Monday, August 30, 2010

Something I Don’t Want To Fix

Actually that’s not completely true. I took the ATV up to the shop today, and left it for them to look at. There is a coolant leak somewhere and the belt light is on. I checked it the other day, but didn’t see a leak, and honestly I don’t want to take it apart and fix it. It’s just not high on my list of things to do. Just like with cars, I mostly just want them to work. I’ll do minor stuff, but for the most part I’d rather just pay someone to fix it.


I wasn’t always like that. I liked to tinker with my cars early on, tuning them up, changing oil, even changing brakes. However I learned a few things. If you tinker with the car a lot, especially to “improve” things, you often end up having to tinker with your car a lot. Like the guy above, you’re setup and so you are always working on it.

That’s not what I want to do. I want to drive, and in this case, Tia needs the ATV to work. So we’re allowing someone else to look at it.

Now the mower, that’s another story. I’ve changed the starter, belts, oil, filters, blades, and more on that thing. That’s more interesting to me.

Slowly Back to the Grind

This was one of the weekends where I didn’t really work. I checked email a few times, answered a couple questions, but I knocked off both my newsletters Friday, so I didn’t wake up and actually hit the computer to do some work.

It felt good, and I feel refreshed and ready to work. Mentally that is. Physically I’m sore. I had a massage Friday that loosened up my back, but it was hard, and I still have some bruises where I fell a couple weeks ago, and it was tender over the weekend, and tightened up at night after a day of some work.

I mowed both days for a bit, knocking out about 4 acres of so and the front it starting to look much better. I also ran the weed whacker a bit yesterday, cleaning up the front gate, and then pounded a few posts into the west pasture, trying to get that track finished. A long day yesterday, full of chores, and I was sore and tired. My left arm is definitely sore today, so I’m glad I’m not lifting (yet another thing I need to get going on again).

Back to work, time to write, and hopefully have some fun.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

No Kids

Kyle went back to college last night and the little ones went with their Aunt, so Tia and I had a night out without a schedule. We headed to Hacienda for dinner with some friends, and then the Fox and Hound for some darts and laughs. It was a great time, and nice that we could go out, come home late, and sleep in without any real responsibilities this morning. I look forward to move of these days as the kids and we get older.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Volleyball Girl

K_Volleyball Today was the first game for Kendall in volleyball and Kyle, Tia, and I went to watch. It was a long three games, and most of the girls really struggle to serve, and quite a few are scared to hit the ball. Kendall did OK, but she had lots of enthusiasm, and was trying. I think all of us being there made her a little nervous as well.

One nice bright spot was the lady that works for the rec center also coaches the Hawks team in Parker. They’re the youth league, a step up from rec league, which is what Kendall is doing. The lady told Tia that Kendall had a lot of natural talent and she’d like Kendall to come out in the spring and play with them.

Very cool. My little girl might be an athlete!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

SQL Saturday #28 - Keynote

I was honored to be asked to do the keynote for SQL Saturday #28 in Baton Rouge recently. It’s taken me longer than expected to process this and upload it, but here is my keynote speech from a couple weeks ago:

Part 1: The first 14 minutes or so with some introductory comments.



Part2: The end.



I shot this with my Flip camera on a stand near the stage since there wasn’t a good place to put it. A large auditorium and I wandered out of sight quite a bit. I realize that I also need a better way to grab audio for various events like this, so I’m looking at a separate audio mic and recorder.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Book #58 – A King’s Ransom


Most books don’t bother me, but reading A King’s Ransom makes me never want to travel to South America. It’s not linked to any other of the Grippando novels that I know of. It starts with an American fisherman, the owner of multiple boats in Columbia working on purchasing new boats. He’s kidnapped, with some of his men killed.

Back in the US, his son, a lawyer at a prominent firm, learns of the kidnappnig and tries to involve the FBI. When he learns that they won’t get involved unless he helps them determine if his father is a drug smuggler, he doesn’t know where to turn.

Until he finds out that his father had kidnapping and ransom insurance. It seems like things are going well until his coverage is denied, and he’s fired from his job. In typical mystery/thrilled fashion, we are led down a path, hope seems lost, and we alternate the struggles of his father in captivity, with the son learning more about his father and trying to track down a way to pay the ransom.

It’s a better ending, in my opinion, than some of the other Grippando’s, and the pace picks up nicely at the end, with a quick ending and then an epilogue. However it was the author’s notes, talking about kidnapping and how prevalent it is in South America that’s kind of disturbing. I kept thinking how hard it would be for my kids if I were gone, or the anguish if they were kidnapped.

Knocking Off

Not enough done, but I need to take a break. Trying to be creative today, not sure it worked, but it’s time to do something else for a few minutes.

Look cook.

The Best Investment Advice

I like this post from Mark Cuban, and overall I think it’s great advice.

However I have heard a few people that I can’t remember (Motley Fool"?, Peter Lynch?) say that there is something else to consider.

