Monday, October 31, 2011

A Chore Weekend

I got back from LA Saturday afternoon, racing to Kendall’s volleyball party from the airport. Her team had won on Thur night, but lost their game Sat morning, so they didn’t play for the championship, but they had a good season, and the girls were all smiling when they arrived.

It was a nice party, and the coach officially committed to parents for the spring season. He also announced I’d be helping coach, since I think his wife is looking for a break. So I have a new job next spring, which I’ll be planning travel around.

Afterwards we took it easy, coming home and I did a little grass cutting to get things knocked down. A bunch of spots never got cut this summer, and I won’t get them all done, but I wanted to knock down a little on East where the kids want to sled when we have snow. That was cut short as we had to run Kendall to a Halloween party with Girl Scouts, so Tia and I dropped her off before heading out on a date.

Which didn’t go well. We went for sushi, and I was tired, but halfway through dinner I started to get chills and go downhill. Not sure what was wrong, but I felt bad and she brought me home to sleep early. I felt much better Sun morning, though not 100%. So we were lazy, laying in bed and watching a little TV while kids occupied themselves.

The afternoon was a chore afternoon. Tia ran with me, a nice 3mi run down the road before I worked on the shade shelter, re-screwing down the metal roof, adding the metal edging, and caulking a few spots that had torn. The wind is brutal around here, and I wanted to get that done.

With more time, I also painted the trim around our new window and around the garage doors, which has been let go for too long, and needed to be done. With that done, I cooked dinner, before relaxing for the evening.

A fairly quiet weekend, getting some things done that I have put off for a long time.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Sunset Blvd

I got up early, not as early as I'd like, but still early, and headed down Sunset Blvd, just a block from my hotel in LA. The sun was rising, kind of ironic for me, as I headed West, down the hill towards the beach. A friend was worried about going with me and having to come back up the hill, but since I'm at sea level, I didn't think much of it.

A little distracting to run around construction, find sidewalks, dodge commuters walking to work, and lots of traffic, but still nice to get moving and cruise in a t-shirt in mild CA weather. A great way to start my day.

This is after yesterday, when I ran on Venice Beach.

My flight arrived at 1pm, and I was out of the airport and in a car in about 30 minutes, heading down to the oceanfront. A quiet day on Venice, plenty of parking, and it's sunny. I ran down the sand, going North along the waterfront, enjoying the salt air and fairly peaceful October afternoon.

It was a real treat, especially after I woke up to this:

It was 15F when I went to feed horses, and when I arrived in Venice, it looked like this, about 70F

An amazing day. I finished it off near UCLA, on Westwood Ave, drinking wine and having a nice dinner.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Venice Beach

It's been years since I've been here, actually over a decade. I love CA beaches and miss jogging and playing volleyball on them.

The water is too cold and the city is crazy but LA has some nice beaches.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The godfather

I saw a post today that included me in it. It was written a few weeks ago, before my trip to Seattle, and I missed it in the haste of preparations. It’s written about people you might want to talk to, and I’m listed there in this quote:

Try to get a run in with Steve Jones from SQL Server Central. This man is an inspiration to so many for his daily running routine. Even if you see him in the elevator while going to run will be an inspiration. Ask him how much he likes shoveling hay. If you don’t’ have guts enough to do this, simply thank him for being the godfather of this SQL community we now enjoy. If you have the time, listen and learn. He can teach you so much about so much. As those of us that have learned from him for many many years can attest.

Very touching, and I don’t know how many people read it, but I had 40+ people running with me on Wednesday morning in Seattle and 4 or 5 looking to run with me next week in Las Vegas.

One minor correction, which TJay should know since I think my wife had him man a shovel when he was here earlier this year. I shovel manure, and throw hay.

On the road to Eagle

Delaney had a Scout Court of Honor last night, where he got one more merit badge.


He received Citizenship in the Community, one of the required Eagle badges, which was something we started two years ago. It was a slow process, mostly just trying to schedule stuff. He watched a movie that he had to discuss, and then it took 3 or 4 months to get time with the counselor, or make time, and discuss it. Same with his interview, and a few other things. The only thing that he did quickly was the community service, doing probably twice as much as he needed for the local food bank.


