Thursday, September 30, 2010

Book #61 - Career Warfare

70618861[1] I picked up Career Warfare on the recommendation of a friend that had seen the Modern Resume presentation. I grabbed it as an e-book and have been reading it for the last few months, at a fairly slow pace (for me).
I often read a book in a week, but in the case of this one, I would read part of a chapter, and spend a day or so thinking about it. Digesting the information, and seeing how it might be applicable to my career, and my brand.
The author, David D’Alessandro rose to CEO of John Hancock Insurance, and you have to keep that in mind. The book is written as a tool for how you might advance your career in corporate America, and it includes lessons for upper management, many of which don’t apply to most of us. Items like dealing with the press aren’t something the average person needs to think about.
However there is some great advice in there about how you should grow your career, and the impact that you have on your career based on your actions.
I highly recommend it, and there are a couple of great pieces of advice in there. Most importantly, you are always building your brand. Slowly, surely, but every day you go to work, or interact with people professionally, you are building your brand. I like that he stresses honesty and integrity as well.
There are some things I don’t necessarily agree with, like not bringing your spouse to social events, or not drinking at all, but if you are attempting to rise to the C-level ranks, perhaps that’s good advice.

Feeling Good

The legs are still sore, but overall feeling good. Karate wasn’t too bad last night, though I had to watch the ankle and slow down. Got thrown a few times and that always makes the legs a little sore.

Delaney is doing good as well. We went running after school, not long, just a mile and a quarter, but he jogged almost the whole way, and he didn’t complain at all. I think we’re building some good fitness in him, and I can see him putting forth a little more effort at karate.

Things must be doing well since two people besides Tia have said that I lost weight recently. I don’t feel thinner at all, but I am running regularly and keeping a busy schedule. I think the lack of baseball, not having any really quick violent movements, has me a little healthier, so I can go a little harder at running.

That and I’m trying to slowly eat a little better. Not great, but slowly make some better choices when I can.

Monday, September 27, 2010


At the SQL Saturday this weekend, I was chilling on stage with some friends. I like this picture.


Kendall broke a tooth Friday night, and has been in a bit of pain since. Not a lot, but it does bother her, and it swelled up a bit. Tia started her on Amoxycillan and we were looking to call this morning to have it pulled. It was a baby tooth, one that she was supposed to be working on getting out. When the dentist saw her in July, she was worried it might start to rot and break, and asked Kendall to work on it. I’d semi-forgotten until Tia said it broke Friday.

So I took her to school this morning and then started calling. Our dentist is on vacation, so I managed to get an appointment with the on-call dentist that was covering. It was slow over there, so they got us in at 10.


It’s a nice setup, and Kendall was happy to wait because of this on the ceiling:


She watched while they set her up, and the dentist started her on numbing gel and nitrous. I checked email and was amazed that they were done in less than 10 minutes from when the dentist came in. It was a quick appointment and Kendall was only slightly dazed as we left.


A smoothie later and she felt fine. A little sore now, but getting better every hour.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Another Keynote

Up early, and hard to sleep with a keynote today at lunch during SQL Saturday #52 in Denver. Not sure why I struggle sleeping before these events. I think some of it is the worry that I’ll oversleep.

I wish I slept better, though, since I have a long day. Running, get Delaney up for Scouts, and then head off the an event that will have me out of the house until 8 or 9 tonight.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Making Progress

Last night was the September Court of Honor for Troop 636 in Elizabeth, along with a Court of Honor for our newest Eagle Scout. It was a long ceremony, but also somewhat cool. A re-affirmation of scouting values, and one of the younger scouts, our Scoutmaster’s son, at 15 and a sophomore in high school, completing his Eagle. We’ll have another kid in Dec or Mar who will finish his Eagle as an 8th grader, at 14, which is amazing.


Delaney got his canoeing and pathfinding merit badges, which were expected, and his 50 miler patch, for his canoe trip. That was unexpected, and it was cool. I was proud of that one, as was he, and hopefully I’ll go with him next year and earn that one.

The Pathfinding is cool as it’s one of the un-retired merit badges for the 100th anniversary of scouting. Kids can earn 1 of 4 for this year only, and we’re hoping Delaney can earn one or two more before the end of the year.

We were hoping Delaney would earn his first class, but a lack of camping has slowed us. He’s down to one major requirement left, and at the Fall camporee next month I hope that we get it done. He’s on a good pace, and since he’s not yet 12, he’s in good shape. If he can earn his First Class this year, and then Star next, Life and Eagle should be easy to finish when he’s 15 as well.

Some interesting facts that came out in the Eagle ceremony.

  • Only two Presidents were in Scounting, JFK and Gerald Ford. President Ford was the only eagle.
  • All the service academies send admission packets to all eagle scouts
  • Only about 10% of the people at the Naval Academy are Eagle Scouts
  • of 100 people that enter scouts, 2 will use their skills to save a life.
  • On average, only 4% of kids will make Eagle.

