Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day 2010

MemorialDay_aI asked Delaney what he thought of the Memorial Day ceremony as we drove home and he said it was “deep.”

We’ve missed the Scout ceremonies for a few years, always being out of town, but since this was a quiet weekend for us, I decided he should go. We got up, ate, dressed in his class A uniform and headed out the a cemetery  a little easy of Elizabeth.

There was a good turnout, with about 10 or 11 Boy Scouts showing up in full uniform. We also had a couple siblings there with a Cub Scout and a Girl Scout there as well. I wish I could have taken Kendall, but she slept over at a friend’s house last night.

So we got there, mingling around with other Scouts. Delaney hanging out with kids, which is good to see. Nice to have him interacting with other kids. He tends to get stuck with a few friends.

The day was nice, warm, but not too hot, and not too windy. A pleasant change from most days where the wind has been howling pretty good.


When is was time for the ceremony, the kids hiked from the parking area to the main flag and lined up.


There were a few speeches from veterans, one local to the area, and the head of the local American Legion post that is in Elizabeth. They were both good speeches about the beginning of Memorial Day, and how we should remember and praise those soldiers fighting for our country.’


It was interesting since I wasn’t aware of a few things. Like this was called Decoration Day after the Civil War, and wasn’t officially changed to Memorial Day until 1971. I also heard that Arlington was formed from Robert E Lee’s plantation, surrendered during the Civil War.


After the speeches the flag was lowered, then raised as we sang the national anthem before being lowered to half mast again as Taps played. It was moving, and I enjoyed it. We had a short reading from a priest, which included the Lord's Prayer. I haven’t said that in a few years, but it was amazing to me that the words just came back to me. I need to help Delaney learn that as it’s one that is used in Scouts regularly.

Afterwards we got a group picture and headed home. Glad that Delaney got to participate.


A Sore Back

My lower back is a little sore today, tight and tired. Calling it a day early, in bed with a heating pad, trying to do a little work after a couple busy days.

Yesterday I worked on landscaping, cleaning out old mulch from the back of the house, scraping dirt to slope down to the edging, and then refilling it with rocks. Between standing up and sitting down to lay down weed barrier, and then using a shovel to clean out mulch or put down rocks, it was a lot of muscle use that I wasn’t use to. I got the rear done, now need to do the side, but I was beat, so I quit then. I lay down for 30-40 minutes after a shower and then struggled to get up and find food. Everything hurt.

I didn’t sleep great, and felt stiff this morning, but not horrible. I got Delaney to his Memorial Day Scout ceremony, came back thinking to do some chores, but decided instead to go bike riding with the kids. Delaney stayed home, but the rest of us packed up the bikes after I spent a little time trying to adjust things and pumping air, and headed down to the Cherry Creek trail.

My plan was to run for a mile and then grab the bike. Tia and the Ks left, heading up the trail and I jogged after them. Surprisingly my back felt OK as I jogged for 15 minutes, coming back to grab my bike. I started down the trail, thinking I’d catch everyone coming back. I got about a mile down the road before my rear tire went flat.


I then had to walk back, everyone catching me and passing me on the way back. I think that walk, slightly bent over pushing the bike probably didn’t help my back. But I got back, and we had an early dinner at Noodles before heading home.

Tia went to play horses, the kids jumping on the tramp, and I’m lying in bed. I tried some ice, now trying heat, hoping to loosen things up. I’m sure I’ll be fine in a few days, and luckily I’m out of town next weekend so no rocks for a couple weeks.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Manure in my hair, but none in my beer

This has to be a first for me as an achievement. I helped Tia this afternoon with Tina. She felt Tina was ready for someone to sit on her, but Tia was nervous about being up there. This was the horse that tossed her last fall and broke her arm.

So she asked me to hold her while she got up in one stirrup. I didn’t think it would happen as Tina was nervous, and somewhat freaked out by me climbing up on the panels and being taller than her. But we worked through it and eventually I held her while Tia got up on a stirrup and lay her belly across. She even got to put one leg on either side, sitting up there for a few minutes. Then people arrived, and she was done.

So I went running. Windy outside, so a quick one on the treadmill. It was only 4:30, with people coming over at 6:00, so I thought I should do some chores. Windy enough to not spread fertilizer or weed killer, so I attacked the large manure pile by the barn. It’s a nice 8ft in diameter, and we want to spread it to help fertilize the grass as well as prevent flies. Driving the tractor and ATV over there, I’d load the spreader with manure with the tractor and then tow it around the pasture, spreading it out.

As I loaded the spreader the second time, I could see the wind blowing manure all over the place. And I’d left a can of beer on the front of the ATV. When I picked it up, it appeared to be OK, so I finished it off as I drove around the pasture at 4mph. Wind blowing, and despite trying to tow it sideways to the wind, sometimes the wind shifted and I felt manure particles and dirt blowing by me.

I suspect I need a shower now.

Too Much Testosterone

Tia and I were talking about things while running errands, and I mentioned the Delaney was getting tougher. A few of the ladies at karate mentioned that he was getting a little meaner, more like me when they work out in drills. Tia said I could be mean, and that I had too much testosterone.

I'd agree. Last night we started watching Invictus, and we were both tired, a few drinks each for us. Tia fell asleep, but once they started showing the rugby matches, and the scrums, I woke up. Lots of memories for me, pushing against people, tackling, getting tackled, being hit hard. I loved that stuff. I wish I'd had someone push me at a younger age to play football and take more of that.

I definitely like things a little rougher, a little tougher. I'm hoping Delaney develops more of that if he wants to be in the military.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Book #42 – Deception

54972959[1] I haven’t read an Alex Delaware in a long time, but I had some money, and I’ve missed the series, so I grabbed Deception. As usual, someone is dead, but the case is already open when Milo shows up to Alex’ house. He has a video, made by the victim, that tells of sexual harassment at her employer, an exclusive prep school.

Milo, and Alex, are assigned the case, but told to use discretion. The chief of police has a kid at the school banking on Yale, and they don’t want bad press that might affect his application. So they are hampered, which doesn’t sit will with Milo.

Different than some of the others in this series, almost the whole book is Alex tagging along with Milo as they search out the boyfriend, then each of the teacher’s accused, a former student, and more. Delaware does a great job leading the reader along, making you think that each new suspect is likely to have committed the crime.

When the boyfriend shows up dead, we have new suspects to chase, Milo going against orders,  and confronting the chief. It’s a great mystery, and one of the more enjoyable Delaware novels. I might have to pick up a few of the ones I’ve missed in recent years.

Book #41 – Deliver Us From Evil

The latest Balducci, this one continuing the story of Shaw, the unknown, undercover operative that tries to keep the world safe. In Deliver Us From Evil, Shaw is not happy, as usual, finishing an assignment and immediately off on another, this time after a Canadian businessman that deals in young women, but is now looking to get into nuclear arms. He rarely leaves Vancouver, so his vacation in the South of France is a chance to get him.
However we have another group, a vigilante group that seeks out monsters of the world and kills them, in the mix. This group kills a former Nazi at the open, and then is after the Canadian, who is actually a butcher from the former Soviet Union that killed thousands.
The story is interesting, jumping between the Canadian/Soviet’s view, the lady that is point for the vigilantes, and Shaw. Balducci does a good job jumping between the groups, compartmentalizing information between them so the reader sees a lot, but not everything. It’s quite a journey of two groups that suspect each other, but then fail to kill the target. However then they must track him down, and work together.
The book had a lot of reviews that warned of the graphic nature of the book. I was wondering how that fit with Balducci, and I’ll say I don’t think this book is graphic at all. The topics might upset people, and there’s more blood that in most of his other books, but it’s not graphic by any means. It’s well written through the beginning, but near the end seems to drift from the reality that’s set in the book. The ending didn’t seem to fit with the beginning to me.
However, still a good thriller to read.

