Saturday, June 29, 2013

Book #39–Pursuit of Honor

51nhxPoSdsL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_A re-read, and the last Rapp one I’ll read for a bit. Not in my list for some reason.

Pursuit of Honor is part 2 from Extreme Measures. It’s weeks after the attack in DC and the terrorists are on the run. There are three left and a lot of the book is their story as they split, and the Karim proves unpredictable, but we see Hakim starting to regret his role and wants to move on.

Rapp is still investigating. I thought this would be where Nash starts to take over for Rapp, much like Virgil Flowers in the Lucas Davenport series (John Sandford). However that’s not the direction. Nash gets outed, and promoted, moving away from operations.

Rapp continues to pursue the terrorists, and once again puts pieces together no one else does. It’s well written though, and doesn’t feel forced.

A good read, but make sure you read Extreme Measures first.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Book #38–Extreme Measures

512ZhjMVFzL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_Another re-read, though I don’t see it in my list. Extreme Measures introduces Mike Nash, recruited and trained by Rapp (I assume we’ll read this at some point), and in Afghanistan to interrogate prisoners. The politicians have gotten in the way and made the Air Force and CIA respect the Geneva Convention. Rapp doesn’t like it and impersonates an Air Force officer to interrogate the prisoners in the middle of the night. He’s found out, and arrested, but not before he gets some information that confirms a third terrorist cell (two have been caught).

While Rapp deals with Senators that want to arrest him, Nash struggles with his home life and the job. This is a great piece of writing as we read lots from Nash’s perspective and his struggled with life while trying to keep going on the job. you can feel the pressure build as there are Rapp’s (and the CIA’s) troubles with Senators over torture, his wife and family pressures, including his son getting into a fight at a prep school, and there’s his operative that infiltrated a mosque in DC.

A thrilling end and the terrorists score one, setting off bombs in DC and then attacking the Counterterrorism Center. It’s a scenario I’m surprised hasn’t happened in real life.

This is really part 1 in a two part book series.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

I hate colors

I really do. Yesterday I had to look through the supply of paint in the basement and try to find the colors that match our house. We want to have Tia’s employee do a little painting and get things in better shape since we have less horse chores right now.

I’m looking at colors, trying to decide if they are inside or outside colors, and do they match and it makes me insane. I could feel my blood pressure rising and getting annoyed. Annoyed at the project, at the fact I’m managing it, at the fact I can’t tell if the brown is the one inside the house, outside the hour, or neither.

Eventually I have up.

I wish we could just stick with ROYGBIV (with black, white, and gray), at least for me.

Book #37–Protect and Defend

51otcSsoH4L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_The follow up to Act of Treason, Protect and Defend is where the last guy is killed from that plot. However Rapp now moves on with a new President, one that supports him as he must contend with a new plot. The Iranians in this case are looking for revenge after Israel wipes out one of their nuclear installations.

This one is more fun, though less realistic, than the worms the US used in real life.

This one stands alone as well, with few references to other events other than the opening part. Here we find Rapp using his mind more, and working with rebels in Iran to influence the world for most of the book.

Near the end we see his violent streak, and also a change in Irene, who goes through a tough situation.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Book #36–Act of Treason

Another re-read, and one that I’m not sure would work, but it’s a good plot. An assassination attempt in Act of Treason where the presidential candidate’s wife is targeted. This is the one where Rapp comes back to work, and is changed. The writing is good, reflecting the struggles Rapp’s been through.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


20130625_091418The VacuTherm 4 isn’t working. This was a very cool device that Tia got last week to automatically cycle through cold and no-cold cycles on a schedule. It also applies pressure to the knee area and has pads to pressure the feet and help blood move back to the core. It’s worked well for a number of days, but last night it started alarming and Tia told me it wasn’t working.

I called around 7, and they said I could meet the guy at 10:30 or he could be out to the house around 1. Tia had ice packs, but I decided to meet him and get the replacement unit and/or wraps. I packed the thing up and headed to the hospital.

I met the guy and he tested everything. He said that not wearing the foot pads can cause issues. We’ve been only using one, so that might have been it. He gave me two sets of new wraps, and I headed home.

We hooked up Tia and it started working again. A neat little machine, and I think it’s helping.

