Saturday, June 30, 2012

Day 1400

Another milestone. Today’s run marks 1400 days in a row of running at least a mile.

Rocky Mountain Jack Russell Terrier Network

Our fundraiser this morning, meaning a second day that Delaney and I had to get up early. 6:00am today, driving north and getting to Adam’s County Fairground just after 7 to set up with 3 other families and a total of 8 boys.

We set up for breakfast, coffee, and not much happened. Very few people came over, and it was a slow day. Apparently there was another dog event today as well, and some people went there.

Photo Jun 30, 8 43 20 AM

The boys were serving the few that came by, but also they worked the races. The dogs run down a track in the grass and when they come through the last chute we thought boys would grab them. They told us at first that they couldn’t for insurance reasons, but later the boys caught a few.

Photo Jun 30, 9 03 22 AM

It was funny watching them, and also annoying. These are yippy, yappy dogs, and loud. Delaney helped do some timing at another event, and he said the barking was really high pitched and loud.

All in all, a bust of a fundraiser, though things were better at lunch. Hopefully tomorrow is better as all the money gets pooled and the boys get a share for their Scout accounts.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Wiped out

Up at 8, a couple cups of coffee, but by 10:30 I was exhausted. Just struggling.

So a two hour nap, a soda, and then starting to pick up. Tia thinks it’s Body for Life, and she may be right. It’s been a long hard few days, with a decent amount of exercise. Plus less food.

I feel good now, after working the afternoon and then a workout with Tia.

Thursday, June 28, 2012


Another merit badge down, or at least mostly down. Sign-offs in two weeks, but this am I got Delaney up at 6:30am and we headed down to Castlewood Canyon, where we met 5 other boys and a couple adults for a climbing session. Our Scoutmaster climbs a lot and he set up ropes at the top for rappelling down.

Photo Jun 28, 7 56 24 AM

He showed us the triple anchor system needed. Here we only have two, but we ended up adding a third from a tree. Boy Scouts wants 3, even though most climbers can use two.

Photo Jun 28, 8 12 26 AM

Delaney did good, rappelling down here on his first attempt. A little heavy breathing, but he came down without incident.

Photo Jun 28, 9 04 21 AM

Harnessed and helmet’d, he was ready for more climbing.

Photo Jun 28, 9 17 48 AM

His second rappel went fine, as did his third, and he was done.

Photo Jun 28, 9 05 17 AM

The boys had to do 3 rappels, 3 belays, and 3 climbs on different routes. Delaney thought the belay part was boring, but he did his three without an issue.

Photo Jun 28, 9 05 43 AM

I wasn’t sure he’d do much on the climbing, but he did well, working hard and spending time looking for hand holds, not giving up too quickly. He didn’t make it to the top of any of the climbs, but most of the boys didn’t. Only a few got there, and a few had help with strong Scoutmasters pulling on the ropes.

Photo Jun 28, 9 27 17 AM

A good day, and now Delaney should have another merit badge for his sash in August.

BSA_climbing badge

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Million Years Ago

At least it feels like it looking at these:















Book #46 - Locked On

51exnqZ1xDL._AA115_I missed something in the Clancy series as Locked On starts much later on than I expected. The last Clancy novel I read had a plane crashing into Congress and Jack Ryan becoming President. In this one he’s running for a second term, having skipped at least one when Kealty came into power. He’s struggling a little, but the book isn’t really about him.

Instead most of the book is John Clark, Domingo Chavez, and Jack Ryan, Jr. Little Jack works for a clandestine organization, The Campus, and he’s slowly moving into the field. John and Ding are out there, along with 2 other operatives that are trying to combat terrorism and keep the world safe.

In this one it’s primarily Pakistan, and a rouge military officer planning a coup brought about by stealing nuclear bombs. At the same time, Clark is outed and on the run as a murderer in a last ditch attempt by Kealty to win the election.

It’s long, 700 pages, and a ride, but one I really enjoyed.

Book #45 - Raylan

51P5E3KmWhL._AA115_I love the series Justified on TV, but didn’t realize it was based on a book until I was wandering in the library and say Raylan. This isn’t the first book, but it was all that was there, so I grabbed it.

It’s an Elmore Leonard book, and while I enjoy his writing, this one was a little hard to follow. It’s sparsely written, without everything being spelled out, and there are times when he’s moving between characters, or writing as someone might talk in the hills of Kentucky and I wasn’t completely sure I understood the book.

This one is really three stories in one, where they somewhat run together. A dealer ripped off and his kidneys stolen and ransomed back to him, then a protection detail for a coal mining company executive that’s taking advantage of strip mining and ruining peoples’ lives, and a young poker playing college woman that finds herself in trouble.

It feels like 3 episodes of the show in one, and it might be since I missed most of last season. Raylan isn’t as well developed as he is in the show, and I would like to read the first book, but I did enjoy this one, picturing him in my head as I read it.

