Monday, August 31, 2015

The Final Game of the Season

It was the last scheduled game of our season yesterday. I was looking forward to it and hoping to enjoy it. I wasn't sure if we'd play again this year, or if I'd play again at all. The injuries and time have me questioning this, but I had two runs this week and felt good. I had a great game, my best of the year, to end things and that really made me want to play again next year.

I started on the bench. Our coach really wanted to win and went with what he thinks is a stronger field. I'd argue since he picked a guy for first that I think is better in some ways, but with a sore groin, I'm not sure that's a better choice. However I was batting, albeit last. No worries, but if I'm not playing the field, I want to hit.

We gave up one in the first, no score for us. I didn't come up until the third, facing a team, and a pitcher, that I started playing with 9 years ago. I let one go to see how he'd throw and it was down the middle, up a bit, but fast. I was thinking curve, as I've seen a lot from him, but no go. The next one came in, and I had started to step early. I think I've been stepping late, and that's been an issue. Here I drove a hard liner into right center, despite the shortstop being over behind second for a double.

That drove in a run and started a mini rally.

In the third I went out to first and player, nothing big. In the fourth I played 2/3 of an inning, but our pitcher fell apart. With few choices, we switched pitchers, moved me to right, and brought a semi-injured guy over to first. It made sense since at least I can cover ground, which isn't needed at first. We got out, but gave up some runs.

I came up again, this time getting down 1-2 before I drove another double into right. They had 6 guys over on that side, but I threaded a needle and hit one hard. High, but hard to play and it was a good one for me. No scores, but I felt good. My next at bat was a high, hard one deep, but this time the right fielder made the catch next the foul line, close to the fence. I don't know why I kept getting balls in and not outside, but I did.

The last time up I swung easier and dropped a single in front of the right fielder, behind the second baseman, avoiding being caught by the switch. We had a rally that inning to go up 8-7 on an error by the shortstop. We added a run in the 8th on a nice play with a slow steal that let a guy steal home. It seemed like we were good, but we weren't.

In the 9th, our pitcher fell apart. He just couldn't throw and walked two and gave up a couple hits to load the bases. We switched back to the first pitcher and he got an out, but then gave up a single to let them win.

A great game, and I think we're still in the playoffs, but we'll see. Exciting and fun, and a good way to go out if that's it for me. I felt good, ran well, even jumped and almost got a liner over first.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

2015 Book #57 - Constitution

A new Sci-fi trilogy. This is book #1 in a new series, and I really enjoyed it. I'm hoping the author keeps this going.

Consitution is set in the future. Humans explore space, and they're on watch. They were attacked almost a century ago by aliens that were called the Swarm. Now we on wary, but the concern has faded. The constitution is one of the older ship still around, and ready to be decommissioned. When some systems lose contact with Earth, people start to realize something is wrong and the legacy fleet goes out to investigate and eventually engage.

It's similar to Ark Royal, but the writing is good and I enjoyed this. The characters get well developed, and it's sad. This is war, and some of the people I like get killed. It's quite a long book that follows through battles to defend the Earth and slow, or stop the aliens. They do, as you may guess, but the aliens will be back.

2015 Book #56 - Perfect Alibi

The seventh and last book in the series. In Perfect Alibi, we find Mike and Rosie's daughter involved. Her boyfriend, son of a rich lawyer, is killed. The kid is suspected, and as with the other books, he's arrested and scared. Mike jumps in, warning everyone that his daughter takes precedence if there's a conflict, but we know there will be some.

This follows a familiar pattern, and predictable. It was better than Judgement Day, but not great. I enjoyed it, but could have guessed at some of the twists and turns, and figured out how things would go. It wraps up the series, but it's not a great book. Perhaps if you hadn't read the others, you might like this more, but the pattern is well know.

The Chaotic Day

Up at 6am, EDT to catch a flight back to Denver from New York. It started out easy, get up, pack, wash my face, and head downstairs. I didn't want to miss the shuttle, so I skipped coffee at the hotel and stood out front for 10 minutes. An easy trip over to LaGuradia, but it's then a mess. Friday morning is a busy, busy time. It was tough to find a place for coffee and I had to balance water, phone, coffee, and bags.

