Saturday, December 31, 2011

Book #69 - Outliers

41h5QL0vVEL._SL160_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-dp,TopRight,12,-18_SH30_OU01_AA160_I’d wanted to read this for a long time after reading another of his books, but I didn’t finish Outliers until this year.

It’s a rather amazing book by Malcolm Gladwell, a celebrated writer. In this one he talks about what makes some people great, using examples like Wayne Gretzky and the Beatles. Sure they had talent, but they also had some luck in being in the right place at the right time and taking advantage of things. They also completed his 10,000 hours rule, which is the amount of time he thinks a truly great person, an outlier, needs to become great.

I learned a few things in this book and how sometimes there are some valid reasons why people succeed in some areas. I’m not sure there are lessons to be learned, but it’s fascinating book.

Book #68 - Frontline

Second reading of Frontline in 2011.

Book #67 - Triton

Second reading of Triton in 2011

Book #66 - Awakening

Second reading of Awakening in 2011.

Book #65 - Resurrection

A second reading of Resurrection in 2011.

Book #64 - Origins

I was thinking that the Spinward Fringe book #7 would come out, and I was excited, so I started the series again. I read Origins while traveling, and enjoyed it just as much as the first time.

This was my second reading of this in 2011.

Book #63 - Ghosts of Onyx

51WT7OBdTWL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_My son got this book and gave it to me as another adventure of the Halo saga. Ghosts of Onyx takes places years after the other HALO books with a new group of soldiers training, the Spartan-IIIs.

The writing is good, but the story seems a little forced, almost like it was planned out with some ideas early on and then written to try and fit things together.

I didn’t love this book, and it seems so different from the original three books I read. However it’s got all the elements of a Halo game with the Covenant ahead in technology, but not thinking as clearly as the Spartans.

There’s also a Forerunner adventure at the end as some of their defense creations come to life.

Not a great book, but an easy one to read.

Three Calendar Years

Today closes out three calendar years of running. It's day 1207 overall, and almost 3.5 years in total.

In 2011, I wanted to average 2.0mi/day and I did that, getting to the 730 mark earlier this year. Around September I realized I might get there and wondered if I'd get to 750. Some injuries in Oct/Nov slowed me, but I had a hard push in Dec to finish the year with 754 miles in total, which is the most I've every run. I had friends that ran half marathons with training all year that didn't get there. Pretty amazing for me.

That also brings the streak total to 2135 miles in total. Quite an amazing run. I'll keep going for now, but we'll see what happens in life. It's been a great run along the way and if it ends tomorrow, that's OK with me.

Book #62 - Rear Echelon

51qflIZuyGL._SX105_Rear Echelon is a future sci-fi book. A mercenary force is supposed to be deployed to rescue a kidnapped scientist, but finds their escort killed and themselves landed on a jungle planet. They realize the scientist is not kidnapped, but a part of the scheme to take secrets to an enemy, and they must stop him.

It’s somewhat predictable, and slow moving at times, but it’s a good military sci-fi tale. Not as gripping as the Lost Fleet, or the Spinward Fringe series, but it was a good read, at a good price. A little short, but at $0.99, it’s worth it.

Book #61 - Locked Doors

41hhOc7pTWL._SX105_Desert Places left a gap between it’s ending and Stirred. I wanted to know what happened to Kite and how Andrew Thomas ended up being kidnapped, so I picked up Locked Doors, the sequel to the prequel to Stirred.

In this one Andrew Thomas is in hiding, living quietly by himself in a remote Yukon town. No one knows who he is, and he expects to live out his days as a part time cook, suffering alone for his sins. He thinks Kite is dead, having left him to die at the end of Desert Places.

But Kite isn’t dead, and goes on a kidnap/killing spree in North Caroline, with the idea that he can attract Thomas to the area. He kidnaps the neighbor’s widow and kills others, brining Violet, a pregnant detective, on his trail, which leads to Okakroke Island, part of the Outer Banks.

