Sunday, July 31, 2011
Saturday, July 30, 2011
I tried to sleep in, but a fly was bugging me and around 9:30 I gave up. Since I took the girls (Kendall and a friend) to see the Smurfs last night and didn’t get home until 1:30, I was tired. I got up, read a bit, and then it was off the dance class the Home Depot today. I grabbed sprinkler hose so we can plant trees.
At home I ended up chilling out with Tia and Delaney for a bit, watching some TV and relaxing before going out to spread the hose and then cut some grass. We had hoped to get out with the family, but Kendall’s friend didn’t leave, so it was a chore day and then a quick run.
Now date night with my lovely wife.
Friday, July 29, 2011
I grabbed this book on a whim, thinking that it might be OK for my trip to the UK at $2.9. The description on Amazon of Temporary Duty made it seem like a stretch for me, but semi interesting. Paving the way for a military detachment on an alien ship, two enlisted men are sent first.
After the first few chapters, which moved a little slow, I found my self fascinated by the book, despite some formatting issues that rendered most of it in italics.
The book really follows one of the enlisted men, a poor man from West Virginia who displays surprising common sense and ends up moving in a successful path, similar to that I found in Quarter Share. He learns the alien language, and ends up noticing many small things that the other officers and enlisted men don’t. He works hard, and takes advantage of opportunities. I found myself unable to put this one down a few times.
The book is long, longer than I expected, and follows the trip of this trading ship across the galaxy to many places. It’s got some sex in it, and thrilling adventure, but mostly it’s a good view from the bottom, the enlisted man that must deal with officers and his own status on a trading ship, which isn’t military at all. As mentioned, the formatting was a little broken, which was annoying, but easily overcome by a great read.
Last night I decided to go to karate, after missing Wednesday because I was too tired. Tia was going to Hidden Mesa to ride, and was taking Delaney along with his bike to ride near her. A good time for those two to get time together, and Delaney to get out of the house.
Tia asked me if I’d come, and bring Kendall, who had spent all day at summer camp. However I didn’t really want to, and I realized that even though I’ve gotten to black belt, I’ve done other things along the way. I’ve built a routine of exercise, used to going to class a couple times a week and working hard. I’ve also built bonds with many of my fellow classmates. I look forward to seeing the other black/brown belts I’ve known for years, and also want to help encourage the lower belts I’ve known for less time.
Sitting in class, struggling a little with balance a couple times, but enjoying the effort to focus and work hard. We had a few people testing for belts last night, and I felt the pressure of providing a good example to them. I found myself smiling inside a little, and enjoying the stress and effort.
I’m not sure what to do from here, continue with this school, or start another one. Delaney wants to try aikido, but there isn’t a school near us. I’d like to see if he’d do something else, but we’ll see what happens.
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Neither of us moved. We lay around chatting a bit, then watched TV with Kendall for awhile. Tia fell asleep around 9, and I put Kendall to bed, read a little more of my book, and then crashed as well.
Sometimes you just need a quiet night, and this was a good one for us.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
After dropping Kendall off at camp today, I wandered over to the Broncos facility to see the first day of training camp. Arriving 1/2 hour after things started, I was surprised how many people were there, with the parking lots packed.
I’ve been to training camp 4 or 5 years, and it’s always neat to see guys working on drills. Gets me excited for the season. I’ve never been on day 1, and wasn’t sure how advanced they’d be, but I got there just after some stretching (and warm-up) and they were going right at it.
I was closest to the offense, standing in the shade on the hill. I saw a number of receiver drills, as well as QBs working on their throws and handoffs. There was some contact down at the other end of the field with lineman, but for the most part I watched routes with a little 7 on 7, and a touch of 11 on 11 near the end.
Bailey looked pretty good on coverages, though most of the routes were short ins or outs, and no CB looks good on those, unless he’s guessing and jumping routes.
There were 4QBs rotating in. Orten, Quinn, Tebow, and another guy wearing #2.
Monday, July 25, 2011
Yesterday was the first time that my team has forfeited a baseball game this year. I think we had to let one go last year as well, but this was unexpected. Apparently we had too many people on vacation this week and a few that didn’t come for family reasons, and at 3:45 (for a 4:00 start) we had 7 guys standing around.
