Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Book #77 - Friend Request

A short book, so maybe a 1/2 book for reading, but one with good reviews, so I grabbed Friend Request. It's the future, not too far from now and social networking and "friends" are ubiquitous. Friend requests are sent automatically by our smart phone agents when we have matching possibilities. Nick is having an anniversary party, but he's upset. Earlier he received a friend request from another man, no name, but "in a relationship" with Nick's wife.

The story really follows Nick through the party, as he tries to come to grips with what happened, especially as he knows his wife is keeping secrets. He's an admin of an ISP that manages people's profiles, and uses his skills to find out more.

When everyone's privacy settings seem to disappear and they learn shocking things about each other, all hell breaks loose.

Short, but a somewhat scary look at a possible digital future.


For a couple days. Delaney and I flew back from Vegas this morning, in time to get some work done before I head to Seattle on Saturday.

Nice to be home.

Book #76 - The Last Juror

A re-read for me, and still one of my top ten books ever. The Last Juror captured my attention, drawing me back into the small town life of a newspaper editor in 1970's Mississippi. Perhaps Grisham's best.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Crowd Dodging

We were running through crowds around the Bellagio last night. That wasn't the plan. Delaney and I checked in, and relaxed a bit before changing for a short run. My plan was to loop the block, but it as we headed up Flamingo, we realized that it didn't let us down to the service road behind the Bellagio. I noticed a side road next to the hotel, so we went back, cut across some grass and ran down.

6 minutes in, we hit the loading gate, locked, of course. We headed back, our third trip by the ginkgo trees, which smelled, in Delaney's words "sh*t". We decided to not experiment, and ran back around the front, past the fountains, and up the entrance driveway, stopping near the top to watch the show.

A crazy route, but a nice early evening run with my boy.

Hoover Dam

Delaney and I are in Las Vegas. An early morning start to get to the airport for a 9:45 flight. Quick and easy to Nevada, grabbing a rental car, and off to Hoover Dam.

It's an easy trip, and we drove over the dam, parking on the far side and walking back. We paused to take some pictures, here's the Arizona intake tower.

We wanted to tour the dam, and bought tickets but had to kill and hour.  We wandered around, and then sat in the cafe, relaxing in the warm desert sun. When our tour started, it was interesting. Down 500 ft into the dam to see one of the diversion tunnels used when the dam was being built, or now for overflows. Kind of overwhelming, and a little unnerving for me.

Then it was up to the power plant level. Here there are 17 generators, 8 on the Nevada side and 9 in Arizona. They are huge, being turned from below by water rushing past. Apparently since this is a federal operations, it only operates a peaks, not trying to turn a profit. Seems a shame, but good that we have peak capacity.

After that we split up groups, going on the dam tour for a little extra money. Worth it since we moved from the newer power facilities into the dam. Here's the ancient, original, art deco hallway stretching into the dam. 400 feet below the top of the dam, and probably 320 ft or so below the water in Lake Mead

We went into a tunnel that brought us back to the downriver side of the dam, walking through locks of concrete, which were poured and fitted together with corrugations. They can move in the event of an earthquake, which is interesting.

We came out at one of the vents, overlooking the downriver side, about halfway up the dam. It was an amazing view.

From there, we headed back and saw the staircase that goes from top to bottom. It's raked at a 60 degree angle, and understandably locked up. Very few inspectors go up it.

After the tour, Delaney wanted to go on the new bypass bridge, up above the dam. We'd seen it when we first walked over to the dam. We took a few pictures from the observation deck and then drove over.

It's a huge arch bridge spanning the outtake side of the dam. It's an amazing feat of engineering itself, using hollow concrete blocks to build an arch. Delaney went all the way across, loving it.

I stopped just before halfway, being a little nervous.

Quite an interesting trip.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Looper Paradox

If the looper kills himself, then his future self disappears, but it makes the entire movie impossible, at least according to Delaney. We went to see it last night, the start of our "guys week" and we enjoyed it. It's a wild ride in the future of crime and time travel, but it also makes one really think.

