Friday, December 31, 2010

Stuck Inside

I guess I wasn't stuck inside, but it was 5F today. I went out to re-load the trash (@#$%@$@# trash guys) since we were too late yesterday and I had to bring it in. My fingers were frozen in a few minutes of lifting stuff into the back of the truck.

There wasn't a lot of snow, but a couple of inches on the ground mean that it won't be fun, and my shoes would get wet outside. So for the third day in a row, after 3 outside, I was back on the treadmill. I don't mind it, especially now that I've started a longer series on DVD to watch.

So I close out my second full year, calendar year, of running. Day 842 today. It felt great, I feel healthy, strong, and felt great. Tomorrow will probably be inside as well to start the new year off.

Books in 2010

Eighty books read, and in progress on four more right now. If I look through the list, it’s quite a long list, with quite a few concentrated authors. Not the 100 in some years, but still impressive. There were definitely some long periods where I didn’t read a lot this year.

I published a few reviews today that have been half done and sitting in my drafts. Most of those I read in Nov/Dec.

My favorites:

It’s Your Ship #6 – Amazing book on management.

The Confession #78 – The passion of a Time to Kill

Containment #49 – Threw me for a loop

Daemon #72 – Very, very exciting

Space Prison #60 – Playing long ball in a whole new way.

The Things They Carried #37 – A look back at how a platoon was affected by the Vietnam war. Faulkner-like.

A few disappointments

61 Hours #47 – Didn’t feel complete, a little rushed.

Worth Dying For #65 – Not the energy of the other books.

Victorius #38 – Not a great ending to this series.

Book #80 - Peace Warrior

Peace Warrior had such a cool cover that I had to try it. At the very least I figured my son would enjoy it.
We start in the near future, with a highly decorated soldier leading his platoon on an ambush in the frozen north of Europe. They are winning, but he tries to save another soldier, only to slide across the road and hang from a branch above a frozen lake. The enemy, none too thrilled to have had their convoy ambushed, shoots off his arms and legs. He falls, and manages to slip into the ice, dying on his own terms.
Only he doesn’t die. 600 years later he is awakened by scientists that manage to revive his frozen body and regrow the arms and legs, fixing and improving his body. He’s brought back because the entire human race has moved to “peace” unwilling to embrace any violence. However 13 years before this, a warlike race enslaved the humans because they were so passive and uses them to mine the Earth. The soldier is an experiment to try and get rid of the aliens.
It’s a fascinating look at the future. I can’t believe it would happen, but who knows. Not everyone is peaceful, as there is a “Violent’s Prison” where those who cannot conform at kept, but I cannot believe that only 20,000 or so of the 60 billion people don’t fit in.
Is you suspend that premise, it’s a fun read. I had a hard time putting it down.

Book #79–Freedom

The sequel to Daemon, and one that you need to read after the first. Freedom picks up with the worldwide daemon still ruling a subclass of people. The new world order is growing, and in some places it makes sense. The detective accused of creating it is executed, but not really killed. The daemon has faked his death, sending him out on a crusade to find out if the daemon is doing good.

It’s a great look at how interconnected our society is, and how the government might be powerless against a superior computing genius. However many of the ways in which the daemon displays it’s intelligence make this part of the story more fantasy that reality. Like a movie that degenerates from a possible scary situation to a contrived scene to show off some special effect, this book wasn’t as great (to me) as the first one.

Book #78–The Confession

Getting back to the more passionate, emotional books, Grisham does a fantastic job. I grabbed The Confession since it was on the front page, and I didn’t see anything else that day. This brought me back to the “A Time to Kill” feeling, where you are outraged and powerless to do anything about the injustices in the story. In this case, during a death penalty case.

A boy was wrongly suspected, arrested, convicted, and is about to be killed in Texas. His lawyer is a passionate liberal trying desperately to think of something, but coming to grips with the idea that he will lose this boy. A paroled felon goes to a church in Kansas and confesses to the priest for the killing, but drags it out until a race occurs to the Texas town the day of the execution.

They’re too late.

However that’s only half the book. The other goes into the efforts to clear the boy’s name, and it casts the death penalty in a suspect light. The governor of Texas, the police, the town even has to come to grips with the idea that they killed the wrong man.

It’s a fantastic read, and highly recommended.

Book #77–Mech 2

As soon as I finished Mech, I bought and started Mech 2. I enjoyed the first one, and this one was good, but a different twist. In this one, it’s ten years later and the former governer of Gern, that defeated the aliens, is just arriving at his home system. That more realistic view of space travel interested me.

The aliens are back, this time a separate ship, a different type of alien that can genetically engineer other species into aliens lands on a remote base and attacks.

As with the first book, there are multiple stories going on. The human factions are disjointed, fight with each other, have their own agendas within the government, and with rebels that are in the far end of the system. The aliens aren’t invincible, but their bio-technology gives them a nice edge that nearly overwhelms the humans.

Fortunately the humans have mechs, which help them out. However that’s not the ultimate tool as one of the mechs “remembers” her past as a murderer, with an interesting story within a story taking place.