Delaney still is going, but he’s feeling a little behind on his work, and maybe some pressure. I told him not to worry and we’d get there, and once he gets through his black belt, I think we’ll start to make more of an effort to push forward in Scouts. He should get 3-4 more merit badges this year, hopefully 2-3 eagle ones, and a rank, and that’s a good pace for us.

He did say that he’d recognize me as one of his mentors if he makes Eagle. That was pretty cool.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Not sure what happened, but I haven’t slept well for a few nights, and was up early Sat, Sun, and Mon. This is my week to get Delaney going, so I’m up at 6:15 each day. Last night my eyes hurt, and I fell asleep relatively early (before 10). Tia was out with friends, and didn’t get home until 3. I think I tossed and turned a bit without her being there, and finally got up to check on her just as she was getting close.

So after getting Delaney to school, with Kendall  up early and Tia ready to take her, I went back to sleep. I got another hour, and lay there for another 30 before getting up and moving.

I definitely feel better, but the lack of clean sleep is a little troubling. Need to try and change a few things in life and find better sleep. I suspect I need a bit of a break from work as well.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Tired and Sore

After a busy weekend, and a lot of chores yesterday. I slept poorly, but I’m awake now and don’t quite feel like going back to sleep. I spent all Sat running around, doing kid stuff, and then fell asleep with Tia earlier than we planned. Good thing we didn’t try to see a movie. Likely we’d have missed most of it since she was tired as well.

Yesterday we were up early, Tia with horse ladies coming over, and me looking to get some chores done. I had planned on hitting Home Depot early and getting some wood and supplies for shelves and fencing. I forgot my list, but I had an idea of what to do. However I was in the middle of loading up wood when my brother called. I chatted with him and my nephews as I loaded, and didn’t quite get enough wood for all my projects, but I got enough to keep my busy all day.

I added some cedar fencing when I saw it was on sale, and then loaded up $200 of wood and headed home. I was hoping for a new battery for my drills, but couldn’t find any. That’s an excuse to go back down there :).

I got home and only unloaded a little of the 2x4 wood I’d gotten. Before I left, I had to move about 10 sheets of 4x8 OSB from the barn where it’s been sitting over to the house. Tia has been patient with it, but wanted it moved, and since I was going to use a few sheets, I moved it. That stuff is heavy, and moving it, even slowly, wears you out.

Once back, I lined up some 2x4s and marker them, getting them ready for 2x2 cross bracing and screwed things together. Slowly. Working on the ground is tough, and it was 90+F yesterday, so I was drinking lots of water and slowly putting things together. I cleaned out one section of the garage, near the back door, and then put shelves there. Once I started loading things back up on shelves, I was amazed how much space we had.

I got two sets of shelves up, and the garage looked much better. I then started to go look at fencing by one of the share shelters. My plan was to screw in 3 cross braces, and a bunch of pickets, but since the cordless drill battery doesn’t hold a long charge, I thought to go check the sizing with one cross brace first. I started down, but carrying a level, a drill, a water bottle, and a 8’ piece of wood was a lot. Since it was 2:00 and hot, I headed down with just the wood and found out it wouldn’t fit. The poles at 10’ apart, so I decided to stop.

I took a short break after that for an hour, trying to rest up and then headed out to work on some outdoor fencing. I was going to do it with Tia, but she was busy with horses, I was tired, and it was getting late. I didn’t want to be trying to fence at 7pm, so I went out, screwed in some holders to the posts, and then started stringing the electrical ribbon along the fence. I had a 660’ roll and it got about where I thought it would get. 1/3 or less of the way around.

Still it was done, and I was done. Kendall wanted to paint shelves (she’d been at her aunt’s all day), so I had a beer while she painted one of the low shelves in the garage.

Then it was time to lie down as I was beat.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Kendall Day

First volleyball this morning where Kendall had some great serves and returned some balls. Her team had 3 close games, losing two and winning one, but playing much better together.

Then she hit a birthday party while I took Delaney to karate. I managed to get home and run before grabbing Kendall and heading out to Casa Bonita in Lakewood, the famous Mexican restaurant that has an indoor pool and a fake cliff where people dive off to entertain you. There she bridged to Junior Girl Scouts from Brownies, and then played with girls a bit before we came home.

It was after 6 when we walked in and I felt like I hadn't done much of anything. So I went outside to work on fixing a few of the electrical fences we have. One needed the charger stabilized, and the other needed connecting. More work to do tomorrow, but at last I've got a few things going there. Building some shelves and more chores around the ranch. Should be productive with the kids out at the aunt's.

Friday, September 17, 2010

All Vehicles Working

I went and picked up the ATV yesterday from the shop. $320 later they fixed the coolant leak, tightened the belt, and reset the limited. Everything works, though I didn’t really test it. They guy drove it out and it looked fine to me. I loaded and unloaded it without an issue.

I wish I could have done something with it, but it feels like this was a fairly specialized issue, especially since the local shop couldn’t fix it and I had to run it to the dealer.

