Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Trailer Issues

Tia was planning on taking the trailer to a horse race this weekend while I have Uma duty. No big deal, as I'll go play some baseball over the weekend while Tia and the kids are gone.

We were thinking we needed to get some things checked out, so I went outside this afternoon and started to turn things on. I'd checked lights and radio before, but not anything else. I hooked up a hose and got water working, which was an unpleasant surprise. I need to make some notes, so here they are.

  1. Turn off valves in the spring - too many things were on, including all faucets.
  2. Make sure the outside drains are closed.
  3.  Be sure the anti-freeze hose valve inside is closed.
  4.  Be sure the valve from the pump is open before you switch on the pump.
I got the generator to fire up, and I think we need to be sure we're running it  regularly. However I couldn't get AC working. Eventually I had to call the guy and he had my go on the roof, where I did find a bird's nest in the compressor area, but the fan still wouldn't run. I have the feeling we have a warranty replacement coming.

The fridge is running, and I'll check later. Other stuff seems to work, but we probably need an RV store trip for a few things and need to load up the camper with pots, pans, sheets, towels, cups, mugs, etc.

2015 Book #45 - Fever Dream

The beginning of a mini-series in the Pendergast novels. In Fever Dream we have Pendergast fulfilling an obligation to return to New Orleans and the family house. However there he realizes his wife was murdered, not killed by a lion. This starts the chase, with D'Agnosta helping him to get to the bottom of the mystery. Exciting, and a quick read.

Monday, June 29, 2015

2015 Book #44 - Cemetary Dance

Cemetery Dance is a re-read, and a familiar story in the Pendergast series, with strange things happening in New York and at the Museum. It's sad, however, as Smithback is killed. I barely remember reading it, so I'm glad I went back, but I was sad throughout this one. I liked Smithback.

New Kitty


An interesting baseball game last night. We lost, and I set the tone with my drop of the first throw to first on the first batter. Not sure what happened, with a new third baseman that just drifted the ball to the right and it hit the top of my glove and fell out. No harm there, but we eventually gave up too many runs on some good hits by them and some bad defense by us, including a pick off throw, low, that went through my legs.


On the positive side, I hit the ball decently. Made contact all four at bats, a double over the right fielder's head to start, a pop up into shallow left that was caught. A hard grounder to second, and a hard hit one to right center that the center fielder made a great play on. All in all, 1-4, but I felt better swinging and seeing the ball.

I did end up playing an inning in right and two at second where nothing happened. A disappointing performance, but still fun to be out there.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

2015 Book #43 - Wheel of Darkness

A re-read for me. I remember getting through Wheel of Darkness one Thanksgiving a few years back. This one is after the Diogenes series, with Pendergast and Constance in Nepal, studying. The book has them chasing a theft from the monastery. They end up on a cruise ship where strange things happen across the Atlantic.

A more exciting read this time, on the heels of the Diogenes trilogy.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

2015 Book #42 - Personal

The latest Jack Reacher, as of now, and my second read of it. After the last two, I was a bit hooked on the series, so I read Personal again.

It's a fast paced item story that involves snipers again. Reacher is on the hunt for a former sniper he sent to prison that's been released. After an attempt on the French ambassador, Reacher starts flying around to track down the sniper, which includes a lot of work in the UK against local gangs. A great read.

Friday, June 26, 2015

2015 Book #41 - Never Go Back

Another re-read. On vacation, after finishing the previous book, I started Never Go Back. I've read it twice, but it's a good story, with Reacher meeting Susan Turner, after being pulled back into the Army.

Definitely worth the read.


Shouldn't be news but it is. We are all equal for marriage with today's ruling. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

2015 Book #40 - Worth Dying For

A re-read. I ran out of books on a flight and started this Jack Reacher, which I'd enjoyed. Worth Dying For, the second in a series where Reacher meets Susan Turner. Here he's distracted by a small town in Nebraska on his way to Virginia, while trying to recover from his injuries in 61 Hours.

