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Showing posts from 2008

Two Good Tuesdays

After a couple of Tuesdays without a dedicated Good News Tuesday, it is about time for another edition.

I ran across the first one today, but the story is from last week. It is a story of how people from all over the world heard about a family in need of financial help to keep their house. They needed $10,000 (US Dollars) in 2 weeks to keep their house from foreclosure. That was their financial situation after mechanical problems, health problems, job loss and an unexpected pregnancy. A friend posted an entry on her blog about the families situation and word spread. Read the story for a great tale of Christmas spirit.

I read another story about some folks that anonymously paid off layaway items for some Sears customers before Christmas. I think this another great story because the donors are not doing this for publicity, but just to help some people have a little better Christmas. They chose to payoff necessities like children's clothes, shoes and even some toys. Read the st…

TILT (Things I like Thursday) - Christmas edition!

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OK, I saw this on someone else's blog so I thought I would use it once in a while. Except she said things she loves whereas I am setting the bar a bit lower. They only need to be things I like to be included in my TILT.

Rainy Days Living in a desert, we don't get a lot of them, so we tend to enjoy them more when we do get them. One of the things I like about them is when you get a rainbow the rain.


Since this is Christmas Day (Thursday), I would be remiss if I did not wish you a Merry Christmas. That does not mean that you need to be a Christian (much of a typical modern Christmas celebration has nothing to do with church, religion or Christ) and I wish you an equally Merry Christmas if you are Jewish, agnostic or a follower of any other religion. We can discuss the merits and flaws of different religions another time. For today, lets keep Peace on Earth and Goodwill on the Internet.

Typealyzer

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OK, you can blame Nettie for this, but of course, she will pass the blame on to someone else. As long as we don't need to take accountability for our own actions, then everything is ok. Right?

Typealyzer analyzes your personality based on your writing. Here's what it said about me after it looked at my blog. Seems pretty accurate to me, especially the part about starting something new and not following through. The brain picture really is almost identical to one I got after taking a much more complete personality test. Maybe even stranger is that after listening to a few songs by the "Artist you might enjoy", I actually think it does sound like something I could get into.

ESTP - The Doers

The active and play-ful type. They are especially attuned to people and things around them and often full of energy, talking, joking and engaging in physical out-door activities.

The Doers are happiest with action-filled work which craves their full attention and focus. They might…

Perfection

I just read this blog post about perfection and really liked it. No, I usually do not beat myself up over perfection in most areas of my life. The bed does not need to be perfect when I make it in the morning (and if I'm in a hurry and it does not get made, I don't spend the day worrying about it). The Sunday newspaper can be on the couch next to my seat past Wednesday without giving me an ulcer. I can write an email and not worry that the grammar police are issuing a warrant for my arrest. When I do my work, it is important for me to do what is needed to keep my employer in business. That does not always mean the best database design or the most efficient SQL, and I have to be ok with that.

When I work on my photography though, I tend to put a lot more effort into making things look the way that I feel is professional. Sometimes that means I delete a picture that is 95% great. Other times that means that I spend way too many hours getting it from 95% great to 99% great…

Gun Show

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I spent Saturday with my oldest son, my Dad and a long-time friend of my Dad's. We started off the day by going to the gun show. It had been a few years since we had been to a gun show, so we headed out to the State Fairgrounds to see what there was.
More photos at Flowing Desert Photography
There was a lot of people with the same idea.
More photos at Flowing Desert Photography

There has been some speculation that a Democrat in the White House would be likely to try and make changes to restrict gun freedoms. I think Obama winning the election has spurred a lot of people to hedge their bets and consider buying a gun (or another one) as well as some extra ammunition. This is probably a good idea within limits as firearms have typically been a good value holder, and if gun laws get tightened much, some types of weapons might see a tremendous price jump.

We weren't looking for any new guns, just wishful thinking. Window shopping was all my budget could handle. There was a l…

Holiday Meme

Copied this from some friends blogs. If you play along, mention it in a comment here.

