Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I feel like an Army recruit

I got more done this morning than I do most mornings. Tia left (again) this morning for a business trip. This one is two days, two cities, two countries: CHI today, TOR tomorrow. She left at 4:30 for a 6am flight, but I wasn’t far behind her in starting the day. Here’s my day so far:

3:30 - Up to let the puppy out so Tia can get 30 more minutes of sleep

5:30 - Up with puppy again

5:40-5:55 - reading The Rise of Endymion, afraid to go back to sleep

6:00 - Log on to the local Rec site to register my daughter for volleyball

6:02 - Run upstairs to look for my wallet.

6:05 - Run outside to get my wallet from the car to pay for volleyball. 6:05am in CO is cold, especially without shoes.

6:10 - registration complete, go wake up kids

6:20 - wake up kids again, this time they’re moving.

6:45 - Take Delaney to the bus

6:55 - Return, get Kendall in the car for choir.

6:56 - Kendall runs to get Uma

6:58 - Kendall can’t find Uma, comes back and we head to school.

7:04 - coffee. Mmmmmmmm

7:15 - Home, check email

7:30 - get 2 dogs outside

7:31 - chase puppy up the stairs

7:32 - carry puppy downstairs and outside

7:40 - walking hay around for the horses.

8:00 - back to the barn, find whining puppy alone. Call the older dogs and walk to the gate.

8:15 - back at my desk, searching for headset

8:30 - start webinar

The webinar is running now, fortunately I’m just hosting, so intro, close, questions for me.  Making a few notes, and trying to setup a demo for a presentation that I need to get done. This is a busy day for me.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Tired, tired, tired

I was afraid to have a beer last night, thinking that I wanted to stay up a bit and chat with Tia. It didn’t help after our book fiasco, which delayed her walk until later. I fell asleep around 10, and was exhausted.

However I didn’t sleep long. Kendall had a nightmare and crawled in with us around 12:30, which woke me up. Puppy got me up at 1:30 for a half hour. I hooked her to the leash back on the floor, but at some point she got Tia up and ended up on the bed. She promptly crawled onto my legs, which would have woken me up, except that Kendall was doing a good job or wiggling around, turning, kicking me, and pulling covers off, so I was drifting in and out of sleep most of the night.

The Book Fiasco

Kendall has a book project due Friday. I was sure she’d told me last week she finished the book, but I found out yesterday afternoon she hadn’t. So I told her no more anything other than reading for the day. She went to lay with Tia in our bed, reading while I headed out to run a few errands. I returned to find Kendall on the computer. I went upstairs to ask Tia what happened, and she said Kendall had lost her book and was supposed to be looking for it.

Lost her book?

I couldn’t believe it. Tia had been laying in bed most of the time, and so had Kendall. Apparently Kendall took a break, got up, drifted off, Tia went to find her, she came back, and the book was gone.

We spent 2-3 hours, the three of us, searching our room, the bathrooms, the closet, the living room, the kitchen, everywhere inside the house. We couldn’t find the book. At some point Tia gave up, only to find out the book isn’t available at Amazon yet. Kendall got it from the book fair at school and it hasn’t been released to the public.

Very annoying. And disconcerting for me, since I need to get her to work on the project this week. Her teacher wasn’t overly sympathetic today. Kendall can check the library tomorrow, or she can pick a new book.

Going to be a long week for us.

Book #3 - Longitude

longitudeI saw a few books for free on Amazon by Dava Sobel, and they were highly rated, so I grabbed them. One was Longitude, which caught my eye as an interesting problem to solve. I had assumed that sailors had used sextants for hundreds or even thousands of years to calculate their positions at sea. Knowing how to get their latitude and longitude from the stars. However that’s not the case. It wasn’t until the late 1700s that they had a reliable way to do this.
This book goes through the various problems with calculating longitude, and the solutions proposed. It talks about the losses and problems sailors had, and the large government prizes offered for a solution, primarily from the English government. Latitude is easy to calculate, but longitude isn’t, something I’d never thought about.
The book talks about a few ways people attempted, primarily though astronomy, but then the one way that makes sense and works better, using a watch. Apparently the clockmakers hadn’t been able to build a decent clock until one many, not even a clockmaker by trade, built a precise timekeeper. He spent 40 years building better ones, and eventually claiming part of the English prize.
It’s an interesting story, intellectually, and has a lot of history in there. However the writing isn’t great. Sobel doesn’t weave a dramatic or captivating tale, and somewhat misleads us with the title. The book drags on a bit, without as much intrigue and suspense as I thought it might have. Maybe I’m not enough of a history buff, but while I enjoyed the book, I didn’t think it was great.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Morning Baseball