Book #76 - Mech

51RgOgKqpDL._SX105_This was an interesting science fiction story. An alien race comes back to their solar system to find that their planet is gone, but the neighboring one has been settled by humans. It’s really only one alien in a ship, but the alien can breed all sorts of other aliens and sets about on a plan to reclaim this planet.

Mech is a mechanical human, mostly machine, but with a brain from a real human. A criminal, but wiped and used for military purposes. They’re expensive and they aren’t many of them. They actually only play a small role in the story as different factions of humans have to unite to fight the aliens, so I’m not sure why the book is called Mech.

This was a nice read, however, since it presents a more realistic view of how we will evolve. There are still governments, corruptions, smugglers, good and bad people, and many of the failings that we humans have today. Advancing our technology won’t fix this, and the book seems to display that.

Book #75–Truck Stop

I have enjoyed a number of Konrath’s books this year, and this was a quick intro book that features the famous Jack Daniels that leads to the joint book Konrath wrote with Blake Crouch. Truck Stop was short, funny, and also a little sick as two serial killers meet at a truck stop, catching, and losing, Jack before they escape.

Not great, but if you like the Jack Daniels series, this fills in another chapter in her career.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Sermon Walking

Posted elsewhere on the web, but sent to me today by my Mom and I liked it. Your character and your actions stand out more than anything.

Sermon Walking
In 1953 reporters gathered at a Chicago railway station waiting to meet the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize winner.

He was a big man, well over six feet tall, with bushy hair and a large mustache.

Reporters were excited to see him and expressed what an honor it was to meet him. Cameras were flashing, compliments were being expressed when, looking beyond the adulation, the visitor saw an elderly black woman struggling to carry her two large suitcases.

"Excuse me," he said as he went to the aid of this woman. Picking up her cases, he escorted her to a bus and then apologized to the reporters for keeping them waiting.

The man was Dr. Albert Schweitzer, the famous missionary-doctor who had invested his life helping poor and sick people in Africa.

A member of the reception committee remarked to one of the reporters, "That's the first time I ever saw a sermon walking." The measure of any man or woman is not their name, nor their fame, nor what they say, but what they do.

Cold and Stormy

There was a winter storm warning for today, 4-8" predicted for today and tonight. I wasn't sure it would come, after all, they are weathermen saying this. However when I took the trash out, it was a cold 30F. Right now it shows 18Fon my gauge.

I'm a wimp, ran on the treadmill, but did go long for day 841.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


This family can sure kill a pizza. I brought home a large, 18" Anthony's pizza after errands, and the kids attacked it. When I walked over there an hour later, there was one piece left.

Guess I should have brought 2.

My Coworker

Besides Tia, I had another coworker this afternoon.

Usually the cat is hanging out on Tia's desk, but for some reason she wants to sit on my lap. Multiple times she's come over to hang out, purring and sleeping as I try to type around her.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Enjoying the Colorado Weather

The last three days I’ve been running outside, with the temp being in the upper 40s. Today my thermometer reads 47F, but with the sun shining and no wind, it has felt like it was closer to 55F out there. I wore a sweatshirt, but no hat (and shorts) and enjoyed the run today.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Rebuilding my laptop

I finally got around to adding the new memory (16GB), removing the old 4GB and then replacing the DVD drive with an SSD. Now he hard part: rebuilding the machine.

In order to use the 16GB, and get VMs to run more smoothly, I need 64 bit Windows 7. I had left the x86 install when I received it since I was worried about my Google calendar sync, and at the time I had a few 32 bit programs that didn’t work well with my 64 bit desktop.

Almost a year later things are fairly smooth on the desktop, and since I plan on doing more presenting, and more VM work, I need to take advantage of the RAM. Which means a rebuild.

First step is to back up my machine, which I’m doing now using my Windows Home Server. The next step is to then clone my drive to be safe, and finally I’ll do a reinstall of Windows and begin setting everything back up.

Back to Work

And moving a little slow. I got up late, not in a hurry, on my first day back at work after being off for over a week. OK, I did have to work on Saturday a bit, but it was only about an hour, and the kids were busy with their own stuff. Plus, I’d blown it off from Friday ;)

A quiet day, even with being gone for a week. I’d processed email last week in the condo in Steamboat, mostly just to keep an eye on what was happening. I did come back to a summary blog that I’d forgotten to write, but I knocked out this morning: The Twelve Days of (SQL) Christmas

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to everyone. A rocky start, but it has turned out to be a good day.

An early morning for me started with Kendall running into our room and trying to take Tia up at 6. This was followed shortly, but Delaney making his attempt. As has almost become tradition, the kids run downstairs, check out the presents under the tree, and then begin coming into our room and waking us up. Or at least trying to. The parents are usually tired, and resist to some extent.

The kids don't give up, running back downstairs to see what else they might glean from the packaging and come back, increasingly insistent. This morning I heard Tia tell them a few times to give us until 7, as I tried to find some way to get a few more minutes of sleep. I'm sick this year, fighting a cold, so every minute of sleep helps. When I heard Tia get up, I decided to give up for now and head down.