Cooking Merit Badge

CookingDelaney knocked off another merit badge last night, sitting down with his counselor to go over his work on Cooking. He took a class, went to a campout and cooked, and then had to cook 9 meals at home, which he did willingly. It was very cool to have him doing some of the kitchen work around here.

I think he’s enjoying it, and he’s learned a few things. He’s still not always cooking when he’s hungry, but he can get a meal ready if we point him in the direction. He even texted me while I was on Grays Peak, asking if he had the recipe for guacamole correct.

That makes 17 for him, I believe. Not an Eagle required but we are trying to get Family Life done next, and working out to make sure that he can get Personal Fitness as well soon. We’re hoping to knock those out by the August Court of Honor.

A litany of issues

It’s been a struggle working ever since I came back from vacation with our DSL line down. I finally got a notification it was fixed yesterday, but still had to call for a reset from the CenturyLink end last night around 5. It’s amazing how bad CS people can be, especially when talking technical issues. This guy was sure I had no clue, and was very reluctant to give information. Fortunately I managed to not get too upset and just let him come around to reset things.
After that Delaney and I headed to a scout meeting, with a large black cloud rising to the South. We thought it might be rain, and there was a little sprinkling, but it was smoke from the Waldo Canyon fire. It’s an incredible fire that has caused 32,000 evacuations as of today. It closed the Air Force Academy and it’s burned houses. A picture from the local station:

It smelled like a campfire as we had the Scout meeting in Elizabeth.
At the meeting Delaney knocked off Cooking, and there were a few opportunities for other events, but I had to decline. I felt bad, but life is a little crazy here and I don’t want to commit to anything else right now.
Today we had maid day, which started great since I was at my desk with no pants on. Tia brought me pants, and I had a semi-frustrating call where I struggled to hear and couldn’t see. Probably a few things I should have chimed in on, but feeling a little cranky, so I kept quiet. Then a race to try and clean up a bit, always a chore. I did manage to get sheets going in the dryer.
Our AC hasn’t been working, with 90-100F temps. Tia called today and got an appointment, but they said to check the filter. So I changed it, and in the middle of that, Uma peed on the basement floor. Grrrrrr.
A few more things, all minor, but rather annoying.
Fortunately we’re all healthy, safe, and comfortable. Life is good here, even when it’s not.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Book #44 - Black Oil, Red Blood

Another freebie, but one that kept me interested. Black Oil, Red Blood is the story of a lawsuit in Texas, between a lawyer new to town that is suing for a former worker of the refinery that employs most of the town. Her main expert witness is killed at the beginning of the book and she's struggling to find a way to get a continuance.

The book runs in a predictable line, with corrupt officials, criminal company men, and a handsome hero that is a detective in the police department, willing to help her once he realizes she's innocent. You can almost guess how each character plays out in the story, and maybe most of the story.

There are a few twists, and the action keeps going. It's hard to tell if this is meant to be a serious thriller that the author thinks could happen, or a Tim Dorsey like farce of the situation. At times I thought it went both ways. The characters are a little shallow, and the writing isn't great, but it keeps moving and kept me interested on vacation.


Last night, as the sun was going down and the temperature dropped from the 104F of late afternoon to the mid 80s, Delaney and I went out running, with Kendall keeping us company on her bike. We did about 1.5mi, me a touch further in the cooler evening.

I was surprised how well Delaney did. He ran almost all the way out, keeping his breath and even though we were going slow, he hasn't run in months. The swimming and walking has done him some good. Kendall did OK, though she fell in the sand, needing a Dad push for the last .25miles back to the car where we washed out her scrapes.

A nice evening with the kids.


Our DSL line has been down for two days solid, and over a week of time bouncing up and down. It's severely impacted work this week, with me spending two days in town at the library trying to get things down.

Broadband access isn't really a luxury for us, more of a necessity working at home. Even paying bills is a problem without access.

Fingers are crossed this gets fixed soon.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Book #43 - Stay Close

I have enjoyed Harlan Coben's books and when I saw Stay Close on the library shelf, I grabbed it. This is a little different for him, with a female character being the main storyteller. She's a suburban Mom with a past. A former stripper that left the life without telling her husband, she is drawn back to Atlantic City by a murder.

When she was a stripper, a former boyfriend/client that abused her was killed. She ran away and left the life. However another person was recently killed, on the 17th anniversary of the murder. As she goes back to try and understand what happened, and to try to come to terms with the life she misses, but is glad she left, a twisted plot comes about.

A former lover also has come back. He's a photographer, and when he takes a picture of the scene on the 17th anniversary, he's mugged. He realizes that he's stumbled onto something and sends the picture to the police.

A detective, that still hasn't let the murder go after 17 years gets the picture, and wonders what is going on after another killing. He soon realizes that there are more than 2 murders, in fact, one a year. He digs in, as does the former stripper, and we have a few wild days in Atlantic City as they try to separately unravel the mystery.

It's a little gruesome, but not gory, with lots of twists and a surprising ending. Worth the read if you like the other Coben novels.