Get Healthy

Health care costs rise, and that’s an issue, but there’s a quality of life issue as well. You want to enjoy your life, you want to be able to do things in retirement and enjoy yourself. So I would say that #1 you should get healthy, or healither, and then #2, eliminate debt.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Writing at Starbucks

A too quiet house today, so after a run, and some work, I headed to town for dog food and to get some writing down in a slightly noisy atmosphere. Laptop in hand, I walked into Starbucks, got a latte, and sat down to write.

I used to spend a few hours a week in Starbucks, trying to get work done on a book or a series of editorials. It’s a nice change of pace for me, and sometimes it’s inspiring.

Today it was good and I edited a piece down, and got a good first draft of another done. Plus it was fun.

Closing the Season

Yesterday was the last baseball game of the year for me. And surprisingly, I’m glad it’s over. As much as I’ve had some fun the last few weeks, and two games this weekend, my body is beat, the quick movements are a strain, and I need a break. I’m looking forward to an off-season and healing for next year.

It seems that I’ve been hurt constantly. I missed 4 innings in a game this year after rolling my ankle (I played another inning) and a 250lb guy falling on my back (I came out immediately). I had a stiff, sore back a few weeks ago after ranch work and ended up coming out of the lineup for injury and not batting. I did the same yesterday in the last inning, though my slot never came up, so it didn’t matter.

I closed out with a great game at third base. I’ve always been hesitant to try to play there, but now I think I’d be up for it, and even for a few innings at SS next year if I can. I had two pop-ups to me (one foul), a liner I caught, fielded two grounders that started double plays. A busy day! My only flaws were a little two close and not getting one ripped down the line. I think it was foul, but it was close.

We got the game close, down by 2, and they loaded the bases. We were out of pitchers, and the guy in there struggling. A grounder that I couldn’t reach, and the shortstop was charging to barehand and missed it.

One run in.

Playing close, the next one was a bouncer, almost the same place. I was closer, and I came in, reached out for it, pulled in to turn and realized the ball wasn’t in my glove. I actually threw my glove at the ground. That was frustrating since I think I could have made the play. The SS said the guy would have been safe, but I would have liked to try. We fell apart, some good hits, and they crushed us by 9.

At the plate I popped out on a high foul, grounded out and walked. Not a great ending to the season, but I’ve struggled to turn on balls the last month or so. A sore back and I just haven’t gotten around cleanly. I’ve also swung under some balls lately, which is mostly a lack of practice on my part. I saw it well yesterday, ripped some fouls, but no clean hits.

All done, and not sure what happens next year. I think this was a good group overall, but a few players unhappy with the manager, so we’ll see if the team splits up next year.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Double Play

I couldn’t believe it. We were having a good game in the third inning today. We had shut the other team down for 2 innings, we’d scored 4 or 5 runs, and things were looking good. We got an out and then the bottom fell out. The bases were loaded, one out, and I got a hot, bouncy grounder to third.

The play is supposed to be home, then first. I picked it up across my body, but wasn’t sure I’d make the throw home, essentially over the guy running home. So I kept turning, stepped on third, turned and winged it to first. Double play, no runs, inning over.

I’ve never done that. I’m sure I’ve been a part of a double play as a kid, but never in the last 5 years, at least not outside of playing first, which is just catching the ball. I never played third as a kid, never having an arm strong enough. However earlier this year I tried it and I’ve done OK a few times. I’ve fielded some grounders and thrown people out at second, even threw out a former teammate at first from third.

Today was our third win of the season, and two in a few weeks for me. Kind of amazing since I hadn’t won a game in over a year. I hit better today, feeing confident for some reason. I turned on a couple balls early and hit some long fouls. I relaxed, and went 1-4 with a walk and got on base 3 times. The first at bat wasn’t great, with me swinging and missing on two curves that dropped out in front of the plate for a K, but the catcher missed the ball and I made it to first.

My second time up was a hard hit ball to right, but my right knee was sore, and I took a single instead of trying for a double. I grounded out next and then hit a long foul fly that landed for my last time up, taking a walk in the middle.

The only downsides were a run down where I got it the way of the runner after throwing the ball to second and he got awarded the bag. I also ran up on a bunt, aching the knee more and threw it away at first.

However a solid game for us, and we won. Kind of amazing since this is the 5th place team (we’re 9th) and they crushed us last time.

A good way to finish out the season on our last weekend. Now we play the only team worse than us tomorrow and hopefully I’ll hit better.


This is the last weekend of baseball, and I’m glad. I’ve been beat up, and I’m tired. A couple weeks off helped, but with my belt test Thur night, I’m sore again, mostly in the upper body. I need a few weeks of light running and light karate to take it easy and get better.

Friday, August 20, 2010


It’s a wired world. You’d think by this point, most major hotels, at least those costing upwards of $100/night, would have good wired, or wireless connections for their guests. I’d like it to be free, but I’d settle for good quality.

However I hate the way that most hotels manage connectivity. It’s not by the connection, or room, but often by the MAC. So that people with one device are fine, but those of us that are techies, with more than one device, can’t connect them all. At least not cheaply.