Kids almost bouncing up and down as they try to distribute presents to people, taking a few minutes in between their errands whenever they find something for themselves. In that case, they rip off the paper.Kendall jumped up and down a few times when she got some books that she'd wanted, and a bow and arrow. In fact, I need to head outside shortly and set up a target for her.

Delaney and Kyle were thrilled to have new cell phones, upgrading from basic old "phones" to new touch screens. They really lucked out there, and hopefully they will enjoy those phones for some time to come. I got a new chair (sitting in it now, about to work) and Tia got a new keyboard tray, hopefully making both of our work lives easier.

It was a quieter Christmas than some in the past, no real amazing gifts or things that the kids were dying to have. Kendall especially didn't have any great gift, and was a little disappointed at first. I think the initial excitement wore off and she was expecting a bigger pile of gifts. However a little encouragement from Tia and the chance to play with a few things helped her get back in the Christmas spirit.

Tia and I both took naps for about 3 hours and when we got up, everyone was happy again.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Home, sweet home

We left Steamboat this morning, around 9:30 or so, and headed back. I had Delaney and Kendall with me since both of them wanted to get home. Delaney wanted to see his cat, and Kendall wanted to get back as well. Kyle and Tia wanted to ski Copper mountain, so they headed that way, and we headed home.

It's a long drive, and fairly uninteresting getting from Steamboat to Silverthorne. Both kids were iBusy, with the iPad and iPhone as I went over the pass, but soon realized that wasn't a great idea. I asked for the iPhone back so I could do a little MCM studying, and the kids were fine, both of them laying down and trying to get over some car-sickness. We stopped in Kremmling, catching Tia and Kyle for a minute at a gas station. I fueled up on coffee and then headed down the road.

The downloaded lectures are teaching me more than a few things that I didn't know about SQL Server, and forcing me to remember some things I'd forgotten. It's a good feeling to be driving in a direction, even if it's semi-serious. I don't really want to dive in and pass the exam right now, or at least, not pass the lab. My skills would atrophy, and I have too many other things to learn. However it's a nice way to pass the time.

To keep the kids from getting bored, I used headphones. The first time I saw a high five from Delaney, I had to pause the recording, fumbling a bit with the iPhone to get it paused, pulled out the headphones, only to be told he just wanted a high-five. I learned the next time to give it to him without pausing anything.

The kids were at each other a little this morning, complaining about the other one as we got up, but as we were driving, they started to watch some DVDs together when I stopped for gas in Georgetown. It was nice to see them working together to arrange the seat (leaned back), and the DVD player (angled behind me) so they both could watch, and giggle a bit at their movie.

As we got into Parker, just before I went to get us some lunch, I paused my recording. Delaney asked me why (since we had another 10 minutes or so to Subway) and I said that I got lost thinking about something else. I realized that I had missed something.

"A squirrel moment" (from UP) was what Delaney told me.

It sure was.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A little sick

I started feeling a cold coming on yesterday, and after a long night's sleep, it was definitely here today. No runny nose, but a sore throat and tight chest. However I decided to brave the slopes again since it was sunny and warmer. After breakfast, we got ready, stopping by the store for some bunion pads to help cushion Kendall's feet.

After those were on, we added some to Delaney since he had scraped his foot in the pool. It didn't work great, however, and he decided to skip skiing again. Kyle was also tired, so it was me and the girls.

At first it was tough. Up the gondola and the green run down from there was slow, sticky, and Kendall's hair was bothering her. At one point she stopped and said she didn't want to go on. It was definitely trying Tia's and my patience to get her to the lift and go up again. We got to the top, rearranged her clothes and headed down the green run again. All of a sudden, everything was OK. Good for me since I was ready to skip skiing next year with the family at the rate things were going.

The three us us ended up going up and down the backside, and even getting Kendall on some blue runs, where she did great. We had a good time, going up and down the backside in the sun, continuing on until 3:30 when we headed back. I was feeling OK, using cough drops to keep my throat going, but I'm definitely beat now. I need some food and some rest tonight.

I had one good slip near a lift, when I didn't see a lane closed until I was right there and when I tried to change direction, I bumped the railing. That and I went through some deep powder and face planted nicely in a pile of snow. However it's so fluffy, and in that spot, about 2 ft deep that it didn't hurt.

A great day skiing, a short run, and now I'm ready to call it a day after dinner.

Monday, December 20, 2010

A long drive

We ended up not leaving Saturday until almost 7, we stopped to eat, and then began the long journey to Steamboat. We took two cars since we were concerned that we might need to come back during the week. Kendall rode with me, watching a movie on theDVD player before crashing as we entered the mountains. I listened to come recordings of SQL training but ran out before we hit the turnoff in dill on.

Then the drive got long. It is a two lane road north to Kremmling and then West to steamboat. My eyes were burning and I was somewhat counting miles, watching the odometer slowly tick along.

We got to the hotel just before midnight, unloaded, and then crashed. It is a nice hotel, but we have a small room with a queen bed, a fold out sofa, and a small efficiency. One of the smallest rooms we have ever had, but we are fine since its only 5 days and the hotel was worth the trade.