It works, and Thomas also tracks Kite down to Okakroke, where his parents live. He’s followed by a wannabe writer that recognizes him from the Yukon and the story gets interesting. It’s somewhat predictable, but Kite’s parents are as crazy as he is and help him. He ends up kidnapping the detective and Thomas, but they manage to survive. The book ends on the ferry referenced in Stirred where Thomas rescues King and kills Kite’s parents.

The book is exciting, more so than Desert Places, but it still leaves gaps between this book and Stirred. Stirred summarizes some of the story at its end, but not enough. I was disappointed in that. However I enjoyed reading this book, which is definitely a horror thriller. Be warned.

Book #57 - The Nameless War

51HRGkWhJaL._SX105_The Namless War is a military sci-fi novel about aliens once again trying to wipe out the humans. We have space capability, but are battling aliens that are apparently willing to go to any length to wipe us out.

This is a low cost book, $2.99, but it ought to be $0.99 or even free as it has lots of grammar and spelling errors, and it’s not very polished. I wish the author had gone with free and then charged for the next books in the series. It needs some work, but it’s a nice story.

We are spread throughout the galaxy, and the aliens are wiping out our systems one by one as they move towards Earth. An undermanned fleet is sent to meet them and try to stop or slow them until the main fleet can retreat to Earth. Against odds, and with lots of losses, they manage to dent the aliens and stop them.

I’m not sure if I’ll get another one from this author, especially at $2.99. I might end up just sampling it first to see if it is any good.

Book #56 - Battle Earth

51HWwU7mAEL._SX105_Another sci-fi one for me this year. I think it was a record sci-fi year overall for me. Battle Earth was one I took a chance on, grabbing a $2.99 novel from Amazon. In this one, we have a transmission from a base on Mars, a research station that’s attacked. They manage to warn the Earth, which must prepare for a massive invasion from aliens.

The book goes back and forth between two elite units, one British, one US, and their commanders who leave a joint training exercise to go forward and stop the aliens.

It’s a little depressing as city after city falls, and there is little success for the humans. However they battle constantly, and it’s a wild ride as I found myself constantly rooting for them, even as they failed over and over.

The tide stems slightly near the end, and I found myself hoping for a second book.

Book #55 - Requiem for an Assassin

4146dMMt8iL._SX105_The last book I missed while taking a break from the John Rain series, Requiem For An Assassin did not disappoint.

This is the one that I saw referenced in later books, but somehow missed. In the 6th book, Dox is kidnapped. He and Rain have gone their separate ways, but Hlger reappears and snatches Dox, with the idea that he can force Rain to perform three assassinations.

Rain knows there may only be one or two targets, and he is the next one. Or maybe there are no targets and the idea is to get Rain. The whole book is almost a paranoid filled adventure in Rain’s mind as he travels around the US to perform the killings. It made be really glad that I never entered the James Bond world of spies since I’m not sure I could handle that.

In any case, it’s a wild ride, with Rain threatening his friends to help him as he tries to determine what Hilger is up to. This is truly a one of the most fast paced, and exciting adventures out there from John Rain. If this one could be a movie, I think it would be outstanding.

Book #54 - The Last Assassin

5196HiISB2L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-49,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Another in the John Rain series, The Last Assassin has Rain back in the thick of things in Japan. He goes to see Midori and his son. Desparate to get out of the game, he is drawn back in when he kills a Chinese triad member who is watching her apartment. He thinks if he starts a war between the triad and Yamaoto, he can eliminate them from his life.

Midori isn’t convinced, but she starts to give him a chance. Meanwhile Rain is involved with Delilah and is conflicted. He sets out on an action packed adventure from New York to Japan to control the situation with the help of Dox.

A very telling tale in the sage of John Rain and worth the read, but you need to read the 4 before this one, or at least the last 3 to understand John Rain and the whole situation.

