Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Book #80–Walking Dead

51JMr7YcDzL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-72,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Back in Eastern Europe, Atticus has built a new life. He and Alena are happy.  However when his neighbor is killed, along with the family, and the daughter is kidnapped, Atticus cannot let it go. He must pursue the child slavery ring to it’s end. The kidnappers are the Walking Dead, but don’t know it.

An emotional ride, full of sick characters, many of whom I’m sure live in the real world. Ugh, but exciting.

Book #79–Patriot Acts

414TC07E39L._SL500_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-big,TopRight,35,-73_OU01_SS100_After Critical Space, I kept going in the series with Patriot Acts. In this one Atticus and Alena live in Eastern Europe, but the traitor from Critical Space is found. They come back to the US, avoiding the feds, while pursuing revenge.

However they get more than they bargained for and learn the US government is involved. Atticus hatches a plot to find out who is their enemy, and eventually finds out, moving forward with a plan to terminate him.

The final scenes are a little anti-climactic, maybe because there’s a lack of action with the way it plays out, but along the way it’s a wild ride.

Book #78–Deadly Stillwater

51ZwUDZeX2L._SX105_Deadly Stillwater was listed as a book similar to those Vince Flynn writes, so I grabbed it. In this one, we have Mac McRyan, detective in St Paul. There’s an abduction, and one that seems like it might be politically related. He’s a smart detective, and he directs his partners along the case. When a second young lady is also kidnapped, he knows it’s a political case, aimed at striking back at a lawyer and the police chief.

The writing isn’t great, but it’s a good story. I kept looking for clues, but there really aren’t enough. You just have to enjoy the ride as we see both the viewpoints of the detectives and the criminals.

A fun page turner.

Book #77–The Human Division

51ZPCFYDKfL._SX105_The fourth book in the Old Man’s War series, The Human Division primarily follows a few other characters and is the tension between the Colonial Union and Earth as Earth has withdrawn from providing troops for the army.

It’s a slow book, and I think the weaving between the various parties in the book is too complex, too implied and not stated, and is hard to follow. I didn’t love it, but it was interesting.

Fit Bit Week 1

I got my weekly update from FitBit, though it’s really only 6 days.

  • 46,333 steps
  • 21.85mi
  • 15,9422 cals
  • -905 calories in v out
  • 2lbs down
  • Avg sleep 9/5hrs (lazy holidays)

Not a bad week. I certainly am paying more attention to my water with the fitbit, especially as I can log and track it on the phone. I’ve also been watching calories more.

It’s not about obsession for me, at least I don’t think so. However it is about awareness, and the device keeps my health in the forefront of my mind. We’ll see what happens over time.

Fitness in 2013

I got a summary from MapMyRun, even though it’s not the end of the year. I still had yoga to log today Winking smile

In any case, here’s what I found:

  • 316 workouts
  • 38,857 miles
  • 320 hours
  • 161kcal burned

Not sure how accurate this is, but the workouts sounds right. I definitely missed a lot of days in 2013, mostly because of time and not being overly concerned about the “every day” thing.

However, that’s not bad, and at least I’m better than every other day.

In 2013, I’d like to get the workout number to be 345+, ideally taking no more than 1 day off a month. Now that I’ve expanded to a bunch of exercise items, I should be able to do it. The plan in 2013 is:

  • swim - 1x/week at a minimum
  • row – 1x/week at a minimum, but likely 2
  • walk - 3-4 times a week. the dogs need this as much as me.
  • yoga – 1x/week – I love it, and my schedule should allow this.
  • Weights – 1x/week

I still have baseball, snowboarding, (hopefully) running, perhaps Pilates, and hopefully volleyball as well to fit into my year.

I certainly am looking to lose some weight and pay more attention in 2013. My weight ballooned up from about 220 at the start to 230 at the end. I’ve been making a conscious effort the last few weeks to pay attention and do something about that.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Raspberry Pi /BrickPi Setup

I backed the BrickPI project on Kickstarter as I thought it was a great way to expand the robotics experimentation and capabilities that kids and others might use to grow technology in the world. The Raspberry Pi was a great little computer, and I set one up as an AirPlay device for awhile in the kitchen. I need a better case/mount for it, so that one is currently on my desk until I build/figure something out. I got the Brick PI just before Christmas, also placed on my desk.

Until today.

I decided to get this going as I didn’t have anything pressing this morning. I first grabbed the BrickPI, but the instructions in the package pointed me to the web, so I started there. The Assemble The Case instructions had me get the Raspberry PI mounted first.


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With that done, I added the posts

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And then the BrickPI to the top.


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The ports on the BrickPI (top board) are designed to accept the Lego Mindstorm connectors. In this case, because the project was so popular, they added 8 connectors on the top, which is far beyond the 4 that the Mindstorm comes with. This is also a (slightly) less heavy device.

Photo Dec 30, 10 59 26 AM

Finally, the top piece which semi-protects the devices and gets them in a place where they can be easily mounted to the Lego sets.

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Whoops, almost forgot the power cord. This would have been easier to mount before putting the top on, but I managed to get it installed.

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The next step is the get an SD card with the binary images that will boot the Raspberry PI and allow you to control it. I downloaded the image and the a utility to install it on the card, and now need a card. I managed to find one that

I followed the instructions here, and downloaded the formatter for my card. It’s a little scary to format your drives, but I felt fairly confident I had the right one. I have been doing this awhile and I double checked my drive letter before I clicked anything.

The card got formatted and it’s in the Pi. Now I just need to figure out power.


Last night Kendall and I went to play volleyball at the rec center. Tia’s legs were hurt, so it was just two of us. I told Kendall I wanted to play a bit and not just drill. I like the drills, but I wanted to hit the ball some. We warmed up, the two of us practicing some stuff and then when a game started to form, we got going. It was 5 on 4 to start, and a mix of kids and adults that went well. We passed, set, hit the ball and Kendall looked good.

After about 15-20 minutes, a couple families walked over with a few girls Kendall’s age. They were watching, and no one made any offers to let them play. We typically don’t track points, which I think is a problem because it doesn’t let anyone rotate in. After a few minutes of them watching, I asked one of them if she wanted to take my spot and let her slide in there. I watched a bit, hoping someone else would take a hint and rotate some people in. They didn’t and after about 10 minutes, I went to get some water.

On the other court, adults were playing and they were ending a game, There wasn’t a group of 6 waiting, so I slid in there for a game of my own. I set the first game, with another girl switching off on the 6-2, but apparently I didn’t well and they replaced me after we won and stayed on. However I did have a block and a hit.

I played with the same group (mostly) for 6 games, going 5-1, taking breaks after two games on. It was a good rotation and lots of fun. I had some good hits and bumps, but missed a few as well. However it was hard on my knee and it was aching by the end. I definitely shouldn’t have jumped as much as I did.