I was tired, and a little sore this morning, not sure how baseball would go, but since I set it up, I headed down to the cage. We had 7 people show up, so it was a little crowded, but we worked through and when the cage next to us opened up, we split into there for some hitting practice. Only two turns for me, but one was live pitching, and that felt good. The other was the machine, and it was throwing down and in, sliders dropping into me. Good practice that made me wait on the ball and watch it more.

Afterwards we threw for 15-20 min outside, me getting both arms worked a bit.

Nice to be outside and throwing.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Tired: working and training

A long day today, with a short run after volunteering this morning. I’m glad it was short since I then headed out to the arena to try and dig out another hole and get posts in the ground for a new gate. We decided that with the man-door not being secured, a gate behind it  might be a good secondary solution. I got one today, and was not looking forward to digging another hole.

My first hole last weekend went well, but the second was barely 12” and stuck in clay. With trepidation, I started a third hole. It, too, stalled around 12”, so I went to get water, and put a few inches into each hole. After leaving it for about 30 minutes, I went back and sure enough it helped. I went another 4-6” fairly easily (nothing about a post hole digger is easy). I repeated that again, and I was surprised to find myself with 3, 2ft deep holes.

I got the posts in, added some cement and then got Tia to help get them straight. It felt good to be done, and I didn’t realize how tired I was until I came in to answer an email. I could barely type with tired forearms. They’re still tired now, a couple hours later.

Not much rest, before I headed out with Tia on a training walk. We have everyone, 2 dogs, and a horse, as we started. Delaney hadn’t eaten lunch, so he turned back about halfway up our ride. Kendall was riding the horse, but about 1.5mi in, she wanted to walk. In the other direction. She turned around and went home.

Tia and I continued on, 4mi, for her long walk of the week.

Now I’m beat. Might have to let Tia drive for date night.


Back to the Food Bank in Elizabeth today for Delaney. We both overslept a bit, but still managed to hurry down there and get him some volunteer time. I ran a few errands and wrote a bit while he helped out. It’s community service time he needs for Boy Scouts, but it’s also good for the soul, and I’m sorry I’ve let us go so long without helping.

Hopefully we’ll be able to get down there once a month and help out.

Friday, January 27, 2012

A Mental Health Day

It's been busy, stressful and I needed a break. With Tia traveling next week and a few other things, this looked my only chance to ski for at least a week, so I took it. I have work to do, and I'll be doing some tomorrow, but I needed the break.

A friend posted a picture this morning when he arrived in Miami, getting ready for a cruise. He called it sandals and grass.

I was getting has and coffee in Idaho Springs when  I saw it, so when I got to Keystone, I posted this one back to him:

It was snowing hard at the tunnel, and I had quite a delay getting through and over to Keystone. I knew it might be a hard day, and it was certainly cold. 13F when I was getting ready, but I walked over, got on the gondola, headed up and slipped off the backside. As you can see, it was hazy, snowy, and windy.

A great day though. The wind was bad at the top, but not too bad going down. The backside wasn't groomed, and lots of powder to slip through. Once I realized it wasn't all moguls, I had a good time on the South peak. Even went through the woods, and snuck into "Oh, Bob", the run that's narrow and through the trees. 8 runs over there, before I fell a few times on the last time, going slow, no problem, but I knew I was tired.

Back to the middle peak, a quick bathroom break, then skiing down the North face of that peak, before catching a lift to Keystone mountain and then cruising down SchoolMarm to end the day.