The other team only had 8, so it wasn’t even looking like a scrimmage was happening. We called a few people, but eventually the umpires said we would have to call the game a forfeit. Apparently we can’t play 8 on 8, only 9 on 8 for a real game, and they can’t be present for anything else. So we paid them, they left, and we decided to get on with a scrimmage.
The other team was good enough to loan us two fielders for our turns on defense, swapping them around with people to bat. So it was a pseudo normal game, except there was no energy, and everyone felt it. At least, everyone except the first batter. He led off with a home run to left center. A couple more hits scored a few runs, but we did manage to get three outs without being embarrassed.
At bat, we went down 1-2-3, with their ace throwing hard and blowing by people for the most part. We had a better second inning at defense, not giving up any runs, and then came to bat. I was up second and caught a nice low fast ball and drove it high to right center. I thought I hit it harder, but it was mid-depth, and a fly-out. Still it felt good and I was happy. My second at bat wasn’t as good, though I approached it poorly. Three balls, and no intention of taking a walk, so I swung at the end one, which was a little high, but center plate. Couldn’t catch up. The next two balls were a little outside, but I didn’t want a walk, and I swung, but didn’t reach out enough. I was thinking fast balls, and should have been slapping at the ball with an outstretched bat, not swinging from the heels.
In the field, I had third for a few innings, and then spent a couple in the outfield so the other team’s players weren’t running so far. I got one fly in left that I pulled down easily. That was a little weird after not having seen a fly ball in months.
We knocked off by 5:30 and headed back, so I called Tia to see if I could catch her and the kids. They were planning on seeing Captain America, and I managed to meet up with them for dinner, a pick-up of Kyle, and then the movie. The show was pretty good, lots of explosions and excitement, and a good job. Looking forward to seeing more of the Marvel/Avenger series when they come out.
It starts out with another killer, an electric worker that rigs a wire near a bus stop, causing an arc explosion that kills one man, and nearly destroys a city bus. Lincoln is called in, along Del Ray, who’s being pushed out of the modern bureau that uses more electronic means of investigation. It’s funny how this incident is classified as “terrorism” early on and there’s constant talk of communicating in “the cloud” as opposed to old fashioned messaging between people.
Rhyme begins investigating as more electrical traps are set. Saks gets a lesson in electricity from the former employee’s company, which appears to be targeted. They are asked to start brownouts and stop selling electricity to other companies at times and they can’t comply, with traps being sprung that electrify a building, an elevator, and more. It’s a scary thought when we think about how much we use electricity.
At the same time, Rhyme is following the tracking of the Watchman in Mexico remotely, with conference calls from Dance interrupting him. He stresses and has an attack, saved only by Thom’s quick reactions.
The book continues in the style of thrilled that we’ve come to expect from Deaver, with a nice twist at the end. I would certainly recommend The Cold Moon first, or at least The Broken Window to get the background on some of the characters, but if you can, read the entire series in order, including the Katherine Dance novel.
Sunday, July 24, 2011
I grabbed Fifth Avenue after it reminded me of the Stephen Frey financial series from a few years ago. It wasn’t quite the same, more of a thriller mystery than financial book, but I enjoyed it, so I picked up Running of the Bulls, the second story in this series.
The only character that I can find from the first series is the assassin, Vincent Spocatti. He appears right away, killing a few characters that presumably testified against a wealthy trader for insider information fraud.
The book has a similar style to the first one, keeping the reader unsure of what is going on by not providing much information, using lots of characters, and trying to get the reader to think one person is guilty when it’s really another.
The writing is simple, and not great at developing characters. A few of the situations feel contrived as well, pushing the bounds of what one might think would happen in real life. It’s also gruesome in places, with plenty of people being killed and some graphic descriptions.
Over all I thought it was a good read for $3, but I would have been disappointed if I’d spent $10.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Slept in a bit, then a short, slower run to keep things going. Day 1044 is done, and now I need to get ready for the black belt test.
Friday, July 22, 2011
My job this week has been to take care of horses while Tia has been gone. Throwing hay, watching water is easy, though I let the water bucket get low for the one horse in jail this week. Colo is locked away since he’s new and Tia’s gone and while he had a couple inches of water last night, he drank it all last night and was looking for more this morning. He couldn’t wait for me to fill his bucket today, drinking from one side, warily watching the hose filling it on the other.