Book #42 - Area 51

A friend read Area 51 and recommended it, so when I was in the library, I looked it up. This is a book that goes inside the secret part of the Nevada desert, from the outside, using sources and much information that was recently declassified in the end of the first decade of the 2000s. Apparently the area was established in 1951, hence the name, as a part of the Nevada Test Range the government owned, as a place to secretly work on technology related to nuclear physics and the atomic bombs. The CIA took over for a long time as the area developed, and eventually the Air Force managed most of the site.

However most of this history is from the 50s and 60s, with a little in the 70s and 80s. So much is still classified, it's definitely not a complete look, but some of the stories of how nuclear work was done there, are amazing.

I don't want to talk about the book, but it's well written and well organized. There's a great section on the Roswell crash and links about what happened, as well as a little speculation. No clues other than to saw everything is man made.

Worth the read if you are interested in the history of the military and nuclear bombs.

Book #41 - The Jefferson Key

I grabbed The Jefferson Key from the library. It had a neat cover and a good story line. I read it on a camping trip and really enjoyed it, though the large number of characters had me confused a few times.

The book starts with the killing of a member of a secret group that are privateers, descended from patriots that originally helped the founding fathers defeat the British. We learn that they have a letter from George Washington granting them privateer status in perpetuity, for their descendants included. The four families that make up the leaders each have their own empire, which is not being threatened with prosecution by the IRS. Apparently they've upset some people and the government is interested in shutting them down.

Meanwhile Cotton Malone is back from Denmark, lured by his former boss to a hotel room in NY. He finds a contraption there that looks to be rigged to assassinate the President. He manages to stop the attempt, which was set up by 3 of the 4 families He starts investigating as a number of other plot lines come into play, making this book a little confusing to read.

Apparently Cotton was part of the Magellen Billet at the Justice Department, a covert group that he left. There much be other books that talk about this, and it seemed like I was missing a lot of the back story as I read this book.

It's exciting, fast paced, not great, but very good writing. I'll be looking for a few of the other Berry books to learn more about this cast of characters.

A long week

The kids wanted to see Brave last night, so after struggling to get hay covered in the afternoon, I changed clothes and we headed out. I didn't love it and actually drifted off a few times in the movie, but the kids enjoyed it. After, I came home and struggled through a short run and then fell asleep by 10, not getting up until 9 today.

I think I've been worn out a little with camping this week and lots of activity. I got back from camping and almost immediately headed out with Tia to a trimming client. She can use help with the nippers, cutting off parts of hoof and so she holds them and I squeeze them. A nice time together, though this time her friend was there chatting most of the time. Fortunately I managed to remember to remotely record the basketball game, which I had been hoping to see.

After, we unloaded a late hay delivery, pushing the bales off the truck in the dark so the driver could go. I still had a late night run to do, and did it at 10:00 at night. From there to today, I think I was just coming off the effects of two nights of not great sleep in the mountains.

Today Tia is doing the Avon walk, at 22mi the last update said. She's got 4 more and then a night of camping out before a 13 mi walk tomorrow. With her gone, I'm a little unmotivated, just hanging out and moving slow today, reading a bit, but mostly taking it easy.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


Two days with the Boy Scouts, hiking Grays Peak. A long two days, and glad to be home.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Book #40 - Gideon's Corpse

I read Gideon's Sword and loved it, and have been looking to get Gideon's Corpse ever since. A camping trip and a trip to the library netted the book and I opened it up.

It starts where the last book ends, as Gideon is paid his fee, and then entranced with the idea he must help Eli Glinn again. He wants to refuse, but a former colleague has taken hostages and is threatening them, including two kids. Gideon goes to the scene, disobeys they FBI, not wanting to see his former co-worked killed as Gideon's father was. He still is, and as CSI moves in, they realize that the co-worker was radioactive and a panic ensues.

Everyone is sure that there's a nuclear bomb involved. Gideon starts to leave, wanting to spend his last year of life in New Mexico, but he decides to help, liaising with an FBI agent. They investigate, realizing that NEST, the FBI, and more are making things difficult.

They return to New Mexico to investigate at Los Almos where they talk to the former wife (part of a cult), the immam (the co-worker converted to Islam) and a writer. Gideon moves through the investigation and makes headway and then backsteps, eventually being accused by the FBI as being a part of the ploy himself. He escapes, in a rather fantastic way, but can't give up the investigation and continues on, trying to determine who's guily.

Eventually he discovers the issue and drives back to Washington DC, under the radar, to prevent an amazing terror event from being unleashed. It's an exciting read and ride, one I read in a day. Worth reading, though you might want to read the other one first. Lots of backstory there.

Book #39 - Smasher

Another cheap read that was rated well in the best seller list, Smasher is the story of Silicon Valley and Standford. It's quite a mix of three stories all working together, and linked through the CEO of a telecom firm that's trying to avoid a hostile sale.

The book has an interesting style. It's written with an opening chapter from the middle of the book, where the CEO and his wife are on a morning run, almost run over by a car, but his wife falls into a ditch and is lying unconscious. From there we jump back to days before and then Part II continues on from that opening scene.