Day 2 - Steamboat Christmas

We got going slightly quicker today, up and eating breakfast in the hotel before heading to the slopes. Kendall didn't want to ski, so we left her with a phone in the room. Leftover pizza, Netflix, and Tv. She was fine, only sending us one message in the afternoon asking for a snack to come back.

The four of us headed out and picked up our equipment from storage at the base of the mountain. The Steamboat Grand hotel has complementary storage over there. Its not far, about 200 yards or so, but it's a nice touch and makes a difference. They will even keep boots there and run them through a dryer system at night.

We headed up the gondola, snow coming down, and went back to the right (south?) side of the mountain. Delaney was nervous about the blues, so we did greens again, up and down the area we have spent most time in. It was nice, not too cold, not too snowy. Te snow was coming down, but it was dry ad not coming too fast. Much easier to ski than yesterday.

Today was my down to get injured, slipping while getting off the lift on patch of ice, sliding into Delaney and then landing on my knees. They are nicely bruised and a little sore.

We rewards a bit in the lodge on the mountain, had some fun with each other before skiing down and heading back. A good day.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Day 1 - Steamboat Springs 2010

A slow start, waking up, trying to get organized and out the door. We all packed uo and headed to the slopes. We missed breakfast, but had an early lunch slope side before getting on the gondola and going up. It was cloudy , snowing, and even some rain which made it hard for us to see. Even with goggles, our faces were taking a beating, add to that Kendall wanting to only stick to greens and it was a hard afternoon. We only did 3 runs before deciding to head back.

As we got off the last lift, delaney slipped and hurt his ankle a bit and wanted to gondola down. Tia went with him and I took the Ks down the long green to the base.

We got back andi went running, worried that i might miss the chance. I got back and we all headed down again and i tok the little ones swimming while tia and Kyle worked out. The pool was outdoors, but it was warm and heated, with two large hot tubs. We played, sat in hot tubs, and even spent 10minutes in the steam room.

A good day, finished with Tia and I going out to have a drink and get piza for the kids. beau Jos was excellent and it was great to find them up here.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Puppies are Happy

Sometimes when Tia and I travel the kids take it as a matter of fact. They miss us, but they aren’t overly happy to see us return. It’s casual.

However sometimes they do miss us. They’ll run up and hug us, or maybe just one of them will, and really be thrilled to have us home. Tonight was one of those nights. With Tia coming home, as soon as I told the kids Tia was in CO and on her way from the airport, they started asking every 10 minutes when she’d be home.

When we heard the car and the dogs ran downstairs, Delaney and Kendall were right behind them, and I could hear them yelling and welcoming Tia back.

That’s cool to see them excited.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Still Going

It’s 10:50pm and I’m just sitting down to do some work. I had a friend that was struggling with his job and wanted to talk, so I burned a little over an hour helping him to gain some perspective on his job and life and give some advice. For the most part he was already to do what I suggested, but I think he wanted a second opinion.

Then I had to help Delaney get finished with a science project. He neglected to do anything before tonight, and I was a little annoyed with him. He got it done, with only a little help from me, but probably a little too much prodding. I should have perhaps let him fail a little more on this one. Hopefully I will next time or he will learn a lesson from this time.

Not a lot to do, but trying to get things done for a week of vacation has me jammed up a bit.


Why do my kids blow off projects until the last minute?

I guess all kids do it, but it doesn’t make it any less annoying. Found out this afternoon that Delaney has a project due tomorrow that he’s known about for over a week and hasn’t started.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sick Kid

Delaney has been fighting a cold, coughing a bit, and looking run down. Tia decided to let him sleep in another hour today and drive him to school. However he was looking down at breakfast. I asked him if he should get more rest and Kendall actually piped up and said he should get to stay  home.

So I let him, and he went right to bed.

He went right to bed, and slept for a few hours. He's still relaxing in bed, but feeling better.

Monday, December 13, 2010

iPads for Christmas

Red Gate is sponsoring a new contest, actually 3 of them, and I am hosting one of them. I’m reprinting the announcement here, but if you want to enter, you need to actually post your entry in the discussion for the editorial.

A few notes:

  • I’m looking for something creative, something that makes me think you have thought about how your job might change
  • Efficiency, balance, being more effective/responsive are all important, but what synergies can you create? How are you actually doing your job better?

I’m not sure what I might do differently if I were in the position of managing things. I don’t want to hint, but I have been thinking about it a bit, and trying to determine what would work better for me with an iPad. I’ll post some thoughts after the contest ends.

Here’s the contest note. Feel free to pass along to any of your system administrator friends.

iPads for Christmas

Recently I mentioned that having a smartphone has made me much more productive. I'm on the move fairly often, and the ability to respond to emails and keep in touch with people, take notes, and check on SQLServerCentral from almost anywhere in the world has become very valuable to me. It certainly is a double edged sword as it is also hard to get away from work. Setting those boundaries is important, and smartphone or not, I would encourage you to make sure you have some boundaries with your employer.

The iPad is a new device that changes the game in terms of what we can do with mobile devices. It handles remote connectivity in a way unlike smartphones, but is less cumbersome than a laptop and works in many situations where you might not want to carry, or power up, a laptop.