Part of the job this week has been playing vet to Starlet. I only do a minimal amount, spreading cream on her wound, like this:
That picture got a lot of funny comments from people this week on Facebook and Twitter, which was fine. I was nervous getting started, but it’s gotten better, and Starlet is looking good. You can hardly see things here:
And if I pull the tail back, it still looks bad, but much, much better than it did a month ago.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Last night in karate we had a guest sensei in town. He’s a friend of our teacher from NYC and they trained and grew up together. He’s more of a BJJ/Muy Thai guy, and it shoes in how he teaches. Quicker pace, and lots of boxing/style drills, but with the Thai flavor.
Fun class, but not quite what I like, and not quite how I wanted to work this week. With the black belt test on Saturday, I was hoping to train hard, but not anything crazy and had to really slow down a few of the twisty exercises last night. He’s teaching tonight, using heavy bags, and I’d like to go, but I’m thinking rest would be a better plan for me this week.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Maybe not least favorite, but I certainly didn’t like doing this:
and then having to do this:
Starlet got cut a few weeks ago, and I’m in charge of caring for the wound while Tia is out of town. She’s healing OK, at least I think so since Tia isn’t that worried, but to try and reduce the amount of scarring and help healing, we have some cream to spread on the wound every day.
And I get to do it.
I did it yesterday for the first time, and was nervous since Starlet is a nervous horse. As I dropped hay, she was jumping and bucking around since the other horses wouldn’t let her eat. It certainly seemed like a bad idea to go get close to her and spread cream.
After 5 minutes or so, however, she calmed down and it wasn’t bad. I was nervous, but nothing happened. The same thing this morning.
Horsey-vet Steve is in the house.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Rain was threatening and we could see lightening in the distance, but I was hoping we'd get 30 minutes or so in before it hit. We started to play, wind blowing and it was hard. So after 5-10 minutes, I moved to just hitting balls from the net at Delaney so he could get some practice and skill. 10 minutes after that it was starting to rain, and rain hard, with big, fat raindrops. We packed up and ran for the car.
What did my boy and I do, with about 90 minutes before scouts? We went to the library ;)
I grabbed this book on a recommendation, and found it fascinating. In fact, I’d recommend In the Plex to many business people, especially start-ups, to understand how Google views the world and running a business.
Steven Levy is a great writer, and I enjoy his style. He goes through some of the background of the founders (Page and Brin) as well as some of the beginnings of the company. The book really starts by looking at some of the management trainees, and how they are going around the world to learn about different things, before going backwards in time.
I like that the book jumps around a bit, talking about different sections of how Google operates, and how they philosophically view the world. On one hand they are very transparent on open about many things, with a goal of bringing information to the world. On the other hand they are very secretive about some things.
At the beginning of the book, I was curious. A third of the way through, I started to regret never studying harder in college and applying to Google. By the end, I knew it wasn’t the culture for me, but I did think that there were some good ideas in the book about managing people. Take care of them, give them freedom, trust, and build in some passion for what they enjoy. In some ways, this book has a lot of the same ideas that Drive has in it.
I was reading an article that had a bunch of quotes from Jay-Z, and I found them interesting, so I grabbed Decoded. This is Shawn Carter’s work, as opposed to Empire State of Mind, which was pitched to Jay-Z and refused. I may read that one next.
The book is a series of stories and thoughts, written in the first person, from Jay-Z, going from his early life as a hustler and drug dealer and slowly moving into his career. However it doesn’t follow chronologically and there’s a lot of his career that’s obviously left out.
The thoughts are more commentary on the world, the industry, and a little bit of an explanation on why he writes the lyrics he does, and why he thinks he and other rappers are viewed by the rest of the world. It has a lot of social commentary and some observations about how race comes into play. I think that he’s both right and wrong in places, and it’s interesting to see him explain things from his point of view.
He also talks about specific lyrics, and a number of other lyrics are listed in the book to his raps. They aren’t complete, such as the missing parts of “Renegade” that Eminem sings, but there are notes about what the words mean, sometimes on multiple levels.
