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.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Leaving Las Vegas

Sitting at the airport, waiting for my flight back to Denver. It's been a great trip for a lot of reasons, but the big one was having Tia come with me. I had to speak the last two days at the SQL Intersection conference, 3 sessions, all of which went fairly well. Not great, but not bad. This is a tough conference with the organizers drawing most of the crowds with their highly popular talks, but I did pretty well with my dev ones, and my professional development, branding session actually drew about 30.

The rest of the time was really a vacation for me. Not much work, and lots of time with Tia to enjoy Las Vegas. The only downside was that we traveled separately as she got a low priced ticket with miles and couldn't fly direct. The big upside was that we left the kids alone. Kyle was watching the little ones, getting them to school Mon-Wed, and all of them feeding horses, but other than that, no adults in charge. A big step for us, and while I'm slightly nervous about the state of things when we get home, I'm sure everything is fine.

Sunday was a quick day. We arrived, checked in, a little exercise for me, and then we went to a fabulous dinner at e by Jose Andreas. I've been before, but took Tia this time with some of my friends and it was an experience.

I enjoyed it so much, I even licked the plate.

I got a chance to drink out of the special glass as well.

It was a fun night. Monday was good as well, having drinks with friends that have wanted to meet Tia and then the Comedy Club in the MGM. Tuesday was a walk, a talk, and then Chris Angel's Believe, which was a neat magic/illusion show. Fun and exciting.

The best part of the trip for both of us was probably sleeping in, without any real responsibilities or cares. We've struggled with that for the last year for sure. Both of us busy and often on the go.

Three days in Vegas. A good time, a recharging time, even with some work, and one of the best trips I've had here.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Book #64–They Never Go Quietly

41YFCt7gJjL._SX105_The serial killer in They Never Go Quietly is seriously insane. The book alternates between his mind and the detective(s) pursuing him. In this one, he is kidnapping women and their kids, using the kids as leverage to keep the Moms from fighting back while they are crucified.

Yep, crucified.

This killer insanely believes that the women are sinners and he is releasing them to be saved by killing them. Once they’re dead, he takes the kids to a mall somewhere in the San Diego area and releases them. They’ve been drugged most of the time and aren’t aware their mothers were killed.

Sami and Al are pursuing the killer, working hard to find him. When Sami has a chance encounter with Simon, the killer, she wonders about him, but doesn’t have any evidence other than a strange feeling. As more women are killed, pressure mounts and eventually you can predict what happens: Sami and her daughter are eventually kidnapped.

The book drags at times. The thoughts of the characters, while probably closer to the random, unstructured thoughts most of us have, aren’t interesting. Except the killer. Apparently his mother, who sexually engaged with him, is in his mind.

It’s a wild ride. It kept me entertained, but it wasn’t great. It was, however, worth the $4.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Book #63–Steel World

51F8qgPpcPL._SX105_A science fiction story, Steel World is one of those that makes more sense as a potential future world. Economics matter, and if you can’t pay, you must make do. In this universe, a series of races in the middle of the universe have decreed that all races must develop a “product” and trade that with others. If they can’t add to the galaxy’s commerce, they are eliminated.

Earth decides to field mercenary armies that other planets can hire. When James McGill runs out of money for college, he signs up with one of the legions. It’s not one with a good reputation and when they are sent to Steel World, he finds himself in a situation that could doom the entire race.

It’s a wild story, one that I enjoyed. BV Larson does a great job and I hope he writes a sequel.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Book #62–The Shadow Hunter

51GKH2sXxcL._SX105_Another crime book. In The Shadow Hunter, we have a bodyguard that is supposed to get close to the stalkers and prevent them from killing a client. She fails at the beginning of this book when she steps away from the crazy one to check in.

Most of the book is a little later in time. The company is struggling after the client was killed, but they still have a high profile client, a local, LA newscaster. They bring back Abby Sinclair to get close to a stalker and gather evidence that can get him arrested and out of the picture.

It’s an interesting idea. Pro-active protection by deceiving the stalker and profiling him, watching for action or illegal activities. In this one we see how she gets close, and how dangerous it can be, especially when we find the stalker has inside help. I narrowed it down to one of two people that were helping him, but it was still a nice surprise when the identity was revealed.

A good flow and enjoyable writing.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Colorado School of Mines

Last night was the Colorado School of Mines v Fort Lewis for volleyball. Kendall's club team was getting together to watch and we went last night to see. Mines is a neat school, adjacent to the mountains up in Golden, set right in the foothills. A small school, Division II, and not a lot of people were there, but it was neat to see college ball live. The girls were good and Mines has a good team. They won the three matches in a row to cut things short and looked good doing it.