I only had the iPhone, which doesn’t take great pictures at distance, but here he is on stage.

Overall, he’s making good progress to Eagle.  He has 15 merit badges now, with 2 more in progress (climbing and personal fitness). He has 4 Eagle required ones, and I expect he’ll have one more in March. He should get his Star then since he’s finishing the last requirement of being a leader.

At 12, almost 13, he’s in good shape. I expect him to get Life around this time next year, or Mar 2013 if he skips a leadership term in the spring. That gets him on a good pace to get Eagle sometime when he’s 15, which is exciting.

One of my few regrets from childhood is not continuing with Scouts and getting Eagle. Hoping Delaney gets through it himself.

No Snow Day

The forecast for last night was 4-6” with 4-6” more today. I woke up around 5:45, checked and saw that schools were open. It was dark outside, but when I looked outside, I could see cement on the driveway.

Not that much snow, and when I cleared off the truck, it was about 1-2”. Delaney wasn’t happy, trying to find ways to complain and be upset, which wasn’t what I wanted to hear. I told him to suck it up and stop complaining  since he has tomorrow up. Kendall wasn’t much better, claiming she couldn’t go because her snow boots don’t fit. Fortunately she’s growing up and a pair of Tia’s fit her.

The roads weren’t bad, but muddy in the neighborhood. It’s still coming down and steady, but not sure it will accumulate to the 6-12” they were calling for. Actually I hope not since Kyle has to get here tomorrow and I need to fly to LA.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What Do You Do?

I actually hate this question. It always makes me a little uncomfortable, and I tend to answer it as “I’m a computer guy.” I’m a little shy about my success in business, and in many social situations, I’m not sure I want to talk about work. Usually I’m enjoying a break from it.

L. Z. Granderson wrote a great piece today, and how perhaps this question is a problem in our US society. I like his view, and while it’s not a truth, I think it applies more often than I’d like.

We should enjoy our lives, and be proud of working hard. Not that it matters what we do, or how much money we make, but who we are. Especially in social situations. All too often we seem to equate more value, or more status on people that make more money.

That’s crazy, since it means nothing. There are plenty of people that make lots of money who aren’t good people. Many are, but plenty are finding loopholes, exploiting situations or people, or flat out being dishonest and immoral to make a bit more money. I’ll loop in many CEOs here as well, who I think take compensation well in excess of the shareholder value they create each year.

We are all people, and while money is used to make it easy for us to compare the work that we each do, the amount of money we pay has gotten way out of line with the actual work we do. Bankers and finance people do not do millions of times more work than teachers. Arguably they aren’t even creating millions of times more value with so much of the finance markets becoming a gamble to earn more money, not fund companies.

It’s a crazy world, and it feels unbalanced.

Time for a little more tech in the World Series

It's time for a little more technology in baseball, and especially in the World Series. I heard Mike and Mike talk about it, but apparently the Cardinals has trouble communicating with the bullpen. The visitors dugout can't see the visitor's bullpen, apparently, which caused problems. LaRussa said he was looking for one pitcher to warm up, but the coaches in the outfield didn't realize it.

I don't think this is any excuse for the Cardinals. The Rangers beat them, hitting the ball well, and it might have happened no matter who pitched. Napoli is hitting well right now, so it's not a reason the Rangers won. I think the teams are fairly evenly matched, and whoever wins deserves the win.

However this is a little ridiculous. I know in the NFL that the home team won't show replays that might help the other team, which is a little gamesmanship, but also garbage in my mind. We ought to be settling the game on the field, not giving the home team's coach a technical advantage.

In baseball, there is limited technology, but couldn't we get a camera in the bullpen that the manager can see in the dugout? Maybe some text messages or chat? It's silly that the Cardinals, or Rangers, or any other team can't make the change they want because of the inability to hear coaches talking. Or because designers move the bullpens around to make it hard for the the visitors to see something. In my mind, we are settling sports contests on the field, and we ought let the players and coaches win the game based on their skills, not some off the field technical change.