Fortunately I managed to find a spot near the gate and relax with my coffee for 20 minutes before the flight. However then I had an issue. I'd booked a window both ways, to see the sights in and out of the city, I could watch. However we were slow leaving, mostly because it was a full flight and people were slow boarding. Then I had to pee, but I had people next to me. Then the drink cart came before we managed to be free to get up. I did apologize and sneak by once the cart had moved back, but I had to go up to the first class section for the bathroom. The flight attendant up there wasn't very nice, and complained to me.  However I did get to pee.

I had to go again before we landed, but I held it because I could see Denver. In fact, I saw our house coming in. The white building showed up first, and I could see the tree farm next to us, which is unique. Then I could see the house, trailer, and the arena up the street.

It's next to see that, after watching the city fall away in the morning. The flight into NYC was cool as well, though we didn't go over Brooklyn again, which I was hoping for.

I got home, and took the wide route some to stop by Ikea. Kendall had been wanting a desk organizer, and they were out when we got her desk. So I grabbed one and then hurried home, getting the chance to see Tia for 5 minutes before she was off for work.

I started working, taking a few breaks to put Kendall's organizer together. She wasn't coming home tonight, spending the night with a friend, so she'll be surprised on Saturday. I got it together and some work done, but I was interrupted.

Delaney called around 12:30. Strange, since he was off to a meet in Colorado Springs today. I was wondering if something was wrong and it was. Slightly.

They were on the way, near the Springs, and stopped at a red light. Apparently someone was texting and driving and rear ended them. Everyone was OK, and Delaney said there wasn't any injuries. No damage to the Suburban they were in, but they had to wait for EMTs and police. Glad things were OK, but I was hoping he wouldn't miss his first race.

The next interruption in my day was taking Uma in for her 8 week checkup and xray. We packed up and headed West. Uma likes the car, and she had fun. She seems to like the vet as well and is often excited.

It was a good visit, with Uma being cleared for lots more activity. She's healing nicely, as we can see. The bone is pretty much back together and the doctor said she was in the 95% of normal healing. Faster than expected.

Time for home. Back across the city, on the phone the whole way. Some personal, some work, but a productive drive. At home I continued to work a bit until Tia got home. She wanted to get some dinner, but had another trim to do. I said goodbye, walked in, and then went to take the dogs for a walk. I came in to see this:

I packed up the dogs for a 2.5 mi walk, then showered and headed to dinner when Tia got home. We went to Elizabeth, which we rarely do. The thought was Delaney might get back as we finished, but after a nice dinner, we were tired. We were beat and headed home around 9:45. We made it, sat down for a few minutes and Delaney texted. He was almost back.

I headed out to get him. Exhausted, eyes tired. I was thinking I'd let him drive home, but he was almost as tired as I was. They'd left school before 12 and it was almost 10:30. I made it home and we all collapsed.

A long, long, crazy day.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Central Park

A quick trip to NYC. Got two runs in Central Park, taught a class, and had a couple relaxing dinners. Wednesday night run

 Working in between class and the user group. That's my copresenter, Ike.

Early morning Thursday run.

Had some great views coming in. I rarely choose window seats, and slightly regretted it this time having to get out for the restroom, but it was neat to see us come into Manhattan.

Also saw my house when we came home.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

2015 Book #55 - The Trafalgar Gambit

A re-read, but I caught this on one of my devices recently as a half read book, and couldn't remember, so I went back to start The Trafalgar Gambit over.

This is the third book in the Ark Royal series, where the Ark must go and try to contact one of the groups of aliens and begin diplomatic relations. They go, finding out that young Prince Henry wasn't killed at the end of book 2, but is a captive of the aliens.

It's a wild ride, but a good close out of the trilogy. There are more books, but they move away from Ark Royal.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Marker's Mark

With a day off in Louisville, I headed down to the Maker's Mark distillery with Kyle and Marla. It was quite a trip in Marla's 6-series BMW. The back seat isn't really made for adults, but Kyle and I switched off and managed the hour drive down.

It's quite a way from the city, and out in the middle of farmland. In fact, it's a bit of a challenge to get there as cellular service is spotty out there.

 A distillery is like a winery or brewery, and the process is similar. Cook grains, put them in a big pot like this and boil them down, cool them, age them.

They use wooden casks, each one about 20ft deep and 12ft or so across. They're really large barrels made from cypress, and these are 100 year old barrels.

The grounds are nicely landscaped.

 A horrible job. Moving stacks of labels into a cutter.