Time for chores.

The Start of a Busy Weekend

It seemed like we were starting to get things under control, and have some quiet weekends here at the ranch. However all of a sudden this weekend got busy, as did the next few for me. Tonight I got invited to the Great American Beer Festival with some friends from out of town. They’re in town for business this week, I helped them get tickets for tonight, and they invited me along. So I’m hoping to knock off work soon and head down.

Tia and I have a friend turning 40 today as well and were invited to happy hour. I’m going to miss it, but she’ll go for a bit. That would be a busy weekend for us, but tomorrow we also have volleyball for Kendall in the morning, then a short birthday party before she heads to Casa Bonita in Denver for a Girl Scout event. In between I also need to get Delaney to karate and then he’s hoping to invite a friend over tomorrow night.

If that weren’t enough, Tia has a mini-clinic for horses taking place here Sunday at the ranch. I’m free, but I have kids, and I need to get some chores done, so that will be a busy day as well.

Sometimes there’s just not enough hours in the day, or in this case, the weekend. I might need to take a few days off soon and get some chores done.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Would you drive this?

Edison2s-Very-Light-Car--006[1] It wouldn’t work for me now, but it might have if I lived in the city. Apparently this is the main winner in the Automotive X-Prize for cars that are supposed to get 100mpg. What’s kind of amazing is that this is an internal combustion engine, not a hybrid or electric, mounted on a super light frame.

I was happy to see an electric car get a prize as well. It’s the Wave-II and looks fairly futuristic as well. Once again, a car that I couldn’t use on the ranch, but it cool.


Both very cool cars, and I’m hoping that someone gets these to production, or at least some of the technology into cars that more people use.

Cheating In Sports

h_dss_logo[1] I typically start my day with Mike and Mike, streamed on delay in Denver on The Fan. I enjoy the hosts and it’s interesting to hear them talk about the previous day’s sports events. Today there was a huge debate on the Yankee game last night. I caught a bit of it, and saw Derek Jeter get “hit” by a pitch. Or actually, his bat getting hit by a pitch, but him acting like he got hit.

On the show, all of the athletes that were talking took Derek Jeter’s side. They said that cheating was part of the game. Faking a hit in baseball, flopping in basketball, adding something like silicon to your jersey in football so you can’t be blocked. Those are all “part of the game” and legitimate.

However the fan reaction, through emails and texts sent in to the show were completely opposite. People are disappointed, angry, and upset with Jeter. They say it’s not honest, not fair, he ought to be thrown out, he’s a bad role model, etc.

I think Jeter did the right thing. This happens in pro sports, and it’s accepted. This isn’t for fun; major league baseball (or pro football/basketball/etc) is business, and it’s for serious money. Winning matters to these guys. I’d go as far to say that it matters in college, for people that might go pro, or earn money for their school. And it matters in high school, for kids trying to get college scholarships.

However it’s not “part of the game,” as the pro athletes say. It’s part of the business of sports. That’s OK, and I understand it. I don’t like it, but I get it.

When I play baseball, or my kids play rec sports, I don’t think this should be acceptable. I think that the “game” deserves from honesty. Not everyone agrees, but that’s how I feel. I wouldn’t “cheat” a friend to get ahead, or get a win. I wouldn’t take a base if I didn’t get hit, and I wouldn’t even stand there and take a hit to get on base. It’s a game, and I think I need to earn my way through the game. If I step out in basketball, I’d call myself out. I don’t like getting over.

Not everyone I play with agrees, but I let them live their life, and play the game their way.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Good Run

I took today to go outside and get in a good run as the weather looked good. It was a little cool, 75F on my thermometer, and I struggled a touch. These days as we move into fall, with a little wind, are tough. I feel good when there’s no wind, but when a gust comes, it’s chilly for me.

I felt great, however, no knee pain at all. A great way to enjoy 20 minutes and 2 miles. This is my third year in a row on this day running.


Delaney doing Mockingbird by Eminem

Kendall wanted to have a sing/dance contest recently. She got up there and sang, but too quietly to pick up on the microphone. Even though it was just me and the little kids, she was shy. However Delaney loved it and go all into it.

I wish I could get him to do a little more rapping, maybe with a backbeat.

Reading Recommendations (Twitter is cool)

Twitter is an amazing beast. More and more I find myself getting useful information and ideas from Twitter. For someone that works at home, it’s a great window into the world outside.

A couple days ago, a friend posted that they were looking for a science fiction book to read, and were there any recommendations. I dropped one back and didn’t think about it.

The next day the person posted back that they liked book x, y, and z, and did anyone else have a recommendation. Four or five people chimed in and before long there was a science fiction list going back and forth in a number of tweets. A few people recommended books back to me, and I even picked up one of my own recommendations that I had read as a kid, and grabbed a sample on the Kindle App to remind me to get to it again.

