Sunday, September 24, 2017

Back for the weekend

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Friday, September 22, 2017

I guess that's it for summer

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Saving Money, Accomplishing Work, and Learning Things

I finished a rear brake job on the BMW today. I’m a bit proud that I did this myself, without help. Hopefully things work ok and I’ll keep an eye on the car for a few weeks, but so far in a short test drive to the gas station and a trip to the gym, things seem to be fine. Nothing overheating, no pulling, no strange marks on the rotors.

A few months ago the Suburban needed brakes. Rear brakes, calipers, rotors, e-brake. The local shop I often go to wanted $1300 to do all that. It’s a lot of work, but I wasn’t sure how much. My wife’s helper said he could do it and used to be a mechanic and it wasn’t bad, so I priced parts. About $300 in parts.

What?!?!?!? $300 is way far from $1300.

I started investigating. I’d changed pads a long time ago as a college student when I was trying to save money and learn about cars, but never rotors. I wasn’t even sure how to change a rotor, much less a caliper. It sounds hard.

Thanks to YouTube I found it wasn’t hard. I pulled the parts off of the Suburban, took some down to the local O’Reilly, and purchased new ones. I wanted to get them from 1AAuto, whose videos helped, but they were out of stock. I’ll go there next time.

I watched the guy do the work and found it wasn’t hard. So when I had a $600 estimate to do the rear brakes (pads and rotors only) for the BMW, I decided to tackle things myself. I found a few videos on YouTube and one blog, ordered parts (around $250) and got ready. The parts were here for a week before I found time, but Monday afternoon I managed to get things going. I had to hit the auto parts store for a few things, and spent another $200, but it was a good learning experience. I managed to get one tire done and ready, but couldn’t loosen a couple lug nuts on the second.


I ran the car up to the local tire guy, going slow with one new set of pads. They used an impact wrench, but couldn’t remove the lug nuts. With a long breaker bar, they could get it off, but the nuts were a mess. I was thinking I’d have to find a way to get to the store, but they called a parts store and had some in about 25 minutes. I had to wait, but I didn’t have to chance a dicey drive.

I got home, and then started to take things apart. The cleaning of the calipers and carrier is slow, so I quit last night to hit the gym. This afternoon I got back to it. With things cleaned, I managed to get the rotors ready.


In a bit of a hurry, I didn’t take more shots since I had gloves on. However, I managed to grease things up and install the pads and rotors.

About a $450 job, so not a lot of savings here, but I learned a few things, and I’m ready to do brakes on the Prius, the Suburban, and Kendall’s Stratus when needed.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Someone wants to play

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One side

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Friday, September 15, 2017

All mine today

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Breaking out the big gun

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Just another day at the ranch

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Back to work

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Sunday, September 10, 2017

Back home and back to chores

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Saturday, September 9, 2017

Coffee is for closers. First talk of the day

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Friday, September 8, 2017

Wednesday, September 6, 2017


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Ready for the night stream

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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Sunrise in Cambridge

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Sunday, September 3, 2017

The horses are following Kendall around

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The Sun Basket this week. Cauliflower steaks with sweet potato hash and fried eggs

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Saturday, September 2, 2017

Chores, chores, chores

It’s a busy fall at the ranch. I went out to rework the front gate electric fence. Uma left yesterday, and the charger didn’t seem to be working. I think it was in too much shade when we just got it set before India, so I disconnected the charger, which wasn’t working, moved it on the other side of the fence in the sun, and let it charge.

After the gym, it was hot, so I reconnected things.

Now it’s grass time. I need to get the dog area clean, and do the front again with fertilizer as a last cut before winter. The front is growing somewhat crazy with sprinklers working well this year.

However, I wanted a little break, so I came inside and ordered brake parts for the BMW. After doing the parts and helping the guy do the Suburban, I don’t think I want to pay a local company $500-600 to do my brakes and rotors. Ordered parts for $210, and they’ll come while I’m traveling. Hopefully I can get things fixed then next week or the following one around Tia’s clinic. I’m down to about 500 miles on the warning sensor, so I need to get things done.

Tomorrow the plan is to get the mower tires off and the bead broken on one. If I can clean things up, hopefully it will seal and I can knock that off the list. I also need some time in Tia’s arena to clean up the edges more and get rid of weeds before her clinic. That won’t be fun with a 91F day planned, but I need to spend a couple hours at least getting things done.

Then it’s a week off, traveling, with lots and lots of meetings.

Last outdoor swim of the season. A good one ,a bit over a mile

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My wonderful daughter made me iced coffee so start the day with a little work. Thanks, @kendallaj26

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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Mid morning break

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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Last Swims

This is my last week to swim outside. The pool will close after Labor Day, though I’ll be flying away for work on Monday, so it doesn’t matter. I’ve enjoyed swimming more this summer, often 2x a week as I had some leg issues. I’ve felt strong, and while I haven’t been tracking time, I’ve gone from working through 20 laps, 2 at a time to knocking off 36 last week in sets of 10, 14, 12.

