Monday, January 31, 2011

Sick Girl

I can't remember the last time Kendall left school early. Our kids are fairly healthy, and it's rare that they miss school or anything. So I was surprised when the phone rang about 1 and it was Kendall calling from school with a fever and feeling sick.

One of the good things about working at home is the flexible schedule and so I ran up there, grabbed her, and brought her back home to bed. She still has a fever, and is resting. Hopefully she'll be better tomorrow.

Gotta Love Colorado

It was 69F at the Ranch. It was 24F in Copper when Kyle and I went, but beautiful weather. Sunny, no wind, and we added our snow pants and coats next to the car in t-shirts, feeling fine. When we left Copper around 2:30, people were walking back to their cars in t-shirts and long sleeves, carrying their coats.

Yesterday is was 50F early in the day, and I was doing some woodworking with the garage doors open and standing out front in a t-shirt. It started to cool quickly, and by 1, I was wearing a sweatshirt.

Today it was about 22F when I took the kids, and there's a mist that's freezing on the windshield as I drive. Struggled to keep the windshield clear on the drive to school. Now it's 12F and dropping, supposedly going to be negative tonight. The coldest day of the year.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


Delaney finally came home this afternoon. I picked him up at 3, and he hadn't eaten, so we stopped for pizza. 90 minutes later, I got him up off the bed and outside to run. He needs to keep training, and two days with a friend is good for him, but bad for his health.

We went out to the road and did interval training, running for a minute and then a walk/jog for a minute before repeating. It was fairly easy for me, not sprinting during the fast minutes, but trying to get Delaney up above 6.5mph and it felt like that on a bunch for me. We planned on 10 fast intervals, but we covered more ground than I thought and he looked winded, so I cut it to 8. We turned after 4 and headed back, but on 7, he slowed, thinking he might throw up. After a few seconds on the side of the road, we reset, jogged, and repeated. We had a couple times where he thought he might throw up, but never did.

He pushed nicely, getting 1.6 mi in, on a cold night with the temp starting around 35 when we left, and below 30 when we got home. He worked hard and pushed, and hopefully this will pay off in a week or so when he tests again.

Book #4 – Always the Baker, Never the Bride

alwaysthebakerAnother free one from Amazon, and up near the top of the best sellers. Not sure I’d buy another one, but maybe. It’s like Bridget Jones Diary, in a meandering way that just walks you through a drama of love story. Always the Baker, Never the Bride is the love story of a baker, getting off to a rough start with a local hotel owner, who eventually hires her to help him re-open his new hotel. She’s a gifted baker, and he’s trying to open a boutique hotel that caters to weddings exclusively.
The owner is a strong man, but held back by his wife’s memory. It was her dream to build this hotel, but she dies from cancer. However four strong younger sisters share the dream and help the hotel move to opening. The baker, always with the seemingly right answer, is an integral part, slowly realizing she’s falling in love with the owner while dealing with her own diverced parents that make life hard for her.
It’s a chick flick book, but I enjoyed it, wondering what would happen next as I worked me way through. A good deal a free, not sure how I feel about the writing for $$. It’s somewhat simple, a few too many coincidences and not enough buildup of emotion. Things are predictable and while it made me feel good, it wasn’t a great book.

Book #3–Serial

SerialThe Kilborn/Blake novel, a joint effort of both men, building a free, but short novella. Serial is the story of two serial killers, both finding victims on the road in their own way. One picks up hitchhikers and then uses his car as a weapon with a defective seat belt. The other is a hitchhiker, drugging the drivers at a stop and then dragging them behind the car to kill them.

As we follow the stories, the two killers meet up with each other as you’d expect. The story is short, but it’s funny in a twisted way. It builds with both of these good writers drawing you in and making you wonder how things will turn out. Which killer will get the upper hand? You have to read it to find out, and it’s worth the price. It certainly made me want to get another book from these two writers.

Book #2–The Justice Game

JusticeGameI grabbed The Justice Game because it was a free book on the Amazon Kindle site. It costs money now, but it’s a good way to promote the book. It had a high rating and seemed interesting. Definitely a book that made me think a little, but it didn’t grab ahold of me and really make me lean one way or the other.

The premise is not what I expected. A man goes crazy about a local TV expose in my hometown of Virginia Beach. He is accused of being part of a prostitution ring, and comes into the studio, killing a reporter on live TV. His gun, obtained in a straw (fake) sale is the centerpiece of a lawsuit years later that pits two young lawyers against each other.

The lawsuit is against the gun manufacturer that seems to be turning a blind eye to the straw sales. At first glance, I don’t believe in the lawsuit. Even though there are some merits to policing your channels, it doesn’t seem like there is any way to win this suit. However the book proceeds and entangles us in a company that trains both lawyers, and also runs a hedge fund that tries to predict the outcome of big trials by using mock trials.

This is a good read, but not great. It could really be a book that tries to sway you, but the writing isn’t outstanding, and it doesn’t build the emotion. It ends in a bit of a thriller/action book instead of the emotional connection of something like The Confession.

Friday, January 28, 2011


Finally. It's been a month, and I finally took a day off and Kyle and I went to Copper today to enjoy the beautiful weather up there. Tia took the day off for horses and planned on getting kids, so we weren't in a hurry. It was sunny, very little wind, and about 24F when we got there. We snowboarded up and down for 4 hours, enjoying the day and when we left it was 39F.

