Sunday, February 28, 2010

Home Repair Day

With only one kid in the house, and not much going on, Tia and I slept in before heading out to breakfast. She almost didn’t want to go since the sun was shining. She kept mentioning that it was a good day to ride, but I managed to get her in the car and we headed to The Egg and I. I don’t think we’d ever been there and it was fantastic. Hot coffee and great food. We might not hit IHOP again.

Then it was off to grab my father-in-law and hit the hardware store. He called us a couple days ago and said that his faucet was leaking, so we had planned to get some parts today. He wanted to fix it, and we were happy to help him get parts. Once again Tia wanted to head home, but we went to Home Depot first and grabbed some plywood, a new faucet, and a few misc parts.

Then we headed back to the house. Tia wanted to ride, and with snow forecast for later, she wanted to go. We also needed to cut the plywood to fit around the bottom of the cabinet. The other particleboard bottom was ruined, so we opened up the garage and fired up the bandsaw to get the wood cut. My father-in-law had measure things, so we notched the corners and cut holes for the pipes. We also had to split the board since the pipes weren’t on an edge. We drilled holes for dowels that would help put it back together later.

Then it was back down to his townhouse. We removed the old bottom and then the drain to try and get the new boards in there. It was some finagling, and we realized that the pipes were angled, so our holes were slightly off. I should have planned for that, but I hadn’t. So I headed back to the house while he removed the old faucet. I grabbed the drill and jigsaw and headed back. I redrilled the bottom and it lined up.

We installed the new faucet, which was surprisingly easy. There were no joints to sweat, just some clips to get the sprayer on, and a few nylon nuts to tighten down. The instructions were just pictures, no words even. I got things hooked up, or really my father-in-law did while I handed him parts. I was glad to not be the one under the sink since my knees were slightly sore. We turned on the water and things seemed to be fine no leaks.

Or we thought. We started to get the bottom in, lining up dowels, and I think we bumped the shutoff valve as it was started to slowly leak water. We managed to tighten it back down without messing up plywood, and I hope that’s all it was. It seemed fine when we watched it for 5 minutes, and then it took us another 10 minutes or so to get the dowels lined up and together.

Overall it went pretty smoothly, with the only issue being we left the hammer under the bottom and had to slip it up to get the hammer out. It doesn’t quite line up as our plywood was slightly thicker, but it looks OK.

$120 or so and a good part of my afternoon to fix it. I’m sure a plumber would have been more, but it was a good project to complete with my father-in-law.

Rocky Mountain Tech Trifecta – Beginning SQL Server

At the Rocky Mountain Tech Trifecta this past weekend in Denver, I presented a talk on “Beginning SQL Server”, a high level look at the product for non-technical people: managers, analysts, project managers, even very new technical people. I’ve heard this requested a few times at SQL Saturday events in 2009, so I put one together, with the idea that I’d explain to people at a very high level what SQL Server is.

And that’s hard.

I had spent quite a few hours over the last 4-5 weeks looking for analogies that would make sense to a laymen for databases. I used Excel, filing cabinets, and a few more ideas, mostly with images, to convey to laymen what a database was, and how SQL Server compared with other databases. There were a couple other local SQL Server pros on hand, I think mostly to support me, and they thought the explanations made sense. I also got quite a few complements from others that were non-technical people. A business analyst, an older gentleman from the VAX/COBOL era, and a couple other people mentioned that this made sense for them in understanding how SQL Server fits in an environment.

However I learned a few things as well.

  1. Lots of people don’t understand what a virtual machine is, and I struggled to explain it. So I need to work on that.
  2. The .NET framework needs to be added to my talk. I had someone struggling to figure out what it is and how it fits with SQL Server.
  3. I need a few more examples of how SQL Server data is used. I tried for some common sites (YouTube, NASDAQ, Amazon), but had a few blank looks.
  4. I need to better explain some differences between Oracle, MySQL, SQL Server, and DB2
  5. I need another analogy for SSIS. I used Import/export,  and Extreme Makeover, but I need something that’s easier for the laymen to get.
  6. I might need to drop Service Broker, or shorten that section. It’s not necessarily that important.
  7. I need a way to explain what a set of data is, and how to manipulate a set of data at a time

Overall it went well, and I’ll be looking to put this on the site, as well as present it at some of the other events I attend. I’m going to try and get it scheduled as an early morning session or a first thing to get people up to speed.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Rocky Mountain Tech Trifecta 2.0 – First Thoughts

It was a good day down in downtown Denver at the Rocky Mountain Tech Trifecta 2.0. I presented a session and moderated another, both of which went well. I have some changes and additions to my “Beginning SQL Server”, but I think it’s close to a great session for non-technical people as an overview.

It was also good to sit and catch up with some friends, and also stop and talk to a few acquaintances that I have seen at other events around town. I had quite a few people also thank me (along with other speakers) for putting on a free day of training. It’s always great to see people benefit and appreciate the efforts of those that volunteer.

After getting up at 5:45 this morning, I’m beat, but I’ll have some notes later on the event.

Friday, February 26, 2010


Image028 Delaney_Tia01








Driving Issues with software

This is an interesting piece, talking about some of the software issues with Toyota and how that might come to be a big problem in the future with cars. As we include more software in cars, we will have more issues, and I am worried.

I recently had an issue where the battery in the Prius died. The car was in our garage, and without power, you can’t

  • open the truck (where the battery is)
  • put the car in neutral

In the garage, jumper cables wouldn’t reach. I had only one option, get a portable jumper battery and use that. $40 later, the Prius was running.

I had a similar issue with an old Honda Odyssey as well when the battery died. However by calling the dealer I learned there was a release switch that allowed the car to move into neutral, where it could be pushed out of the garage and jump started.

As we embed more electronics, the reliability of those components becomes an issue. Already I think the lack of a mechanical way to get the Toyota into neutral is an issue. On top of that, having locks die and be locked without power is a possible safety issue. The door locks can be mechanically opened, but I worry that might change. Not being able to open the truck was an issue for me.

Software is even more scary than some of the drive by wire features. Those can be set in EEPROMs that can’t change. Software, however, yikes! Can you imagine some software update that had bugs in it?

I like more electronics and conveniences in our cars, but it’s getting a little scary as manufacturers look to cut costs and get our the “gee-whiz” features quicker into cars.

A Long Night

I think it’s time to put Kahli down, and it’s sad. The last few nights she has been crying, panting, whining all night long. It wakes us up, and it sucks to listen to her suffer without being able to do anything. Last night Tia gave her extra Rimadyl and I let her outside to walk around and then lay with her a bit, but there wasn’t much she can do.

I love that dog, but hate to see her suffer, and it might be time to let her go.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Ski Thursday

Cold, windy, cloudy, not a great day up at Keystone, but better than sitting at a desk. I thought about delaying until tomorrow, when the weather is supposed to be better, but I was worried it would snow tonight and it wouldn’t be a good drive up tomorrow, even if the mountain is sunny. That and I had scheduled things at work today with a guest editorial so I could leave.

After kids were in school, I packed up and headed out. It wasn’t bad when I got up there, though a little cold. I got to the backside, and here was the view from the South peak when I made it over there.


Shortly after this things got worse. It was cold, it started to snow and blow, and I actually took a short break to get a cup of coffee and unwind. My water tube had leaked a little and frozen over, and I was a little cold. I don’t usually take breaks, but needed one today.

When I went back out, around 12:40, it was snowing hard, and I could only see about 50ft or so. I made my way down, up to the main mountain, and then took a final run down SchoolMarm. It was great, with very few people on the hill, so I could fly down the green. I made it to the car about 1:20 and headed home. A short day, only about 8 runs, but fun, despite the cold.