I usually carry two laptops, a iPhone, and sometimes my wife’s got a laptop and phone as well. I’ve debated carrying a router and using that, but it’s one more thing to carry. Instead I decided to try Connectify.

It’s a wireless hotspot that runs on Windows 7 and allows your laptop to share it’s connection. You install it, no reboot needed, and then you create a hotspot name and password.

That’s it.

Once it’s up and running, in a few minutes, your other devices can connect to your personal hotspot. You have a local LAN and you can easily share files and access the Internet from all your devices.

A very cool tool. I have it on both of my Win7 laptops to run hotspots, separate names, so whichever one is connected can be my router and allow me high speed access for all my devices on one connection.

If my Internet connection works in the hotel.

Black Belt Candidate

No video this time, as we did for Delaney back in May. Actually I don't see his test posted, so that's here it is.

Last night was my black belt candidate test. Our school has ten belts, various colors, but the last two are a brown/black mix and a black belt. Delaney earned his in May, and I've been waiting for a couple weeks for mine. I was set for last week, but our teacher went on vacation, so after missing Tue/Wed this week, I went last night for my test.

There were two people testing, a lady for Green belt, and me. We ran through a rough warm up, lots of basics, at a strong pace and people were tired. I had sweat dripping off when we stretched, but I was pushing. I'd gotten ready, anticipating the workload by applying some icy hot and wrapping my ankle with three times as much tape as I normally do. The last month or so I've been taking it easy, trying to heal up. Sore right side of my body, sore shoulders, just beat up. The whole year has been hard on the body, so I've been trying to not push things.

However I didn't wrap as tight as I wanted. I needed to pull it tighter, and so things were sore. When we went to kata, which was again a pretty good pace, I was struggling on the few seconds we had in between forms with a sore ankle. Every time I stopped moving, it hurt. The guy next to me stepping on it a few times didn't help, either.

I wondered what we'd do, and with a little over 15 minutes left, we stepped to the side and th other girl had to do some blocks and forms. A 4-5 minute break for me, but then I was up. First was forms. I pushed, trying to be crisp, clean, and work at a good pace. Watching my strikes, blocks, hitting hard, and doing my best. It must have been good since this was one of the rare times that I did each form once without repeating anything. For my brown belt I had to do brown form twice, because I wasn't pushing my shoulder forward enough on a punch. I guess I did better last night. I made it a point to strike hard, jerking my shoulders forward to hit, shaking my arms as I tried to stop them in the right place for back fists, making each strike as live as possible. It felt good, but I was tired.

That was the easy part. Now it was boxing. With another adult that I often work with holding the pads, I had 3 or 4, two-three minute rounds. I worked hard, trying to keep distance, and my partner was working me hard. Lots of strikes to get through. By the time we hit the third or fourth set of rounds, I was sucking wind. Trying hard to keep my hands up, but near the end I struggled to get my hands up. A good test, and it pushed me hard.

Then it was self defense, giving me a minute to set the gloves down and catch a little breath. No counting for me, no breaking the moves into sections, just ripping through each of our 5 items twice, loud yells, hard punches. I was ready to drop at the end, but I passed.

Sweaty, my throat hurting even after I got home, lungs aching still as we started to drive home, I felt like I really worked hard. I did.


I got home, grabbed a beer and a couple ice packs on my way in. I knew I went a little hard, and I was sore. Definitely sore today, but not as bad as I thought. The ankle and knee feel OK, only slightly more sore than yesterday morning. We'll see how it goes when I run with Delaney later.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Starting College

We moved Kyle in yesterday to his dorm. Life got busy in a hurry, and I had to come home and work late and didn’t post.

But it was exciting.

And cool.

It reminded me of my move into a dorm over 20 years ago at Syracuse University. I’d been up to get oriented in the summer, but my parents drove 10+ hours with me, a load of boxes in the car, and we unloaded lots of stuff into a two person room.

Similar for Kyle, but he’s close and didn’t need as much. He’s also disorganized, so that resulted in one suitcase, one backpack, and a pile of linen. Tia, Kendall, Kyle,and I all fit in the Prius with his stuff. Kind of amazing, though he didn’t have a few things, there’s not much more he needs.

We walked around, checking on finances, getting his ID, his books, and navigating the bureaucracy of the various departments. It felt like a lot, but I think it was fairly smooth as I look back. A few strange things, but maybe that’s the case everywhere.

He has a mini-suite, in a complex just across from Mile High Stadium. He shares a room with someone else (his roommates were out) and they have a bathroom in there. Two of those bedrooms are connected with a small living area (and it’s small for 4 guys) with a mini kitchen, including stove. A much better setup than I had with no kitchen and a bathroom shared with 50 guys.

We took him to get some dinner and then left him there, heading home.

It’s not quite the college experience I had since UC-Denver sits on the edge of downtown, across the street (literally) from the Pepsi Center, and lots of commuter kids. But it’s nice, it’s got the feel of a campus, and it’s got great views. Walking around, seeing the skyscrapers in the background one way, the mountains the other, is very cool.

I’m excited for him, and hope that he’ll do well this year and enjoy it.