Afterwards pizza with the various families, getting to know some of them. It should be an exciting year and it makes me look forward to watching Kendall play more in the future.

Quiet Day

An easy day for me. I planned on more feeders, but Kyle was gone and Tia's truck is in the shop, so I couldn't get to the store. Instead I made a couple repairs on feeders and then started my sports box, cutting some plywood and making dados to fit in the pieces.

Most of the frame is done, but I need to cut some slots for shelves. I messed up one and decided to take a break before I messed up more.

Book #61–Daddy’s Home

51EhaP3DdsL._SX105_I’ve been in a crime mood lately, with quite a few serial killer mysteries. Daddy’s Home is one I enjoyed, with a killer kidnapping divorced Moms and kids, under the deranged impression that he can become the perfect Dad for a new family. He’s kidnapped a killed a few Moms and daughters and crime scene investigator Holly is on the case.

The writing is OK, and the plot is fairly standard. Cop chases killer who manages to stay ahead until at some point the killer kidnaps the cop. She’s a perfect fit, with a young daughter, that matches the profile.

However I enjoyed the book. The characters are fairly believable and the story flows nicely. You get a good sense of the insanity of the killer, and that made this a fun read.

If you like this sort of story.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Swim Day

A late night last night, helping Delaney write a paper. Late for Tia and I and we tried to help and be supportive and not too cranky, but it’s tough when he lets things get behind.

Tia let me sleep in, which was nice. Up at 8 and starting to work. A productive morning, including 20 minutes lifting weights with my wife. That was nice. I miss working out with her. However that wasn’t enough and after I got a few things done, I headed to the pool.

Spring break week. I walked in to a busy pool, lots of kids, and people in all lanes. I split one lane with what looked like a high school kid using a kickboard. I blew past him a few laps, working harder with all the activity, and then he started swimming.

Not sure how fast he was, but he was faster than me. On a 150, he was easily 40yd ahead of my in pace. However having someone else there made me work a bit harder. With the water too warm (85F or so), I couldn’t relax, so I pushed through some fast 200sets, keeping them around 3:30 until I got tired, then they were 3:40. I managed to knock out 1400yds in 25 minutes, which felt good.

A sub and then back home. A good exercise day.

Book #60–The Trinity Game

510jSlqd6vL._SX105_The Trinity Game is full of religious overtones. We find Daniel Byrne, investigator for the Vatican, who is supposed to prove or debunk miracles. Daniel has just disproved a miracle, to the dismay of some in the church. He’s reassigned, but as a last ditch effort, his former superior gets him assigned to debunk the speaking in tongues from his uncle, an evangelist in the US.

Daniel knows his uncle is a grifter, but when he finds that his uncle seems to be performing the impossible, speaking English backwards and predicting the future, he’s unsure of how to proceed.

It’s an interesting book. There is some religion, but not a ton. Daniel questions his faith at times and the writing shows his struggles. The story is interesting as well, and as it proceeds, the suspense grows. It becomes a fun thriller that I enjoyed.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Book #59–A Colonel’s Mistake

51oci3plHVL._SX105_I haven’t read any other Mark Sava thrillers, but I think this came up as a recommendation and a sale book, so I grabbed A Colonel’s Mistake. It’s a modern thriller, taking place in Azerbaijan. Mark is the former station chief of the CIA, now retired. He’s rousted to visit an agent who was arrested and called for him. Her cover is intact, but she’s having trouble reaching anyone.

Sava digs in, trying to do a favor for his former agent. He finds a slaughter of the local CIA group and reluctantly takes a short term contract with the CIA to dig in.

I struggled with the book and the writing at first. It seemed to drag a bit, and lose me a little in what was happening, but I persevered (mostly because I was on a plane) and by the end I enjoyed it. It’s more spy craft than action, but was enjoyable overall. Not great, but good.

e by Jose Adres

I went a few years ago to e by Jose Andres with friends and it was amazing. I’m not a foodie, but I enjoyed it.

Reservations are hard to get, and I was kicking myself for not getting them awhile ago when Tia said she’d come to Vegas. However a friend said he had them for the Sunday I arrive and would I want to go since he had a cancellation. I talked to Tia and she agreed to go, changing her flight today from Mon to Sun so we could go together.

I am very excited. A few pics from my last trip.