I enjoyed the book, and the imagery. This was a great experiment, with the pages from the book posted all over the world on various billboards, signs, even basketball backboards and an ad campaign that’s described. A good look at Jay-Z’s view of the world, though not necessarily much about how he came to become a mogul in the industry.
In this one Stone is called before the President, tasked with an assignment that will help the US and also clear his name. He’ll be left alone by the government, and it’s also a bit of a penance for killing two of the previous “bad guys” in the administration.
That same night, he returns to Lafayette Park and witnesses 4 people in the park, strange for late at night. The UK Prime Minister is leaving the White House, going to Blair House, when there’s gunfire in the park, and then a bomb explodes. Stone awakens in the hospital and gets re-tasked to an investigation with a UK spy.
The book flows smoothly, mostly about Stone and his British partner with the Camel Club relegated to a back seat in the plot. This book reminds me of an Ian Fleming, or a Ludlum spy novel with twists and turns, and us never quite knowing what is happening as Stone ruthlessly pursues the book to it’s final scenes in Murder Mountain.
A great read, one I couldn’t put down on the plane.
The dentist this morning gave me a clean bill of health. No cavities, not issues, though I did get my semi-annual chastisement for not flossing enough, and the regular advertisement for whitening since I drink too much coffee.
All in all not a bad visit, though I thoroughly dislike someone poking in my mouth with sharp instruments and dread every visit. Fortunately I’m safe for the rest of 2011.
Monday, July 18, 2011
Tia left this morning for a horse trip up in the mountains. She’s planned this most years, going for a week with a few other horse ladies to some place in the US. This year it’s north of Glenwood Springs, CO, and she won’t be back until Friday.
I got up early, helped her pack a few things, and had a few minutes with her before she life. This after me getting home Sat night, and both of us being busy yesterday with various things. It’s a chaotic crazy life here, but once she gets back Friday, it slows down for a few weeks.
Our crazy life this weekend resulted in:
- me arriving home around 3:30pm Sat to find only Delaney
- going to pick up Kendall from her granddad’s at 5:00
- coming home to see Tia at 6:00
- falling asleep around 7:30pm
- waking up to find Tia gone at 6:30am Sunday
- going back to sleep and waking up at 8:30 to find Tia asleep again (her horse thing canceled)
- going to run at 9:30 for my black belt test
- coming home at 11:00 to find Tia having a lesson with a client. I hung out a bit, then left at 12:30 to go get Kendall.
- I get back around 2:00 and Tia’s leaving for a ride. That’s OK because I’m leaving at 2:15 for baseball
- I get home around 8:30, watch Kendall ride a little, Tia’s doing chores, so I hang with Kendall a bit.
- Kids go to bed around 10:30, Tia and I have an hour to chat, but we’re both tired.
- Up at 7am Mon to help Tia pack and spend a few minutes with her before she leaves.
I sooooo need life to slow down for a week or two.
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Thursday night my company rented a bus, packed it with books, beer, supplies, etc for the Friday SQL in the City event, and then drove about 15 of us down from Cambridge to the center of London. I read and napped a little, and then watched us crawl along the Thames, saw the London Eye, and a few more sights I remembered from my time in London. We turned into the city and passed Trafalgar square, before arriving at the venue and unloading at the Royal Society of London.
Then a few of us went to the hotel to check in, with the others coming over later. It had been a long week, and I was tired, so I made to the hotel, checked in, got my one and a half bed room (yes, one and a half beds with a full and a small twin) and then decided there was nothing on TV, wi-fi only in the bar, and so I should get a drink before dinner.
I had a couple beers, people arrived and joined me, and we chatted along before heading to dinner “just around the corner”. I had to settle the bill, since I was the one that opened it, and walked outside to find no one around, crowds around a few pubs, and was unsure of what to do. I also wasn’t sure which corner, so I started to walk around one. Fortunately I ran into the CEO of our company, who had a address of the restaurant. That was my first time lost.
The second time was the next morning. I never sleep well before events if I have to be there early, being paranoid about oversleeping. It’s the same way with flights, ski trips, etc. So I was tossing and turning and around 6:15 just got up. Pulled on shoes, stretched a bit and walked downstairs. I wasn’t sure where I was, but my plan was to find a major street and then go down and back. So I headed down Great Portland Street, which was near the hotel and looked fairly large. However a couple of minutes later that T’d at Oxford Circus.