Quite a story and an exciting (and sad) read.

The Virginia Champions

Last night was the final game of the College World Series. Once again, for the second year in a row, it was Virginia v Vanderbilt, a rematch and just like last year, the first two games were a split. As we got home from volleyball, I saw the score was 4-2 Virginia in the 8th. I had hoped to watch it on ESPN, but the TVs weren't working for some reason. Ours couldn't see the satellite and the one downstairs wouldn't turn on.

So I downloaded the WatchESPN app on my phone, verified my DirecTv account, and watched the bottom of the 8th, and the 9th, on my phone. Tia probably thought I was silly, but it was exciting. I saw some great pitching and a few plays, some drama with Vander players on base in both innings, and a watched, called third strike to help Virginia win it's first national championship.

Last year the Cavs were favored to win, and when they lost the first game, I was disappointed. They won the second, but really Vandy beat them in the third. This year they started well, had a rough stretch with a worse team, and then finished strong as a 3rd seed. They weren't expected to win, but they did.

I've noted a few times as I look back in life that I'm proud to have attended Virginia and loved my time, but if I could do it again, I'd have gone to a smaller school and played baseball. I had no change at Virginia, where even though they haven't won titles, they've had good teams and gone to the CWS a few times. I had no chance to play there.

Cool to see them win, and exciting as an alum. Proud of those kids.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Flag Has Come Down, What Now?

A friend posted that he was sad all the talk in South Caroline after the shootings seems to be about the flag, and not enough about the victims, or even the future. He wrote this:

"Conversations like this one are a good first step, but they're few and far between. The flag has come down over SC; what now?"

My take:

It's a good question. I don't even know how to approach this. Part of the problem, to me, is that we have to consider history. The current problems we have are a result of history. There is an imbalance of power and that still exists. It's the result of why things like woman's issues in the workforce are still an issue. It's not that there aren't ways for women to get promoted or move up, but that many people in power still maintain prejudices or views that cause issues.

I see similar things with affirmative action. While many strides have been made, there's still plenty of limitations and struggles that minorities face.

To me, ignore the white supremacist action. That will always be around, but it can be limited and driven underground with more open and common interactions. Police shouldn't view "blacks" (or hispanics, or anyone else) as likely or less than anyone else. There is still a problem there. Education needs to be more fair. My kid, your kid, none of our kids does a single thing to deserve more education than any kid in the ghetto. That's all on you or I, our success, but it has nothing to do with kids being deserving of more or less education.

We should be looking at any of the issues where we have severe imbalances in races. People are people. My travels across the world show me that people are people everywhere. They have the same faults and frailties. There are minorities of criminals in all races. There are issues that come about because of poverty no matter your color.
We need conversations that look to the future and making the world better. Not defending our position, not blaming others for their lack of progress, but a way to step forward. Together.

2015 Book #39 - Incriminating Evidence

Incriminating Evidence is the second legal thriller in the Mike Daley/Rosie Rodriguez series. I really enjoyed the first one and was glad this one was on Kindle Unlimited.

This one starts a year or so after the last one. Mike has opened his legal practice, renting a space from Rosie. He's called at the beginning by his former partner in the large law firm from the first book, Skipper, who's the DA. He's woken up in a hotel room with a dead body and he's been arrested. Will Mike defend him.

The whole book is Skipper looking worse and worse, Mike somehow not believing him, but still working through the case. It comes down to the end, though you can probably guess the end.

The writing is good, but you have to pay attention. Lots of times in a dialog, we get Mike's internal commentary in the middle, which you can miss if you don't watch the quotes. It's a good technique, letting us in his mind while something else is going on.

Read the first one and you'll want to read this one.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


About 24 hours of travel, but we made it. We got up around 6am GMT yesterday (Tia a bit earlier) and got to the airport for a 7:50am flight. It was delayed, slightly, but we got going on our 8.5 hour journey to Chicago.