Got back just in time to pick up Kendall.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Delaney said it was a hard class tonight. With our big boxing gloves, we had a minimal warmup and then it was combinations back and forth all night. The kind of class I like, a good hard workout. I thought it was great, but to be honest, I wasn’t going all out. With sore legs I worked, but focused more on technique than speed and power.

And I was tired. Delaney and I lay in bed from 5-6, working on his essay. My eyes were tired, body tired, and I was tempted to skip it. But if I was skipping, I’d prefer to skip tomorrow and get through it tonight. Wed is usually a better class, and I’m glad we went.

Busy Morning

Tired, struggling to get out of bed, as were the kids this morning. Then rushing everyone to school and getting hay to horses. At least it wasn’t frigid this morning.

A rough start to the day after staying up late to work on my presentation to the Rocky Mountain Tech Trifecta this Saturday. I spent a few hours yesterday and then a few last night finding images and adding notes to the slide. I think it’s about done, but I need to go over it again today.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I’m the Bug

The last 2-3 weeks have been tough. Busy, not enough sleep, stress, it’s been tough. I saw a friend post this on Facebook today.

“Some days you’re the bug and some days you’re the windshield.”

I certainly feel like the bug lately.

Crazy School Times

I got a call from Kendall’s third grade teacher today at lunch. She was asking where Kendall’s science project was. It was a 4 week project due today.

Needless to say I was stunned. Not because Kendall hadn’t worked on it, but because I didn’t realize it was required. The “contract” had some home. I’d read it. Tia had read it. It appeared to be an optional item for the science fair that takes place tonight. So we asked Kendall, she declined, and I didn’t think anything else about it.

Until I got the call. I explained to the teacher that we didn’t know it was required and she argued a bit, but admitted that she hadn’t noticed Kendall didn’t turn in a contract. Apparently some kid turned in 2, so she didn’t realize. She said she’d send home a packet again and we could spend the next couple weeks working on it.

I got the packed this afternoon, read it, and I don’t see where it’s required. The top sheet says

“Please review the attached packet with your child to determine what type of project or investigation he/she would like to do for the 3rd Grade Science Fair”

In my experience, the Science Fair is optional, and I told her teacher that. The attached packet then says

“As part of our EXPLORE units this year, we are excited to give the students an opportunity to participate in our first ever Science Fair” (emphasis mine)

I still don’t see it listed as a required item, and I’ll send a note to the teacher to that effect, but apparently it is required. So now we need to investigate something. I was looking forward to it, so it’s not big deal, but it’s an annoying thing to deal with in this way.

Then to top it off, Delaney has an essay due this week. The last time this was due I was up two nights in a row, late, trying to help him get a writing assignment done. I told him to work on it last night, but he left the instructions at school. So I deferred to today.

He came up to me after school and said he forgot the directions again. With the Kendall project burning my butt a little I told him that he could either find directions from a friend or surrender his XBOX and computer time to me for the next two weeks.

I haven’t seen that kid start using the phone and calling all his friends. He was in a bit of a panic, which somewhat disturbs me that it’s his XBOX that motivates him. In any case, he got directions and he’s working on it now.

Monday, February 22, 2010

9 and 9

It’s 9pm on the clock. I glance over at the weather station on the wall and it shows 9F outside. Kids are in bed and it’s time for chores.

I pull in ski pants, my winter boots, don the ski jacket and grab a knit hat and gloves as I head out the back door. It’s not a bad night, calm, crisp, a dry night as I walk across to the barn.

It’s a peaceful time, and I move around, filling the wagon with hay and getting it out to the horses. The cats get food in the middle as they and the dogs scurry around the barn. It’s doesn’t take much time, but it’s quiet, relaxing time to myself. No thinking required, just a little hard work.

Fifteen minutes later my fingers are getting cold. The single digits are having an effect. I lock the cats in the tack room to stay warm and head back to the house. The dogs wander around, and I stop to look up at the sky, waiting for them at the door.

Not my choice of how to spend a cold winter night, but it’s one I enjoy.

Christmas Holiday

We booked a vacation over the weekend, so I’m marking off the week before Christmas as vacation this year. Hoping not to get caught again with everyone but me taking time off.

I Feel Like a Heel

It’s now 3 events that I’ve canceled in the last 6 months, and a 4 or 5 more that I’ve declined an invitation to, despite having a desire to go. I got a note this morning, reminding me of a presentation tomorrow more, a remote webinar, that is supposed to start at 9am EST.

The problem is that time is 7am MST, which is when I’m sitting at the bus stop with my son, trying to get him to school. Even allowing for a delay, I then have to get my daughter up, and to school by 8, which isn’ t likely to happen if I’m on a presentation. I could get her to the bus at 7:20, but then I’d be starting at 7:30, and that delay kills the schedule for the webinars. Fortunately Brian Knight will step in and do his best. I’m cleaning the deck (it’s built for 75 minutes), and adding some notes now for him.

Most of my cancellations are due to my wife needing to work. Both of us are busy, and successful, and we have some collisions. In this case she’s out of town for the next few days, called out on an emergency, and so I’m stuck. Her job is a little more important than mine, at least to our household, and so I get the short end of the stick for now.

I missed SQL Connections last year and the MVP Summit last week. I’ve also declined a few SQL Saturday’s (Boston, Dallas, Richmond), as well as the Indy Tech Fest because of other commitments. Hopefully I’ll still make Charlotte, Pensacola, and Baton Rouge!

A Good Deal?

I was driving Kendall to school today and we were talking about skiing. We didn’t go yesterday, thinking the weather would be bad when we talked Sat. That and my neck wouldn’t allow it, but it did seem to be something she was interested in.

At breakfast we’d looked at her work from last week and talked about the timed math tests she’s taking. It’s 100 problems (simple subtraction/addition) and 6 minutes or so. She’s gotten better, 71 on the last one we had, but she should be knocking them all out. I don’t know how she did last week after some practice, but something occurred to me on the drive.

I said that I’d take her skiing if she passed the test. As in she could miss a day of school if she passed and just the two of us would go up to Keystone. She seemed excited, so it made sense to me.

We’ll see if it motivates her.

Back to the grind

Up early, the neck feeling better, and kids off to school. With Tia leaving today and maids coming Wed, it’s going to be a grinding week. We have the Mon night routine along with Scouts tomorrow and both kids’ rooms are a mess. I am not looking forward to the next 48 hours. To top it off, it is cold, 15F, this morning and slippery. Had a slow drive to the school. I might need a Ski Thur! (Wed/Fri look better on the forecast now)

I took a long bath with Epsom salts last night and then slept on my back and feel much better today. At least one thing is looking up today.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Silver Medal

Delaney spent the last few days at the Colorado State TSA competition in the Tech Center. He left from school Thursday, rooming in the hotel for two nights with other kids from school. Tia and I went to see him briefly on Friday, but we missed one of his events and couldn’t stay for the other because we needed to get Kendall.

Yesterday I went to pick him up, watching the award ceremony where one of his 3 entries earned him and his teammates a silver medal.


It’s kind of cool, with middle schools and high schools all over Colorado submitting entries in any of about 30 or 40 areas. Delaney did a castle ballistics entry where they built a trebuchet. It didn’t work well enough, but that was his favorite and he has some ideas for next year. He also did a video about being Green, which got them the medal, and entered a model of a possibly energy generator using water and magnets.

It was a cool event, and he looked pretty good. I’m hoping there were some pictures of him in a tie Friday night, and am looking to track down more photos.

No More Kids

Tia fell asleep early last night, and Kendall was right behind her. Both of them laying in our bed. I stayed up to watch some Olympics, and should have moved Kendall, but didn’t.

I regretted it later.