Book #35–Consent to Kill

A re-read, but one that still gets me. When I first read Consent to Kill, I was surprised. Having Rapp go through this and lose someone is tough (read it to find out, no spoilers).

It changes him, and I can understand why. I couldn’t imagine not reacting the same.

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Tesla Swap

I ran across this video from Tesla, thinking it was the replacement time for the battery. To my surprise, it’s a replacement instead of charging things.

It's very impressive, and this is the kind of thing I was hoping would be done with fuel cell technology. Not so much the automated replacement, but that there would be cells, maybe sized like bricks or even jerry cans, which you could slip out of your car and slip in a new one at a filling station. Perhaps you'd need 2 in the car and to "fill up", you'd swap the empty one.

I agree with lots of the commenters that the $60-80 isn’t worth it and changes the dynamics of the car, but if you’re on a trip, maybe you build that into your trip to save time.

I suspect this cost will come down and other people will think about this over time, perhaps finding other ways to do this cheaper and just as fast.

Book #34–Memorial Day

411gszXNOJL._SL160_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-dp,TopRight,12,-18_SH30_OU01_AA160_Memorial Day is an intense book, and one that I worried might come true in the US someday. It’s a good read, and one that stands alone. The last one of the “old” Mitch Rapp before he changes in the next one.

I’m sure I’ve posted this one before, but a search doesn’t show up. This is the nuclear bomb book, where terrorists have managed to dig up a bunch of nuclear material from old Soviet tests. Many Muslims died doing this, and one is dying, the leader of a plot.

The plot is discovered by Rapp, using methods that aren’t approved of. He’s again pitted against politicians that want him to stop using his rough tactics, and he’s angry. His anger gets him in trouble with the President, that is until they find radioactive material in a contained that arrives in Charleston.

People are relieved, but Rapp doesn’t stop looking since there’s a missing Pakistani scientist still out there. A good thing since only half the material was intercepted. Another half makes it to DC, but Rapp manages to find it on a boat.

Lots of coincidences, and lots of typical mistakes made by everyone by Rapp, but it’s still an exciting book.

Back Home

And glad. I landed Saturday afternoon and made it home, finding the whole family here. It was nice to get home and see Tia. I helped her get clean, and then as I fed horses, the rest of the family took Tia on the ATV to wander around the track and see some horses.

I fell asleep early, mostly because at 8pm, it was 3am for me. I think. Since I was only in London for 42 hours, it's hard to know what time zone I was on. However I was up at 6:15am on Friday, felt OK most of the day, but didn't get to Heathrow and bed until after 10pm. Then I was up at 6:00 again to fly home to the US.

Yesterday was more car time for me. Up early to take Marla to the airport and then I drove up to Boulder with Delaney. I got there around 10:30, let him sleep in the car until a few minutes after 11 and then we got lunch and his haircut. Then it was a drive into the mountains, up to 9000 feet and Tahosa High Adventure camp. Delaney is spending a week there in Big Horn leadership training, learning to be a better leader in Scouts.

He wasn't excited, but I think he looked forward to it. He looks so tall and mature, really starting to look like a young adult and not a kid anymore. He carries himself well, and unlike many camps, I essentially watched him check in and then he walked away with his Patrol leader, his backpack, and left me to head home.

It was a slightly scary drive back down, since on the way up the fuel light had come on. I had 1/4 tank when we left Boulder, but almost immediately it had dropped to 1/8 and then the fuel light pinged as we were still climbing close to camp. Fortunately no one was behind me most of the way and I coasted down the side route back to Boulder, making it to a gas station with who knows how many fumes.

The afternoon had Kendall and I take Tia for a drive, planning on the dog park, but her leg started aching in the car and we knew it wouldn't work. We ended up stopping in a light drizzel at a close trailhead and Kendall and I let the dogs run around a bit with no one around.

I felt better last night, more normal, and I was glad to be back in my own bed.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Book #33–Executive Power

Working my way through the Mitch Rapp series again. Executive Power was enjoyable, and reminded me of a few things I’d forgotten.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Book #32–Separation of Power (reread)

After Transfer of Power, I skipped The Third Option to jump to Separation of Power. Enjoyed this one again.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Book #31–Transfer of Power (reread)

After seeing a trailer for White House Down, I got inspired to re-read this book. Plus I was traveling without a network connection one night and it was on my phone.

