Showing posts from 2009

Pets in Costumes

(or: Why some pets attack their owners)

I saw lots of costumes yesterday, but only a few pets in costumes. I always wonder if other dogs that see dogs in costume laugh when they see their canine friends wearing things like this:

Well, these guys didn't seem too upset about their outfits.


My 2 dogs like to play. The 8 year age difference and 60 pound advantage make no difference to the Young Pup (YP) and he will still try to to get the toy away from Old Dog (OD). Sometimes he even wins, or maybe OD just lets him win or gets tired. Maybe it is true what they say:

It is not the size of the dog in the fight
It is the size of the fight in the dog that matters most

Remember that the next time you think you have bitten off more than you can chew.

Young Leaders

Ever see a business leader that seemed too young to know what they were doing? They take charge of meetings and projects and lead the charge on new initiatives. Sometimes they don't seem to know what they are doing and sometimes their bold initiatives do not make any sense.

I went for another run today with the dogs. Well, run, walk & sniff would be a better description of the activity. While I like the enthusiasm of Young Pup (YP), I really appreciate the more relaxed approach that Old Dog (OD) takes. OD usually stays right next to me with only an occasional foray into the bushes after some exciting new smell. YP likes to charge to the full length of his leash and tug the whole time. He usually doesn't stop to sniff things and instead prefers to charge ahead as fast as his leash will let him.

YP like to lead, but keeps looking over his shoulder to make sure we are still following him, like the strain of the leash isn't enough of a clue. Some leaders (in busines…


I decided to give running another shot, even though after my little 2+ miler on Saturday, I got sicker than I've been in years. I think it was just my turn for the flu, but I felt fine. Went for a little run, showered, had breakfast and got sick within an hour of my run. Maybe the raspberries had gone bad (tasted and looked fine) or maybe it was just a coincidence, but I've been nervous about running again.

In spite of that, I know running does not make me sick, so I decided to just go out and take it easy today. So here is the story:

OM - Old man (i.e. me)
OD - Old dog, our 8 yr old border collie/black lab mix
YP - Young pup, our about 6 month old shephard mix

OD was content to start with a warm-up walk with me, but YP wanted to run, so we gave in and let YP set the pace for the first 1/10 of a mile. We slowed so OD could smell some scents left by his neighborhood friends. YP kept the leash tight trying to keep running. You would think that he didn't have a nice big …

30 Days

30 days can be a lot of things. A free trial period. An extra month for a paid annual subscription. Probationary period at a new job to see if you are going to make the cut.

In this case, it is simply a time to sit back and muse on my first month as a licensed HAM radio operator.

Why HAM?

I have heard some people say HAM radio is not as useful as it once was due to the proliferation and range of cell phones today. Others see it as "like a CB radio" and really only a time-waster for over-the-road drivers to chat with each other and warn about speed traps.

To some degree these are true, but there is also another side to HAM. When a disaster strikes (natural or otherwise) telephone communication is often the first to go, either as a result of the disaster or from the sheer volume of phone calls to and from loved ones to see if they are ok. This makes communication for rescue workers difficult. HAM radio operators can get communications established with minimal equipment and …

I went for a run last night...

I didn't track my time (even took my watch off). I didn't track my distance (didn't even bring my Garmin with me). But it was still the best run I have had in a very long time.

I got home after work and knew I needed a run. It was 110+ outside and a dust and wind storm were on the horizon, but I didn't care.

I've had stuff going on in my life. Some good, some not-so-good, but a lot of things that have been dragging me down. I haven't been visiting with my friends in my online forums and haven't updated my Twitterpages or Facebook status very much. I finally decided that heat warning or not, I was going running.

I took off and just kept the pace easy. I wasn't worried about pace, just tried to run more than I walked. I turned around after about a mile and saw that the dust storm off in the distance had gotten pretty close. A 2 mile run is no record for me, but this run wasn't about distance, it was about unwinding. I had to get somewhere befor…

Tech Tuesday - Mid year review

I have been neglecting my blogging as of late. I apologize, but will not give excuses, even though I have plenty. Suffice it to say that there are more important things in life than blogging.

Since we are half-way through the year, I thought a quick review would be a good idea to see what I have done this year that make me a better Dad, husband, employee, etc.

Photography has always been something I enjoy, but late last year, I decided to try and start making some money at it. While it has been fun, I have not had crazy financial success. I have however done a lot of learning and am continuing the quest. I will probably not become a full-time professional any time soon (so my boss can rest easy if he is reading this) but I will continue to work on improving my skills, both in photography as well as the supporting tasks like web development, accounting and marketing.

Last year at this time, I had finished my first Ironman and was still "recovering". I have m…

Happy Memorial Day

I think my post over on my photography blog says it the best way I know how.