1 Wrapping paper or gift bags? I prefer wrapping paper unless I need to wrap it.
2 Real tree or Artificial? Fake
3 When do you put up the tree? Usually a day or two after Thanksgiving.
4 When do you take the tree down? New Years Day usually.
5 Do you like eggnog? Yup. Sometimes with a bit of Rum if I'm not driving.
6 Favorite gift received as a child? I got so many great gifts, it is hard to pick. Probably the Atari video game system the year we got that.
7 Hardest person to buy for? My oldest son.
8 Easiest person to buy for? My sister.
9 Do you have a nativity scene? A nice wooden one we got when the boys were little and they could play with it.
10 Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail. (I don't read ANY email cards unless I am expecting them and they are attachments I can download and scan. I can't stand getting eCard links and that will earn you a spot on my naughty list.
11 Worst Christmas gi…

Internet Development Skills

Many, many years ago, soon after Al Gore finished creating the first release of the internet, I made a few web pages. Nothing fancy, just some text and pictures to prove I could do it.

About a year later, I was in a new job and was responsible for our corporate network. As a result, I learned about configuring routers and understanding more about the technologies to access the internet from a corporate network.

At my next job a few years later, part of my job was taking care of the servers that maintained my employer's DNS information. That put me in close contact with some of the core operations of the internet.

Other than those periods of time, my experience with the internet has been mostly as an end-user. I surf, I email, I game. From time-to-time, I would also dabble in looking up information with a "whois lookup" to find out who was behind a web site, but usually I have been away from the infrastructure of the internet for about 8 years.

Having recently register…

Now that is good photography

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Ironman is a hard event. Ironman requires intense training in multiple disciplines including biking.



Look closer and you will see that this guy is multi-tasking. While biking, he is also spitting?



Of course. Every serious biker knows that you need a way to clear your nose and/or throat from time to time without losing speed.

More Arizona Ironman Pictures

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Grant Baird has a great website about triathlon. He has pieces of information on many of the racers and races. He either takes the pictures himself or finds other photographers willing to share some shots. He has featured a bunch of shots from several different photographers for Ironman Arizona last weekend including about 5 of mine. Take a look at his IMAZ November page and see some great shots.

It is always fun to watch the professionals, especially when you see the leaders really moving by. At this point, Joanna Zeiger was only about 13 minutes behind the lead men by my watch.



Feel free to drop by Flowing Desert Photography and see more of my pictures. If you like what you see, please feel free to rate your favorite pictures (at least a quick thumbs up is appreciated) and tell your friends about it.

Thanks.

Thoughts on Life and Running

I am a runner. That is not the only thing or even the most important thing about me, but I fall into the runner category rather than the non-runner category. Or at least I do now. 4 years ago, I was most definitely NOT a runner. Since I am pretty new to running, sometimes I make discoveries that seem profound. Like one evening some time ago.

My schedule called for a 6 mile run. That was not a particularly long run given my fitness level at the time, but it is more challenging than a 30 minute "easy" run. I always try to stick to my schedule, since I have created the schedule with a goal in mind and each training event is a step closer to that goal. When I miss a goal, that can make the next step that much harder and easier to fall completely off the schedule.

This night, after about 20 minutes or so, my stomach started to give me trouble. Not just the usual "I might have eaten a bit too much at lunch" kind of rumble I get from time to time, but more of a &quo…

2008 IMAZ November Edition

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Well, April of last year I volunteered at IMAZ. I rode my motorcycle on the course in front of the lead male rider. It was a tiring day and I didn't have to pedal.

When April 2008 rolled around, it was my turn. I had done my training, established realistic goals and was ready. I had a tiring, but fun and successful day. I was proud to have finished my first Ironman, especially given the very hot conditions that resulted is one of the highest DNF rates of any Ironman in North America.

The organizers of the race decided to move it to November to try for better weather conditions. This weekend was the first of the new "Fall Edition" of IMAZ and I decided to head out with my camera to see Ironman from a new perspective.

Some of the highlights included seeing the lead bikes racing out of transition and getting a picture of the guy who finished the swim in first place and the bike in second place:


Watching these athletes fly by on their bikes was both humbling and motivati…

Saturday Pictures

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I set out very early this morning to get some shooting done. I had heard about a place where I had a good chance to see some wild horses around sunrise. I left the house around 5:30 in the morning and drove out by the river.

It was starting to get a bit light by the time I got there and started to walk down to the river. I saw lots of evidence of horses like this on the road:

More pictures at Flowing Desert Photography

That one belongs in the "not my job" category.