Jumped in the car, hit QDoba on the way out of town, and I was back at 3:40, just missing Kendall at the bus stop.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Family Walk

First day of training for Tia’s walk. The kids only went for a 1/2 mile, but it was nice to get everyone out.

Photo Jan 21, 12 15 45 PM

Midnight Cleanup

The puppy wanted to be on the dog bed on the floor last night. A good sign, but we should have tied her with a leash. She woke me up around 1:30, and I let her outside. However I knew something was wrong with a funny smell in the room. I grabbed my glasses when we got back up, and sure enough, a little poopy pile near the door.

Not bad, I thought, and went into the bathroom to grab some cleaner. I found 3 more piles, fortunately all on the tile (glad I tiled the backroom).

So a middle of the night cleanup effort for me. Fortunately Tia got the kids to school and I got to sleep in a bit, until 8.


After a weekend of chores and baseball, and a little more post hole digging yesterday, I went to karate last night. It was likely the only day I’ll make this week, with a busy week ahead. It was quiet, with a schedule change that had no class right before ours, and a relatively small class.

I felt pretty good during class, but definitely worked technique more than speed and power, taking things a little slower.

However I woke up sore today, the body aching in a number of places. Sore back, tired arms, fingers a little achey.

Getting old is hard, but glad that I can still move and keep active. I suspect it will be a slower, steady run today.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Avon Walk

It’s more often than not that I wake up, hoping that no new bad news comes my way.

The short story is that Tia is going to do a 39mi walk this summer to raise money for cancer. If you are so inclined, you can donate here.

I’m fine, my family is healthy, and lucky, and we don’t have any real problems. We have inconveniences and annoyances, and I’m thankful that’s all we have to worry about. We are very fortunate that the five of us are all living happy, successful lives.

However that’s not the case with many friends and acquaintances we have. Lately it seems that 1 out of every 10 people we know has been struck by cancer. Some are survivors in remission, some are struggling and some are just starting their treatments.

Perhaps it’s a sign of getting older, and our friends getting older. Sickness is more likely as you age, and we are coming to terms with this as the news of friends’ struggles reaches us. It’s sad, and it sucks, and I hope that we can find a cure for the various cancers in my lifetime.

Tia lost her mother to breast cancer, and she has a few friends that are in the middle of their fights. She writes about it on her donation page, and decided to do something more than donate our own money. She committed to the Avon Walk this summer, a marathon one day, and a half the next. She started her training last weekend, dragging me along for a few walks.

She is looking to raise awareness of the issue, and also raise money to help fight the disease. If you are inclined to help the research, please feel free to donate. If you’d like to sign up for this challenge, we’d love to have you join in as well.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A little piracy

I’m not sure I like this essay on a little piracy being good, but it’s not all wrong. We have never, and likely never will, get 100% enforcement on anything. What we want are limits to prevent blatant piracy, and large amount of damage.

Have pirated music and movies cost content creators money? Without a doubt? Millions? Maybe. Hundreds of millions? I doubt it.

What I think is the bigger problem for content creators (publishers, distributors, creators, actors, etc.) is the fact that their businesses are holding on to old models of their industry without trying to innovate.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


It’s anti-SOPA/PIPA day, and a number of sites have shut down for the day. O’Reilly closed their page, and of course, Wikipedia shut down.


Google didn’t do the blackout I was hoping for, but they have hidden their logo:


I like the Wikipedia closure, which appeared seconds after hitting a page. It has a great effect on me.


I debated about shutting down this site, but for a Wordpress hosted site, I didn’t see an easy way to do it.

To be clear

I am not against copyright legislation, nor IP protections. We should ensure that content creators have some recourse and ability to control the way their content is used.

I think SOPA / PIPA are gross, overreaching ways of doing this that are designed to help a few large companies, and potentially hurt many small ones, and will have no impact on foreign sites. These laws simple cut the US off; they do not affect the operation of the foreign site.

We can come up with better ways to protect content, while also preserving fair use and personal liberties, and limiting copyright.