Back in October, I got an email from my employer, Red Gate Software. Someone in the Marketing department was asking for people with iPads to take pictures of themselves using the new SQL Monitor software to remotely monitor servers. It seemed fun to my wife, who got me on a horse for the picture you see here.

It was contrived, after all, I couldn't really check on the SQLServerCentral servers from a horse. The ranch is too large, and my wireless signal won't reach out to the far side of the barn. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t use it while I was outside, especially if I had wireless connectivity. You, however, can see how the SQLServerCentral database cluster is running by connecting to the remote demo instance of SQL Monitor and see in real-time how our servers are performing.

The idea of using an iPad to monitor your servers, and even get work done, however, isn't contrived. I used my iPad to show off SQL Monitor at SQL Saturday #59 in New York City, and I have a friend that manages many of his Windows servers using iTap, a remote RDP program for the iPad. At SQL Connections this year, I was surprised to see quite a few people checking their email in Outlook using RDP technology from an iPad. I asked a few people what they thought and while it was more limited than using a laptop, most of these geeks thought the iPad was more convenient in a remote environment.

But I Don't Have an iPad?

Not many people have iPads, and most of my geek friends find them to be an expensive toy. I mostly agree, but I have found you can definitely use these devices for work. So I'm going to give you a chance to have your own iPad and let me know if you agree.

Red Gate has decided to sponsor three contests, all of them related to SQL Monitor, and all designed to get you an iPad in time for Christmas. I have 10 iPads to give away, along with 10 licenses of SQL Monitor to install on a server and let you begin using your iPad for work right away. That's decimal ten, not binary 10, so there will be quite a few winners.

Actually there will be 30 winners, since Brent Ozar and Grant Fritchey are running their own SQL Monitor/iPad contests and each giving away ten bundles of their own. You can read about Brent's contest on, and Grant's contest at Brent is asking where you might go and use an iPad for monitoring while Grant is asking about how this might help you find a better work/life balance.

My contest is asking a little different question. I'd like you to think a little bit about how you could create new synergies with the iPad. How could you do your job better, a little quicker, or in a new way if you had a small, lightweight tablet with a large screen that gives you the connectivity to reach other computing resources. I'm looking for some creativity and a thoughtful way of freeing yourself from a desk and at the same time bringing some additional value to your employer.

Think about it a bit and write me an interesting paragraph in the discussion for this editorial. I'll judge the entries submitted before Friday , Dec 17, 2010 and ship off some iPads to the ten best over the weekend.

Good luck and send me an interesting note. You can only enter one of the three contests, so think about which one make the most sense for you:

The fine print rules:

  • The contest is open to technology professionals with SQL Server monitoring responsibility.
  • Entrants must be at least 18 years old
  • Entries must be submitted by 11:59pm Friday, December 17, 2010, MST.
  • Employees of Red Gate, the contest organizers, or their families are not eligible to participate.
  • The organizers' decisions are final
  • The organizers reserve to right to disqualify entries.
  • Winners must submit a picture of themselves with the iPad to me by Jan 31, 2011.
  • Red Gate and the contest organizers make no warranties or claims.

Good Luck to you all and leave me a comment in the discussion for your chance to win.

Steve Jones

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Daddy Kendall Day

I had planned to take Kendall on a bike ride, and run next to her this morning. However after fixing the electrical plug for Tia and then changing a trailer tire, it was too windy. So we planned on going swimming. We packed up and headed out.

Kendall's bathing suits situation was in disarray. We couldn't find the bottoms to her latest suit, and the others were too small, or too stretched out. So we planned on stopping by Wal-Mart first. We couldn't find suits, but we did get her Girl Scout secret Santa present.

So we went to Justice, but they only had one suit left. Kendall didn't love it, so we moved on.

Kohls had a few suits, but they didn't fit well. Grrrrrrr.

Sports Authority had lots of one pieces, but Kendall doesn't like those. They had a few black Nike bikinis, which Kendall was willing to wear even though she didn't love them. However at $55, I wasn't willing.

At this point I was thinking that we should try something else. I suggested bowling, and Kendall liked that, but when we got over near the alley at Park Meadows, Kendall told me that the Justice at the mall had suits. I was a little tired, but decided to give it another chance. First we sat down to eat since we were hungry. We had a good meal, with Kendall trying and enjoying some Japanese rice and BBQ chicken.

Then we got distracted. First we stopped by the candy store where they had little bags and a sign saying $2.79. I let Kendall start filling it with candy, not paying attention. 1.75 lb of candy later, and $17, we walked out. I told Kendall I'd have to manage the candy since I wasn't sure she could be trusted with that much candy.

We wandered into Brookstone, with Kendall dying for the automated candy machine. She kept saying that she'd love it if Santa brought it. I told her I was worried about her having a candy machine and would write a letter for Santa to *not* bring it to her. We had a good laugh about that.

At Justice we found some suits, but none that she loved, so we decided to give up on swimming for the day.We say in the food court and had some candy (Kendall) and a blizzard (Steve) while we looked for movies. We found The Chronicles of Narnia part 3 and decided to go see it. We had time to kill, so I took Kendall to the indoor skydiving place. She thought that was pretty cool and would try it sometime. We'll see.