Down at the river, I watched the sun rise over Red Mountain.



I also got some neat cactii pictures, but I haven't finished cleaning them up yet so I'll show them off another day. I've got a busy day planned for tomorrow. I'm going to go shoot another triathlon. Ironman Arizona is in town for a second time this year. Last year, I volunteered. This spring, I raced. Now I will photograph it. I guess that makes me a well rounded Ironman. I will try to get those pictures up by Tuesday, at least th…

TV makes you sad

I just read that Unhappy People Watch More TV.

Cause and Effect.

Is this because happier people find other things to do than watch tv or because people that watch tv get depressed from all the negative garbage that can be found there? Or maybe a combination. I wonder if someone only watched positive and upbeat shows if they would still be less happy than someone that watched less tv?

The thoughts of other armchair shrinks is welcome in the comments.

Running Rules

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I first heard about the rules of running when my oldest son and I started training for our first HM with Team Diabetes. The ones that stand out most for me are:

1. The 10% rule. Don't increase distance of your longest run or total weekly mileage by more than 10% a week.

2. Change your shoes when needed (300-500 miles or new soreness).



3. Stretch and warm-up before running, especially before speedwork.

4. Stepback or recovery weeks are necessary for improvement.

There were more and I'm sure if Coach Dave sees this he'll remind me, but following these rules took me successfully to my first half marathon, then to my first marathon, then to my first Half-Ironman and finally to my first full Ironman. By successful, I mean that I completed those distances on my first try and without any significant injury. Learning what soreness to look out for almost stopped my first marathon attempt, but new shoes and a few days of rest and ice kept me in the game. I did all that in about 3 yea…

Half Full or Half Empty?

Half Full:

100% of the votes in last weeks poll about making regular "good news" post every week said YES!

Half Empty:
There were only 2 votes.

So am I an optimist (half full) or a pessimist (half empty) kind of guy? Well, I like to think of myself as an optimist, but in this case, I am going to choose a middle ground. I will not commit to posting a dedicated blog every week about a positive story, but I will post a dedicated blog about positive stories every time I find one. I know there are positive stories all around. With just a little searching, I found this one:

Woman buys foreclosed home for stranger.

And talking about this next one always chokes me up a bit. You see, my youngest son was born with a cleft lip and pallet and while we are blessed to have had good insurance and were led to a great surgeon, many people do not have that chance. Operation Smile goes around the world donating the medical care needed to provide many kids with the surgery they need to have a …

Backyard Discovery

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Last night, my wife told me the dog was acting strange when she went out to say hi to him. I went out to check on him and brought a flashlight to see if there was anything amiss in the yard. Dog was fine but here is what I saw:



Do you see it? Almost dead center in the picture, in the rocks, you might see a little critter. Here is a better shot of him:



He was amazingly slow to react to my presence and the dog was strangely either unaware of him or uninterested in him. That was out of character since the dog is part Border Collie and Labrador Retriever and typically does not allow any winged creature to land in his yard and will usually chase birds (and planes sometimes) just flying by.

After a few pictures as I got closer and closer, the owl flew to the fence and then the dog finally decided to bark at him and he left for the night.

After a bit of research, I think he was a burrowing owl, but I would be happy to hear any other ideas as I am not an exterienced bird watcher.

More Sedona and Crown King Pics

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Here are a few more of the shots that I took this past weekend. Hope you like them.

They call this mountain King Kong. Do you see why?



The pillars just make you wonder why they are still standing when the rest of the valley eroded over time.



Visit my photography site for more pictures from this trip and others.

Two Good Tuesdays

The news is all too often negative and it sometimes seems like there is not a whole lot of good left in the world. The only purpose for today's entry is only to point out a few of the good people out there trying to make a difference. The neat thing is that I consider both of these people friends as we are fellow members of a close-knit online running community called the 30-something's. Lucky for me they don't enforce the 30's part of the group.