Squished on my side of the bed, I woke up around 2, my neck hurting and stiff, unable to raise my right arm without pain. After tossing and turning the rest of the night, the right shoulder is tight and sore, and the neck hurts. I can’t really stretch out the right arm to pick things up or lift them.

Not a fun day.

And I had plans to fix some things and get some errands done. None of that looking good now. I can still do a little, but I’ll be limited to what Tia can help with and has time for, and what I can do without lifting. I did manage to fold some laundry once Tia carried it upstairs. However it will be a light day, not getting much done. Makes me a little crazy since yesterday was a quiet, relaxing day and I was looking forward to getting a few things done today.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Keynote Speaker!

sqlsat33_transparent Actually it’s not as big a deal as it sounds, but still a little exciting. I was asked to be one of the keynote speakers at SQL Saturday #33 in Charlotte.

My business partner, Andy Warren, and the President of PASS, Rushabh Mehta, were asked to say a few words about SQL Saturday. The topic is the history of SQL Saturday, though I think I’ll add in some SSC stuff as well.

Peeping Tom Principals

I can’t believe this story. School issued laptops with webcams that were remote activated by school officials. They should be sued, and possibly someone terminated. It’s crazy.

I think schools have the right to search lockers. I think they are welcome to require a drug test for attendance if that’s the case. Those are reactive measures, and they can take place on school grounds. However accessing a student’s cell phone or spying on kids off school grounds is over the line.

This digital world is getting strange, and while some people definitely like to share what’s happening in their lives, they shouldn’t be forced to or have it done without their notice. That’s a little weird when any random person could snap a photo of you, but I think when it’s intentional by some organized group, it crosses a legal line.

We definitely won’t be allowing our kids to get laptops from school.

Sleeping In

It felt good to finally sleep in for a day. Up last weekend for various scout events and skiing, then a hard week with Tia gone, I didn’t have anything this morning and got to rest for a long time. Well deserved and needed.s

Friday, February 19, 2010

Fun with Texting

Delaney was concerned about being without a cell phone for his trip. Tia dropped one off for him last night at the desk, but he called me a few times to figure out where it was.

This morning he called to chat, and Tia explained to him how to work the text feature. He’s having fun and we’ve had a few texts back and forth. He’s taking advantage of being in the digital world!

Trudging Through the Snow

Tia’s busy this morning, and I had a little break, so I went out to feed horses. It snowed last night, but not a lot, and while there’s a light covering on the ground, I wore my shoes and was fine.

Unlike last night, when I helped Tia do a late night feeding at 10:30 after Kendall was in bed, today was calm. No snow, no wind, a nice, quiet, winter day in Colorado. Peaceful and a good 10 minute break walking around dropping hay in various places.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Book #21 – Found Money

51klvT9lWOL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA240_SH20_OU01_[1] Another one from James Grippando, who I’ve been reading since Thanksgiving. This one isn’t a Jack Swytek novel, nor is it even taking place in Florida. Found Money is set in Colorado, between Boulder and Piedmont Springs in the South East.

It’s similar to this other novels in that you have 2 main characters alternating their points of view in various chapters. We have a few from other supporting characters as well, but it’s primarily Dr. Ryan Duffy from Piedmont Springs, whose electrician father has just died, and Amy, whose mother committed suicide when she was a little girl, now struggles to get by as a single mom with her own daughter.

As you might guess, it’s about money. A few millions in unexplained money left to Ryan by his father as a result of blackmail, and $200,000 sent to Amy by Ryan’s father. The money was sent anonymously, but Amy tracks down the source and tries to find out if this money is legitimate.

The story twists and turns, as the people try to untangle their pasts, and find out where the money came from. It’s an enjoyable read, but there are places where the characters don’t seem to make sense. Some irrational acts by both characters that just don’t seem to fit with my impressions, but not so crazy that it’s not fun to read. I actually got to the place where I couldn’t put this down as the action picked up speed near the end.

I don’t know that the way the book ends is great. It seems sudden and lacks a big climax, but I still enjoyed this book.

Pushing, but not too hard

I was tired tonight. I’d planned on getting to karate since I have some travel in the next month and I feel like I’ve missed a lot lately. Delaney was gone to his school trip, but Kendall wanted to go and sell Girl Scout cookies. She kept asking from about 4:45 on when we were leaving, so I had it in my mind to go.

But I would have been happy to jus lay around with her and read, watch the Olympics, and chill out tonight. With Tia gone this week, I haven’t slept well, and stayed up too late. I know I shouldn’t, but I struggle unwinding when she’s not around.

However I pushed on. Last night I felt the same way, but that was Delaney’s only day of karate this week with a busy schedule. I try to keep pushing, setting a good example for Delaney, and pushing both of us.

But not too hard. We skip some nights when it’s a rough week or two, trying to find some balance between getting better and stronger, but not overdoing it.

It was a hard class, but it felt good. After about 15 minutes in the class I felt great and was glad that I went.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


I stopped editing at 3:25, jumped in the car, and managed to get to the bus stop just as the bus was arriving. Jimmy, our neighbor, got off, and then the bus started driving away.


Where’s my little girl? The driver stopped next to me and said she wasn’t on the bus. He pulled forward as I got ready to call the school, but then he stopped and said he was calling the school. I parked and he had someone check the school, and then other buses. I couldn’t imagine where Kendall might have gone. She wasn’t around, so I thought maybe one of the Girl Scouts was messing with her and she got on that bus.

My heart was beating a little fast, and I had a touch of panic. She was on the girl scout bus, and so I went to wait for Delaney since we’d burned 10 minutes figuring this out. I called the leader, and sure enough, this was the meeting week. They’d moved it because of Thinking Day this weekend. I wasn’t ready, but someone reminded Kendall.

So we left early to go get her, get Delaney a shirt for his TSA trip, and then karate. Not the night I was expecting, but it worked out. Glad that Kendall was Ok.


It was an easy night at karate, which was good. It’s been a long day and I was tired. We did sticks the whole class, no real warmup, and just lots of drills. It was fun, and no knuckles got hit.

Restoring Pictures

I finally went to the basement today, dug through my CD case, and found an archive of pictures from early on in our digital world. I think our first digital camera came in the 2000-2001 time frame and I’m copying over 3 years of those pictures to the Home Server we have here. My wife will be somewhat pleased with me.

A few interesting ones I found:


A New Year’s eve photo with Tia pregnant with Kendall (2001) and me carrying some sympathy pounds. Actually they’re overweight pounds from having this little kid below and not working out.




The little ones when they were little, and Kyle at his 10th birthday.




Now I need to track down any other years I might be missing.

Back to Massage Envy

I was working my way through the backlog of massages I had at Massage Envy, but I got off track with our vacation. I am trying to get them down to a reasonable level, and then plan to cancel my subscription. I like them, but I could go less often, and it would be nice to lower some bills with Kyle heading to college next year.

Today I decided to get back on track and booked one this morning. I had a new therapist, and she was tough. That or I had more knots in my back then I expected. I let her work through them and endure the pain. I suspect that after karate tonight I’ll be sore.

However she was thinking ahead. She gave me a bottle of some epsom salts and said to try a hot bath. I might do that after the kids go to sleep.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Almost Second Class

This weekend will be a year since Delaney crossed over and started Boy Scouts. We prepped the last week and he’s almost gotten his second class with the last two requirements for him signed off tonight. He just needs his board of review and Scoutmaster’s conference, but those need to be scheduled over the next few meetings.

That’s pretty cool and it gets him on a good pace. Eleven years old, a year in, and he’s two ranks up. He should get his first class later this year, and with 6 or 7 merit badges and a bunch of community service, he’s on a good pace for Eagle. I can easily see him getting his Eagle by 15 years old without too much of a push. Just steady work.