Save On Phones

I have been doing a lot of management with my family phone plan lately and just wanted to share some of the things I have learned to save some money on your bill. I also got some parts of this from a friend who had some shortcuts for these. If you have any other tips, please feel free to comment with your ideas. These are from my dealings with Verizon, but most should apply to other carriers as well.
Data. Corporate vs. Personal Data plans. Both offer unlimited data, but the personal one is about $15 per month cheaper. The corporate one is needed if you need to access corporate servers (i.e. Exchange for work email sync). Personal one works fine for things like Gmail and web browsing.Data. If you choose to go with a lower level data plan (like pay-as-you-go), check online before the end of your billing cycle. If you are using enough, you can save by moving up a level before the end of the month to get the bulk discount. Drop back later if you no longer need as much data.Text. If…


No, get your mind out of the gutter. Let me explain. About a month ago, I saw a message on Twitter that said "On 2nd day of my "'running streak'". I realized that since I had run the day before, I could match that streak. I had been struggling with running regularly and thought that I might give it a shot.

According to the United States Running Streak Association, Inc, a running streak is defined as running at least one continuous mile within each calendar day under one's own body power. It says nothing about pace, so I decided to give it a try.

Every runner worth their salt knows that recovery is important. Typically, recovery takes the form of days off from running which would not happen with running every day. Why would someone do this to themselves? Is it safe?

I learned during my triathlon training that recovery can also happen during cross-training (biking or swimming for example) or even on easy running days. During my ramp-up for my Ironman rac…

The cost of debt

Any financial adviser will tell you that debt has costs. The cost of interest is the biggest and most obvious one.

Technical projects have debt as well. "Quick and Dirty gets it done", "Deadline Rules" and "We'll fix that in the next release" are but three of the refrains common to almost any technical project. At times, they have their place. It would be foolish to postpone a major "go-live" to change the structure of an index and the lost revenue could collapse the viability of the program.

However, too many times, "putting off til tomorrow", becomes "let the new guy/gal/team worry about it" because of staffing turnover or because the development team and the maintenance teams are in different departments. This maintenance is the technical equivalent of interest in the financial realm.

This blog post is a great read and should be mandatory for all IT managers involved in development or maintenance projects. Jeff expl…

Happy Blogging B-Day to me!

One year ago today....

There is an older post, but that was just a pre-dated entry to record my Ironman Race Report.

In the past year, I have ranted, raved, shared and bragged about everything from running to technology to family and friends. I have not seen millions of hits, but have seen over 2000 visits with over 3000 page views. I had some technical issues getting the statistics working which means that there were many other visits in the 2 months before I got all the bugs worked out and tracking reliably in early July. This many visits produces some interesting statistics. Well, interesting to me anyway:

visits came from over 30 different countries visits came from 50 different states in the US. (Iowa & North Dakota missing)top 27 states have 10 or more visitsonly 5 states had a single visitI have been neglecting this blog a bit for several reasons. I will tell you what they are and let you decide if I need either a kick in the pants or a pat on the back.

One reason I star…

It's coming....

Can you guess what it is?

Did a little birdie tell you yet?

I'm not telling....

2 days to go....

Any guesses? If so, leave a comment or shout it out on Twitter...

Triathlon Training Plans

While I am not currently training for a triathlon, I am still interested in tri-training, because I plan to resume tri-training in the future, maybe as soon as 2010 ramping up for another IM in 2011.

I just read an article on training volume that sounded interesting. The concept being discussed is why many age-groupers hit "the wall". Jesse explains his theory of the volume required to avoid what he terms System Failure (walking the last 10 miles of the marathon in an IM for example). He states that for a triathlon, the following required distances should be met at least twice in the 6 weeks before race day. These distances are based on your race distance according to the following formula:

Swim – 9/3 of the event distance, per week
Bike – 8/3 of the event distance, per week
Run – 7/3 of the event distance, per week

For someone training for an Ironman, that means that in their final build block before race day, they should have a week with at least 12,660 yards of swimming, 3…


No, not just the English greeting or a toast. Cheers was one of my favorite sitcoms so while in Boston I stopped by the Bull & Finch which was the inspiration for the show.
That's me next to the famous stairs down the the bar "where everyone knows your name".

I enjoy barfood, after all, what's not to like about greasy fries and a grilled burger. Since I am a bit cynical, sometimes I think that "landmarks" don't have great food. Maybe it is because they get a sizeable chunk of their business from tourists that won't be back for the next weekly special they don't feel the need to try to make their food special. Maybe the demanding nature of some tourists make it hard to keep good kitchen help. Whatever the reason, I have seen it more than once and accordingly was not planning on anything special at Cheers.