Case Number 1
Larry is a volunteer firefighter. That makes him an example of good people right there by being willing to take personal risks to save others. That is not all. Larry is raising money to support his volunteer fire department department. That's right, he not only does NOT get paid to be a firefighter, but he is raising money to meet a need his department has. They do not currently have enough radios for each firefighter and that can pose a safety risk if all firefighters do not get a message in time or are …

Day Trippers

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The family decided this past Saturday was a good day for a road trip. We packed a lunch and when everyone was ready, grabbed our cameras, jumped in the car and took aim on Sedona.

Partway up there, we decided to take a detour and head to Crown King. The last time I was there was several years ago and we had taken the back way up. That is a 4-wheel drive only way, so we took the "road" in. It was a bit slow going at times, with progress hindered by the road (bad in some places and only one car wide in others) as well as my willingness to stop anytime I saw something I wanted to get a picture of, even if it was just an old stone house.
More photos at Flowing Desert Photography
There were a few places where I really wished we still had the Durango so we could have gone to Sedona the rest of the way instead of back-tracking after our stop in Crown King to get some fudge.

As we got to Sedona, we stopped for the mandatory pictures at all of the scenic overlooks. Bell Rock was t…

Freedom is not free

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More photos Flowing Desert

Freedom takes work. The work of our men and women in the armed forces is certainly one part of the equation. Another vital component is everyday citizens that pay attention to what changes are proposed and speak out loudly (but in a civil manner) and engage others in debate and dialogue.

Xavier posted an entry. I think the following excerpt from that is a key thought that everyone needs to be aware of:

Gun rights are about self protection, not hunting. ... We are not just hunters. We must stand up and say who we are. We are mothers and fathers. We are Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians and Independents. We are black and white, yellow and brown. We are gay, straight, bisexual and asexual. We are Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Agnostic, Atheist, and we live in every state in the Union. ... We have one common goal. ... the preservation of our right to self defense.

As a bumper sticker I saw said:

"God, Guns and Guts created this country. Let's…

School is Cool!

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I probably never would have said that in middle or high school. I know I never said that about most of my college classes. I have finally found a school that is cool.

Digital Photography School is a great forum for photographers of all experience levels. I discovered it this past summer as I was considering getting a newer, better camera. It is a great place with a lot of areas. One of my favorite areas is the forums critique section. People post their pictures along with some information about what settings they used to take it and ask one or more questions. Then, other people provide feedback.

Generally speaking, this feedback is of a positive, supportive nature. Sometimes, that feedback means saying "I don't like it" but even so, that is done with a positive spin. Usually, someone providing that feedback will suggest something the photographer could do to improve the shot.

Usually though, the feedback is overwhelmingly positive. Not artificially so, but in a…

What is Beyond Beta?

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, I was lucky enough to know someone who had a pre-release copy of a new version of an operating system that was planning on taking over the personal computing world. This was something called Windows and the release they showed me was 3.1 which promised huge improvements in usability and stability over 3.0. It was a rarity in those days, to get a glimpse into software that was "not-quite-finished" but was close enough to get a feeling about it. It was also fun to be on the inside of cutting edge technology. They called it Beta, indicating that is was not yet ready for sale, but was more advanced than Alpha. Beta was usually limited to the employees of the company producing the software and a select group of others.

Fast foreword and the Beta versions of more programs started getting wider distribution and the exclusivity started to wear off in some cases. The wider distribution provided the developers more free testers to identify…

Visitors from the internet

I think that the statistics for the past 30 days for my little blog are pretty interesting. I have had visitors from 10 countries:

Australia
Canada
Czech Republic
France
Israel
Latvia
Mexico
New Zealand
United Kingdom
United States

A while back I had noticed that I had a visitor from Finland. I have no idea who it was, but I thought it was an interesting coincidence since my Mom is full-blooded Finn.

In the USA, I have had visitors from at least 33 states. I say "at least" because there are several that are listed as "not set". Maybe this can be my first "50-state club" and I can get people to visit from the missing states. The western-most states that I am missing are Idaho, Nevada and New Mexico. If you know anyone in those states, see if they will drop by once and represent their state.
I'll update the tally soon and see if this might work. Next time I'll list all the missing states and see if any of my loyal readers can help me fill in the blank …

Daily News

Well, I voted this morning, so that was a good start to the day.