Yesterday was a disappointment, as I was out of breath. I think I’m slightly worn out after a busy weekend, a hard cycle class Monday night, and I couldn’t get through 2-3 laps without going to every other breath. The few times I got to 4 laps I struggled, and eventually gave up after 22. A disappointing swim in the warm afternoon.

Going to try and go again tomorrow and Saturday to close out the season, before I head back inside during the cooler weather.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Chores, since my girls aren't here

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Evening chores

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Wednesday, August 23, 2017


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Friday Shirts

I need to update this, but I keep struggling to find it, so I’ll go ahead and repost the gif.


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Amazing collection of books. Delaney brought all these from home. None are for classes

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I think my kid took more electronics than clothes to school

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Move in day

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The Eclipse

The total solar eclipse of the sun was yesterday, passing across the US. It was close to us, up in Wyoming, and Delaney really wanted to go, so we did. I’d purchased glasses a few weeks ago, and after returning home Sunday from India, I got up early and we left yesterday. It was around a 3.5 hour drive, and our plan was go go straight North towards Glendow, WY.

Photo Aug 21, 9 10 30 AM

Lots of traffic on I-25 once we hit Fort Collins. We kept moving, but slow. Eventually, we hit WY, where I was couldn’t quite get the sign.

Photo Aug 21, 9 27 52 AM

From there, Delaney kept checking the sun with glasses as we drove, and said at some point he could see the moon starting to eclipse. I couldn’t tell, but we pushed and stopped just before Glendow, pulling off on a side road with a lot of other people. The sun looked normal, but once I got the glasses on, this is roughly what I saw.

2017-08-22 07_53_02-The solar eclipse produced some fantastic photos—here are our favorites _ Ars Te

That’s a NASA photo, but it was amazing to see the moon slowly move and cover the sun.

What was incredible is that we couldn’t really tell the eclipse was happening. Even when things were around 70-80%, we just noticed a little dimming in the distance. Only when things were 90%+ covered did the sky him and then it went quick. It got cold as well, and from a 82-84F day, it got down to the 70s quickly.

There were some neat pics on Ars Technica, and this one is what we saw when we were in totality. Delaney was super excited by this and kept commenting on how neat it was.

2017-08-22 07_41_46-The solar eclipse produced some fantastic photos—here are our favorites _ Ars Te

What was interesting was that the distance looked like twilight. The mountains had the deep blue sky above them, fading to an orange on the horizon. It was really a surreal, amazing experience. I wouldn’t have gone alone, but I was glad Delaney wanted to go and it was a good day for us.

This ended up being an all day trip, with us getting home around 5:30. We did enjoy it, listening to some Revisionist History podcasts and talking about the topics. Lots of traffic, and amazing how many people went north for the event. I’d guess there were easily tens of thousands of cars packing I-25.

Photo Aug 21, 12 51 49 PM

A good day with my middle boy, and that’s it. Today we head to UC Boulder to check him in for college.

Eclipse traffic

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Sunday, August 20, 2017

View on my stop in Frankfurt

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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Whiteboard talk this am

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Thursday, August 17, 2017

The view from above

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On stage

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Presenting today

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Monday, August 14, 2017

Alone in Bangalore

It’s Tuesday, and I’ve been in India over a week now. Last night I left everyone, taking an Uber ride over to the Hilton to start prepping for work this week while everyone else packed up and got ready for their return trip to the airport.

It feels like the start of a really long trip, which I guess it is since I won’t leave until Sunday morning. I’ll be busy, with 6 talks this week, including an all day one, but it's still a long trip.

At least I have a nice room, and the food/environment is more what I’m used to.

Photo Aug 14, 8 44 49 PM

It’s been an amazing experience. I realize more that we are so privileged, and quite spoiled in the US in many ways. On the other hand, we’re also very different and mature in many ways.

I’m not sure mature is the best word, I thought about advanced, but that’s not right. India is a country with nuclear weapons, rockets, and many other things the US has. However, they also have a poorer economy (in terms of GDP) in that we are 9 times their size. However, we’re only 3x their size in area, and .25 of their population. We also account for way more crime, though reporting and investigation may skew this slightly (not all).

We’re also way worse drivers.

I knew there were less developed places to live, and people made do, but being here has been very grounding for me. I better understand the good and bad in the US. I certainly have changed how I feel about the US in some ways, and I’m more disappointing in my native country than I’ve ever been.

Still, I’m looking forward to getting home in a week and back to a routine. What the future may bring, we’ll see.


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Sunday, August 13, 2017

Nandi Hills

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State Central Library

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Not exactly the safest entrance but it works

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Four on a bike. Was too slow to catch five

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Shopping on Brigade Road

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Friday, August 11, 2017

Ready for lunch

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Botanical Gardens

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Thursday, August 10, 2017

About to enter the Hare Krishna temple

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