New Tires

We’ve had a tire on the Prius with a slow leak for a week. Every other day or so I’ve needed to fill it with air as it will run down to the ground in about 36 hours. I went by the other day to get it fixed, but they were busy, so I came back today after it ran down at Dave & Busters last night.

I dropped it off, walked over to get lunch, and then came back, sitting down to work a bit when the manager came over. She explained to me that the back tires were at 2mm or less, not repairable. They’d worn out and the fronts weren’t far behind.

Worn out, about 25-30k miles after they went on. That is disappointing. They were Yokohamas, and the manager said they were a bad choice. There wasn’t much left, but the manager gave me some warranty back on them, knocking off $38 off each new $95 tire. so about $160 savings, which was good. Nice to see some customer service. I don’t know if that was better than if I’d gotten them on sale, but it was nice to have them talking to me and trying to make me feel better about an unexpected expense.

I thought they were low when I was filling the tires, and I’m not thrilled with the Yokohamas. I got new Bridgestone tires today for $400 and they are supposed to last 50k miles. We’ll see.


We finally made it. Our plan was to take Kendall sometime this week, and she’d been asking nearly every day. We didn’t go with the cousins since we ended up hanging at the house Sat night, and finally we went last night.

28539_1455842684951_1499853552_1155217_1569218_n[1] We ate on the way, so we walked in, charged $100 on cards and started playing. Tia and Delaney were immediately in zombie shooting mode. Kyle watched them and Kendall and I headed to look for horses.

She always likes a horse racing game where you roll the balls up and depending on which hole it drops through, your mechanical horse moves. We played a few games, me winning both and getting us some tickets.

Then it was off to horse racing game two. A virtual horse racing game where you birth and take care of a horse, racing it on the circuit and watching it grow up. She had left her horse card at home, the one she’s used over the last year the few times we’ve gone to D&B, so she had to birth a new horse. She chose the parents and we had “Cutie”, who we ran through a few races. Fortunately I had a beer with me since the game moves slow.

Then we headed over to some of the ticket games. I know what people playing slot machines feel like as we played one that’s like roulette, where you guess where the ball will land, and then one where you drop in coins on a moving stack and try to get them to fall off the edge. We’re pretty good at the latter, and we both ended up with hundreds of tickets while playing.

I managed to escape the game eventually once our cup was overflowing with tickets. We headed over to another zombie game next to Tia and Delaney where I started playing, and Delaney joined in. We managed to get a good way into the game with our shotguns blasting before we were killed by a boss and ran out of credits.

We found Tia engrossed in Tokyo Cop, chasing down the bad guys and having a great time while Kendall and Kyle raced snowmobiles next to them. We went to trade in our tickets and found that with our efforts last year and last night, we had 3850 tickets. Kendall found that horse above, which is nearly as large as her, and wanted it, but it was 3,999. Kyle gave us about 100, but we were around 50 short, so Kendall and I headed right back to our coin game, slipping in some tokens and getting a few hundred more tickets in a few minutes. Kendall got her horse, was thrilled, and we have 350 left for Delaney to spend next time we go.

A good family night.

Buzzer Beater

We went to Dave and Busters last night to celebrate Kendall’s birthday. This time she stayed awake and we played games. However I managed to catch a few minutes of the Lakers/Suns game and thought that the Lakers had it well in hand.

Then I saw the Suns tie it with 3.5s left. I was sure overtime was coming, and walked away with Delaney, looking for the family. We walked by another TV a few minutes later, just in time to see the buzzer beater by Artest. Amazing, and lucky for the Lakers. The way the game turned, or must have turned, didn’t bode well for them in OT.

Quite a series, and the Suns are proving that they’re a good team. Definitely worthy of being in the conference finals, though I don’t think they’ll run the series. I did think Kobe got fouled, but I’m glad the officials let them play. You hate to decide the game with a foul in that situation.

Now if the Magic can just win tonight.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The NBA Playoffs

Things keep changing around, and while I haven’t watched all the games, I’ve watched good slices of many of them. Cleveland falling apart against Boston was amazing, but just as amazing was Boston playing so hard. It shouldn’t have been. Garnett, Allen, they are tough fighters, and Davis/Perkins are good players that will give the Lakers trouble.

I’m not Celtics fan, and I think that apart from the Lakers or Nuggets winning, I like seeing the Celtics lose next. However I respect their play, and I was a fan of Allen and Garnett before they went there. I do agree with many analysts, however, that Perkins technical foul last night was a bad call. As much as I’d like him not to play and have Orlando make it a 7 game series, that was a bad call.

And that’s a problem in the NBA. Officiating is poor, and very inconsistent. They need to better manage the officials calling the game correctly rather than favoring stars.

I don’t know what will happen there, but it’s nice to see a good series there.

On the other side, I thought the Lakers would run through Phoenix, but they haven’t. They’re not attacking the basket, which is surprising with 3 bigs in there. They’re not playing enough in and out, and they’re doing too much dribbling the ball and setting up a post play or an outside shot.

I’ll give great credit to Phoenix, however, they really showed up for games 3 and 4. They played well, and they deserved to win, playing lots of defense and forcing outside shots from the Lakers.  Looking forward to seeing what happens there.

No More Navy Little League

I started playing T-ball on the Navy fields on Hampton Blvd, in Norfolk, VA, back in the 70s. Probably 74 or 75, and I loved playing there. I had a good coach, a great team, and I was an all-star catcher for the team. I got pulled up to the minor league team at the end of the year, and was semi-crushed. It wasn’t as much an honor as it was taking me away from my team. I still remember seeing balls thrown at me and being terrified, but I did manage to hit one.

Kids won’t do that any longer as the Navy is kicking out the Little Leaguers from the fields. Apparently this is a possible crash zone for the airfield down the road, and there is some concern. Since the field and the airfield have been there for years, I’m not sure what the problem is now. There’s also the case that a major road crosses near there and I don’t see anyone asking the road to move.

If there were an accident, I’m sure people might be looking to sue the Navy, so maybe it’s not a horrible idea, but it’s sad that kids won’t get to play there. I remember those fields, near a few ponds, and they are a great place to play.

Hopefully Norfolk will come up with some other fields, maybe even use some at the local college and keep kids playing baseball.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


I had another massage today, and the shoulder is better again. Whatever I did between the last massage and this one obviously made it worse, and I suspect it’s a combination of lifting, carrying, throwing a ball, and swinging a bat.

It’s muscular in nature, so I need some rest, some ice, and limited activity. Hard for someone that wants to keep going every day.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Cold and Windy

Not cold, cold, like winter cold, but I noticed that my feet were cold today while working in the office. I went to check the temperature and it was < 60 on the outside thermometer.