I went to a Microsoft Road Show. Those of you that know me might be surprised, but my job also requires that I support SQL*Server in addition to Oracle so I went to try and learn a bit about upcoming versions. I learned that there are some new features that will make things easier to manage, but usually only if you use the more expensive "Enterprise Edition".

Took care of some stuff at the office and then hit the gym with DS#1. It was our first night on the weight machines. We gave the legs a good workout. The gym was busy, but not over-crowded.

Watched election returns and heading off to bed to dream about buying some new guns before they are banned.

Photography lessons

I found this video showing a neat camera holding technique video. It is a bit hard to use at first, but it makes sense and is a good idea to keep the camera more stable and help get sharper pictures, without a tripod. A tripod is always a good idea, but there are times where it is just not practical to use a tripod (busy areas or fast-paced action) and this is a good way to get the best shooting stability possible.

ASU vs Ducks

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I got a text last week with an invitation from my awesome buddy Frankie to go to Saturday night's ASU Sun Devil game against the Oregon Ducks. After checking my schedule, I said "YES!!!" and we made plans to meet for a bite to eat before the game.

I had a super busy day (another post for another day) and was only home for a few minutes before I headed out to make a stop on my way to meet Frankie. We found each other right on schedule and went to grab a burger.


After that, it was getting close to game time so we headed over to the stadium.


The seats were amazing. What we couldn't see clearly on the field, we could watch on the jumbotron in living color. We were close enough that even with my camera, I could get close enough to see the smiles on the cheerleaders faces

and even some halfway decent shots of the players on the field when they were on our end of the field.



We saw some real and fake... tattoos (what were YOU thinking I was going to say?)

and some fans fo…

SOMA Triathlon Pictures

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I went out to the SOMA triathlon this past Sunday to take some pictures. I managed to take some pictures (about 400 before I reviewed them and deleted the worst of the missed shots). I wanted to practice my Sports Photography and give some of my fellow triathletes some photographic alternatives.

Besides my own club, ESCKTC (East Side Cool Kids Tri Club), some of the people I caught decent shots of included members of Tri Club of San Diego (TCSD), Team In Training, AZ Tri Club, Banas, Tribe and Freak Factor in their pink uniforms. If you know people from these clubs, please have them check out my site. I will keep the SOMA pics up for a month. BTW, the SOMA pictures are basically "at cost", my profit is under a dollar per shot, which when you factor my time (over 6 hours not counting travel time) means I am really giving these away for my love of triathlon. It is all worth it when I get a shot that I love like this one:



If you were in the race, if you know someone that wa…

Photography Must Haves

Jeff over at PhotoWalk Pro recently did an article on Must Have Accessories for your Photography

The short version is here along with how I feel I am doing in each category:

1. Filters -- A+, UV/skylight filter on every lens for protection and a polarizing filter moved to different lenses as needed.

2. Flash -- F, but that is not really my fault since it is on my list as soon as I can afford another accessory.

3. Tripod -- A, I have a great tripod and an older more compact tripod. If I start doing more serious portrait work, I'll probably need another to hold off camera lighting.

4. Camera Bags -- B, The bag that came with my camera just does not work for me. The backpack I bought is pretty good, but it is a pain to get things in and out without putting the pack on the ground and unzipping the whole thing.

5. Cleaning Supplies -- B-, I have a lens cloth, but still need to get a blower of some kind and probably one of the other items mentioned in the comments to the article.

How do you find a name?

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I'm not talking about finding out the name of that cute guy/girl at the other end of the bar, that's easy (just ask your server/bartender to find out for you). I'm talking about the name of a flower, insect, bird or other animal or plant. For example, I have a picture of a flower and have tried to google flowers to find one that looks like this to be able to name it:



This is kind of important to me, because I want to label my photos with what they are rather than yellow/orange flower or flying bird, but unless I join a flower club and bird watching club, I don't know how I can do this.

Any tips? And answering for the above flower would be appreciated :)

The Winner is ...

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Last week, I asked for opinions on which picture I should donate for a church auction. The voting on the survey was fast and furious and it was a ton of fun for me to read all the positive comments from people. I closed the survey and printed the winning photo. The race was close with several photos taking the lead and only a few votes separating the top contenders at the end. The winner was Waterfall:



Hopefully the picture brings in some money for the auction.