Felt good to be out there, and sliding down the mountain again.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Fixing a Chair

I had a number of things to work on this weekend, but with the cold weather, I decided to tackle some inside projects. One of those was fixing a barstool that has had a broken support.

I don’t know what happened, but the kids broke one of the cross pieces in a bar stool that’s in the kitchen. The four legs are each connected by two sets of cross braces, as shown below. The lower one at the bottom of the picture was actually broken and missing, resulting in a creaky chair that Tia was worried about.


I had been thinking about what to do here and decided to make my own new cross brace, after all, I have a lathe.

My first step was to cut a piece of pine down to about the right size. I measured the space, and the hole depth in the chair and added a bit of pad, about 1/2”. I then used calipers to measure the center diameter of an existing brace (1 1/4”) and the ends (3/4”). With all that written down, I put the wood on the lathe.


That’s the square piece of wood on the lathe, and the dust collector behind it, which works OK. Not great, and something to fix. I don’t have a chuck, which is a hassle. I used friction to hold things there and started turning.


Using a lathe is pretty easy, and I made a lot of shavings and dust, as you can see. Once you get the hang of it, the hardest part to me is relaxing your shoulders as I find I tense up with this piece of wood spinning around.

I started working the piece round at the edges.


This is early on, and you can see that it’s still square in the middle of the piece, looking at it sideways (short sides) and in the middle (long ways). It took me about 30-40 minutes, with a few breaks, to round this off. Once that was done, I started to slowly turn the center down to the 1 1/4” diameter.  Once the center was the right diameter, I worked my way towards the edges, bringing those down.

I found that making pencil makes at the center, and the ends, helps me to focus on how much to turn down.


This is near the end, and as you can see, it’s tapered. Not perfectly, and not even, but not bad. I found that I had to take it off the lathe and go compare it a few times with the existing braces on the chair. Once I thought it was done, I cut off the edges (couldn’t turn them all the way down, and tried to fit it in the chair.

It was too long, of course, so I turned down the edges thinner, and then trimmed them again, getting it in the chair, as you can see at the top in the first picture.

Now it’s time to stain it. I glued it in first so it would be in there, and I’ll work on the stain this week.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Apple Marketing

It’s powerful indeed. On the way back from the bus this afternoon, Delaney asked me today if he could fire up the XBOX when he got home to talk to a friend about homework. Actually, what he asked me was

“Can I use the XBOX Kinect and Facetime with my friend?”

I tried to say that Facetime is the Apple software for video calls, but he said he knew. However he and his friends call the ability to video communicate with each other “Facetiming” because that’s what it is. You get face time with someone else.

Packers / Steelers

Two good games yesterday, that I watched in bits and pieces. I started watching the Packers/Bears game at lunch, and then paused it a few times as I worked on a few things around the house. In between some repairs and laundry, I kept working through it across the day.

The second game, Jets/Steelers, I also started after my run, pausing a few times as I managed kids and continued to get stuff done around the house. I finally finished it late at night, after Tia had gone to sleep for the evening.

Both games started out "ehh" and they seemed to be blowouts. And in both games the other team came back and made it exciting. I didn't really care who won, and found myself rooting for a comeback from the losers near the end of the game. I wanted to see the third string QB from the Bears make it interesting. And I wanted to see the Jets make it close or win, and was disappointed that they didn't get the chance.

But congrats to the Pack for playing hard and shutting down the Bears. And I'm always glad to see someone play to win, like the Steelers did, and not get conservative with 3 runs and just eating up the clock. Play the whole game and don't get too conservative at the end. Should be a good Super Bowl, now if I can just get back to Denver in time for a party somewhere.

On Jay Cutler. I have always admired his talent. I liked him here in Denver from the talent, but not from the maturity standpoint. He made bad decisions and was a "Brett Favre" type gambler.I didn't think he handled the McDaniel's change well here, but I was glad to see him mature and make better decisions this year in Chicago. He was playing well.

But he's not a leader and a champion. I don't think he lacked heart, or that he wasn't tough yesterday. He is tough. You can't get to the NFL without being tough. And I am sure he was injured, and I'm not questioning his not playing.

What I do think is a problem is the way he acted. My first thought was that he acted like LT years ago when Tomlinson didn't play for the Chargers in a playoff game. It's not the injury, it's the disassociation with the game. It's the lack of helping or cheering on teammates. It's not the quitting from being on the bench and out of the game. It's the "quitting" from the standpoint of not being passionate for your team.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Taste of Retirement

The little kids went with their aunt last night unexpectedly, so Tia and I sat around watching TV with Kyle, who was home. Then we had a nice morning, hanging out watching a little TV, talking, just having a slow start to the day without anyone to interrupt us and without any kids to take care of. Now we're off to breakfast, just the two of us on Sunday morning.

I love the kids, but I do look forward to not having the responsibility to make sure they eat, or get to school or something else.

I had tears in my eyes watching Sinbad last night. His latest routine has lots of "getting old" stuff in there. Absolutely hilarious.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Black Belt

It's been a long day, but finally Delaney has completed the first part of his martial arts journey. He earned his black belt today.

It's hard to see, but he is wearing a black belt, his brown belt tucked back in his bag.

It was a long test, almost two hours, but with 17 people testing for black belt or first degree, he wasn't out there by himself. He did suck wind, and I could see him tiring around 90 minutes, but he got a second wind and finished strong.

I'm proud of him, and it was cool to see him finally receive his award and work to get it. At the end there was a small ceremony where the people first got a rose that they could go give to the person that helped them get to the finish line. He ran up and got his, giving it to me, which was cool. We've been through a lot in the past four years to get him to this point.