My personal stance is that the original 14 years + 14 year extension for copyright is plenty. If you cannot earn money in those 28 years, let someone else build on your work.

Monday, January 16, 2012


A day off, and a quiet day at that. Tia had errands, so after feeding horses, I was just puttering around the house a bit. I cleaned a few things, and then started working on rebuilding our backup server at the house. It died a few months ago and I haven't had a chance to mess with it.

I took it apart, working with the drives, and adding the RAID card I bought the other night. It took awhile, with some things not going as smoothly, and I ended up getting the base OS installed and am still working on the virtual machine. Hopefully I'll get that done tonight and tomorrow and we'll have a central server again.

When Tia got back, we decided to tackle something together, and my idea was the basement. Ever since the kids really enjoyed ping pong on vacation, I've wanted to get the table back together. I've been slowly working on getting it setup, and today was the day to finish. Tia came down with me and we swept out the East side of the basement, moved furniture around to make a spot for the TV, and got the ping pong table setup. It actually looks semi decent now and we can play. Kendall and I warmed up the table, but I can see us down there on lots of nights from now on.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


Back to baseball, our first official practice of the year. We were just inside, in two tunnels throwing a bit and then batting practice, but it felt good. I warmed up nicely, throwing mostly righty, then went to hit and had good connections with the ball. I was pulling open a bit, and one guy gave me a few ideas to get better, but I had good contact.

I threw a few sessions of batting practice as well, probably 4-5 batters, split between right and left. A lot of throwing, and even if it wasn't hard, I know I'll be sore tomorrow.

I also took a turn batting righty, and hit pretty well. Live pitching, although slow, but I saw the ball fine. Not sure if I want to try it in a game, but we'll see.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Sand Man

Tia had a clinic today, and they were planning on using the indoor arena if the weather was bad. So last night, after work, I drove the tractor out there and started spreading sand around while Tia cleaned up. It was hard work, even in the tractor, grabbing sand in the bucket, and then trying to spread it around. We had 8 large piles, and I managed to get about 3.5 done before we called it a night and went to dinner.

Having the lights in there was very cool and made it easier to work.

This morning I headed back out to do more, trying to get things done before the women went out. I worked on the files, slowly spreading things out and then tried to use the rear blade and front bucket a bit to smooth things out, but it didn't go great. I switched to the harrow on the ATV, which was slightly better, but not great, however Tia said it didn't matter. They went to work in there as it was.

An interesting project. I'd like to get the sand more smooth, just for the experience of doing it, but I'm not quite sure hot to do it. I suspect I need to go really slow, perhaps backward, and use the blade to push things fairly flat and hopefully not have the wheels of the tractor hit too many bumps.

We'll see if I can get time to do it. Maybe once everyone is done, I'll give it a go tomorrow.

Friday, January 13, 2012

I live in a zoo

Twas the night before last,

and all through the house

everyone was sleeping, or at least, I was trying to.

The kids in their beds,

early for once,

except for Kendall,

she slipped into mine (claiming it was more comfortable, she couldn’t sleep, and since Tia was gone,why not?)

I was hoping for sleep

just four hours, unbroken.

Uma had other ideas,

getting me up quite often (11:30, 2:0, 4:30, 7:00).

The next day came early,

work and school for most,

for me, I also had horses.

Wandering outside,

all bundled up and cold

wondering how I ended up

putting hay outside in piles on a 12F day.

The day slipped by,

my wife came home,

and went to ride horses with Kendall,

both girls’ dream.

“I have a problem”

something you never want to hear

a dog kicked,

and an emergency vet trip.

Back home late,

getting kids off to bed

we find the kittens have come,

three more little ones in the house.

I’m not sure how it happened

Not sure when my world grew

I married a lovely women

and along came a zoo.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Another Snowy Day

Anytime this formula holds true, it’s usually a semi miserable day.

ABS( temp - wind speed) < 10

That was true today, with an 18F temperature and an 11mph wind. It wasn’t a pleasant day.

And Tia was gone, it was maid day, I had a morning conference call, and we were supposed to have sand come. Not a good way to start the day. Fortunately things looked up.