New Adventures Are Scary

You may know by now that I enjoy photography. Always have, ever since I was given a little 126 camera when I was in 6th grade. I still have photo albums from those pictures.

Not too long after that, my dad started teaching me how to use a 35mm SLR camera and I started learning about ISO and F/stops and shutter speed. It was not a cheap hobby and we didn't have a lot of spare money laying around, so I took very few risks and stuck to trying to make good exposures. The right amount of light and a good focus point were my goals and my main subjects were friends and family.

By the time I graduated from high school, I decided to continue my photography and I used graduation gift money to buy a new Minolta SLR. Over time, I added lenses and accessories and spent a fair amount of money and time taking snapshots. I also started trying to take photographs. A snapshot is simply a nice picture, usually appreciated most by people who know the subjects. A photograph usually will have a …

BEEF Anyone?

If you are a vegetarian, I love you dearly for helping to control the population of wild broccoli and things like that so we are not overrun with them, but please skip the rest of this post.

So now we should be down to the few meat-eating folks. While browsing around the internets, I discovered this blog with a contest for free beef. Really. What does it hurt to try? I like beef as much as the rest of you and grass-fed is better for you than the over-chemicaled stuff you buy at most supermarkets.

Any vegetarians out there still? If so, I hope the promotion of eating meat didn't bother you too much and as a thank you for reading this far, I will list off some of my favorite non-meat food items: sweet potatoes, peas, carrots, corn, pears, peaches, bananas. Is that enough that we can still be friends? I sure hope so.

Old friends

Well, I was reading a friends post the other day and they commented on seeing old friends from high school. My wife has been getting in touch with some friends from high school. I guess I must be an exception in that there is no one from the school I graduated from that I would cross the parking lot to say "hi" to. Well, maybe 1 or 2, but I wouldn't even Google them to look them up, much less join one of those find all your old friends sites and get spammed by anyone that graduated the same year and state as I did asking "do you know so-and-so?".

Maybe some background is in order here. You might have noticed that I said "the school I graduated from". That is because I spent most of my high school years in one school in Ecuador and then only one year at the school I graduated from back here in the states ("the states" is what we called USA when we lived elsewhere). As a result, my senior year was not the most memorable in terms of friends…

Survey - Photos for donation

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Our church is having a silent auction and I thought I would donate a picture. I am thinking 8x10 in a plain black wood frame. Please take a look at the candidates and let me know what you think with the survey to the right. Also, feel free to add comments as well if you think a different size or framing choice would be better.













BTW, please pass this link on to others so I can get as many votes as possible for this survey. Thanks!
Strength training at the gym was canceled tonight since the instructors are all involved in the big fight tournament this weekend and have stuff going on with that. I was thinking about giving the Tae Kwan Do class a shot, but after an early wake-up call and spending the day with my wife at the Mayo clinic (more tests and Dr visits) I would rather sit on the couch and relax.

I did make it to the gym 4 times this week. Although Wed was not logged 'cause it was a Personal Defense class and really wasn't that hard from a calorie/exercise standpoint. In spite of personal defense being a bit less strenuous, it was very informative and educational. Also, several of those nights were Strength Training and Boxing for a double day.

Well, I'm going to sit down and work on getting some pictures processed and posted. Thanks for dropping by and good seeing ya.

Personal Self Defense

So I finally made it to the Personal Self Defense class offered at our gym. I was the only student, so it was very solid learning experience. We kept it to 45 min instead of 1 hour since only having one student allowed a better learning experience.

It was a great class and I got a chance to learn some things that could be very useful if I needed to get out of a jam. I think a lot of people would benefit from this type of a class.

More Boxing

Went to strength training tonight. We worked our arms to death. Ouch. We also did some jump rope and I seem to be getting better at it. My cardio still seems to be in pretty good shape, and with the core work I've been doing the past couple weeks, 2 minutes of jumping seems to be getting easier.

After strength, we started right in on boxing class. They worked in some kicks as well which is natural since most of the coaches are MMA guys and they also have MMA classes here (MMA combines boxing, grappling and kickboxing). It was a very fun class and kept us moving most of the time with some great feedback from the coaches so we were practicing the moves the right way.

What to title this?