Panic Attack

I had a minor panic attack recently where I was getting ready for bed and all of a sudden thought that I’d forgotten to get the newsletter, or an editorial done. And I didn’t have anything to write about.

Sounds like a bad dream for a writer, and it is. Reminds me of the nightmares I used to have waiting tables where I’d be at work, but constantly falling behind, unable to get people their food or drinks, getting more and more tables, and having complaints coming back constantly. Usually those occurred when I was working lots of hours.

That’s not the case here. I feel busier, and more pressure at times, but the last week hasn’t been overloaded at work. This week has been tough, with family stuff interfering with work during the day, and I’ve been running behind, but not panic’d.

My supply of editorials, however, has been low. There have been two times this year where I went to go shoot a podcast for a couple days away and I realized that I didn’t have any editorials written. Lots of half-written ones, but I had to spend quite a few hours trying to polish something off. Some of them haven’t been as good as I’d like them, and that bothers me.

I used to really worry about running out of things to write about. In seven years I’ve learned that I shouldn’t be worried, and that something will come, but I can’t get overconfident either. I need to work at this on a regular basis.

Something that’s sometimes harder to do than at other times.

Settling Up

A good day for lunch with a former JDE friend. My wife out of town, the house too quiet, a sunny day, and the need to write a bit. The only thing that would have been better for this situation would be less snow on the ground so the Porsche could get out.

I bet before the football season that the Broncos would win 4 or less games. I lost, though I don’t think I was horribly off. Two lucky wins that could have gone the other way and we might have pushed on the bet. Still, happy to pay up and spend a little time catching up with a friend.

Now I’m at Borders, using some free wi-fi, and a little background noise, to work on some writing for work.

A call from the Police

I answered the phone today, a rare occurrence around here when I saw the city of Lakewood was calling. I had a feeling that this was official business, and I was right. When the caller identified himself as an officer looking for Kyle or me, I was a little worried.

Fortunately it was no big deal. Kyle lost his license last week, apparently at a dance at a high school over there and the officer found it. He is leaving it at the police station for Kyle to pick up in the next day or so.

Nice of him to do so, especially as it’s a hassle to replace them.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Presidents’ Day Skiing

Sort of.

We got a late start, so the plan of a full day of family skiing turned into a half day. I woke up early to run, but the kids were tired, so I didn’t push them to get up too early. Eventually they were up, we got horses fed, and headed up to Keystone. Not much traffic had us there at around 11:30.

Our plan was to head up, go to the backside and ski. I reserved a spot for Kendall to tube later, and we were ready to ski down the backside. Only Kendall didn’t want to. She’s nervous, and lacks a little confidence. It’s unwarranted because she skis well, but we typically need to start her on a green. So she and Tia rode the gondola across to the next peak while the boys and I raced down Mozart and caught a lift up to the top of the Outback.

And waited.

We got to the lodge, hoping to find Tia and Kendall, but they weren’t there. We waited about 10-15 minutes with Kyle searching the lodge, before deciding to just go down and try to catch them. I didn’t have service, so we couldn’t communicate. On the way back up, I finally got a text through to Tia, but they were on their way back to the tubing hill. I thought we’d go over there, but then we had the sticky glove.

We got off the lift with a minor panic from Delaney. One of his mittens had gotten caught on the lift and pulled off, heading back down the mountain without him. He was upset, but I gave him my gloves and took his one. He and Kyle headed down the mountain to see if they could get it, and then were supposed to come over to the tubing area. I raced down the mountain to catch a lift up to the tubing hill, putting the single right glove on my (forward) left hand, and then tucking the right one in my jacket.

I got up to the top and found Kendall and Tia. I took Kendall, letting Tia get the chance to ski a little. Kendall got to play in the snow fort a little, and Delaney showed up. I assumed Kyle was coming and told Delaney to watch for Tia or Kyle and ski with them while Kendall tubed. I watched, having been tubing and not thinking it’s great fun. Delaney joined me, deciding not to ski (what’s with this boy?) and we sat there while Kendall went up and down. She seemed to be having fun, but with 10 minutes left she said she’d had enough. I agree. It’s not that great after a couple runs.

We walked back out and found Kyle, who had been in a panic. Evidently when he and Delaney got to the top of Outback earlier, they had different ideas about what to do. Kyle thought they were skiing down to the lift that would bring them back. So he started down, but Delaney walked over and caught the gondola back. So Kyle thought he’d lost Delaney and spent an hour going up and down the backside, and calling the ski patrol, to try and find him. Kyle was annoyed, and I can understand. It’s very stressful when you lose a kid.

We caught Tia, and she went to ski the last run down with the boys. Kendall didn’t want to ski, and was throwing a bit of a fit, and we started to walk to the gondola. Halfway there she changed her mind, so I strapped on her skis and she headed down. I buckled in and had to race to catch her, despite being only about a minute back. We got to the mid station and she was tired of trying to catch them. So we boarded the gondola for the trip down to find Tia and the boys.

Kendall threw another fit at the bottom, saying her boots were killing her and she “couldn’t” walk. She could, and shuffled the few hundred yards to a restaurant where we took a break, ate dinner, had some laughs and relaxed. Kendall needed food, I needed to warm my one hand without a mitten, and everyone wanted to wait there instead of sitting in traffic. When we saw a long backup on I-70 at Georgetown, it was definitely a good idea.

We left around 6:30 and headed back, hitting almost no traffic. A great day, and fun, even though I only got in 3 1/2 runs. I get up there a lot, and I will go back in a week or so, and it’s not that big a deal. It was disapointing that I didn’t get the chance to ski with Tia, but it was good to get everyone up there, but I’m a little disappointed that Delaney and Kendall don’t enjoy it more.

We Don’t have a CD Player

Last night Delaney came in as I was getting Kendall ready for bed and asked if he could have a CD player. Kyle had gotten him a CD for Christmas, and he wanted to listen to it as he went to sleep. I looked around briefly, but realized that we don’t really have one.

We don’t have a CD player, two decades after I got my first one.

Kendall has an old one somewhere, but we couldn’t find it. Tia has an old boom box in the barn, but it might not work. All our computers, or most of them, have CD players, and so I lent him my laptop last night, putting it in his room for bedtime, assuming it would die at some point or go to sleep after he did.

Kind of amazing to me that we don’t have any CD players around anymore.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Good Day

Not the day I expected, with a Scout fundraiser up at Bass Pro Shops, but still a good day. It was cloudy and snowing at 8am when I went running. When I got done at 8:30, they Scouts had canceled the trip, which was a relief. It was cold out there and the thought of standing there for 8 hours was daunting.

Instead it was a quiet day. Ran a couple errands, fixed fence with Tia, watched the kids get pulled on sleds on the ATV, and cooked some food.

The kind of day that is nice after a busy week.

Now for some skiing tomorrow.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Tangled Up In Blue

I hadn’t ever heard this song (not a big Dylan fan) until it came up on Rock Band, but I loved that version. Apart from being challenging, it had a great folksy feel to it. So I finally bought it yesterday and had it on my iPod when I picked up kids from school. It sounds easy enough to play, so I watched a short video on YouTube on how to play it.

Last night I was messing with it and Kendall was in the bath. She called me and asked if I’d come sit and play with her since the music was relaxing. I thought that was pretty cool, so I went in, sat on the sink with the laptop and guitar and practiced. I felt like I was getting the rhythm, so started singing along, and it was great.

Well, not great as in sound. I’m not a good singer, which is being generous. I’m actually a horrible singer, but I enjoyed it, and that’s a great camping song to sign around the fire. I think I had it down pretty good, and that was a nice step towards one of my goals of learning some new songs this year. My goal was 6, which is one every other month, and so I’m on pace.

