Monday, March 31, 2014

Book #13–A Lonely Resurrection

51 UK6YdNxL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Book 2 in the John Rain series as they were written, #3 in the storyline order. I went back to re-read these and after #1, grabbed A Lonely Resurrection as well. Rain has progressed into a new role. He’s the experienced assassin, killing a yakuza member for Tatsu. However after he does so, he realizes that he needs to eliminate one more and this one is harder.

As Rain goes undercover as a fighter, we are drawn into the steamy underworld of Tokyo and this is a rougher book than the first one. It’s an interesting one and with more suspense and action than the first one for me. The character is more mature, more careful and calculating, and perhaps more vulnerable.

Going to China

Not me, and I'm not sure I'd even want to go. However Kyle is. I bought his ticket yesterday for an end of May trip to China as part of a class at college. He'll get credit and have 17 days to experience China.

Exciting for all of us and we're hoping he has a great trip.

Ehh Volleyball

Last night Kendall and I went to the gym for pickup volleyball. We warmed up with some passing drills for 30 minutes and then did some set and hit. Mostly her, a little me, though I wasn't jumping. It was slow going, and not a lot of people showed up. We had two girls and a Mom from last week, and then 3 other girls and a Dad that we see often. There was also another Dad and his son there, and they weren't good. Somewhat spazzy.

As a result, when we started playing, it was a bad game of volleyball. The game went slow, lots of serves not returned, and it just wasn't fun. Everyone just got a little sluggish and distracted with poor play. We played 6 on 6, then 5 on 5 and as 7:00 approached, Kendall was ready to go. Just not a lot of fun.

Disappointing for sure, and not great. I ended up tweaking my back slightly and it aches a little today. Not good passes from me either, just not moving well, not hitting well.

Still, better than lying around at home and a good conversation with my little girl.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Home for six days

Home again, but only for 6 days. Then I leave again for another speaking engagement in Las Vegas.

Good to be back, though I’m tired after a 5:30 wakeup and a little disappointed I didn’t see more of Madison. Spent too long catching up with friends and when I finally left the after party, I ended up driving to the hotel, grabbing food, watching Wisconsin win a berth to the Final Four and crashed.

I should have flown out earlier on Friday and spent some time there, but given how Tia felt, probably just as good I didn’t.

Three trips in Mar down, not Vegas, Co Springs, and Orlando in April before I shut down for a couple months.

Book #12–My Beloved World

51a78027iNL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_I saw Justice Sonya Sotomayor on the Daily Show and was impressed. She was talking about her autobiography, and I picked it up, expecting to learn a bit about a woman judge and justice. However My Beloved World isn’t what I expected. I learned a lot about her, and I ended up enjoying the book, but was disappointed there wasn’t more about her judicial work. However I expect she declined to write about that since she still sits as a judge.

The book was slow to start. It begins with her childhood, learning to manage her Type I diabetes by giving herself shots as an elementary school kid. From there it jumps back and forth from her childhood to her parents’ upbringing and shows how hard she worked, the struggles of being poor and Puerto Rican, and how good her family and friends were to her.

It took me a couple months to get through that. The book speeds up when she’s accepted to Princeton, and then when she goes to Yale law. We learn about her career as a prosecutor and then a civil lawyer representing Fendi and Ferrari among others. It’s an amazing story, though one that shows she’s very much an outlier and her record as a touch lawyer as well as her community work was what ended up getting her a nomination to be a Federal judge.

I enjoyed it eventually, though this is about Ms. Stomayor, not so much about the law.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Off to Madison

I can't remember the last time I was in Wisconsin. It's been years since I've done anything other than pass through an airport, and never been to Madison. However I'm interested in going. There's an event in Madison tomorrow and I wanted to go to see. I've heard good things about the city, so I'm looking forward to it.

This is the beginning of a rough stretch. Madison this week, then Vegas next week, the Springs (short trip) the following week before Orlando.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

All in Fun

My first commercial!

Steve on a Horse

This comes from our DBA Team promotion, which is ongoing this year.

Self Driving Cars

I hope they're coming, as Bill Ford noted. It would be nice to be able to rent one in other cities, having it transport me places while I can work. Be great around here, letting it get me skiing or back, without the stress of traffic.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Two Days on the Mountain

I had taken two days off, yesterday and today, to ski over spring break. The plan was to go up, get a hotel, and have two fun days with the family. It didn't quite work out, but still fun.