Hmmm, I thought, I’ve been here, and turned right to go down Oxford Street, which isn’t a major road, but close enough. I passed the Oxford Circus Underground station, which I remember from college. That same old brown, Harry Potter style building next to an alley leading towards a nightclub. I went down, ran about 10 minutes, and then turned around. I ran back, with all the shops of Oxford street a bit of a blur, and then realized I was at Tottenham Court Road. I’d run there last year when I was in London, but I hadn’t started, or passed it.
I assume I had missed my turn, but I’d been looking. Since London isn’t a grid system, more like a grid planned, and named, by someone after 10 pints of beer, I turned again, heading back up Oxford Street. I did manage to find Portland Street, and it wasn’t bad, with me only going about 10 minutes longer than I expected. I showered, changed, and managed to find my way over to the Royal Society of Medicine, without getting lost.
I got to give a presentation in the main lecture hall, which was a treat. It’s quite a nice venue, and while I’m sure I am far down the list of important people that have given talks there, it was exciting for me to see the names of some famous medical doctors listed on the wall and think about how many amazing things were said from the stage I was standing on.
Fortunately I stuck with cabs and trains for my trip out of London and didn’t get lost again.
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Hearing the wheels hit the ground in Denver was a sweet sound. The trip back was uneventful, early on both legs, no plane issues, and just a long pair of flights in coach. If all my flights to Europe were that easy, I might not be so annoyed to go.
Still it was a good trip, successful event, and I’m glad to be home.
Now if my wife would just get back from her horse show…
Friday, July 15, 2011
Thursday, July 14, 2011
I checked out of hotel #1 this morning before I came to the Red Gate office. I’m about to head down to London to check into hotel #2 tonight where I can prep for tomorrow’s SQL in the City event. After I speak, and the short reception, I’ll train over to Heathrow with a fellow American and check into hotel #3 on this trip, fall asleep, and then be up early to catch a 7:30am flight back home.
It’s been a good trip, and I’ve enjoyed running around Cambridge, but I’m ready to get back to CO and see my lovely wife and kids.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
I didn’t sleep great, but wasn’t exhausted when I woke and felt OK as I walked downstairs. With rain likely, and a little wind, I decided to hit the gym next door to the hotel and run on the treadmill. I wasn’t sure how well this would go as a few treadmills I’ve found in the UK were not great models, but in this case it wasn’t bad.
The first one started, but when I got to 6.0mph, it tripped the breaker and reset. That was OK since it’s been a long week, but when I started again it tripped at 5.8. I’d already walked, so I moved over one and started up the next one, going right to 6.4. It felt fast for a minute, but after 2-3 min I was warm and decided to try to run quicker and took it to 6.6mph. That was a good pace, and it got me to to .96mi at 9 min. Not bad, slightly off the pace I need by about 20 sec, but with a potential black belt test run on Sun, I decided to go a little quicker and took it to 6.8 for about 5 minutes, and then 7.0, which took me to 1.99 at 18:00, almost what I need. I actually was closer as I finished 2.0mi at 18:04, so if I’d have run the first mile at 6.7, I’d have been fine.
I thought I would be, but this was good prep for me, and when it’s the real race, I would myself more nervous than I thought. I’m sure I’ll run a little faster when I do the run for real, and am tempted to aim for 8min/miles, but I don’t want to push too hard.
A short day of meetings, some with my group, some with other groups, before coming back to the hotel around 5:30. However I was fading away, almost too much to get dinner. But I managed to get down to the restaurant around the corner before I got ready to crash.
The time zone is wearing on me, and I need to be back at the office early, before nine, as we finalize things to head down to London tomorrow night. Going to be a long couple of days before I can get on a plane Saturday for another long day to head home.
I struggled to get up this am, just like struggling to sleep last night. This 7hour difference is messing with my schedule. Fortunately I had an extra half hour of time to sleep and I used it all snoozing the alarm 5 or 6 times. Finally I was up, pulled on shorts and shoes, and headed out.