He was excited to get his belt, and wore it out to a late lunch as the whole family and his aunt/uncle came with it. Hopefully he'll keep training with me over the next six months as I aim for my black belt.

Here's a touch of video of him getting the award

and him giving me the rose (which I am very proud of).

Friday, January 21, 2011

Wine Connoisseur

I bought a few bottles of wine last week for Tia. She has had some good ones lately, and I saved the names on my phone for my next trip to the liquor store. These weren’t the ones she wanted, but they looked good to me.





They might be highly rated, but I’m not sure. I’m a fan of names and labels. Something interesting catches my eye, and I’ll give it a try. Wild Horse, of course, because we have this little horse ranch and I liked the label. That’s a merlot, and I opened it already, so it will be ready when Tia gets home from Dallas.

The other is 7 Deadly Sins, and the 7 of them are listed on the label. Kind of cool.

A Minor Crisis

I went to the Denver SQL Server User’s Group last night. I can prove it, with a picture:




And even a tweet when someone saw me walk in the back




Kevin Cox is a friend, and he was speaking on SQL Server “Denali”, the next version due this year, so I wanted to see and hear what he had to say. I was a little late, trying to get kids fed, and make sure Tia was ready to leave. She had an 8:30 flight for a one day meeting in Dallas today.

I arrived around 6:35, just after they started, and watched. I was hoping to chat with Kevin at 7:00 after his talk, and then get a half hour catching up with a few others after the second presentation. My cell service was spotty, and it dropped a few times as I was standing in the back of the room.

All of a sudden I felt my phone vibrate, and saw Tia was calling. I figured she was on her way out and wanted to say good-bye. She didn’t.

“Is my purse in the Prius”

Doh! I remembered it being in there from our lunch yesterday. Immediately I started walking out of the building and sure enough found it in there. I called Tia back as I started driving, debating about what to do. She’d just left the house in this area:




Our house is near the read circle. I was in the yellow area here:




She had to go to the airport, which is up in the green area:




Where to meet? Southlands made sense, the #1, but she was leaving the house and would be there before more. I didn’t want to make her late, so we decided to meet at #2. I drove out I-225, racing to get there before her. I did, and pulled over on the side of the highway, blinkers flashing.



We were on the phone together, and with good timing. She drove up a few minutes later, and I walked over, gave her the purse, got a kiss good-bye, and she left. She made her flight, even getting a first class upgrade.

I missed the meeting, but I’ll go in March or April and catch up with people. Quite an adventurous night when I was planning on something more sedate.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


As I have every day for 861 days in a row, I am putting on running shoes to invest in my future.

Carmelo and the Nuggets

Yesterday, supposedly the Nets killed talks with the Nuggets about Carmelo being traded. This has been drama hanging over the team since late last year. Carmelo's contract ends this summer and he has not accepted any offers from the team. Despite being the most valuable player, he wants to leave.

I'm not surprised and I didn't think he'd be here this long. My thought was that he would want to go to a bigger city at some point and play there. My thought was he'd go to whoever paid him the most money, but that doesn't appear to be the case.

Supposedly Carmelo or some of his people announced that he wanted to go to the Knicks. Doing that publicly is a problem for the Nuggets because it takes away their leverage. If only the Knicks are a trade possibility, they can hold out for a better Knick deal, which implies a worse Nuggets deal.

As a Nuggets fan, I think that this stinks for the team. It's a bit of a mess and I think that the team does need a rebuild, sending away a number of players and remaking the team. Chauncey is a little old, though he might take a little less money and he is a good mentor for this year, and maybe next. Nene is solid, but not a guy that will help you win and even with Birdman, I think we would be better off trying to get a better low post guy. I love Lawson, but 'Melo is too lazy. No defense, and that's an issue. He's got tremendous talent, and can score with anyone, but with him a liability on the defense, and Birdman a liability on the offense, the team is mismatched against many other West teams.

At the same time, I respect Carmelo for wanting to go live and play where he wants to. He's earned that and a championship is not the ultimate goal at the expense of everything else. I hope he tries harder, learns to make more effort for defense and tries to win. But going to live your life where you want is important, and if he's willing to sacrifice some money to do so, more power to him.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Last Chance

Tonight was Delaney's last karate class before his test on Saturday. With the storm coming in, we had a small class and I actually trained with Delaney, working him through boxing drills. I think I had him working pretty hard, trying for a little last minute prep.

I'm getting excited to think about him tested. Now I'll have him run tomorrow and then rest Friday while I make sure we have batteries charged and cameras ready for the test.

Getting Outside

I've run inside for a few days with snow on the ground and not wanting to deal with a wet road. Things were looking up yesterday, and I regretted a little not getting outside. With snow in the forecast, I decided to head out today and run.

My legs have been tired, and I think that the increase in running a bit, pushing with Delaney last Sunday, and adding in some weights have made me a little sore. I had to start slow, and was thinking I might make this a shorter run, but by the time I was heading back, I felt great and cruised along.

A storm is coming in, so I'm glad I got out today. We'll see how I feel after karate tonight.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


First for myself, and then for Delaney. I had a dentist appointment today and had to drive to town for that. Delaney had an ortho appointment a few hours later, which I was hoping to move so I wouldn't have to drive to his school and get him, but no luck. They were too busy, so I had to get Delaney from school to make the appointment.