Quite an automated process in places, with bottles being constantly filled and packed.
 We had a tasting. Avoid the white bourbon. It's from early in the process, before aging.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

New Windows

I remember my parents replacing their windows at one point. A big project, across days, that cost a lot of money. I never realized how much, but when we've had glass replaced, that was expensive. A few years ago we had our office window replaced because we could barely see out of it. That was $1700.

One window.

It's a nice window, but, well, it's a window. It opens and closes, and insulates (a little).

Out bedroom window has been dying, with parts of the vinyl breaking. In July the clips keeping it in finally broke and we couldn't open it any more as wind would blow the glass and moveable frame into the house. That sucked, as we like it open for a breeze at night.

We decided to try Home Depot and see how they did. A couple of window companies have come out and they're ridiculously expensive. We scheduled a visit and a Home Depot rep came out. It wasn't much different than other people, but the prices were better with a Home Depot warranty. The R-value was similar, so we decided to order 4. Actually, we did 5 with a discount offered when we crossed the $5k point. Each of these windows was about $900, even the cracked octagon we have.

It took time. About 4 weeks to get the installation scheduled, which was better than the estimate. The sales rep thought it would be 6 weeks.

They came Tuesday morning and got started. Three guys that came in, put down sheets, and started cutting out windows. They made it look easy. After pulling some trim, a sawzall cut the screws and windows came out. Almost makes me want to try one myself.

The new windows were piled on the porch, waiting the time to get installed. We did the 3 on the front and Kendall's E window plus to central octagon.

In an hour or so, all the windows were out.

 New ones went in quickly. They were efficient, a guy putting in a new one, screwing it down while others worked on trim and caulk.

 The octagon was a challenge, and had to come out, glass first, the the frame. They worked on this for about 20 minutes as I checked on them.

 In about 3-4 hours they were completely done. They packed up and left after a call to Home Depot where I paid the balance.

The house really looks about the same. It's got windows in it, same white trim, but they work. Which is nice.

Book #54 - Battle Cruiser

Another Larson book. I really enjoy him, and I hope he turns Battle Cruiser into a series.

In this one, a rich kid is a part of the space navy, patrolling. He intercepts a smuggler, but can't find anything. He's still worried, but his boss orders him down to Earth, as his politician father has requested he attend an event. He does, but when his father is almost assassinated, he springs into action and starts investigating. That's not warranted, so he's sent patrolling out near Jupiter.

There he finds an anomaly, a comet or asteroid that's strange. When he investigates with his crew, the find it to be an alien battle cruiser. They escape into it when his former boss comes and blasts his ship without warning.

From there we find out there are two former human races that have gotten back to our solar system. Years ago Earth sent out colonies, but a solar flare wiped out our wormholes and we've been cut off. However our colonists have evolved and continued to grow. They have come back, one race exploring, one that have become cyborgs bent on taking over Earth.

We have the beginnings of battles, but the story ends. This looks like a good one that I'd like to see expanded.

Ikea Girl

Last night after volleyball, Kendall came home and started homework. I was going outside to work on the generator and as I left, she asked if we could put her desk together if she finished her homework. I said yes and went outside to work on replacing the generator cord. I got it replaced, but couldn't start it.

When I came in, Kendall was almost done and I decided it was time to get moving. I pulled in one of her bases and opened it. She finished work and joined me. Together we worked on assembling the basic box. She watched quite a bit, mostly getting parts at first, but I gave her the screwdriver and hammer and had her do some work.

At first she wasn't sure she could, but she soon realized she was capable of figuring things out. In fact, once I started getting drawers together, she took them, with instructions, and started to figure out out how to attach them inside.

As you can see, Oscar wasn't much help.

We finished one around 9:30 and I was tired, but since I leave town today, I decided to just press on and do the next one. With her helping, we managed to get it done quicker. After 10, tired, I carried things upstairs and we put it together in her room. She still needs to clean up downstairs and also attach the other drawers, but it looks good.

Monday, August 17, 2015


Last night while we were at Kendall's volleyball lesson, Delaney called. He said he'd fallen off the ATV and hurt his arm. That's not a good call for a parent, and immediately I started to worry. He said he was OK, but the arm hurt and he wanted some pain reliever. Since he could move the hand, I didn't panic, told him where to get some medicine and said to ice it. He'd called Tia as well and we debated, deciding to let him sit for 20 minutes and see. We were 45 minutes away, and with one car. We'd both have to come back for one of us to take him to the doctor and one to go get Kendall.