Chilly to me, and I needed to get some shoes on.

And then there's the wind. It feels like it's been windy for months. It certainly has been very windy the last week, over 20mph, which is blowing pretty good. I've run inside a lot lately, despite warm temperatures, just because of the wind. I can't wait for the calm, hot summer weather.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Kendall and Rain

Working in the wind, uploaded over at Facebook:

Kendall and Rain

Another Butt Kicking

We lost again yesterday at baseball, and I made the comment to someone that I didn’t remember the last time I’d won a game. It was sometime last year, early last year, before we went on some type of long term losing streak. Actually, I’m not sure the last time we had a 1-2-3 inning.

However it’s still fun for me. I’m enjoying the games for the most part, getting the chance to field some balls and get some hits. Yesterday was no exception, with me trying out a new position for me. They asked me to play third, with our normal third baseman out. My right shoulder was sore, but I’d already given up my left handed glove to our new pitcher, so I was semi-committed to playing right handed. I thought I might be in the outfield and would use my first baseman’s mitt out there, but I didn’t want to run.

So I played third, and had a good game. I made loopy, easy, warm up throws to first, and that wasn’t too bad. I fielded two balls, but I made plays at second, actually making good throws over there for outs. One time I led the second baseman the wrong way, so he couldn’t make the double play, but that was my first throw. I was all set for another one, with a hard hit coming down the line, I moved in front, was ready to play the bounce when it hit the dirt and bounced up about 15 ft in the air. It was stunning. Needless to say I didn’t make a play. I did get a throw on a hit to left and got the guy out on a first to third runner, but I think they guy was safe and the ump was just giving us a play.

At the plate I had another great day. 3-3, with a hard double to right center, a high fly to right that they guy never saw, and a hard hit to first that the first baseman knocked down, but couldn’t get to it and I made it to first. That stunk since I was looking for the looping curve and didn’t get enough of it.

However the game was embarrassing. Our “new” pitcher, a lefty, walked 4 or 5 people in the first inning, bounced a few balls to the plate, threw 5 or 6 behind the batter, and we were down an easy 5 or 6 in the first inning. The second wasn’t any better, and I’m not sure how far we were down, but the game was running slow. We used another pitcher, but in the 6th his arm was hurting and he couldn’t get balls to the plate. So we moved the manager in, and lobbed a couple up there, and then the umpire threw him off the mound. The ump said he couldn’t let our manager hurt himself and if we didn’t have a pitcher, we would forfeit. Never seen a pitcher tossed off the mound.

So our shortstop threw and got us two outs. However after a hit to center, two and a half hours into the game, the ump called the inning. He gave us the third out and called the top half of the inning, giving us a chance to hit in the bottom.

And in typical Skysox tradition, with us down well over ten runs, we managed to rally and score 3 or 4 meaningless runs. The first two guys hit, I got up a couple batters later with an out and hit, and the guy behind me moved me to third, giving us 3 runs before they closed us down and put us out of misery.

I had fun, but I know there are people that aren’t enjoying this. Some thrown gloves, bats, and helmets during the game. The walks are frustrating, and that’s the part I hate. I don’t mind losing, or giving up hits, but I hate the walks. They are hard to take, it’s hard to stand in the field and do nothing. I’d rather chase balls around and at least do something.

I suspect this team might not exist next year.

Sore shoulder

I am beat up. The shoulder is sore, and I have ice on it this morning as I work from bed a bit.

I’m not sure what’s wrong, though I know that playing right handed yesterday at baseball didn’t help. It seems that ever since I played a whole game at first base, right handed about a month ago, it’s been sore. I’ve noticed that it aches, no sharp pains, but aches as I lift it above my shoulder at karate. So I try not to do that.

Yesterday I played right handed, giving my left-handed glove to someone that forgot theirs and not sure that third base, left handed, with a first baseman’s mitt, was a good idea. Fortunately I didn’t have to throw many times, and the two times I fielded the ball, I made the throw to second instead.

I think I need some time off (3 weeks without baseball for me) and then a couple weeks of left handed play and some light throwing only as a right handed player.

No Alarm

It’s back to work today, but no alarm clock. No early morning rise to get kids ready for school. I slept in until a little after 8, then started working from bed. Feels a little strange to be back at work after 4 or 5 days of being fairly unwired with family in town.

It was nice to sleep in.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Snap Back to Reality

The relatives are all gone, all of them heading out this morning to the airport for their flights home. After 4 days of people in town, it’s back to reality for the family. Cleaning up, no one in the house, chores, baseball for me, and oh yeah, it’s our anniversary.

It was a great four days. Not wonderful weather on Fri or Sat, but the cousins had a great time hanging out with each other, and the adults had some time to catch up. It never seems like enough time, but it was a good week for celebrating with our kids. Kyle graduated high school, Kendall had her cousins at a birthday party, and Delaney had his extended family watch his black belt candidate belt test. Kids got on horses, we had people at the house, and it was a fun time.

Lots of posts coming, after being almost unwired for a few days.

Friday, May 21, 2010

New Grad

Kyle is done with school.

That’s what I told Delaney as we headed away from Kyle’s graduation on Friday. Delaney asked if Kyle was going to college, and he is, but he’s done. Hopefully he’ll finish college, but he doesn’t have to go.

He had his graduation today, which was smooth for him, but getting 14 of us there was a hassle. We weren’t sure where to meet, we went in 3 cars, and our timing wasn’t great. Tia and I, with the little kids, were actually the latest to get there, and we had the tickets. There were two sides, and we were having a hard time coordinating things together.


Kyle was fine, and it was neat to hear his name and see the graduation. It wasn’t too long, and not too hard on the little kids, ours and 3 cousins.


We were proud of him, and I think the kids were, though it means more to Delaney than the others since he’s the oldest of the other kids.


Afterwards we headed back to the ranch, where I cooked some food, we braved 20mph winds for a little bocce and then had some people show up. Friends of ours, as well as quite a few teenagers came by to congratulate Kyle and give him some presents for his efforts.

All in all a fun day that lasted into the early evening and was enjoyable for everyone.

Moving On

My oldest son graduates high school today. After a long journey, he’s the first of my wife’s and my three kids that is moving on. It’s a big day, and we have almost all our family in town to watch the first of our next generation becoming an adult.

I’m on vacation from work, but I wanted to post this and reflect a little on this transition. I remember my graduation, almost as an anti-climax since school essentially ended a few days prior, and I was already looking forward to leaving my house, heading to college and moving on with my own life, separate from my family’s.

I think my son is feeling a lot of that. School ended earlier for him, he’s independent like I was, often away from our house, enjoying the freedom of a car. Like me, he’ll graduate before he’s 18, but he’ll be an adult in a little over a week and then truly responsible for himself. He’s heading to college, though close to home, at UC-Denver, in downtown Denver.

For me it was a time of huge optimism. I was excited about getting to college, learning a few things and then embarking on a career. I suspect it’s similar to my son, and I hope it is. He’s more compassionate and considerate of the world than I was, volunteering his time to help others and hoping to change the world for the better. I just wanted to make money.

It’s inspiring, and exciting to think about him moving on, and I have hope for the next generation to see someone that is more idealistic, and wants to do the right thing to help others. To make this world a better place and not just advance his own interests. I had worried that most of his generation would embrace consumerism, and they might, but he doesn’t and realizes there is more to life.