First, Kyle booked a trip to visit friends over break in OR, so he left yesterday and couldn't come. Then Kendall didn't want to miss practice, so Tia decided to work Mon and take Kendall to practice. When practice was cancelled, Tia was on the hook for lessons.

So I got up early and took the two little kids to Keystone. We skiied, had a decent morning, then Kendall wanted a break, so Delaney and I did 3-4 runs working hard. We picked up Kendall and near the bottom she had a hard fall, so she was done. We spent the night in a hotel, relaxing, everyone asleep by 8:30. Tia was enjoying quiet time at home, and decided not to come.

Today Kendall didn't want to ski, so we left her at Inxpot and Delaney and I had a quick 90 minutes on the mountain, knocking out 6 runs and then heading home.

All in all, not what I expected, but a good day.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Power #4

Another early morning, up at 5:30 for the Power #4 tournament for Kendall. We should have gotten up at 5:15 as we were 15 minutes late heading up to Greeley again. Not a big deal, as Kendall didn't get into the first match. Once again, against the Juniors who we've beaten twice lately and who beat us early in the year. These matches are always tough and close.

We won the first, 27-25, and worked for it. A close one. In the second, we were behind for the whole game, finally taking the lead at 24-23, blowing a few chances, but winning 28-26.

With that one behind us, we settled in for a match with Momentum, a team that started in DIII, but moved up to DII this time. We were wondering how this would go as they didn't offer Kendall a spot on their top team.

Kendall got into the matches, and had a few hits. We didn't win as decisively as I'd expected, making some mistakes, but we played well and won both sets to take a 2-0 lead into the last match of the day. In between, the girls ref'd a match and sat a match, and things were slow, with us starting after 2:00. It was close in both games, us making more mistakes than I'd like to see, but the girls pulled together to win both. Kendall didn't play, but she cheered and was in good spirits.  They posed with their winning pins for taking tops in their division.

Now we go back to D1 in two weeks. Hopefully we come together and win a set or two up there, if not a match.

Friday, March 21, 2014


Last night at the Denver SQL Server Users Group the presentation was a murder mystery story presentation. While talking about Reporting Services, the main presenter set the stage of a mystery where a problem occurred on the network and there were four suspects in the company. I was one of them, and was sent some lines late Wed night to work on.

I wanted to do a good job. It’s all in fun, and I saw this last year, but the guest suspects read lines off of paper and it took something away. I decided to spend my walk practicing, going over lines.

Like a real actor.

I was still a bit nervous, thinking I’d forget something. I ended up messing one line up, but the way I messed it up was a bit funny. Instead of “

“I’m a consultant. Don’t pay me to have me listen to you talk about how you won’t pay me.”

I said

“I’m a consultant. Don’t tell me you’re going to pay me to tell me how you’re not going to pay me.”

the host took a few seconds to pause and parse my mistake, which got a few good laughs. All in all it was a good time and if this gets done at the large conference in October, I’d look forward to doing it again.

If I’m asked.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Book #11–Clean Kill in Tokyo

cleankillA re-publish of Rain Fall, which I read years ago. However after reading Graveyard of Memories and looking for other books I might have missed, I grabbed this one as a free borrow on my Kindle device. A Clean Kill in Tokyo introduces us to Rain, an accomplished killer that’s been hired by various factions to eliminate people. As he causes a heart attack, he senses something strange and realizes that he’s in the middle of something.

The daughter of the man he killed, Midori, is a jazz pianist. He learns the father had a disk and Rain realizes this disk is important. People might kill this young lady and after saving Midori, they go underground. As Rain falls for her, he also realizes that he’s trapped between the CIA, the Yakuza, and his friend with the police, Tatsu.

It’s a while tide, moving throughout Tokyo and it reminds me why I really enjoyed this series and the stories. Worth a read.

First Tweet



Ironic, appropriate, hilarious, add your own thought.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Only a $1

I was at a volleyball practice a few weeks ago and my knife fell out of my pocket. I much have put it in the front pocket of my knapsack and forgotten about it.

I flew to England and back like that.

I flew to San Jose like that.

So much for TSA alertness? I finally noticed this while in San Jose and mentioned it to someone. A bad idea, as karma took over and when I went through security on the way back from San Jose, they found it. I had the option of mailing it home or leaving it with them.

I left it. It was only a $1 at Big R, and certainly wasn't worth paying $20 to send back. Besides, I have 3 more.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Book #10 - Graveyard of Memories

51OnO463a2L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_A new John Rain book, that I stumbled on while traveling. Graveyard of Memories is a look back. We gain insight into how Rain became an assassin. It's definitely a look back, as at times he reminds us that he learned not to be impulsive, not a hot head, he learned how to  be a better assassin, but wasn't then.

