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Division primarily follows a few other characters and is the tension between the Colonial Union and Earth as Earth has withdrawn from providing troops for the army.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.