It feels as though too many coincidences occur, and too many things line up. The CEO starts at a dedication for a Standford building, named in honor of his dead aunt, who worked as a physics professor there. She wasn't given credit when a novel prize was awarded for the discovery of quarks, but her sister, the CEO's mother, thinks she should have gotten some.

The CEO agrees to investigate, while at the same time trying to fend off a hostile offer to buy the company from the largest telecom in Silicon Valley. Apparently a company that rivals Cisco, who's mentioned in the book. He desperately tries to find ways to raise money as his wife stars her first murder trial as an assistant DA. When the car tries to kill them, he's certain that his wife was the target by the defendant. At the same time, he keeps taking time away from his business struggles to work on his Aunt's mystery.

The story doesn't seem to add up sometimes, and if it's true, CEOs are way overpaid, especially when they disappear for long stretches. There are a few too many things which run together, and there are too many references to the former CEO that disappeared, supposedly after killing the current CEO's wife's sister. It's a tangled web and I felt like some back story was missing at times.

Still it's a fast paced book, and for $0.00 worth the price.

Saturday, June 16, 2012


One of the guys on my baseball team asked if I'd help him move today. I said sure, and when he told me 3-4 hours, I was sure he was joking. I told Tia not to expect me home until 5 or so with the plan I'd leave around 8:15.

Was I wrong. I got to his house right about 9 and he had a moving truck mostly loaded. Everything was boxed and he was down to about 10-15 heavy items we loaded up and then drove to the new house. 10:15 and we were unloading his 24' truck, about 6 of us, and we were done around 12:00. I was stunned.

Heading home at 1 after eating some pizza with him. Amazing.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Gay Agenda

I love reading LZ Granderson's pieces at ESPN and CNN. He's a gifted writer, and I think he has an amazing way of looking at the world. I aspire to be able to express myself the way he does.

He gave a Ted Talk recently titled The Gay Agenda. He is an openly gay writer and commentator, that writes on a variety of issues. This talk looks at the "gay lifestyle" in a humorous way, and expands to talk about what those people in the LGBT community want.

It's worth a few minutes of your time and it's entertaining.

And he's right.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Workout in Town

After I ran tonight. I took the kids down to Parker for some exercise. I've been trying to get Delaney in better shape for Scout camp and his Physical Fitness merit badge. Tonight we hit the gym first and did chest. Kendall participated as well as we did chest press, flyes, and pushdowns.

Then we went swimming. Kendall loves to swim, and she's quite a fish, diving to the bottom easily. Delaney struggles a bit, and we worked on his strokes. He has to do a 100yd swim, 4 strokes, and a  150yd swim, 5 strokes. Tonight we did a 100yd swim, and he struggled a bit. We talked and practiced a bit and then did it again, and he was much better the second time. Hopefully things go well next week at camp.

Then we played, dove, and messed around for a bit before coming home. A fun afternoon with the kids. Need to try and do that once a week with them the rest of the summer.

On Track

A meeting with our financial advisors. Everything is going well and we are on track financially. Actually we’re ahead as Tia’s business is doing better than expected.

Life is good.

Book #38 - Lincoln

I got this book after a recommendation from a friend who reads a lot. It’s historical fiction, so it’s based on the real historical events, but it’s written as fiction. It’s a story with the characters speaking and having conversations, and even acting in ways that are the author’s imagination. Based on history, but not history, if that makes sense.

I hadn’t read anything like this, that really follows the historical events, but has made up dialog and interactions. I suppose in 100 years we’ll have actual dialog played back from all the cell phones, cameras, and other recordings, but for the period in question (1861-1865), we don’t have actual dialog.

Last year I read Team of Rivals, which was a great look at the Lincoln election and term(s) of office. Lincoln brought together a diverse cabinet, including people that had run against him in the Republican primary. Somehow he made it work, and it was fascinating reading. This book allowed me another look into that time period, with the characters coming alive as Lincoln, Seward, Chase, his secretaries, and more had actual voices. I know it’s fiction, but I could imagine this being the way things played out.

The book starts a little slow, but I really enjoyed it after 150 or so pages when the I remembered parts of the war (from history or the previous book) and there were all the struggles of the Civil War.

If you are interested in the Civil War or Lincoln, I think you’ll really enjoy this. If you want a good read, it’s a good book.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A zoo

I came home Monday night with Kendall to more animals. Tia called and said a friend was in trouble and needed some help with animals temporarily. I got home, cleaned up, and then had a beer while Tia made her way home. She came back with 4 dogs and a kennel, which we set up at 10:00pm Mon night on the side of the barn. It was a temporary home for the animals until homes could be found.

Tuesday Tia went and got 2 horses as well, so we have those for a few days. With our other two temporary boarders (another friend on vacation), we have this at the ranch:

  • 12 horses
  • 7 dogs
  • 5 cats

We are out numbered 6:1 by animals.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Book #37 - Coding Isis

I went through the free books this weekend, looking for something to relax with after a stressful preparation for my trip. I found Coding Isis as a free book, with decent reviews, in the top 100 section and grabbed it for free.