The book has him working as a bag man for the CIA, exchanging money to bribe politicians when he has an encounter with a yakuza and kills one. He then is hunted as the cousin of the dead gangster is son of one of the more powerful warlords. His CIA contact tells him he can help him determine how to kill the yakuza and get himself out of a jam, but he wants someone else killed first. Rain does it, succeeding quickly and surprising the CIA man.

Meanwhile he's on the run, away from his apartment and managers to stay at a love hotel. He meets a girl there, in a wheelchair and falls for her. As you might expect, this isn't good, since he's a killer, and this is a normal girl. Lots of foreshadowing, and she's eventually threatened by the yakuza.

Rain moves through this, and we see him evolving, learning, and starting to slide himself into this new role of being an assassin. A good opening to the series, which I've enjoyed for many years.

Meandering Along

After 2 1/2 days in San Jose, I got back late last night and with nothing to do today, I slept in. A nice sleep, getting out of bed at 10:20. A little coffee, watching some TV, it was nice to have a quiet morning. Then running errands, getting parts to fix the teeter totter and ATV, and then working on them before a walk with the dogs.

A good day

Monday, March 10, 2014

Top 8

The 303 Volleyball club was back at it at 8 this morning. Which meant getting up at 5:30 again for Kendall and I, driving halfway downtown and then taking the light rail the rest of the way. It was a fairly quick trip, but still an hour for us to arrive at the Convention Center to close out the Colorado Crossroads tournament for us.

We’d played well, 3-1 both days to stay high in rankings, and then an exciting, though not overly challenging win late Sunday to make the Gold bracket for our division. The first game this morning had us matched up with the Colorado Juniors, a team that beat us in Jan in the first tournament, but who we beat soundly in one of the ranking tournaments after that during Feb. We thought we were better, but you never know.

We started out well, going up by 7 or 8 and it looked like we were blowing them out. Clicking on all cylinders, girls making strong, but safe decisions, jumping and working hard. The Juniors came back, and got to within 2, but we went ahead to win 25-19. The second game was worse, with them staying 1, 2, 3 ahead. We’d get within one or tie and then make a silly mistake. A long serve, a push into the net, an (unnecessarily, IMHO) hard hit. We lost 25-22. The third match was tight. We got to 8 first, but from there we traded points.




13-13 and we made a nice play to get up 14-13. I thought we might win it, but we had a play stopped when the ref called 4 hits. However the second ref overruled, saying the Juniors had touched it. It didn’t matter as they won the point and tied at 14.

15-15 and then we got two plays to win the match and move on. We were in the top 8, and after a break, played a Nebraska team that had beaten us Sunday. They beat us again, easily. Lots of mistakes on our part, and we made the first game close, but we were really blown out during both games for most of the time. Tournament ended, and we’ll be ranked somewhere in the 9-16 range. The rankings show us as 5th, I guess tied with the other teams that lost in the second round.  I watched some of the next game for the team that beat us and they played a big, tall, fast, hard hitting team from AZ that I don’t think we’d have had much of a chance against.

Kendall didn’t play at all today, but she did work hard in warmups and looked better. We tried to keep her spirits up this weekend, telling her to support the team and continue to work. We think the coach wants her to be more aggressive, even if she makes mistakes. I know that can be hard, because I struggle with it. And when I play and hit it out, I feel bad, making me want to make a safer play next time.

We’ll see, and keep working. The coach did say she had improved as we were leaving and she’s looking closer to the other girls, so we’ll keep working.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Book #9 - Necropolis

51Q7OYeBOCL._SL160_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-dp,TopRight,12,-18_SH30_OU01_AA160_It starts fast, and I was slightly lost for some time, but I came to really enjoy Necropolis. A NYC detective comes back to life, after being dead for 40 years. He and his wife were killed in a robbery and he tries to re-integrate into society.

Apparently NYC is cut off from the world. At some point some of the dead came back to life from cemeteries, and were noted by their white hair and gold eyes. It was suspected this was a virus of some sort and the city was closed, with large parts of NJ and surrounding areas bombed into a wasteland.

Donner the detective comes back, wanting to investigate his death, and at the same time, we see him manipulated into taking a case privately as the scientists in the corporation providing security for and mostly controlling the city, are being killed. It's a wild ride, with interesting implications as some people come back to life, some don't, and all the reborns are hated and outcasts.