Book #53 Killing Rain

51BcBCCezXL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-34,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_While going through the John Rain series, I backtracked after The Detachment to pick up a few I’d missed. Killing Rain was one of these and it fills in some of the things I’d missed in the series. If you enjoy the first one, Rain Storm, then you should read the rest.

In this one, the fourth, Rain is sent to kill an arms dealer by the Israelis, but he hesitates. He’s just learned he has a kid with Midori, and Dox ends up saving him, killing the bodyguards as the target gets away.

Now Rain tries to make things right, but the Israelis want him terminated. At the same time he runs into Hilger, ex-CIA that is working with the arms dealer and semi-protecting him.

It’s an action packed book, and one of those that I really enjoyed.

Book #60 - Desert Places

desertAfter finishing Stirred, I wanted more background on the Crouch characters in it, so I grabbed Desert Places. It’s the first part of the story of Andrew Thomas. He’s relaxing at his home in North Carolina when he gets a note. It tells him that a body is buried on his property. The body of someone recently killed in the area, and he’s instructed to follow a path out to Denver.

He plans to turn the tables on the killer, but he’s drugged and abducted, taken to a remote cabin. He guesses it’s somewhere out west, but it isn’t until later that he figures out it’s in Wyoming. The kidnapper is his long lost brother, who he thought was dead.

His brother is a serial killer, and he’s trying to turn Thomas into one with techniques he’s tried on another. Eventually Thomas is let go, and returns home, with the warning that Orson’s (his brother) first protégé knows about Thomas’ neighbor and will kill him. He begins tracking down his brother, and eventually finds him teaching at a Vermont college. The neighbor and Thomas go up there to kidnap him, but the neighbor is killed.

Thomas takes his brother back to the cabin, kidnapped, becoming the killer he didn’t plan on. He doesn’t think he is, but his actions show his brother was somewhat successful in turning him to a killer in desperation. At the cabin, and snowstorm, there’s a showdown that includes Luther Kite, who appears in Stirred.

An exciting, twisted, horror novel, but written well.

Book #52 - Corsair

51YTLaRTieL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-34,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_After slipping back into a sci-fi track, I grabbed Corsair as a free book and was a bit disappointed. The writing is OK, but the story wasn't well done. It almost felt like the book was missing a few chapters at the beginning. The author tries to build this suspense of a future mercenary or military group protecting freighters from pirates. The captain of the ship has a history with a pirate that they are hoping to ambush and stop.

It's short, and it has potential, but it seems to be missing something from my perspective. I'd like to see a few other stories from the author and see if he can develop the characters and story more.

Catching up on reviews

I slacked off on reading, and on tracking what I did read the last couple months. Publishing a bunch today just to get them in 2011.

Book #59 - Stirred

51Zthpu9eQL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-46,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_I got Stirred for free, as part of an early reader program designed to promote the book. The authors gave some people a copy a week or two before the book was released, with possible typos in it, after we agreed to write a review. I got my copy, and dove in.

I’ve read all the Jack Daniel’s mysteries from Konrath, but none of the Blake novels. As a result the inside jokes about the past with Phin, Harry, Herb, and Jack made sense. Those characters felt fuller and more alive. However the Kite and Andrew characters from Crouch were a little flat to me.

This is the conclusion, and Jack is pregnant, 8 months along with Pre-eclampsia. She doesn’t want to slow down as people are being murdered around the city and they suspect Kite, who was after her.

The entire book turns out to be a plan of Kite’s to make Jack suffer as she’s led from scene to scene, eventually ending up in a deserted town that Kite bought most of and has trapper many people in with various torture adventures. You can almost guess what happens, but it’s not a twisted novel. It’s more of a satire, with lots of jokes and silliness from the Konrath side of the book.

A great finish, fun to read, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Read the other novels first, but this is a nice end.