A few hours out of my day driving around town, racking up 60 miles on doctors appointments. Good thing we have a Prius since that's like $3 in gas. And to top it off I told Tia I'd bring her lunch. I walked into the Vietnamese place, ordered, and then realized I didn't have my wallet. I didn't have any spare money in the car, so I canceled that, dug up $3 in change and got her a burrito and drove home.

At least my dentist appointment went well. Everything looked good, and he even did a little grinding on the one tooth I have that's tilted into my mouth. It irritates my tongue sometimes, so he tried to round it more. We'll see if it helps. If not then I might be getting braces myself.

No Braces

Delaney had his checkup today for orthodontics and he's looking good. However he has an  underbite and the ortho is concerned that if we do braces now it would be hard, and Delaney's growth would end up undoing lots of what the braces would do.

So they'll monitor once a year and when he's close to done growing, probably around 16-17, he'll get braces.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Pushing Hard

Yesterday was Delaney's pre-test run for his black belt. Each student is supposed to do a 2 mile run for their test, and they have a certain time under which they need to complete it to get their name in script on their belt. When the first people went through their test in 2009, we heard that 18 minutes was the time.

That's quick.

When we trained a little over the summer with the other students, Delaney struggled to get much below 24 minutes, and continued to struggled as went into the fall. I was trying to get him 2-3 times a week out there, but with the winter weather, vacation, etc., we didn't get a steady schedule. Delaney was also not terribly motivated to push. The last few weeks I've pushed a bit more, but he was still slow. However one of the assistant instructors told us that at 12 years old, he had 20 minutes.

Yesterday we went to the fieldhouse to run. One other adult was there for his run, and Tia and I were there to pace Delaney. He started quick with the other adult, a little quicker than I expected and it took my almost a lap to catch him. We pushed along, me tracking each lap time as we went for our 22 laps. A short track, and tough, but I was proud for Delaney for pushing. He had to talk a few times, but we managed to get through it, running most of the way  and finishing strong. He ended up 19:12, which was faster than I expected, and I think the fastest he has ever done 2 miles.

Some confusion from our teacher on the actual times since it was one of the assistants that tracked it, so we'll see tonight if he was a minute slow or a minute fast. In any case, I'm proud of him for the effort, and for pushing through the whole 2 miles.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

ROFL Copter

Just a pic I took the other day. Trying to remember to upload these more often.

One Week Away

Yesterday Delaney did the afternoon class at karate. We've been a little slack over the last couple months, and missed a lot of classes. However this was one week from his black belt test and I thought he should be pushing and making sure he's ready. There are about 20 people testing for black or first degree, so I was glad he went.

I was a little worried about him. The last few classes he's struggled, and slacked off at times. However he looked good yesterday. Moving fast, working hard, it was impressive. I think he'll be fine for the test, and told him so. We'll keep going, getting him 2-3 more classes so he's ready to go next weekend.

Frosting Shots

We made it to the cupcake store in time yesterday afternoon. We weren't sure when they closed and were trying to hurry. We got in there and managed to get the last two frosting shots. This is all that's left now:

I tried to interest Kendall in the various cupcakes, but she could care less. She was laser focused on the shots, and managed to control herself nicely. She ate one right away, and saved the other until last night while we were cuddled up watching "Dances with Wolves" together.

I was surprised how well she took the wolf getting killed. It was exciting every time she saw the wolf, and was amazed, saying she wants a friend like that when she grows up.

Another Lazy Morning

The kids having days off from school is nice, but they're few and far between. They have one tomorrow, but I took advantages of a quiet one today, sleeping in a bit, then watching the rest of the Packers/Falcons while she slept.

In keeping with the lazy morning, I then grabbed a cup of coffee from yesterday, reheated it, and read a little while I had some.

Not much today, a run for Delaney for his black belt pre-test and otherwise a quiet day. I need to clean up a bit around the house since I didn't do it yesterday.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A cool breakfast

That's what Kendall told me this morning when I came back upstairs. I was the first one up, so I went down, made coffee and then watched some MCM prep videos. A nice quiet hour for me this am.

I asked her what a "cool breakfast was" and got the standard "I don't know", but a minute later she told me she wanted donuts. There was a little begging for me to go to the local gas station, and Delaney heard her and joined in, so I fed the horses and drove up there.

I returned with a honey bun, dunkin sticks, and a bag of chocolate donuts. Two glasses of milk, and my little ones got breakfast in bed. They were happy, and I wonder if I'll convince them to return the favor Monday morning to Tia and I?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Delaney’s Day

I got a call from my karate instructor today, offering me the chance to test for black belt next week. A little short notice, but he only tests black belts twice a year, so I’m close enough that he’d give me a chance to test along with Delaney.

I called back and politely declined.

It’s Delaney’s day, and while it might be cool to test with him, I would rather this be his day, and rather watch him go through it and cheer him on.

I’m playing long ball, and working to stay in shape and improve skills. At the end of the day, whether I test next week or in July, it doesn’t matter. I’m not worried about getting to that level at any particular time. Plus, I’m feeling better, stretching a little more each class, but I’m nowhere near the place where I’d like to be. The knee and ankle are still sore on some of the side stretches, and I hope that I can get them stronger over the next six months.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Taking Advantage of Time

Tia flew in last night and got home at 11-ish (I was asleep). She’s supposed to leave tomorrow around 7am for a trip to Dallas over the weekend for a wedding. Add in that she was gone 4 days last week and goes for another next week, and we haven’t seen much of her.