We arrived early, easily and relatively quickly, cleared customs though they pulled me from the short line to be reviewed by an agent. Not sure why since I'm Global Entry. Maybe because I didn't use Global Entry? Who knows.

We got some lunch and walked to our gate. I didn't see anything on the monitor or a plane, so I checked and I'm glad. Tia had walked away and I found out our flight had been cancelled. Weather, apparently, which looked like this:

With 100mph winds, lots of flights were delayed or cancelled. My quick call got us on a 7:17pm flight, which was the best they could do. Apparently all the airlines had issues and moved passengers, so we were lucky to even get out. Our flight was full, with dozens more on the waiting list, presumably hoping to get on the 9:00pm flight.

With seven hour to kill, we wandered a bit, sat and did some bills and work, including booking holiday time in Steamboat. We looked at cruises, but didn't decide, though we changed our minds a bit with more info. We also watched some of the UK and US episodes of the Office, trying to compare them. I think the US is better, but probably a cultural thing, and a more experienced director. We had a nice view on a dreary day, sitting near the indoor garden in O'Hare.

Finally we boarded, and made it home around 9:30, a busy airport slowed us getting to the car and we greeted the dogs closer to 11pm. About 6am GMT time.

A long day, but glad to be home.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Bicycling in Ireland

We woke up late. Travel is hard, and we were tired. I got up earlier, but I'd crashed early from allergies. In any case, we checked out of the hotel, and left our bags, setting out on foot to explore a little Dublin.

Our first stop was a little cafe/bakery that Tia had wanted to eat dinner in on Saturday. However, they were full and we moved on. We went back and had a little lunch and packed up a brownie and cake. We didn't make it far, however, as I needed some coffee. Benedryl tires me, so we got coffee and had sweets across from Trinity College.

I'd taken the tour bus my last time, but I'm not sure it was great. Plus Tia and I don't mind walking, so we set out for the 3mi walk to Kilmainhem Goal. I'd enjoyed my tour and Tia wanted to see it. We had a good walk, but kept passing a rack of bikes you can rent. We decided to skip it for the walk out, but maybe on the way back.

We decided too, messing with the system a bit and getting some help from a French guy, and eventually had two bikes that we pedaled down the main street in Dublin.

We stopped at a market and got some things, and I was glad we were on bikes since we would have been late walking back to the hotel for our flight.

A simple, quiet day in Dublin and a nice time. Definitely need to go back, but in the fall or winter. The pollen really bothered me this trip.

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Day Out

We had a day out on Friday, and it was great. I was hoping Tia would be there, but it was really for the company only. She could have come, but declined.

I had fun, with lots of games. We had some brain games first, safe cracking and defusing a bomb by cracking a code.

We also had to get this black box out of the square, without stepping in, using only the stuff on the outside. Running out of time, the guy helped us, though not sure we'd have gotten it on our own.

We had to jump a spinner, like Wipeout, which was fun. I held to the last two on my group, but it skimmed my foot at the end for a loss.

We also had a tug of war. One of my team members got me in sequence. It turned out pretty good, and we actually snapped the bungie. This was my second try and I won.

The first try, however, was the one that I was proud of. I went against a kid we'd just hired from the US. He was a football player, an OL, from the University of Washington. This was his drill. Take off and go 20 feet on command. I lost 2/3, but took one from him, which was something. He's 23, I'm 47. Not bad.

Lots of other stuff, and a fun day overall.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Another Early Morning

Up at 6 yesterday, and again today. Actually woke at 4:30, but decided it was too early and napped until up at 6. With a trip across the ocean tonight, being up early makes adjustments better tomorrow when I have a full day of work.

A quiet day yesterday, working along and getting the Suburban serviced.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Back to Baseball

A mid day baseball game today. After cutting grass this morning, I headed out for a game at North. I missed last week and was ready to go. At least I thought. A rough first inning for the team, making some mistakes and giving up 4 runs. I missed a bad throw at first that I should have pulled more to get, but it happens.