So now I have these samples on my Kindle to start reading again:

  • Daemon - Danial Suarez, and the Freedom as the next book.
  • Titan - John Varley
  • The Gunslinger (Dark Tower Series) - Stephen King, I read this a long time ago, but the recommendations from friends will have me try it again.
  • Foundation - I read this in high school or college and I recommended it, but I only read 3. There are 7, so I’ll try this one again.
  • I, Robot - Never read it. Recommended to me.
  • The Second Ship - found on an Amazon recommendation
  • Star Soldier - Another Amazon recommendation found while looking at those above.

I’ll get to all these this year, but it’s cool to get a few recommendations.

A Million Years Ago



Tuesday, September 14, 2010

GTD – A New Barn Light

I may be slow, but I do eventually get things done. At least some things. Today it was a barn light. The old one had burned out last month. I replaced the bulb after a couple weeks (it’s a slow process to get the specialty high pressure sodium bulb. It didn’t work, so I wasn’t sure if it was a fuse/wiring issue or perhaps the ballast.

A ballast online was about $28, so I debated about what to do. Last night after karate we ran down to Lowes and I checked out other lamps. I found an outdoor CFL, that’s supposed to work in winter for $30, so I grabbed it. At the very least it would tell me if the other light is broken because of wiring.

I knocked off work around 5 and walked out to the barn, wrench, electrical pliers, and the new light. Removing the old one was easy, and I was glad I’d put a switch on it to kill power and get me working quickly without messing with circuit breakers.

Then I forgot the electrical tape and needed a screwdriver for the new light. A trip back to the house for supplies, and water, and then only about 15 minutes spent making sure things were connected securely and the wiring put together OK. I threw the switch and…


Well, I didn’t expect it since it has a photocell on the top. I covered it up and briefly got a flicker, so I thought it was working, but it needs like 5 minutes of dim light to come on. So I headed off to Boy Scouts with Delaney, hoping it would work.

I came home to find it working, which is always a good feeling. Now I have another light to debug and figure out what broke on it. I think I’ll wait to see if this one works in the cold. If it does, I’m not sure it’s worth the $30 to fix the old one when that buys a new one.

Some Days....

Some days I think I go full retard when doing the podcasts.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Back to Karate

After a week off. We missed last Wednesday, taking a day off because we were busy and then forgot our uniforms on Thur, busy Saturday, we haven't been back since last Tuesday. I was a little worried about being sore, but we didn't push hard, worked only a little kata, and I felt good.

Slightly sore knee afterward, but overall feeling better after a class than I have in quite some time.


The mower started to surge and die last weekend and we weren't sure what was wrong. I suspected fuel somehow, though my sister-in-law swore that the fuel tank was full. The mower sat there for a couple days in the wind until I could push it to the garage.

My first step was the fuel line. I suspected a clogged fuel filter from the way that the mower sounded as it died, but I got a nice flow of fuel and managed to not spill too much. Since that was working, I suspected the spark plug. It was semi-buried under a metal cover, so I spent a couple days, minutes each day, working loose screws to get to the spark plug. I had to clean things off since there was a lot of accumulated dust and dirt, but last night I finally got a socket around it and got it out. I remember from working on motorcycles that it helps to show a spark on the plug. So I connected the plug to the wire and cranked the motor while holding the plug. Nothing.

So today was my trip to find a spark plug. I didn't want to go to Sears since it's so far, so I stopped off at NAPA first, and they had spark plugs. $1.88, so I got two, even though the last one has lasted 7-8 years and I won't likely need one, it wouldn't be worth the drive again. Of course, I had a moment of panic when the cashier said "are you sure it isn't the coil?" as I was chatting with him. I figured a $2 replacement was a good start, and he agreed, so I brought them home.

My first step was to hook up the wire and hold the plug. Not to self and everyone else: don't hold the metal part of the spark plug while cranking the engine. I got a shock, not a bad one, but a nice tingling that had me drop the spark plug and stopping the cranking at the same time. Spark working, so I screwed the plug in and attached a few of the screws for the cover. I then turned over the engine.

I had a moment of worry since it cranked without turning over, but it sounded like some spark was exploding in there. So I stopped, moved the throttle a bit and tried a few more times. It turned over and caught. Success!!

I proceeded to screw everything back down, and then it started again (the true test) and drove over to hook up the manure spreader.

A nice relief, and another repair completed.

Baseball with my son

I meant to get this out yesterday, but I ended up staying away from the computer most of the day. That’s good, and it was a fun day.

My oldest son mentioned to me wife that he was enjoying baseball. I was surprised since he’d never been much of a sports kid, none of my kids have, and I’ve given up on taking them to games. Kyle (my oldest) had texted me a bunch over the summer, noting events in the Rockies year, like when they won, or a big home run, etc. We exchanged a few texts on it, but I figured that he was just hanging out with friends and bored with the game.

I was wrong. So when I heard that from my wife, I asked him if he’d like to go see a real game. He was up for it, so we looked around the schedule and picked Saturday night. He came back Fri from college and then Sat afternoon we headed down on the light rail.