An evil scientist thriller, but a fun one.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Starbucks and CupCakes

Tia bought a set of cupcakes for her clinic today. The group usually celebrates birthdays for the students, and last night we stopped to get mimosa supplies and cupcakes.

We woke up to an empty container, where Uma (or another dog) had eaten them all. So I went to the store, with the instructions to get cupcakes and Starbucks coffee for Tia. My choices

Book #8 - Command and Control

commandandcontrolAbsolutely terrifying. After reading this, I'm not sure if I'm amazed we never had a nuclear accident or I'm stunned that we never had a larger war with the USSR. I imagine if we had, that the vast majority of bombs would never have exploded. My feeling is the idea that we could destroy the world 100 times over is overblown. We'd be lucky to have 1% of those bombs explode. Perhaps that's not the case, now, but I wonder.

Command and Control is about nuclear bombs in the US, and the way they were built, stored, and involved in our Cold War with the Soviet Union. The book starts out with an accident in Arkansas, while Bill Clinton was governor, and a Titan II missile started leaking fuel after an accident. That story comes through the book as we leave it for asides or history lessons, and come back to it in places. It makes me glad I never really went into the military or worked around nuclear weapons as the controls and protections were minimal, and paranoia from our leaders, high.

It's amazing that there were so many accidents. I had never realized how widely we'd deployed nuclear weapons, from the 50s on. How many kinds, and the challenges involved in building them. The fact that none have ever exploded in a fission accident, and so many have had their explosives explode in airplane crashes and other accidents, proves that it's a) incredibly hard to achieve a nuclear reaction and b) it's perhaps even harder to build a weapon that can be stored for any length of time.

An amazing book and one I had a hard time putting down.

24 Hours and no exercise

I was up for almost 24 hours yesterday. Up early, getting to Heathrow and flying back to Denver. Then getting home and I should have walked for 20 minute because that was all I had before heading out to Kendall's volleyball practice and then getting home around 8:30 at night and asleep by 9:30 ish, 23 hours after I got up.

Ugh. I should have done something, and I felt bad about it, but I was beat when we got home.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Technology Helps

As I was packing yesterday, I got a number of alerts on my phone through email from United. At first, I wasn't worred, a 10 minute delay in my flight, but as I walked downstairs to leave, I got another alert, and I'm glad I checked. A long delay, almost an hour.

That wasn't good. I have take the 3:40 flight to DC, arriving at 9pm in time to catch a 10pm flight to London a number of times. A few times I've had to run through Dulles, along with 5-10 other passengers on the same connection, to get to London. That is one time I've appreciated status as I can go to the front of the line when they're boarding and get on.

However an hour delay is no good. That means I won't make my connection. I called United, and as I was starting to search for alternatives, I decided to just go. I was glad I did as I got an agent on the line as I was driving and she worked with me to re-book me through Houston, but I had a slightly earlier flight to Houston. Glad I was on the road.

What's more, she got me an aisle on the full flight to Houston, and a little more time for my connection to grab food in Houston. What's more, I got 2 seats to myself to London. Not as good as 3, but not bad. I ended up with an easy flight over the water, and got some sleep, arriving a touch later, but rested and ready.

I missed a meeting, but only one. I could have missed a whole day.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Power #3 - Another Tough Day

We weren't sure how Kendall's team would do today at their third Power tournament. They moved back up to the division #1 area and faced 3 tough teams again. Once again, it wasn't good. 0-6 for the day, competitive in 2, maybe 3 games at the most, blown out in one.

We prepped ourselves, getting a hotel in the Springs last night so we wouldn't have to get up early and drive so far. As a result, with a late start for our team, we could sleep until 7 this morning. We got there and it started rough, with Kendall jamming a finger early. I ran upstairs to get tape, and the coach taped her up, and she did OK in the first game. Not a blowout, but a 25-18 or so loss. Then things went down for us.

Kendall didn't play the second game, nor did she play in the second match, which was right after the first. Tia and I were wondering and couldn't really figure out why. Kendall did OK when she was in there, and the other girls in her spot don't seem to be that much better, so I'm not sure what went on. Tia plans on talking to the coach tomorrow night or Tuesday, so we'll see.

The girls didn't do that well, though they did get the second match games into the 20s before losing. Close, but the team just kept making mistakes and couldn't finish. The third match was after a break, and Kendall played one game, but not the other. She did OK, having a few scores and points made, but not that much time on the court. Overall it's a little disappointing to us, and Kendall as well.

Next weekend is the big Colorado tournament, and hopefully she'll play more.