In any case, it was fun, and about the time I was done, Kendall finished her games and we left, stopping to grab some dinner on the way home. A fun night.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Chores and Wind

It was a slow day. A shopping trip to start off the day as Tia wanted to cook a prime rib tonight. She had me buy 12lbs of rib, at $97, which seemed like a lot to me. However she really wanted to, so I grabbed it along with a few other things.

When I got home, I decided to get a few things done. It was a nice day, not quite t-shirt weather, but close. I started by getting the feeder finished by making more wire ropes. It went pretty well, and I was getting warm in the sunshine. As I needed other parts, I also managed to drill out a couple more holes for my snowboard rack and mount a couple of the pen blanks I want to turn. All in all, a productive afternoon.

Until I got ready to put the other ropes on a feeder. I’d thought there was one in the field that didn’t have bars, but when I walked out there, I didn’t see one. I got some walking in, but the wind kicked up, clouds rolled over, and it looked cold. The dogs needed to go out, so I gave up on projects and took them on a 2.5mi walk. Cold, and windy, but we made it.

When I got back, I showered, was pleased to see I’d crossed 10k steps, and then took Kendall to the mall. Her Surface was acting up, and the Microsoft store couldn’t do anything, so they ended up replacing her hardware with a new one. It appears to work, so she’s happy.

All in all, a good day.

Friday, December 27, 2013


Tia got me a WaterFi iPod Shuffle and waterproof headphones. I had a friend that used a bone conduction set, but apparently those aren’t sold anymore. However this had good reviews, and this was my second choice. It’s good since I’m an iGuy and didn’t have to play the AC4->MP3 conversion game.

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I unpacked and charged it today, and then got iTunes installed with Chocolatey. If you haven’t tried Chocolatey, it’s cool and highly recommended. In any case, once that was done, it picked up a bunch of music from my machine, I copied a touch more from the Home Server and then synced up the Jay-Z, Kanye, and Eminem songs. I thought those would be a good set of tunes to workout to.

I haven’t had great luck with earphones over the years, and wasn’t sure this would work. However I picked the largest buds and stuck them in. I worked out first with weights, and it seemed to work well. The cord is short, so I clipped the iPod on my shirt in the back and let it play. No issues and the earphones stayed in.

Next was the pool. I was nervous, but with a two year warranty, either they’d waterproofed it right or they hadn’t. It turned out they had and I was able to get going in the pool easily. I put on goggles and started. Things worked well, and I could hear music, though definitely I needed to up the volume. The pool can be loud, and with lots of kids and splashing, it was hard to hear.

On my first lap, the earphones came out. Grrr.

I wasn’t sure this would work, and I’d forgotten a swim cap (which I’ll bring next time). This time I decided that the normal way of putting in the earphones (cord down), wasn’t working. I flipped them up and inside my goggle strap so they wouldn’t drag on my arm if they came out. I then had the cords up, and pushed them back into my ears, pulling the top of the ear to get them situated.

From there, I upped the volume slightly and set off on sets of 200. I got to 1200yds without an issue, and even managed to forward one track that I didn’t love in the middle of a set when I changed direction.

I still think I’ll try the cap since I was conscious of the phones and worried about them most of the time (especially on turns), but overall, I enjoyed swimming with some music in my ears.

FitBit - Day 2

I know it won't last, at least not at this level of detail, but I did glance at my fitbit stats multiple times yesterday, and it definitely encouraged me to watch my calories and water.

I set a food plan, aiming to lose 10 lbs in a medium level of intensity, and that gave me a set number of calories. As I glance at them, this lets me know how many I have left if I'm logging food. That wasn't too hard, though I'm not sure how accurate I was. Lots of food to search for in there, but not everything.

I also found it easy to add my water periodically throughout the day. I didn't add in wine, but I should have. We'll see how that goes over time.

I did find my band was coming apart slighty. I logged a case and got a response in an hour asking for my receipt and they're replace it. That's great customer service and we'll see how Tia's does and my replacement does.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

What I learned from the Fitbit Flex

I’m lazy.

I kicked it into sleep mode last night from my phone and turned it off this morning. Total time: 9h 47m.

I think that’s accurate as I was tired after an early morning and a long day on the mountain and with family. However the fact that I was sleeping for nearly 10 hours wasn’t what I wanted to see.


Less restless than I thought, and I was only up one to use the bathroom (5:30am), which is good. Overall, I felt rested, I slept well, and this confirmed it.

Interesting data, and I’m looking forward to seeing it the rest of the year. I tried logging food, and I’ll track some calories. I also logged 8350 steps (almost 4mi) and 2k calories. I had 88oz of water.

A good day overall.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

An Afternoon Walk

An easy walk this afternoon. Tia and I convinced the kids to go with us, or rather, pushed them a lot to come, and we went out for a chilly afternoon walk. It was good to start, but as the wind picked up, it was tough and they bailed early.

Still, it was a fun walk. We sang some songs, mostly Christmas carols, and laughed when we couldn't remember words and made them up or just inserted a few sounds.

Sunday, December 22, 2013


A light volleyball workout tonight. We went to the gym, and both courts were packed with 6 on 6 games. So Tia, Kendall, and I bumped the ball around a bit, working on some passing and setting. Kendall did a little hitting as well, with me setting things for her.

Finally the courts cleared up and we did some serving, and then a little 1 on 1 inside the 10 foot line, laughing a bit at each other. Plenty of fun, and a light sweat.

The left shoulder felt funny, and stiff, almost like it wasn't rotating right. I hit a few, and then stopped. The left elbow tendonitis is also flaring up a bit, so I need to put the sleeve back on it when I'm using it.

Overall, I realized I miss volleyball, I can play a bit, but I need to stay controlled.

Book #76 - Critical Space

A re-read for me, and I'm not sure why. I was looking for books, and hoping for the earlier books in the series on Kindle, but they haven't been released as e-books. So I started reading Critical Space again.

I remembered only part of the story, and this was exciting to re-read. The bodyguard protecting a member of the royal family, targeted by an international assassin, but not to kill royalty. To kidnap Attticus to serve as her bodyguard as she's targeted by another assassin.

A wild ride and an exciting read.

Book #75 - Foreign Deceit

I grabbed this book before Thanksgiving, with good reviews. However Foreign Deceit was disappointing as I read it. The characters were shallow, and felt contrived a bit.

A cop in Colorado investigates an apparent accident; a kid falling off a cliff. However at the top of the mountain, another officer, jealous and competing for the Sheriff's job, tries to kill him. They get in a fight and he goes home. There he finds his brother committed suicide in Italy and plans to go.

Once he's there, it's a simple, somewhat contrived, moving-too-fast story that has his brother part of a murder/drug/larceny ring. It didn't seem real, and wasn't that great writing. Surprised there were good reviews and multiple books from this author. It makes me think I could do this.

Not recommended.

Dialated, but OK

Yesterday was my eye exam. It's been just over a year, and I wanted to get it done in 2013 to take advantage of benefits. It turns out I needn't have bothered as I apparently only get glasses or contacts benefits every other year. Not sure why that's the case, but it was annoying.