The kids were missing her, and a little upset that she was gone. So I told Delaney that we should stick around tonight and hang with Mom. He’s in the final training for his black belt, and needs the practice, but we’ll go Sat and try to practice a little over the weekend to get him ready for next Sat.

Kendall is glued to Tia, following her everywhere as she tries on dresses for the wedding. I can here them giggling up there.

Lunch with my wife

I was hoping to snowboard today, but my wife is only in town for a day. She got home late last night, after I was asleep, she's feeling sick, and she leaves in the morning for 3 days. I got kids up, to school, and then decided that I should take advantage of the time I have with her and invite her to lunch.

She accepted, moved a call, and we got to drive to town, chat, and enjoy a nice meal together.

Talking Parabolas

Delaney and I started talking about parabolas yesterday for some reason. I think I asked him a question about math and somehow he told me he’s studied them and he knew what a graph of one looked like. So I asked him about y=x^3. He knew that one as well.


Today someone posted a note about Microsoft Math 4.0 and it being available with graphing capabilities. I grabbed it in the background while doing other stuff and installed it.



I ran a few short graphs and thought it was cool. Here’s the first one I did, remembering my talk with Delaney.


Gotta love a calculator that asks for a 1GHz processor as the recommended speed.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

iPhone or Android?

With the announcement of the iPhone on Verizon, I’m getting ready to switch carriers. I’ve had decent luck with a jailbroken iPhone on T-Mobile, but my coverage is spotty, I’ve been working with the two-gees on an Edge network, and I’m ready to pick something up that’s more modern and powerful.

I was hoping for an LTE iPhone on Verizon, but that didn’t happen. It might happen with the iPhone 5, but I’m not sure. My guess is Verizon is going to see how their new Android phones work on LTE and gauge capacity first. Then we might see one in the fall.

So my choices boil down to:

  • iPhone 4 on Verizon (3G)
  • 4G Android on Verizon
  • 4G Android on Spring

I suppose I should consider a Windows Phone 7 device, but honestly I don’t know that I’ll get the app support I want. To me the differences between iOS and Android are non-existant on the hardware. Sure one phone might be slightly more powerful, but not by a lot. The interfaces are similar, I can get a real keyboard on Android, but the rest is just noise. The marketplace is important, and music sync is something I want.

I looked around a bit and it seems that music sync is something that could work with Android, and I have a few choices there. So really it’s a question of the various apps I use working on Android. It seems that many of them are either on Android, or there are similar ones. So I could make it work on Android, and I wouldn’t necessarily need to re-invest a lot to move to Android.

Ultimately I’m not sure that I want to move away from iOS if I don’t gain much. I am definitely leaning towards an iPhone 4, and living with the slower 3G speed. Heck, it will be an upgrade for me in cities, and out near the ranch it won’t matter. No 4G is coming here anytime soon. Half the time we can’t get 3G.

I saw an interesting article about the iPhone on Verizon and how it’s not their best smartphone. I question if that’s true, since the raw hardware specs don’t mean everything. I have a few weeks to think about it and research a bit, so that’s what I’ll do.

Cranky Day

I had two meetings today. Two!!!

It was a little funny. I was a few minutes late for one, having to feed horses and trudge through the snow. I dialed in to our video call and sat in the bathroom listening to a group of people talk product strategy. With our maid in the house, the bathroom gave me a place to sit, and there was enough light for them to see me. Figured that me perched on the tub, with a print on the wall behind me was a better view than me laying in bed.

Especially with the company owner on the call Winking smile

They left the call on because it ended about 5 minutes before me weekly meeting. So I carried the laptop down to the basement, still connected, and got setup.

However by that time, out of my routine, tired, and hearing someone ask me when I could get other work done, I was a little short.  I am getting a little burned out by the workload, and the family life load. Lots of pressures, and I’m a little tired of doing the basic grunt work AND being asked to handle new things.

I raised my voice, but managed to keep my speech fairly clean and not throw a bus at anyone. I need to get out of here and go ski for a day.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Hay Attack

It is cold again today. I watched the temp drop from about 14 down to single digits as I picked Kendall up from Girl Scouts, and then after karate it was 1F in town, and –4F on the low as we came home. Altitude matters, and that low was in the gully that you pass through coming into the neighborhood. It was back up to –1F at the house.

Which made for a cold horse feeding. After getting the kids down, I went back outside, bundled up, annoyed with myself for not wearing boots. I had the snow mocs, so it wasn’t bad, but I did get a little snow I my socks. I hurried, trying to get 3 wheelbarrows of hay out since it’s so cold, and I managed to kick a lot of hay dust in the air.

That gave me a few nice coughing attacks as I tried to close down the house for the night, getting dogs situated and Delaney to bed. At first I wasn’t sure why, but then I realized that a tight chest and coughing were from the hay. Benedryl and a shower helped a little, but not a lot. I’m tired, and I think I need some sleep now.

Hopefully I’ll feel better tomorrow, with a busy day of work and the maid coming.

iOS v Android

So the announcement came down today, the iPhone is coming to Verizon next month. That’s good news, and it means that after 4 years, I’ll be looking to change carriers. I was hoping there would be a 4G version of the iPhone, but perhaps that was too much to ask. The prices are the same as ATT, with $199 for the 16GB and $299 for the 32Gb, but since I can sell my iPhone for about $300, it should be a wash for the phone cost.

My suspicion is that Verizon wants to see what the iPhone does to their 3G network, as well as see how much Android 4G usage they get before the next iPhone. Since I suspect a June iPhone 5/iPad 2 announcement, I’m in a little pickle. Do I go for the iPhone now, a 4G Android, or wait?