They did a good job, but had Delaney upset at the end as he tried to reconcile the idea of time travel as presented in the movie. We were talking about it all through dinner afterward.

Book #76 - Flee

I've enjoyed Konrath's books, and when I saw Flee, I grabbed it. This is another series, but unlike his others. It's still in Chicago, and Jack Daniels and Harry McGlade guest star, but it's mostly about Chandler, an assassin trained by the government.

From the beginning the story is action packed for a day, and never stops. Chandler's cover is blown and she barely escapes her apartment, going on the run to get away from who can it be. Along the way she's avoiding being killed while still trying to meet with an escaped criminal that kidnapped a friend of hers.

I read this in a day, non-stop action that made it hard to put down. Worth the few dollars in the Kindle edition.

Friday, October 26, 2012


A stunning loss last night, even for our team. We dropped 2 21 pt games in about ten minutes. In the first game, I served a point, messed up a serve, we got the serve back on a play and then I never played again. We never rotated more than once, dropping the rest of the points, mostly from mistakes.

The second game wasn't better. I got in, rotated to 4 positions and we lost. I had a couple mis hits, but had a block and a couple saves. Not enough, between serves and mistakes, it was bad.

A full tournament, which means we have two more games, but I'm not sure we'll do much in either of them.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Cold and Alone

Well, I’m not too cold. The furnace is working nicely on this day, and bundling up in hat, gloves, boots, and a scarf worked. I think Uma was a bit cold, and wouldn’t stand still for a jacket.

Photo Oct 25, 7 49 39 AM

A decent blizzard made driving hard last night. Delaney had a sleepover and I had to get him over there.

Photo Oct 25, 8 19 45 AM

Today it’s sunny and the snow is melting quick, even if it’s not warm. We’ll see what happens tonight.

Everyone gone from the house, just me and the animals. They took advantage of me working to chill out today

Photo Oct 25, 10 47 38 AM

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


I've been distracted for sure this week. I needed to finish my presentations for next week, and I ran through one, and started getting the demos finalized for the other, but it's been hard. Needing to get some work done outside, get hay covered, and help Tia get out of town for her Moab race this weekend has slowed me down.

On the positive side, Delaney has the next two days off from school, so I'm not distracted with errands, and I also got most everything except my demos done for the next week.

Procrastinating, and I'll regret it next week. The talk won't go as well as I want it, but I know that this has been a tough time and I realized as I got more and more into this talk that it's not a great topic.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Squaring things up

I had a Sunday.

Photo Oct 21, 2 43 21 PM

She was doing some measuring for me,helping get the roof rafters into the structure so they fit the spaces between the joists.

Photo Oct 21, 3 24 31 PM

This was after we’d pulled off the roofing on the west and re-aligned the tops of the poles. There was a decent gap, I think from my poles warping slightly in the weather. Once I measured the top front, we found  a significant gap.

Photo Oct 21, 3 14 17 PM

I was able to tie this back, recut the rafters, and put them back in, getting a good, fairly square top. The other side must have been slightly out of whack as we found that a few pieces of the roofing didn’t quite align, but since I’m covering everything with metal and this was close, I left it.

Photo Oct 21, 3 14 21 PM

Apparently I was pretty slow, because Kendall found time to draw while I was going up and down the ladder, moving wood around and getting things screwed together.

Photo Oct 21, 1 37 49 PM

My helpful daughter earned some money and made it easier for me to cover everything and we are looking good. Now I just need the metal to arrive.

Photo Oct 21, 4 22 48 PM

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Second Place

Kendall's volleyball team had their tournament yesterday, finishing off their season for the fall. It was a single elimination style, 8 team tournament, with random seeding. The randomness worked out well for us as the other really good team was set on the other bracket and Kendall's team cruised through their first two matches, winning 4 in a row to advance. The girls were excited, but also nervous.