Now I just need to find a few more folksy songs like that to learn. I have three on my radar, some of which I’d started last year, but never completely learned.

  • If I had $1,000,000 – Barenaked Ladies
  • Beautiful World – Colin Hay
  • In the Sun – Joseph Arthur

I also need to get the bridge on Hey There, Delilah and I wouldn’t mind cleaning up my version of Over the Hills and Far Away.

Turkey Wraps

  • Tortilla
  • Turkey breast
  • lettuce
  • sun dried tomatoes
  • shredded cheese
  • balsamic vinegar

Place the tortilla on a plate. Add cheese, turkey, lettuce, sun dried tomatoes. Heat in microwave for about a minute until cheese melts. Add a little balsamic vinegar and then roll up. Server.

My recipe for lunch today. I’d bought some sun dried tomatoes over the weekend and kept wanting to make something. This was what I came up with for Tia and I today.

In Service Days are Nice

The little kids are off from school today. It’s an in-service day for teachers, and with the Monday holiday, they get a 4 day weekend. Good for them, but today Tia and I still need to work, so it can be hard.

There was one great thing: we got to sleep in.

No kids to get up for the bus, no breakfasts to cook early in the morning. I woke up around 5:00, looked at the clock, and groaned a bit. I was feeling a little sick (nose, throat) and didn’t want to get up. I rolled over and tried desperately to go back to sleep, dreading that alarm going off.

An alarm went off at 7:00, but it was Kyle’s. He had school, and while I woke up, I realized the little kids didn’t have school and I could sleep in. I tossed and turned a little, but managed to sleep until a little after 8:30, and felt much better.

That was the good part of no school. Now I need to figure out how to work with kids making noise.

eReading – Lending Books

I sent this to Barnes and Noble, as well as Random House recently after the much vaunted “lending” technology in the Barnes and Noble e-readers didn’t work as expected for me.

My wife pinged me this morning, asking about the “lending” technology on Barnes and Noble.

I just went to try and lend an e-book to my wife on Barnes and Noble. We typically do a lot of e-reading as it's more convenient for us. I wanted her to try a new author, but don't want to give up my device. However, the novel, in this case Grift Sense from James Swain, wasn't lend-able.

I understand this is a publisher limitation. Please remove this. It's asinine to expect that the capabilities of physical books, i.e. lending, should not be allowed. It's not a copy, I lose the book while it's lent, which is perfectly acceptable. The sharing of books is a great way that I've gotten other people interested in authors, and I’ve gotten interested as well. Letting me share a book I like with a friend, for some reasonable time, is a way to promote reading, not kill your sales. I would also like to be able to "sell" my ebooks, though I think we are a little ways away from that technology.

E-reading for me over the last couple years has had me moving from reading about 50 books a year to more than 70. I now buy my books instead of going to the library as much and that's fine. I'm happy to pay for good content. But stop trying to restrict things. Please make all your titles available as e-books, and make them lend-able.

I like the idea of sharing books, especially when we don’t share accounts. My wife and I had separate accounts on B&N, though we’ve been looking to go to a merged account so that we each can see books the other has read. It’s silly for us to have to re-buy a book within the family.

I think this is one place the the publishers are going to have to let go a little and trust people to do some sharing. Most people I know are comfortable buying books, and they make the investments. Don’t penalize them to prevent e-reading.

I also think that B&N or Amazon could get ahead of the curve here and allow us to “re-sell” our used e-books to others. By putting up a market for people that want to sell their e-books, they could allow us to even buy more books with the money we make.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Out little girl cheer-leading at a high school game. She had the chance to do a one day camp and then cheer at halftime of a game. It's pretty cute. My favorite part:


Dungeons and Dragons on Surface

The geek in my likes this. Dungeons and Dragons on a Surface computer.

I remember a regular group of friends in middle school /high school that I played with. We used paper and dice, building our dungeons and traps by hand. Not sure if I liked being a player or dungeon master more, but there were some great afternoons.

It's a geeky game, and it's gotten more complicated, but I like it. I also remember Wizardry on my Apple II, where I had hours of fun on my own.

Man on a Horse

Funny how people work horses into ads. Check this one out on YouTube from Old Spice.

This isn’t necessarily for me, despite the fact I like Old Spice. I don’t want to “be on a horse” anytime soon.

Suck It Up

I got Delaney up this morning and then started down to make breakfast. I’d noticed an ice pack next to his bed, and remembered he’d hurt his arm last night getting wild with Kendall. I figured things were OK until I started down the stairs and heard

“Dad, I have a problem”

I went back up and he said that he couldn’t move his right arm. It hurt and he cradled it in his lap. He’s a little sensitive and I suspected he was playing it up a little, but we worked it up and down, letting me move it and pressing lightly in various places. No swelling, no bruising, the the lower bicep, inside the arm, was sore. I think he banged it pretty good, bruised it, and then it stiffened from him going to sleep right then.

Not enough to miss school to his dismay, but I went and checked the bathroom cabinet for Tia’s sling. First place I looked, which I think means I’m starting to understand my wife :). We put that on Delaney and got him ready for school.

Be interesting to see if he wears it all day and how much he plays up his injury.

Searching for pictures

I have a job today. My wife came up last night and asked me where all our old pictures were from my old machine. Like 2-3 machines ago. I didn’t respond right away, which immediately got me into trouble. She was worried we’d lost things.

I am worried as well. I had a moment of internal panic while I tried to think of where they might be. I used to run weekly backups, so I think I have a lot of pictures on CD, but I need to dig through some places and see what I can find and then get them onto the new server.

I think I know where they are, and need to dig in today.

Keeping old media is a big deal, especially as we move to the new digital technologies.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Good News

I had a conference call today, starting a short while before Tia was heading to the doctor for a reading of her CAT scans. I didn’t expect to finish early, but we did for some reason and ended about 5 minutes before her appointment. It’s 15-20 minutes down there, but I took off, hoping to catch her, and expecting to since they appointments haven’t gone fast.

I got there just as the surgeon was walking in and talking to her. So I went back and he had better news than we expected. We’d looked at the films and tried to make sense of them. I thought they showed some healing, but not a lot. He said that was right, but it was enough healing to not be concerned. There’s no point in stimulation or surgery as the bones are grafting, but he did say to avoid straining them.

So good news. Things are going OK, just this fracture is slow to heal.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Nuggets Look Good

With the Nuggets in 2nd place in the West (behind the Lakers), playing third place Dallas tonight, I suspected that they might not show up. I heard only 6 or 8 players practiced today, with a number of injuries. We had, I believe, 6 game time probables for tonight. You'd think this would be a game that they might drop, even at home.

However I've watched some of the first half, and while the Mavericks are making mistakes, the Nuggets are playing hard and hitting shots. Ty Lawson looks like a steal from the draft two years ago, and the Nuggets are looking good. They beat the Lakers recently, and despite losing in Utah the other night, they have a winning record against a number of western opponents, including the Lakers. That's impressive, and a place where they haven't always been good in years past.

I still don't think they're the best in the West, but it might be a two team race with the Lakers. They beat the Lakers, with Kobe hurt and Carmelo out. They lost to Phoenix, but I think they can beat Phoenix in a series. San Antonio seems like they aren't a force anymore, losing to the Nuggets last week and then the Lakers without Kobe or Bynum.

It's an interesting year in the NBA. I'm hoping to get to see the Lakers in Charlotte in a few weeks when I'm there. That would be a treat after not getting to a game last year at all, in any of the major sports. I think that was a first for me, missing NBA, MLB, and NFL games. That's after a fairly expensive 2007 with the World Series and 2008 with 5 or 6 games in different places.