Monday, October 24, 2011


I put up driveway markers with Kendall this afternoon after Tia reminded me. Why? Here’s the forecast


It’s 80F now, and I had a great run in shorts and a t-shirt today, however we are supposed to get 4-6” of snow tomorrow night.

Last year I struggled to find the driveway after the first snow, and we struggled to get markers in the ground. This year I put them in today, but we need a few more to mark the curves. It doesn’t seem like we should need it, but we do.

Wild temp swings, however, going from a hi of 80 today, to a hi of 32 on Wed.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Nice, Relaxing Day

Once again I got to sleep in, which was good. It has felt like life has been hectic for months and sleeping in two days in a row is great. I felt more relaxed, and even though I knew I needed to work on the Prius a bit and take down the covers underneath the car and clean them out, I wasn’t stressed. Once those were clean, I had a quick run before we headed out to volleyball practice for Kendall.

A good practice, with some fun kid v adult competition and then subs for a late lunch before coming home to relax. Now a dinner out with Tia before the week goes crazy again.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Sleeping In

Finally. After what seems like weeks, I get to sleep in a bit today and I feel much better.

Getting up to run was a bonus after a long night’s sleep.

Friday, October 21, 2011

CSU Technology Field Trip

I’m dragging today, after being up late chatting with Tia and watching TV and then getting up at 5am today to take Delaney to school. He had a technology field day up at Colorado State University, involved in some geo-caching competition. He won’t get back until 6:30 or so, after the bus pulled out at 6am this morning.

I think after I get him I’ll be ready for bed early tonight.

Family Volleyball Night

Last night we took Kendall to see the local high school volleyball match. Chaparral was the state champ last year and one of Kendall’s teammate’s parent told us it was worth watching. We checked the schedule, and this was the last game, so we decided to all go. Even Delaney was interested.

We stopped by for burritos on the way (bad) and ski passes (good) before arriving just as they were getting started. The Chaparral team lost the first and third games, and then we had to leave, but they play best of 5. It was amazing to watch those girls play, with the ball moving fast and furious around the court. Kendall was impressed, and I hope motivated.

We’ll see. Practice Sunday before their tournament next week.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Shut Down Night

No scouts tonight. We haven't been in a few weeks and I wanted Delaney to go and chug through a little more work, but he came home tired, said he'd been congested and sneezing at school, so I got him some food and sent him to bed.Tia wasn't far behind, going to sleep around 5:30, just tired.

I'm not much better myself. Every once in awhile, every month or so, I think we all need a bit of a break. The kids don't run as hard as Tia and I, but they get worn out, especially when we have a busy weekend. Gone all day Sat at the maze and then up late with Kendall (me) and sleepover (Delaney), and chores on Sun with Tia gone riding all day, it felt like last week blended into this one.

With a trip next week and one the week after, and one the week after, I need to take it easy as well. Nice quiet, restful night at home, with a little TV and that's it.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Training Again

It's been a week and a half since I went to karate, the Thursday before last. However in that time I've had multiple volleyball games, and a week in Seattle. It's felt like forever since I was in the dojo, and with a busy week (scouts Tue, and volleyball Thur), I wanted to get there today.

So I cooked the kids food and raced out of here, getting to class just in time. It was a hard class. Not hard physically, and I took it easy on the kicking to not twist the ankle, but low energy levels. Both the first two people in the class dropped out of katas a few times because they were worn out from the constant katas. I wasn't out of breath, but just lacking the energy to focus and blaze through katas. Eventually I decided to focus more on techniques, and just run a little behind a few times.