We stopped by his room to drop off stuff, and his roommate was there watching the beginning of the game. We said good-bye and headed over. I had splurged for club level seats since it was the first game in a long time I’d taken him (maybe 9 years?) and it was pretty sold out. I could have gotten high seats in RF for $35, but I figured I’d get club in case the weather turned bad and give him a good experience.

We had a good time, cheering for the Rockies, sweating a bit as the pitcher struggled and the Rockies were down a run for a lot of the game. However once again, the Rockies pulled it out and we cheered the win before heading back to the light rail.

It was a great time for me, and I’m hoping Kyle enjoyed it and wasn’t just being polite. He seemed to, and cheered a bunch, even when it wasn’t the crowd yelling, so I’m guessing he had fun. We’ll see as I’ll look for another game to head down to. Not sure about this year, but maybe next.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


We headed down for volleyball and karate tonight for the kids. We watched Kendall practice volleyball and her team is doing better. Definitely more hits today than previous weeks. We had a parents v kids scrimmage at the end of practice, and while the kids lost, they scored some points, which was good.

Then we grabbed dinner and were about to head to karate when Delaney noticed we didn’t have our bags and uniforms. We’d gone the other night in the Porsche and left the bags in there. I forgot to move them tonight, so we were out of luck.

We headed home. Delaney was happy since he got to go to work and pull weeds. I headed out in the tractor to get a little cutting done and get closer to being done cutting for the year.

Full Synthetic

It’s oil change day for the Prius, and I’m using Jiffy Lube today. I’ve gone back and forth with Grease Monkey, Jiffy Lube, Brakes Plus, and myself over the last few years, and with no real difference for the first three. The latter one sucks, mainly because of the disposal hassle and time involved for me to do it.

I’ve run full synthetic in all the vehicles here for years, and they’ve all run fine. Not that normal oil wouldn’t work, but if I run long on a change, and I tend to run about 5-6k miles in the gas cars, I don’t worry about it. I’ve also not had any engine issues, so it seems like cheap insurance to me.

The Prius is at 69,300 miles, and we’ve owned it for 41 months as of last week. It’s performed well, and still is doing great. Gas mileage is down a touch, and I think that’s due to switching from the cheaper, better rolling tires to a slightly heavier, better traction tire, but after a lot of slipping last year, I’m hoping these last longer. Still, 50mpg to 46mpg isn’t a bad slip.

Southern Racism

I agree with Obama on the Quran burning; it will inspire anit-American people, and incite them to riot.

It’s also a wonderful example of Southern intolerance, ignorance, and racism, a large part of history in that part of the US.

I somehow don’t understand how a man of God, of faith, and I’d assume, peace, wants to burn the religious works of another faith. I wonder how he’s feel if people in the Iraq of Afghanistan burned the Bible?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


I was looking at a mapping API article today and remembered that I’d seen some beautiful houses around University Lake at LSU when I was down there recently. I ran around different parts of the lake each day for 3 days and saw some amazing houses on the edge of the LSU campus.

A few were for sale, so I did a quick search to see what they cost.

Here’s one I ran past on S Lakeshore Dr. Price: $2,250,000.


A nice Southern mansion from the looks of it. I was thinking 1, maybe 1.5mm, but 2.25 is something. Not sure if the economy is doing bad in LA with those prices, though there were quite a few for sale.

Another one is a bargain at $995,000.

It made me wonder what other things cost near universities.  My alma mater, the University of Virginia, has a few on famous Rugby Road. Here’s a half acre one for $924,000.

As much as I enjoyed college life, not sure I’d want to live that close to a college anymore. I think I’d rather be like one of my finance professors. He retired from Wall St and bought a few hundred acres outside of Charlottesville. That’s more my style.


In matters of style, swim with the current. In matters of principle, stand like a rock - Thomas Jefferson

Book #60 – Space Prison

32389104[1] I grabbed this book at a discount, and wasn’t sure how I’d like it at first. In Space Prison, a large colony ship of humans, fleeing the “Gerns” a race that enslaves them, is stopped on the way to a free planet. Half the group is kept as slaves, the rest dropped on a semi-hospitable planet, supposedly with supplies and told they will be picked up and “relocated” later.

They aren’t.

They’re dropped on a primitive planet, with very few supplies and weapons, and immediately their 1400 number dwindles from “Hell fever” that kills the same day, and prowlers that attack in the night. Almost half of them are killed as they struggle to survive.

I don’t usually like the primitive stories, dealing with times without technology and electricity, but this one amazed me. It’s a planet with two suns, that move in and out, so that the planet seems to alternate between ice ages and extreme summers (for some parts of it). The humans must learn to survive, but they must survive across generations. The book covers 200 years as subsequent generations learn to adapt, and slowly exact their revenge on the Gerns.

It’s amazing, and it’s a story that you have to give time to, and appreciate the need to think long term, about future generations, and not just what you can accomplish.