In the final match, they just couldn't put together runs, and they weren't ready for some nice returns by the other team. I think our team is too used to returning the ball and scoring, rather than having a team press them with good hits back. We fell apart, 25-12 or so in the first game, and 25-19 in the second. Lots of emotion, and some girls crying, though Kendall did well, including a nice spike to score.

Afterwards we had a fun pizza party, and everyone seemed to forget the loss, which was good to see. Another season of coaching done for me, at least I think. Kendall starts another league on Nov 1 and we'll see what happens there.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Act Now

We need more people like Marc Benioff, willing to act now. A billion dollars is pittance for a government, but an amazing amount of money for a person. It’s more than you can spend in a life, your kids, perhaps even your grandkids. I’d argue that it’s more than one person deserves to spend on themselves or their desires, no matter how they earned it.

A Win

We won two of the three games at volleyball last night, somewhat surprising. In 6 or 7 matches, we’ve won just two games, usually losing 3-0 each night, sometimes badly.

Last night was the second time we’ve had just 6 people when I’ve played. Tia wasn’t feeling well, so there were two other couples, me, and another lady. We didn’t do a lot of strategizing before, but did talk about trying to set each other. We ended up with some good back and forth with the other team, though we had 5 or 6 balls fall between people with no one moving. We lost a close one, 21-18 or so, but it was a good game.

I’m not sure if I started calling balls, or someone else, but in the second game we did a better job of talking to each other, calling balls, and ended up playing from slightly behind to go on and win. We had some good put backs, good volleys, and a touch more energy, with some high 5s between points.

It helped the other team had a couple good players, a bunch of marginal ones, and two poor players. Plus with 8 or 9, lots of rotations in and out. I was careful not to serve to the good players, and even had a few good spikes, though they were more like “pushes down” for points.

We played well and won the third game as well, also close. I did have a nice save, running to the side wall and getting the ball back in for a point.

A fun game, and I was surprised when it ended. I hadn’t been watching the score, just enjoying playing. I wouldn’t have cared if we lost since we had some good volleys and plays. Hopefully we can do it again next week.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Lost Day

It started out alright. Up, getting kids to school, coming home, grabbing coffee and starting to get ready to host a webinar. About halfway through I started to get dizzy and saw some spots. Low blood sugar, so I struggled to finish and went to lay down.

I woke up 4 hours later with a headache still. I managed to get downstairs and do a little work, but it’s been a slow day since then, not doing too much.

Hopefully things get back to normal tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

White People Arguing Affirmative Action

A somewhat sad subtitle to this piece about the SCOTUS look at affirmative action today. It is amazing to me that this issue, which generates so many feelings, is primarily being argued by a mostly white group of people.

You could say that these white lawyers are the best and were chosen for that reason (non affirmative action). You could say that choosing lawyers color would be a cheap way to make a case or send a message. You could say that’s just the luck of the draw. No matter what happens, entirely too many non-minorities are focusing on this issue. I don’t know how to solve it, but as a person of color, let me say that life for me hasn’t been the same it’s been for white people.


I don’t quite know how I feel about affirmative action. I do know that our racial makeup in the US (from the Census bureau) is:

  • white - 63%
  • Latino/Hispanic - 17%
  • black - 13%
  • Asian - 5%
  • Other - 2%

If we discriminated against every white person to give a non-white something, we’d be discriminating against 37% of the US. Not an insignificant percentage, but since nothing is absolute, let’s realize that this isn’t as widespread a problem as the lawsuit and discussion seems to allege. The case against women is much worse, especially when they are more than 50% of the population.

In the particular case, there’s an argument that using race instead of taking the top 10% of high school students in Texas public universities (UT in particular, hook ‘em horns) is discrimination. It’s curious that the plaintiff wasn’t discriminated against since she didn’t qualify for admission as a top ten percent student, but to me that’s beside the point. This is a discussion that should be examined.