I decided to cruise along the riverside this am (http://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/41294600/), hoping to see some rowers out this morning. I saw a few getting ready yesterday, but no one on the water. Today as I jogged alongside the river on my way to the Cambridge Museum of Technology, I saw a double practicing (scull) and then a men’s four cruising along. I was thinking it was a quiet morning, but then saw a couple of 8s coming back down the river, heading to their boathouses.
It brought back memories of me rowing, with a little time in the 6 spot in an 8, and the 3 spot in a 4 for a couple years, working hard and enjoying the sweep rowing. I never was much of a sculler, but if I lived near water, I think I’d have to learn.
It was chilly, with the wind blowing, and not a day I’d normally like, but it was nice to go along the river and do an out and back. After last evening, when we were enjoying these views from the roof of the Varsity Hotel, the manager was chatting with us. He’d actually gone to college with my CEO And was saying that the river was a good run, with a long path to cruise along.
So I tried it, enjoying the scenes, not dodging too many bikes, and keeping an eye on the path, trying not to turn an ankle or stumble on the asphalt. Definitely not the smooth, concentration-less run I normally have, but a nice way to start the day.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
I got up and went for a run this am in the park near the hotel. Yesterday I did two loops around Jesus Green, and started today, but when I got to the far side, I saw the park on the other side of the road, and decided to cross and run around that park as well. I successfully made it across the road with cars driving on the wrong side before starting a loop over there.
It was nicer running in the park this morning, with a few other joggers and dog walkers along with a few people starting their morning bike commutes. Yesterday was busy, with lots of kids and people in the park, and more dodging them. Today was relaxing, moving around easy without the need to do more than just run. As I got to the far side, I started back along the river, seeing the houses on the far side with big roll up doors. They reminded me of boat houses, and as I got close, I realized that they were.
Most were closed up, but as I got near the edge of the park, a few were open with a couple of single or double groups getting oars out and a large group stretching next to another. 7:40am, a late start for a crew, but it’s a quiet river so it doesn’t likely matter. Not sure how easy it would be to pass on this stretch, but it brought back memories of early morning runs and rows in college.
I miss those days, and wish we lived closer to some water where I could row. However the only place near me is easily 40 min away, and I’d have to be on and off the water by 8 since so many boats get on there in the summer.
Maybe one of these days.
Monday, July 11, 2011
I got upgraded on the way here, using some mileage to get a first class ticket from Denver to Washington DC and then a business class ticket to London. I ran early, and was planning on relaxing on the plane and, hopefully, getting some sleep.
A few glasses of wine on each leg helped, but a seat that reclines to a bed, is, well, still a seat that’s reclined. It went flat, but it was hard to sleep since around 8:30EST after I’d eaten, it was still 6:30pm Denver time. I managed to drift off for awhile, but not a lot. I woke up about 40 min before landing to a breakfast of fruit, and a headache. Apparently my attempts to drink some wine to sleep didn’t really help, even with lots of water. I also was flying backwards, facing the rear of the plane. It wasn’t horrible for the trip, but takeoff and landing were weird. Not sure I like that.
I was definitely more rested than previous trips in coach, but not anywhere near rested. Immigration and customs were quick, but it was a long ride to Cambridge in Monday morning traffic, and I dozed, the iPod playing in my ear. The hotel didn’t have my room ready, and I was zonked, so I sat in their lobby, reading a bit with a cup of coffee before venturing out for ibuprofen. I got some, had a sandwich, and came back to find a room, where I crashed for a couple hours. I was thinking one hour, but it was almost impossible to get up.
Finally I did, pulled on my shoes, and went for a run. That definitely helped, and I feel almost normal now. Hopefully I’ll get to sleep and then be able to start a normal week tomorrow. Or normal time at least. I have meetings all day, which is not one of my favorite things.
Saturday, July 9, 2011
We picked up Kyle from a bus stop last night before heading out to family movie night. First was dinner at Garbanzo’s (for the boys) and Chipotle (for the girls) and then we all headed out to see Zookeeper.
It was a funny movie, getting us all to laugh out loud in places, and it was nice to have everyone together again, which hasn’t happened much lately.
A short family night, but a good one.
