Wednesday, April 29, 2015


I asked Kendall after school if she wanted to go to the gym. She said yes and disappeared in her room. I told her I was doing a class and she said no thanks. At 6:13, two minutes before I told her I wanted to leave, I called her and she walked out, workout clothes on. I was impressed she was ready to go, even though she said she was struggling to get motivated. Easy for her to skip, but she didn't.

We got to the gym and I went to class, while she went to do cardio. I told her I'd leave at 45 minutes in so she wouldn't be waiting around too long since she usually knocks off cardio after 30.

Class was tough. A new instructor, and he worked in a pattern, 3 sets of 4 exercises, then a switch to something new. Lots of jumping, movement, not a lot of arms, which was good with tendonitis in my elbow. Still a hard workout and I was out of breath, skipping sections.

I walked out to find Kendall doing her core work. She was doing 30s of planks alternating with 30s of stretching. She looks strong and was working hard, glad she had come with me. I told her she should have done the class. That's the tough kind of workout that would help her, and honestly, I think she might to better than me.

I didn't puke, though I was a bit shaky at the end.

Today when I dropped Kendall off, she asked if we could go again.

That girl is something.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Good Deed

Tia took Delaney to his Knowledge Bowl end of season party. We had the time wrong, so I had to wait for Kendall to get home. Sorry I missed it, as Delaney got another pin for his school letter. That’s two letters he’s earned at EHS: one for cross country and now one for Knowledge Bowl.

While she was gone, apparently a border called her and she texted me. One of our people was stuck. I walked outside, boots on, and sure enough, a little Yaris was stuck in the mud.

I grabbed a piece of plywood and we tried that, but it didn’t work. I didn’t think so, but the lady wanted to try. When that didn’t work, I grabbed the tow rope from the Suburban and hooked it up.

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I didn’t pull it, though it was briefly tempting. I’m too old to strain myself like that. I also didn’t try to push it out, which I might have ten years ago, but I didn’t want to get hurt, nor did I want to end up splattered with mud.

Another boarder was here, so she ended up driving her truck over since she was ready to leave. We hooked it up and she pulled the little car out.

It’s a muddy mess here and everything is covered, including my car. I’m hoping things start to dry out tomorrow and we can work on getting the driveway and road back in shape.

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The K's Movie and a Short Workout

I'm not sure if it's good or bad that I think 50 minutes is a short workout. That's what I got yesterday (30 elliptical, 20 bike), feeling pressure from the Ks. Kendall was having a rough morning and eventually decided to see a movie. She called Kyle and they arranged to meet at Southlands, with my dropping her off to meet him.

Fine, I thought, I'll do that and go to the gym. However when I arrived, Kyle had a friend that wasn't going to the movie, but was planning on taking his car back to our house to pick up hers (it's been here for a month). Hmm, apparently I had to come back and get them.

Thus, my unlimited gym time went down to an hour, with about a 15 minute drive to and from the gym.

It was OK, since I was tired anyway, though I'd have liked a bit more bike time and stretching cool down, as well as a bit of sauna time. However it was good to have the Ks enjoying some time together.

2 Fast 2 Furious

I hadn't ever seen the sequel to the Fast and the Furious, but when it was on sale for $5 as WalMart, I grabbed it. It's been on my desk for a week, but with the rain yesterday and a quiet day, I grabbed Delaney and we watched it after dinner last night. Silly, no Vin Diesel, aging graphics, but still an exciting movie with lots of action.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

2015 Book #30–Nailed

nailedA new series from Joseph Flynn, this one the Ron Ketchum series. We have Ron, chief of police in a small CA mountain town on a lake. When a black man is found crucified on a tree outside of town, he’s unsure what to do. Hence, the name, Nailed.

Like the President’s Henchman books, we have a somewhat exciting tale, but a bit of a farce that’s not serious. We have a billionaire mayor, rich residents, a black televangelist, and a former World Poker Champ from Texas.

Also, while the search for the killer takes place, we also have a mountain lion stalking people in town. There's Fish and Game Warden stalking the lion, trying to work with Ketchum as he splits his time between the murder and the lion. With the town afraid and the press all over, it's a rambunctious time.