There is an argument that it’s discrimination against Texas seniors, but that assumes that seniors in particular have had fair options before that. The fact that admissions is a mess anyways, and uses all kinds of subjective criteria, including ten percent by grade, not by skill, is a valid point to make, but I’m not sure it matters in the law.

Personally I think that using race to decide admissions is a poor way of building a diverse student body (or workforce). However I also think that Justice Robert’s comment (“the way to stop discriminating on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”) is equally short-sighted and naïve if it means that no examination of race should ever be made.

I firmly believe people are racist. Prejudiced and bigoted as well, but race comes into play. Not with everyone, though not everyone that has a “colored friend” ignores race. Plenty of people are racist towards groups, but are fine with individuals. That weird “education/information” issue that solves problems hasn’t quite caught on enough.

I’d like us to have a way to examine and deal with discrimination when it occurs, not assuming we need to prevent it, or that it’s always going to happen. Let’s have some arbitration or easy-to-report/implement way of having review of cases. I’d also like to see colleges be more transparent with their admission process. Disclose notes on what someone was/wasn’t picked, perhaps even only to the applicant, but allow them to appeal the process somehow.

We won’t eliminate discrimination, but we can make things more transparent and deal with the real cases of discrimination without assuming that it will, or won’t, happen as a general rule.

LZ Granderson has a good take on the topic as well.

Book #75 - Packing for Mars

51mjYI8M9sL._AA115_This was one of the summer geek books and when I saw it at the library, I grabbed Packing for Mars to see what I thought. I’d read a review on Amazon that said it was 200 pages discussing poop in space, so I was somewhat leery of reading the book. I’m not offended or disgusted, but not really interested. I had enough of that in Mike Mullane’s book, Riding Rockets.

The book is divided into a number of chapters, each covering the difficulties that humans present for space travel. We are frail, we require maintenance, and a lot of the effort, fuel, and money spent on the space program is to take care of humans.

I found it interesting, learning about a number of things I’d never thought about before. The hassles of food (and crumbs), the effects of gravity or the lack of it. The psychology, religious issues, even the problems of odor. It’s kind of amazing and I can see the challenge.

Every astronaut wants to go back, and most would risk their lives. I thought this described a world full of so many hassles, I’d never want to go to space.

Creaky Knees

The legs have been sore after my tour around the country and lots of running on cement. I should have done a few treadmill days to be safe, but didn’t.

All the work around the house, volleyball, etc has made them sore. They were cold and stiff this morning and going up the stairs was hard. I definitely need some stretching and some easy days. I had a light run today, slower, and I think I need to continue that for a few weeks.

And get pads for my outside work.

Book #74 - Invincible

51kn06lyRcL._AA115_I grabbed Invincible after finishing Dreadnaught, which ended in a cliffhanger. What would happen with the Alliance fleet facing a huge enemy presence far from home, arriving in front of a fortress that rivaled the size of a small moon.

This book was enjoyable, as it continues the journey of Black Jack Geary, this time taking the fleet to explore the limits of the alien territory. After proving that the fleet can match the Enigma race's capabilities, this book starts the journey home for the fleet.

It's interesting, as Jack learns that he's once again caught in the middle of various politics at home, even while out in space. He must deal with multiple alien races, and the challenges of keeping his fleet together and managing all the disparate personalities and desires. His instincts work out and lead him in the right direction, even as he questions himself in the book.

It ends with another cliffhanger, almost like a weekly series on a TV show. Not sure I like that, especially as the next book takes a different direction, looking at the Syndic side of the war.


Delaney brought his cello home Friday, wanting to get some practice in for this week’s concert.  I managed to get a little video:

Coming Along

I knocked off a little early yesterday and did some work on the shelter. It’s coming along nicely.

Photo Oct 15, 6 04 44 PM

I had planned on putting the plywood up there sideways, and only covering half of the shelter, but I decided to cover it completely, giving a little more shelter and warmth in winter. Plus it should improve structural integrity and a little durability.