I was surprised! The cheeseburger I had was probably second only to a great place in Minnesota. (I think it was called the Lion's Tap…

Update from Boston

Sometimes a stranger can bring great meaning to your life. - fortune cookie

After walking around in the rain for awhile, I decided to grab a quick bite to eat from McDonald's. Not the healthiest choice, but once in a while it's not too bad. I was partway back and I felt the bag shift a bit. Before I knew it, my bag was torn and most of my fries were on the sidewalk along with my napkins. One friendly passerby chuckled and said something like "sucks to be you doesn't it" which was in line with a fair number of people I have encountered here this week. [Side note: Before all you Bostonians jump all over me, I have encountered a fair number of sociable and friendly people here as well.]

This brings me to the point of my fortune cookie. The whole incident could have ticked me off and ruined my afternoon, but it didn't for two reasons. One is that I try to not let minor things (people cutting me off in traffic, spilled milk, lack of casual dress-codes, etc.) …

Hiking & Computers

Hiking and computers really have nothing in common, but I have to talk about both and I'm too lazy to make to make 2 separate posts.
ComputersGood news is my laptop is back and mostly 100%. It did take me about a week to get most of my programs reinstalled and get the operating system patched back to a reasonably current level.

Bad news is the family pc took another dump. Even worse is the timing, I am out of town and can't even work on it till Saturday. That is a bit of a problem for my oldest son will need to use a neighbors computer for his school work. It is a near catastrophe for my wife who will now be hopelessly backlogged on her FaceBook "work".

Hopefully I can get it back up and running quickly, but may need to pick up a new pc since this one has now had strange problems a couple times in the past couple months. If so, I'll put Linux on this and fire up some "uptime" tracking tools to see if I can figure out if it is hardware or operating syst…

That was quick

A week is an eternity for someone like me to live without their main computing machine, so facing the prospect of 2 weeks of waiting and fighting with the rest of the family for computer time was daunting. But that was the only way to get my laptop back to fully working condition.

Return shipping to the repair center was "next afternoon" service, so I was pleasantly surprised when the next morning I got an email (email on the phone has become vital without a laptop) saying they had received it and were starting to work on it. Estimates were 7-9 working days before they would send it back.

The next afternoon (Friday) I got another email saying it was on it's way back. FedEx web site confirmed that it was on its way and should be home Monday afternoon.

Now the questions are:

1. Is everything working?
2. Did I get my own hard drive back or will I spend the next 2-3 weeks reinstalling and reconfiguring things to my liking?

Stay tuned for updates...

Repairs are underway

My main machine is in a box on it's way to Texas for repairs, so updates may be a bit scarce here for the next week or so. I have all my important files and stuff backed up on 2 different hard drives and am planning on using the family machine to get a few blog posts up, but there will probably be less posts for the next couple weeks.

In the meantime, feel free to browse some of my older posts. Comments on the older posts will not be posted till I moderate them, but that is just to make sure a spam-bot doesn't go crazy on me. Plus that ensures that I don't overlook a comment on an older post.

Also, you can feel free to checkout my photoblog over at Flowing Desert Photography. I may be a bit less frequently visible on Twitter during the week, but feel free to give me a shout there if you want to say hi.

See you soon.

A New Ironman

St George Utah is a very scenic place and Utah is close for me, so I could drive there and not worry about shipping my bike. May temperatures in Utah should be no worse than April in Arizona was last year.

It would be a beautiful area to race in, but I am wondering how tough the course is going to be. I remember pulling our camper through this area years ago and remember some brutal climbs, but I don't know how they have mapped the course will lay out. Has anyone done a mapmyrun or mapmytri on this yet? Anyone already register for this? Leave me a comment or shout out on Twitter.

Online Communications Methods

Twitter is a great tool for making connections. I think of it as a cross between email and instant messaging, combined with a dose of bulletin board and forums. What do I mean by that? Here is how I see these different technologies being commonly used:

Usually used for non-real time communication for things where an answer can wait anywhere from few minutes to several days or longer. All parties in the communication do not need to be present at the same time for email to be effective. Email is "directed messaging", that is to say, you specify the username(s) of the intended recipient(s). Barring security glitches or forwarding by a recipient, anyone not on the distribution list is not going to see the message.

Instant Messaging:
IM is usually used for interactive conversation. Very helpful for troubleshooting or actively working on a problem. If all parties are not available at the same time, IM does not work. Like email, IM is "directed messaging".


Oracle log file maintenance

Though I have been an Oracle DBA for about a decade, I have only recently started taking on responsibility for some of the other tiers that are part of Oracle Applications, Portal, Enterprise Manager and Oracle Management Server. I am a part of a small team that has not had much training other than on the job experience in these areas. We are managing pretty well, but are still trying to find easier and better ways to manage things.