It’s a crazy read, but a fun one. I enjoyed suspending disbelief and just reading the book.

2015 Book #29–Dead Weight

deadweightThe second Lizzy Gardner book. Dead Weight starts with a teenager on her own near the forests by Tahoe. She disappears, after her car breaks down. Twenty years later, Lizzy is hired to find out what happened. At the same time, she’s also hired to look for an obese girl  that disappeared.

Meanwhile, we have some insight into women locked in a cabin, by someone that’s forcing them to lose weight, but it’s hard to tell if this is something they want or it’s against their will.

It's a ride, as Lizzy is her usual tenacious, but also flawed self. We see the characters of Hayley and Jessica develop a bit and we also have Lizzy trying to get closer to Jared in this one. It's not a great book, but it's an evolution and while it contains some murders, we don't have the completely crazy ride with serial killers.

However we do get to see Hayley confront the guy that's abused her mother at the end, leaving us with a cliffhanger of sorts.

Lazy Day

It feels like I should be doing more, but it's nice to have a bit of a lazy day. Tia has a clinic for the Mounted Patrol today, teaching new people a few things, so I got up to help her get ready, clean the kitchen and get lunch ready for them.

However, I decided to read a bit, and then work on a few projects in the house. I cleaned out my phone and processed some videos I've been meaning to get done. I also managed to straighten up a bit and get some laundry done. All in all, a quiet day.

However I do need to get to the store and get a few things done, so I'll work on that for a bit.

Friday, April 24, 2015


Made it back last night on a smooth trip from SFO. Had a few drinks with a friend, napped on the flight, and landed on time. A nice drive back in the X5 and then time to lay and chat with Tia about our week apart from each other.

I was glad to get back to my truck, but more importantly, I was glad to be in control of my destiny again. I struggled with being on a bus all week, and on a schedule that wasn't my own as other people told me when to come and go from the hotel, where and when to eat, etc. The lack of freedom bothers me more and more.

Glad to get back to my trips where I have a car and choose my own schedule.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

ATT Park

My first time at the park. I’m in Palo Alto at VMware for training this week and they scheduled a night out at the park. Bumgarner v Kershaw.

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We bussed up near the stadium and walked in from the  South. It was a neat view walking over.

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We had great seats, under cover and behind home.

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It was a good game, and I enjoyed it. Other than a quick walk around the stadium, I sat and watched. A nice, relaxing game with a few exciting moments.

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A late night, and we didn’t leave until almost 11 and back to the hotel near 12. Tired, but a good time.

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I did complete the course

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2015 Book #28–Abducted

abductedAbducted is the first book in the Lizzy Gardner series. I grabbed this one after reading #4 and enjoyed it.

We get some history, with the book moving between the past (when Lizzy was abducted as a high schooler) and the present, when she’s a decade past, teaching teenagers to defend themselves, and gets drawn back into a case with her kidnapper. He was  never caught, she escaped, and he got married. However his wife died and he went back to kidnapping girls.

The book goes back and forth from the serial killer/kidnapper and Lizzy as she meets Hayley (in the later books), Jessica, who’s a college kid in this one, Jared, her former high school boyfriend, and we get some background on her sister.

It’s a good book. Certainly the writing is simpler and less polished than the later book, but enjoyable.

2015 Book #27–Obsessed

obsessedA mystery, part of a series, involving a serial killer. Fascinating, as it incorporates a fictional book, also called Obsessed, inside the novel. The fictional novel is about a serial killer who’s a woman, and in the actual story a woman psychologist is being framed for a murder. Or a series.

The book starts with a guy that is struggling in his marriage (his wife had an affair) and he thinks he’s protecting a radio psychologist from a stalker she talked about on her show. He finds a guy sneaking around her house and kills him.

Unfortunately, we find out that there was no stalker. That was a neighbor she’s having an affair with. She’s talked a friend, however, into making fake calls to her show as a stalker. When the stalker comes on the air, the Obsessed guy thinks there is another stalker and kills him.

Meanwhile, we have Lizzy Gardner, private eye in Sacramento. She’s got her crew of employees and friends, along with her FBI fiancee in the story. It’s a complex set of relationships that is hard to follow in the writing and I found myself confused for a bit. She has a few cases, one of which is to help the psychologist.