Photo Oct 15, 5 23 41 PM

The plywood needs to be cut, as every piece is  a different shape with the land sloping. I had to put every piece up there and cut it to fit the shape of the roof. I made the measurements as well for ordering metal.

There’s one problem:

Photo Oct 14, 1 04 27 PM

The first few pieces I put in had a gap. When I measured the roof, and then base again, I realized that the posts had warped or bent slightly, pulling the SW corner further away at the top of the post. So much for wood being straight, or remaining so.

It’s not a lot, and I could leave it, but it’s bugging me, so I think I’ll pull up this plywood from the roof and tie in the fronts square. It means recutting the joists, but that’s not a big deal. It won’t take that long and I’ll feel better.

Now I need to get to the store and purchase a few more sheets of OSB.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Prius Repair

I took the Prius down to get the oil changed/tires rotated this morning and thanks to Tires Plus for fitting me in and getting it done quick this am. My plan was to swing by the Toyota dealership afterwards for a few things.

My height adjustment sensor arm had broken and it seemed like this should be a cheap and easy part. It’s a rubber arm, about 3-4” long that bolts to the sensor and the axle. The dealer doesn’t sell that part. They want $400 for the entire thing.


I next asked about the mirror cover for the one that doesn’t work. I paid $40 for an aftermarket mirror and was thinking I’d be able to get a new cover for about that. It’s just a plastic piece. The dealer wants $70 for a new one.


Two for two failures, so I didn’t bother to ask about the underbody cover panels.

It’s crazy that the dealer wants so much for parts, especially parts that are available elsewhere. Crazy.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Side Mirror - A Step Forward and a Step Back

I finally had time to work on the side view mirror on the Prius. I’d whacked it on the garage frame and broken it recently. My project today was replacing the passenger side mirror assembly on our 2007 Toyota Prius.

Photo Oct 14, 12 03 39 PM

Not a great photo, but I cracked the glass and chipped the frame. I looked at Toyota and they wanted like $200 for the part.  I saw it for about $35 from and thought I might be only getting part of the replacement parts, but it was the whole thing.

My first step was to slip the speaker off to get to the bolts. I popped off with a screwdriver and I disconnected it.

Photo Oct 14, 12 03 45 PM

Next I used a 10mm socket to loosen the bolts and remove the item. However the wiring was buried inside the door.

Photo Oct 14, 12 04 09 PM

A couple of screwdrivers and some muscle let me pull the forward edge of the door trim loose and I could reach inside and undo the clip.

Photo Oct 14, 12 06 05 PM

From there I reattached the door trim and screwed the mirror assembly tight. Easy to do.

Now the two half steps back. I must have bent the speaker clips slightly as the top is a little loose. We’ll see as I drive how big a deal that is. The other problem?

I went to get the trim piece on from the old mirror and something was bent by me or not working since it wouldn’t slip on correctly. When I tried to slightly bend out the top clips, which weren’t catching, they broke.


Now I need to order a new part, but since I need a new weight sensor, that’s OK. I’ll go by Toyota this week and get those moving. Hopefully they cost less than the mirror.


Not my favorite thing to do, but fortunately I was about 8-9 feet off the ground today.

Photo Oct 14, 1 04 27 PM

I added 3 sheets of plywood, but then I realized Tia had the braces in her truck. I did manage to measure out for metal, so I’ll order that tomorrow.

I also found that the top had pulled a little out of square. I’m guessing the posts moved a touch. Not sure if I should attempt to pull it back, but I know I’d need to recut all the braces and also get a board on the end. Seems almost like more work than I’d like. I think it will be easier to just cut the metal to fit and trim the top boards in a few places.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Daddy-Kendall Day

After volleyball, Kendall and I had a short afternoon together. Lunch, then running food to Delaney, and then ski shopping and Halloween shopping. Lots of fun to spend time with my little girl and chat with her during the day.