I’ve lived with 2G for a long time, and it’s worked out OK. Tethering is something I’d like, especially with the iPad, but I suspect I will be fine without it.

I’m a little concerned about the lack of Android apps for me. Watching Tia work with hers, it seems that there are fewer apps, and many of them are not as polished. On the flip side, there are some cool features like Swype that aren’t on the iPhone.

I’ll do a little analysis and see what I think over the next few weeks. In the meantime, I re-watched this video to temper a little of the excitement from the announcement.


Auburn Tigers and football

Auburn won the college football national championship last night. I was 0-2, thinking the over and Oregon would prevail. I was thinking that both of these teams can score, and would be hungry after the break. I was also thinking the defenses would be rusty.

The exact opposite happened. I watched the game last night after kids went to bed, fast forwarding in places, and from the beginning it looked like Oregon was playing well in spots, but also gripping. I couldn't understand their runs up the middle, which never seemed to work. Auburn was definitely the better team and deserved to win.

The game wasn't even that exciting, and it seemed that Auburn would just pound it out, dragging the game out. Even the few big plays that the Ducks had weren't that exciting. Not sure it was worth my staying up.

On the NFL side, I wonder what the Broncos do now. John Fox is supposed to come this week to be interviewed and possibly hired. I don't think it matters a lot who we hire, but more that we look to build a chemistry with the team, and look to build both the offense (a little) and defense (a lot). We need someone that drafts well, and then some good coordinators that can schema AND adjust mid-game.

A lot like the Cowboys, we have a lot of work to do in Denver.

Monday, January 10, 2011


A few Facebooks posts by me.

Before going outside

“I am so not looking forward to going outside to feed horses in 0F weather”

After coming back:

< it?s wrong; be could you And z. as cold just or y, welldigger?s a x, witch?s say>

Tia left for the airport tonight. She has another trip  this week, heading to the airport tonight after getting ready for the trip. With wet hair, I volunteered to go feed horses. So I bundled up, grabbing my big, warm boots for the first time this winter. It was so cold that I had trouble breathing a few times. Fortunately there wasn’t any wind, and it was just cold.

Cold weather is a double penalty since not only do I hate going outside to throw hay, but I also have to throw more, spending more time outside. Tonight was definitely cold and the horses were hungry. Gemini cleared everyone out quickly with some spinning and bucking so he could eat. I would tell they were all cold since they didn’t mess with each other. As I dropped in a bucket, two horses stopped at each and just ate.

I even locked the cats in the tack room. Usually we have the door cracked, but not tonight. I went to town and it was 1F when I left, 12F in town, but dropping to 6F as I drove home, –2F when I got here. The roads were fine, so Tia drove the truck herself instead of us taking her. However it is cold. Can’t wait for tomorrow afternoon and it to get back in the 20s.

Trucking Along

When Tia got up this morning, the first thing she said was the Prius wasn’t getting out this morning.




Not a ton of snow, but a good 6” in places. When I started to get Delaney last night, the Prius slipped nicely in the driveway as I was backing out, so I pulled back in and got the truck.


Same thing this morning. I had to start the truck early to warm up, scrape the windows, and shovel out some snow so the kids wouldn’t get to school with snow all over them




Now I need to go plow the driveway and decide if we are going to be driving Tia to the airport tonight so we have the truck to get around this week.

CTRL Scroll and Getting Old

The handiest thing that I’ve used lately for a computer is the Ctrl button and the scroll wheel on my mouse. If you’ve never tried it, do it now on this web page. Scroll different directions and you’ll see what I mean.

Here’s the default view of my blog:


It’s not bad, and from about 2, 2.5 ft away, I can read this. However if I CTRL and scroll up a couple clicks, I get this:


Not a huge difference in the images, but much easier to read.

As I get older it gets harder to read images on the screen, especially when I’m trying to get a lot done. It’s easy to scroll down, but I was finding myself scooting forward on my chair and leaning in. Not the best ergonomics. So I sat back (in my new chair), and made all my fonts bigger. I upped the default sizes in Word, OneNote, EditPlus, etc.

Getting old is hard, but technology makes this easier. I even run a larger font in my Kindle apps than I Delaney because it’s just easier to read.

And more fun than browsing the limited supply of large print books at the library.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A puttering day

We had talked about skiing today, but with all the kids gone, and the need to pick them up by 10, plus bad weather, we skipped it. It was cold and snowy this morning, with heavier snow continuing all day. So after a lazy morning with Tia, I got up, ran, and then started to clean up a bit.

First was the Christmas tree, then some re-arranging in the basement, then some football on TV. Lots of laundry moving through the washer throughout the day as I tried to get everything caught up. I was thinking to do something in the garage, but got distracted with the steam cleaner, which I used to work on a few areas of the house, took it apart to clean out dog hair, glued a piece back on that I broke, and finally got it working again to clean up our room.

I even found time to sew up a piece of burlap that I'd gotten for Kendall as an Archery target. It got stuffed with some plastic bags, but there's not nearly enough. I think I need to get more, and put some old clothes in there as well as built a mount for it outside. With this weather it will be a week before we can test it out, so I have a little time.

The kids were hoping for no school, and I was thinking it was a possibility when I went to get Delaney this afternoon. The roads were a mess and I was going 30-35 on most of the 45mph roads. Right now they've announced an hour delay, but we'll see what happens overnight.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Wonderful Weather

We got hay delivered this morning and it was beautiful outside. T-shirt weather, and I was sweating in the hoodie that I wore. So I convinced Delaney to go running outside with me. He wasn't thrilled, but he needs to train for his black belt, so I managed to get him out there.