It’s a multiple plot line story that’s blended together and confusing at times. However I enjoyed it and picked up the earlier books in the series after this one.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Getting Old

Up at 5:15 again in CA, but struggled to get moving. I snoozed the alarm until 5:30 and thought about skipping things. Since we got to the Giants game tonight, I was thinking I might walk around the stadium a few times.

However I dragged myself up and got on the bike for 20 minutes, just having time to shower and then make my 6:30 bus.

A long week of training. Yesterday was better, since I crashed after getting to my Palo Alto hotel at 10:30 Monday night. I managed to get moving at 5:15 and do 24 min on the elliptical and work hard.

This was after a long day Monday traveling. I made it to the airport a bit early, after a nice lunch with Tia. I got to my gate, opened the laptop, and worked for a bit over an hour. I got on the plane, a small jet (4 across) and sat down. I was reading since the space was small and waiting to take off. I looked up to see

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Every oxygen mask had dropped from the ceiling. Not the best way to start a flight, but not overly alarming to me. After all, these are made to deploy with the plane still flying.

However there are FAA rules, and get had to deplane while they worked on the issue. After 2 hours, they cancelled my fight. Too late to get the delayed flight to San Francisco. I started to get into line, but called United Customer Service. When I got through, they had already moved my booking to a later flight to San Francisco. My app hadn’t updated, but I appreciated the United people actually doing the work automatically.

I had 2 more hours to kill, and needed to eat since I knew I wouldn’t get to CA until 9pm and then needed to get to San Jose. Too late for dinner. I did speak with the car service and let them know my time and airport had changed (I was going to San Jose).  Before I ate, I did a lap and a half around the Denver terminal, getting a bit of exercise.

After dinner, a long flight to SF. No chance to work with a narrow space in a middle seat. I got there, but landed with a message from the car company that they hadn’t sent a car since they were confused about the airports. I talked to them and they said they weren’t sure when a car could get to SFO.


I called my contact with VMWare, the company that had booked the travel arrangements and was paying for the training. The contact decided to come get me, which was fine. About the time I got to Palo Alto, I got a call from the car service that they’d sent a driver.


I hit the hotel and basically lay in bed, reading for 20 min before I went to sleep.

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A long week, and the training is good, but I’m ready to get home and back to my routine.

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Lineup

Can you pick me out?



Sunday, April 19, 2015

Power 6

The last volleyball tournament of the season for Kendall's 14 National team. It's ending a lot earlier than last year, but I think it's been a better year, overall, for her.

Once again, up before 6 to get ready. Boy was I tired.

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We're getting better at this, and I had the car loaded with the chair and food when Kendall came down. Uma wasn't happy she couldn't go.

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I went black and white for most of the day with my phone. No real reason, just wanted to shoot differently. Kendall went through her routine, with the addition of tape on her sore wrist and cut shin. Way too much diving this week at practice.

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We don't always see the girls getting ready, but this time we were upstairs watching them. They start the day writing down some goals to keep track of for the match. No more than two mistakes serving (per player) was one. Kendall was perfect today.

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The first set was ugly. 25-4. A few good plays from Kendall, but mostly the other team stunk.

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Kendall played middle for this one, before sitting for the second set. I thought that made sense. No reason to give her a chance to hurt herself when the team wasn't as good as ours. We won something like 25-12 this time.

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The girls had to ref and then go back out for match 2. We thought this would be tougher, but we should beat this team.

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We didn't. We had a rough first match, just making mistakes. It was close, but we lost.

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Kendall served well. Hitting her spots, though her team just made some mistakes and she didn't get many points.

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Once again she was a middle in this game, and had a few nice hits over. Nothing hard, but some good placement. Our setter didn't go well.

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She got her hands on a few, touching some. I think she got a block in this game, but not many on the day. However she was active at the net.

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We won the second set to force a third. We were all nervous, but hopeful. We're won the second and did OK in the first while not playing well. Did I mention Kendall had great serves?

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The second match was good as it was the first time Kendall played all the way around with the full team. She was the outside hitter, going through the back row as a defensive player.

