Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Book #29–Calli’s Last Dance

417OQJFGK9L._SX105_I have to admit that as I went through this one, I was thinking Callie would die or retire. I won’t tell you if one of those happens, or if it’s something else, but this one had me hooked up until the last page. Even then I was struck with a huge cliffhanger in the last few paragraphs. I can’t wait for #11 now.

In Callie’s Last Dance, the book opens with a man thinking his wife is having an affair. He rents the hotel room below her, shoots the largest pistol every built into the ceiling, intending to kill her. He ends up dying when some of the cement from the ceiling falls on him, and we’re left wondering what this has to do with anything.

The book then jumps back in time. We have Donovan still getting his new surgery center going, with Dr. P beholden to him, and the agency without a leader. He’s offered the job, but isn’t sure. Meanwhile Callie and Donovan are supposed to kill one of Sal’s lieutenant's wives. However they decide to kill them both, thinking that the lieutenant may be a problem later. As expected, they don’t know everything and Locke gives us a twist where Creed has to find a way out of the twisted situation.

Callie and Donavan also evolve their relationship, before Callie is shot. What happens? Read the book, but be prepared for a huge cliffhanger at the end.

Meaning of the Folds of the American Flag

The first fold of our flag is a symbol of life. 
The second fold is a symbol of our belief in eternal life. 
The third fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veterans departing our ranks who gave a portion of their lives for the defense of our country to attain peace throughout the world. 
The fourth fold represents our weaker nature, for as American citizens trusting in God, it is to Him we turn in times of peace as well as in time of war for His divine guidance. 
The fifth fold is a tribute to our country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur, "Our Country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right; but it is still our country, right or wrong." 
The sixth fold is for where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that we pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States Of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all. 
The seventh fold is a tribute to our Armed Forces, for it is through the Armed Forces that we protect our country and our flag against all her enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of our republic. 
The eighth fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day, and to honor mother, for whom it flies on Mother's Day. 
The ninth fold is a tribute to womanhood; for it has been through their faith, their love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great has been molded. 
The tenth fold is a tribute to the father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of our country since they were first born. 
The eleventh fold, in the eyes of a Hebrew citizen represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon, and glorifies in their eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 
The twelfth fold, in the eyes of a Christian citizen, represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in their eyes, God the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit. 
When the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost reminding us of our nation's motto, "In God We Trust". After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it takes on the appearance of a cocked hat, ever reminding us of the soldiers who served under General George Washington, and the sailors and marines who served under Captain John Paul Jones, who were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the Armed Forces of the United States, preserving for us the rights, privileges, and freedoms we enjoy today. There are some traditions and ways of doing things which have deep meaning. You will see many flags folded in the coming weeks, and now you will know why.

Memorial Day

We’ve gone the last 4 years or so to the Memorial Day ceremony at the local Catholic Church. This year there were 3 events for the Boy Scouts, and Delaney agreed to speak at one of them for his Communications merit badge. He also realizes he needs to get better at public speaking. I asked him about it and he said that he’s nervous, and doesn’t like that, so he’s working on it.

The Veteran’s Memorial was dedicated at the Elizabeth cemetery this year and I was stunned to see all the people. Typically the church cemetery gets about 20-30 people. This one had 200 or more. Delaney and the Scouts walked up, and raised flags. Delaney did the POW/MIA one, with other boys handling the US and state flags.


There were a few short speeches, and then a flag folding demonstration.

After that, Delaney got to give his speech on the flag retirement. He did a good job, and I was proud. A few of our Scoutmasters were impressed with his performance.

Afterwards, we were asked to go to the church ceremony as well, so we hit Starbucks, relaxed for a short time, and then headed out for our second ceremony. Once again, with the American Legion and Scouts present, we remembered our Veterans and fallen comrades.


A great start to our day.



Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Book #28–Maybe

41lQAigYAYL._SX105_I have to admit that when I started “Maybe” I wasn’t sure what was going on. This one has us go inside Maybe Taylor’s mind, a girl who has some medical issues, and is an assassin for someone. I thought we would find Creed to be the controller, but this took a serious turn that surprised me.