One Day I Didn’t Like Snow

My brother called today and we talked briefly. He’s planning on coming out in May to see my oldest graduated, so we chatted about plans for that week. He lives in MD and they got a lot of snow last week, 2 ft according to him, and more coming. Quite a change for him.

We got snow today as well, actually it started Sunday, and I wasn’t thrilled. Don’t get me wrong, I like snow in the mountains, especially new Keystone Mountain. Even down here it’s not too bad, though it can be a hassle to get around, feed horses, etc. Almost slipped last night at karate walking through the parking lot.

Today, I had a different reason for not liking the snow. The boys from CSTechCast had asked me to come down for an interview in Colorado Springs. They offered lunch and are friends, so I agreed to come down last week, having set up a time this morning. The snow, however, made my journey less fun. Not because it was dangerous, or even hard to drive. Lots of snow had melted, though the Prius slipped a bit down there and banged into a curb in a parking lot.

It’s because I couldn’t take the Porsche.


On top of the fact that it doesn’t do well in the snow, with rear wheel drive and too much tourque, but also that it’s not great for the car to be out in the snow and I want it to last. Usually I enjoy the windy, country road on CO-83 as I go to the springs, but with weather I stuck to the highway. A better choice.

I’ll plan another trip down there when it’s warmer with less chance of snow.

Monday, February 8, 2010

New Laptop

Due to arrive from China today. I got a shipping notice of 2nd day shipping from Lenovo last week, but I think they must mean 2 days in the US. The shipping started with arrival at the UPS facility in China, from which it’s slowly made its way across the water to arrive in the US on Saturday.

I’m excited, and looking forward to unboxing this thing and getting a real laptop keyboard back in my hands.

Chilling in the Snow


Deuce wanted someone to throw the ball, so I stepped outside, t-shirt on, and tossed a tennis ball a few times. Snow was lightly falling, but with no humidity and no wind, it wasn’t that bad here in CO.

Khali came out and I snagged a picture with her :)

Book #20 - the Five Greatest Warriors

This is the third in Matthew Reilly's series on Jack West, the Hunstman. The first one, the Seven Deadly Wonders, wasn't well reviewed, but I enjoyed it. I was disappointed by the Six Sacred Stones, which I pre-ordered and got on release day, because it ended with a cliffhanger, really not a complete book in itself. Jack West falling to his doom as the book ends. Just like a two part series on TV, except in this case the second part was over a year in coming.

Still I was glad to finally finish this book. My son recently re-read the first two and then this one, and was waiting for me to finish it so we could talk about it. He enjoyed it immensely and loves the action. This book does a pretty good job of completing the Jack West saga for now, but I was disappointed in that each of the locations where the traps were set seemed to be the same thing over and over. Maybe water instead of lava or tar, but essentially the same thing needed to be done. That alone didn't have the same intrigue as the traps of the first book, which I thought were pretty neat.

That characters are very lightly developed, and you have to watch the timeline as this book jumps back and forth in time at a few points, but not too many. If you enjoyed the first two, you'll probably like this one. However I warn you that these books aren't quite like his other Scarecrow novels. I think those are much more interesting to read.

Half Human

I went to a friend's last night for a Super Bowl party. Kind of small, 4 families, and coming off a cold I wanted to take it easy. I thought I was, because by the end of the game, I felt cold sober, no light-headedness at all. No feeling of a buzz, and I'd switched to water near the end of the third quarter. I think I had 5 or 6 beers, but it could have been a couple more. In any case, I had a nice headache by the time we got some and I fell asleep with it.

I woke up in the middle of the night, no headache, but dehydrated. I drank some water, and  I'd taken aspirin before I went to bed. When the alarm went off to get Delaney up, my head hurt again. More aspirin, some water, made some coffee, but I just felt ill. I had more coffee and water while waiting with Tia for her CAT scan, but just felt out of sorts. I hadn't slept well, after waking up around 2, I tossed and turned all night.

Finally we had brunch at IHOP, a nice greasy omelet and hash browns and I feel better now. Still a little hungover, but better.

I haven't felt like this in a long time. I usually cut myself off early, move to water or soda and take it easy, but apparently not last night. I don't miss this at all and I think this has cured me of having more than a couple beers for the foreseeable future.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Lots of rest

I felt a cold coming on Friday night, throat sore, nose running, and so I took medicine and then slept. I went to bed early, slept in for a bit Sat and then took it easy. Kids to karate/piano and then back to bed. I watched TV, took a nap, got up to run, but basically lay there all afternoon, falling asleep around 8:30 and sleeping most of the night.

I definitely feel much better, though still a little sick. These days when a cold is coming on are hard, makes it hard to think, hard to focus, glad I'm not working today.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Under the Weather

Delaney came down to breakfast, sat down at his plate, and I walked away to get my shoes on and check email. He called me to sign something and I came back a few minutes later and he wasn't eating. He said he had a headache and wasn't feeling good. I had him sip OJ and gave him an aspirin, but the last time this happened he hadn't eaten enough and threw up at school.

So I sent him to bed. We'll see if he goes to school.

A good thing. The Prius must have been left on and the battery was dead today. Surprised there isn't some cutoff after an hour or something. Now I need to jump that thing and drive it a bit.

Deacon Jones

The big Jones from the NFL's past. I used to hope Delaney would play football and want to emulate him. He's on ESPN radio this morning, and I'm listening in, enjoying it. I've heard him interviewed a bunch of times and always enjoyed it.

This is going to be a good game (I hope), on Sunday.

Early Morning

I wake up, walk down the hall, half asleep. Kyle's alarm is going off and I see him getting up. As I get near Delaney's room, I see he's already up and walking into his brother's room. 

Delaney: Kyle, can I talk to you? 

Kyle: sure, what's up? 

Delaney gives him a big hug and walks away.

Good to see the boys getting along. Especially Delaney who would just as soon fart hello as say it.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Stiff, Sore, and Happy

I went to karate tonight for the third night in a row. I gave Delaney the choice to go tonight or tomorrow, hoping that he’d pick tomorrow, but he didn’t. Mass Effect 2 had come out, and he’d saved enough money along with a birthday gift card to go get it. So he wanted to head out early and stop by GameStop.

I was finishing work, feeling tired, eyes aching, and didn’t want to get up, but I told Delaney we’d go early. Not in the mood to cook, we left extra early and got Chipotle for the kids before hitting GameStop. I was hoping we could wait in the car, but it’s a 17+ game, so I had to go in and agree that Delaney could buy it. Nice to see him pulling out his gift card and then counting out the money to pay $60 for the game, which he swears will be “awesome” given how much he enjoyed Mass Effect.

Then it was off to karate. Deep breaths, and a little stretching beforehand got me ready. The warmup was hard, which it always is during a test. The nice thing is that class is about 15 minutes short for those of us not testing. I struggled to get going, but once the sweat started, I felt better. We had a nice pace of drills in the middle of class, no self-defense tonight. Last night I struggled to stand up after going down with sore knees. They don’t bother me when running, but up stairs and getting off the ground is hard right now.

The last 15 minutes I watched people test, glad that I didn’t get picked to help out. I think that I got a break since the sensei knows my legs are sore. People did well, and it was good to see some friends advance.

But I was stiff. I didn’t kneel during testing since the brace on one knee is uncomfortable and the other one will hurt if it’s on the floor. So I stood at attention, watching. When we went to line up at the end, I was surprisingly stiff in the hips and knees. That standing still doesn’t help me.

So now I’m tired, a little sore from 3 days of karate, and definitely stiff. Time to get Delaney to bed, a hot shower, and then try to hit the sack.