Friday, July 8, 2011
Fifth Avenue was a top rated free book on Amazon one day, so I grabbed it. It’s the story of high finance and real estate in New York, with one billionaire achieving his dream of opening a building on fifth avenue. At the opening day, there’s an explosion, nearly killing George Redman’s daughter. She survives, and they suspect Louis Ryan, a fellow billionaire developer that hates Redmond and thinks Redman killed his wife years ago.
The book moves through a series of scenes, with Ryan trying to exact revenge on Redman with the help of a hired mercenary. We have Redmond trying to close a big deal, his one daughter raped and then hired by Ryan. The other daughter killed, the rapist, an employee of Redmond, is fired, tries to have the daughter killed, but is then pursued by the daughter’s mob friend.
It’s a wild ride, with lots of characters, drugs, sex, and twists along the way. It’s also fairly predictable and the writing is a little shallow, though fill of excitement. It’s just $0.99 on Amazon, so worth the ebook price, but I’d be disappointed a bit if I paid the $10 paperback price.
A few random pics from the camping trip last weekend. We had three sites, two mainly for the horses and one for our stuff. You can see the kids riding around on Rain one day in our campsite.
It was a beautiful area, and one I’d like to visit another time of the year. I’m not big on back country camping, and this was close with no power, water, or cell service at the site. We did have Tia’s trailer and we rented a pop-up, which Junior is guarding.
We took all three dogs, which was a bit much for me. Lots of chaos, especially when Tia was gone. The dogs are a little lost without her and whine quite a bit every time a horse or person goes by. With 4 horses as well, it was a busy place. A little too much for me, and when we added in the bugs, it was crazy. Everyone was bitten, but Delaney and I took it the worst since we react more to those bites.
We cooked almost everything over the fire. I had a small camp stove, but brought the wrong fuel and we ended up using it up the first day. So coffee, sausage, eggs, etc. were all over the fire.
I was really glad I brought the cast iron skillet since it made cooking and cleanup easier. Delaney enjoyed helping tend the fire, as you can see here, which was a combination of scavenged wood, some split firewood we bought, and charcoal.
I did cook dessert in the dutch oven twice, soda pop cake and fudge brownies. I never did remember to by hash browns and didn’t cook breakfast in there. I did enjoy the cooking, which was mostly Alex and I throughout the time we were there. We didn’t go hungry, though we didn’t have some of the healthiest meals.
I think the kids enjoyed this, and the fire pit was nice. It almost makes me wish we had one here, though I wonder if we would use it very much. Slowing down enough to enjoy something like that is hard for this family.
I did manage to ensure the beer was cold, and was glad that I stopped on the way up since we only had a 6 pack for the first day and a half. We did manage to find a store about 4 miles away where we loaded up for the rest of the trip.
Kendall loved riding her bike around, and I’m glad we brought it. She went all over the campsites, riding up and down roads, and accompanied me a couple times on my runs.
She was worn out each nice, and ready for bed earlier than most everyone else, though I was right behind her.
This was most of our week, hanging out by the campfire, with excursions out to ride, fish, run, etc. Overall it was very relaxing and nice to get away. A slow pace, that was a good reset with a few crazy weeks coming up at work.
The last day we headed out to try white water rafting. We’d done that on the Arkansas a few years ago while camping and everyone wanted to go again. We drove to Fort Collins, an hour away, and got ready.
The Poudre river was really high and much of is was closed because of late snowfalls and lots of runoff. So we ended up with two short 20 minute trips down the river (and a bus ride in between). The river wasn’t crazy rough, but it was chilly. Tia fell in at the end of the first run when we hit a big pool of water.
The second run we were having fun, already wet, and the rest of us took turns jumping in the water, Delaney going twice. It was coooooooollllddd. We all had our faces in shook when we hit the water, which was around 40F.
Still a great time, with lunch afterwards in Fort Collins at Rio, rated the best margarita in the country.
Tia decided to take it easy for her second one, getting this “toddler” drink. You can compare this glass to her iPhone.
A super green area, not sure it’s where I want to live, but Fort Collins is a neat down and this is a nice place. If you like the outdoors, this is a great place to visit.