The doctor, a new one with the insurance change, ended up dialating my eyes and taking pictures to look for health. He saw a few anomalies at the back of my eye, but he thought they might just be reflections with my dark pigment. Nothing alarming, but something to watch for next year.

However after the dialation, I could see enough to drive (read signs/see lights), but I couldn't see my phone. It was weird. I couldn't focus close or see the phone, but I could see at distance fine. I drove to Home Depot, and struggled to read some of the displays, trying to get a few things for chores today.

Later I went with Tia to do training, and struggled to see at night, with the lights at night from cars bothering my eyes and the signs and lights full of starbursts. I couldn't see the display well in the Prius, either, so I couldn't have been able to drive. However, but the time we played dominos, I was fine.

Feel Ok today, but the eyes were tired last night, so I decided to stick with glasses today.

The Monopoly Revenge

We played Monopoly in the mountains over Thanksgiving and the girls killed the boys. They drove us into bankruptcy, but last night was revenge.

A quiet night and we played dominos. It started out rough with Kendall winning a few early, but she managed to get stuck a few times after that and went ahead. Delaney and Tia were both close, until Tia got stuck with the double-zeros for a 50pt penalty, and that was it.

We managed to get through all 13 rounds, with Delaney winning easily and me in a somewhat distant second. However I went out early 5 times, as did Delaney, which was unusual. I tend to be the big loser, getting stuck with lots of points, even when I don't have many tiles.

Lots of laughs and fun.

Friday, December 20, 2013


I finally made it to the doctor. After almost a year of thinking about it, I made it in to see a PA and have some xrays taken. From that perspective, everything looks good. Stability looks good, and if I say so myself, my legs and muscles look good.

However it hurts.

Some of his probing definitely hurt and the leg was aching a bit after. He isn't sure what's wrong, but he suspects jumper's knee. Most likely therapy of some sort (PRP, Prolo, PT) will be the treatment, but an MRI to come.


My first pilates workout. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I went with Tia today and had a workout with her. She said it was slower and easier than normal, which made sense. It wasn't too tough, except in a few spots, but I was moving slow and working at an easy pace. I had a light sweat, not too much, and wasn't too tired afterwards, but I was more stretched out.

Not sure if I want to do it again, but I think I'll try it a bit.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Pet Walking

It wasn't what I expected when I agreed to walk with Tia and take pets, but it went OK.

I walked two of the dogs while she walked Chance, one of her horses. We made it up to the bus stop and then hung around for the kids, walking back with them.

Making a Trade

I had today off, but needed to get Delaney to/from school for exams. So after dropping him off, I went to the local Starbucks with my laptop and went to work. After picking him up, I worked more. The idea is to trade today for tomorrow and go snowboarding tomorrow. Since I haven't been in over a week (gasp), it's time to get back to it.

A good day, but not quite enough done. I'll need to work tonight a bit and tomorrow night, but I'll get a nice day in on the slopes.

Monday, December 16, 2013


A new wood project, among a few others, is to finally get a place to store skis/snowboards and some sports stuff. I came up with the plan last year, but didn't execute on it well for awhile. I've slowly been working on cutting the wood, but since it's a bunch of setup, I've been slow to get through it.

I'd worked on it a few weeks ago, but when I made a mistake on cutting, I stopped as I wasn't paying attention. The wood has been sitting there mocking me, and the dado blades were on the saw, which prevented me from making another change last week.With Delaney doing homework yesterday, Tia working, and Kendall sick, I went ahead and got more cuts done.

I did manage to get the dados on the sides to hold a shelf. I wanted some support beyond screws, and the cuts were tricky to figure out since I'm cutting specific sides in specific places. I managed to get them done, with only one mistake that doesn't much matter.

With the sides finally cut (the top and bottom were done), I decided to start assembling it. With some glue, I got the middle and side attached. It was easy and made me feel like the project was going forward.

Today I'll attach the other side, which will give me an "H" for the middle. Once that's done, I'll then get the bottom and top attached and cut the shelves, which will be easy. Once that's in place, I can work on wheels for the bottom, and some supports for the snowboards.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Christmas Party

Last night was the annual JD Edwards Christmas party, which has dwindled a bit from previous years. It was quiet, only 2 kids, and quite a few other kids that are now adults. Kendall was sick and didn't want to go, and asked Tia to stay back. Delaney declined and Kyle was too tired after work, so it was just me.

A nice time, chatting with friends and relaxing. Plus I found a new bourbon: Breckenridge Bourbon. Mmmm

Saturday, December 14, 2013


With Delaney feeding, Kendall sleeping, and Tia teaching, I went out and spent some time on the lathe. I managed to turn the bowl down, and get the other side mounted. I learned a few things about positioning it, but I ended up getting it close enough that I wanted to finish it.

I sanded, and then applied some wax to finish it off.

Not perfect, some tool marks in there, and I did end up cracking it by mounting it too tightly. Still, for a first effort, I'm pretty happy.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Cold and a loss

It wasn’t just me moving slow last night. Apparently the entire Broncos team was struggling. A neighbor invited me to the game last night, and I met her at 4:30 to bus up. An accident and rush hour combined to take us 90 minutes to get to the stadium, which foreshadowed things. We were moving slow the entire way there, and after the first series, the Broncos were moving slow as well.

We were in the South stands, my first time there, and the hardcore fans were out. This is the pre-game view, just below the video screen

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The Broncos were backed up quite a few times, but really not that many as the offense rarely touched the ball. When they did, way too many short drives.

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The defense, on the other hand, had long drives, allowing San Diego to march down quite a few times. Even when they didn’t score, they ate up lots of clock. I do have to admit that Rivers made a few amazing throws to receivers that I’d like to see from the broadcast to save drives.

There were also a couple 12 men penalties on Denver, which is amazing, a couple neutral zone infractions, and a couple PI calls. Not horrible calls, but they made the game drag in the cold and the Broncos ended up losing.

All in all I had fun, and it’s neat to see a game live, but I have to say that if I had my choice, I prefer the broadcast. I’d like to control more cameras and see the wider action, but the game moves so fast in person it’s hard to follow. It’s cold and cramped, and I can’t get a drink without missing something. I can’t hit the restroom easily, and it’s a lot of time in traveling to and from. Overall, I like getting to a few games, but I prefer most at home.

Still, a good night, and a nice time with our neighbor who I enjoyed some chats with.

We Treat Women Badly

I’m sitting at volleyball practice the other day listening to this douchebag. Not on purpose, mind you. I was trying to get some work done on my laptop since it had been a busy day, but I couldn’t help overhear two parents beside me, and it was very distracting.

“I hate volleyball shorts”

That seems like funny quote for the parent of a volleyball player. This individual proceeded to explain that they’re too tight and how he was embarrassed by a friend’s daughter that answered the door with “cheeks hanging out”. Now he’s not a prude, but he felt like a dirty old man, and worried about his daughter looking like that.