He’s technologically savvy, but he’s not a geek. He’s a linguist and hoping to be a teacher some day. I wish him luck in his journey and hope he enjoys it.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Chores, Chores

I got up and checked email while Delaney ate. Even though it’s a day off, I didn’t want anything crazy to happen, and I wasn’t sure that anyone was actually watching the site while I’m away. Everything was fine and after the kids were at school I started on the day.

First up was the driveway. It’s worn away, and while we need some more roadbase to put down, it also needed some cleanup after the winter snows and rains recently. So I fired up the tractor and went up and down 5 or 6 times, slowly cleaning stuff off the sides and pushing it to the middle. It looks much better, and a few holes are filled in. That will be good with people coming this weekend for Kyle’s graduation.

Then it was a short trip down to Castle Rock, running my father-in-law who doesn’t drive, down there for an appointment. A short shopping trip had me back to the house where I started cleaning up outside and moving some trash, wood, and junk from around the house to the barn and out to the street for trash day. I was doing well when it started raining. In fact, I had just gotten the mower going, threading the belt in there correctly and given it to Kyle to start cutting when the rain came down.

Things look better, but there’s more to do. Looks like there will be more work happening tomorrow.

It’s a Data World

I saw this blog about a report from CITA (wireless industry group) that people tend to use their cell phones more for data (text, email, etc.) than for phone calls.

I know that I do a lot more data, primarily through wi-fi, than I do phone calls on my phone. At least on a daily basis. I have some long calls to my business partner and family at times, but most of the communications that I do through my phone are data comms (sending pictures, Twitter/Facebook, texts with family, etc.)

In my mind this means that data is becoming more important, and that as data professionals, we ought to be aware and finding ways to integrate or read these data streams. Things like StreamInsight, to me, are going to become more important.

I also think that the wireless industry needs to figure out new models of business. Rather than trying to change habits of data consumers or incenting them to use less data, they ought to embrace it and build their networks to deal with it. They need to plan for, and charge appropriately, for data usage.

And in some sense, I think that means warning people about their data usage. I know I can check what I’ve used, but I don’t know what that means in terms of “what” I do. When I check tweets, what does that mean? Or send a series of emails. Better reporting and education for people, and perhaps warning them of large transfers, rather than trying to stop it.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Book #40 - Contact Harvest

34361567[1] I was looking for another book and ran across Contact Harvest, a book that I’d gotten for Delaney on a trip. It’s in the Halo series, but doesn’t have the Master Chief, the mythical warrior that destroys everything in the games.

So I grabbed it and started reading it, and really enjoyed it. It’s a look at Harvest, the agricultural world of the future that feeds much of humanity on one system. It’s managed by two AIs that must work with each other to ensure that the crops are grown, harvested, loaded properly and then sent on their way to other worlds.

The book is interesting as it’s written from a number of perspectives. We see the AIs thoughts, which are surprisingly human and have emotional responses. We have Avery, the soldier that is trying to forget being a Marine and fighting other humans that rebelled against the central authority. However he takes his duty to heart, and when he realizes aliens might be coming to attack Harvest, he works hard to train his militia troops.  We have some overview scenes that look at the life and way in which the universe works in the future.

We also have a couple of different alien viewpoints, and learn some of how the Covenant culture works. I didn’t like these parts since the Covenant is largely a religious structure, but I’m sure it adds to the story. I could have done without these, especially as a few of them were long and drawn out.

It’s a story of the first contact with aliens, who subsequently attack Harvest, thinking that religious relics might be there. It portrays the aliens largely as savage, and it makes me wonder how they achieved such technology, but part of it appears to be one species that is inherently good with fixing things and lives to do that.

Not a great book, but likely one that is important for the Halo story.

The Red Stripe

At karate we work on a stripe system. So once you get a belt, like the brown one I have, you earn stripes with attendance over time. It’s a time-based system since it’s every 12 classes (roughly) that you get a new stripe. When you have enough stripes, and another 12 classes, you’ll test. There is a little flex with scheduling since adults don’t test on a specified night. Usually it comes on a Mon, Tue, or Wed night for adults and depending on what’s happening, you might test at 12, 13, or 14 classes. There’s also a tendency to group people for tests, so that might flex you another class or two.

For kids it’s different. They still have the timing and stripes, but the last Saturday of the month is when kids test, and they have to not only get their classes in by that last week, but also get a form signed by parents and a teacher. Then if they do well that last week, they’ll get a red stripe and be eligible to test on Saturday.

That’s where Delaney is. He got his red stripe last night, so he’s good to go for Saturday. It used to be that you had to come twice that last week, and red stripes were handed out on Wed/Thur of the week, but apparently things changed again.

So we don’t need to go tomorrow, but Delaney could use a little more prep. He got up last night in front of everyone, by himself, to do a form and did pretty well. He messed up a couple things, but he realized it, which is good. The test is more of an effort test, which I don’t completely agree with, so I think he’ll be fine, but he still could use the practice.

One Step Closer to Switching

I liked Android, I really did, and I thought my G1 was the best phone I’d had to date when I got it. I’ve had Motorolas, Nokias, Sidekicks, a Dash and another Windows Mobile, but out of the gate, the  G1 and Android was better. But there were 2 things that weren’t polished on it and didn’t work well for me.

  • Reading
  • Music

Those might not be important for most people, and certainly aren’t for this ZDNet writer. But they are for me. I used my phone to do these things, primarily in this order:

  • Read
  • Music
  • Social Network
  • Text/email
  • Games
  • Phone

Kind of funny, huh? It’s a PDA for the most part that makes phone calls. It converges, and it allows me to do a lot when I’m in motion, which seems to be constantly. Despite the fact that I work at home, I’m not always at a PC, and a cell phone needs to do these things for me.

The iPhone does this, and that’s why I switched. It just works better overall. Not at multi-tasking (it doesn’t) and not necessarily with some things I would use more, like calendaring, but it does things well enough for me.

That might be changing with Amazon finally moving the Kindle app to Android. If that had been done last year, I might have stuck with my G1, or upgraded to a MyTouch, but it didn’t, and I didn’t.

Now if there were a good music sync app, I’d be interested. As much as I’d like to say that I’ll keep the music on my phone, I have a lot ripped to my PC, and I often manage my playlists and get organized on my PC. Same for apps. Some things work in a pinch, but they aren’t what I want to do on a regular basis. Sometimes I just want a larger screen to work with, and for organizing music and photos, I want a PC to help.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Book #39 – Kitchen Confidential

14504376[1] I almost bought this book for Kyle at Christmas. Browsing around the bookstore, it caught my eye, and I thought it would be one he might enjoy. A few months later, it popped up on Amazon for some reason, and I snagged it for myself.

Kitchen Confidential is written by a chef, and is an inside look at the world of kitchens and chefs, from the point of view of someone that’s spent most of their life in New York, cooking at some of the famous places there.

The book goes through parts of his career and all the seedy things that are done in kitchens, including sex and drugs. It’s amazing to me since I saw some of that in 5-6 years of working in restaurants, and lots of inbreeding and movement of people together between restaurants, but not a lot of raiding of other employees. Then again, I was often a front of the house employee, not a chef.