Kendall's team played the best they ever had today. As coaches, we watched for the most part, with very few "coaching" moves for us. Mostly we had a few players move around the court for serves, but otherwise we left them alone.

We faced a decent team, but our girls were amazing. They were serving well, and from the beginning they were playing volleyball. Two and three hits when the ball came to us, and we won most of the points. The first two games were blowouts for us. The third was close, but only as everyone tried overhand serves and we missed quite a few. We still won, but it was close.

Kendall was amazing. All her underhand serves were devastating in the first two games, and in the third she knocked over 5 overhand serves. She had some good bumps to save balls and some amazing sets. There was one point she was proud of where her team bumped it and she back set it over the net. Then she returned two more hits back with sets, including the last one deep into their side, behind the players. She won the point herself.

It's great to see the girls improving so much and I'm looking forward to seeing how they do in the tournament next week.

Friday, October 12, 2012

A Win

We doubled our win total last night at volleyball by winning a game. Not a match, but we won the first game before dropping the next two.

It was a good night, with just 6 of us and we played pretty well for us. It seemed we worked on the 3 hits in the first game and did well. I had a couple good blocks that helped, but my knee was sore after that. I took it easier in the next two games, and only skipped one block I regretted. The other times I wasn't up close for their hard spiker.

It was fun, and still work to do, but overall a good night. I paid for it, and need a few weeks of easier work after running on cement all over the country. The knee needed ice last night and it's still a little stiff and aching today.

Book #73 - Micro

microI have loved reading Michael Crighton’s books. They are amazing in their concepts, ideas, and execution. He’s a great writer and has quite a mind. I was surprised to see this book as a new book since I knew Mr. Crighton passed away, but there’s a co-author, who I am guessing finished, or worked with, part of a novel.

Micro is the story of micro-sized organisms and technology, but not what you might expect. It starts with a PI in Hawaii investigating a Nanigen technologies. He appears to be mysteriously attacked, with cuts on his body and flees to his employer. When he and two others are found dead, apparently stabbed in a locked room, it’s a mystery.

Meanwhile we have a group of post-grad research students working in Cambridge at Harvard. They are approached by a venture capitalist who funded Nanigen with the offer of employment, and exciting work in Hawaii. One of the student’s brother is high up in the company, and they decide to go on the trip. As they prepare, the brother is apparently killed in a boating accident in Hawaii.

I was expecting nano-technology, or micro robots, but that’s not what the movie is about. It’s a much different story, and I don’t want to give it away, but it’s rather exciting. Not really plausible or believable, but if you accept the premise, it becomes an amazing look at the micro-sized world of a rain forest in Hawaii mixed with action, adventure, and biology.

I enjoyed it, and while I kept thinking of snags in the technology, I ignored them an enjoyed the story and was surprised at the almost horror movie rate at which people were killed. The ending was a bit cliché, though the route to get there wasn’t. An enjoyable read.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Catching up on Book Reviews

I read a decent amount over the last few months, including a few partially read books I hope to finish. Not sure I’ll get 100 this year, but looks like I should hit 90 with some travel in my future.

Book #72 - Dreadnaught

51qPqKjXBQL._AA115_I got Dreadnaught for my son and he enjoyed it. So I grabbed it for a recent trip to see what was happening with the Alliance after the Syndics were defeated.

This book starts shortly after the end of the Lost Fleet series. Black Jack and his bride are on their way back to the fleet, having been married quickly while they were both captains. Jack is promoted to Admiral again and there’s concern over what the government plans as well as possible rebellion from the fleet.

Soon enough the book goes into the journey back to the alien lands, the concern over the alien capabilities and intentions, as well as some Syndic interactions. There are also the issues with Rionne back on the flagship, Dauntless. It’s an interesting journey, and ends with a cliff hanger. I can’t wait for the next book to be released at a reasonable price.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Book #71 - Accelerated

51gPWY2OUlL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-62,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_I’ve really enjoyed Heppner’s “Doom Star” series, and grabbed Accelerated on a whim as I was heading out of town.