The wind was out of the north, so the front of the house was sheltered. That made it easier to take the dog outside. The south side of the barn was also sheltered, so morning feeding went fine. It wasn’t too bad, and Uma did fine.

The kids got up without issues, which was probably because I got them to sleep early. That went smooth and as I was dropping off Kendall, I got a note that my call was canceled.

Snow came down this morning, swirling in a light blizzard that looked worse than it was, but the sand guy didn’t come. All in all things went well, and Tia had done some work last night, so maid pickup wasn’t too bad either.

All in all, I survived a day that was looking like a disaster at 6:00am this morning.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


A beautiful day outside

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Book #2 - Steve Jobs

41TNSBq4F5L._AA160_As my wife has said, I’m a bit of an Apple fan-boy. I don’t unconditionally love their products, but I do have a soft spot in my heart for Apple and I give them the benefit of the doubt when looking at new products. I have a Macbook Air, an iPad, and I love my iPhone. The Steves (Jobs and Wozniak) were heros to me as a young kid. So when I heard this book was coming, I pre-ordered Steve Jobs. When Steve Jobs passed away, I was stunned, and saddened. I didn’t shed a tear then, but I did at the end of this book.

Near the end there are a few chapters, when Steve Jobs is dying, he knows it, his family knows it, and it’s an agonizing read.

The book is interesting. Isaacson does a good job, though the beginning is hard to read. Jobs is a jerk, he’s annoying, and I struggled through the first 1/3 or so. It’s just not a pleasant life early on, as the book jumps around, moving through time, but also back in time as different subjects are tackled.

The middle becomes more interesting, as Jobs matures, starts NeXT and Pixar, and goes back to Apple. We’re a little spoiled, thinking of Jobs as the iPad/iPhone guy, but there was a lot more to his life. Some back story, some evolution, some deals, it’s somewhat amazing what he accomplished.

And somewhat surprising as well how little his family is in the book. It almost seems like they were a second, or third priority in his life after Apple and Pixar. Sad to read for me, and I feel for the kids.

It’s an incredible life he led, not one I’d want, but amazing in how he has really changed the world, with this book giving a peak inside.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Afternoon Fun

One of the times I took the Uma out today I started playing in the snow with her and I realized that the snow was really sticky. So I rolled a few snowballs.

Photo Jan 09, 3 44 06 PM

They stuck really well, so I actually went and rolled them up into a few snowmen, which Kendall loved when she got home. I spent a few minutes out there rolling a few more, and then she took over some snowman duty, piling some heads on.

Photo Jan 09, 3 44 53 PM

We ended up with a mini-snowman family out front, which was pretty cool.

Photo Jan 09, 3 45 32 PM

As you can see, with no wind and no humidity, 40F isn’t very cold.

I went back to work and about 40 minutes later I saw a horse walk past my window. I went outside and found a little girl on the horse.

Photo Jan 09, 4 16 09 PM

Kendall had tacked up Rain while Tia and I were working and brought her over. She rode around the yard for 30 minutes or so before putting her away. It’s amazing to me that my little girl can do that.

Photo Jan 09, 4 17 22 PM

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Split Skiing

With the new puppy, we weren’t quite sure what to do with our weekend in Winter Park. Originally we were going to ask a friend, but after a week of puppy time, we realized that would be a huge imposition. So we decided to split things. Tia was going to take the kids up Friday and then I’d come up Saturday and we’d switch. We talked about bringing the puppy or having someone watch her for a few hours, but in the end we met halfway.

And we reversed things. Tia was tired after traveling this week, so I took the boys up Friday. Kendall wanted to stay with Tia, and so it was boys night, with dominos and a few beers (milk for Delaney).


Saturday we got up to ski, not too late, and headed to the slopes.


We had some good runs, and then Delaney got run into by someone, and he was getting cold, so we stopped for lunch.


We got a couple more in, but it was cold and we knocked off around 2:00-2:30 and headed back to the condo. A good day, though not a great one on the slopes. The snow was OK,  and it was coming down while we were there, but it was chilly. Not too crowded, and it would have been a great weekend with all of us.