If you like cooking, or are interested in restaurants, it’s a fun read. Near the end he talks about a competitor that doesn’t do a lot of what he says will make you fail. It’s nice to see him admit that there aren’t hard and fast rules, and that anyone can succeed in a restaurant, though most will fail.

I don’t look for the high end cooking he does, but I learned a few things. He gives away a few tricks, and inspired me to buy a new chef’s knife.  I enjoyed the book, and I don’t think I’d ever own a restaurant, but it did make me miss working in one.

Free ebooks

From Barnes and Noble. You can get them on a Nook, Blackberry, iPhone/Ipad, or PC. They are offering a few free titles to you with a coupon. You need to go to a B&N store to get the code, but you can get these titles:

  1. The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith (first week’s free title)
  2. The Long Tail by Chris Anderson
  3. Home Safe by Elizabeth Berg
  4. Storm Front by Jim Butcher
  5. One Shot by Lee Childs
I’ve read The Long Tail and One Shot, both of which I’d recommend, but I don’t have One Shot as an ebook. I might go in to check this out if I’m near a store sometime soon.


We heard recently that Kyle had won $75 from school. That’s cool, but that’s not the cool part. He took the national Spanish exam and scored in the high 80th percentile for the nation, putting him as one of the best Spanish students in the US.

Considering that no one at the house speaks another language, and not Spanish, we’re not in a Spanish speaking area (white middle class for the most part) and he hasn’t worked in Spanish groups a lot (some at a job he had), it’s pretty cool that he’s so fluent. He impressed us when we were in Mexico last year, and I guess he’s gotten better since.

That was pretty cool, and we’ll see how far he goes with it. He loves languages and wants to try others in college, having already tried a few here at home on his own.

BSA Swimmer

Yesterday was the swim test for Delaney at Scouts. To be a first class scout, you need to be a BSA swimmer. Few exceptions, so like a few other requirements, if you can’t do this, you can’t advance further. So all Eagle scouts, for better or worse, can swim.

The requirements are to swim 75 yards with a front stroke (crawl, breast, side) and 25 yards with a back stroke (elementary or proper back) and then tread water for a minute. We’d gone to the pool a couple times and I’d tried to teach him the sidestroke, but he struggled. When they tested last week he was sick, so yesterday was our last time for this, likely for the year.

We went, and I coached him to relax, and go slow. Don’t hurry and just pull. He changed first and went out while I waited for Kendall to be sure she could tie her suit. While I was waiting, Delaney walked back over to me, still dry, and said he was really nervous. I had him take a few breaths, and told him not to worry. If he didn’t pass it wasn’t the end of the world. He’s still ahead of where he could be, and some other boys, so if he didn’t get it done for another year, it wouldn’t be the end of the world.

He jumped in just before I got over there and started to move. He was struggling, and not using his legs enough, so he was barely on top of the water. So I jumped in, and swam next to him, coaching him along, reminding him to breathe and to kick, and he made it down 2 lengths. The third one was tough, and he was struggling. He was tired, probably very nervous, and a little out of shape for the effort with his arms. However he made it, we turned, and he floated down on his back, which he’s more comfortable with. Not comfortable, but more comfortable.

He finished, they asked him to tread water, and he did. The guy didn’t pay attention, and Delaney was a little worried, but I stayed with him and we did it for a couple minutes while I got the guy’s attention, and he finished. Passing his swim test.

We then did a line rescue, which I ran, and helped about 6 or 7 boys tie a bowline and swim out to rescue people. All of them did great, especially once we got the victims to relax and not try to help.

With that, Delaney’s a long way towards getting his first class. He might actually make it by the July Court of Honor. He wants to also go on the July canoe trip, so he’ll be in the running for another merit badge with that one.


dab We went out so late to Dave and Busters on Saturday night that Kendall fell asleep at dinner. She was leaning on me while we had an appetizer and fell asleep before her steak arrived. While we ate, she slept, and so we left after that, coming home.

We got a late start, which was disappointing to me. I had planned to drop everyone off at the restaurant and then go next door to Best Buy and get her a Nintendo DSi XL.

She lost her other DSi, which she’d bought with her own money, along with her old DS, when we flew to the UK. Actually she and Kyle flew alone from Germany to the UK, and after flying all night, they were exhausted. Kyle fell asleep, and Kendall had her DS’s and her iPod in a bad that she left on the plane and then didn’t know what to do. She panic’d a little, and Kyle wasn’t sure what was wrong then, so they were gone. Tia was delayed 4 hours in Frankfurt with Delaney and when they landed, it was chaos and they didn’t want to try and spend another couple hours tracking things down in the airport. When we went back later her bag couldn’t be located.

So she’s lived without devices for a few months. I’ve let her use my iTouch at night for music, though it comes with me at times when I travel. She’s done without the Nintendo as well, and done well. No complaints from her, and she’s accepted that it’s her fault she lost the devices.

dsi-xl-compared-to-dsi However I think that DS was one of the things she played with the most over the two years she had it. She loved it, and when one was lost, she saved money and took it out of her own savings to replace it.

So yesterday I took her after swimming to Wal-Mart and we replaced it. She loved her DSi and took a lot of pictures with it, so I thought she’d want another one. However there’s a new one, the XL, and she wanted that. When she opened it, from the back seat I got a “it’s really XL!”

And it is. It’s got a larger screen and larger size. Not sure if that’s good or bad. You can see the comparison here of the XL in the background and the other one.

I got her one game, and I think she still has a couple of them in the house. My guess is she’s now going to be saving allowance and buying games.

The Journeyman Certification

There has been quite a debate going on at SQLServerCentral about a DBA journeyman certification. There are a couple good writeups (part 1 and part 2), from Jason Brimhall on the cert, and I’m happy to note that SQLServerCentral, and Red Gate software, are happy to sponsor these efforts. I’ve arranged for a Sharepoint site that has working documents as a group of volunteers are trying to come up with a way to actually test and certify individuals beyond that of an MCITP, but below an MCM.

It’s a neat idea, and I’m happy to be sponsoring it, as well as participating a bit in the discussion. Jeremiah Peschka from PASS is also helping, adding his thoughts and presenting ideas from that organization.

If you’re interested in somehow standardizing and providing better certifications for SQL Server professionals, I’d urge you to consider volunteering and helping out.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Another Game

Another loss, but it was still fun. An early morning game, 8:30am, but on a local field in Parker. It’s a good field for me where I’ve hit lots of home runs, but not today. Actually none today, despite some good power on both sides, but 5 balls to the fence, including one of mine. Mine was a rip down the right field line that rolled, but after an 0-3 start, I’d take it.

Once again pitching failed it, with lots of walks and trouble getting people out. We didn’t make a lot of errors, though I messed up twice at first. My right ankle was bothering me and I was glad to be over there, but on a pick off the pitcher I got lazy and didn’t extend to the right and missed it. Then there was a pop up in short right behind me that was spinning and drifting, and I couldn’t get under it. I tangled up my feet and just didn’t retreat deep enough. Just a bad play on my part, especially for an ex-catcher.