I made up later, getting a couple grounders at first and making a great stretch to turn a double play on a bad throw. At bat I got caught the first time and struck out. The pitcher, throwing hard, gave me 4 outside pitches, which I missed two and then threw one inside and got me leaning too far. Couldn't swing and had to let it go. The second time he almost did it again, going in, out, and in, but I caught the ball and drove it into shallow right for a hit. The third time a new pitcher threw much slower, and junk and I hit a hard one to first that he bobbled, but it was right there and he got me.

All in all a good game for me. Too many mistakes by the team, and too few hits, and we lost, but still fun.

2015 Book #38 - Take Down

Recommended by a friend, though I love James Swain. Take Down is a standalone book, set in Vegas. We have a con man, a swindler that makes a good living with a small crew of people. However, something's gone wrong with a setup and he's arrested. Much of the book is a flashback, with some interruptions as he tells his story to the police, who are sure he's leaving things out.

He is.

It's an exciting ride. We see his crew pull a job, and then get blackmailed into accepting a position with a large hotel that is sure they're going to be robbed. They caught an advance man, and killed him, but don't know who or how the crime will take place.

Billy Cunningham, our narrator, is trying to get out of the blackmail scheme, protect his crew, and steal some money. He's shadowed by two former NFL players who take delight in beating him a bit, but he manages to turn them on their employers and fool them in the end.

This is my kind of book. Gambling, cons, misdirection, and writing that leads us in one direction before switching things around. This would be a great movie.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

2015 Book #37 - The Book of the Dead

The Book of the Dead is the third in the Diogenes trilogy and the seventh in the Pendergast series. It starts just after The Dance of the Dead ends, and while it's a re-read, I didn't remember some of this book and am glad I went through it.

This book begins with the destruction of the museum's diamond collection. We still have Mendez disguised, with no one sure he is Diogenes. While everyone is frantic, there's a check from an anonymous donor to reopen an ancient Egyptian tomb in the museum's basement. While Nora tries to get that ready, while fending off the advances of a British Egyptologist, there are some mysterious killings, with a few people apparently going mad.

We can see from the outside Diogenes is a part of it, but Pendergast and D'Agnosta are searching to try and figure out the strange murders in the city and don't connect things until the grand opening of the museum.

It's an exciting read, with the chase of Diogenes coming at the end in a way that's very thrilling.

Air Force Camp

Kendall finished up her week long All-skills volleyball camp yesterday. She had gone last year and enjoyed it, so we signed her up again. Tia and I headed up on Friday morning to watch the last session where the girls play scrimmages.
Kendall was on a team with mostly high school girls. A couple freshmen, but everyone was older than her. She looked lackluster and slow, and really, really tired. She'd called us every night this week, and told us constantly how tired she was.

She played well, however, at times. She didn't get a lot of sets, but was up and down and had a great block that I happened to catch above.

Her defense was great, and we saw her diving for balls and moving well,

Some nice serves as well. She's come a long way with her jump server and while it's not overpowering, it's hard and it dives nicely. She drops it between the front and back rows regularly, and scores some nice points.

We didn't see a lot of chances for her to hit. She moved from right side hitter to left, and did well. Part of this was my slow camera work with the iPhone, but I got a few.

Camp ended at noon with an exhausted girl. We gathered her up and took her to lunch, giving her a break as she was due to start the hitting camp Fri night, going through the weekend.

We had a nice break, which I think Kendall needed. We were happy to give her support, though it meant I didn't get to work much and I'm on the computer on a Saturday trying to catch up.

We decided to see how the evening went. Kendall napped in the truck while Tia and I had a little walk before signing her in for the weekend and watching for a couple hours last night.

The girls warmed up and then were split into different positions. Kendall was with the hitters, and they started drills. The coaches warned them this wasn't like other camps. They were going to move hard and fast, and they needed to rest between sessions, not take other practice.