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She had some good hits from the outside, but not a lot of sets. However she enjoyed being on the court the whole time.

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The third match should have been ours. We were ahead, and at 13-11, we gave away 5 points to lose. That was a disappointment for the girls, and the parents were grousing a bit. I hate that, but I understand how involved everyone feels. The girls were a little down, but they had a bit of a break before the third match.

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I watched some from upstairs, which isn't a great view, but it makes for some interesting pictures. Kendall was back in the middle, rotating through and still serving well.

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The first set was close, but we won near the end. The girls were excited for the second match. It was a new rotation again, and Kendall didn't play much, but the girls made a lot of mistakes and it got out of hand. We lost 25-14, and it wasn't that close.

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Still, we had a third match, and played hard. Once again, what I think of as the first team was out there and they played well. Kendall worked hard and a close match at the turn (8-7) went out way.

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Some good blocks by Kendall and some nice pushes to the side.

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We won 15-11. The girls were quite excited.

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The loss earlier in 3 and then winning in 3 put Kendall's team in 2nd in their pool. No pin today, but one last crossover match to close out the year. We were excited to see the girls battle through their last game.

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Kendall started on the bench, and then was in a rotation as a defensive, back row player only.

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The coach asked her if she wanted middle again or back row, and she chose it. Afterwards she said it was really fun and she wants to do more. She wants to hit, but she doesn't want to rotate out in the back.

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A good serve from Kendall, but only a couple. Her team fell apart and just couldn't finish points. We had a complete whiff, swing at a ball and another that landed at someone's feet. Just bad volleyball.

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The other team won going away and that's that.

Still, a good season overall. Really has me thinking about asking to assistant coach next year, and we'll see how it goes. We are going to try some other clubs and make a decision in August.

Now it's a final party at our house in a two weeks and then training all summer to get Kendall in great shape.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

2015 Book #26–Influx

influxI enjoyed the Daemon  book from Suarez and I picked this one up on a recommendation from a friend. Influx is an interesting story. A startup finds a way to bend gravity, a gravity mirror. A terrorist group appears at their warehouse and kills everyone.

However the founder isn’t killed. He’s been captured by a government group that manages advanced technology, preventing it from causing problems in the world. They offer Jon Grady the chance to join them and continue work on his gravity mirror. He refuses and gets imprisoned by them.

The prison is horrible, with an AI that seeks to learn about him and understand him. It tortures him to force compliance. Eventually he’s saved as other prisoners there show him how to fool the AI and take control of his cell.

From the it’s a wild thriller as Grady is brought back to the world, escapes, and then fights to save his fellow prisoners as well as destroy the agency.

A great, fun read.

How Are We Supposed to Understand Education Cost?

Like many, I saw a piece on "The Real Reason College Tuition Costs So Much" from a professor in Boulder. It made some sense to me, though certainly I've been skeptical of headline making pieces from Boulder where some people seem to be out on the fringe of society at times.

However it had the ring of truth. I've seen my alma mater grow with more new buildings that I think are necessary. I haven't noted enrollment growing dramatically, however I have seen the President make much more money than I think they're worth. I find the idea that anyone is worth $1mm a year somewhat silly as a salary. I've also suspected that we're paying more for administration than I think it is worth.

I'm not sure, and I'm willing to include some skepticism that my thoughts aren't correct. I saw a friend repost the link on Facebook, and then in the comments I glanced through (rarely a good idea), I saw these items:

As I read through them, how am I, or anyone, supposed to understand what's happening. It seems as though there's somewhat shoddy journalism all around, agendas to distort the issue, and certainly no shortage of people commenting or noting their own beliefs with a level of factuality that seems silly.

There is no one issue for why tuition is so expensive. There are probably many issues, but how can we even begin to distill this issue down when so many people loudly crowd a discussion with shouts of "school is a ripoff" or "it's criminal we don't support schools" or other widely disparate and diverging points of view.

It seems that almost every issue in politics these days, from financial reform to healthcare to security to benefits suffers from these issues. We don't have any intellectualism from either side looking at issues.