In the Basement

And everyone is gone today! Kyle moved into his dorm yesterday, Kendall started school, day 3 for Delaney, and Tia has a horse clinic. It’s quiet in the house, but I’m in the basement working.


Good question. It felt strange, though I do have a webinar to run later, so I needed to come grab my headset from down here. It’s really a matter of impatience. My desktop flipped out slightly earlier and I rebooted it, but after 15 sec of a black screen after login, I decided I needed to get moving and get working, and came down here.

Strange to have the house so quiet.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Back to School

Yesterday Tia took Delaney to school, but today I got up, got him up, and made breakfast. Boy I have not missed those early mornings.

This is going to be a long day.

Moving On

I got an email this morning that I was rejected as a candidate for the Board of Directors election this fall for the SQL PASS organization. Always hard to get rejected, and I’m not sure how I feel. I was surprised, actually stunned since I think I work well with people, I’ve been a good community person, and I’ve had some volunteer experience.

Time to move on with life, and concentrate on other things. At least that’s one less thing that will eat up time in 2011.

Book #55 - Drive

59075814[1] I saw a short talk from Dan Pink a few months back from this year’s TED conference. It’s very cool, and worth watching. After watching the video, I bought the book, Drive.

This book goes through some the reasons why we are motivated to do things. It looks back at some of the older notions of motivation, mostly the carrot/stick  techniques most of us have been exposed to. It talks about the ways that we have tried to reward people and get more work, or better work, from them.

It does this with a mix of stories and research that Mr. Pink has done, with economists and psychologists, with interesting results. The talk summarizes it, but the book then backs it up with great examples. There’s a look at Google’s 20% time, Fed Ex days from Atlassian, and Best Buy’s ROWE work structure.

The main thrust that I’ve seen from this is that people want three things in their lives: Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose. We want to direct ourselves, we want to get better, and we want to make a difference. In my life, I had thought that better rewards motivated me, but as I grow older, I’m not sure that’s the case. I think that autonomy and mastery were key drivers, and purpose is becoming more important.

It’s a great read. If you liked Outliers, or want to try to grow yourself and become happier in your career, or even manage people better, I think this is worth the read.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Back to Scouts

We made a Scout meeting for the first time in about 4 weeks tonight. Life has been busy, there have been some other activities, and so we haven’t been going much. Tonight we headed out, dropping Delaney off while Kendall and I went school supply shopping.

We got back and the boys were working on the Pathfinding merit badge, one of 4 that was “unretired” for this year only, the 100 year anniversary of scouting. They are trying to work on a few others, and Delaney was interested in them. I need to find some time and try to set up the Carpentry one, as I think that’s a fun one to do.

We also signed Delaney up for a merit badge college tonight that will take place in November. We’re busy, and pulling back a little from scouts as he closes in on his black belt, but we don’t want to stop, so we’re taking advantage of some events to try and keep him moving forward.

Now if I can just get him to identify some plants.

Book #57 - Rusty Nail


I’ve enjoyed the Jack Daniels series, and recently finished the latest book in this series, Cherry Bomb. However that one referenced earlier books, and I searched out Rusty Nail, which is the first time we see Alex Kork.

In this one there’s a video being sent to Jack, one with a house in it she knows well. It’s the house of Charles Kork, the Gingerbread man. When Jack gets to the house, it appears that there’s nothing there, but there are traces of blood, and Jack suspects that Diane Kork, widow of Charles was killed there and moved.

From there the book jumps around as Jack tracks down the rest of the family. There’s Bud, the father that punishes himself, but abused the kids for years and killed other kids with their help. Jack also tracks down the common-law wife, and a common-law stepson. All the while we get some scenes mixed in from Alex Kork’s point of view as she moves around killing some people.

Add in the craziness that Harry McGlade is getting married and wants Jack to be the best man, and this is another zany adventure. As you can expect, Konrath keeps the pace moving, and he has characters getting themselves out of hairy situations, often because of the stupidity of others. He also has Jack and his crew getting themselves into situations because of silly mistakes they make.

A sudden ending, and a happy one in many ways. It’s left somewhat open at the end as Alex goes to prison. I’ll leave out the details, but if you’ve enjoyed the books up to hear, and you should read the others, you’ll find this one just as entertaining.

First Day of School

For Delaney. He was sick yesterday, so this was the first day, and since Tia was heading that way to the vet, she took him. He had mixed emotions, and I think he was a little sad for vacation to end, but a little excited to be heading back. We got school supplies last night and he was packing them up to be ready for today.

Kendall had her assessment 1/2 day yesterday and was thrilled to get the same 4th grade teacher that Delaney had. She’d known the teacher for a few years and is very comfortable. Good to see her happy with a teacher. That hasn’t really happened in a few years.

Carmelo Leaving the Nuggets

I’m not surprised that Carmelo may be looking to leave the Nuggets, especially after the LeBron hype this summer. I’m more surprised that he stayed here this long. He’s a Baltimore guy, a guy that seems like he likes to party, and he held his wedding in NYC, not Denver. Denver isn’t necessarily a party town, it’s more a wonderful place to live and have a family.