I think they were right. The girls were split into roughly three groups and they'd run through a drill on one court as outsides, then switch after a few minutes to middles, then to right sides. They had the chance to shag balls while half the group hit, which was good. When they were hitting, there was little downtime.

We could see many of the girls getting tired, but Kendall was all into the work. She volunteered to help demonstrate every drill, and had way more energy and excitement. Tia and I think the time we spent with her really helped.

It was harder to take pictures, but it was exciting. When they got to clicks, Kendall looked good and when they finished up with a little scrimmage, she got a great block and was excited. Neat to see her with so much enthusiasm. She high fived teammates and gave an audible, "yeah".

Now she has three sessions today , and one tomorrow before Kyle picks her up. I'm sure she'll be exhausted. We considered an open gym tomorrow night to help her start tryouts for next year's clubs, but I think we'll hold off a week.

Thursday, June 11, 2015


A flood warning on the way home, with a hard thunderstorm coming down. We got home to see this.

Torn ACL

It was Tia two years ago, and my last year. This year it's Uma.

She's torn her rear left ACL running around. We took her in a few months ago when she was limping, had her in the house for a few weeks, and she was better. However a week or so ago she took a turn for the worse. I went to a vet earlier this week and they confirmed it. However the procedure that works best had to be done by someone else, and we took her in for an exam today.


Scheduled for the week when we get back from the UK. Hopefully she doesn't make it worse and it heals.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Working Outside

Not really outside but in the camper. I wanted a change of scenery, so I went outside to do a bit of writing. A good thing that was on my agenda as the wireless signal didn't reach through all that metal

Still it was nice to be out there, quiet and peaceful. Except for the rain. Getting tired of that. 

The King

I've been a Lebron James fan for a long time. It was exciting to see this kid get so much hype, come out of high school and take off in the NBA. I didn't remember Kobe doing that (who I also root for), but I did for LeBron. I was hoping he'd clash against the Lakers for years and have great games.

He only made it to one finals in Cleveland, and he was run out of the gym then. Arguably he had a poor team that he willed to the finals, but they were no match for the Spurs. When he went to Miami, I was excited, and was sure that all the hate, all the prognostications of failure early in the season would go wrong.

They did, and though he lost in the Finals, I thought it was amazing he could go to a team, with another new star player, and get to the Finals that year. It somewhat reminded me of the Lakers/Detroit series when the Lakers should have won, but didn't play as a team.

I'm glad he won two more, though I was disappointed in their play last year, which was poor. It reminded me of the bad series he had against Boston in the East finals with Cleveland when he left early. A bad move, and one I was sorry to see.

What happened last night was amazing. I was sure the Cavaliers would get blown out this game and the Warriors would win the series. I didn't want that, but with no Irving, with James exhausted, I thought that was the outcome. Busy with family, I turned on the game at the start of the fourth and had to watch. Up 15 or 16, I watched the Warriors come back and the Cavaliers falter. They truly lack offense, and that's an issue.

However both teams seemed to be playing one person ball. The Cavs focused on Curry only, who was stunning. That young man can shoot. The Warriors keying on James, sending 3+ people at him, and intercepting passes. Yet he still won. With help from Dellavadova, but still, it was mostly James.

I think the Cavs have a good chance to win. Maybe in 5, maybe in 6, maybe in 7. Hard to tell, but they're playing hard. They have overcome the loss of Irving. They got past Chicago, which I didn't think they would, after the loss of Love.

The King is the King, and showing it. It's exciting to see history happening in front of me.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Looking Back

From Timehop

Double Workout

Last night we were going to try out the camper, but Tia had a bunch of stuff scheduled for today and decided it was a bad night. So I decided to hit the gym and take Delaney. He was ready, so we went to do the kickboxing class.

I'd run at lunch, and while it wasn't a fast or hard run, it was a run. I had definitely used up some energy.

We went to class and it was tough. I was beat at the end, but I'd worked hard. Delaney said it was a good workout and he'd do it again, but he preferred just running.