I don’t want to say what’s happening, but if you haven’t read the other books, you might be a little lost. We follow Maybe around in one story. We find Donovan in another, setting up his life in Vegas.

They slowly come together, and when they do, it’s surprising. We find Sam Case in the middle of things, but bumbling along a bit, not quite as smart as he thinks he is. When we learn Maybe’s identity, it’s a surprise. At least it was for me.

Setting Basketballs

I practiced a little volleyball with Kendall in the park the other day, and then left her there while I did some grocery shopping. I came back to find this


Very cool to see her working at her sport, by herself.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Book #27–The Love You Crave

41D8CCLn6pL._SX105_This book continues on with where the last story left off. The Love You Crave has Donovan Creed still in Vegas, having bought the surgery center and planning to reopen it. This is really a second part of Vegas Moon, with Gwen set as the new board member, which none of the others approve of, including one who is mob connected. However Donovan intimidates them.

Meanwhile Gwen has left Donovan and moved on to live with Callie, who is single again. Their relationship somewhat comes between Creed and Callie, especially when Gwen wants Donovan killed.

We still have the doomsday chip, and Creed’s boss, along with twists and turns. Worth the read, especially with the opening when a women’s head explodes and Creed has a new assignment.

Sunday Morning

Quiet for me. Up relatively early with the dogs a little antsy. I made coffee, had a cup with a little West Wing before heading out to feed horses. A fairly smooth operation, though Chance was once again in the middle. I spent almost as much time getting him out as feeding the horses.

One thing I did notice is that our Ranger was the best investment we’ve made. Being able to sit down, have a windshield, and drive inside is incredibly nice. Each time I use it, I’m grateful we could get one and we made the decision to do so. It was especially nice last night as I was tired and sore from a hike with Delaney. Here is our setup last night, with my new S4, dual picture mode.


With kids asleep, I spent a bit of quiet time, filling out volleyball camp forms for Kendall, and gluing up some pen blanks. We’d bought some a few months ago, and I spent a little time teaching Kendall to turn a piece of wood round. However I’d let it go.

Today I decided to move forward, and with a break from coffee and watching West Wing, I drilled out some blanks, mixed up epoxy, and glued them together.


I have two acrylic/wood mixes for pens, two cinnamon wood blanks for key chains, and a normal wood blank for a bullet pen for Delaney.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Book #25–A Girl Like You

411w-l3WauL._SX105_Book 6 of the Creed series, A Girl Like You opens with Sam Case back in the story, after being bitten by a snake. It’s an elaborate scheme by Creed, one which is revealed later. We also meet Miranda, the hooker working her way through school to be a psychiatrist and playing and sleeping with Creed.

This one was funny, with me chucking out loud at times. The absurdity of the situations, of the twists of the plot that wind back to each other. It’s quite amusing. This one felt like a silly Spenser novel at times.

You probably need to read some of the others first to understand what’s happening in this one, which feels like the middle of a serial story.

Friday, May 24, 2013

How to Get Smarter

A great read.

The Raspberry Pi Airplay Receiver

About two weeks ago, I saw a Kickstarter project that would allow a Raspberry Pi computer to control a Lego Mindstorm robot. I’ve been playing with them a little with the native Mindstorm controller, but it’s bulk and eats batteries. I backed the project, and hoping that will come through this summer.

However it got me slightly excited, and I decided to buy one of the computers. I looked around for a project since I didn’t want to get one and have it sit around, and I found lots, but not a ton that I thought were useful. Except this one: building an Airplay receiver. I ordered two Raspberry Pi’s (and a case) from Allied Electronics and they shipped in a week, arriving late last week.

Here’s a Raspberry Pi:


That’s my hand in the picture, so it’s a fairly small device. Easily fits in my palm, but it has HDMI out, audio headphone out, RCA video out, USB plugs (2) and micro USB for power. An SD slot is on the bottom for storage. It doesn’t look like much, but it’s fairly powerful, as I found.

Once it arrived, I realized I hadn’t planned things out and had to order a couple 8GB SD cards and wifi adapters. I got the parts fairly quickly, and yesterday I decided to give this a try while talking on the phone for work.