It’s an interesting novel, told in the first person (for the most part), by the survivor of a particle accelerator experiment gone wrong. We pick up this “mutant” on the run from the “Shop”, which seems like some top secret organization associated with the government, but based in Italy.

As the story unfolds, Gavin found by a former Shop employee, and not sure if can trust her, and also pursued, he believes, by the Shop, we slowly get some background on him and what happened. It comes in fits and spurts, which is slightly annoying as it felt like I was lost for much of the book. I’d have rather a few sections early on that explained what had happened.

The book is basically Gavin investigating the murder of the girl that found him and learning there are multiple groups that could have done it. Along the way we learn just a touch about his powers, and those of the others.

I didn’t love this, and the action was tempered by a feeling of confusion and loss at not having more of a back story. I need to check and see if this is part of a series.

An Open Letter to Senator John McCain

Senator McCain,

I would like to thank you for your service to our great country, both in uniform and in government. You are someone that I have admired as having a pragmatic, positive view on the world while standing by your convictions. I was hoping you would make the 2000 Presidential Republican ticket and would have been proud to cast my vote for you.

A few weeks ago there were two issues in which you involved that caught my attention. The first was the Rand Paul bill asking the United States to cease all aid to Egypt, Libya, and Pakistan. You issued a statement in support of aid to Libya and asked that the bill not be passed. The second was the Veteran Jobs Corp Act, which you voted against and issued a statement that said this bill was not properly funded at a time when our country is facing its own fiscal issues.

At issue in the Jobs bill was an estimated $1 billion cost, which may or may not be full funded. The total aid to the three countries on the other side of the world, who have not been staunch allies, was over $4 billion.

I believe that we need Senators looking at foreign policy and issues overseas. I can understand that supporting pro-democracy groups in other countries may lessen the need for military presence and perhaps save lives.

However I cannot understand placing a priority on sending $4 billion overseas over spending $1 billion on our veterans. You could have proposed any number of solutions, including introducing a bill to aid those countries at a lower number. 

These two disparate votes concern me greatly. I feel that you have forgotten where the true priorities are in the wake of bitter partisan politics, and you have ignored the fact that it is American citizens that are paying the price for poor relations between parties and the misguided agendas advanced by our representatives in support of narrowly focused interests.

I hope you will reconsider your positions in the future. While you may focus more on foreign matters, please remember that your votes and your governance should put the United States ahead of all other countries.


J Steven Jones

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Sleeping in my own bed, priceless

I’m done traveling for three weeks. I got home last night from Boston, at 1am after flying there Sunday morning, running at night, working all day, and then flying home after the event.

It was nice to get home, lay next to my wife in a comfortable and familiar place. It didn’t last that long as I was up at 7 to get kids to school. Back to the routine, at least for the next three weeks.

Yesterday was somewhat quiet, being a holiday, I think our attendance for down for the event. However it was still a thrill to be at Harvard Medical School.

Photo Oct 08, 6 39 45 AM

Here was the door, and then the schedule for my talks

Photo Oct 08, 6 17 33 AM

It was just an amazing place to be. A nice new building

Photo Oct 08, 6 38 58 AM

across from an old one in Boston.

Photo Oct 08, 6 39 14 AM

I had a great run there. Not along the Charles since that wasn’t close and time was short, but I did shoot by Fenway Park. I went there about 4 years ago, and it was neat to go back. Glad the Red Sox aren’t playing, but still a thrill for a baseball guy.

Photo Oct 07, 5 39 57 PM

Photo Oct 07, 5 39 01 PM

The event went well, I caught up with a few friends, and then came home. It was a neat place to speak, and even though my company rented the venue, it still felt a little special to me. The view just before I stated my first talk.

Photo Oct 08, 7 13 56 AM

Quite an experience, but glad to be home.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Feels like half a day

Up early, not sleeping in again, and heading to the airport. This time Boston. Things went smooth, easy drive to the airport, smoother trip through security, scored an exit row seat, and then an uneventful flight.  I did get an hour nap, which I needed.