The movie was great, in 3D, and we enjoyed it. I'd read the books as a kid, but hadn't seen the movies for one or two, so in places when characters popped up, Kendall would whisper and explain things to me. It was pretty neat.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Super Server

This morning I took Kendall to her volleyball camp early. She hasn't been in a month because of holiays and scouts last week, so it was a long layoff. She was excited to go and I'm glad she did. They drilled for half the time, then split girls into teams and played games.

Kendall did well, serving well and moving to get balls. Lots of girls had feet planted and didn't really move at all. The coach was great, gently reminding them, and trying to keep them motivated and slowly kids started to move a bit. At one point they got to a short game, only to 11, and the coach said that the best server on each team should start. All the girls on Kendall's team looked to her, and she was beaming as she moved over to start the game as the server.

I'm glad to see her enjoy this, and am looking forward to the spring season.

Scout Day

Today was a fundraiser for Scouts at Bass Pro Shops, another wrapping day where we wrapped presents for shoppers. We did this last year, and it's kind of fun for the boys. Only a few showed up, which was good because we didn't have a ton of presents to wrap. I think it was good enough for Delaney to earn his next quarter's dues for Scouts, and I like the idea of him working for the fun he has.

Friday, December 10, 2010

My wife is coming home

It’s always a good day when my wife is coming home. I look forward to seeing her again.

And not just because she takes care of the horses again. I’m used to her travel, and my own, but it’s always nice to get together again. After many years of this, it’s still a greeting I enjoy.

I was hoping she’d be here early this morning. She’s been gone most of the week to Dallas, and was thinking to get the 6:15am flight on standby, but she got delayed and is coming home this afternoon. So I’m going to have to get out of the house again, it’s a little too quiet for me.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


I hate missing commitments. I was always taught to under-promise and over-deliver. I try not to take on commitments that I can’t meet, and am sometimes a little too conservative. But I rarely miss following through on anything.

However tonight I found out that Delaney’s black belt test will be Jan 22, 2011. That’s also the day that I had committed to speak at SQL Saturday #45. Not just speak, but I have a morning session, the keynote, and a lunchtime session for my employer, Red Gate software. Plus I had told Kendall I’d take her with me, and let her hang out with her Aunt.

I tried lightly to get the school to slide the test a week, but they have someone coming from out of town, so it’s a set date. No decision for me, I’ll cancel the work trip since I’ve been with Delaney for 4 years at karate, trying to get him through the test.

I was going to push and see if I would be ready by then, but even if I pushed next week and in early Jan, I’d still be technically a month away, and not sure that I think it’s fair if I got my test in as well. Plus I’d like to watch Delaney so I think I’ll ease up and not worry about when I test.

I am glad that I went to class tonight and found out the date sooner rather than later.


My ankle is getting a little sore again. I was at karate tonight and during one of the forms, where we have to rotate sideways, it slipped on me, making me lose balance and almost fall. Not sure why I’s so sore lately as I haven’t rolled it, but perhaps a little more running and snowboarding hasn’t helped.

In any case, I made it through the class, but had to take it easy, even skipping a few kicking drills later when it was sore.

Not sure what to do here. It was getting better, but it’s snowboarding season. I think I might need to go down to some 40 mi months and try to take it easy.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Elizabeth Christmas Parade

Only Kendall and I went to brave the cold for the annual Elizabeth, CO Christmas Parade. It seems that no matter when they schedule it, Friday night, Saturday afternoon, early, late, it’s always cold. In fact, it felt like one of the coldest days of the year.

Kendall was bundled up, and it got colder as the day progressed. We were only there about 2 hours, but it felt like it was 25F when we finished, even though someone had a thermometer that read 39F.

The parade is funny, about a 2 block walk of a police car, fire engine, and a bunch of local groups. Church groups doing the birth of Jesus, a dance studio, and usually scouts. No Cub or Boy Scouts this year, just the Girl Scouts.

It wasn’t always that cold. Here Kendall was having fun with another girl, and not as bundled up as she was later. We helped out with the toy donations, bringing them from the previous night’s sleepover to the parade.

There was one cool sled pulled by a few dogs. Kendall asked if we could do this with our dogs next year. Might be a fun project, though I suspect it would be chaos trying to get our two dogs to run in the same direction.


Kendall was laying next to me in bed while I was trying to finish work and she was doing homework. However I had the need to get a picture of her with an iPad, so I interrupted her. She was happy since she queued up another movie on Netflix.

Then it was back to homework.

Having her here makes it hard for me to write (which was my plan), but it’s nice to have her here and nice that she’s not complaining (much) and getting homework done.

A lunchtime run

A little cold. The weather was reading mid 40s, with no wind, so I decided to try and hit it outside today. I drove up to the mailbox and took off, shorts and sweatshirt.

And almost immediately regretted not having a hat. With the limited hair I have, and the wind picking up, this was a bad idea. With snowflakes slowly falling around me, I knew it was bad. Still, I got through it, and it felt good to cruise at a nice, easy pace.