It felt good to be back, however, and I've enjoyed continuing my training.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Book #51 - Detachment

The new book from Barry Eisler, a return of the John Rain series, but with a new publisher (Amazon). I was interested to see if the editing had changed or the style was different. I don’t think it has, especially after I immediately read the couple previous books after this one got me excited.
Rain has been retired, or semi-retired in Detachment, back living in Tokyo. However he’s not ignoring his environment and when he finds two people shadowing him at judo practice, he decides to act. They follow him, in a way that suggests they aren’t friendly, and he kills them. However they’re only two of a four man team. The other two are smarter and merely call Rain, asking for a meeting.
An Army General, knowing of Rain from Vietnam, wants to hire him to stop a group from taking over the government and getting martial law declared. Rain is sold, and brings in Dox, along with the other two operators (Treven and Larison). Larison is being blackmailed by the colonel, Horten, who stole 100 million in diamonds from him. Treven is a good soldier, but outside of the organization.
They kill two targets, before Rain realizes that they are hastening the potential declaration of martial law by slipping two key people into position. Kanezaki helps them figure it out, and helps them when they become fugitives from Homeland Security. They manage to extricate themselves by the end, but it’s a nice switch from the rouge shadowy operations of the CIA in the other books to a modern, terrorist based plot. It reminds me of what happened with xx in the Lion series after 9/11.
This one can stand by itself, though there are a few references to Midori and Delilah in there. I’d read the others first, just to follow the story, but this one stands on it’s own.

Daddy Daughter Date Night

Kendall asked me if I'd take her to a movie yesterday when I got home. I've been gone all week, and didn't see her until Sat morning when I went to wake her up for volleyball. Getting an excited squeal and a big hug from her that morning was wonderful. It warms my heart to have her still be excited to see me.

Volleyball was good, though she was a little sluggish. Slow to move and a little out of it at times. Some good plays, some good tries, but some I think she could have made if she had been a little more excited. The team won a game in each of their two matches, but lost 2, so they ended up losing both matches. Not sure what that means for her team in the tournament in two weeks, but we'll see.

Afterwards we spent the afternoon at the Wild West Corn Maze, a 35 acre maze in a cornfield. Yesterday was horse day and the little kids were excited to ride horses through there. We drove up with three horses and a book. Guess who the book was for?

I helped them get tacked up and both Kendall and Delaney were excited. You can see them up on their horses first, getting ready to head out.

I was thinking to walk through, but they had the horse and people areas separated. I went to get some water as everyone else headed out for the maze, as you can see below.

It was a nice afternoon, and I sat outside, reading my book while they were in the maze. A little windy, but after a semi-hectic week for me in Seattle, it was nice to just sit down and not run around too much.

Everyone got back, excited from the trip. Tia walked a bit to ensure things were safe, the horses behaved, and Delaney navigated them through the maze pretty well.

Afterwards we walked over to the rest of the area, a large jumping pillow (like a tramp), a petting zoo where Tia and the kids were excited to feed some goats and sheep. Slightly worrisome to me since everyone was asking if we were going to get a goat or sheep for the ranch. Despite the horses we have, apparently Kendall still loves to meet new horses.

Kendall also got in the Hamster balls, rolling around in a pool of water. She loved it, thought we couldn't get Delaney to try it. They climbed some hay, and eventually we left for home.

When we got home, I ran, and Kendall asked again if I'd take her to see Dolphin Tale. We checked and it was a late showing, but I agreed to go. My little girl isn't always excited to do things with me and at some point it will end, so I'm taking advantage of it.

It's a good movie, a feel good movie based on a true story of a boy that helps rescue a dolphin that is trapped by a rope and washes up on shore. The tail is removed because it's dead tissue, and the dolphin learns to swim, but they eventually work on a prosthesis to give her a tale. Not quite how the previews make it out, but still good. I kept watching Kendall during the movie and she was really smiling, enjoying the parts where the dolphin or the boy grew and prospered.

A late night, but a good one and fun for me with the family during the day and my little girl at night.

Friday, October 14, 2011

A Long Week

It's been a long week in Seattle, but I'm almost done. One more talk today, then a quick trip to the airport and heading home.

These weeks get longer as I get older, with less of a desire to go out and party, or even stay out late. Quiet dinners, good conversation are more my style these days.