At the plate I struggled a bit. I felt relaxed, breathing out as the pitcher came set and I like that he worked fast. Lots of fouls, but I popped 3 up in the deep infield. Two were dropped and I got on base, but they should have been outs. Finally in the last at-bat, us down 19-5, the first 4 people ripped hits and we managed two runs. I came up with 2 out, and ripped a 1-2 pitch down the right field line for a single. It made it to the fence, but the right fielder was playing deep and tight, so it was a single. An RBI, so I can’t complain.

Overall we played better, but still with mistakes. I scooped a couple at first, and I used my first baseman’s mitt, deciding to trust it. Still our pitching killed us, so we’ll see if we can pick up another guy sometime and get through some games with a closer score.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Comedy Morning

We woke up slow, both tired and still fighting off colds. With Kendall gone and nothing major planned, we lay in bed a big and turned on the TV. I'd recorded a comedy show last night, Brian Regan's The Epitome of Hyperbole and we started watching.

It was hilarious. Delaney wandered in, then Kyle, and the four of us lay in bed, laughing out loud at the show. What a great way to start the morning.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Loosening Up

I booked a massage today, something I haven’t done in a couple months, but my shoulder was bugging me and I thought this might loosen it up. I had a new guy, and he spent the whole hour working the two shoulders, and they feel looser now.

We’ll see if that means that I can actually throw a baseball Sun morning.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Sore Shoulder

My right shoulder has been bothering me lately. If it's not one thing, it's another, with that adding to the list of sore things (right ankle, right knee). I think that I threw a lot with it a few weeks ago when I played first base and it didn't recover well. I think that means I need to throw a little more often with it.

Last night at karate it was apparent, and I struggled to get some things done where I had to lift my arm. Actually I gave up on a few things and just didn't do them. Then I put ice on it when I got back home.

It's better today, but I haven't tried to do anything. We'll see how it does if we play Sunday.

Book #39 - The Lab

I've given my son a few books over the years, so a week or so ago he walked in my room and gave me The Lab. He said it was a good book and I should read it. So when I had a moment I did pick it up.

It's a British, teenage, spy thriller of some sort. We read (in the first person) about Agent Six of Hearts, a genetically modified, grown human that is 16 and acts as one of the spies for an rebellious organization called The Deck. They are opposing Chaosonic, and The Lab, apparently some corporation that controls and runs the city in which they live. A huge city surrounded by a Seawall.

Agent Six is faster and stronger than most humans, apparently due to animal DNA spliced in with his own. He seems fairly unstoppable until he meets another agent, supposedly from The Lab, that was grown from the same batch that he was.

The book seems to go through a couple missions, and then an attack on Deck HQ by The Lab where everyone is captured except Agent Six. Six goes to rescue them, but we find him starting to question who he is. At the beginning of the book he's aloof, standoffish, and doesn't understand humans. He doesn't consider himself to be one. As the book progresses, and he meets not one, but two people with his abilities that still see themselves as human, he starts to wonder if perhaps he's been viewing the world wrong.

It's short, not great writing, and seems to skip around without the details for us to fully understand the world in which they live, but I did enjoy it. My son wants the second one, which I'll have to get for him.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Spring Snow

I woke up to this sight:

This is the view out my front Window this morning. Snow on the ground, after Mother’s Day, in May. It’s not unheard of, and it might have moved Kendall’s Field Day from the last Friday of school, this Friday, to Monday.

It was in the forecast, and it was rain/slush when Delaney and I came back from karate. And cold. The temperature dropped quickly yesterday as it was 55 when I left the house around 5:00 to get Kendall, and the car read 39F when we returned about 45 minutes later.

Crazy Colorado weather.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Hat Trick

Last night was the Elizabeth Middle School Awards ceremony. We went since we’d gotten a note that Delaney would get some award, so we packed up the little kids and headed over. It was packed, and I’m guessing most of the kids were there. It was long, but not too long with each teacher presenting various awards for their classes, along the PRIDE theme.






Delaney didn’t know what he would get, and was surprised when he got an Excellence award for Health class, scoring over 98% in that class. He also got an award for good work in Drama, which surprised all of us since he hasn’t loved drama. He did get an Integrity award as well from his group of CORE teachers, which didn’t surprise us at all.

It was pretty cool to see him go up on stage, and I’ll post some pictures or video tomorrow

Pay Your Bill On Time

The doorbell rang today about noon. I looked outside, didn’t see anyone, but went down anyway. There was a guy there with a jacket that had our electrical company’s logo on it.

Him: “Hi, I’m from IREA. I’m here to turn your power off because of an unpaid bill.”

Me: “Uh”  I’m really calm under pressure. Witty, too.

Him: “If you want to call in and take care of it, I’ll wander around the yard for a few minute.”

Me: “OK, I’ll call now.”

Actually what I did was go find Tia, who said she’d scheduled the payment, but it wouldn’t arrive until tomorrow. I’m in the dark on bills, so I called the company, complained that I hadn’t gotten a notice or a call, and was politely told I could pay the past due amount along with a $20 tip charge for the guy wandering around my yard with my dog, and a $2.95 convenience fee or he could turn off my power and I could pay the same amount whenever I felt like it.

I love being free in America with choices.

I choose to pay over the phone, gave her the CC stuff, and she said she’d call the dispatcher so the guy could leave my yard. At least with the check arriving at IREA tomorrow we won’t have to deal with this for a couple of months.

My guess is some mail got dropped somewhere in the house and we didn’t notice a final notice somewhere. After a hectic first quarter of work, I thought Tia and I were getting a handle on things. Maybe not.

Twitter is…

I think Twitter is a graffiti wall that emulates a series of hallway conversations near the world's largest food court.

Monday, May 10, 2010


I haven’t been sick in a long time, and I think the regular exercise has helped. But I went out a couple times last week in the wind and then was pushing hard, not sleeping well, and I managed to get myself feeling worse yesterday. I woke up with a bit of a cold (sore throat, nose running), and it got worse throughout the day.

Tia got home after 9, and I was asleep. I’d taken Nyquil around 9 when I put Kendall to sleep, but she wasn’t feeling good either. I think she had heartburn, and a little bit of a cold as well. So she crawled into bed with me, I couldn’t argue, and we struggled through the night.

I felt worn down and sick this morning, so after getting Delaney to the bus, I went back to bed for an hour. I felt a little better when I woke up, but still not 100%.

We let Kendall sleep in as well until about 9:30 and then I took her to school after that. At least she was fine this morning.

SQL Audit – The Basics

I’ve implemented a variety of auditing solutions in the past, but they’ve always been rather complicated endeavors, custom built, in need of documentation for other DBAs to understand. For system administrators, they’re incomprehensible.

However in reading the Auditing in SQL Server 2008 paper, I learned that the new auditing features in SQL Server 2008 make setting up a basic set of audits fairly simple. As with most simple systems, there still are plenty of caveats, and you can shoot yourself in the foot, but this does let you handle a few simple tasks quickly.

The basic architecture of SQL Audit is like this:


---- 1:1 - Server Audit Speciation

----- 1:n – Database Audit Specification

This is kind of similar to the Policy Based Management setup, simple, flexible, and therefore somewhat confusing. You can create an audit, but it doesn’t necessarily have anything in it. Think of this as being analogous to a trace. However unlike a trace, which required all sorts of stored procedure calls, the new SQL Audit objects are first class objects, meaning there are DDL statements (CREATE, ALTER, etc.) that you can use.