Book #58 - Just Run

51YhO4SCdEL._SX105_A math professor stumbles on a colleague that has just been killed in his office. The murderer is still there and knocks her out, but leave her alive. Just Run is like a Harlen Coben thriller to me, and I enjoyed it. Hard to put down when most of the book is covering just hours in the real world as a detective suspects her involvement, but quickly realizes that she’s a target.

She discovered an anomoly in an online poker site, and the mob is anxious to cover up her knowledge. For some reason she wasn’t killed, and the book alternates between her view, the detective who tries to help her after he’s framed as being a part of the situation, and the killers who are pursuing her.

Simplistic, not great character development, but a gripping story that keeps you involved and turning pages. At least for me.

Thursday, December 29, 2011


Woo hoo, they work

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Arena Lights

I finally bit the bullet, and with good weather, headed out to rent a lift today.

After calling Home Depot to confirm they had a lift, I drove down and attached one to Tia's truck. I had most of the supplies, so I headed home to get to work.

This was my view for most of today. The center of the arena is 30 ft up, and I needed the lift to get up there. I spent the afternoon running cable up along the trusses, moving from side to side in order to minimize the amount of times I had to reposition the lift. I got two runs started, one down each side of the arena. Neither is finished, but as you can see, I have some lights up.

We have 10 lights to hang, and when I knocked off as the sun went down, I had 6 up, and ready for a seventh as soon as I get up in the am. I also need to  get the runs finished. I have 4 lights ready on one side, need to add the last 2 on the other side as well.

They're not ready for power yet. I wasn't sure of the height, and they're not leveled, so I need to work on that tomorrow. I think that Tia and I will measure in the am and decide what to do and then start wiring the lights to power tomorrow and hopefully by Friday am we'll have the generator hooked up and lights in the arena.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


It was day 9 or 10 of the season for me yesterday as I headed up early to Copper with Kyle. A friend was going, and another one with his 14yr old was supposed to meet us. They all wanted to go early, so I had a “normal” day and was up at 6:15, leaving the house just after 6:30. I was glad I’d packed the night before.

Photo Dec 26, 1 49 47 PM

We picked up a friend and drove up arriving just before 9am. We changed at the car, took the bus over, and headed up the slopes. It was a nice day, almost no wind, sunny, and mid 20s.

Photo Dec 26, 1 39 56 PM

For half the day it was three of us, cruising up and down for 7 runs before knocking off around 11:30. We met up with two others at lunch, and then headed back out again for another 2-3 runs.

Photo Dec 26, 1 38 10 PM

A great day on the slopes for me, fun to drive up with chat with Dean and Kyle, and a good way to finish the first half of the ski season.

Now I hope to get out there a bit more in 2012.


We decided on Uma, a Hindu goddess, as the name for our new puppy. She’s quite a handful, running around and enjoying life at the ranch.

Photo Dec 25, 5 11 16 PM

She fit in the cat bed we got for Milky Way for a day and a half, but she already is a little big. She’s becoming more rambunctious and active today than the previous days, though she fell asleep after Kendall wore her out a bit.

Photo Dec 27, 4 43 42 PM

She slept a lot early on, and was a little nervous around everyone, but she’s warmed up fast.

Uma Christmas morning

Yesterday she was outside with us a bit, wearing Junior’s old coat. She doesn’t love the cold, and she is quick to use the bathroom when we take her out at night. As with most young animals, she sleeps a lot, but it’s short stretches, with stretches of activity. They don’t always correspond to our sleep schedule, so Tia and I are up at night sometimes taking her outside, or playing with her until she falls asleep again.

Photo Dec 25, 3 42 19 PM

As you can see, she’s a little dog. That’s my slipper, and as she’s barely big enough to drag it around. She fits under our bed, under the tables, though I’m sure that won’t last long.