I downloaded the raspbmc image, and burned it to an SD card. That was simple, and I configured the wifi generically in the setup. Once that was done, I inserted the SD card into the device, added the wifi adapter and then headed upstairs. I used my cell phone charger to power this up, plugged in a keyboard in the other USB port and hooked this to my TV with HDMI.


It booted itself up!


I have to say this was actually the easiest setup of a computer ever in my life. Outside of the Apple II, which had everything burned in ROM, this just worked. It actually connected out to the Internet, after a Linux style boot, and started downloading updates and packages.


I let it run, talking on the phone, checking on work downstairs. After about 20 minutes, it was up and running. The interface was fairly intuitive for a GUI without a mouse, and I was able to get an add on for NPR running, and also the Airplay system worked. My old iPhone, connected to the same wifi network, saw it as a destination for playing music and I was able to send things through. A slight delay, so it must buffer things, but it worked great.

The kids liked it, and we were able to also download some photo apps as well. The raspbmc image allows for audio and video, and images, including a screen show type display. That is interesting. I was thinking to just use this in the kitchen for Airplay audio from the iPad, but I’m now thinking I should consider setting up some small video display as well. We’ll see what I can come up with that might look good in the kitchen.

I set this up, and it worked great. No chance to cook last night, but I’ll give it a whirl today.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

My Morning

  • Struggle to wake up
  • Get kids up. For once they get up easily. The last day of school will do that
  • Cook breakfast
  • Send them to the car and then race back upstairs to grab contacts
  • Drive them to school and go get coffee
  • In the parking lot I put on contacts while sipping coffee. I'm glad I have tethering with my phone I was able to work on a few things in the parking lot.
  • I only get 25 minutes before I go back to  Kendall's school for the award ceremony. Proud of Kendall for her honor roll award, social studies and science awards

It was neat to see her recognized. There was a slideshow with all the kids listed in it as well. I grabbed the quick shot of Kendall in video as well.

Then it was over to the high school, a little more work, pick up Delaney, come home, feed horses, and finally to my desk.

Saturday, May 18, 2013


I completed my merit badge signup this past week. For some reason my paperwork didn't go through, so I had to do it again, filling out more merit badges (10) that I'd teach or sign off on. One was robotics.

I've been wanting to get some work done on a few of these and get prepped to teach. Today was the college, but Delaney had an orchestra trip instead and so we missed it. I'd like to be prepared for the fall, however, when we have another one. Today was quiet, and after feeding the horses, I decided to get to work.

I grabbed Delaney's Mindstorm set and started programming and building. It was interesting, so interesting that Kendall joined me, and then took over.

We built the shooter robot and it kind of worked. It would shoot one ball, but somewhere in our programming the loop was failing. We'll look at it again tomorrow.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Who Wants an I’m Watch?

or really, who wants a smart-watch to work with their smartphone?

I’ve been intrigued by this. I was fascinated by the Pebble, but too late to back them and get one. Now I’m waiting to see if they catch up with demand (and take orders) and how it evolves.

I stumbled on the I’m Watch today, and it looks interesting. It’s a neat design, and a good idea, although I think the design is ruined with the prominent “i’m watch” on the band. I’d think Italians would have better design sense and not include that techy element.

It’s got a lot of what I like, though I’m not sure how durable it will be and 5 hours normal use is too low. The Pebble has the better idea with an eink screen.

We’ll see how these evolve, but I can certainly see these devices becoming more commonplace, and perhaps more useful than Google Glass.

Volleyball–Early Summer

Another league starting for Kendall. She’s at Elevation Volleyball and last night was the first practice. Her coach seems out of her league, and I’m wishing I’d signed up, just noting I’d be gone for a week in the middle. Fortunately a younger girl (20-ish) was helping and she was good at demonstrating and they had a new manager walking around helping.

I know Kendall was frustrated with some of the stuff they did, which was slightly different than what we’d worked on. A few things I liked, some I didn’t. However I did find one thing really handy. The guy was helping Kendall with her serve, trying to get her to not start with her feet facing forward, and instead have them sideways. She didn’t’ love it, but the coach went and grabbed a tablet (iPad, Nexus, etc.) and video’d her serving and then showed her and discussed what was happening. She got it and changed a few things, improving her serves.