I could lie to you

Delaney has been fighting a cold. His chest was rumbling a bit Sun and Mon, so I tried to get him to sleep Sun night early. Last night he left karate early, going to lay down with a headache, and not feeling good. I brought him home and he was in bed at 8:30.

This morning I was tired. I half was hoping he was sick so I could sleep in more. I went to his room to check on him. He said he was fine, but I wanted to be sure. I asked did he think he was OK for school. He told me

“I could like lie to you and skip school, but I’m fine.”

That kid has some kind of maturity in him.

Monday, December 6, 2010


I made salads for Tia and I, trying to be a bit healthier in my diet. Not sure I’m making great strides, but it’s better than fast food.

I had a similar salad in NYC, but they had goat cheese and no tomatoes. For mine, I added spinach to the plate, then topped with tomatoes, sliced green apple, pecans, dried cranberries, blue cheese, and a little balsamic vinegar. Yum.


I’m about to go down one laptop, which is good. I have had too many for some time. Right now I’ve got:

  • Dell 17” Inspiron which is in need of retirement. This is about 8 years old, the wireless radio is whacked, and my son has filled the 30GB HDD.
  • HP Netbook – Essentially my wife’s now as she uses it to blog. Too slow for me.
  • Toshiba Qosmio F45 – Been dead for awhile with a CMOS issue. However after 6 months perhaps it’s dead enough I can restart it and give it to a kid
  • Lenovo W510 – My primary machine, about to lose the DVD drive and get an SSD as a second drive.
  • Acer 1420P – PDC laptop, which I just sold and need to clean up.
  • iPad – Testing/demo’ing SQL Monitor from Red Gate. My second travel machine when my little girl doesn’t have ahold of it.

That’s a lot of hardware, in addition to a quad core, 8GB desktop. So I’ll go down a machine, and maybe two if I can get the Toshiba working and send it to my son. Someone else can make do with the Dell.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Garage Door

I bought a new Chamberlain garage door opener on Fri, after two days of our old one not working. I managed to get the old one down and the new one halfway assembled on Saturday, around a bunch of Girl Scout activities and dinner with friends. Today I finished.

I'd never put one together, and was a little nervous. I know it should be easy, but I had the guy that replaced our doors last year say that he has lots of people screw them up and not get them lined up well. So I went slow, reading all the directions a few times and moving carefully to assemble things. It probably should have been a 2 hour job, but I bet I spent 5 this weekend getting it done.

And it worked! The first time it opened the door smoothly and closed it. Programming the remotes was pretty simple, though the built in one in the Prius didn't want to work and for some reason was kicking on my dust collector, but I'll sort that out this week.

For now we have a working garage door again, which means the Prius can get back in the garage.

Friday, December 3, 2010


I’m not sure what I ate, but I woke up in the middle of the with stomach cramps and pain. I struggled to get back to sleep and was exchausted this morning. I didn’t have anything until around 10 and then chanced some coffee and a bar. Coffee is caustic, right? Should kill any germs.

I definitely felt better, and even got to go out and get some lunch with a friend before coming home.

Feel better now, and I’m not sure what I ate, but a couple of things were from the house and I’m not sure I want to take a chance and have any of them again.

Target Shooting

From last month, but a friend brought over a few guns and Delaney got to shoot one.


He was slightly intimidated at first, but he got pretty good on the second day, as you can see. He asked me if we could do this more often.

This was in our front yard, and if I had panned to the left, you’d see our house about 100 yards again.

How Many Have I Read?

I saw this on Facebook, and while I’m not sure of the list, I reproduced it here. I think that an American list might have a few more books, like The Call of the Wild or White Fang on it. It’s definitely a Western survey as the Koran and Torah aren’t listed. No Heinlein, and a modern list might have Ender’s Game on there as well. Perhaps even The Autobiography of Malcolm X.

Anyway, there are a few on here I think I might tackle, like Of Mice and men.

Have you read more than 6 of these books? The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here.


  • Copy this into your NOTES.
  • Bold those books you've read in their entirety.
  • Italicize the ones you started but didn't finish or read only an excerpt.
  • Tag other book nerds. Tag me as well so I can see your responses!

I followed a friend's note and used Xs. I've read 38 of these. Or recall having to read them.

