a device with a cell carrier. Or at least with wi-fi networks.

The power is the platform and the network. They ought to also allow bookstores, like brick-and-mortar BN, Borders, etc. to sell e-books that can be loaded onto your book right there. Some people like paper, some e-readers, but trying to lock things down ensures that the platform can’t grow.

A Lazy Morning

Laying in bed with Tia. I was messing with the iPhone, having put Pandora on it. I tried out a few stations I created while Tia lay next to me, reading Book 5 of the Twilight series on the netbook. It was quiet and relaxing.

This after Delaney and I had gotten up at 7, driven to Parker for a disaster exercise that was last week. We’d gotten the wrong info. No biggie since we were meeting a friend of his and we just picked him up and came back.

So a relaxing hour with Tia, me reading a little and listening to music, playing a few games, just hanging out. Now it’s on to chores. Today my plan is:

  • run
  • fix the mower
  • go take a load to Goodwill
  • cut down a tree at hour condo
  • mail packages
  • come back and fix the sprayer
  • get the weed whacker going.
  • get supplies for our party tomorrow.

Gonna be a busy day.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Amazon Finally Making Good on 1984

They should have done this on day 1 of the issue: offer users a legitimate copy and move their annotations. I’d like to say this didn’t bother me, but it did, and it definitely made me re-think the complete lockdown Amazon has.

It’s also one reason that I like reading on my iPhone. I can get books from Amazon, B&N, and other sources. I hope publishers will wake up and stop fighting for years as music publishers did. I don’t see the iTunes store losing a ton of sales because of the lack of DRM on their product.

If you offer books from multiple stores, in a format that multiple readers can use, you will speed adoption of the product, and possibly spur sales of books.


This is a little silly, IMHO, people worried about our President’s speech being an indoctrination speech for our nation’s children. For those of us in the US, whether you agree with Obama’s policies or not, this is OUR President. He is the leader of our country.

You are welcome to disagree with him publically.

You are welcome to protest his actions.

Be he deserves the respect due the office, and all our citizens, including our children, deserve the right to hear him speak. You can then indoctrinate your children however you want, and disagree with his ideas for the country. I certainly do.

But I support him in office. I will feel free to disagree, but I think that our President is the leader of our country, and deserves the opportunity to address citizens. And I’ll tell my kids where I disagree with him.

I’ll admit I like the man and I think he’s a leader. Despite some bad policies, and some disagreements, I think he presents a great image and acts as a leader.

Grow up, people, and have some tolerance. Have some maturity, and support our President.

Full Circle

Today is day 360 of my running streak, a full circle! It’s been a great time running, and it’s become a habit with me. It’s something I look forward to doing. Today Tia said she’d run with me, so we headed out together. Her pace is a little slower, so she doesn’t want to hold me back, but I’m in cruising mode.  No training.

After finishing baseball, I’m just running to run and enjoy it. No pushing too hard.

A nice jog in the country, past the bus stop, to one of the kid’s friend’s house and back.

Tires Plus

I've used a few tire places in Denver, but Tires Plus in Parker has been one I think I've settled on. I had to stop by today since the front passenger tire in the Prius keeps losing air. It seems like once a week I need to add air to it, and it is getting old.

Last year I bought new tires from them, and so I stopped by today, walked in, and told them my issue. They looked up my account, printed a form off with a $0 estimate, and said they'd look at it shortly. I walked next door, got a drink from Burger King, sat down to check email, and they were calling me back inside of 4 or 5 minutes.

I realize they were slow today, but they gave great service, and even pointed out the coupon I'd get if I took their automated survey. They're friendly, and convenient for me.

Nice to see someone taking pride in their customer service. I notice it more and more, especially as I get worse service in other places. The Discount Tire down the road, which is more visible, is busier, and it seems that I struggle to get a salesperson to help me. They're perpetually understaffed, and I don't think the price difference is much.

From now on I'll stick to Tires Plus.

iPhone on T-Mobile

My data works, things sync up, life is good. When I called T-Mobile last night, there were a couple things they needed to change, and a few things I did. The customer service rep was very happy to help, and when I said I had an iPhone, he didn’t blink. In the past I’ve bought unlocked phones and received less than enthusiastic responses. Apparently not so for the iPhone.

They changed my plan, which was the G1 plan, to their SmartWeb plan. he said it was the same price, so I assumed $24.95 a month. That’s less than the $30 ATT charges.

After that was done, he said it might take 24 hours to provision in the system. He also recommended that I talk to technical support to get settings checked. I was on my iPhone, so he called me back on the landline at the house, and then transferred me.

The tech support person verified my info and than had a few things for me to do on the iPhone. Again, he didn’t miss a beat that this wasn’t a phone that T-Mobile sells. After helping me with settings, and offering a few pieces of advice, I also got an email from him with a list of steps to follow.