Now I just hope the Occupy Seattle movement hasn't upset my travel plans.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Bok #50 - Slack

This was a very interesting book for me in a number of ways. The idea that companies are not necessarily run the best way they could and that the pursuit of efficiency above all else is problematic are themes I believe in. Too often I think the “Office Space” mentality that many people have adopted in running an efficient organization is a problem.
Slack talks about the issues of being too efficient and too controlling in a corporate environment. The picture is best illustrated with this look at workflow, which seems applicable to many of the technological systems I’ve worked on.
We move work from person A to person B to Person C and so on. It’s similar to the way we do this with data, statuses, etc. At each stage, if the next person is ready to work on the informaiton, we are perfectly efficient. However if the person must wait on work, then they are slack, they have unused time. However if we look to eliminate this slack, what we end up with is work being delayed. It piles up, however slightly, in order to be ready until the next person is ready to move forward on it.
If you think about it, either you have work moving through the system as quickly as it can, which implies slack on the side of workers (or systems), or it moves through less efficiently and you have no slack.
The idea the book presents is that we need some level of slack in our systems (and people) in order for work to move through efficiently. It’s possible that during this slack time people can perform other tasks, or catch up on things, or more importantly, think about their jobs and perhaps find ways to do them better, perform better analysis, etc. It’s a philosophy that I subscribe to. 
People aren’t resources, and they aren’t interchangeable. It we want to take advantage of the skills people have, we can’t box them into a very small set of tasks and expect them to be done by rote, or with perfect efficiency. Without some level of slack time to work on side projects, or think, or re-examine their job, they can’t change or adapt to situations.
This is an interesting book, and while it’s a few years old, I think it provides a great way of looking at the way in which businesses can perhaps operate better. Not by being more efficient, but by being less efficient with people’s time, and more efficient with work. There’s a lot more to building a better business, but having some slack time built into people’s jobs, or some level of under utilization, in my humble opinion, means that you can get people to do a better job.
Worth the read.

Book #49 The Affair and The Second Son

I’m including two books here since one is a Kindle Short, a few chapters of a story. Second Son is a short book about the young Jack Reacher, on Okinawa with his father, brother, and mother. His grandfather is Paris has died and their mother moves on. Their father, the only interaction we’ve had with him in the series, is a Marine, in charge of some secret codes in case the US invades China and loses a code book.
Meanwhile we have Jack and Joe, young boys that need to start school, and also deal with the local bullies. Joe avoids, preferring to focus on school and htink about things, while Jack is, well, Jack. He’s the older Jack Reacher we know, cold, calculating, thinking a few steps ahead, seeing connections others miss, and of course, getting into a fight. 
It’s a fun short story, leaving me wanting more, but it also seems to be an evolved Reacher, not a kid. Almost as thought the writing of The Killing Floor has preceeded it (which is has), but the character is more of a complete character in this one than it is a kid.
The Affair is set back in the time when Reacher is in the military. In fact it’s just before The Killing Floor, just before Reacher is going to be discharged and in some sense, this book is the reason. He’s sent by Graber to Mississippi to a small town that lives on the local Army base as the outside investigator when there is a killing of a civilian woman. Another from the 110th in Germany is sent to the base as the inside investigator.
The book is interesting in that it starts with Reacher walking into the Pentagon, sure he’s going to be arrested. When he isn’t, and he gets to the meeting in the inner ring with a colonel, the book jumps back three days to Reacher’s start in the town.
As with many of the other books’ formulas, he arrives in town, impresses someone, upsets someone else, and gets into a fight. It almost reminds me of My Cousin Vinny with the locals that want to fight Reacher. He puts them off when it’s two, then again when it’s four and makes it a fight when it’s 6.
The story is similar to the Gone Tomorrow where we have politics mixed in with an investigation and no one is really sure what’s going on. Reacher pushes and pulls, working with the local Sherif, a woman he becomes attracted to, to unravel the mystery.
I enjoyed this one, with the setting of Reacher in the Army, but not in it, getting help from Nagley and Dixon in this one, though just a phone call from Dixon. It also reminds me of the time I grew up, when we were at the end of the Cold War. Worth the read if you like the Jack Reacher series.