I decided this was a good day to try out my Red Gate biking jersey. I'd ordered one last fall from the company, with the thought that I'd get back into biking at some point. It was warm enough, so I grabbed it.

We jogged down the road, me pushing Delaney to go longer and faster than he wanted. Our normal 1.5mi out and back was the route, but I kept him from walking too much, and while he was tired, I think he enjoyed it.

He definitely was in good spirits when we got back.

The Christmas Concert

I’m late, and I suck. I’ve been busy, and this has been on my list for some time. Delaney’s Christmas concert at school, 3 pieces, was pretty good. He’s improved quite a bit, and he enjoys Orchestra. I snipped out one song and uploaded it.


Delaney on the cello for Christmas 2010


This was a piece I recognized, and it was nice to see him concentrating so much on the playing.

Free Kindle Books

I think it’s a bit of a promotion from some authors, and even some publishing companies, but I noticed recently that on the Kindle page, in the best sellers, Amazon has  a “free” section. If you look on the right side, you’ll see this:




It defaults to show the top 100 paid, but there are also the top 100 free. Probably taking a page from the Apple App Store. If you click more at the bottom of that widget, you can see a page with the top 100 paid and top 100 free next to each other. I clicked through and these were the top ones this morning.




I flipped through the list. Some I have, some I grabbed to check out the authors. I actually found one of Konrath’s books in there, and got it.


To me, this is a great way to start promoting your work, get someone interested, and then if they like you, I would bet they’d buy a few of your books. Especially if you price them in a reasonable manner, like Konrath has.


Traditional publishing is on the ropes in some places, and this is one of them. Not that everyone wants, or should have to read electronically, but Konrath lays out some good reasons to not even consider a traditional publisher in this piece: A Response to Richard Curtis


Also read: Guest Post by Robin Sullivan

Fundamentally Wrong

Should I be up and working on Saturday morning?

Seems fundamentally wrong in the US, especially when I’ve had a busy week this week. However yesterday I ran some errands during the day and got backed up in the evening with life and didn’t manage to get a podcast edited.

So while Tia sleeps in, a cup of coffee, a cup of water, and some podcast editing and newsletter scheduling.

Well Traveled

Tia was in Dallas all week this week, and she’s going to CA next week and then Dallas again over the weekend. She traveled quite a bit, over 50k miles last year. I did about 40K, and already am scheduled for Cleveland, the Bahamas, and Seattle in Feb, plus a trip to CO Springs to speak as well as 3 or 4 other talks scheduled this year.

We’re not the only ones. Kyle left this morning for Michigan, going to see his step-sisters for a week while he’s on break and catching up with them. Tia dropped him off at the airport early this morning to begin his journey.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Book #1–Soul Identity

51t5e3Mv1AL._SL500_AA266_PIkin3,BottomRight,-19,34_AA300_SH20_OU01_I started this book in 2010, but I finished it a couple days ago. Soul Identity was recommended to me on Amazon, and the sample caught my eye. The writing was easy and fun, good qualities for a thriller. It starts with a security expert who manages to get a gun through security, despite the TSA agents knowing he’s trying. It’s pretty cool, and a fun opening.

From there he gets an offer to work for a company called Soul Identity, but when they contact him, they send a small camera that they ask him to use to take pictures of each of his eyes and send it back. They use a delivery service, private couriers instead of a company. The expert thinks they’re whacky, so he sends back the images of a fish’s eyes.

They come back to him and hire him, sending the same driver back to drive him from his home I Maryland to their headquarters in Massachusetts. He learns they offer people the promise of connecting their soul across lives, using images of eyes. He’s skeptical, and winds up getting caught in a battle for the company. It’s action packed, and a strange story.

However the writing starts to break down as the action increases. Too many coincidences, a few too few details, it felt rushed from two thirds of the book on. Also it felt like the author jumped around a bit much as well, making it hard to follow. A few characters didn’t behave consistently.

It was fun to read, and I enjoyed it, but it’s not a great book.

$43 Sony BDP-S570 Blu Ray Player

I bought a Sony Blu-Ray player today for $43 from Best Buy. It was a Sony BDP-S570, and it was on sale for $149. However I had a bunch of Best Buy Rewards money, and so the final tally was only $43. I wasn’t sure that I cared, but when I walked by the display recently, I saw that many of the players are “Internet ready”, and they can connect to Netflix, Pandora, etc.

Since we moved from Blockbuster to Netflix, I’ve been wondering how to get the content onto our TVs. The TV downstairs got hooked up with the Wii, which has a streaming app, however I was thinking I might need to get a small PC hooked up to our TV. Instead the Blu-ray player works.

This one had good reviews, and it was a reasonable price. Setup was easy, automatically finding our wireless network. After that, I went to the Pandora app, and it gave me a code that I input on my laptop at the Sony site. I entered my Pandora information and a minute later it showed up on the TV with all my stations. Same thing for Netflix, and all of a sudden Kendall’s instant queue, with all the movies she’d watched on the iMac or Wii, appeared.

Pretty cool, and impressive. This is a long way from 12” Laserdisc and VHS players.


This has been a  long week, getting back to work after the holidays. With Tia gone, I haven’t slept great, and I was struggling to get up and get Delaney going this morning. I am so looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


My neighbor showed me Zinio on his iPad last night, saying he loves it for getting digital copies of his magazines on there. I grabbed it and took a few minutes to check it out today.