Photo Dec 25, 9 57 43 AM

Friday, December 23, 2011

Colorado Water Skiing

Kendall on the sled

Lots of snow

We had quite a bit of snow come down Wed night and Thursday during the day. I ended up breaking out the tractor and plowing so we could easily get out of the property last night. It took some time, but I took a few pictures while I was plowing.

Photo Dec 22, 3 42 01 PM

The barn and arena from the front yard, as you can see, it’s a lot of snow. Tia wanted a few looking back at the house, so here’s a good one from the front gate.

Photo Dec 22, 4 10 37 PM

Here’s one halfway up as well

Photo Dec 22, 3 45 54 PM

Yet Another Date Night

Last night Tia and I got another chance to sit together without kids. This weekly date night thing is really great. The kids went to a movie, with Kyle meeting us, and Tia sat with me and had a drink while they were in the theater. It was nice to sit and chat, and not be moving to do  much of anything.

We continued it this morning by getting up and going to breakfast alone, with a little shopping afterwards.

Life is amazing here at the ranch.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Beatiful Day

That was what it looked like when I started my run on Sunday. This is what I looked like when I finished.

On Dec 18!!! I love Colorado.

Little Racers

Before we saw Arthur Christmas the other night, we had a few minutes, and the kids wanted to play the racing game there.

First Kendall jumped on and raced, and she loved it. So she called Delaney over and asked him to take a turn.

He won his race, getting first place, and won a free game. While Kendall went to get seats, and Tia and I got drinks, he got to race a second time. Not sure how he did, but he walked up with a big smile on his face.

Tired, and a beat up

Last night at karate I was trying to take it easy, with sore hands from working on the arena lights Sunday. However I took a few bangs on the fingers, and the twisting, even while slower, wasn’t quite slow enough. The body feels beat up today. Aching quite a bit.

I booked a massage, which I hope will help. Going to do a short run today and rest up.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Publishing in the Future

A few interesting ideas and experiments in this piece on 21st century publishing. I especially like the part about most of the money in publishing going to pay for these advances that aren’t earned back. While publishers make a lot of money (go peruse a few annual reports), there are definitely some issues with money being given to authors for projects that are a complete gamble.

The idea of shorts, and potentially subscriptions, is something I’ve thought of before. If I could ever get off my duff and do more writing, maybe I’d be able to earn some $$ that way.

Riding over the weekend

The girls in the front yard

Slow Moving

The kids are out of school, and it’s slow going today. I look forward to sleeping in, but with lots to do today, it was slightly stressful to sleep in and a struggle to get going.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Winter Practice

I rented the batting cage today and invited a few guys down to swing. Only one responded, so I took Kendall since I was worried he might back out and I'd be stuck.

It was pretty cool, with the pitching machine running when we got there. We picked up a bucket of balls, and Kendall fed them through the machine while we took turns swinging. Three times through the bucket was a lot of swings and my body is tired. However it felt good to swing the bat and I was seeing the ball OK. Got under a lot of them, but had some nice solid hits as well.

I'm hoping I can get some people out there every other week over the winter and get some good swings in to prep for next season.

The Lighting Project - Stage 1 Complete

I got all the lights wired up and ready. Or almost ready. I learned a few things as I went along, so there are a few things I'll need to clean up on the lights as I hang them. However all 9 new lights have hangers, and I'd have done the 10th, but it has light bulbs I need to deal with, and I broke one of the eyebolts I was using, so I need to get another one.

This morning I went out and wired up 3 more lights, and when I came back before baseball practice, I ended up digging through my boxes and found the wire rope hangers. After baseball, I went out and got the last 4 done, adding the wire hangers, and also removing the film that covers the reflectors. The first 4 lights didn't have a sticker on the film, but the last ones did, so I realized I needed to remove those.

I'll also double check all the wiring and tape wrapped around things as I had some good condensation dripping on me today as I worked in the corner. That's something to watch, though I think the lights will be fine. It did make me glad I chose underground wire and outdoor junction boxes to attach to the frame. That should prevent any issues with the drips and drops.