I’m on a horse

I used to try and ride with my wife once a year. I don’t really enjoy it, but she does, and it’s time together. However I haven’t been out in a few years, for various reasons, and Tia’s left me alone. This weekend we were without kids and wandered around when Tia asked me if I’d ride with her. On the spur of the moment, since I was enjoying the day with my wife, so I said yes.

She tacked up the two mares, and we walked down the yard to get the saddles to settle. After a few minutes of sorting out dogs, and getting Kahli put away so she didn’t come with us, we got on and headed out. As we walked out the gate, Tia’s sister arrived with the kids, who were surprised to see Dad on a horse. They snapped this picture of us.


We headed out to the trail, me working on building back some skills. I had made a good effort to learn how to ride a few years ago and learned a few things. Some things came back, and it was easier to ride this time, separating my lower body from my upper body and matching my movements to the horse. Tia noticed that I was doing better, and I seemed slightly more in control. I didn’t feel out of control and handled the up and down on hills better. I think 2 years of karate have helped here.

We’ll see if I get out more, but I did enjoy the time with Tia.

My New Hat

On my head, snapped while helping Tia with some chores.



I heard on Mike and Mike this morning that there were 22 blackouts in the NFL last year. And more could be coming this year. That seems amazing, and I was sure that there were almost none, but apparently some of the struggling teams (Oakland, Tampa, Seattle) have had blackouts.

Last year was the first year in quite a few that I didn’t attend at least one Broncos game live. Or some other game. A couple years ago I saw the Seahawks in Seattle, and I’ve seen a few other teams over the years. I enjoy going to live games, and saw the Rockies last week with a friend in town, and am planning on another Rockies game this weekend with my two sons.

It’s not just local games. When I go to Kansas City next month, I’ll attend a Royals game there, and earlier this year I saw the Charlotte Bobcats when I attended SQL Saturday #33. In the past I’ve also gone to see the Arizona Diamondbacks, Seattle Mariners, New York Knicks, and a few other teams while traveling. I usually check for a game, and was hoping I’d see the Knicks again in Nov, but they’re not in town.

As I looked for tickets this summer for half price games, I didn’t get any, and decided not to bother. My kids aren’t thrilled with sitting there for the games, and even some friends would rather watch on TV. If the Broncos got blacked out, I’d be fine watching other games. It’s not that I’m not a fan, but it’s not necessarily something that’s worth paying a lot for.

What would get me down to watch the games live? Prices for one. It’s expensive, and while it’s not crazy, it adds up. However it’s more than the pricing. There are a number of other things that bother me.

At Rockies games, it’s pretty well policed. Granted the game moves a little slower, but the ushers there do a good job of managing the people and preventing fights or profanity from getting out of hand. A quick complaint to an usher usually gets a single warning before someone is escorted out. I admire the passion from football fans, but I would prefer that they keep their language in check with kids around. The last two games I’ve taken kids to have had cursing, screaming matches within a few rows of us, and a fight within 3 rows of us at each game.

Apart from that, it’s hard to go get food and drink at Bronco’s stadium for the kids. The last few times I’ve done that, I’ve missed a substantial portion of the game, usually about 10+ minutes of game time to get a soda. It’s crazy. That alone makes me want to just stay home. When I add in the 3+ hours of getting there and back, it’s a full day of my life and not necessarily worth it.

What’s the solution? I’d pay for local Bronco’s games on TV, but I can’t get them. DirecTV has the NFL Sunday Ticket, but it’s $300. That’s a lot, and not necessarily worth it. If I could get just my team for $50-80, I’d just do it. Or buy a couple teams, but there’s no option. That would be one way to get more local money, with a special split for the local team.

There’s too much money floating around, and too much being made of driving revenue forward for this to sustain. The owners, the league, they need to take a step back and show they appreciate fans, not just try to milk a few more million out of their business.


I’ve been trying to carefully watch my health as I’ve been running. As I close on two years of daily running, I find that I’m really sore and hurting this year. However I don’t think it’s because of running, and I’ve tried to pay attention to see.

Yesterday was a good example. I felt good in the morning, having not done anything but run for the last 5 days. Well, I had some chores, but not a lot. I ran on the treadmill since there was a mini-gale outside around the ranch. I felt great, and actually ran a little faster than I have in previous days. I felt great afterwards as well.

However this morning I woke up with a sore right ankle. Sore enough to have me limping a little as I walked to wake up Delaney. Even now, a few hours later, it’s still sore, though I’m not limping. My diagnosis: karate.

The twisting, and some movements last night were a bit much. I tried to take it easy on the right side, but there was one time I kicked hard with the left, and I twisted a bit on the right leg, tweaking my knee, and I’m guessing, my ankle.

I was hoping to take a few weeks of easy work, but I’ve struggling to do it after baseball. I think I’m still learning to slow down, and struggling with that.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Book #59 - Immoral

73968098[1] I think this book was recommended for me, after all my crime/mystery purchases, but it was discounted, looked interesting, so I picked up a copy of Immoral.