  1.     Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
  2.     The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien     
  3. X  Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
  4. x  Harry Potter series - JK Rowling      
  5. x  To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
  6.     The Bible       
  7. x  Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte      
  8. x  Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell      
  9.     His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman (all 3)    
  10. x  Great Expectations - Charles Dickens     
  11.     Little Women - Louisa M Alcott    
  12.     Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy    
  13. x   Catch 22 - Joseph Heller     
  14. x   Complete Works of Shakespeare - I bought this one year in college. I think I read them all, but hard to be sure.    
  15.      Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
  16. x   The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
  17.      Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk    
  18. x   Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger     
  19.      The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger    
  20.      Middlemarch - George Eliot    
  21.      Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell    
  22. x   The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald     
  23.      Bleak House - Charles Dickens    
  24. x   War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy - In progress now, part IV
  25. x   The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams     
  26.      Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh    
  27. x   Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky     
  28. x   Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeckx    
  29. x   Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll     
  30.      The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame    
  31.      Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy    
  32.      David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
  33. x   Chronicles of Narnia - C.S. Lewis     
  34.      Emma -Jane Austen    
  35.      Persuasion - Jane Austen
  36. x   The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe - CS Lewis     
  37.      The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini    
  38.      Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres    
  39. x   Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
  40. x   Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne
  41. x   Animal Farm - George Orwell
  42. x   The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown     
  43.       One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez    
  44. x    A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving     
  45.       The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins    
  46.       Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery    
  47.       Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy    
  48.       The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
  49. x    Lord of the Flies - William Golding     
  50.       Atonement - Ian McEwan    
  51.       Life of Pi - Yann Martel
  52. x    Dune - Frank Herbert     
  53.       Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons    
  54.       Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen    
  55.       A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth    
  56.       The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafonx   
  57.       A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens    
  58. x    Brave New World - Aldous Huxley     
  59.       The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon    
  60.       Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez    
  61.       Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck    
  62.       Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov    
  63.       The Secret History - Donna Tartt    
  64.       The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
  65. x    Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas     
  66.       On The Road - Jack Kerouac    
  67.       Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy    
  68. x    Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding     
  69.       Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdiex   
  70. x    Moby Dick - Herman Melville
  71. x    Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens     
  72. x    Dracula - Bram Stoker     
  73.       The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett    
  74.       Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson    
  75. x    Ulysses - James Joyce 
  76. x    The Inferno - Dante     
  77.       Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome    
  78.       Germinal - Emile Zola    
  79.       Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray    
  80.       Possession - AS Byatt
  81. x    A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens    
  82.       Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell    
  83.       The Color Purple - Alice Walker    
  84.       The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro    
  85.       Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert    
  86.       A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry    
  87. x    Charlotte’s Web - E.B. White     
  88.       The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom    
  89. x    Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle     
  90.       The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton    
  91.       Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad    
  92.       The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery    
  93.       The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks    
  94.       Watership Down - Richard Adams    
  95.       A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole    
  96.       A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute    
  97.       The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas    
  98. x    Hamlet - William Shakespeare
  99. x    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl     
  100.       Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

iPad Update

I updated the iPad tonight to iOS 4.2. I had no particular reason to upgrade, but I saw a few people posting that they had upgraded, and noticed a few apps people had talked about the productivity upgrades of a few apps that required iOS 4.x.

It took a long time. I started at 3:10, but it required iTunes 10.1, and then I had to download the firmware, and it was still updating when I last checked around 6. So I left it and went to karate.

When I got home, it looked the same. The only difference was the addition of “GameCenter” on the main screen. I checked settings, and sure enough it had been updated, but nothing showed multi-tasking, and I couldn’t create a folder.

However a double click on the home button brought up the multi-tasking window, so I could see what was running. Semi-cool, but not sure how useful. We’ll see as I try to use it more. I added DropBox, EasyReader (for PDFs) and a few more items people had mentioned, including a Twitter app.

Now I’ll play with it a bit and see how useful it is.

I also sent a note to a friend to see if they wanted my tablet. If not, I’ll be looking to sell that on eBay and recover some funds. I have the feeling I won’t be traveling with it, and instead I’d like to have the money and look to perhaps upgrade my phone instead.

One thing I noticed last week was in typing on the iPad. I grabbed it to do a bit of blogging and I was surprised at how fast I could type on the virtual keyboard. The spacing is similar to what I like and the audible clicks were very handy. I can see those as being annoying at a conference, so I’d likely need headphones for the feedback for me, set low enough to let me still here what I’m taking notes on.

A cooler, and cooler device, the more I play with it.


Back to karate tonight again, and it felt strange again. After only 4 classes in about 4 weeks, it’s been quite the layoff. I had planned to take it easy tonight, with one ankle slightly sore after Monday. I pushed Monday and it felt good, but I was tired.

Tonight we did lots of boxing, with the heavy gloves, and I was beat afterwards, but energized the whole time, pushing, bouncing on my toes, and working. Sweat was dripping afterwards.

I like those workouts.

Snow Puppies

While we were on vacation at Winter Park we tried to ski together, but we definitely got separated a few times. One time I got to the bottom with the little kids, and while we were waiting for Tia and Kyle to come down, this is what I saw:

Snow Puppies

It was pretty funny and when Tia saw it, she said the kids were like little puppies. Some of the better tackles occurred before I got the camera out, but this is still pretty funny.

Breaking Stuff

My Nano died last week on vacation (sad face). I was using it for running since the iPhone is a version back on the OS and it won’t connect with the Nike+ sensor. I am hesitant to upgrade, but I might end up doing that.

Then this week I broke my bluetooth headset. It was already semi-broken when Tia gave it to me, but I’ve managed to be careful when removing it from the charger so the case doesn’t fall apart. However it appears that the ear loops don’t work well, and they break. So I ordered a new one to replace this one since that headset makes me more productive when I’m moving around and the others I have are too old, with crappy quality, so they don’t work well in the car.

Then I’ve had computer problems. My Twitter client broke on the desktop yesterday and Livemeeting today. Both have impacted my routine, and that’s annoying. Especially when trying to catch up after vacation.