A couple things. First, it’s good that she had a different experience and with a coaching staff that pushes more than I do. I have something to learn, and I think she is as well.

Second, the use of the tablet was unique. I’ve seen people use phones, or video cameras, but the immediate and quick feedback, in a large screen, was very helpful. Might be a use for tablet video here I wasn’t thinking of or aware of. I could see this in terms of immediate speaking feedback or something else as well. Perhaps I’ll look at a tablet again in this light.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

12 Years Old

A few pictures from Kendall’s family celebration last night. No cake, but a choice of 6 cupcakes instead.

Photo May 15, 7 03 33 PM

Only one candle. We’re getting too old (all of us) for lots of them.

Photo May 15, 7 04 02 PM

Photo May 15, 7 04 36 PM

A gift from big brother. Chocolate from Seattle.

Photo May 15, 7 20 09 PM

And of course, presents

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Photo May 15, 6 53 51 PM

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Book #26–Vegas Moon

41CXnpsRJRL._SX105_We’re in Vegas, where Callie has moved. However Vegas Moon opens with Gwen Peterson, the stripper that married the greatest gambler in Vegas. At the same time, the gambler is in Florida and learns a killer is after him. He calls someone to find a another killer to kill the first one and ends up talking to Donovan Creed.

It's a typical Locke book, with silly twists and turns. In this one, Creed is actually playing two parts. One is the killer after the gambler, the other is himself, pretending to protect the guy, while really searching for the remote that programs the chip in his head.

It's a wild ride that was quite funny, but if you haven't read the others, you might be a little lost and you'll miss out on some of the humor. Read the others first.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

How Fast is a Tesla?

How fast does a Tesla Model S accelerate?

You know when you go over the hill on a roller coaster and gravity grabs the car, pulling you down? It's that fast.

I rode in a friend's car today and when he punched it, it was CBR 600 fast. Gut wrenching fast. It's rather amazing.

Not sure it's worth the $$ to me, but if you're considering a luxury Lexus, Mercedes, etc, look at a Tesla.

Photo May 14, 11 13 50 AM

No engine, but lots of space in front.

Photo May 14, 11 10 42 AM


Photo May 14, 11 10 17 AM

An Expensive Switch

When I got back from my last trip, the sink was full of dishes, and as I started clearing things out, water wasn’t draining. I flicked the switch for the disposal, and nothing happened.


I made do for a few hours, and then went the check the breakers. We have a dedicated circuit for the disposal and it was fine. I checked the two GFCI outlets in the kitchen, thinking one might be on the same circuit and closed. One was fine, the other outlet looked shot. It wouldn’t test or reset. Thinking that might be the issue, I went and bought a new outlet. Cost: $15.

That day I replaced it, using my handy, dandy, circuit tester. I am nervous about electricity and this ensures I don’t do anything stupid. Whether that means starting, or ending work.

Photo May 14, 4 47 09 PM

I got the outlet replaced, and as you can see, I did it correctly. I know have a GFCI that resets properly on the island. However that wasn’t an issue.

Perhaps it’s the disposal, I thought. It’s a standard plug, and I grabbed a strip from the workshop and plugged it in. Sure enough the disposal worked. At least I can do dishes.



I put my tester in there. No lights. Hmmm. At this point, I felt slightly stumped. Not sure what was wrong and not a lot of time to debug. I’d spent a few hours getting this far, and needed to do something.

Well, I didn’t need to. I actually went a week with my power strip running the disposal, hooking it up as needed before I called an electrician. He came over and in about 10 minutes he reported that my wall switch was bad.


I should have checked it, but it never occurred to me it would go bad. He replaced it, a $10 part, + the trip charge for $72.

I feel like an idiot, but I’m slightly buried at work and my focus isn’t there. Plus he’s a Scout parent, and I now know who I can call for electrical work.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Book #24–The Wish List

41sMdZD97RL._SX105_Would you want your wishes granted? A man is encouraged by his friends to submit a list to a The Wish List web site. His wishes start coming true, one of which is to sleep with a famous actress. The fifth Donovan Creed book starts with him having slept with the actress and then goes back to tell us what happened.