At first I found it very intriguing. A girl goes missing, supposedly from her house, and it’s eerily similar to a disappearance the previous year. As the detective digs in, looking at people in the school, we wonder what happened. When the girl’s bracelet it found in the woods, and blood in the van of her stepfather, he goes on trial.

The book leads you on, twisting and revealing just bits of information. Eventually you wonder how the story migrates to Las Vegas from the Wisconsin woods, but it does, and you might begin to suspect things. The latter part of the book is more of a wrap up, with a nice little twist from the past that we learn. It reminded me of some of the ways that Harlan Coben has ended his books. It’s good, but not a great read.

Sleeping In (Kinda)

I had to get up at 6:15 to get Delaney to school. It's my "early" week, and I'm responsible for him. I actually woke up at 5:45 and lay there, hoping for more sleep, until the alarm went off. I'd gone to bed early last night, feeling sick, and so I was hoping for more rest.

I got him to the bus, had checked some email, and it occurred to me to get some more rest. So I went back to bed, tossing and turning a but, but getting some rest and waking up around 9:30. I still feel a touch of a cold coming on, but I felt much better after a little more sleep.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Drinks at the bar

Last night everyone was gone. Kyle’s still at college, the little ones went to their Aunt’s, and Tia had a dinner with a few horse ladies. I was invited, but declined, thinking that 4 women talking horses wouldn’t make for the best evening for me.

So I headed out alone, hitting Chili’s for some baby back ribs. I haven’t had those in a long time, and I saw someone eating ribs recently that looked great. Tia doesn’t like Chilis, so I took the opportunity to go alone and sit at the bar.

I used to do that when I was younger, sometimes enjoying a quiet lunch or dinner at the bar, watching a ball game. Last night I saw the second half of the TCU/Oregon St game with a Herradura and Grapefruit juice along with my ribs. The Shiner Bock sauce was awesome, with that vinegary spicy flavor.

Tia wasn’t done by the time I’d finished. We’d talked about a movie, but I wasn’t sure there was anything great, and timing is an issue at times, so I headed back to Main St to Vines, a wine bar that sits on the corner and where we’ve gone before. I sat at the bar again, grabbed a flight of 3 ports to sip while waiting for Tia. She walked down when she was done with dinner and we sat there. I didn’t feel like a movie, was worn out and beat from chores, and so we sat there for some dessert and drinks.

A coupe B&Bs and some conversation with my lovely wife closed out a busy day. It was great to just relax, sit there, and talk about life a bit.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Bailed Out by the Tractor

The ATV is still sick. We called the shop today, and they hadn't fixed it yet. In fact, they weren't sure what was wrong, which had Tia quite upset. She depends on that thing for chores, and was upset since she needed to drag the arena and soften it up so she could ride the horse she's been starting for the owner. The owner is in town for the weekend, so it's a big deal to get the arena soft.

So we decided to try something else. The Arena Rascal needs some speed to dig into the ground and soften it up. It's also heavy, so we hooked it to the tractor.

I drove it around, going a little faster than I would have liked, but managed to drag things nicely. I went over most of the arena 3 times, in different directions to loosen all the dirt. More jostling than I liked, and I think I might be a little sore tomorrow, so I treated myself to a couple beers afterwards.

It was worth it. Even though no one fell off a horse, Tia said it felt better, and he frown turned upside down.

Still sick, but better

Kendall’s home again today. She was still sick last night, and a fever late yesterday, so I hadn’t planned on getting her to school today. I actually decided at night not to even check on her, and let her sleep in, so I turned off my alarm.

However I didn’t tell Kendall since it was 2:00am. She crawled into bed with us sometime, and then got up around 7:30, going to find Tia. She asked if she needed to go to school, and Tia told her she could stay home. However she wanted to know what to do then since she wanted to watch TV in our bed, and snuggle under the covers, but I was still asleep.

Tia told her to just turn on the TV.

It worked. I got up around 8 and headed to work, leaving Kendall to enjoy a relaxing morning as best she could with a cold. I did help her make oatmeal with fresh and dried bananas and dried blueberries, so I’m not completely useless.

Multiply like horses

I think the saying should be “multiply like horses”, not rabbits.

We have two new horses coming today, likely for just a few months, but we’ll see. One of Tia’s boarders has a bunch of horses, and lives in Austin, and brought one up last year for Tia to train. That’s Tina, the one that broke Tia’s arm.

Since then, Tia has really worked hard, and managed to get Tina riding well. I haven’t been thrilled with Tia starting young horses and was concerned when I heard that two more might be coming.

These are just coming for some ground work, and with a good sized rent check, and likely only for a few months, so that is good for us. More money for Tia’s business, and some more experience for her.

They arrived today, driving all night from Austin, and she’s loading them into pens for now. Hopefully all goes well, and now I have an excuse to get building on some new shelters.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


The household has been fairly healthy for a long time, no real colds or sickness. Delaney was coughing a bunch earlier this week and we thought he was getting sick, but we let him sleep in a few times and he perked back up.