An easy trip into the city, which can be dicey at times, but this was quick and I took off on a run along Brookline. A cold, rainy afternoon but I had a reprieve with just a few drops falling on me as I ran along the Riverwalk in a park. It was a short park, a little less than a mile, so I looped down Brookline to Fenway Park. I could see the light tower and navigated by feel.

I've been there a few times, but it was neat to go back during the day, running and enjoying the scenery. Best part? The Red Sox aren't playing this October.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Book #70 - 11/22/63

51x8MaMASrL._AA115_I grabbed this since I hadn’t read a Stephen King in awhile and it looked interesting. Historical fiction from King? I had to try 11/22/63 and I loved it. This might be his best book ever.

As you might expect it starts in Maine, but not quite as you might think Jake is a teacher who’s just finished the year and has papers to grade. However he’s asked to meet the owner of a local diner, a place that he loves but most people suspect serves questionable meat since it’s so cheap. What he learns is astounding.

The owner leads him into a storeroom as has him shuffle towards a corner, warning him that he’ll be stepping down. He does and finds himself stepping outside in 1958, in the same town. With a set of instructions on a few things to do, he returns to the past to spend an afternoon wandering around a bustling Maine town. When he returns, it’s 2 minutes later in 2011.

It’s an amazing premise. The diner owner is dying, and wants Jake to go back to the past and save Kennedy. He says it’s imperative. Think of all the things that follow Kennedy: his brother, Vietnam, and more. Jake isn’t sure, but he learns that the past can be affected. He decides to try it by going back and living for months, in an effort to prevent the present day’s school janitor from being injured by his father and the rest of the family killed. It works, and he decides to go back and save Kennedy, killing Oswald and most of the book is his life in Texas between 1958 and 1963.

An amazing story. One that made me think and appreciate the past, and one I had to put down some times just to speculate and absorb the story. It was one of my favorite reads of the last few years and I highly recommend it.

Three in a row

Kendall had volleyball this morning, and her team played fantastic. It was a rematch with one of the weaker teams, and we completely dominated, winning all three games going away.

For the most part we had great serving from everyone on our team, including some great ones from Kendall. The other team just couldn’t return them, and the few they did, we played them well. So proud of the girls and their efforts here.

Two games left, then the tournament. Gonna be a fun finish.

36 hours

That’s how long I’m home for. I landed at 10pm last night and I leave at 10:am tomorrow.

Another quick trip home, but fortunately only a 26 hour trip to Boston and then I’m done for a couple weeks. Looking forward to the break, especially as I can’t sleep in any day this week.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


Delays on my flight from San Francisco and then busy travel into the city had me arriving late. Add to that rain when I got off the train and it hasn't been a great day.

Not the run I wanted, but I did one. And I feel better.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

San Francisco

Nice to be back. It's been a long time, but I like this city.

Flew in today, got to the hotel and then went running. As I was logging things, it seems like a long time since I last run. It was yesterday, but early morning in Austin, TX. Since then I flew home, spent the night in Denver, worked in the yard a bit, and then flew here.


Monday, October 1, 2012

The Red River

Back in Austin for the 4th time in my life and 3 in three years. The last time I was here, this field

Looked a little different. It was last September for the Austin City Lights music festival where Tia and I saw Stevie Wonder. Today it was a park in Austin and I went for a run along the river.

When I crossed over on a bridge, I had a surprise, kayak polo. I ran along the side watching them play and then took a picture on the way back.

It was a busy day on the trail, lots of people out and Austin seems like it has that Colorado feel, lots of people exercising and working hard. A nice afternoon run for me.

I celebrated with a couple margaritas as Guero's Taco Bar, where Tia and I enjoyed a meal last year. Apparently it's a well known spot, as a friend told me when we met for a late lunch.

A good day in Austin. Still feeling sick, but a good night's sleep helped.