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Last night Kendall wanted to go see the new Transformers movie. I was tired, and Tia was asleep (this was 5:30), and I told her tonight wouldn’t work because I was going to hit karate. She wasn’t happy, but after a few minutes she had another solution.
She brought me the iPad and asked if I’d check times. She said she’d try to convince Delaney to go and if she was successful, would I drop her off at the movie with him. I saw there was a 6:35 (I had a 7:00 class) and agreed. So she asked him and he agreed. He needed to get clean and they needed to eat, so as I headed downstairs I told Delaney to shower and went to cook some dinner for them.
They ate and we headed out at 6:15 in the rain, arriving just in time to get them to the movie. I paid for tickets and left them some money for snacks before heading to class. I had a great workout, and then went and got a little food while I waited for them. I picked them up and came home, a good night for all.
Though I was a little jealous. I like the Transformers and would like to see the movie.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
I had read the Unincorporated Man some time ago and this book was sitting in my car for weeks. I’d read the first few chapters of the Unincorporated War before setting it aside. With time on my hands during vacation, I finally finished it.
The book starts with Cord as the President of the Outer Alliance, basically everything from the asteroid belt outwards from the Sun. The Alliance has declared war on the Core, which is Venus, Mars, Earth, and the Moon. Hektor is in charge of GCI, and still plotting for a way to make incorporation work and Cord to be removed from his life.
Justin doesn’t love being President, but understands that he’s rallied people together and he finds the idea of incorporation to be evil. However he has to balance that since there are many people, and companies, in the Alliance that favor incorporation, just not the stranglehold of the large corporations.
The book progresses through the war, through years, as the Alliance tries to invade Mars, but is driven off. They manage to win quite a few space battles, despite being less outfitted than the Core, but slowly start to lose some of the asteroid belt as the Core has millions of people to throw at the war, slowly overwhelming the Alliance until the asterioid belt is “cut” in two at the 180 degree mark from the Alliance capital on Ceros.
We also find the avatars fighting their own war in this book, as they live in their digital world. One of the elders on Earth begins killing other avatars, and Cord’s avatar, Sebastian, flees with others to the Alliance. As the Neuro is cut in two, avatars choose sides and begin to fight in a way that mirrors the physical war.
I don’t know that I loved this book, but the story was fascinating and captured my attention. We have a culture that is fighting for its ideals and values against the entrenched system. We have advanced technology coming into play, and being stymied somewhat by the growth of religion in the Alliance. We have VR coming back to become a problem, one that must be dealt with. And we have many moral and ethical dilemmas that Justin must deal with.
I think the Kollin brothers have written at great trilogy, one that is incomplete in this book. It ends suddenly, and incompletely, making us wonder what the next book will do. However in this book, you must think, and you find yourself taking sides, not always the same side, depending on the issue. As evil as Hektor comes across, he does raise valid points at times. It’s quite the read, though please read the Unincorporated Man first. There’s so much background that you need to enjoy this book.
Tia, I, and her sister-in-law and fiancé played poker last night, part of the last night they were in town. It was the first time for Tia’s sister, so we went slow, working out the game of Texas Hold’em, playing for chips. However we did agree that the high winner at the end of the night would win the pool we set up, each contributing a dollar.
We somewhat went around, back and forth, with each of us winning a few hands in a row to go up, and then someone else winning big. Finally as it was getting late, Alex (fiancé in law), went all in with his $47 of chips. I was sitting on 2 pair, so I matched, as did Tia. I ended up winning, having 2 pair that was only slightly higher than Tia’s 2 pair and raked in the chips.
We only played a couple more hands after that, and so I was the big winner at the end of the game. I woke up this morning to find two $1 bills sitting in front of the seat where I’d played. Tia hasn’t paid up, but since we share money that’s not a big deal.
It was funny to see the money sitting there, and it made me smile as I brewed coffee.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
And glad to be there. I’m definitely not a mountain man or wilderness expert. Camping for 4 days on a remote area, no running water, power, or cell service was tough. I was actually glad to be unwired for a few days, with no temptations to check the Internet, and power wasn’t bad. Driving to the hydrant to get water in buckets every day wasn’t even that bad, but the mosquitos and chaos from the dogs was hard.
We had fun, survived, and enjoyed the weekend, but I am very glad to be back in my own bed.