  1. From the Main Menu, tap Settings.
  2. Verify that Wi-Fi is set to Off or Disabled -- this will ensure that no wi-fi signals are interfering with your Internet access. To take advantage of local wi-fi at a later time, feel free to go back and turn this setting On; just make sure to turn it Off again when you are done using the wi-fi network.
  3. Tap General Settings, then tap Network.
  4. Turn Data Roaming On -- this will allow your iPhone to locate T-Mobile’s data network.
  5. If you see a setting for 3G, turn it Off -- the iPhone cannot currently connect to T-Mobile’s 3G network, and this setting will interfere with its attempt to connect to our EDGE network for service.
  6. Tap Cellular Data Network (this setting may be labeled EDGE instead).
  7. In the APN field, enter -- this tells T-Mobile which version of our Internet network you want to connect to.
  8. Leave the Username and Password fields blank -- T-Mobile will assign this information based on your SIM card information.
  9. Return to the Main Menu and open Safari to browse the Internet.

It was working when I went to town, and I was pleased with the service. Looking forward to working on the iPhone over the next few weeks.

We have data

The data feature wasn't working on the iPhone at the house, despite showing an Edge connection and the people at T-Mobile having me reset the network settings. However I thought that might be because I'm usually roaming out here with another provider.

So as we drove to down, we tested the feature, and success! We had data roaming, getting a couple web pages to load and the app store. So things are looking good on the iPhone. It's such a neat device, even Tia liked the interface, though she wants a real keyboard.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Syncing Contacts - iPhone

I searched around for a way to sync my various calendar and contacts from my calendar. My PC syncs calendars with Google sync, but it doesn't necessarily grab contacts. So I found this procedure from Google, that adds GMail as an Exchange service to the iPhone. That kind of duplicated my existing calendar, since the iTunes sync grabbed that already. I think now I need to figure out how I want to make this sync in the future.

The cleanup isn't a big deal, and I'll just remove a few things for now. I don't want a circular sync, so I think I need to decide exactly how to do the sync, and it looks like removing the iTunes-> Outlook sync is the first step.

iPhone Apps - Suggested to me

When I tweeted that I had an iPhone, I got more app suggestions than I know what to do with. It seems there truly is an app for everything, or at least one that everyone recommends.

So I decided to create a post to keep track of them. I'll add a few reviews as I check them out. Here's the list of things people sent me:

  • Pandora
  • Shazam
  • Tweetdeck
  • Facebook
  • Geocaching ($10)
  • AroundMe
  • DoodleBuddy
  • GeoTweeter
  • AAA Discounts
  • SportsTap
  • Urbanspoon
  • DrawRace
  • Must Eat Birds
  • Parachute Panic
  • Katamari dAmacy
  • Quordy
  • Trism
  • TwitterFon
  • Tweetie

These are in no particular order, but just as I copied them out of Twitter.

I have on my current iPhone/iTouch:

  • SolFree - Love this
  • Toobz - I play this a lot
  • Kindle App (from Amazon)
  • Barnes & Noble app
  • Flashlight
  • Crazy Penguin
  • Facebook
  • Free hangman
  • Geared - Free
  • Bubble Wrap
  • Unblock Me
  • PacMan Lite
  • Dots Free
  • Weather Bug
  • Sudoku (free)


I purchased an iPhone, 2G, from eBay recently. It was an unlocked, and jailbroken phone, with OS 3.0 on it. Cost about $240, but it's unlocked, and my plan was to use it on T-Mobile with my existing service. I was worried about the ATT service, it costs more, and I don't want a 2 year contract. To top it off, I rarely see 3G service where I live.

So, I got it last night, plugged it in this morning, and it came alive, noting there was no SIM. So I searched around, found a small paper clip and popped the cover. That was after trying:

  • a large paper clip
  • an unbent key ring
  • a picture nail
  • a small screwdriver

None of which fit. A small paper clip is needed, and once I put the SIM in, I unlocked the phone slider. I got a NO SIM message, but almost immediately saw the "No Service" message at the top. A moment of panic, but I let it go while I checked iTunes for the device. It was there, and a minute later I had "T-Mobile" on my phone.

Very cool, and now I just need to move some numbers and other information across. Then I'll give this a go for a few days and see how it works.

Transferring iTunes

My new iPhone arrived last night, but I was too tired to mess with it. And actually I had work to do this morning, so it sat by my bedside until almost 10. However I started getting prepped for it, and did a few things this morning on the old desktop to get prepared.

Here are the steps that I took and then I'll describe some whys due to my setup.

  1. Clean up the iTunes library. Check "Copy Files to iTunes" and "Keep Organized" under the advanced tab of preferences.
  2. Copy the iTunes folder to an external HDD when #1 was done.
  3. Check authorization. I had 5 authorized, a few of which I thought were old, dead computers. So I "deauthorized all". You can do this once a year.
  4. I took the hard drive to my laptop, which had iTunes on it, and a sync to my dead Nano, and copied the iTunes folder from the HDD over top of the iTunes folder on the laptop.
  5. I started up iTunes.

From there the iPhone sync'd up and all my apps, and things were there. My Kindle content wasn't moved, but I signed into the Amazon store and downloaded the books I wanted from my archives.

I noticed that there was no "apps" item in iTunes, so I went to the app store, and picked a free app to download. Once that was done, the other applications appeared in iTunes automatically. I think that it doesn't load them automatically.

I then authorized my account, which allowed me to sync and move over the music and videos, which hadn't been moved in the initial sync.

I also saw my iTouch listed in the iTunes library. I'll connect that shortly and see how it syncs up.