It's a high-tech thriller. A women is killed while running, shot through the head. It turns out she's an assistant for a brilliant computer science professor that is working on an analogue to Google Goggles. A virtual reality assistant living in sunglasses and acting as an amazing virtual assistant.

He becomes a suspect in his assistant's murder, with evidence planted and it seems he'll be railroaded. However he gets out quickly when his wife finds a witness who can alibi him. From there it becomes a conspiracy thriller that tries to imitate Ludlum or Balducci, but fails. The detective who was so sure to convict the professor starts searching to find out why he was framed. The scientist, Chris, also happens to be a former British Special Forces soldier, who finds the killer and becomes involved in a NSA plot to kill terrorists using UAV drones and his technology.

It's got too many thrilling and unbelievable items. He can't hack their systems from the outside, but can implant new facial recognition routines in a day. The book moves too fast, with too many unbelievable events near the end. It's just too much, and it feels rushed.

I enjoyed it, but I'd say it was a 3 star read because of the plot, but without great writing. Enjoyable, but average.

Another Day, Another Flight

We got back from Pensacola today, Kendall and I taking a plane to Chicago and then home this afternoon. I had booked a 1pm flight, and glad I did. It rained all weekend, and we missed the beach, but I managed to get up early, do my run, and then get Kendall up by 9:00 and we headed out. It was fairly calm, and the skies more clear, so we thought we'd hit the beach. However when we crossed the toll bridge, we saw the red flags again. High warning, beach closed.

Not to be deterred, we decided to try and rent something. Along the inner coast of the island, we stopped at a rental place and decided to get a wave runner. Kendall wasn't sure about the stand up paddling, and the owner said there was a decent current. Parasailing didn't interest me, so we did 30 minutes together on a 3 person vehicle.

With only a slight chop in the sound area, we raced around, mixing fast and slow, with some doughnuts and s-turns. I wasn't sure how Kendall would like it, but she loved it, laughing as we raced along. I let her drive briefly, but she was nervous, so she sat in front and let me drive. We almost flipped once, but recovered, and at 25 minutes we were done.

We managed to get a little wet, and do something new. A good trip for us, and fun after being stuck inside all Sunday.

Book #36 - Night Passage

I have loved Robert Parker's work since I was in college. I have looked forward to each new book, often grabbing them from the library as soon as a new one came out. When I moved to Colorado, I made it a point at one point to go back and re-read all the Spenser novels. As I was getting close to the end, I ran across the newly released Night Passage, the start of a new series.

It's a strange one, with Jesse Stone leaving California, driving to Paradise, MA, a town that has a secret and problems. They've hired Stone to be the new police chief because they think they can control him, a drunk that was fired from the LAPD. They find out that Jesse is touch, and prone to doing things his way.

The book is almost like a soap opera, with the characters' lives intertwined in many ways. There is sex and affairs mixed in with criminal actions. As the book moves between the characters, we see the complexity develop in Stone's character along with the tangled web of the town.

Worth the read, not as good as a few of the other Stone novels, but once again Parker has created a memorable character in this series.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Book #35 - Fracture

A re-read of Fracture. Not sure why I picked this one, maybe I needed some more action after finishing Taken. It was near the top of the Kindle list, and was a little bored by Galileo's Daughter, so I got caught up in this one.


Crazy rain in Pensacola yesterday. I had to get up at 6:30 to get over to the event, get set up, and give an Early Bird talk. It was raining pretty good, but fortunately I had an umbrella packed in my bag and someone had left napkins in the rental that I could use to clean the window trim after my drive through at Starbucks.

I gave my talk in the auditorium at Pensacola Community College, which is sloped to run below ground with the speaker at the bottom. There are some doors leading outside near the lecture area, to a sloped ramp that goes up. I had no issues, and didn't think about it until my lunchtime talk. It was scheduled in the same room, but as I walked back over there, the organizer said that I'd have to move upstairs since the room was flooded with 2" of water.

I wasn't overly surprised and went on to give two more talks, not really thinking about it, other than dodging rain as I walked through the breezeways between buildings. They're covered, but the wind was blowing rain around. This was the view from one.

I'd taken a friend's kids over to stay with Kendall for the day in the hotel. It was just a half mile away and Kendall was more interested in hanging out with them than hanging out at the event. When we went, it was pouring rain, we all got wet even with umbrellas, and when I returned to park, there were 2-3" of water below the car.

Glad I had the rubber Five Fingers on.

A few people left early, and one sent this picture back.

It was crazy. No chance of a beach, or much of anything.

Around 4 it stopped raining, and things drained away as we went for a quick drink after. By the time I drove back to the hotel to see Kendall, it was mostly just normal rain and water from a storm, with lots and lots of pine needles and dirt piled up in places, even across the main street by the mall.

A crazy day. I'm hoping rain holds off today so we can have a little beach time.