Almost ready to rent a crane. I need to go get another roll of wire, a few more parts, and the various junction boxes I need and have them all ready. I tried to attach one box today and realized that my wire ties are a little short, and that I also need to get some bolts and try to attach things that way. I may end up using the bolts with lock washers, but I'll need to try that tomorrow with some strapping.

I should be able to do some more kick boards tomorrow and then see how far I get before taking days off next week. I'm thinking Tue/Wed to hang lights and then next weekend to build a box for the generator.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Butternut Squash Soup

I picked the recipe from the Brown Eyed Baker and gave it a try last night. Kendall was feeling sick, but she ate a bowl and liked it, much to my surprise.

First it was sautéing the insides with some shallots and butter.

Photo Dec 15, 5 55 37 PM

Then I steamed the squash over the top.

Photo Dec 15, 6 08 03 PM

Then I had to put Kendall in the bath while things cooled. Once that was done, into the blender and then back in the pot with some cream.

Photo Dec 15, 7 33 58 PM

Felt a little thin and a touch bland, but not bad. Kendall enjoyed it.

Photo Dec 15, 7 43 46 PM

Christmas Choir

Kendall’s concert from Tuesday night.

The Lighting Project Part 1

I said I’d get lights in Tia’s arena so we could save some money after getting a quote and her getting a new truck. We ordered the lights a few weeks ago and they arrived last week while Tia was out of town. They were on a pallet, and they sat in the driveway for a few days until snow was forecast. Then I had to move them out into the arena.

However I left one in the garage, and I went out there a few times to try and figure out how to hang it from the arena structure. After posting a few things online at various DIY forums, and visiting Home Depot for a few different possibilities, I decided on eyebolts screwed through the frame. That meant getting some supplies from Home Depot.

I went today, came back, and started to get the first light done.

Photo Dec 16, 4 19 03 PM

First it was removing the reflector from the light and then adding the bolts to the light.

Photo Dec 16, 1 46 14 PM

Then it was wiring it up, leaving 10-12 ft of cable.

Photo Dec 16, 1 46 10 PM

Once I get all 10 wired, I’ll rent the lift and start stringing the wire, junction boxes, and hanging lights.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Gingerbread House

Kendall built at school:

It’s Cold

I walked into a stall today, about to fill the water bucket and found this: 

Not a great picture, but it's a block of ice, roughly bucket shaped. It's in the middle of the stall and I have no idea how it got there, or how long it's been there. I checked water on Wed, but I went out a different stall.
Also, it's stuck. I kicked it a few times, but it wouldn't move, so I left it.
Cold enough for ice to sit in a block in CO, is cold.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Ugh, another project

I knew I didn’t like fifth grade for a reason. There are monthly book projects, which I like in terms of getting the kids to think and assess a book, but I hate because of the art work required. This month it’s a puzzle piece board, which Kendall and I have been working on. We started last week.

Photo Dec 09, 10 03 10 AM

Kendall was sick last week, so she got an extension. As a result, our plan was to work on it over the weekend. When we sat down Sunday morning, we couldn’t find the instructions, which called for 10 different things. Fortunately we’d done a little prep and we had the new book cover ready. We decided to cut out the puzzle pieces and get them ready.

Photo Dec 12, 5 51 28 PM

We managed to get all the writing done on Monday, which was good. However with choir last night and Girl Scouts, we didn’t make much progress. Tonight it’s time to finish. We laid things out and then I had to motivate, argue with, complain about, and plead with Kendall to draw pictures.

Photo Dec 14, 4 32 18 PM

I’m not sure why this one is so hard. The last two have been tough to get started, but once we worked on the project, they went smoothly. This one has been hard.

Sick Kid

I was about to walk out the door to lunch when I got a call from Delaney. His stomach hurt and he wanted to come home. Cancelled lunch, drove to Elizabeth, and picked up one kid.