Photo Mar 28, 7 24 45 PM

Photo Mar 28, 6 32 11 PM

Photo Mar 28, 5 37 01 PM

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Last Day

A good start to the last day. I woke up feeling fairly refreshed at 6:30 and dressed, heading out for a run with a friend. An easy 2 mi around downtown Charlotte, and on the way back we passed the Charlotte Aquatic Center. I was tired, and thought about calling it a day, but managed to pack myself up and head over for a swim.

I was slow, so I'm tired. I timed a 200m set in the middle at 4:15, which is at least :15 slow. I pushed on the next one and got to 4:00.

However I felt refreshed and ready for the day. Now time to check out and go see some friends before I head home tonight.

It's been a good trip, but a long one. 8 days on the road is a long time, and I'm worn out, feeling slightly short tempered and cranky. I need to take some time off, and it's on my schedule this week to plan out some time off.

Last night was our annual networking dinner. My business partner and I have done this 3 or 4 years now. We pick a restaurant, invite people to come hang out. Everyone buys their own food and drink, and they get the chance to meet other people. We chose Buffalo Wild Wings near the NASCAR Hall of Fame and I stood out front greeting lots of first time conference attendees, shaking lots of hands and meeting people.

It was a great turnout. I think we had over 200 people come, packing the restaurant and everyone seeming to have a good time. I even remembered a few names, Errol from Charlotte, Derik Hammer, and Doug. I saw a guy I'd met in San Diego a few weeks back and many former friends. Despite being tired and hungry after a long day at the Red Gate SQL in the City event, I had a good time.

I hate a quieter, late dinner at 9:30 with a 3 friends before calling it a day and coming back to watch then end of the football game.

Between a little time to myself today and a quiet day on Sunday, I've survived.

Sunday I got up, exercised, and then made it to the airport for a flight to Charlotte. I arrived and drove out to a mall, got a new bag, and sat at a sports bar, watching the Bronco's game, having a beer, and unwinding. I had work to do at night, but that 3 hours off was nice.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Half a Day

No real days off on this trip. I'm either presenting, or prepping to present. Today I got to sleep in, which I needed. At 10, getting back to the hotel last night after leaving at 8am, I was beat. I tried to sleep in, but at 8, I was awake. I got up, worked out, ate, then packed up and headed to the airport.

I almost went to the store first. My bag had broken a zipper coming into Charleston and was a mess.

It couldn't fly again. However, without a car, I didn't relish trying to cab to a store, and then hoping it would have good luggage and getting a cab back to the airport. Instead, I borrowed some tape from the hotel.

Not the best looking job, but it worked. My bag made it to Charlotte. It was a better choice as I had a car and could drive out to the mall and get a new bag.

Friday was a good event in Atlanta, 3 more talks done, but then I needed to leave at 5:30, and race to the airport. I made it in time, and had a nice flight to Charlotte. Apparently neither USAir nor United goes to Charleston from Atlanta at night. However there were issues with our next plane (my colleague and mine) and we were delayed until 11:00. We were tempted to grab a car and drive the 3 hours, but decided the flight would be better. We were tired, and it might be hard.

We tried for a flight to Columbia, which would give us 90 minutes to drive, but the flight was full. We then waited, and waited. The flight was delayed and late, arriving around 12:30 and then a quick flight down. However we didn't land until 1:30, bags were slow to come out, rental car companies closed.

I got a cab, but didn't get to the hotel until 2:30, wired, and up until 3:00am.

A hard trip, and a hard wake up in the morning. I was dragging somewhat at the event on Saturday, but go to see some friends and met some new people. A good day.

However I was beat still today, and not up for company or friends tonight. In the room with room service, working a bit.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Book #58–Thicker than Water

515aWodZPTL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-64,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_In Thicker than Water we have a mystery with private eye, Leo Waterman. He’s the adult son of a former city councilman who was corrupt in Seattle, amassed lots of power, and left his son a trust, but one he couldn’t touch until he was 45. No matter, Leo was a private eye until 45 and then retired with his trust.

He has a group of his father’s former friends, drunks, that he helps support. They’re actually naked, after getting muddy while landscaping his house when the mother of his former love shows up. His love, now married to another, is missing, and the mother wants Leo’s help.

It’s almost a Spenser like novel, with a bumbling PI in the Seattle area looking for his ex. He’s tough, but not Spenser or Hawk tough, and he’s smart, but mostly he bumbles into a drug issue with his ex’s husband and manages to escape, but barely.

Realistic, and scary, and enjoyable.


I haven't given a lot of thought to the shutdown. It's stopped some things, however it's also showing somewhat that we can do without the federal government in some ways. I'm not sure about the long term effects, but the short term ones haven't affected me.