Once again we start with a new character, but Creed comes into the book later. The whole book struck me as one of Victor’s “social experiments” from the beginning. In return for getting your wishes (4), you must participate in 4 wishes. Our main character’s wishes include killing someone, along with a few other things he can’t imagine doing.

He eventually calls Creed, and halfway through the book we start to understand what’s going on. It’s a great story, different from most of the others, perhaps closest to Saving Rachel. A great addition to the series.

A Good Mother's Day

For the ranch, that is. I cut grass, moved hay, scooped dog manure, watered trees, all with kids helping. Kendall watched Tia ride a horse, for safety, and we still had time for a celebration dinner at On the Border before a little 4 person volleyball in the sand (until Kendall complained about her feet) and then the grass.

A fun, productive day with lots of laughs.


Kendall’s looking good. Her serve has really become strong this winter. She’s starting to look like she’s ready for high school. I captured one of them Saturday at the tournament.


Kendall serviing


The girls didn’t play well, though I thought Kendall did the best. Not just because she’s my girl, but because she hustles and it’s important to her.

Tia told her if she wanted to go to the Olympics she should do certain things.

Kendall said “it’s not if, Mom, it’s when.”

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Another Season over

Today was the tournament for our girl's volleyball team. We had high hopes for them, and they looked good to start. Kendall had 4 great serves to open and they build a 13-3 lead. However the other team came right back, with our team making a bunch of small mistakes, and I think, once again letting pressure get to them.

Kendall played well, and they lost the first game, won the second, and then lost the third, not really doing a good job of returning balls. We had a few serves out, but really the first hit, and then some excited girls knocking balls out of bounds lost enough  points to swing things.

Some girls were upset, but Kendall was only disappointed they didn't get to play more. Good to see she thinks playing is more important than winning. Afterwards we went to a park and played some sand volleyball for an hour before our pizza party to end the season.

Delaney wasn't with us as this was his 4th 10mile hike. Tia dropped him off early with another parent, and then we picked him up afterwards. Proud of him, working through the 10milers and not complaining or avoiding them. He's just doing what needs to be done.

Friday, May 10, 2013


I think both Tia and I need a bit of a break. Both feeling a little beat up. We had two ice packs in the bed last night after we got home at midnight.

Our tournament game was good, but tough. We only had 4, and I was wondering how it would work. The other team had 2 good hitters, and a definite advantage covering the court. We went up early, with them making lots of mistakes, but they came back, and we had a couple tough stretches. They ended up pulling out a close one 22-20 that I think we could have won. Just a few mistakes.

The second game we played better, working our way around, and going to a single setter for some stretches. I had a few good hits and a block. Aaron had a bunch of good hits, and Tia got a few in there and we won. That felt good, mostly because we were working as a team and playing well.

The third game we fell apart. Not sure what happened, but we couldn’t return their serves. We dropped 7 or 8 points right away. I missed a few passes, a few balls hit long or into the net and we were down. It got to 13-2, and we had a bit of a comeback. They made some mistakes, and we had a few plays, getting us up to 10, but then lost a point and we were done.

A good match, but I’m ready for a little bit of a break. Afterwards we had two hours at the church, with some good work in there, including a hard hit for me that scored, and a couple blocks.

However I felt beat up afterwards. I used my left arm one once in the early match, and the knees were tired later. More ice and Aleve needed tonight.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Our Failing Education System

I watch a fair number of TED talks. Most are better than average, quite a few interesting, but relatively few touch me or really inspire me.

This one did.



If you want to keep education the same, you’re a problem. Whether you’re in a union or not.

We do need to try new things. Some will fail. We need to stop being afraid of failure. As educators, and as parents.

We should allow creationism to be taught. I think it’s wrong, and silly, but what do I know? What kid won’t get a job because they learn creationism in high school? None.

Don’t agree with it? Teach your kid something different at home.

I think we ought to try things. Year round schools with bigger breaks. Remove some standardized tests. Teach, and test, in new ways. We don’t need to classify all kids according to a single score. We don’t need to be so concerned about rankings, at least, we ought to be less concerned than we are that kids can understand and communicate ideas.

However the best part of the talk comes not in talking about education, but health.


You don’t want to provide adults with health care, or welfare, or retirement help, I don’t like it, but I understand.