It seems like I’m picking up a kid every week from school early or not taking them. Not a healthy time at the ranch.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Gallop

Kendall came to see me yesterday while I was working on hanging a gate. She wanted to ride “her horse” and was letting me know. I told her I didn’t know how to tack Rain up, but she said she could do it. Sure enough, she walked back in the barn, grabbed a halter, walked into the pasture and led Rain back.

She did tell me that since Gemini followed her she was going to lock the back barn doors since he’ll nudge them open. I kept working, finishing up the gate and then burying the electrical cable for the track fence. As I was finishing, Kendall walked over to the big tire on the North side of the barn, and got on rain, saddle and reigns already in place.

I have to admit I was impressed.

Kendall and Rain

She walked Rain to the fence and said she wanted to ride, but she needed me to watch her in case something happened. I asked her to wait 5 minutes, so she stood here watching as I finished the gate and then walked over.

She walked Rain around a bit, moving in the front yard as I was in the driveway working on adding hooks to her volleyball posts. She was doing OK, but Rain was a little anxious and didn’t want to go past the ditch. They turned and cantered back to the barn, and it looked pretty cool. So I asked Kendall if I could get the video camera.

When I came back, she trotted Rain over to me and told me Rain was scared of the herd of deer up near the front fence. I understood and we walked into the yard a bit, her trying to control Rain. I turned on the camera, and I got that above. A little scary, and a little fast, and we ended the day there.

With a huge smile on Kendall’s face. She was a little scared at first, but she loves going fast and had a good time with Rain.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Delaney Dad Ski Day

The scouts were supposed to have a ski day today, and I planned on taking the Kids. Tia was tempted, but she needed a sleep in after being gone all week, including a red eye traveling coast to coast Wed night. Plus she misses her horses. Kendall bailed on my this morning, so I packed the car, put Delaney in, and we headed to the mountains.


We arrived at Copper and it was a beautiful day. 20F, but sunny and calm, which is actually a very nice day in CO. We got set and tried to call some Scouts, but the two Dads I thought were coming didn’t. It was crowded, so we ended up not even finding the other scouts, but that was OK.


Delaney was tired. He sat down in the lift line a few times, and I think he dozed off as we rode up a couple times. We took the long lift, and had a nice, leisurely, slow set of runs down. He had to stop a few times to rest, and I think being up half the night on XBOX was the issue.


After lunch he was done, but I got one more run out of him before we headed home. He slept the whole way, both ways, up and back, in the car.

A fun day, and a good time with my middle boy.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Catching the Bus

Kendall always wants to catch the morning school bus the first day of school. She makes a big deal of getting up and ready to get there and is proud of her streak of 4 years.

Then she's done. The rest of the year, she's never interested, even if she's up early. Today, however, after I dropped Delaney off, I came back, started coffee and a smoothie, and was going to go wake her up when she walked around the corner already dressed. She informed me she wanted to catch the bus because a "friend" asked her to.

We got ready, and headed out the door to try and make it. On the way I asked her who the friend was, thinking it was someone I might have heard of. She told me it was "William".

Hmmm, some of the girls are growing up quickly in 5th grade, and I asked her if it was a boyfriend and could I have Delaney take care of him. She told me no, in that dismissive, sassy voice, and said that she and William were being silly yesterday. She was recording them telling jokes or acting silly with her phone and he asked if she'd record him again in the morning.She pulled out her charged phone, and showed me she was ready.

We were lucky. Slightly late, but as we rounded the bend, the driver saw us and stopped, halfway through his turn, so Kendall could catch the bus.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Day Off

I took the day off, thinking I might take a nap or get extra sleep. However the extra hour for Thursday-palooza, combined with some kids that were hard to get going to school has me awake now.

Not that I have a shortage of things to do. I did book a massage, but I need to get Delaney’s cello in for repair and also price out a few components for the lights. I want to try to hang one of the lights and see how the wires might best attach to the frames. Don’t want those to fall.