A great book.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Book #30 – World War Z

51HsCEb1yeL._SL160_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-dp,TopRight,12,-18_SH30_OU01_AA160_I had a few friends recommend World War Z to me earlier this year. However I am not a big zombie fan and hadn’t planned on reading it. Then I saw the trailer for the movie, Delaney told me he wanted to read the book and see the movie, and I decided to grab it in the airport on a trip home.

I started reading it, couldn’t put it down, and ended up finishing it in one day.

I really enjoyed the book. It’s a series of interviews and stories from people that survived the war. It’s written as a look back, 10 years or so after the decade long war, covering the stories of people in 1-2 pages, from all over the world, at different points in the war and different locations.

In a word: fascinating.

I can’t wait for the movie.


I’m getting better at this travel-to-the-UK thing. Last night I had another trip across the water, one that I was not really looking forward to. I do like attending events, and meeting new people/seeing friends, but with Tia coming out of surgery, I didn’t want to leave. Add that to the fact that I am spending 32 hours traveling (1pm – 5am door to door one way) and 43 hours in London, it seems a little silly. However that’s the price I pay for this great job and agreeing to support my company with events in their native country.

With the surgery, and managing the house, I was pressed to go. Fortunately I almost have a go-bag packed. Tues night, I threw in two changes of clothes in about 10 minutes, added contacts and vitamins (my “usables) and my roller was packed. I dropped my laptop and cord in the other bag, and I was packed. I ‘m glad I checked for my passport, which I’d pulled out for some reason after the last trip, but it was in my desk and once that was added, I was essentially ready to go in 15 minutes. We’ll see if I brought everything tomorrow when I speak.

I’ve tried a few flights, but the 3:44 from DEN->IAD, and then the 9:55 IAD-LHR is the best flight for me. I land in DC, get off quickly and walk down to the other end of the terminal and within 5 minutes, I’m boarding the next flight. As long as the first one isn’t delayed, this works out great. For the first time this year I was also upgraded to First, which was nice. That means I had 3 glasses of wine, managed to stay awake after being up at 5:00am, and then fell asleep almost immediately on the next flight, only awake for about an 2 hours of the 6+ hour flight. I was actually fairly refreshed when we landed.

I used to worry a bit about getting around in the UK, but I’ve become more comfortable. I bought a ticket on the Heathrow Express, had a quick 25 minute trip into town and then a couple Underground stops to get to me hotel. I hadn’t mapped it beforehand, but thanks to the wi-fi on the train and a smartphone, I found the closest tube stop, and saved the map on Android so I could find the hotel. I walked over in a few minutes, couldn’t check in, but grabbed a table to work at for a few hours.


My office for a few hours, and I’ve been productive so far.

No checked bags, almost no stops in the Heathow airport to get from the airport to the train, and I feel pretty good.

Now to practice some presentations.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Loading Up

A big day. Up at 5 to take Tia to the surgery center and then I fly to London. This seems crazy, and thankfully my sister-in-law could make it out to help. I'll get Tia out of recovery and on the way home, and then I head to the airport. I'll get a conference presentation done, get on a plane, spent 13 hours getting to London, 45 hours in the area, and spend 13 coming home on Sat.


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Now You See Me

We got out of the house last night. Tia's been a little stir crazy and wanted to see a movie, so Delaney and I got her out last night and we went to see "Now You See Me". It was great. Funny, entertaining, lots of twists, and one I think Kendall will enjoy as well. One of the best I've seen in quite some time.

I love magic, but the movie is mostly a puzzle, from start to finish. We never saw the ending even coming. A great flick.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


It's a rough week at the ranch. With Tia injured, I'm picking up the slack, helping with chores and various things that need to be done. Delaney is helping as well, and it was good he fed yesterday. Still, not much time to breathe for now.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Author’s Craft

1370801897552Yesterday I dropped Kendall off at the Colorado School of Mines for the Center for Bright Kids Glow summer program. She’ll live in the dorms for two weeks and she’s taking the class called Author’s Craft. It’s a writing class, and she’s quite excited since she applied with her portfolio of work and was accepted.

Delaney did this a few years ago, so we knew what to do. Tia helped Kendall pack things up and she brought three bags to the car yesterday. Plus a backpack. I was going to argue, but decided it wasn’t worth it. We left after feeding horses, stopped by to get her quarters for laundry and then drove to Golden.