This dickwad then proceeded to explain how women that dress provocatively, showing skin, or shape evidently, aren’t behaving. I heard some kind of quote involving women that “dress like whores” are somehow “asking for it” and get what they deserve.

It became rather hard to write after that, listening to this moron explain how woman are a problem in the world, seemingly in part at least, based on how they dress. This is a college educated, white, middle class engineer. He’s from the South, which somehow didn’t surprised me terribly, but I think these attitudes and thoughts are out there.

Why didn’t I say anything? I have to admit I bit my tongue a few times, ready to argue or comment, but I decided I should not influence the conversation and just listen. Listen and learn how this person sees the world. Learn what rational and arguments this person might respond to based on their own view of the world.

And, I have to say, I was amused. I was saddened and annoyed as well, but I was amused somewhat by the caricature of an open minded person that wasn’t that open minded.

I was reminded of this by a TED talk that popped up on my feed today. It somewhat shows the disparity of how we treat women and men better than I am putting it down, but it’s not different.

We somehow as a culture, in the US at least, think that women control sex, men can’t necessarily control themselves, and sex is somehow dirty. How absolutely fucked up is it that the way a “woman dresses” says anything about her desire for sex? Or her attitude? I certainly understand that some clothing is appropriate or inappropriate in situations and environments, but I’m not sure that it says anything about your desire for, or not for, sex.

How is it that men are somehow not in control of themselves? That’s just fucked up, and if you think you’re not in control of yourself, you’re fucked up. There will be people that can’t control themselves, and you should be careful. However, we have a word for them: criminals.

I now know that I can’t sit in a seat or chat with a couple of parents on my daughter’s volleyball team because they’re complete asswipes. In addition to the wonderful words for women, I was treated to a litany of descriptions about why the poor, the uneducated, and of course, liberals, are some sort of cancers in society that should be removed.

Fucking complete fucktard. So much for my night.

The TED Talk. Worth the watch.

Thursday, December 12, 2013


I started this a few years ago, but set it aside without much getting done. I think at the time I didn’t have things sharp enough. With a day off this week, I got back to it and it’s looking good.


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December Grilling

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013


We were late this morning, and it didn’t help that it was cold. After a pleasant, semi-warm 30-s afternoon yesterday, it was 14F when I got in the truck. It didn’t want to go, and neither did I.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Back Home

A long journey yesterday. I was up early, hitting the gym for a little workout before getting Kendall up and packed. We were slightly worried about travel with the snow in DC, but we shouldn't have been. An easy trip down, just over an hour and we were in the terminal 90 minutes early.

From there things fell apart a bit. Kendall had gotten a bunch of clothes, so we needed to check a bag. We did, and like an idiot, I walked away without checking mine, meaning we still had 4 bags to carry. I went back and checked mine, which slowed us a touch, but not a lot.

Then we got a message that our flight was delayed 35 minute on the departure and 20 on the arrival because of "Air traffic control". Not sure what that means, but we grabbed lunch, hung at the gate, and boarded easily. Once again I was in the middle with Kendall in the window. We'll have to stop that from now on as on both of these trips I had a large man next to me, which crunched my shoulders, forcing me to turn a bit and making my back and shoulders ache. In this case, it was a big fat guy whose arms, shoulders, legs, etc spilled into my seat. On top of that, it seems like Economy Plus wasn't as big as normal on this plane.

In any case, we were slow to board and leave, then had to de-ice, which was really slow. On top of the 35 minute late board, it was an easy 30-45 minutes to de-ice and get into the air. The flight was easy, but long, with us landing at 3:40pm, over an hour later than expected. Various announcements about delays and connections were basically "we have no idea".  How can they not get information transmitted in flight these days? Crazy.

The landing was slow, and annoying, and had me worried about getting to volleyball. As it was, we got out and to the baggage claim and waited 10-15 minutes. Our bags were the first 3-4 out, but it was stressful. We arrived at volleyball 2 minutes late, plus Kendall had to change.

All in all, it was a long day. About 15 minutes of training and 2 hours of volleyball for Kendall. She was slow and rusty, but did OK. I was tired, and worn out by the time we got home after 8.

A good trip, but a long day. Now I have today to recover.

Friday, December 6, 2013


Back in DC, or more specifically, Bethesda. An easy flight over, though not comfortable with what felt like cramped Economy Plus (how did they make it less wide) and guy next to me with wide shoulders. Fortunately Kendall had the window, so I could lean from the middle over to her side slightly.

It was nice to be able to listen to music un-interrupted throughout the flight, and read on the iPad from board to de-plane. I could get used to that, and I think the flight attendants already have. They didn't even do much of a landing check, leaving my seat reclined slightly and not noticing. I suspect that airplane flights will be inconsistent and somewhat slack from here on out as headphones remain in people's ears.

We arrived late, and were slow to get out of Dulles and slow to get a car. We hit the hotel around 10:30, and most kitchens were closed. Fortunately we found a bar a couple blocks down that we walked to and had a late night burger. I really didn't think about the dinner portion of our trip, but Kendall didn't complain.

It was hard to get up this morning, and I struggled to get up at 7 to work out, but I felt better afterwards. Need to remember that tomorrow. I let Kendall sleep in until 8:30 when we met my Mom for breakfast.

Now Kendall has a grandma day, shopping and stuff while I work a bit and speak. Looking like a good trip so far.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Packing Up

My little girl is just like her parents. We leave for DC today, and she brought clothes to me last night and I told her she needed to wash them. She threw them in and then got them in the dryer before bed. At 6:30 this am, she was up, and finishing packing. Since I’m picking her up from school and heading to the airport, she needed to get it done.

As we left for school, she had two carry ons at the bottom of the stairs, clothes, health stuff, laptop, all packed and ready. She also had her volleyball stuff ready since when we land back here Monday, it’s straight to volleyball.

Now I just need to get myself ready.


Photo Dec 05, 8 27 37 AM

The truck was not happy about being woken up this morning and tried to keep going back to sleep.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Book #74 - Sycamore Row

I think A Time to Kill was one of my favorite books and when I saw this was a sequel, I grabbed it. In Sycamore Row, we come back to Ford County 3 years later when a recluse hangs himself and leaves a strange will behind. It's handwritten, cuts out his children and assigns the lawyer from the previous book, Jake Brigance, to execute his will. In it, he leave his entire fortune, $20+mm to his maid.

The book is a wild ride. We have no idea why he's leaving the money to her, and there's speculation and manuvering by the various lawyers here to try and break the will. As with other books, much of this one is the trial, with the characters from the first book making appearances. We even have a cameo from Willy, the editor from The Last Juror popping in.

It was a little slow to get going, but once it did, I had a hard time putting it down. At one point, I almost had tears in my eyes as the story is told. It's one I really enjoyed. 

In Progress

While looking around, I ran across this image on Google Maps.


It’s the intersection of the East and South pastures, and you can see my shade shelter in the East pasture, and the shelter in progress in the South. This must have been two summers ago. Memories….