I was surprised that Carmelo stayed here beyond the minimum time he needed from the draft. We’ve had a good team the last few years, but I think we’d fundamentally built the team wrong. We don’t have a great set of big men, despite the big season a couple years ago where we got to the West finals. I think that to keep ‘Melo, you’d need to trade off Martin and Nene, get someone else that is strong, and rebounds well, and then add a better shooter than JR.

And do that in the next year while Billups can still go hard.

My thought is that Denver ought to really blow this up. Trade Carmelo, get a player or two and some draft picks. Build this back up. The Lakers are still tough for the next year or two, so play for the future.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Book #56 - Cherry Bomb

 37938578[1] Continuing the Alex Kork saga. At the end of Fuzzy Navel, Kork kills someone, but we don’t know who it is. Jack, her mother, Latham, Phinn, Harry, all were packed up in ambulances and heading to the hospital where one was killed by Alex. In Cherry Bomb we learn who that was.

On the run, but still working on her plan, half the book follows Alex Kork around as she kidnaps people and calls Jack to try and toy with her.  We don’t know her plan, and don’t find out until near the end, but she’s working towards something that involves explosives.

Meanwhile Jack is mourning the person killed, but working hard to save the people Kork is after. She’s off the force, suspended, and also on the run as Phinn is wanted by the Feds and Jack is helping him. Harry is also helping, proving to be a more capable investigator, despite his insane and offensive manner.

In this book Jack saves a cop from Milwaukee, only to lose another person close to her. Then she finishes this chapter of her life with an incredible showdown with Alex. Not a book to be missed if you enjoy the rest in this series.

Book #55 - Fuzzy Navel

26660246[1] When I started Fuzzy Navel, I had the sense of another Stephanie Plum (Janet Evanovich) novel, in which the heroine is moving on with her life. Jack’s trying to get married, and is startled by a phone call at the beginning that Alex Kork has killed herself in prison. Having read other Konrath’s, however, I knew this wasn’t the case.

And it isn’t, as you might expect. This book has a great sense of drama, action, and humor mixed together as Jack must deal with Kork as well as the Keystone Cops-style snipers of her current case.

I don’t want to ruin the action, but it’s a fast paced, hilarious book that jumps from character to character so much that the narrator’s name of that chapter is listed at the beginning of each one.

Read the others first, especially Rusty Nail so you know what’s going on, but don’t go to Cherry Bomb before this one.

Mount Quandry

Tia and the boys set out for Mount Quandry yesterday, one of the 14,000 ft peaks in CO, probably just as I was waking up to run in Baton Rouge. Tia and I have done 2, Kyle 1, and this was a trip for them with me out of town and Kendall camping with friends.

They finished with mixed results. Kyle made it up to the top, by himself, and then went back down to help. Tia turned back because Delaney was sick, altitude sickness, and helped him down. He was ill, and throwing up, even when they got back home at around 8. He lay in our bed, throwing up bile periodically before dropping off the sleep.

Congrats to Kyle. He was excited, and talking about another one last night. Cool to see him excited, and I can understand. It’s a neat feeling to be on top of the tallest mountain around.


It was so nice to get home yesterday, pick up Kendall, and come lay in my bed. The Marriot in Baton Rouge is a nice hotel, a nice bed, but I was busy, active, up late and early, and struggled to sleep. I could feel some exhaustion creeping in when I got up at 7 to run Sunday morning. I just don’t sleep well on the road, and I missed my wife.

Glad to be home and in my bed last night. Unfortunately we had a sick kid between us last night.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Back Home

And glad. A fairly uneventful day, up to run, drive to New Orleans with a couple fellow speakers from SQL Saturday, and get some coffee and doughnuts from Cafe du Monde. This was my third trip there and I finally made it.

Then kill some time at the airport and a fairly easy flight home. Pick up Kendall and back to the ranch.


Last Run

Up at 7, driving back to University Lake at LSU, and a 2 mile run to start the day. It’s humid, and the air is warm, but it was nice to close out my weekend in Baton Rouge with a morning run.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

University Lake

I’m back in Baton Rouge for SQL Saturday #28. I was here last year, staying at the beautiful Cook Hotel on the LSU campus. This year I waited too long to book and they filled up, so I’m off campus at a local Marriot.

I’m only about a mile away from University Lake, so I drove over, parked at a local park, laced up the running shoes and took off around the lake.

It felt hot, humid, and familiar. Both as a place I remembered, running by sororities that I had jogged by last year, and as an environment from my youth. Hot,  muggy, and soaking me with sweat inside of 5 minutes.

But I enjoyed it, and this was one of the things I looked forward to. Three days of jogging around the lake, taking different routes, and enjoying the hot weather.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Day at Breckenridge

We’ve been planning this for two weeks, trying to go up and spend a day at the Breck Fun Park. Both times in the last week Kendall has been gone the day I’ve set aside, so we haven’t been able to make it. However with everyone home last night, I got up early (6:45) and hit the computer to get some work done.

Around 9 we packed up and headed out.