You don’t want to help kids? Fuck you.

Book #23–Now and Then

41O0fpxPAHL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_Another Donovan Creed novel. Now and Then is again a split book, with the first half (Now) being the present day. The second half (Then) takes us back 300 years.

Creed is vacationing in St. Albans in Florida, with Rachel from the previous book. He’s at an old bed and breakfast that is struggling, but he decides to become the cook and handyman, pushing Rachel to be the waitress. He’s dealing with broken people, in a number of ways, and while dodging a killer he doesn’t realize is after him, A very Dorsey like situation, he stumbles on a mystery in the town and investigates.

The second half of the book is somewhat the basis for his investigation, the events of 300 years ago and the same town with the pirate, Gentleman Jack Hawley, having a run-in in the town.

You can almost see the characters from the past and present are similar, but there aren’t exact matches. It’s a fun, almost silly, set of stories. They don’t quite conclude, but leave the final results to your imagination. In some ways, I love this technique. It’s fun, thought don’t expect things to tie up nicely with a bow at the end.

Three Seater

Delaney didn't have practice yesterday, so I went to pick him up. Unfortunately that meant I wasn't there to get Kendall. She walked to the gate, which is where she was when I drove up in the Porsche. I was going to make Delaney walk home while she rode, but she decided to make her own third seat.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Pictures from the UK and SQL Bits

Random ones I wanted to save.

My hat, or one I was given at the Red Gate office.

Photo Apr 30, 7 51 43 AM

The opening keynote

Photo May 03, 2 18 29 AM

My name and session. Always like seeing these.

Photo May 03, 2 43 49 AM

I got another hat at the event.

Photo May 03, 2 55 26 AM

And a costume for Friday night






Misc pictures.

Photo May 03, 12 26 09 PM

Photo May 03, 12 21 23 PM

Photo May 03, 10 31 32 AM

Photo May 03, 10 19 55 AM

Book #22–Saving Rachel

41xeglhQ16L._SL160_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-dp,TopRight,12,-18_SH30_OU01_AA160_I was hoping for a third Donovan Creed novel when I downloaded Saving Rachel, and instead it went in a new direction. Locke is an interesting writer, and it caught me by surprise. After 20 pages, even though it’s an exciting book, I had to go back and check online that this was the right book.

The first have of the book is told from Sam’s perspective, a computer guy that is rich from a program he invented that moves money around the world constantly, breaking it into chunks and constantly re-routing it. Only when the proper codes are entered is the money assembled back into an account. A criminal's dream, and those are his clients.

He has just had an affair with a woman, and leaves her house. However he’s knocked out, wakes up in a mobster’s car, and is told he needs to pay attention. It’s the classic denial of a victim, that I loved in some of the Ludlum novels. When he sees his sister-in-law and a cop killed, and his car at the scene, he thinks he’s being set up. However as he’s running, it appears to be a movie setup, and he’s not sure what to do. When he’s kidnapped and thrown into an airtight, Lucite cell on a truck, and finds Creed, his wife, Rachel, his lover, Karen, in similar cells on other trucks, he’s not sure what to do. As expected, he eventually gives up the codes.

That’s the first half of the novel. The second half is most of the same events, but from Donovan Creed’s perspective. A great twist.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Book #21–Lethal Experiment

41Wd8JcJd9L._SL160_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-dp,TopRight,12,-18_SH30_OU01_AA160_As soon as I finished Lethal People, I bought Lethal Experiment, anxious to see where Donovan Creed is going. This book picks up after the last one, with Donovan in love with Kathleen, who’s preparing to adopt Addie, the orphan. However he’s also trying to decide how he can continue in this relationship, but not be too bound down, and without endangering their lives.

He is still helping Victor, with his bizarre social experiment, and in the middle of it, he has a heart attack, or so he thinks. Instead he finds out it’s psychosomatic and ends up starting some treatment with a therapist. Not much, but it’s a big step for an assassin. At the same time he realizes that Callie, one of his partners, needs help. She’s in love with a body double, and doesn’t want to have the girl die. You have to read the book to understand what that means, but it results in Creed having to help her, and falling into a coma.