Friday, June 8, 2012

National Naval Air museum

On our trip to Pensacola

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Book #34 - Taken

At the library, one of the first books I saw in the "new" section was Taken by Robert Crais. I've been a fan of his Elvis Cole series, and look forward to each new one. I had to grab this, knowing I'd be getting on a couple plans over the next week.

The book is really written in an interesting way. There's a kidnapping of two young adults, and of Cole, and the chapters all reference these events. There's a "The day Maria and Jack are taken", then "Four Days after Maria and Jack are taken" chapters mixed in with "Two days after Elvis is taken". These two events form the basis of the timeline, but the book doesn't move linearly. The kids are taken, Cole is hired by the mother, and then Pike is searching for Cole. The rest of the book somewhat jumps between the days the kids are in captivity by coyotes and the days Cole is searching for them, with a few skips forward to the days Pike is looking for him.

It actually backtracks a few times as Cole must unravel the mystery of what happened to the kids, who were in Palm Springs for the weekend. He determines quickly that the kids were caught by coyotes bringing illegal immigrants up from Mexico, and were taken by a bandit that robs the coyotes. He then pushes, finding himself in the mix between the rival gangs and cartels.

It's an exciting book, one I finished on two flights, and was loathe to put down between the flights. Worth the read.

Traveling with my girl

After a crazy night Thursday, with tons of rain dropping and flooding out parts of Colorado, we got up early yesterday and headed to the airport. I got in a quick run and then Kendall and I were off to DIA for our trip to Pensacola.

We had an easy trip to the airport, and an easy time through security.

We grabbed some breakfast, and then were off to our flight.

I'd booked us months ago, using a free ticket for Kendall and mine from work. I managed to get us seats together, which is always a fun challenge when using two different booking methods. We had the middle / window to Houston, a short layover with some lunch and then a quick flight to Pensacola on a tiny plane, which was not thrilling for me.

Rain in Houston usually means some level of thunder activity as well and we had a bumpy trip over to Florida.  I had to stop reading a few times and grab our drinks with some good drops in the plane.

Pensacola is an easy place. Small, our hotel is literally across the street from the airport, and there's a mall and lots of stuff nearby. We got to the hotel and Kendall went for a quick dip in the pool before meeting a friend and his family for dinner.

He brought his 4 kids down from home for the event, and we ended up hanging out and chatting in the food court until the mall closed. Kendall got along well with his boys (13, 14) and his oldest girl (8). They wandered around while the adults chatted, both of us taking turns watching the 2 year old as well.

It was a good night, with a quick shopping trip to Target to grab a few things and then to bed.

Today a fun day with Kendall before a work dinner and then the event tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Book #33 - The Expendable Few

31 arg1vO4L._SL160_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-dp,TopRight,12,-18_SH30_OU01_AA160_The Expendable Few is the Spinward Fringe series, but book 6.5. It sits between book 6 and the forthcoming book 7. The author explained that he got a little sidetracked in writing book 7, and in trying to build more background for the story, he decided to release this as a separate book rather than an extremely long book 7.

The book starts out with a group of soliders (officers and enlisted) that have gotten into trouble with Freeground Intelligence. Apparently a puritan, fundamentalist group came to power in Freeground and it’s a much different place from what it was when Jacob Valance left with The First Light. All information about those initial missions is banned, and Commander Clark Patterson is arrested along with friends for having some.

He’s offered the chance to join intelligence, go on a mission to try and secure information about how to combat the Framework technology, and earn his way back into Freeground. Doctor Anderson is his group’s handler, and his mission to to retrieve one of the first scientists working on the Framework technology from an Issryrian world. He fails, and it killed, or so we think.

The book shifts to a second group that specializes in retrievals, and they manage to get a copy of Wheeler, one that’s a next generation Framework. They also combine with the remainder of the Patterson group and we slowly see some growth towards how this story fits in with the rest of the series.

It’s much different than the other books, and I didn’t love it, but it tackles the future world from another perspective, not the same shoot-em-up battle and high tech perspective of the other books. Good background, but definitely one you want to read after the first six.

I like LeBron

It’s amazing how few of my friends like LeBron James. Most can’t stand him and complain he’s a loser, he’s a baby, he’s selfish, and he shouldn’t ever win. I can somewhat understand the sentiment as I don’t like Tom Brady. I think he’s a whiner, but I certainly respect his talent and I’ve been amazed by how cool he’s been at the end of some games.

What amazes me is how many people say he’s selfish. How can a guy that passes so often, especially at the end of games be selfish? Two of the most often shown Jordan highlights are his passes to Steve Kerr and BJ Armstrong at the end of big playoff games. I get a lot of criticism, especially about The Decision, but selfish? Come on.

Rick Reilly wrote a great column about LeBron, and I agree. We should lay off a bit of the criticism that isn’t warranted. LeBron hasn’t been a failure in his career. He hasn’t been as amazing as we’d like, and he certainly hasn’t been a champion, but he’s made three finals, two with arguably average teams, and he’s played well. He’s missed some big shots, and he’s not taken others.