Here’s my helper working on that structure


Photo Sep 23, 4 19 54 PM

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Routine

Just as I'm getting into it, it will get messed up next week, but I'm on a roll. 23 days consecutively of exercise and looking to have that roll into 30, 40, 50 and more.

Getting back on the rowing machine was nice, and after the schedule change with volleyball, I think this will work out well. Right now, I'm thinking I want to:

Monday - Row
Tuesday - Yoga
Wednesday - Swim
Thursday - Walk/Lift
Friday - Walk/Row
Saturday - Bike
Sunday - Lift/Walk

I'll probably slide snowboarding in on some Wed/thur/Fridays at times, and I'm definitely looking to do 2 a days when I can. I've gained some weight in the last six months, and I want to shed it.

Adding in a little better dieting will help as well.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Book #73 - The Last Colony

It's the third book in the Old Man's War series, this one following The Ghost Bridages and features John Perry and Jane Sagan together. In The Last Colony, they've been retired and married on a farming planet, but get asked to go and settle a new colony on a new planet, Raleigh. The name foretells the story as the colony is essentially lost for a year.

The Colonial Union is battling the Conclave and hides the colony, even from the colonists, who don't know where they are. They spend almost a year there before they find out they're a decoy designed to embarrass the Conclave of alien races. When the aliens come to attack, two groups separately, Perry must come up with something.

An enjoyable book, but you need to read the other two first.

New Router

We grabbed a Linksys EA6400. So far, it’s a vast improvement and working great.

Nice to have the Internet working easily for all devices.

Back to School

For one kid. Kendall made it, but Delaney was sick. He's still sleeping.

On pace for a great run

I was wondering how the Broncos would respond after a disappointing loss in NE. It was a poor ending to a game, with a couple mental mistakes that gave the game away to NE. Neither team beat the other, which was an improvement over the way it’s gone the last few years. I’m hopeful for the playoffs.

However with KC losing 2 in a row, wanting revenge on Denver, and playing at home, I was thinking they might come out strong. They did, but the Broncos responded, played better defense over the game (not something I’ve been used to in Denver) and almost ran away with the game. A little disconcerting was the lack of offense near the end of the fourth, but not too much.

Lots of injuries, but hopefully they’ll play out 4 relatively easy games strong. I’m still hopeful to see Manning end up with 52-56 TDs for the year and 5200-5600 yards.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Book #72 - The Ghost Brigades

The second installment of Old Man's War, The Ghost Brigades starts out with the investigation of a suicide and defection of a  top scientist. They have his consciousness, however, and decide to embed it in another soldier, a Special Forces soldier. This book is the other half of the Perry/Sagan team, as we see how the SF soldiers are born and trained, and then we have Sagan baby-sitting the created soldier, Dirac, as he goes on missions and slowly remembers a bit about the scientist he was created from.

This was the first book I bought on the Kindle years ago and enjoyed it. I think reading it after Old Man's War was even better then reading it the first time.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Rowing Again

Back on the rowing machine. I was looking to work and sweat a bit on Thanksgiving and decided to break out the rowing machine. I'd seen a few people over the last months at the gym and I felt an itch.

I did better than expected. I didn't think I'd get a 2:00/500m pace, but I wasn't sure I'd be below 2:20. I actually kept it around 2:14 with a 5 min warmup and then 2 10 minute sets, which felt good.

I also rowed outside, which was nice. I enjoyed it so much that today, after various errands and chores, I broke it out again in the basement, doing the same thing, but keeping just below a 2:10 pace. The leg seems to be holding up OK and I'm working hard for sure. Tired, but I think I could get to 2:05. Trying to get there slowly, and steadily.

It's starting to look like this winter's workouts will be walks, yoga, rowing, and swimming along with snowboarding.

Yesterday was a good day, with Delaney and I going up to Keystone to board for the day. Just the two of us, and we enjoyed it.

Book #71 - Old Man's War

A re-read for me, but one I've been wanting to get to. I ran out of books on vacation, and instead of searching, I pulled this one up and started it.

As enjoyable as the first time, with a few things I'd forgotten. One of the better science fiction books I've read. Old Man's War is the story of John Perry, 75, who joins the Colonial Union, the space army and gets transformed into a fighting machine. How it happens is amazing.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Kendall Snowboarding

Book #70 - Deadman's Poker

A re-read for me. After reading a few other James Swain books, I re-downloaded Deadman's Poker on vacation and ripper through it. I think this is one of the funniest of the series, with lots of scams and bets taking place. It ends in a cliffhanger, making you get the next book, but it was fun.

A half a week

We headed up to Keystone on Saturday night. Kyle had to work and the kids wanted a real Thanksgiving meal, so our plan was always to come back Wednesday. We stuck with it, though we ended up leaving relatively early on Wednesday to get back and let Tia get some riding in.

Saturday night was arrival, a quick dinner in the condo and watching a movie. A relaxing night after a leisurely pack up during the day. Sunday we got up and moving a little let with Kendall and I going skiing while Tia took Delaney to replace some gear. He's grown so much that his boots and coat were too small. I'd already replaced Kendall's coat and boots earlier this season and gotten her a snowboard.

We took it slow. Our first few runs were on the bunny slope at the top of Keystone. Kendall did pretty well and then wanted to head down the mountain.

She did OK, but we had to go slow, with lots of rests. That was tough on my feet, as the stopping and starting is hard and waiting on my knees is tough. I was sore by the time we completed a 30 min+ run down the mountain.

We met Delaney down there, got some lunch, and then did another run down. Kendall was done at that point, so Delaney and I did a few more before calling it a day. Afterwards, lots of chilling in the condo at night.

Monday we were slow to start moving, which was annoying, but we got going. This time Delaney and I worked with Kendall a bit, going down one of the short greens and having her actually get some skill at snowboarding. She was much better on Monday than Sunday, and was looking good.

We had a few good runs, a nice lunch, and then made it to the bottom, with Kendall doing great.

She had a bad fall near the bottom and decided she'd had enough. I gave her money and she went to a coffee shop in the village for a warm cup latte while Delaney and I did a few more runs. He's gotten much stronger. I followed him down the green and was surprised that he went top to bottom, nearly 3mi, without stopping. A world of difference from the previous years.
We did a few more runs, including a run down the blue, and he was fine. No nervousness. Cautious on some of the steeper slopes and I had to slow for him, but on the easier ones, he was fairly fast. We ended up at 3:30, and went to join Kendall for a drink. A latte for Delaney (my kids like coffee) and an Irish coffee for me to relax with before Tia picked us up. She'd made a roast, and we enjoyed that before a bit of Spades and then Monopoly. The girls dominated that game, driving Delaney and I into debt and out of the game.
Tuesday Kendall felt sick, so it was just Delaney and I. We had a good 3 hours on the slopes, plus lunch before coming back and getting some time in the hot tub for me, and lots of silly air hockey. We laughed and enjoyed the night.
Wednesday I was thinking of skiing, but since we left early, I skipped it. I have lots of chances to go back, and I'll go next week as well. We had an easy drive home, listening to an audiobook on the way. I got back in time to hit yoga at night, which was the hardest class I've taken. With weights, and quick movements, including jumping jacks and pushups, I was beat by the end.
Now it's Thanksgiving. We had fun with relatives in town last night, playing dominos late into the night and then getting up slow. It's been a good break so far.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Things You Might Not Know About Me

It’s a meme on Facebook. Someone writes a few things that you might now know about them and then anyone that “likes” the post gets tagged with a number. My lovely wife tagged me with 32 (or 13), and I decided to go with it.