She looked good, and excited. Nervous, but excited to be out on her own for the first time. We got there earlier than I’d like, and we ended up standing in line for a bit. Things moved slow, but about 25-30 minutes after we got there, we were checking in. Kendall passed the time in the same way as a lot of other kids: reading.


I love seeing her read.

We checked in and then headed up to her room to unpack. Her roommate is from Eagle, CO, and we met her Mom as we unloaded. Her roommate showed up a little later and they said hi, but the other girl was definitely more shy.


It’s a dorm room, like the one I went to college in. A desk, a bed, and a closet/dresser built in. She arranged her stuff, and then we went to get some lunch, withdraw some spending money, and get sunscreen. Golden is small, and it was a busy Sunday, but we managed to get through everything and get back to the opening ceremony in time.

Afterwards I said goodbye, and Kendall was off on her adventure. I hope she loves it and has a great time.

The Right Handed Player

Yesterday was my third baseball game of the season. As of now, I’m working on 1 game/month, which isn’t too bad. I’m relaxed, and I feel pretty good, despite the lack of practice. Yesterday was up near Boulder, and I might have bailed like most of my team if I hadn’t had to be in Golden during the afternoon already. I raced up there, getting there about 20 minutes before game time, just long enough to change and throw a bit.

We were short, only 7, but two younger guys from the previous game stayed back to play with us. We were playing a 45+ team, and I thought they might protest, but they wanted to play, so no big deal. One of the players was a shortstop, so I was relegated to left field. Fine by me, and I made a catch, watched one go over my head, pulled up on another that I thought might run me into the wall, and picked up a few grounders that came out from the infield. A pedestrian day out there. With a sore left elbow, I played right handed so I couldn’t be throwing.

However batting was something else. I warmed up a bit right handed, and was worried. I haven’t taken any game swings right handed since I was a teenager, and relatively few then. I’d had a few in batting practice the last few years, but not many. My first at-bat showed it. I watched one, missed one, and then fouled two off. The last one was low and outside, and a ball, but I was having trouble judging from that side and swing. Strikeout.

The second time up I went back to left handed. I’d left two people on base the first time, so I decided to try a bunt. I laid it down in the thick infield grass, but too close to the pitcher. He easily threw me out.

The third time I came up with bases loaded. Unsure of what to do, I knew a bunt wouldn’t work. I decided to go right handed. I swung and grounded to third. I beat out the home to first play, getting on with a fielder’s choice. Eventually I made it around to score.

The fourth time I got a third strike up and in. The umpire had been calling them in, so I pulled my arms in and swung, grounding to third. It hit the bag, and I made it safely on an infield hit.

The fifth time I led the inning and got a good swing, grounding hard to third. I was thrown out, but I felt better.

All in all, a good day as a right hander. I’ll try to get some swings in this week before next week’s game.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Hot Yoga

Last night I did the Hot Yoga class and it was hot. A hot day, and I'm not sure what the temp was set at, but as soon as I was in the room, I was sweating. As we sat there, just starting class with eyes closed, I could feel sweat under my shirt tricking down my torso.

It was a neat class, not hard on my elbow or knees overall. We did lots of leg lifts, then knee to chest, the cresent lunges to airplanes and down again. I avoided the push up moves that strain my elbow, and was careful on anything bending knees. Still, it was a good workout and every time I stood up, I had sweat dripping in my eyes. Even my dri-fit shirt was useless as it was soaked halfway through the class.

A great break and release from life, and I'm still amazed how all the stuff rolling around in my mind, all the plans, sports, kids, and more just disappear in class.

Afterwards I showered and met Tia for a mini-date night. Dinner and some quiet time.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

A Quick Trip

Two days in Philadelphia, or actually outside it. Not sure I ever actually got into Philly. It was strange hitting the airport after a month of no travel. My stuff was still packed, and I managed to get ready in about 15 minutes Fri morning before heading out to feed horses.

The trip was good, nice to see some old friends, including a few I haven’t seen in quite some time. A quiet night last night, and an easy flight back. Glad that I stayed near the airport, since I was quite far away at the event.

A little work today, and then some chores outside. Sprinkler fix day.