Struggling to unwind

Why is it hard to unwind and relax away from work? I'm asking myself that as I walk around Bainbridge Island today. I'm doing all the right things. I'm away from work, across the Puget Sound, no real agenda, a good book to read (The Thousand), wandering around town looking at shops, stopping for a leisurely lunch, taking a bit of time in a bookstore. I'm even walking slowly, drawing out my steps, deliberately moving slowly to enjoy the day.

Yet I'm still a little anxious and amped. Instead of the stress and buzzing feeling bleeding away, I still feel like I should be back in Seattle at the conference doing something. I should be learning something, or talking to people.

It's a hard feeling to shake, and my last attempt here is a little writing to try and unwind. I left the conference after the Red Gate announcement this morning, deliberately trying to get away from everyone after two very hectic days and spend a little quiet time. Since I can't go home until Friday, the next best thing was to leave Seattle. I thought about the Boeing Factory tour, but it started too early for me, so I thought taking a ferry across, doing my Grey's Anatomy impression would be a good second choice.  I chose Bainbridge Island, riding across the water, reading, and then wandering around the small downtown area.

I did get to talk to Tia, which was nice. We've been busy, hectic even in our lives, and haven't had much time to spend together. A few more weeks and I'll stop most things until the end of the year, at least. Maybe longer, just getting the minimal work done. We chatted, me sitting on a bench in an open sitting area between two shops, relaxing on a wooden bench talking about life.  She asked me who I impersonated, and I was thinking Derek, the surgeon that is driven, but manages to get away from work and life out away from everyone. I'm not sure how successful I am at that, but I've trying to get better.

I know that I'm missing things, but also not missing anything critical. I can get the DVDs for the sessions, I can see what others think of them on Twitter or in blogs, and watch things later. However I still feel this pull back to the world of technology. It's crazy, especially given that I'm on a beautiful island, on a nice October day with the sun shining in Western Washington. How could things get better?

Almost time to head back, and even though I don't feel completely relaxed, I know it's been good for me to get away. even for a few hours to not have any obligations.

The SQL Run

I know there were a few pictures taken, and I need to get some, but I had a great run along the water this morning. Someone planned a group run for the conference this am and I was expecting about 10 people. At 6:55, there were 40 or so people in the lobby of the Sheraton in downtown Seattle.

We headed out, dodging cars and cruising through the city to Pike's Place market and then down along the water for almost a mile. A nice run, and a chance to chat with 5 or 6 people along the way. A good start to the day.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Rolling to Seattle

Back on the road again. Not looking forward to being gone a week, but this is one more trip out of the way.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


Kendall sketching while we lay in bed this am

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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Security at the ranch

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A totally different Saturday afternoon

When I got back from England last Sunday, I was already looking to this weekend. Tia had a dressage show and I had to take Kendall to volleyball and coach the team as her regular coach was out of town. An early game, but not too early at 10. Te to maybe get some work or chores done.

I planned to bring her home, then plant some trees in the yard and go out to Colorado Ski & Golf to get her Keystone pass and spend some Daddy/daughter time as Tia was taking Delaney on a date to see Contagion. In the middle of the week I thought I should also blow out sprinklers as I'll be gone all next week in Seattle.

Things didn't go as planned.

The first fail was last night. Scheduled to go to a freinds to celebrate their birthday, I was cooling fajitas for Delaney. Tia was coming home from a ride and then we would take Kendall to get dinner and wine to take over.

Just as I put chicken on the grill, Tia called. Her truck died on E Parker Rd. She needed a jump so I headed over after getting the grill and stove off. We jump the truck and it dies a minute later. Repeat and same result. Tia moves wine to Sat and I tell her it's too dangerous to drive the truck. She calls a friend to borrow a trailer since we have Gemini in ours and call AAA. Then cancel that because she doesn't want to leave her trailer on the side of the road.

Her friend comes with her husband and gives Tia her truck and trailer so we can get Gemini home and Tia can get to her show today. We have already unloaded most of the expensive tack into the Suburban and we go home, calling it a night early.