The big attraction for us was the alpine slide, but there were some other things as well that caught the kids’ eyes.


First Kendall wanted to do some gem mining. It’s a preset sluicing from a bag of dirt and gems. Fun for the kids, and at $8, a nice profit center. She dipped in her screen and got a bunch of gems while Delaney and I watched.


After that it was maze time. The maze is pretty big, and while it looks easy,


It’s not. The kids raced in


Trying to find some hole punchers that were spread out and spelled the word “M-A-Z-E”. If you found all of them inside of 10 minutes, you got a little prize. The kids didn’t realize that the first time, and didn’t punch their cards in or out. I’m glad the kid working there gave them another chance since there wasn’t much signage.

Actually they close in a few weeks and you can see that everyone working there is tired of it. No energy, not enthusiasm.


The kids had fun going through the maze, and I helped direct them from the platform on one side. Delaney finished in 8 minutes, but Kendall got a little lost and took a touch over 10. Not a big deal, because then it was time for the main attraction.



We rode the chair lift up and grabbed some sleds. We waited in line, getting instructions for the sleds. It’s simple. Pull to stop, push to go, and we were ready.


The three of us rode in sequence the first time. They send you ever couple minutes, and Delaney raced down. There was a long delay after Kendall, and I raced after her. At first I was a little worried about hitting corners at top speed, and thought I might leave the track, but as I increased speed, I realized I couldn’t leave if I wanted. I caught Kendall, following her down as she was a little nervous.


Then I let the kids go a few more times themselves, and they had a good time. On their last run, apparently a squirrel or chipmunk got on the track and got hit. Kendall was a touch sad, but she told me it was barely moving when she came on it and couldn’t do anything but run it over.

Quite the farm girl.

That was our day, and we headed home. It took a long time, we hit some traffic and everyone was tired as we got to Denver, so we came home, skipping Scouts and karate to take it easy.

A good summer trip for us.

No More Baby Teeth

36812_1540573483168_1499853552_1383306_6783699_n Delaney lost his last baby tooth today. Actually he didn’t lose it in the normal sense; it was pulled by the dentist. He had one a couple weeks ago at his check-up, but it wasn’t out and the tooth above it was being pushed to the side and potentially going to cause an issue. The dentists said he had a week to get it out, and we should schedule a pulling. We did, getting an appointment about 11 days out.

I’ve reminded him to wiggle it, but it was still there last night, so we headed out at lunch today for the procedure.

They gave him a pill to relax and then hooked him up to Nitrous Oxide to relax him a bit. He had to breathe through his nose, which was a pain. He was nervous, and I sat next to him, holding his hand for 15 or 20 minutes while they get NOS in his system and then numbed his gums.

Then it was about 30sec of wiggling and the tooth came right out. No big deal, despite Delaney being a little anxious when he saw the pliers. He was fine, a little woozy, and we left with him getting better every few minutes. A smoothie helped, but he was tired again when we got home, so he’s napping now.

That’s it for him and now time for a braces evaluation in a few months.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Milestone - 700

Today was day 700, another running milestone for me. 700 days in a row, consecutively, hitting a mile a day. That’s a long time, and there probably aren’t too many things in my life I’ve done 700 days in a row, but I’m proud to hit this one for exercise.

And I feel good. A light karate workout last night, and a massage yesterday and I feel relatively healthy. Nothing really hurt on the run today.

Next up, 2 years.

Monday, August 9, 2010

A Good Night’s Sleep

I knew I was working hard on Saturday. As I got near the far end of the pasture, having moved myself all the way around, pounding in T-posts, I was tired. The last few posts I had to rest a few times in between sledge hammer swings and catch my breath. My hands hurt, and my back was tired.

I thought that the worst part would be my hands, trying to grip a bat on Sunday. I was wrong. My back was a little stiff to start Sunday morning, but felt OK when I went on a short run. However when I went up to bat yesterday, I realized that it was more than that. I struggled to swing, not getting a good turn, and things stiffened more.

Out in center field, chasing a few balls, didn’t help, and while I turned on a ball nicely (long fly out) the second time, I took a swing in my third at bat and it spasmed and a twinge down my leg. I must have really grimaced since the other coach asked if I was all right. I went on, another poor swing and a miss to strike out, and then decided enough was enough. I could have pushed it, but I think I’ve learned to be a little more cautious as I get older. It wouldn’t mean anything even if I went up again and knocked one out of the park. We might win, but it wouldn’t be worth days of pain, and a potential injury.

So I stopped batting as an injury guy, which means my team didn’t take an out for my slot. I continued to play right, switching with another guy since we only had 9, but I didn’t do much, jogging after a bad throw and then after the game winning hit. I had no chance to grab it anyway, but I jogged to get it, saving myself.

It was sore at home, though a beer and some Aleve helped, and stiff and achey when we went to bed after celebrating a birthday with my sister-in-law.

However it’s much better this morning. Definitely stiff and tight, but not sore. It’s a relief to be able to sit, stand, etc. without pain. Just a little tightness.