Today Kendall and I slept in a bit (one hour late start Thursday) and when she got up, she said she wasn't feeling good. I knew she'd been sneezing and had a runny nose last night, and had coughed a lot after she came in our room, so I dropped in for a bath, which she needed, and let her stay home. It seemed like she was getting a cold, and sure enough this afternoon she had a fever.

Hopefully this goes away quick and she gets better soon. No volleyball tonight, which is disappointing for her, but it will be good to have a quiet, relaxing night. I know I could use one. I kneeled down to help her brush her hair in the bath, and my bruised knee complained a lot. I then stood up and bent over to brush, and my lower back was upset.

I'm getting old

The Sack Lunch

A story shared by the Scoutmaster from Delaney’s Boy Scout troop inspired me this morning. It’s the way that I would love to see more people behave.


The Sack Lunches

I put my carry-on in the luggage compartment and sat down in my assigned seat. It was going to be a long flight. 'I'm glad I have a good book to read. Perhaps I will get a short nap,' I thought.

Just before take-off, a line of soldiers came down the aisle and filled all the vacant seats, totally surrounding me. I decided to start a conversation.

‘Where are you headed?' I asked the soldier seated nearest to me. 'Petawawa. We'll be there for two weeks for special training, and then we're being deployed to Afghanistan.

After flying for about an hour, an announcement was made that sack lunches were available for five dollars. It would be several hours before we reached the east, and I quickly decided a lunch would help pass the time...

As I reached for my wallet, I overheard a soldier ask his buddy if he planned to buy lunch.  'No, that seems like a lot of money for just a sack lunch. Probably wouldn't be worth five bucks.  I'll wait till we get to base.'

His friend agreed.

I looked around at the other soldiers. None were buying lunch. I walked to the back of the plane and handed the flight attendant a fifty  dollar bill.  'Take a lunch to all those soldiers.' She grabbed my arms and squeezed tightly. Her eyes wet with tears, she thanked me. 'My son was a soldier in Iraq ; it's almost like you are doing it for him.'

Picking up ten sacks, she headed up the aisle to where the soldiers were seated. She stopped at my seat and asked, 'Which do you like best - beef or chicken?' 'Chicken,' I replied, wondering why she asked. She turned and went to the front of plane, returning a minute later with a dinner plate from first class.

'This is your thanks..'

After we finished eating, I went again to the back of the plane, heading for the rest room. A man stopped me. 'I saw what you did. I want to be part of it. Here, take this.' He handed me twenty-five dollars.

Soon after I returned to my seat, I saw the Flight Captain coming down the aisle, looking at the aisle numbers as he walked, I hoped he was not looking for me, but noticed he was looking at the numbers only on my side of the plane. When he got to my row he stopped, smiled, held out his hand and said, 'I want to shake your hand.' Quickly unfastening my seatbelt I stood and took the Captain's hand. With a booming voice he said, 'I was a soldier and I was a military pilot. Once, someone bought me a lunch. It was an act of kindness I never forgot.' I was embarrassed when applause was heard from all of the passengers.

Later I walked to the front of the plane so I could stretch my legs. A man who was seated about six rows in front of me reached out his hand, wanting to shake mine. He left another twenty-five dollars in my palm.

When we landed I gathered my belongings and started to deplane. Waiting just inside the airplane door was a man who stopped me, put something in my shirt pocket, turned, and walked away without saying a word. Another twenty-five dollars!

Upon entering the terminal, I saw the soldiers gathering for their trip to the base. I walked over to them and handed them seventy-five dollars. 'It will take you some time to reach the base.. It will be about time for a sandwich. God Bless You.'

Ten young men left that flight feeling the love and respect of their fellow travelers.

As I walked briskly to my car, I whispered a prayer for their safe return. These soldiers were giving their all for our country. I could only give them a couple of meals. It seemed so little...

A veteran is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made payable to 'The United States of America  ' for an amount of 'up to and including my life.'

That is Honor, and there are way too many people in this country who no longer understand it.'

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


100px-Pathfinding_2010[1] Delaney finished up the requirements for the Pathfinding merit badge last night and he should get it in a few weeks at the Court of Honor. This is one of the 100 year anniversary “un-retired” merit badges that scouts can earn this year, and only this year. Requirements have to be done by Dec 31 of this year or they can’t get it.

I’m glad he got one, and I think this was fun. The troop walked around downtown Elizabeth, a historical, old town and I helped him find some history on the town to get things done.

He wants to do Signaling as well, which is hard. I’d like to get him to do Carpentry, but I need to setup a project that he and other boys can do.

Diesel Hybrid

Why don’t we have one of these in the US? A diesel hybrid, coming next year from Peugot to Europe. I know diesel isn’t as prevalent in the US, but this seems like a great idea.


It even looks pretty good.