The biggest complaint I have is that his behavior at the end of a few games was poor. He walked off, he pouted, he ignore teammates, or he seemed to give up at different times. Not many, but a few, and in some big games.

I’m rooting for him to win. Not the 6 or 7 he talked about when he came to Miami, but one or two. I don’t know he’ll do it this year, but it’s Heat/Thunder, I think he has a good chance.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Exercise in the Margins

This article about exercising when you can is really interesting. It contains a number of hints about exercising and fitting it in, but fitting it into your life, as you live it.

I love the ideas about the fact that you will lose time, you will have setbacks. That’s one of the reasons I started the mile a day streak. A mile, even jogging slowly, takes no more than about 15 minutes. Maybe 20 if you’re older. I can always find 15 minutes in my day. I’ve done as low as 12.

I know that’s not easy for everyone, but I’d think most people could find 15 minutes to walk every day, whether it’s 5am or 11pm. Time is not a great excuse for a low bar.

However I do know not everyone likes traditional exercise. Walking stairs, walking out of your way on a flat surface, parking further from the door at the grocers, there are any number of small habits you can build.

Picking a sport is a great idea. It’s a commitment, but get a few friends, and try something. Even if you don’t play much, as I didn’t this year with adult volleyball, it’s a habit of movement that you are building.

And have a short memory for sure. If you miss a few days for some reason, forget about it. Pick up some small exercise tomorrow and don’t try to “make up” for what you missed.

Gifted Hands

Gifted Hands is a great movie. Tia had loaded it up in our Netflix queue and we watched it last night. Quite a story, based on real events.

Also, one that should be views, IMHO, to more parents and kids. They ought to realize that they can do more, and waste less time. Made me feel a little like we're letting the kids relax a bit too much at times.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

A hit

Finally, a good hit today.  We played the Mudcats, a team where I know a lot of guys, am friends with a few, and have never beaten. We were ahead of them both games last year and they came back to win.

Today it looked like it might be the same thing. We went up 1-0 for a few innings, then down 2-1, but right back 3-2 in our half. I struck out looking the first time on one that was outside, and I was using the short bat. Not a bad call, debatable, but I couldn't reach it, so no argument. I walked the second time and made it to third on one out, but got stranded. The third time, I swung late on one that coasted up to deep short, and blooped off the shortstop's glove. I came around on a deep hit to left, and we went up 7-3 in that inning. My last at bat we were up 8 or 9 to 5 and I caught a beautiful pitch on the inside, mid thigh and hit it high and hard. I thought it might be out for a minute, but it bounced and hit the fence. A double for me, and I stopped there, but we were up 12-5 at that point.

That was the first decent hit I've had. I hit a couple hard single liners, but this was a good swing. Not enough step or it might be out, but it felt good to turn on one.

In the field, I ended up playing 6 innings when the other guy pulled his calf again. I missed a hard grounder to my right early, but then picked one up for a play at first and got a nice bouncer late in the game and made the play at first. All in all, a good day, and a fun game.

We played well, and at 3-3, are not doing bad. We certainly are swinging the bats better as a team, and it should be a fun season from here on out. We have good pitching, and aren't making too many mistakes int the field. A couple today, but a few good plays as well.

Saturday, June 2, 2012


I spent last night and today up at Camp Tahosa outside Boulder at ITOLS training for the scouts. I needed to get the training done to go with Delaney for summer camp and this was the last bit I needed, and the last day to go.

I wasn't sure what to expect, so I tried to anticipate a few things yesterday as I packed. A couple changes of clothes, for both warm and cool weather. A waterproof jacket, contacts, glasses, and a tent. The tent was a minor issue as Tia had taken it camping when she went this week, and it was in her trailer when she drove off to ride. A detour for me out of town to swing by the trailhead and get the tent.

I drove up through traffic, getting to Boulder around 5. I thought I'd have plenty of time to arrive by 6, but it turns out it was almost 45 minutes to get through the winding roads to Ward, CO and find the camp. I was glad my GPS on the phone downloaded everything since I lost cell service about halfway up.

I arrived to find it was Webelos Weekend, with almost 500 boys there from Cub Scouts. About 140 leaders were signed up to be trained while their boys were there, which was a shock. Only 4 parents were there without kids, and we set up away from the kids Fri night. I was also glad I brought food since there wasn't food. We had a brief orientation, but the majority of the training was delayed until Sat morning since there were so many of us.

It was a little chilly last night, but Delaney's sleeping bag and liner worked out well. I was fairly warm, with a hat on to keep my head cool. Sleeping on the ground wasn't fun, and I need to get a liner for our trip in two weeks.

This morning we got up and broke up into patrols to simulate what the kids go through. There were a lot of people there, but it was only about 90 of us. Glad the other 50 didn't show.

We went through 7 basic classes: fire safety, tools safety, first aid, plants and animals, cooking, maps, and ropes. We learned some of what the boys learn when they start scouting, but also some ideas about how to teach them, or get them to teach each other.