However, I’m wordy. I would probably say prolific, some might say verbiage vomitus. Either work, so here’s what I put on Facebook. Longer version below:

What you might not know about me. 32 things, thanks to Tia Jones.

TL;DR Since I’m a bit verbose in my literary activities, here’s the short version:

  1. My first job was as a paper boy. I mourn that my kids won’t experience that.
  2. I’m cheap. I went in the grocery store, saw fresh blueberries on sale for $4/lb and decided to get frozen. When I got to the frozen aisle, they were $4.10/lb. and didn’t buy them.
  3. I’m lazy. see #2. I was going to go back and get fresh blueberries, but decided not to walk across Safeway.
  4. I have kitchen OCD. If the sink is full of dishes, I can’t cook until I clear things out.
  5. I’ve been to é by Jose Andreas twice, and I’m not sure I could tell you anything I ate by name, but both might be the most memorable dinners I’ve ever had.
  6. I get really, really, really frustrated at things. I once threw a mug and broke a door. And the mug.
  7. I’d rather have cheese than chocolate. Actually pizza is probably my favorite food.
  8. I once wore a tie to school, college actually, while living in London. Almost every day for months.
  9. I need a routine. I tend to do the same things over and over, in the same order. Breaking that routine in too many ways causes me issues (see #6)
  10. I am a bit erratic. I don’t have a problem with dropping $200-300 on dinner (see #5), but I used to plan my gas station fill-ups to save $0.03/gal. I still do some of that.
  11. I love the idea of travel, but hate traveling. I look forward to trips, but by the time I’m driving to DIA (if not sooner), I dread the trip. I’ve gotten better, but it wears on me. Thankfully #6 hasn’t come into play.
  12. I got a C one semester in middle school. I flipped out and never got less than a B the rest of my high school, or first college career.
  13. The idea of riding horses is neat, but having been on a few, I don’t like the actual practice of riding. (similar to #11)
  14. I had big dreams as a high school/college age kid. I thought I’d find a way to be a millionaire by 30.
  15. I’m the gray man. I don’t let too many things get to me and usually don’t love or hate anything. Food, politics, music, whatever. Most things wash over me. However, #10, therefore #6
  16. I hated writing in high school. I never got better than a B and couldn’t have imagined that it would be my job someday.
  17. I grew up lower middle class. I always assumed that I’d be a worker bee for my life, buy a 3 bedroom house, single car garage in a blue collar neighborhood like Aragona Village (for the VB peeps) and dream of bigger things.
  18. I’m an introvert and fairly shy. I’ve given, volunteered for, a speech in front of 500+ people. See #10.
  19. Since I was 15 or 16, I’ve spoken to my father once. He’s still alive, but we had a falling out and I don’t really regret it.
  20. My kids have changed me in ways I can’t begin to count. I assumed I’d have kids someday, but I never had any idea how it would go. Having had no role model (#19), I hope that I’ve done OK.
  21. When my fingers get too dirty, they stop working. I walk around with them like this: Photo Nov 22, 5 34 16 PM My middle son has the same affliction.
  22. I can sing. However, as my brother noted, I just can’t hit the right notes at the right time.
  23. I never knew what marriage would be like growing up with a single parent. Having been married to Tia for 15 years, I couldn’t imagine not being married, nor could I imagine how it could be better.
  24. I can’t really hear out of my left ear. If I’m ignoring you, that might be the reason. It might not be, but it might be.
  25. The symbol for “making it” in my mind (see #17) was when we bought a side by side fridge, with water in the door. In 2002.
  26. I tried to join the Navy, submarine service. I went to the induction center, and did the physical, and didn’t get in. See #24. Not sure how life would have gone if I had.
  27. I love sports. I play baseball in the summer, in the 40+ league, and wish I could play football. I look forward to playing basketball again in the 50+ league. Where there isn’t much contact. Or running.
  28. I grew up on the water and always thought a dream would be to live on the water. I still think about it, but living in the mountains, I think I’ve made a better trade and am not sure I’d leave.
  29. I’m an Apple fanboi, ever since the Apple II. I just abandoned my (POS) Galaxy S4 to go back to my iPhone.
  30. I see racism in places and believe it exists. When I was growing up in (Southern) Virginia, in 1979, the fine specimens of crimson collared humanity kicked my ass for looking like an Iranian. I try desperately to be fair and judge on actions, not prejudice.
  31. Despite the incredible frailty of humans, the unbounded ability to be rude, disgusting, mean to others, take advantage of others, I am always amazed by the limitless ability and strength of other humans to overcome all of that and think of others before we think of ourselves.
  32. I don’t want to be famous, or even popular. When I teach, either speaking or writing, it’s a success for me if one person takes something away.

Bonus: 33. I'm not afraid of death. I think about my mortality all the time, especially as I get older and things hurt. I'd like to see my kids grow up, but I've had an amazing life and I can't complain about anything. If I go tomorrow, I'm at peace with it.

Longer versions of a few items

#2 – I am cheap. I make buying decisions with pennies of difference in the grocery store. I struggle to buy non-generics. I wait to buy things like shoes on sale. I let my clothes go with holes in them because, well a) I like them, and b) they work, so why spend money? It’s crazy sometimes and I catch myself. I didn’t buy the blueberries partially because I’m lazy, partially because I was mad at myself for worrying about a dollar or two.

#3 – I do struggle to get going sometimes. I’ll bail on chores in the fall and watch football some Sundays. My running streak was partially because I was sitting around too much and being lazy. I leave projects unfinished all the time.

#4 – I’m getting better, and I try not to get upset at the family, but dirty dishes bug me to know end. It’s slightly under control. Sometimes. Some days.

#7 – I struggle with my weight and health, at least I think I do, because of this. Too much carb stuff. Life is short, live long and prosper, ugh. This is one of those tough things for me.

#8 – I can’t explain this. It wasn’t even for a girl, though I was hoping to impress someone, American, English, anyone. For some reason I wanted to grow up and I bought 3-4 ties in London and wore them to class, around town, basically if I wasn’t running, I was in one. Now I hate ties, and avoid them like the plague.

#13 – I think of The Rifleman and Rin Tin Tin from my youth. I can’t figure out how they jumped on horses, bareback and raced across the fields. Were they eunuchs? WTF?

#15 – whatever

#16 – I can’t believe I actually choose to write. I just can’t. I hated this with a passion in high school. Somewhere, somehow, some teacher reached me.