You can then add a single server level specification to this audit, which covers server level stuff. You can read more about those events here (and I’ll blog more on these).

You can also add multiple database level audit specifications, things you want to audit, to this audit. Each of these can be auditing different actions, and they can be somewhat general, or very specific.

Sounds confusing, and it can be, but I’ll work on simplifying things in future posts. For now, understand that it is a powerful system that can allow you to build auditing in much simpler ways than in the past.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Fun Day

Yesterday was a kid day for the most part. Tia left early for her 2 day horse clinic, so we slept in a bit, I cooked some breakfast for kids and worked a bit. Then a quick run before taking Delaney to karate. While he was there, Kendall played with kids before we headed out for an afternoon of fun. We had planned to see a movie, but we had a few hours to kill.

First was lunch, where we debated where to go. Everyone wanted something different, and I was thinking to get the kids something new. As we turned onto Arapahoe Road, all of a sudden Delaney remembered Orange Julius up on the corner of Parker Road. Kendall jumped all over it and I couldn’t convince them to any thing else. So it was hot dogs and Orange Julius for lunch. Ketchup for Kendall, chili-cheese for Delaney and I.

Apparently Dairy Queen bought Orange Julius a few years back and has slowly integrated some restaurants. This was one and the was little choice on the menu for food. Basically limited hot dog choices and mostly dairy queen desserts and smoothies there. No hamburgers, chicken, nothing else. Not my favorite lunch, but the kids enjoyed it. I can’t remember the last time I had a hot dog.

Then it was off to the batting cage. It was supposed to be a 30 minute time for me, but it ended up being fun for the kids. I hit a few tokens worth, missing a lot on the first 2-3 before I started to see the ball slow down and connected on some good ones. I had some solid hits, but there were times where I under-swung a few. Fouled quite a few off. I don’t think I hit any up on the letters, and got quite a few of them. However I went down and got a bunch of low ones. Have to remember that for next week.

When I took a break, Kendall wanted to swing a little. Since it was deserted, I stepped into a netted area with her and tossed her a few balls from the side while she swung. Surprisingly she hit quite a few. Later I tossed some to her from bout 15 ft and she hit most of them. Delaney saw me doing that and wanted a turn, so he got some swings while I tossed from the side and hit most of them himself. They were having fun and wanted to play some catch after I got done tossing some at them from behind the screen. So I hit another token, hitting most of the 16, while they tossed the ball back and forth to each other.


When we got done, we started to drive back to the movie theater, but Delaney remembered the virtual roller coaster at Family Fun Center. They wanted to go for one ride, so I said OK and we went in for one ride. I bought 6 tickets (I thought) and they both got on the virtual ride. When they got done, for some reason they still had 3 tickets left. Kendall asked for bumper cars, and I said OK. As I was pulling out money for bumper cards, the girl running it just let them in. Another slow day, so it worked out and they went back and forth, just the two of them, banging into each other.

I managed to get them out after that, heading to Best Buy. I’ve been looking to pick up a new sensor for the Nike + as well as a show pocket for my trail shoes. I also wanted to show them an iPad while we were there. However when we walked in there was a large display out front of various technologies, including a NuMark DJ station. Both kids were fascinated by that and played with it while I tracked down my purchases. I somehow managed to get them to walk over to the iPads and let them play.

“Oh my God, Dad, I want one of these for my birthday.”

That was what Kendall said. She was taken with it, especially some pet game on it. Delaney was in a similar mood, thinking that it was very cool, especially the Rock Band and racing games. It’s interesting to see that reaction. Afterwards as we drove to Furry Vengeance, they both said that it was cool, and better than the iTouch. I think the size wow’d them, but I wonder if it would be that good. Especially with the fact that it would be shared. I think that’s one of those issues with these devices. They are limited to one person as communication devices. I wonder if there’s a way to get around that easily.

We saw a movie, a silly movie that the kids loved, and I endured. Then it was back to the house for a quiet night. Some pizza, some TV, horse chores, a quiet day.

And a good one. Lots of fun for the three of us with the other two gone.

Friday, May 7, 2010


I went out last night with some friends, actually yesterday afternoon. I met them at a Mexican restaurant, and had a few margaritas. Too many, and around 7:00 when I stood up, I realized that I couldn’t drive. So I left my brand, spanking new margarita on the bar, and switched to water, drinking 2 or 3 large tumblers of water over the next few hours.

It was a good time, and nice to see some people I hadn’t worked with in 8 or 9 years. We laughed, argued, and debated until a little after 10 when I left with a much clearer head and came home, falling asleep as soon as I could get some aspirin, brush my teeth, and get Delaney to finish his homework.

I wasn’t hung-over this morning. No headache, no queasy stomach, but I didn’t sleep well and struggled getting Delaney up. When Kendall went to school, I went back to bed for a few hours. Finally feeling better.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Book #38 - Victorious

62567608[1] I was looking forward to reading Victorious. It was the first book that I pre-ordered from Barnes and Noble electronically, and sure enough it was in my online library the morning it was released. I would have liked it to download automatically, but it’s not a Kindle app.

This is the sixth and last book in the Lost Fleet series. I’ve read them all, and I highly recommend that you read them in order to capture the mood, the excitement, and the tension.

This book is different than the others. At the end of Book 5, Black Jack Geary had gotten the fleet back to Alliance space and defeated the last flotilla there sent by the Syndics. In this book, for the first time it starts with him not in a place where the fleet is in danger. He begins by briefing the Alliance Senate Grand Council, asking for permission to remain in command of the fleet and go back to force the Syndics to end the war.

He’s still at odds with people, especially those that were not with him in the fleet and he still has battles. But they are different, and the book, predictably, has things go his way. In this book he confronts the Syndics, the aliens, and finally the captain of his flagship.

You can guess what happens if you have read the others, but it’s still a good read. Even though I haven’t read the other books in some time, I enjoyed this one and had a hard time putting it down.

Book #37 – The Things They Carried

 43553029[1] I think that The Things They Carried has made it all the way around the house, except for Kendall. Kyle gave it to Tia, she gave it to me, my sister-in-law Marla read a copy and gave hers to Delaney. And finally I read it.

It’s an interesting book, not quite the kind of book I usually pick up. But I enjoyed it, and I liked the imagery, the stories that try to explain something without directly saying it, the jumping around in time.

Tim O’Brien was a Vietnam soldier. The book opens talking about his platoon and the things that various members brought with them. Some physical objects, some emotional baggage, some images, and some ideals.

The book isn’t a story per se, but more an explanation and attempt to get you to understand life in that war. The death of friends, sometimes described as images where you are never quite sure what happened. Someone that was there and then is suddenly dead, and the gruesome description of their body.

It’s definitely a boo with some disturbing images, some profanity, and a lot of realism. It’s almost like a dream, as you float along with the author, both before, during, and after the war. I have to think this book was very cathartic for him to write and I’d recommend it.

Painting A Picture

Ernie Harwell passed away yesterday, the longtime Detroit Tigers broadcaster. I’m not sure if I ever heard him do a game, but as Mike and Mike have been talking about him today, playing clips, remembering him, it brought back memories for me.

I remember driving around with my Dad on Sundays, in an old Datsun B210, my right hand on the tuning dial as I tried to keep a baseball game on the radio. Constantly tweaking the AM dial as static invaded the game, I depended on the announcer to bring the game alive in my imagination.