It’s a fairly full featured selection of magazines that you can grab, and there are Mac/PC apps as well as iPhone apps that you can use to sync up your whole magazine collection.

However when I looked at what it costs for Popular Science. A single issue is $4.99 and a 12 issue subscription is $19.99. If I get the print magazine, I get it for $12. Granted the digital copy has video in it, but I can mostly get those videos on the web. I guess you are paying for convenience, but that doesn’t seem to make sense.

I checked Road and Track as well and while the print is $12, the Zinio price is $8, which seems to make more sense to me. Consumer Reports is the same price from Zinio or for print.

It’s a bit of a strange pricing model, and consumer beware. However the images are stunning, and I might need to try a subscription of something to see what I think.


There was a time when I was in high school that my step-dad found an old step-side pickup at an estate auction. It was about 20 years old then, but had been garaged and had like 30k miles on it. He didn’t get it, and I didn’t push, and have thought about that many times. I’ve never owned a pickup, but that old stepside appealed to me for some reason.

I have driven past this truck 3 or 4 times this week, and finally today I pointed it out to Kendall.


She told me it was “bad” because it was old. It is old, a Ford 100 stepside from the 70s. On my way back from school, I finally stopped and went to read about it. The sheet says it starts, some new parts, 3speed on the floor, and runs well. No title, but paperwork to request a new one. The only downside to me is that it is a 2WD truck, and rear wheel drive, so not a great snow truck.

However at $1300 OBO, and I bet I could get it for $800 or less, it intrigues me. I certainly don’t need it, but having a closed in ranch vehicle would be nice. We could move hay, do some chores, carry tools, etc. around. At the very least, getting trash out would be nice.

I sent a note to Tia to see what she thought. I was considering this as something we could even give to Delaney at some point, but the 2WD bugs me a bit.

This is probably one to let go, but I like the idea of getting a cheap, sub-$1000 work vehicle that could be used on the ranch, and also perhaps go to Delaney at some point. After all, I am a car guy.

My Morning

I got to drive the tractor this morning. Actually, I needed to after a vacation and sleeping in last Thursday.


I had parked the tractor next to the garage yesterday so I could plug it in last night. It was supposed to be cold, and those diesels need to be warm to start some mornings. I got Delaney up and while he was eating, I got to work.


I started loaded up boxes we’d stored since Christmas and New Years.


The tractor is strong, but doesn’t have a ton of space. However many of these would have been stuffed in the Prius and might have tipped over.


I had two of these loads, plus a few cans in the Prius when each kid got taken to school. As a result, we have “oodles” of trash out today.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011


No double workout today. I was all set to go to karate and about 15 minutes before we were to leave, I got an email about a neighborhood meeting.


I know this is important and I need to go, but it's a little annoying to move my schedule around.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Three Today

A great workout today for me. Three of the, though one was short. I ran, lifted weights lightly, and then had karate tonight. That's not counting the two times I had to go out and walk hay around the pasture for the horses.

I am ready for bed and not looking forward to an early morning.

White Noise

I decided to come to Borders today, since it was too quiet at home. I set up shop in a nice, easy chair, connected to wi-fi, fired up OneNote, and started working on editorials. The people talking in the background, conversations that I couldn't really make out, helped provide some ambiance.

At least I think so. It was a productive day with
  • a draft of a new editorial
  • completing two partially written editorials
  • 3 question of the day drafts
  • starting off two new editorials, one of which is mostly done.
I try to write and then let me work sit for at least overnight before I go back and revise it. This means I'm in good shape trying to get work done for next week. I've let editorials slide over the holidays, and with vacation, I was behind, having lots of half-written drafts, but not many polished. I realized that today when I went to schedule things for the next week and didn't have enough.

I will certainly be glad when Tia gets back.

Spring Training

Or at least winter training.

I added a weight workout to my run today, hitting some bench presses to start trying to get back in better shape. Baseball should start practice in 6 weeks or so, and while I want to begin throwing, I also want to be sure that my body is in better shape. My lower back is sore, aching really, and while I'm not worried, I do think that it's a little weak. So I need to add in some weights, some back exercises, and other things.

I decided to track this stuff at mapmyrun, including karate, so I have an idea of how hard I'm working at health. My guess is I'll see more effort than I expected, since I haven't been tracking any of this stuff in the past. I am going to add in baseball, skiing, etc. Everything I do.

All Alone

I’m alone in the house this morning. The little kids are in school, Kyle’s at his Aunt’s, and Tia left for Dallas. Strange to have everyone gone from the house and it’s really, really quiet. Some days that’s fine and I can really get work done. Some days it’s annoying and I struggle to get work done.

So I’ll likely head to town and work somewhere else today, a Borders (before they all close) and get some white noise and writing done. Maybe some studying as well.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Back to work

The first day of the year, and back to work. I'm actually glad to be back in a routine, getting things done.

However I am a little annoyed I haven't skiied in over a week. Need to get some things done this week and try to get out Friday.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Day 1 of a new year

Started the year off with a treadmill run, which isn't what I wanted. If it were just cold and now snowy, I might be outside, but in this case, a long run in the basement.

I feel great, and am looking forward to a fun afternoon.

Happy New Year

A nice, quiet, family day. Slept in, cooked breakfast for half the crew, chorizo and eggs after not having chorizo for a couple months. Then watching some TV, talking, hanging out.

A good way to start the year.