#17 – I really never expected to have a house like I do. Still pinch myself sometimes and smile when I go through the gate.

#18 – Still some attacks of shyness when getting ready to speak. Weird.

#21 – My wife saw me do this a few weeks ago. Can’t explain it. Maybe that’s my superpower? Hypersensitivity in my fingers?

#22 – I like Rock Band. The family likes it when I drum or play guitar.

#23 – The single best thing in my life. By far. No comparison, nothing else close.

#24 – I’m probably not ignoring you, but I might be. No matter which, I’m often glad I can’t hear the jibber jabber coming out of peoples’ mouths in public.

#27 – 4 years to basketball. Wed and Fri at lunch. I wave to the guys when I go swimming on those days.

There’s more, and I could probably get 50 things easily if I wanted. Enough for today.

Morning Adventure

A long commute this morning. First, I got up late, kids were slow, and roads were icy. Then another knucklehead driving 32mph down the road made for 50. I get it's a little slick, but this genius was also driving on the snow, and not in the relatively clear tire tracks people had left for him/her.

We get to school and things slow down as there's an accident and a car in a ditch with another on a tow truck. I don't want people speeding, but leave more space and watch out.

On the way back, another slow driver, and another car off the road. A frustrating drive at 30mph again, when 40 was likely fine as this side of the road was even more clear of snow/ice. However, I also had an adventure.

As I got near the the stop sign to turn west, a few cars were stopping. I could see deer crossing the road, so I slowed and stopped as well. A few cleared the barbed wire fence to the East, but one got stuck. The little one was kicking, but its rear legs were trapped. I stopped, put on blinkers, and got out. 3 or 4 other ladies were out of their cars wondering what to do. The deer had stopped at this point, with its rear legs having gotten two strands of wire twisted and trapped. I grabbed my ice scraper, about all I had, and started down the hill. As I got close, the deer started kicking and panicking. I felt bad, but I couldn't stop. Used my ice scraper to pry the wire a bit, not too close to kicking hoofs, and he/she got free and ran off. There were definitely scrapes and cuts from the wire, and hope it wasn't too bad.

Lessons learned:
1. Life in the country is an adventure.
2. Merrill mocs do not work well in 4" of snow. I need to wear boots more.
3. Get some wire clippers in each car. Barbed wire is nasty stuff and it could easily be a horse, dog, cow, etc. trapped out here..

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Busy morning

Jamming at work after getting the kids to school. Getting things done before I fly away, on my second to the last trip.

Upgraded, so should be a good trip to Portland. Planning on working on the plane, with a few things to get done.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Back to Apple

I gave it a good go, but I'm counting down the days until I can go back to an iPhone 4s as my cell phone.

I got the Galaxy G4 last May, pre-ordering it and spending the summer working with Android and enjoying some things, disliking others. However more and more a bunch of little things were getting on my nerves. I've been debating going to a Windows phone since Kendall loves hers, but the more I think about it, and the more I use my 4S for little work stuff around the house, the more I miss iOS.

I traded in my iPad 1 at Target for $200, which was an amazing price. I was thinking I might get a Nexus or Samsung tablet, but as I thought about it, I decided I'd spent $200 and get an iPad Mini, one of the new Retina ones. They are supposed to be in stock next week, just as my 6 months with the Galaxy ends.

Looks like I'll be back to a couple Apple devices before Thanksgiving.


Day 2 tonight, another practice for Kendall. We went Monday and again today. It's a rough schedule these days, as we leave about 50 minutes after Kendall gets home if I pick her up. If I don't, we leave about 30 minutes after they get home. It's 2 hours of practice, and then we're home about 8:15.

It was exciting. Kendall is a little tentative, but she's learning and getting better and the team is amazing. I watched them do a passing/setting/hitting drill. Two girls received a lob, passed to the setter and then someone hit. Kendall took turns with the hitters, but I was amazed to see that of the 40 or 50 balls lobbed over, I bet the setter got 35-40 of them by taking zero or one step. Amazing.

Checking in for one, booking another

I got a note today to check in for my flight tomorrow to Portland. I did, and then checked on booking flights to DC next month for another event. My last two trips of the year. Glad to be almost done and nothing likely in the air until Feb.

Kendall is coming with me to DC. She really wants to see her cousins and she's doing so well in school we thought it was OK if she missed a couple days.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


We’re in the money now


I guess it’s better than the letter we got last year saying we owed more.

Hot Power Fusion

I’ve had two days off of nothing. Sunday was some chores, so I wasn’t sitting around too much. Yesterday I was busy at work and didn’t do much, especially with Kendall having volleyball. I had planned to walk afterwards, but then she and I ate at night and I was tired when I got home.

This morning, after dropping kids off, I ran some errands, dilly-dallying, came back and was struggling to get going. With the house quiet, I checked the schedule and there was a 10am Hot Power Fusion yoga class. With Scouts tonight and volleyball tomorrow, I decided to just go to it.

It was a hot, hard class, but a good workout. I feel much better now.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Book #69–Full Share

51GKViDUn1L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-64,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_A re-read for me, but when I saw Captain’s Share was available, I wanted to go back and re-read Full Share. A quick one over the weekend that led me back through Ismael Wang’s first ship as a third mate out of the academy.

A good read, fun and quick, and frustrating with the idea that harassment still exists in the future.

Outdoor Projects

I thought that I might make yesterday a quiet day, watching some football and relaxing. It’s been an on-the-go weekend, and I was tired.

Friday night was Thor, with Kendall. Tia was sick, so I ended up going out with my daughter, the self-proclaimed “Marvel fan girl” to watch the opening night movie. We both enjoyed it, and it was good. Kendall loved it, somewhat squealing silently in places. Loki stole the scene a few times, and it was good to see this Avengers franchise evolve.

Saturday was a mixed day. Delaney volunteered for the American Legion Food Drive, spending some time out trying to get people to donate food. That was good to see, and I ended up puttering around the house a bit. Nothing major getting done, but not too busy. Afterwards, Kendall and I headed to the snowboard expo. She needs equipment for the season, and we were hoping for sales. Not a lot of equipment, though we did find good boots at a good price. No snowboards or bindings, so I’m still hunting for those.

After driving so much, I was thinking to relax Sunday. However with no good games on early (I watched a touch of Bengals/Ravens, which wasn’t good), I decided to get some work done. I had to help Tia get hay loaded in the am, so I was up. I cleared out the north side of the barn, and dug two holes for a bit of fence. We wanted some wind block to try and help use that stall in blizzards. I planned on a short, 8ft fence near the barn and a 16ft one further out. I just managed to get the first one almost done (need to trim the last bit for the last picket) and drill a hole for the other fence before it got dark. I felt like I accomplished something, but not a lot. I did have lunch with Tia, which was a nice break.

A late night grocery shopping trip, watching some of the Dallas game (they played horrible) completed the night. Tired today, but busy at work, so no time to rest.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Where have I been?