Driving across country, going from VA to CA, in my truck, late at night, listening to a late summer game on the radio, this time with a digital AM tuner so that I can concentrate on driving. The stories told, the descriptions, allowed me to see the action in my head as I traveled alone across the US.

Coming back from skiing with my family in CO, listening to the Rockies as everyone was asleep, me coming down I-70 out of the mountains into Golden. Vividly since it was only 5 or 6 years ago, I remember Todd Helton at bat and the announcers describing his 14 pitch at-bat, fouling off pitch after pitch on a Monday night, wearing down the opposing pitcher.

These are a few memories that I have of baseball on the radio. I’ve had many others listening to football or basketball on the radio, on the move, unable to see things on TV, but still enjoying the action, feeling my heart race as something amazing happened. Announcers paint a picture through which we can enjoy the game, and great announcers make you feel like you are there.

RIP Ernie Harwell.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

eReading from Google

It's not the technology.

That's what my wife told me when I said one of the problems I have with Android is the lack of a bookstore app from Amazon or Barnes and Noble. She says it's some business deal that Apple/RIM have with the bookstores that prevents them from working with Google.

Apparently Google has another solution, with an article about Google Editions. They are looking to build a storefront and let publishers set the prices. I think that makes sense, and it makes me more interested in an Android device.

They still need a way to manage music better, but this is a good step. For now, however, I'll stick with my iPhone, which works well for me for music, books, and phone functions.

Enjoying Lunch

Still on the cooking kick. Popped a beer, boiled and grilled some brats, made lunch for Tia.

31582_1427088646118_1499853552_1092803_445530_n \

If I keep going like this, I think I’ll be getting some upgraded kitchen tools with no issue from my lovely wife, like a bread machine :)

I did order a new chef’s knife today with some Amazon credit.

A New Furnace

Yet another one. I think we’ve replaced 3 or 4 furnaces in CO at different places. My tenant called on Sun night saying his wasn’t working. It was cool, so I guess he was using it, or trying to. I got a call back this morning from the furnace guy: cracked heat exchanger.

$1900 to fix, with other parts likely to break in the next year or two, or $3100 to replace it.

It seems that all of our rentals heard similar warnings when we had them inspected. The furnaces were old, get ready for them to go at some point. Apparently this one, our first rental, finally went. The only good thing is that the furnace was too big, so they can replace with a smaller, slightly cheaper one.

Baking for Breakfast

29754_1426754637768_1499853552_1092369_4063521_n Still in the mood, and I was thinking about it last night. I wanted to get up early and bake some croissants, but I was exhausted at 6:15 when the alarm went off. I did manage to get up, and in between making Delaney his breakfast burrito, I unrolled some croissant dough and got it ready to bake.

I made 4 ham and cheese croissants, slicing some cheddar and ham and putting it on the dough and folding it over. I also took some chocolate chips and put them in 4 more, folding a couple, and rolling a couple.

Kendall loved the chocolate chip ones. She ate two, and took one to school for snack. I have to say they came out well and Kendall told me I should bake them every morning. I countered that she might balloon up like the kid in Willy Wonka if I made them every day, so she told me to make them every other day.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Chicken Salad

I’m not sure if it’s my reading Kitchen Confidential, or something else. In any case, I’ve been inspired to cook a little more, and might treat myself to a new chef’s knife as well ;)
Today I wanted to do something for lunch, healthier, but quick and yummy. So before I went running, I grabbed a few frozen chicken breasts, ran some water over them to get ice off and make things stick, and rubbed them lightly with a chipotle cinnamon rub that I have. It’s store bought, and makes them sweet with a little kick. After the run, I threw them on the grill while I chopped up some stuff.
It’s an easy salad, but good. Here’s how it goes.
  • Lettuce
  • Baby carrots
  • cherry tomatoes
  • chicken, grilled
  • blue cheese crumbles
  • red onion
  • mandarin oranges, drained
  • balsamic vinegar
Put down a bed of lettuce.
I sliced some baby carrots, for no reason really, but felt like slicing them. Put them in a bunch on the lettuce, add cherry tomatoes on the side as well.
I sliced up some red onion that I spread on top and then sprinkled some blue cheese on there. A few mandarin oranges were applied before slicing the chicken breast and laying it on top. A little balsamic and it’s a nice, yummy meal.
I can actually keep all of this stuff sliced and make a few salads over a few days.

The Downside of Progress

With a break in a water pipe, no water for 48 hours in Boston. That happened to us when we first moved in to this house, with a broken pipe near the well head and I can tell you it sucked. I can’t imagine the whole area being without water.

As we grow, and concentrate people in smaller areas, we get more dependent on services like this. While we need to build economies of scale in some areas, like water treatment, we don’t want to get overly dependent. Remember the East Coast electrical blackout in 2003?

A disastrous weekend, with flooding in the SouthEast as well. It’s a balance between having people grow together and get more dependent on each other and services, and spreading the risk. I’m not sure we do a good job of balancing, and this is where government is needed. Private companies will seek to maximize profit, which isn’t necessarily the best thing for safety.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

6 Centuries

I made it to day 600 today. Quite the milestone for me and I was looking forward to it. I had a quite morning, up late, and was trying to decide how to tackle the day. With a noon baseball game, I decided to try and run before we played.  Just to be safe. I haven’t gotten too hurt during a game, but it would stuck to stop at 599.

I arrived a touch early, and took off around the high school grounds, a nice jog on a chilly, windy morning. It was one long lap and then a couple of laps around the parking lot before I decided to stop and get ready to play.

Not a great run for the milestone, but a run nevertheless.

I Hate Walks

I don’t care about the score, don’t care much if we win or lose, or even if I hit well. I’d prefer to get more balls hit to me in the field, but I hate walks.

And we had a lot today.

We used six pitchers, primarily because they were walking so many people. I know we walked in at least 3 runs, and maybe more with the bases loaded. Through 5 innings, I think we had 3 balls hit to the outfield, none of them hard. I played center and had none. I backed up a catch in left, I chased down a short fly behind second before the right fielder got there, but that was it. A few errors on muffed grounders, but for the most part we beat ourselves. And boy did we at 24-11.

At the plate I was an 0-4 with a popout, a deep fly out to center, a FC grounder between first and second, and a strike out. The strike out bugs me since I moved up in the box and the guys didn’t do much with the ball, but it was slow and dropped out from under me. Just a bad swing on my part.

It felt like we were out there forever, down 15 runs after 5.5 and having to go out there again. It’s going to be a long season if we can’t get some people to throw strikes. Our manager at least went in there and threw lobs at the plate for an inning. They hit him, but a couple hits and then we made a couple plays for outs. I’d rather see that.

Saturday, May 1, 2010


I tried to teach Delaney how to side stroke today. He has a Boy Scouts swimming test next Friday, and I’m not sure he’ll pass. He learned a few things, but he needs to handle 75 yards side stroke and 25 yards back. The back I’m not worried about, and if I can get him to just float, push, glide, I think he’ll be OK. If not, we have another chance the following week.

I Like This

Been thinking a lot about leadership lately, especially the lack of it. Hearing stories from friends about what they deal with, reading, it’s kind of funny. This cartoon seemed to fit well.