It's disturbing and sad.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

2015 Book #25–Warship

warshipI enjoy the space operas, especially military ones. Ever since The Lost Fleet, I’ve been looking for another series. I’m not sure the Black Fleet is going to be it, but I really enjoyed it.

Warship is the first book in the series. We meet Jackson Wolfe, captain of an old ship. He’s assigned a new XO, one he didn’t choose, and obviously a plot by the admiral to somehow discredit him. When he’s forced by a military intelligence agent to race out to the rim without being able to test his ship, he’s upset, but he learns that he has a mission.

He’s sent to discover why some systems have dropped off the map. He’s told it might be an attack by one of the human factions in space. Apparently lots of groups left Earth when faster than light travel was discovered and Earth has become to slum of the universe. Humans have never met aliens, and some of the older ships, not assigned to a faction’s defense, patrol around as the Black Fleet.

As Wolfe heads to the Xia system, he discovers the planet almost barren. A team heads down and investigates and a crew member is killed form an apparent alien life form like a blob. The ship heads back to another system, sending probes back to the main military command. The answer from the admiral is that he’s going to be discharged, and he should put his XO in charge. He doesn’t, but he commands like a man on his last cruise.

In another system, he meets and alien ship and manages to hurt it, while surviving. When he flees to another human settlement, the aliens pursue.

It’s a military story, with the shock of the aliens causing unrest in the crew. There’s a mutiny attempt, as well as the troubles of dealing with aliens that have vastly superior technology.

A good first book, and I’m looking forward to the other ones.

Growing Up

Scouts tonight, with Delaney and I going so he could try and finish a merit badge. He’s been working on emergency preparedness and last Saturday he  went to a mobilization for the county west of here. He sent this picture to Tia and I.

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I knew what it was right away, but I think it surprised Tia. He said it was good, and since that was one of the harder requirements, I had him working on it last night and today after school.

He went through everything and was down to a bug-out bag for the house. We hadn’t really done one, and we should have one anyway. It’s a good idea, so he and I will do it on Saturday.

He stood up and talked about the experience Saturday with a few other Scouts. I grabbed a picture because he stood out.

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I remember when Delaney was as tall as the kid standing in front of the flag, who’s a little kid one year behind Kendall. It’s neat to see these kids growing up and now Delaney is one of the tallest in the troop.

We had our summer Scout shirts on tonight and I managed to grab Delaney when we got home for a picture. He tried to get away, but I grabbed him on the stairs.

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Now we just need to get Delaney to spend an hour or two on Saturday and get the Emergency Preparedness and Sustainability badges done. It should be quick, and I’m hoping to get a bit of time from him to work on finalizing his Eagle Packet and sending it to the District to schedule his presentation.

Proud of him, but hoping we can keep moving forward.

Monday, April 13, 2015

2015 Book #24 - This is Where I Leave You

My wife recommended this. She actually had me watch the movie, and I enjoyed it, so I started reading This Is Where I Leave You on a trip.

It's an interesting story. The book is a bit cruder and more NSFW than the movie. I kept picturing Jason Bateman and Tina Fey (And others) as I was reading. A father dies. His family (3 sons and a daughter and widow) must sit shiva for 7 days in their house. The kids are grown up, with various issues, and they come home. The book really follows the middle kid, Judd, as he struggles to maintain his marriage and his return to the town he grew up in.

It's funny. It's silly. It's a bit crude. It's entertaining and thoughtful. There are moral dilemmas, and there are situations that probably wouldn't occur, but it's good.

Read the book, then see the movie. I wish I had.

2015 Book #23 - Gone Tomorrow

A re-read. I was in the mood for Jack Reacher, and Gone Tomorrow was on my device.

Cars, Trucks, Traffic, and Speed

I had to drop off my X5 this morning for an issue with the Parking sensors. The service lady at Murray BMW noted that one of my sensors might have gotten pushed in somehow and that's the issue. I have no idea how that happened, but they took it and should call later. They gave me a 328i as a loaner, and it operates like the X5 and has a BMW feel to it.

However it's a car, and while it's better than my experience in LA, it's not what I want. I'm low, my legs are a little stretch out, it's not what I enjoy. The only plus, for me, is that the programmable buttons are more conveniently situated for me as they're up high. In the X5, they're low. All in all, the 328 is nice, but not what I want.