Until today

Driving in from the ATL airport to my hotel, I saw a sign for the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library. I've never been to one, so I thought I'd stop by. No go.

It was a nice facility, landscaped and peaceful

Probably because no one was there.

LA to Atlanta

That was my night. I got on a plane at 11:40 last night and flew to Houston, had an hour plus there, and then on to Atlanta. I landed about 10, later than I thought, but better than flying all day today. I did manage to nap a bit in LAX before we took off, got a first class upgrade and slept 2+ hours there, napped in the IAH airport, sleeping through boarding groups 1 and 2, :(, and then slept a bit on the little plane before landing in ATL.

I actually felt pretty good when I landed and headed out in the car to buy new swim goggles, and then swim. It was quite a switch from yesterday. About 24 hours earlier I'd gotten up and swum at the Rose Bowl Aquatic Center, outside, in the dark. This was my first view of the pool before starting.

Salt water, 25m, a place that was motivating and exciting. Today was a YMCA in Decatur, a small, 4 lane pool that was too warm (84F) for swimming. Still, I managed to knock out 1800yds before having lunch.

It still feels somewhat surreal. CA is so different from GA, in look, feel, and it's a strange adjustment. So much greenery here and old, close, construction.

Still, a good trip and now it's work. Writing, setup, and then speaking tomorrow.

Book #57–The Immortalists

51SQnwvJOtL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-64,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_What would you do if you could live forever? In The Immortalists we have a very flawed scientist researching cures for a disease that has made his 10 year old age incredibly quickly. He’s angry, he’s struggling to raise money and as he looks for more money and ideas, he stumbles on research from a colleague that he suspects might have implications for his work.

Then people start dying and he goes on the run with his wife and daughter. He realizes quickly that he needs to cut ties and does so by going to an old patient, a former solider, for help. As you might guess, he’s pursued. A group of wealthy people have discovered a treatment to make them live longer and want to keep it a secret.

It’s a thrilling ride. He manages to get away, but it found years later. I won’t disclose what happens, but we learn that life has a balance.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Book #56–A Small Fortune

51 DZoF5F9L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-64,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_A young editor goes on vacation with her husband, a local bank president and son. It’s a surprise vacation and she’d excited, though she somewhat wonders where her life went. When they get there, she has fantasy’s from the romance novels she edits until she goes running the next morning and is kidnapped.

The writing is good, and builds some suspense. We only see her point of view, captured in a house, not speaking the language, with another captive there as well, the man she thinks helped get her kidnapped. Who should she trust? What’s going on? It’s a mystery.

She learned about a small fortune after she escapes. Her lineage goes back to a Swiss pharmaceutical company that she held stock in through an inheritance. She manages to get to Switzerland and learns about her husband’s problems with the people that kidnapped her, and also that she’s worth millions.

It’s not a great ending, but it was a fun book to read.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

2013 on the beach

I've been to the ocean three times in 2013. All the times have been in CA. First San Fran with Kendall, hitting the sand for a picture and then the zoo. No water contact there.

Then a few weeks ago in San Diego, swimming in La Jolla and walking on the beach.

Now today, flying to LA, walking at Venice beach today before heading to the hotel. I did hit the sand and felt the ocean, not too cold.

Need to do better in 2014.

Book #55–The Basement

41DvsV lKWL._SL200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-dp,TopRight,12,-18_SH30_OU01_AA200_A serial killer is loose in NY. We have the book split into two parts. One is in the first person, the killer’s mind as they have kidnapped a young secretary and are training her to obey. The second is in first person as well, a young man targeted by police, angry at them, a screen writer that has feelings of frustration over secretaries not forwarding his screenplays to directors and actors. He’s got a lot of good ones, if only the secretaries would let them through.

The Basement goes back and forth, leading us along that the killer is secure in their mind, but Martin is frustrated by the police being on his tail. Is he the killer?

Read it to find out. It’s definitely a little sick, but it’s fascinating and the twist at the end got me.

Monday, October 7, 2013

On the Road

I’m about to leave for a week. I go on the SQL in the City tour for my company, Red Gate Software. We’ve done this the last two years, but this is going to be my longest time away, even though it’s not the longest tour.

In 2011, we did a day in London and a day in LA. Two events, two short trips for me. Last year we were more ambitious. Two days in London, which was fine. I was out on Wed, back on Sun. Then we did a 6 city tour in the US, but broken up into a 5 city/2 week tour and a day before another conference. The flow last year was good: NY, Austin, SF, Chicago, Boston, and it allowed me to come home for weekends and between the Austin and SF trips. All in all, while it was a busy 12 days, it wasn’t bad.