This morning I wake up at 8:55am. We wanted to leave at 8:45, so I'm late. Get Kendall going and as I walk by the large window in the foyer I see snow outside. Not a dusting but what looks like 2-3" at least. I call the Rec center and volleyball is on, so we head down.

I like to call since we are so far out of town that it's hard to tell how bad things are at times. We make it down, splashing through slush to get in. Not a great match, losing the first two, but 5 great overhand serves from one girl and 5 from Kendall won the third. Good effort from the girls and fun for me.

I was thinking we would grab lunch and then head home instead Kendall wants to get a Halloween costume. We usually wait too long so I spend an hour watching her try on 5 or 10 costumes. Finally we grab lunch and head home.

No rest for me. Call AAA to tow Tia's truck, head out, drive 2 miles back to get the keys I forgot. Go to Starbucks since I'm sure the toe truck guy will be slow. Come back and sit by the road, waiting and working a touch.

He comes and gets the truck 30 minutes or so later. Now I'm writing this, waiting for a friend to come tow Tia's trailer.

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Friday, October 7, 2011

Crazy Windy

I was hoping to run outside before the weather turned, but the last two days have been crazy windy. Hopefully I'll get to run in the sun before I head to Seattle on Monday.

It was so windy it blew open the door on Tia's arena yesterday. It seems to fit tightly, but I'm guessing things are flexing in the wind. Put a cement block to hold it closed, but might need to come up with something else.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs 1955-2011

It sucks getting older. There are any number of reminders of that fact on a regular basis as I move through my 40s. A kid in college, the aches and pains from moving my body too quickly, the paunch that I struggle to keep under control, and the most annoying might be having to get up most nights to go to the bathroom when I should be sleeping.

One of the saddest reminders, however, is the all too regular passing of someone we admire, someone we know, someone we love. I haven’t had much death in my life to this point, fortunately. I lost a friend, a former boss, while away at college. A good friend, only slightly older was killed earlier this year. And I lost someone I admired yesterday.

I never met Steve Jobs. Never saw him speak in person, never worked at Apple, and rarely used their computers. However Steve Jobs was one of the few people that I wanted on my “what three people I would invite to dinner” list. Apple has always been a “cool” company to me, one that transcended the engineering efficiency of so many technology companies to build something that you could use, but more importantly, you wanted to use.

The comparison that came to mind this morning as I lay in bed, thoughts churning about both my day and the loss of someone I admired was the same one that Dave Winer wrote about in his memorial post: Frank Lloyd Wright.

pastyou2The design, the clean, clear lines, the lack of anything extra was both elegant and insanely frustrating at times. However also genius, and reminiscent of not a better way to do things, but of the future.

That’s what Steve Jobs brought with both design and form in the Macintosh, the NeXt, Toy Story, the iPod, the iPhone, the Air, and the iPad.

The future.


Monday, October 3, 2011

One Sick, One Restless

I got home last night to find everyone in my bed, and Kendall sick with a fever. She's working on a cold of sorts, and was sluggish last night. She slept with Tia and I and we kept her home today. She's better, and needs to go to school, which is good. She's getting better.

Delaney was fine last night, but when I went to get him up at 6, he was lying in the bathroom, headphones on, watching a movie on Netflix. He'd been up all night goofing off. Fortunately for him it was really 5 as my clock had the wrong time. Unfortunately, he only got an hour's sleep before I got him up, with little sympathy, and sent him to school. I'm sure he's going to be wiped out tonight.

Back Home

And finally, an easy trip to and from the UK. Four segments booked, four planes flown with only a minor issue delaying my departure from Heathrow yesterday.

It actually was an easier trip, and I’m sure the shorter 4 days helped, rather than a week. However flying through Canada was a much easier way to travel and I think I’ll go that way the next time I go over there.