New Glove

Baseball is up in the air this year. My team dissolved and I'm trying to figure out what to do. In any case, I've been wanting a first baseman's glove since last year. I could use the larger surface, and I would like to play that position left handed.

So after lunch I stopped by Sports Authority quickly to check on their stock. I've seen some online, but I didn't want to spent $150 on a glove. Seems silly for someone that will play 25 days a year with one. They had a nice, black Rawlings there for $50, so I grabbed it. Made sense, fit well, and I'll be ready for the season with a new team (I hope).

Now I'll be carrying a left handed outfielder's glove, right handed infield (for 2nd base) and a left handed first baseman's mitt. Now if I can just hit a few, I'll be in good shape.

My old team is practicing Sun, so I might go out with them a bit just to get some time in the field.


Not sure how this turned out. I bought some stewing beef and had a dutch oven recipe to make some barbacoa, but it said to simmer things for two hours after cooking it a bit. However the oven got too hot I think and the liquid evaporated. Not to mention it was a real pain, lots of scrubbing, to clean the oven.

When I noticed the liquid gone, I turned off the heat, added a touch of water, and then shredded the beef. Some pieces came apart, some didn't, but I put it in tuperware and I'll try it tomorrow sometime and see.

I think the other recipe worked better in the crock pot, but I might try that method of cooking with this recipe and see if things come out better.

Late, but not too late

I woke up at 6:48 today, way late for the school routine. I hadn't set the alarm last night, and I'm surprised that I actually made it up. I went and woke up Delaney, and he jumped up, grabbing socks, shoes, packing a bag and coming downstairs. Kendall was already up, playing a game on the iMac, so I quickly cooked some eggs in a breakfast burrito, wrapped them up just as Delaney appeared with his planner to sign and assembled some pretzels for a snack. We packed his bag just as his watch alarm went off and made it to the bus.

Back home with Kendall up, she had oatmeal and Kyle came down, already up with a presentation for school. He was dressed up, khakis and a collared shirt, looking pretty snappy. We followed him through the gate and then made the bus, arriving at the stop the same time as the bus.

All by myself, and all three kids to school on time. Yeah!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Am I working too much?

The other night I was tired, a few long days, early mornings with the kids, and slightly wired, but needing to rest. My wife was alseep, so I blogged a bit, watched a little TV, and then turned out the light about 10:30.

I lay there, and for some reason, about 10:50 or so, I woke up. I was pretty sure I hadn’t scheduled a newsletter. It just occurred to me, so I grabbed the laptop next to the bed, fired it up in the dark, my eyes 2” from the keyboard trying to type my crazy 10+ letter password.

I checked, and sure enough it wasn’t scheduled. I did a quick schedule and test, and then went to bed. Strange that I’d catch it that late at night, but glad I did.

Some days it pays to have the laptop next to the bed. I might not have gotten up if I’d have to go downstairs to check that computer.

Stiff, Sore, and Happy

I went to karate tonight for the third night in a row. I gave Delaney the choice to go tonight or tomorrow, hoping that he’d pick tomorrow, but he didn’t. Mass Effect 2 had come out, and he’d saved enough money along with a birthday gift card to go get it. So he wanted to head out early and stop by GameStop.

I was finishing work, feeling tired, eyes aching, and didn’t want to get up, but I told Delaney we’d go early. Not in the mood to cook, we left extra early and got Chipotle for the kids before hitting GameStop. I was hoping we could wait in the car, but it’s a 17+ game, so I had to go in and agree that Delaney could buy it. Nice to see him pulling out his gift card and then counting out the money to pay $60 for the game, which he swears will be “awesome” given how much he enjoyed Mass Effect.

Then it was off to karate. Deep breaths, and a little stretching beforehand got me ready. The warmup was hard, which it always is during a test. The nice thing is that class is about 15 minutes short for those of us not testing. I struggled to get going, but once the sweat started, I felt better. We had a nice pace of drills in the middle of class, no self-defense tonight. Last night I struggled to stand up after going down with sore knees. They don’t bother me when running, but up stairs and getting off the ground is hard right now.

The last 15 minutes I watched people test, glad that I didn’t get picked to help out. I think that I got a break since the sensei knows my legs are sore. People did well, and it was good to see some friends advance.

But I was stiff. I didn’t kneel during testing since the brace on one knee is uncomfortable and the other one will hurt if it’s on the floor. So I stood at attention, watching. When we went to line up at the end, I was surprisingly stiff in the hips and knees. That standing still doesn’t help me.

So now I’m tired, a little sore from 3 days of karate, and definitely stiff. Time to get Delaney to bed, a hot shower, and then try to hit the sack.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Back to Karate

Back to karate after what feels like a long layoff. Between vacation and a busy week last week with kids, I've been once in almost three weeks. I took it easy, but could stretch surprisingly well. More than I have in months, though the brace on the left knee prevented a few things. Overall, however, I felt good.

I did push a little on kata once I was warmed up and  on shodan I, the left knee complained a bit. Had to stop bending so much.

Now if I can just get Delaney back there. He said he felt sick tonight, headache, tired, and so I had him stay home. Just Kendall and I on the town run,.

Book #19 - Beyond Suspician

I think Beyond Suspician was book two of the Jack Swytec series and I enjoyed it again. The book opens with Jack defending a former girlfriend. She was diagnosed with Lou Gerhig's disease, sold her life insurance settlement to investors, but then recovered. The investors then sue, claiming fraud.

Jack wins at the beginning of the book, but then immediately realizes that his former lover was scamming the situation. From there the book gets interesting. The girl is killed and there are two separate things taking place in this book, two stories that weave and intertwine, but are separate. It's full of twists, up until the very end of the book.

I won't give away the plot, but the writing is easy to read, and if you don't worry too much about a few contrived situations that seem to work out, it's a fun one to read.

More Nukes

One of the reasons that I did not vote for President Obama was his stance on our energy issues, specifically the nuclear power issue. He had listed in his positions that he did not support more nuclear power plants, which I think is a mistake. It’s not a litmus test, but one of the many items I think is important.

However he recently asked Congress to pass a bill that included a call for more “clean, nuclear power plants. I think that’s great, and it’s something we need to do.

Having worked in a plant, I appreciate the dangers and issues of waste. However we can, and have, stored waste off for some time at various plants. In addition, I tend to favor above ground, protected, but monitored storage as opposed to putting it under ground and forgetting about it.

I don’t think we should go completely nuclear, but I think that having more plants, maybe even 1 per state or more, would drastically change the amount of fossil fuels we burn.

And support a few more computers :)


I slept in this morning, at least a little. Tia got the kids up, but Khali whined at 8, so that was my alarm clock today.

I’m sure I wasn’t as tired as Delaney. I was up with him until midnight, working on a social studies project that he had procrastinated on. He had done some last week, but apparently not enough. He was supposed to work on it yesterday, and was sitting at Tia’s desk while I was working last night, but when wasn’t anywhere near done. I didn’t realize it as I was working.

So Kendall called me to say she was ready for bed. I went upstairs, wondering what she was doing and found her in PJs and brushed, but Tia was crashed. She’d had a couple late nights and fell asleep around 8:30. So I put Kendall down, came down to check on Delaney, and found him working on Powerpoint, 24 slides done, but he had a bunch more to work on.

He was supposed to plan a trip to two countries and make notes about the countries. He’d done that, but he had left the research about prices, where to stay, eat, and visit, until the end and was struggling. I think he was distracted, but he also doesn’t know how to search very well on the Internet, especially for prices.

So we searched for flights and hostels in Moscow and Berlin, the two places he wants to go. That was easier, though surprisingly not as simple as it sounds when you come to finding food and prices as well as places to go. We had to find historical and modern museums, which was hard. Especially since half our searches turned up lots of stuff in other languages.