I’m hoping to take a few days off next week to hang lights and wire the arena, and in that case, I need to get a little prepped for the work.

My day in pictures

Apart from the school concert last night, not a lot. I love these machines, even though I always get the same thing. It’s a cool idea, I just wish that places would get 2 since people are so slow to use them. I suppose that will clear up as people get more used to them.

Photo Dec 07, 1 27 09 PM

I’m a rebel, cooking garlic bread without a cookie sheet.

Photo Dec 07, 5 35 34 PM

And the spaghetti to go along with it. Jammed myself up with time, so it’s a little al dente for the kids. Had to get to the concert.

Photo Dec 07, 5 51 34 PM

Data Usage

This is somewhat shocking to me. I was reading about ATT’s decision to throttle some high bandwidth users, and there was this quote in the article:

“But as business rises, so does data usage. J.P. Morgan estimates that the average iPhone user will consume around 800MB of data per month. That's not far off from the average non-iPhone user projected to grab around 825MB each month.”

Huh? Much of what has been reported implies, or says, that the iPhone is the culprit for data usage growing so quickly. Perhaps that’s true, but if the non-iPhone users are using more (825MB v 800MB, average) that implies that other platforms are using more data. I’d assume this means Android, but I suppose that Blackberry might be implicated with the constant email traffic, and potential links in those emails driving people to view other data.

I use about 250MB/month, so I’m not worried about the throttling. As much as I wouldn’t like it, it does make some sense to me. The people that are using 2GB a month are impacting others, and unlimited data, while it’s something I think should be there, I don’t think it should be unlimited MB AND speed. That’s unsustainable for any company as usage grows. Sure the bandwidth will increase, but there are a few people that abuse the plans and impact others.

Slowing down the top 5%, or even asking for a surcharge seems like the fair thing to me for the good of the digital network. I think we ought to have net neutrality on the Internet, but I also think that for the outliers we ought to institute something. On the high end, I can see some throttling done, even across all kinds of traffic.

On the low end, I wonder if we ought to have some type of national infrastructure growth like we had for the POTS lines to try and ensure that we can help the entire country access the Internet.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas Concert #1

Delaney’s orchestra concert tonight:

EMS Advanced Orchestra

Worn Out

Managing kids, horses, exercise, and a cold this week is wearing me out. I am so looking forward to sleeping in for an extra hour tomorrow.

My day in pictures

The day started out rough

Photo Dec 05, 7 36 55 AM

I don’t know how accurate this is, but the forecast said -2F overnight. The Suburban said 0F, so it was close. That’s cold, though I’m not sure if it’s colder than 5F.

Photo Dec 05, 7 42 27 AM

That was the Suburban this morning. It was so cold, I just cleaned off the driver’s side to get the kids to school.

Photo Dec 05, 8 27 52 AM

It warmed up 500%… to 5F, so I went outside to feed the horses. They were happy to see me, as you can see with Gemini hanging over the fence.

Photo Dec 05, 8 34 14 AM

Lots of snow, and I got slightly stuck

Photo Dec 05, 8 37 54 AM

Glad I wore my boots.

Photo Dec 05, 8 37 59 AM

We got a delivery mid morning. I was waiting to run until it came, and of course, as soon as I walked into the bathroom, my phone rang. Tia’s arena lights showed up on a short semi tractor trailer.

Photo Dec 06, 11 13 49 AM

It got stuck briefly after we unloaded.



The driveway dipped slightly, and it was a slick spot in the packed down snow. The driver borrowed a shovel to dig into the snow a bit.

Photo Dec 06, 11 26 38 AM

We had an audience as he rocked back and forth, but he got loose.

Photo Dec 06, 11 14 01 AM

Afternoon snacks when the kids got home, asking for kay-sah-dill-ahs. Chicken and cheese.

Photo Dec 06, 4 24 18 PM