He seemed better, so we finished Kendall's lesson and then headed home. We found him lying in bed, and going OK. In some pain, but with ice and Naproxin in him, he was doing OK. We decided to take him in this morning.

So that was my morning. After getting a little work done, I drove Delaney to an eye appointment (worse, but not horrible) where he got new glasses. We then hit the urgent care for an x-ray. No break that they see, but the doctor said to baby it a bit and see how it goes. Some minor swelling, but probably just bruised.

That was a relief, though either way, it would just be a bump in the road for Delaney. At least this way he can continue to run.

Maybe the end of baseball

Yesterday we had another afternoon game, and it was hot. A long day, and fortunately a good game with some clouds near the end. I'm glad because it could be my last game. I've been feeling older, and I can't swing hard and really hit balls much. My arms have been a bit off when throwing and really haven't thrown left all year with this tendonitis. Add to that leg issues and I need to really think about getting back in shape this off season or maybe giving it up and choosing something else.

However it was a good day. I played 1st for 6 innings. I didn't start, but rotated in and when we had some issues at 2nd, the coached moved me back to first for the rest of the game (after the 4th) and put the guy rotating at 2nd.

It was a close game, 6-3 us for most of the game, but then came up with one in the 8th and then loaded the bases in the ninth, mostly with our relief pitcher being off. We walked one in, then got a force at home and a strike out. The last batter hit one to short, we managed to field it and force at 2nd to win.

I had a few good plays at first, coming off the bag to get throws and tag runners. I missed one from 2nd, but it was a bad throw and I blocked it with my leg. At the plate I got called out on a way inside pitch the first time, but wasn't swinging well. Two outside curves, slow and dropping beat me earlier in the trip. Then I caught one of those curves for a single to left. I hit a hard grounder between first and second for another hit and then popped up, high ,into short right. All in all, a decent day.

And a fun way to end if that's it. Not sure if we play on the 30th yet and then don't know if we'll make the playoffs.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Back to Verizon

I've had too many issues with T-Mobile and coverage in our area. The worst as driving away from the school Wednesday, with TMobile LTE coverage, and being able to receive, but not send, text messages.

I ran a backup yesterday and went to the Verizon store today. We swung by Best Buy, but they had no real deals for me, so I told them how much data and we were off. About 15 minutes later, I had a new iPhone on a new network.

Unfortunately I had to restore the phone from backup, so it wasn't until later that night that I had a working phone for me, but I was glad to move back. It's amazing to have coverage again around the neighborhood.

Monday, August 10, 2015


We may have a new direction for Delaney. Saturday was the Top Scholars day, where a bit over 1,000 kids from Colorado high schools, the top 10%, were invited up to Boulder to visit the University of Colorado. We headed up late Friday afternoon, with a hotel reserved in Westminster.

We relaxed for a bit, playing some spades and laughed and had fun. We then called it night early, needing to be up at 7 and heading to Boulder. We had an easy drive, checked in, and started on an all day tour/promotion event. I think this is the chance for CU to try and keep CO kids in state and attract them to the university. It's a good school, and we concentrated on the engineering side of things.

 The day started with some lectures about CU and the benefits of going there. The presentation was a bit about the school, with some kids talking about the great things that they've experienced. We then broke off for individual presentations about departments. Tia and Delaney went to the engineering school, and I took Kendall to see about the media/communications school where the journalism major is.

We had an interesting talk and it seems CU is doing a lot with media. They've got a school that might rival the Syracuse broadcasting school at some point.

We then heard about the honors program, with smaller classes for some of the core work, and separated, smaller dorms full of other honors kids. It's a way to try and promote the people that are high achievers, and Delaney was interested. I think that might be a stretch for him to get in, but we'll see.

Lunch was in the cafeteria, which was huge with lots of different stations and different kinds of food. Kyle met us then and we all had something different. I think the idea of a cafeteria like that is certainly appealing for Delaney. He wasn't thrilled with my taking pictures, though.

 The afternoon had a tour of the engineering center. It's huge with lots of disciplines. This is really the only school in Co that teacher aeronautical engineering as a major, so that's an attraction for Delaney. It's a really nice facility, and despite the building being old, they have a lot of interesting, hands on equipment, with labs for most of the classes. I think this really interested Delaney.