I found this neat tool that would allow you to build a map of the places in the US you've visited or been. Here's mine:

Quite a few, but some missing, which means I have places to go.

Book #68–Loaded Dice

41kCwoE8mTL._SL160_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-dp,TopRight,12,-18_SH30_OU01_AA160_I somehow missed this Tony Valentine book a few years ago, and when I was looking to re-read the series, I found it. I grabbed Loaded Dice and enjoyed it. This fills in a holes that I hadn’t realized I missed, like Gerry’d kid being born.

In this one, Gerry has gone to a card counting school in Las Vegas to learn how to catch cheaters. However as usual, he takes advantage of the knowledge, working with two other students, Middle Easterners, to count cards and win money. He doesn’t realize one of them is a killer.

Meanwhile Tony goes out and is helping three rival casinos deal with a new cheating computer. However he doesn’t realize that their plan is to actually destroy the Acropolis. The book jumps back and forth between Gerry, Tony, Nick’s issues with his casino, and Mabel and Yolanda back in Florida.

It’s a bit of a departure for the series, going into more thriller mode than funny mystery, but it was an enjoyable read overall.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


A really quiet day today. I dropped the little kids off at school and shortly thereafter, Kyle and Tia left. It’s been me working, all along, all day.

Very, very quiet.

Back to work

It feels strange. After traveling for a few weeks, then a day of work last Thursday, and then 3 off, it’s strange. The last two days have been quiet, not doing too much other than puttering around the house, relaxing, taking care of a few things. I expected to ski a day, but with a meeting Monday with our bankers and then not wanting to stress out by fitting things in yesterday, I skipped it.

I’m ready to go back to work. Was itching to do a few things yesterday, but I managed to relax and not bother.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Feeder Business

The slow feeders I built are working great. So great that a number of Tia's friends want some. I don't really want to build more, as I have other stuff to do, but I thought Delaney might like to make some money, so I asked him if he wanted to build and sell them. I figured he could make $100 or so on each. He did, and we started building some yesterday. I had one more to make for Tia and materials for 2, so Delaney joined me.

I showed him how we assemble things, sanding the wood and screwing things together. He told me that after a few times drilling things together that it was hard on his back. I agreed.

We worked through 1 and 1/2 yesterday, finishing today. We just need some welded rods to hold the grids and a few more grids and he'll have his first sale.

He seemed to enjoy it and it was nice to have him out there with me.


I had Friday off from work, and had planned to start building a new shelter for Tia, but she decided not to do one now. We have a couple more horses, but decided we might try to use the large arena in bad weather.

Instead I had planned to swim, and ended up forgetting my trunks. Not a good start to the day, but I did have a good weightlifting session. Tia met me afterwards to do a little car shopping. We decided to sell Kyle our Prius and surprise, surprise, Tia wanted another Prius. So we headed to the Toyota dealership after I worked out.

We looked at new and used ones, and ended up finding a nice 2010 Prius. It was a good price compared to what we'd seen online, and after also driving an X5 that was there, we decided to just get it. So much for a short trip. A few hours later, which is always the way things go, we had a new to us Prius.

It's a white 2010, looking like, but different from, the black one.

We weren't done there. After we got the car, we drove over to the furniture store and looked at mattresses. Our bed is a decade+ old and it was time. We tried a few, picked one out, and came home.

It was delivered today, and getting on it felt great. It's bigger, software, and more supportive. Looking forward to sleeping on it.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Book #67–Funny Money

41A9RZ7BETL._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_It’s the third Valentine book, and another re-read for me. This time we’re back in Vegas. Tony returns after his former partner is killed, blown up by a bomb. Tony was on the phone and determined to get revenge.

It’s a cold Valentine in Funny Money. While he’s looking for the killer, he takes a job with a casino, knowing that the murder had something to do with the place. Inside, he finds things are strange and there’s definitely some sort of scam, but not what he expected.

He tracks a black jack cheat, gets kidnapped and a gun pointed in his face. However they don’t kill him. He soon realizes that people inside the casino are running some separate scam. That’s not enough as he must also deal with his son’s gambling that loses the bar in New York. If that doesn’t get you interested, he also meets Kat and must manage that at the same time.

It’s a good mystery, with lots of plots and twists running through it.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Book #66–Gift Sense

41YFMA7BSWL._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_Another re-read for me, in Vegas. Grift Sense is the first Valentine novel, with him acting as a consultant for casinos in Vegas. His neighbor doesn’t work for him, but she’s interested in the business and helps watch the house. When his son says he’s coming to visit, Tony takes a job in Vegas.

This is a good start to the series. The Acropolis casino is Vegas is a throwback, and is being cheated by someone. No one knows who, but they suspect he’s a longtime crossroader that’s changed his face. Valentine figures out who it is quickly, but can’t determine what the scam is.

The book twists and turns, following Valentine, but also one of the dealers that is involved in the scam. As the police get involved, it’s a mystery that’s hard to figure out.

I will say that this is a medium detached, angry Valentine. Not as cold as the next book, not as loose as the third, but a good balance. The Bill Higgins doesn’t seem as close or savvy as later books, but otherwise, I enjoyed it.

Everyone Sick

Both little kids were feeling sick when I went to get them up today. My day off, and I’m up at 6, making biscuits for them and no one comes down to eat.

At least I had a little time to read, do some laundry, relax.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

One day in the office

I got back from SQL Intersection on Wednesday afternoon. I did work a bit, but not too much after traveling and speaking this week. Today I’m in the office, but only today.

Tomorrow I’m outside.

I have more vacation scheduled tomorrow, along with Monday and Tuesday. Given the nature of my job, that means I need to ensure things are prepped and scheduled for the next few days until I return next Wednesday.

It’s been a busy day. Some of my prep was done last week, but with three days in Las Vegas this week at SQL Intersection, I wasn’t completely prepared. I’ve been editing content, scheduling things, recording podcasts and more.

I’m almost done, which means I should get a good vacation. I should have the chance to start work on another project tomorrow: building a horse shelter.

Book #65– Sucker Bet

51wVtNkXeiL._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_Back in Vegas for work, I had the urge to read some of the Tony Valentine series. It’s a re-read, but I enjoyed it again. I realized I didn’t have a mini-review, so here one is.

This is the third Valentine book. I grabbed it first because the others I own were on another device. Sucker Bet has Tony playing the part of a professional wrestling manager along with his new girlfriend, Kat, starring in the show. He doesn’t like it, and it doesn’t quite fit him. When they have a fight, he walks out and heads back to Florida and his life catching casino swindlers.

An Indian casino in Florida is being swindled. A black jack dealer lets someone win 84 hands in a row and they can’t figure out how he did it. He goes missing, and when they hire Tony, he’s worried. He doesn’t like the job and when he finds alligators in his car, he thinks the Indians are looking to kill him.

The book turns out to be a scam by a mobster living in Florida. Lots of twists and turns, with people trying to figure out what the scam actually is. We see a softer Valentine, especially compared with the book before this one.