It was good training. I didn't learn a lot, but I did learn something, and I got some ideas for how to try some things for our troop, and some things to help Delaney out. At the end, we all did patrol skits, and yells. We were the flying flaming squirrels, which Delaney laughed at when I got home.

I had arrived relatively early Fri, and managed to park the Prius on the side of the road, without being blocked in. Most of the people were staying until Sun morning, and with rain clouds coming in, I was glad to leave and lucky no one was in my way.

Easy drive home, and now to sleep in my own bed tonight.

Friday, June 1, 2012


Did President Obama declare war quietly against Iran? I saw this piece from the NYT that says our President ordered attacks against computer systems in Iran after taking office. These were a continuation of efforts by ex-President Bush.

My question is, is this a war-like activity? Is a digital attack on computer systems fundamentally different from us sending small troops into the country and destroying oil infrastructure? Both cause damage, both are against foreign powers.

I’d argue that they both are attacks against a foreign power. Whether we should or not is a separate debate. I’m wondering if we are actually following our own protocols for cyber attacks that we would for attacks using real troops. If we’re not, and we are moving to an increasingly digital era, we may end up with more and more problems over time.


It seems almost unfair that I’m going camping with the scouts tonight without Delaney. I have leadership training and need to get packed up for an early afternoon departure.

Actually perhaps it’s torture. I don’t really love camping and the idea of being cold and sleeping on the ground isn’t appealing. But I’m signed up for summer camp with Delaney in a few weeks and need to get this last bit of training done so I can go.

The Standing Desk - Week 1

I finally got my standing desk working last weekend and started on Tuesday (after Memorial Day) working at it on a regular basis.

This was the initial setup

Photo May 27, 4 35 10 PM

I used a box of books, with 4 more under the keyboard and another box for the mouse. I had two monitors working due to a lack of cables, but this would allow me to essentially duplicate what I had upstairs. I added a short barstool (round, no back) and I was ready to go.

I wrote a bit about this the other day, but this is a more detailed post after almost one work week (3+ days) of working.

Tuesday when I came downstairs, I was tired, and it was chilly, and I didn’t really want to go in the basement. I spent an hour with my laptop at my regular desk before deciding to go stand downstairs. It wasn’t bad, but I realized quickly that the keyboard and mouse were too low. The ergonomic position is slightly above the elbow, so I added another box, more books and raised things up. Books make a great experimental platform for raising lowering to different heights to see what works.

I also realized that I needed to get all four monitors going and see if I liked that. So I ordered two new cables, and kept working. I stood for 5-6 hours on Tuesday, taking a few breaks to go upstairs, run, and handle other non-desk tasks.

Wednesday I felt better and I sat at my desk for an hour for our weekly department conference call. I don’t have a webcam on the desktop and with the books, no desk to set the laptop on. However afterwards I went downstairs and worked. My round bar stool was too short, but I did find an older, tall barstool to use. The height is just high enough that I have to raise up an inch or so to sit down. Or sit up.

I didn’t love sitting down, but taking 10-15 minutes on the stool was nice.

Thursday my cables came, and I hooked everything up. I got all four monitors situated in the right position in Windows 7, though I am tempted to raise my bigger monitors up to the top and put the smaller ones below. Right now I feel like I’m looking down when I’m working. It’s not too bad, and it’s similar to how you might work with paper on a desk.

Photo May 31, 4 31 55 PM

My legs feel a bit more tired, but not much. I notice it most when I’m running. It’s that they’re slightly more tired than normal. I suspect that I’m adapting better than most since I run every day (1370 days and counting), so I’m used to some amount of work from my legs every day.

I do find that I take more breaks now. I can’t sit with an empty coffee cup and get lost in work for 90 minutes. Every hour or so I get up and move upstairs. It’s also changing my eating slightly. I’m eating smaller meals, and planning on going upstairs every hour for a small snack or piece of fruit. I’m not sure of the long term health effects, but I can’t think of a reason why this would be bad.

On the extra plus side, my regular desk is fairly clean now

Photo May 31, 12 52 10 PM

So far I like the experiment, and I do feel like I’m burning more calories overall. I’ll give it a couple more week and then set about re-evaluating my move back upstairs.

A few things I need to consider fixing

  • flooring - Buck talked about padding and I think I need something. I have carpet, but otherwise this is cement and I know that will take a toll. Upstairs I have wood, but probably need more padding.
  • Monitors - The smaller two of my monitors are older and dimmer. I don’t use them as much, but I don’t love looking down so much at the newer ones. I need to reverse the positions.
  • Desk space - I’m used to having space for a bottle of water and a coffee cup, plus my phone, a plate if I eat, etc. I need to consider that as I move to a more permanent setting.
  • Monitor mounts - My desk doesn’t have a lip to clamp on. Do I cut a hole in it or move this one upstairs? Decisions, decisions, and permission from my wife.

This is cross posted to both my personal blog and the Voice of the DBA.