Well, last week I finished the week off with a couple days of strength training (arms are still sore) and another boxing class. Really had fun with it. Part of it is my oldest son is doing it with me, so we get to hit each other. Not hard, but hitting each others hands as targets as we practice jabs, cross and hooks. Working on form more than power for now.

Both boys helped out a lot in the yard yesterday as we needed to scalp the lawn in preparation for over seeding for the winter. We also made good progress on getting rid of the weeds.

Hopefully some of the tests scheduled for my wife this week will start to yield some clues that let us make progress into her health issues.

So what would I title this post? Misc? Stuff? Life? Weekend wrap up report?

Organization and coordination

My wife had an appointment at the Mayo clinic yesterday. Her migraines have been coming back and she has fainted a few times. Her regular doctors have been chasing this for awhile and are not making any progress so based on the recommendation from friends, she called and got this appointment.

It was a long day but we think it was well worth it. They did a very complete exam and ordered additional tests and specialist consultations. Their scheduling group already had an itinerary for the rest of the day. I don't think we waited more than 5 or 10 minutes for any of the remaining steps.

At the end of the day, they had several more appointments added to our updated itinerary. They gave us clear instructions for next steps and contact information in case we have any questions before the next appointment.

I think that this could be the start of finding the root cause of her health problems. One reason is that everyone is on the same page and has access to the same information.…

Wrap up

No, I'm not closing up shop or anything, this is just a weekend recap/summary.

I went for a Bike ride Saturday. I rode about 27 miles to an activity at church and then another 27 to get home about an hour later. I had estimated it would be about 25 miles and planned on leaving 90 min before I needed to be there and was shooting for an easy 15-16 mph pace. I was a few minutes late getting started and it was a few miles longer so I ended up with about an 18 mph avg speed in order to try and avoid being too late. By the time I headed home, it was about 90* F out, so I did take it easy and averaged about 15.5 mph for the ride home.

Yard work, church, groceries and laundry were all done on Sunday with some help from the guys -- it just doesn't sound right to call them boys when they are getting so big and acting so darn responsible. Then we played a little Aerosmith Guitar Hero to finish the day.

Well, gonna try running in the morning and then planning on Functional Strength Tr…

Boxing

Well, tonight was my 5th Functional Strength Training class. After that, I stayed for Boxing class. That was my first ever introduction to any sort of fighting. It was fun. I learned (and others practiced) jab, cross and hook punches. It was certainly a learning experience for me.

I am looking foreword to the next boxing class and will also be trying out some of the other classes they have. The plan at this gym is for the first month you can take any class they offer but subsequent months, each additional class costs extra. It seems a bit steep pricewise, but the instructors are all really good. Most of them are MMA fighters and will be competing in a tournament next month. Sometime in the next 30 days I will need to decide what I want to work on the next month.

Can you make a difference?

Google announced an initiative called Project 10 to the 100th. The project web page says May Those Who Help Most Win. Their goal is to put people with ideas to improve communities, the environment, health or education together with money to help implement those ideas.

It seems like a great idea. It will be interesting to see what ideas are submitted. Maybe the end result of this project will be to stir up some ideas that get the Google funding and some ideas that get enough interest to get other people interested in helping to make a difference in their own communities.

Stop by their web page and see if you can come up with any ideas or if any of the ideas spark a chord with you.

300

I was looking over my Analytics report for my blog today and this proves how smalltime this little blog of mine is. I've had 300 visits in the past 3 months (Jun-Aug). To be fair to myself, I have not been very active in keeping things updated and active and I've posted less than 10 entries each month. I hope to break that this month, but won't go all Twitter-like and blog that I'm having lunch or sitting in a meeting waiting to escape or anything like that in order to get my post count up. You can be sure that if I post something, it is important or interesting or funny to me. Hopefully, some of these will also strike a chord with you.

On the flip side, during the same 3 month window I did have a visitor from Latvia and so far in September, I've had visits from Finland and Australia. I know who the Latvian and Australian folks are but have not figured out who dropped by from Finland. Pretty interesting though since my mother is full-blooded Finn.

Photography Practice

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When we were in MN last month, my oldest son allowed me to take some pictures of him. This was one of my favorites. I think it has a senior picture feel to it.
While I don't like his hair (it was a windy day) I decided to play with this a bit more. I found a tutorial on how to selectively colorize part and change the rest to black & white and thought this would be a good one to try it out with. Here is the result:
I will definitely be doing more of this kind of thing.