This time I’m gone for 8 days. I hit LA tomorrow, with an early flight for rehearsals. I get in early, so I’m thinking to take 30 min at the beach before I get to Pasadena otherwise I might not make it. I speak Wed and then have a red-eye to Atlanta. No good flights to get me home Wed night, and I’d need to leave relatively early to get to Atlanta, so no go.

I would have come home over the weekend, but I have an event in Charleston on Saturday. I haven’t made any of their events over the last 5 years and this timing works well, so I leave Atlanta Fri night and head to Charleston for that even, before going on to Charlotte on Sunday.

Our big conference in SQL is next week, and I’m skipping it. After speaking Mon, I’m taking most of Tues to see some people and then I’m coming home. Two weeks on the road would be too much.

A Century

Once again, the Bronco’s put up half a hundred. Fifty one this week, after fifty two last week. I was torn on this game, being a life-long Cowboys fan, but I knew it would be exciting if the Cowboys could make it a game.

They did.

After working outside, I came in for a break and turned on the game. Watching the first quarter be dominated by the Cowboys, with Broncos’ defensive mistakes and a 14-0 score, I thought this might be the first loss. However as I watched the second quarter and the Broncos marched down the field twice and then took advantage of a turnover, I had memories of Manning against Miami years ago when he had the ball for about 14 minutes of the game and won. It looked like Denver would roll, so I stopped at halftime and went back to work.

Then I came back in later to watch the rest. I saw the Broncos start the second half and go up by 15, but then more defensive issues. When the Cowboys got to 27, I thought this might be a game.

It was. Back and forth. The Bronco’s unstoppable, but the Cowboys blowing through the Bronco’s defense. I was thinking Champ might not be needed, but he is. A big, strong received like Jones for BAL, Bryant in DAL, Boldin for SF and we will have issues.

Until the last interception by DEN, I thought they might lose. A great game, but perhaps a loss. No matter, they played the end well and I was thrilled to see them run well, especially Moreno, though I do think we want to watch his durability across the season.

Amazing game.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

A Wood Working Day

A hard day. Up early to take Kendall to a volleyball clinic. She looked good and she’s improving.




On the way back, we stopped to get some wood, and then I went to work. First I piled everything up and sanded down the edges and sides. I learned it’s better to do this first.


Then it was time to assemble more horse feeders. I went with 2x12s again and worked through getting all 8 sides (2 feeders) assembled first. Then I took a break. Working on the ground was hard on my back and I was getting tired.

I came back after watching 1/2 the Broncos game to finish assembling one.


It wasn’t a lot to get it done, so I worked on the second one, getting both done and ready before I leave down.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Book #54 - Never Go Back

When I saw this had been released, I grabbed it. Never Go Back is the latest Jack Reacher, and even though it felt a little expensive for an ebook, I was looking for a good read and Lee Child usually entertains me.

This one was great. Reacher goes back to the 110th, intending to meet it's current CO, Susan Turner. However he finds that something's wrong. She's been arrested, and he's detained. In fact, he's more than detained, he's pulled back into the army as a major.

This book reminds me of some of the earlier ones, with great writing, and suspense. An intriguing story, the pace quickening over time. You're never quite sure what's going on, but you know it's something big. This is like Tripwire or The Enemy. I really enjoyed it.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Book #53 - 61 Hours

This was a re-read for me. After grabbing the latest Jack Reacher, I realized I wanted to go back and understand where he met Susan first. So I downloaded 61 Hours and re-read it.

Good and Bad

I flew home from Las Vegas this morning, arriving at lunch. It was an easy trip, though I couldn't work on the way back because of turbulence. I landed, grabbed lunch, and came home. I sat and chatted with Tia a bit, and then noticed Delaney had a x-country meet. I haven't seen him run, and this one was supposed to be near Kyle's old high school. Despite a bunch of work to do, I decided to go watch him for a bit.

I started over there, and he called. I'd texted him and said I was coming. He wondered where I was, and I said I was on the way, but when I went to confirm where he was, he wasn't sure. I figured he didn't realize where the meet was, and had him ask the coach. The coach said Bear Creek, which as far as I know, is over an hour from the house.

I made it to the park by the high school and they weren't there. I tried verifying things on the school's web site, but the schedule wasn't updated. It ended up being a bust and I went home. It's frustrating and annoying, and I don't think I'll get the chance to see him run this year as I have a bunch of travel coming up.

I did manage to get home, grab dogs, and walk up to meet Kendall, walking home with her from the bus stop. Slight salvage to the day there.