It is easier to drive than the Mustang I had this weekend. When I walked out to the rental car area, I saw a number of items, but the Mustang intrigued me. I was jealous of the few people in high school that had them, so I decided to grab it. A 2015 black one, that was neat to look at.

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Getting in, I was reminded of the 911. A tight, enclosing vehicle that grabs you. I drove out and down to Hermosa Beach for a little work and lunch. The car handled the LA freeways fine and accelerated from 55-80 quickly. Quite the drive.

After some work, I headed back to the hotel, which was the Hilton at LAX. Parking there is below ground, actually 4-6 levels down. Lots of turning in circles through the garages to get down there. I didn't like that, and the long hood, low angles, and tight rear pillars made it hard to see and drive. Parking was another whole adventure, requiring me to get out and move the car a few times to get it into a spot and not too close to other vehicles.

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At night I started down to San Diego to see some friends, but bailed in traffic. It is incredibly annoying to be in LA traffic, and I made it to Dana Point before pulling off and having dinner there. I enjoyed that, experiencing some LA/California food and atmosphere, which isn't really me. I like the beach and water, but prefer a simpler, Va Beach or Pensacola to the pretentious LA area.

All in all, I probably drove 250-300 miles in LA and it confirmed what I thought. The 911 had to go and I needed a truck. The long doors, which are hard to park with, but also hard to get in and out of. The low visibility and low profile drive great, but they aren't my thing.

Returning home, I was glad to be in the X5, sitting up, higher, and a little more room.

I did enjoy the beach, and sent Kendall a few pix. I suspect they confirmed that she wants to go to CA at some point.

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Back Home

I arrived back yesterday from a quick trip to LA. It was neat to be out there, interesting to drive a few hundred miles on LA freeways, and see an amazing view as I left LAX and looped around over the city to come home.

It's an amazing place, and there are some great things that I can see attracting people to live there. Heck, I think it's neat. Spending Thursday at Hermosa Beach brought back all the memories of living near there. It's a great lifestyle, and one I could enjoy, especially with the water nearby.

However then there's the traffic. The cost. The hassles of so many people living there. All in all, it's not really my style.

A great place to visit, but not where I'd want to live.

Friday, April 10, 2015

LA Traffic Really Sucks

I arrived in LA yesterday early afternoon. My plan was to work a few hours, run on the beach, and then head to Oceanside (N San Diego) for dinner with friends.

Almost none of that worked correctly.

I arrived, about 20 minutes late due to some issue on the flight. I started to work, but ran into issues. Some software (from my company) had expired, and I was struggling to get things working. My lunch extended, and I really only had time for a walk along the beach for 10 minutes.

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I did send a few pictures to Kendall of the beach, probably ensuring she’s going to come here somewhere for college, but I thought she’d like seeing the beach and all the volleyball nets at Hermosa Beach.

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The weather was great, slightly cool, but I had a jacket since it had snowed in Denver Wed night.

I checked into the hotel around 4:00, getting to my room and hoping to exercise, but I had a couple more hours of work before I could break and hit the gym. No time to really hit the beach for a jog. Perhaps Sat morning.

I finished and started to head down to San Diego, but traffic on the 405 was crazy. Slow, moving at 30mph for most of the time until I got near Seal Beach. At the point I gave up on San Diego. It’s an hour down there, not taking 2, and I decided to stop.

I did continue to Laguna Nigel, and Dana Point for a nice quiet dinner. A small restaurant there, reminding me of my time in San Diego. One glass of wine, and then I enjoyed the drive back.

I had rented a Mustang, which is a powerful car, and surprisingly getting 28mpg. However it’s got a long hood, it’s small, reminding me of the Porsche 911. I’m glad I moved to an SUV, and somewhat wished I’d rented one.

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It’s a nice car, though not for me. Certainly the “in and out” as well as the trouble seeing out the windows are a pain. However it feels like a SoCal car.

I had a California geek moment, hitting Fry’s for the first time ever here. I’ve heard about this geek store for years, but never been in one. However my backup drive failed last night and I needed a new one this morning.

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