The day closed out with a bit of silliness, and a presentation on financials. It's about $26k/yr for the school, though about half of that is board and goes down if you leave the dorms after the first year. There are scholarships, some of which are guaranteed if you meet certain GPA/ACT levels. Delaney doesn't, but that's a nice motivational item for some kids.

It's pricey, but on par with many full time colleges, and Delaney was certainly excited by the trip. I think this might be his top choice, though we may try to get some other tours in across the next few months and try to keep him excited about college.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

A long game

A hot, long baseball game today. Only 10 people, including only one pitcher, so I spent the game at first base. It was OK for me. Made a couple plays, missed  a few on really bad throws that I couldn't reach and didn't pick up a short throw from the catcher. I stretched, but it landed in front of my glove and I couldn't snag it.

At the plate I wasn't better. A good hard foul at first, but fooled a bit on an outside pitch where I pulled my head. Get caught again on a high one, a late swing the second time. The third time I drove one to right that landed in front of the fielder and the grounded to second to go 1-4. All in all, a par performance for me. Not bad, not great.

A long game, in the hot sun. We lost 11-1, just not really hitting and when out pitcher got tired, that was it. We also made a few errors, bad throws to me, that kept innings going.

Still, didn't get hurt, which is always nice.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Volleyball Week

It was a long week of volleyball by the end of Thursday. Kendall was down there for 4 hours M-W, playing 6 matches each day at Lewis-Palmer high school. Thursday was bracket play, and they lost all three matches to end a bit early. They were seeded 6th of 7 teams, and that was about right.

Each day the team seemed to do better, until Thursday. While they were competitive, they really didn't play that well together and got cranky.

Monday and Tuesday, Kendall played every point. Every set, every match. She was tired. Wednesday she came out briefly and a bit at the end of Thursday at well.

The team has a long way to go, but certainly some good things to see as well. Kendall enjoyed setting, which was a new experience for her this summer.

It's hard to know if all of these girls will make JV. I suspect a few will be on the C team, and there will be a few others that come out next week at tryouts.

We also watched the varsity team a bit and while Kendall might be able to play, she'd be a weaker player and likely sit a lot. I think JV will be a good fit for her this year.

Kitty Boy

Caught Delaney on the stairs this morning, relaxing a bit.

This is after we registered him yesterday for his senior year of high school. That's an interesting feeling. It was easy, something that we've done many times before, and he and I did it right after cross country

It was a good day. He ran for an hour, about 6mi in the morning. I wish I could still do that.

Registration was smooth, with no issues. He filled out some forms, I did a few, and he was registered. Ready to start his final year. It's amazing to think that he won't be around this time next year. I'm not sure where he'll be, but we go to CU Boulder tomorrow for a tour. We'll see how Delaney likes it.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Volleyball Camp - Lewis-Palmer

This is a hectic week. Kendall has a four day mini-camp down at Lewis-Palmer high school in Monument. The high school coach tapped her to play with the junior varsity girls, and so she's got matches from 12-4 each of the first four days this week.

I went down Monday with her and watched her play 6 matches, with only 1 break. Because it's a busy schedule, and really designed to get girls touches on the ball and not so much for competition, they play timed matches. 30 minutes, and that's it. Five minutes between matches, and they keep moving.

Kendall went down with me and played three in a row. Every point as setter. She was one of two girls doing that, and they were working hard. Here you can see her calling the serve to a specific spot.
I was proud of her. She worked hard, and stayed in the game, even though some of the girls aren't very good. I suspect a few of them might not make the JV team this fall. The coach really wanted to fill out teams and sent three groups. There's a varsity group with 9 girls. This one with 11, and then a lower level group as well.

Kendall does a good job setting, and she's getting better. Her outsides are good, and her back sets were in good spots for the hitters. She's also a great defensive player, getting to some balls that other girls watch.

Her serving was good as well. They ended up playing 12 sets, winning 4. However I think they were competitive in 4-6 more and could have won if we had a few more girls that could serve. And play defense. We certainly need some help passing.

At the end of the day, only one team really outclassed them, and that was the school that won the state 5A championship last year, so we expect their JV team to be pretty good. A long day, fun, but hard, and apparently a long day today with 6 matches in a row. Their break was the first session, so Kendall had to come out in a few games to get some rest.

Another couple of days and then a few days off for Kendall before things pick up again next week.