Glad to be back, nice to sleep in my own bed, but my little girl is sick. Had a fever last night and she’s here today instead of school. Hopefully she’ll feel better today.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Traveling all day

I got up at 8:00am, knowing that I didn't have to leave for the airport for a couple hours. I'm not sure why I booked a 1:00pm flight, other than to match the symmetry of flying back on Air Canada from the UK. I was lying in bed for 10 minutes, trying to decide if I could sleep more when the maid opened the door. Fortunately she announced herself before walking in and then quickly left when I answered. However that got me up and moving right away, pulling on running shorts and shoes, heading down to the health club in the Heathrow Renaissance. 

I last ran there over 2 years ago when I was on my first year of running and had to spend a week in England. I wasn't sure if I'd have the chance to run that day, since the year before it had taken me 22 hours to get home, so I got up at 4:30am and ran that Saturday. This was a more leisurely run, and surprisingly without company. Not even an attendant as I knocked out a fairly even paced 2.4mi in 24:00. A guest and an attendant walked in as I was cooling down, and I wasted no time getting back to my room, showering, and then packing up.

I arrived at Heathrow at 10:30 and I'm glad. On the way over I'd flown through Calgary, and had the best flight I've had across the Atlantic. I think the combination of getting up early and then flying on my time zone helped, and was thinking I'd booked the same route back. I even had the tickets in my iPhone marked as a 1:15 through Calgary and a 6-something flight to Denver. When I went to check in, the agent told me that I was in fact booked on the 12:15 to Toronto and a 5:15 to Denver. Surprising, but god for me. I'd arrive in Denver 2 hours earlier than I thought, but still an all day travel. I got my boarding passes, grabbed a Starbucks and sat reading for a few minutes, glad that I'd come to the airport early.

Flying to Toronto was worrisome. We were delayed (again), but some mechanical issue and didn't leave until an hour late. It seems that I'm perpetually delayed by some mechanical issue on many flights. Not most, but the age of the fleets seems to be a problem, at least with United, the airline I fly the most. I knew things might be close, but was OK most of the trip, only worrying as we were descending into Toronto. I've never flown there, but if it was anything like the Calgary airport, I might have issues.

I had my bags, got out of the airplane as quick as someone in row 41 can, and then passed a number of people getting through the airport and was surprised to find that customs wasn't required. They had a US area, and I slipped through the international baggage claim and into the US pre-clearance area without an issue. Well, there were lines, and I was worried while waiting for US immigration, but one attendant pointed out that it wasn't a 5:15 Denver flight, but rather a 5:40 Denver flight. I was looking at the boarding time on an Air Canada pass, something I'm not used to. I relaxed, but still hurried, glad that I had my paperwork out and ready for customs, no issues with my passport expiring today, and no issues with me at the metal detector. That was a surprise. Supposedly I'd be in a secure area the whole time, but moving from the Canadian international arrival area to the US entry doesn't mean they don't need to inspect you. Or maybe people from Canada can slip in there. In any case, I was more relaxed, but hurrying.

I got to the gate at 5:12, thinking I might grab some food or water before I boarded, but I saw people boarding. Once again, nervous, and not remembering my place, I decided to forego a Canadian credit card transaction and just board. I figured worst case I had a bar in my bag. I was thinking that I was in 4F, which may or may not have been first class, but I wanted to board and ensure I could get both my bags on with me. As I walked up to the gate, I pulled me pass and realized I was 2F. Still not sure if first class existed on this plane, I decided to just board. turns out I was in first class, and there were still two seats open.

Relaxing, and reading, I was looking forward to white wine on the flight, of which I've had two. Waking up at 8am UK time, and now flying, I should arrive around 6:00-6:15pm Denver time. Late for me in the UK, but in time to get home, see the kids, and start to get back on a normal schedule.

For a week. I leave for Seattle next Monday.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Back in London

I'm back in London, near Heathrow, about to call it a night. It's been a long few days, especially without internet connectivity. The hotel didn't have Internet (isn't this 2011?) and the conference wifi was so flaky, I'd get connected and lose it constantly. I managed to get a few emails out, but not many. Crazy. I'll have to get some work done tomorrow.

SQLBits was great, lots of fun, lots of shaking hands, and I'd like to do it again. If I can combine this trip with something else.

Now ready to go home tomorrow.