Monday, June 8, 2015

2015 Book #36 - Dance of Death

Once again we're back in New York. D'Agnosta is struggling, believing Pendergast dead in Italy. He struggles to work, but he's called from beyond the grave with a letter and request from Pendergast that Constance and Proctor present to him. He must stop Diogenes from committing his crime, whatever it is.

In Dance of Death, it's like some of the earlier works. We have Nora at the museum, where a diamond heist takes place. We have Smithback investigating what's going on. Hayward gets called in when there are some strange happenings at the museum, but she's a stickler and isn't pleased with Vincent. Vincent, of course, struggles to investigate the strange happenings in the city.

All the while we get our first look at Diogenes, seeing the crimes he's planned, including kidnapping Viola. We have not clue who he is until near the end of the book (he's a character disguised), but we find out.

A thrilling end that leads into the third book of the series.

One Kid

I dropped off Kendall yesterday at Air Force for her week long volleyball camp.
She went last year and really enjoyed it. This year she has the five day camp and then a three day over the weekend hitting camp. Hopefully it goes well.

I came home early from Philly, arriving late Saturday night to be sure I could take her. Cancelled my baseball game and then woke up to get some chores done. As I was cutting grass, Kendall came out and told me she was done, so I changed shirts and we headed down.
It was a long drive. Lots of traffic, rain, not a quick trip. Kendall relaxed while I listened to music, happy to be cruising in my new truck.

There were few people there when we arrived a bit after three. I think most had checked in and since we knew what was happening, we ended up getting done in about 10 minutes. I took a few pix and then Kendall waved goodbye and got on the bus.

She called later, having gotten settled and relaxed. She's excited and we're hoping she ends up playing with high schoolers again. She was the only 8th grader last year on her team, with the rest high school girls.

I came back, an easier drive, and hit the gym for some exercise. Getting home, Tia was out and I thought I'd do more chores. I wanted to grab a little snack and cut grass. Tia called, catching me just as I was getting food ready, and asked me to come to town for dinner. I grabbed Delaney and the three of us had a nice dinner before calling it a night.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

2015 Book #35 - Brimstone

A re-read and an exciting one. Brimstone starts the Diogenes trilogy and brings D'Agnosta back to New York. He's a cop on Long Island, and when a mysterious murder takes place, almost like the work of the devil, he teams up with Pendergast again.

It's a wild ride and an exciting one that ends with a cliffhanger. Worth a read, but be ready to go on to the next two.


A long week on the road, leaving early Tuesday for Seattle, then leaving Seattle even earlier for Philadelphia. I finally landed around 9:00pm last night and came home to hang out with Tia and Delaney for a bit.

As good as I've gotten traveling, smoothly changing hotels and moving through airports, it's rough. I was so glad to get home and lay in my own bed, next to Tia, chatting with the two of them after being on my own for so long.

It was extra good to sleep in a bit today. All week, I've been up at 6 or earlier. 5:45 Tues, 6:00 Wed, 4:00 Thur, 6:00 Fri, and 6:20 for a minor sleep in day on Saturday. That's rough, especially when I'm dragging myself out of bed to hit the gym because I know I have a busy day.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

More gifts

A high energy and interactive talk in Philadelphia this morning. Lots of questions, which was good and bad. People were interested, but I didn't finish. Got close enough though

However I did get a gift from the Baltimore folks. 


Thursday, June 4, 2015

Crossing through Denver

This is going to be a long day. After two early days in Seattle, this was even earlier. Up at 4 to catch a 5:20am flight back to Denver. However just a quick stop. Long enough to grab breakfast in the airport before boarding another plane. 

Now about to cross to Philly for a class I teach tomorrow and speak Saturday before flying home Sat night.

I'm going to be tired and almost glad I'm skipping baseball Sunday. 

Seattle was interesting. Up at 5 on Tuesday to fly up, multiple meetings with potential Redgate partners and customers before an all day meeting at Microsoft yesterday. Good but long.