Eventually we got it done. I took on the typing, which helped, and had him research a little more. He was sniffling and not feeling good. Tired, struggling with the rewording of information. I kept catching him reading off sentences and would get a little annoyed. Plagiarism is a big deal to me and I had to emphasize that. I think Delaney got it, and we managed to come up with some descriptions of the places. Not great ones, but enough to get the project done at 11:30 on a Sunday night.

I don’t care

I had meant to check what was up with my Toshiba laptop since I was curious. I gave up last week and ordered a Lenovo after they hadn’t updated the status on my machine. But I was wondering if it was coming back, more as curiosity as to what is going on with their service.

I shipped it back last Monday, that’s now 6 business days, and they should have had it for 3. The status on my case number is “closed” and there are no notes. I would call, but I’m busy, and this blog post is about all it’s worth.

Coincidentally, I got a shipment notice today for my Lenovo laptop. I’ll have this one well before the Toshiba is fixed.

Reading in 2009

I saw a blog post from my friend Paul Randal recently in which he recounted the books he’d read in 2009. It’s an impressive list, 100 books, that he compiled in his travels. Paul and his wife, Kimberly, travel a lot, and I think if I were in a similar situation, I’d read 100 books a year as well. However it got me wondering how many I’d read. I’ve tracked them in the past, but since I moved my blog and started using the Kindle and iPhone, I haven’t been doing it. My totals in the past were:

2008 is also wrong as I got the Kindle in September and started to read on there, forgetting to track books since I was busy and reading quicker on there. I went to my Amazon Kindle account and noticed a few books that are missing, so I’ll need to add those back.


This post is about 2009, so in terms of looking over 2009, here’s what I have:

  • 54 ebooks from Amazon
  • 6 ebooks from Barnes and Noble
  • a total of 68 books
  • of the 68, 19 were re-reads
  • 1 classic from the Gutenberg project. I started a second (War and Peace) that has not been completed.

I don’t have the breakdown of books, though they’re mostly fiction. Of the books I read, I think that a few stood out.

The Count of Monte Cristo – I grabbed this, along with a few other Gutenberg project books when I first got the Kindle. I struggled with it, and I have to say the first 100 pages barely held my interest. However I plugged away, and eventually really enjoyed this book. The story is amazing and I was surprised how much was happening in there. I ended up really enjoying it.

The Snowball – I noticed this at the 2007 PASS Summit when Andy Warren and I were walking around the bookstore. He needed books for the ride home, and since I had the kindle I was just keeping him company. I actually made a note and bought this on my way home, starting it then, but finishing it in 2009. I’ve read a lot about Warren Buffet over the years, but this was an amazing look at the guy. Made me realize that not only am I nothing like him, I wouldn’t want to trade places at all.

Grift Sense – Not sure why I picked this up, but it captivated my interest and I read all the books by James Swain. It deals with cons and casinos, and I loved it. Looking for a similar series from someone else.

It's Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy, USS Benfold – This caught my eye in a bookstore and I decided to try it. It’s fantastic, and it shows how someone can really transform a group with good leadership.

The Clone Republic – I got back into Science Fiction in 2007 with Old Man’s War, which I think is one of the best books I’ve read. This series, which I started on an Amazon recommendation was great as well. Not an all time favorite, but really enjoyable.

The full list, as best as I can determine, is:

  1. Hear No Evil, James Grippando
  2. Nine Dragons, Michael Connelly
  3. The Night Monster: A Novel of Suspense, James Swain
  4. The Merchant of Death, D.J. MacHale
  5. Pursuit of Honor: A Novel, Vince Flynn
  6. Long Lost, Harlan Coben
  7. The Lost Symbol, Dan Brown
  8. Sucker Bet, James Swain
  9. Midnight Rambler: A Novel of Suspense, James Swain
  10. Deadman's Bluff: A Novel, James Swain
  11. The Night Stalker: A Novel, James Swain
  12. Dark Watch, Jack Du Brul
  13. Skeleton Coast, Jack Du Brul
  14. The Doomsday Key: A Novel, James Rollins
  15. First Family, David Baldacci
  16. A Plague of Secrets, John Lescroart
  17. Killer Summer (Walt Fleming), Ridley Pearson
  18. Havoc, Jack Du Brul
  19. Finger Lickin' Fifteen (Stephanie Plum Novels), Janet Evanovich
  20. The Scarecrow, Michael Connelly
  21. Bad Luck and Trouble (Jack Reacher, No. 11), Lee Child
  22. Gone Tomorrow: A Reacher Novel, Lee Child
  23. Cemetery Dance, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
  24. Dance of Death, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
  25. Wheel of Darkness, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
  26. Wicked Prey, John Sandford
  27. Private Wars, Greg Rucka
  28. Walking Dead: A Novel of Suspense, Greg Rucka
  29. Patriot Acts, Greg Rucka
  30. Critical Space, Greg Rucka
  31. The Lost Fleet: Relentless, Jack Campbell
  32. Valiant, Jack Campbell
  33. Courageous, Jack Campbell
  34. Fearless, Jack Campbell
  35. Dauntless,  Jack Campbell
  36. Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, Doris Kearns Goodwin
  37. To the Nines (Stephanie Plum, No. 9), Janet Evanovich
  38. Ten Big Ones (Stephanie Plum, No. 10), Janet Evanovich
  39. Helfort's War Book 2: The Battle of the Hammer Worlds, Graham Sharp Paul
  40. The Da Vinci Code: A Novel, Dan Brown
  41. The Clone Alliance, Steven L. Kent
  42. Rogue Clone, Steven L. Kent
  43. Helfort's War Book 1: The Battle at the Moons of Hell, Graham Sharp Paul
  44. Hard Eight (Stephanie Plum, No. 8), Janet Evanovich
  45. Seven Up (Stephanie Plum, No. 7), Janet Evanovich
  46. Hot Six (Stephanie Plum, No. 6), Janet Evanovich
  47. High Five (Stephanie Plum, No. 5), Janet Evanovich
  48. Four to Score (Stephanie Plum, No. 4), Janet Evanovich
  49. Three Plums In One, Janet Evanovich (three books, #s 1, 2, and 3 of this series)
  50. Fleet of Worlds, Edward M. Lerner
  51. The Clone Republic, Steven L. Kent
  52. Boys Will Be Boys, Jeff Pearlman
  53. The Billionaire Who Wasn't: How Chuck Feeney Made and Gave Away a Fortune Without Anyone Knowing, Conor O'Clery
  54. Along Came a Spider, James Patterson
  55. Atomic Lobster, Tim Dorsey
  56. The Bodies Left Behind: A Novel, Jeffery Deaver
  57. Teddy Roosevelt, Edd Winfield Parks
  58. The Clone Elite, Steven L. Kent
  59. It's Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy, USS Benfold, Captain D Abrashoff
  60. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life, Alice Schroeder
  61. Grift Sense (Tony Valentine Series #1), James Swain
  62. Funny Money (Tony Valentine Series #2), James Swain
  63. Deadman's Poker (Tony Valentine Series #6), James Swain
  64. Sacred Stone (Oregon Files Series #2), Clive Cussler
  65. Mr. Lucky (Tony Valentine Series #5), James Swain
  66. The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexander Dumas

I started out 2010 with a vacation after New Years and finished 2 books I’d started in 2009 early, plus re-read 4 more since I didn’t have an Internet connection and it was convenient. As of Jan 25, I’ve got 16 books done, but that’s with a week’s vacation.

It will be interesting to see where 2010 takes me. I’ve started rewriting book reviews on my blog, so I’ll be able to track things.