He awakens, and the second have of the book is part of his recovery after being out of life for 3 years. He can’t very well walk back into his life, but he struggles with making an attempt. Quite a different tone than the first book, but still enjoyable.

Monday, May 6, 2013

The Decline of the Medical Profession

I'm not sure I completely agree with this piece, as there have been some studies that show protocols that are simple, and based on experience, dramatically reduce infections and other problems that come from older surgeons and doctors who don't think some of the tasks are needed. Some are designed to prevent mistakes, but some others are definitely designed to prevent lawsuits, which is bad.

However there is a statement in here I believe in: " The root of the problem is that patients are not payers."

I was hoping the ACA would help fix this, and eliminate the employer based health care that helps prevent us from being payers.

I also have friends in the UK and Canada that don't only see high priced private care for those only with money. There are reasonably priced private cares and the public care isn't completely mediocre and with long waits. It's reasonable, in their minds.

Lost in Yoga

It's kind of amazing. Feeling sick, stressed from work, a busy day with stuff to catch up on, the maid here, and deliverables I'm working on. At least 3-4 different, disparate things occupying my mind. I manage to get to Yoga, and I'm tense, a little anxious. I don't stretch well, and the class starts quickly. I've forgotten my towel, it's extra hot, and I slightly regret being in a long sleeve dry-fit shirt.

However I start working, and everything fades from my mind. I'm concentrating on following the class, and most everything in my life fades away.

It's a hard class, and 50:00 later, I'm exhausted, sweat dripping off. A good feeling, and suddenly the rest of life doesn't seem so bad.

Book #20–Lethal People

4191Z3VFH5L._SL160_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-dp,TopRight,12,-18_SH30_OU01_AA160_I had read this last year (or the year before), but I couldn’t remember it when my wife told me she’d found it and loved it. On a recent trip, I re-read Lethal People, and was entranced.

It’s a spy thriller, but with some humor. Almost like a Baldacci or a Flynn meets Tim Dorsey. In this one, we follow Donovan Creed around, a killer for Homeland Security, formerly of the CIA. He also tests torture weapons for the military, working with some type of microwave gun at the beginning, subjecting himself to the effects, and trying to survive 20s of it.

He’s a unique killer, in that he’s not fulltime busy for the government, which is probably more like what the real world is like. However instead of training and researching, he takes contracts for the mob. In this book, he’s referred a contract by his mob contact to a midget, or little person. He takes the contract, killing a girl, or so he thinks. Instead he finds himself in some trouble when a US satellite has been hijacked to record his actions.

In the middle of this, he finds an orphaned girl, her parents killed in a fire and decides to help her. He also, in a nice piece of writing, finds his ex-wife is marrying the former ex-husband of the girl that introduces him to the orphan. He goes on to take on a west coast mobster while also trying to prevent his wife from following through on her marriage.

It’s a wild ride, funny at times, twisted in some ways, but way more of an enjoyable assassin tale than the Dexter series.

Back Home

934633_546056555444566_2074535540_nI started feeling chilly Friday, and being out in my costume for half the evening wasn’t the best thing for me. However it was a fun party, and once the sun was gone, I did give it up.

Saturday morning was a run scheduled with a friend, and I didn’t want to skip, so I bundled up and despite the slight drizzle, we did a nice run around the University of Nottingham campus. Fortunately I wasn’t speaking, so I had a relatively light day Saturday before riding the train back down to Heathrow airport for an early flight. Some Nyquil (which I always carry) and I was in bed at 9:00 for a decent night’s sleep.

Yesterday was a lot of travel. Back to DC, then Denver, and I was lucky to get home fairly early. My flight was supposed to go to Chicago, but it was cancelled. I got the messages as I bussed to the airport, but they’d booked me through DC back. I’m glad I carry on only as I was the first one through customs, with no bags to pick up, and then made it to the terminal early enough to re-book myself to a 12:20 flight instead of the 3:10 one. From landing (slightly early) to the customer service desk, it took me about 30 minutes, which was pretty good. Status matters.

I got home, Tia out working, and I was tired so I mostly just lay around all afternoon, and crashed between 7 and 8. A long night’s sleep and I feel much better today. Still a little run down, but mostly tired and congested. I’m sure another good night’s sleep will knock out most of this.