We got back to the condo, and I went running, expecting Tia to come up soon. She called when Delaney and I were playing ping pong and said she was heading up, but she was bringing the puppy and wanted me to meet her halfway. So I grabbed food for the boys and then headed home.

Saturday night traffic during ski season stinks. I made it over the pass fine, but once I hit I-70, I was moving at 15-20mph to Idaho Springs where I stopped and met Tia. We moved some stuff between cars and then I headed back and she headed up. Once again, slow traffic until I hit C-470, then it was an easy drive home.

They’re having fun today, I hope, and I’m cooking and cleaning a bit. Trying to turn the bottom item into the top one:


Pictures from Today

Kendall woke up today and wanted to play some dragon game right away. Since the iMac is still down, she came to my office and played before school.

Photo Jan 05, 8 10 36 AM

After the kids went to school for late start Thursday, it was time to feed. I had a line at the door of Café dkRanch today.

Photo Jan 05, 10 01 05 AM

I’ve been trying to get the puppy outside to play a few times a day. However after feeding horses, she was tired. She camped out on the steps, taking Oscar’s usual spot.

Photo Jan 05, 8 07 21 AM

He would have fit, but that would mean dealing with an 8-9 week old puppy, which isn’t fun for him. Fortunately he found a new spot.

Photo Jan 05, 8 07 26 AM

This afternoon a friend was flying in for an event tomorrow and posted a note on Twitter: windbreaker or ski coat. I sent this picture back.

Photo Jan 05, 2 32 46 PM

A beautiful day today, 60+F again, and no wind.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Book #1 - Metagame

I saw some good reviews of this one, and it was on the best seller list, so I grabbed it. It started a little slow, and I wasn’t sure about it, but I really enjoyed it after getting 20-30% of the way in.

It’s the future, and the ultimate social world. We are all linked to each other with mind chips, and communicate our thoughts when we want to. We have familiars, animal like creatures that are really computers and act as our firewalls and companions, helping us through the world. We can get communications through them, ask them to perform tasks or lookups for us, and even see through their eyes.

The world is fun by the Oversoul, which has somewhat taken the place of a diety in the future. It runs “games” designed to keep the world operating efficiently. Same are pleasure games, like World of Warcraft is today where people are immersed in a VR world and only see things as projected by their implants. Others are necessary games, for tasks like cleaning or law enforcement. You can be a cleaner, earning points by controlling robots and doing a good job cleaning. Or tracking down criminals.

It’s an amazing world, and you need to read the book to understand it. I’m not doing a great job explaining it, but in this book, the main character enters a metagame, a series of quests, with the nobles of his house. He ends up becoming a demon (a criminal) along the way as he helps another demon and they try to complete the game while staying alive.

A blend of thriller, sci-fi, medical and genetic possibilities and more. Worth the read.

All Alone

Tia left this morning around 4:30 or so for another trip. I’m actually not sure where she is, which is slightly disconcerting.

So it’s me and the puppy today. She’s OK with it.

Photo Jan 04, 9 44 06 AM

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Getting Along

Nice to see Deuce sharing space with the puppy.

Back to School

Ugh. Monday came again on Tuesday.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Kids Sledding

Here’s Kendall, on Christmas running down the property

Kendall sledding

Delaney did the filming and after that they switched so that Delaney could have a turn. He had a lot of fun.

Delaney sledding on Christmas

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Missing the New Year

I started the new year asleep. We went to Dave and Busters last night, only to find that they'd remodeled to a sports bar theme in the front and it was an over-21 club after 10. The kids were very disappointed, and we had a shortened celebration with friends. A quick dinner, some shuffleboard, and then we were kicked out after the kids played some games.

I was exhausted, and fell asleep on the way home as Tia drove back. We got home and I was out immediately, waking up early this morning with our lovely puppy.

However it's been a nice quiet day. I took Kyle to work and stopped by for various groceries on the way home. Then it was some dominoes and laughs on a relaxing afternoon. Then a run, and now heading outside to see how Tia's arena is working with the whole family over.