I’m too old to do a full day’s ranch work now, especially with a desk job. Especially since I don’t do it often enough. I should know better, and just work a bit. I wanted to take advantage of time, but there is no shortage of stuff to do here. I could have easily just done 5 or 6 posts and then some other chores. Hopefully I’ll remember that next time.

Still Near the Top

My alma mater is still near the top of all public colleges in the US. The University of Virginia is ranked #2. Not that it’s a big deal, or even that it means a lot, but it is a little point of pride to have the school I attended highly thought of.

Now I have some bragging rights with some friends. :)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

First Set of Chores

With Tia and Kendall gone, I decided it was a good day for chores. Tia took our karate stuff in the Prius, so I took advantage of that and got out early. First the store for gas (and coffee of course), and then fixing the flat on the mower. That’s been bugging me, and I had some gel to fix it, but had to remove the core from the tire. With some goo in, I pumped it up and cut the front grass by the house to let it rotate around and settle into the leak.

That done, I filled the mower and ATV after giving Kyle a couple gallons in his car. He was worried about making it back to the gas station when he gets home, so I gave him a buffer. He’s due back today after being in Telluride for a week working and he should be flush with cash. Hopefully it was a good week for him.

I set Delaney doing some laundry then while I headed out to the far pasture in the truck. We had started fencing the other day and got the t-posts on the north side, but I decided to start working my way around. It’s fun, measure, put in a step in post, then back up the truck so I can pound in a t-post.

Drink some water

Walk 100’ with the measuring tape, put in a step post, make sure it’s 17’ from the fence, walk back.

Drive down, back up to the post, get in the bed, pound in the post with a sledge hammer.


17 times.

Whoo, I’m tired. I got them all in, all the way around, and now it’s time to get the step in posts in there. I’ll get Delaney to help in a bit with that, but I left two spots to put in a gate, so I need to get drill holes with the tractor and pour in some cement. Since we’re missing cement and a mixer, I’ll head to the hardware store later to do that, but first some lunch, and I need to run.

Can’t work too hard with a run to do today.

More Family Pix

A few more from our photo shoot:

Kendall on Rain



Cowboy D



The whole family


Kyle on a horse


Little girl posing


Sneaking a kiss




A little girl and her dog


A little boy and his dog


Tia and Zarah


Fire Truck Man


Friday, August 6, 2010

Man's Weekend

At least for a few days. Tia and Kendall left this afternoon for Girl Scout camp, coming back Sunday. Hopefully the weather won't be too bad for them. It's rained a lot this week, and a light shower cancelled Delaney and my outside run.

I went a couple years ago and enjoyed it. I've been up there a number of times for the boys, and once for Kendall, and I like the camp. Kendall wanted Mom this year, so Tia is heading out there for a few days.

Not sure what we'll do, but likely some chores and work around the ranch if the weather cooperates.

Family Photos

From our photo shoot, a couple shots I like:




A very interesting talk from TED and Simon Sinek. Worth the 18 minutes.



I think that this ties in with some of the ideas that Dan Pink has in Drive. You need a purpose, more than just earning money or making a profit.


I’m not much of a candy guy, but I like these:


eReaders - Kindle v Nook v iPad

A friend of my wife’s posted a note asking what people thought of the various devices and which one would they recommend. Someone wrote a long response that basically recommended the iPad. My wife, sister-in-law, and I started to debate it a bit. My sister-in-law just got a Nook, and she likes it, but price was a factor for her.

There are quite a few Kindle v iPad comparisons on the Internet from various people. Having owned a Kindle, and using an iPhone for media consumption now, I’ll give you a few thoughts.

eInk v LCD

The iPad has an LCD screen. The Kindle and Nook use eInk. I think both work well, though I think over hours, like reading for 4-5 hours in a row, I think it’s easier on eInk. However not a lot easier, and it’s rare that I read that long. Usually I’ll read for an hour or two and do something else.

In direct sunlight, eInk is like paper. LCD is not, but it’s not horrible. I usually read with a black background, white letters inside, but I flip that for outside reading on the iPhone. It works well for me, and even in direct sunlight, with sunglasses, it works OK. Not as good as the eInk, but OK.

Weight and Ergonomics

The iPad is definitely heaver. I’ve compared them in stores and I think if you tried to hold this away from you, or in your arms in bed without resting it on something, it would be hard. However I thought the Kindle I had was also heavy on my arms when reading in bed and holding it up in the air.

One nice thing on the iPad is you have the option to rotate it and read sideways. That is sometimes easier to hold and manage.

In terms of moving among books and turning pages, I used to think that the Kindle worked great. However after doing the swipe or tap thing on the screen, I think that is better. Miles past pushing buttons, IMHO.


How many of you are dedicated readers? I assume you read if you’re considering a Kindle, but is it worth it to have a dedicated reading device? I will say that I liked having a Kindle, but I liked the convergence more of using an iPhone. I am tempted to go with an iPad if I want a bigger device since I can do other things. I can check on Twitter, or play a game.

Or more importantly, read a color book, or a multimedia book. I think those will become more prevalent over time.