Functional Strength Training

OK, so I was wondering if anyone has ever offered a class on NONFunctional Strength Training. "We build up muscles that you will NEVER need to use."

So I went to my first Functional Strength Training. Let me tell you that the word FUN does NOT need to be part of the word functional. After a few warm up laps of running, skipping, sideways sliding we did some crunches, pushups, jumping jacks and leg raises. At that point I was ready to phone it in the rest of the night. I didn't.

Next we did belly crawls (using only our arms to pull us, toes were ok if we needed a bit of extra help). This left me with some very nice mat burns on my elbows. Then a few more drills that reminded me of HS gym class (which I hated) and then we got into the station drills.

They set out 10 stations that we would do for 2 minutes each and then with a short rest move to the next one. Weighted lunges, wall squats with light weights in your hands and keep your arms moving, hindu squats (what th…

Rock on!

Well, they have gone and done it now. I have a few games that I like to play on my GameCube and on DS#2's Wii, but for the most part I rarely play.

While we were on vacation last month, I was talked into trying GuitarHero and Rock Band.

We now own Guitar Hero Aerosmith. DS#2 and I split it and that is the most I've spent on a video game in a long time (the kids save their $$ when they want something).

Now I have another excuse to skip running.

Rock on people!

Kid Quotes

While reading a friends post about something his daughter said, I remembered something (on a lighter note) that my youngest recently said. We were driving and we enjoy spotting things when on the road and he saw a tire on the side of the road, pointed at it and said "dead tire". I said "RIP. You know Rest In Peace". He laughed and said, "more like Rest In Pieces". He has a great sense of humor.

Lightning

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Well, I have been trying to get good pictures of lightning since I got my new Nikon back in June. There are a few problems with trying to photograph lightning. You never know when or where the next strike will be. It is frequently raining. It is dangerous due to the possibility of getting electrocuted.

Tonight, things lined up for me. It was stormy, but not right on top of me. The lightning was striking pretty regularly in a few places, so I went up to our balcony, picked a spot and locked my tripod in that direction. After a few shots to get my settings lined up, the game was on. Trying to time lightning is a game of chance. As with any game of chance, if you play often enough, you stand a pretty good chance of at least a small win. After a few hundred exposures tonight, I ended up with a few shots that I think turned out pretty good:



Home Again

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Well, it was a whirlwind trip, over 4000 miles in 10 days. A lot of driving, but a great time with family and a great wedding for my sister. In spite of the great time, it was really nice to see this sign:













I have a lot of stuff from this trip, but I need to do some work with a lot of the pictures first, so stay tuned.

Why did the worm cross the road?

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Because everyone else was doing it.



Last week I mentioned that I saw a coyote on my way to work. Today I saw the great worm migration of 2008. There were thousands of these guys making their way from one side of the road to the other. It seemed like most of them did not make it from the yellow tint across the road. I stopped to get a closer look and was really surprised at how unique they look.



I am always interested to take pictures of animals or places or things that are different from what I usually see.

Bad Ideas in Database Partitioning (Episode #1)

Warning, the following is a technical post that may make your eyes glaze over...

OK, if you are still here, this is a short one about something I recently saw in an Oracle database.

First of all, a bit about partitioning. In some databases, you can partition a table in a variety of ways depending on why you want to partition your data. For example, you may want to partition it based on date ranges if you will be deleting older data or if you will generally be accessing data from the same time periods. This way, the database "knows" that it can safely ignore the other partitions outside of the date range you are looking for. This can result in the remaining data being searched much faster than if the whole table needed to be examined.

Another way you can partition a table in Oracle is called hash partitioning. In this type of partitioning, the field in question is "hashed" or calculated into a new value that may not uniquely identify that value. For example, a ha…

On my way to work

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today, I saw this guy crossing the road. He wasn't moving too fast. He crossed a few cars infront of me and I had time to pull over, grab my camera and get a few shots of him. I thought that for being a city-dweller, I have a pretty cool commute. I will see a coyote from time-to-time, but usually they are pretty scrawny. This guy looks pretty well fed.