These are relatively expensive devices. Even at the $140 for the new Kindle, if it breaks, you will be upset. Probably less upset than if your $500 iPad broke, but still upset. You’ll want to be careful with either of these, and not throw them in a bag. Get something fairly sturdy so if someone sits on it, it won’t break.


I think ultimately it comes down to this for most people. If you don’t mind spending $500 on a device for fun and leisure, get the iPad. If you can just read, and then do other things on a computer, go with the Nook or Kindle.

Nook v Kindle

I think it’s a toss-up here. The Amazon catalog might be a little bigger, but the Nook has a couple nice features, like reading in store and the Lend-Me feature. Again, it’s a toss up to me. Pick the one you like.


I think the iPad is better. I have a Windows 7 tablet and it’s not even close to as convenient as an iPad. In the store, the Win 7 tablet is too heave to comfortably read with, carry, work with, and the Win 7 touch is flaky. The iPad is crisp and responsive, and just works. With the new multi-tasking in iOS4, it is very tempting to me. I’m waiting to see if a friend has used it for presentations and how that works before I make my decision.

The other nice advantage I see is that I can buy books from both Barnes and Noble and Amazon on the iPad (or use free books from Google), or even get books from a few other places. I can get PDF documents, and I can see color. The images on the Kindle device, or Kindle app, are poor. Some books in iBooks have great images. Even charts and non-color diagrams are better on the iPad in iBooks.

You can make your own decision, but is you can afford it, I think the iPad is better. However, if you can wait, I’d look to see what happens in 2011 as companies release Android and Windows tablets to compete with the iPad.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

It’s a Broken Weld

I don’t feel like a complete idiot after today. I had emailed with a dealer that could do some work on my tractor and mentioned that my rotary mower had lost the pan and blades. They told me to bring it up and they’d take a look, so with some time today, I decided to head up and see what they could do.

It’s a long drive, about 60 miles from the house, but these were nice guys (unlike the crew in Parker), so I loaded the mower into the back of the horse trailer and headed up. It’s a nice, easy drive, and I was on the phone most of the way, doing work, so it wasn’t a complete waste.

I got up there, and two guys came to look at it. They were as confused as I was in trying to figure out how this was attached, especially with a nut still on the bottom shaft.

Then the guy in charge came over, tipped it higher, and took a closer look. He told me that there was no nut on it. It was welded on and the weld broke.

I feel better, though a little dumb for not pushing this sooner. I’ve been looking for a local place to work on it and a few places have been hesitant, most wanting to sell me a new bush hog instead. These guys were friendly, and they said it would take about a week, so I’m looking forward to seeing it working again.

It definitely pays to find good service people and be ready to call them. I’d have never thought about that.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

More Fencing

We got the whole family out tonight to work on some more fencing. This time we wanted to set up the second track and we went out there. With Kendall and Delaney doing some measuring for distance, Tia put in some step in posts while I pounded a few t-posts into the ground.

The thunder and lightening scared Tia, so we knocked off early, but it was a good start. More to get done this weekend, and hopefully we get most of the way done.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Growing Up

This week Kyle is gone in Telluride. Not a vacation, he’s working down there. The past few weeks he’s started working for an environmental group in Colorado, going door to door to raise money. I did that for a bit after college, hated it, but understand what he’s doing. It’s been full time work for him, going from about 2pm - 10pm each weekday.

Needless to say it’s been a shock to his schedule, and he’s been gone a lot from home. It’s worn on him, and he’s talked about cutting back a bit. With only two weeks until school, he’ll be cutting back anyway. It’s nice to see him working full time and getting a taste of being an adult.

This week, he gets another taste. He didn’t want to go on this trip, but he ran out of money. As with many entry level jobs, payroll gets delayed, so he’s waiting on a big check for about 3 weeks work. But he’s run out of money. Not even enough money to fund gas to drive to work. Last week I drove him to the light rail one day so he could save some $$$.

He stepped up, acted like an adult, and went on this trip since he needs to work, and he can’t afford to drive. This will let him save some money as they’ll feed him as well this week and so he comes out way ahead.

I’m proud of him, as is Tia, for growing up, accepting the responsibility, and buckling down to work. A nice growth step for him as he moves on with his life.

I think I’ll fill our gas can and add a few gallons to his car so he can get to the gas station when he returns :)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Looking for Ice

After a double header yesterday, and knocking knees with someone on Saturday, I am sore. I've struggled going up and down stairs, where I have to really bend the knee and tonight at karate I really shortened some moves to avoid pain.

Now it's time for some ice, and rest, hoping to heal up. This has been a rough year on the body for some reason.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

New Shoes

Got some new running shoes yesterday, which were sorely needed. My old ones were in bad shape, with the heal fabric starting to rip on both of them. I probably should have replaced them months ago, but I had been running a decent amount in my trail shoes, and on gravel, so I kept putting this off.


I switched to try the Nike Pegasus brand last year and I liked them. They were the first shoes I tried on yesterday, they felt good, so I went with them. No need to mess around and try others since these have worked well.

Now it’s time to get Delaney out there and get running before I head to baseball today.