The latest issue was discovered by one of our team as they were doing some preventative system checks. They noticed some largish log files and added them to the archive and clean script. These new files bring to 4 the number in this particular system and as we were discussing it, we wondered several things.

The current list

A New Addition...

Giovanni arrived to the world late last week allowing my little brother to finally become a fellow member of the "Fathers of boys" club. I am sad to report that none of Giovanni's cousins that have met so far wanted to spend any time with him.
Just kidding. Not since the arrival of the Wii game system in our house have I seen my boys argue over sharing this much.
Giovanni's parents also seem to be pretty taken in with him which is a good thing since they will be spending a lot of time with him for the next 15 years or so.

A few more pictures over at my photoblog if you still have not gotten your fill of baby pictures. Clicking on any picture will take you to a bigger version.

Shooting Jams

My youngest son told me a few weeks ago that he didn't remember ever shooting a gun. He had come with a few years ago once or twice when I took his older brother, but he hadn't wanted to go since then. As it had been about a month since I had been to a range, we made plans to go to a local public range this past weekend.

My Dad came with and brought his .22 revolvers with as they were a good size for a new shooter. I brought my guns with as well since I wanted to shoot the long guns as well as get some trigger practice with my 9mm pistol.

The weather was a perfect Arizona winter. Not cold enough for anything more than a t-shirt and not hot enough to get dehydrated. After showing my son how to load, cock, aim and fire one of the .22 revolvers and supervising him for awhile, my Dad took over supervising duty and I loaded up the .308 and got started on my targets.

My target was about 40 yards away and I was shooting from a bench and leaning on a cement shooting table without b…

Movie Time

I just watched The Flying Scotsman about cyclist Graeme Obree. I thought it was a pretty good movie and it got me thinking about other sports or athletics movies. I realized I could not think of very many off the top of my head so I asked my friends on Twitter for some ideas.

Instead of just giving you a list of movies, I am going to put them in some general categories. I know they could all be put in other categories, but I'll let you provide feedback as I have not seen most of these. Leave me a note in the comments and I'll continue refining this list with better categories as I get them.

What it Takes Ironman - Triathelete documentary
Running on the Sun - about the Badwater ultramarathon
The Runner - about ultra runner David Horton
Spirit Of The Marathon

Other (motivational, inspirational, love story, etc.)
The Flying Scotsman
Breaking Away
Remember the Titans
Little Giants
Facing The Giants
Tin Cup

Mighty Ducks
Rookie of the Year


I was reading a friends blog about his time abroad and one post made me remember something that happened to me. I tried to post a longish comment, but due to technical problems with his blogging platform, I was not able to. So I decided to post it here.

Funny how things we take for granted are in other countries. I discovered our hotel wanted to charge me an extra 25% if I wanted to pay by credit card, so I went to take a couple hundred out at an ATM. After trying unsuccessfully twice, the machine-gun-armed guard told me I was trying to take out more than the limit. Daily withdrawal limits were $100 USD.

I went into the bank and got $300 when the teller came back with my cash I realized they had not asked me what denominations. Since things were so cheap, twenty dollar bills were difficult to get change for, so it was all in $10 bills. I felt like I was a drug dealer or paying some ransom with my bulging fanny pack and jacket pockets.

I was a bit concerned for my safety till I got ba…

What's it worth?

Value is often subjective. A gallon of gas is under $2.00 most places in the US right now, but if you needed to get somewhere urgently, you would be likely to pay a lot more.

I can get a gallon of water at a machine near my house for 25 cents. If I was stuck in the middle of a hot desert, I would easily pay $100 (if I had it) for a glass of water to ensure my survival.

Stimator claims to be a Real Website Value Estimator. I was not sure about it, so I took a look at it and ran a couple websites through.

The first was a domain I have had for about 2 years. I use to post race reports and some family photos. I would classify this web page as "lightly used, personal information". Stimator reported this domain is worth $54 US dollars.

The second was a domain I have had for about 4 months. I use as a main entry point for my new business venture, Flowing Desert Photography. I would classify this web page as "somewhat actively used, busines…

No such thing as free lunch.

But there are some contests that you can enter (for free) and possibly win something (for free).

One of the blogs I regularly read, The Pipers are participating in "A Requirement-free Giveaway: Make Your Favorite Picture a Poster". This post is the hardest thing I've done to enter and there are other ways to enter that are even easier. You can also send a tweet on Twitter, click that link to see mine and you can ReTweet it if you want.

If I win, I will probably decide between this one:
and this one:
What do you think? Leave me a comment and let me know which you think would look best on a big wall. Or visit my photography site and see if you think a different one would be a better choice. Spread this contest around and say hi to me over on Twitter if you get a chance.

Day hike

The Plan.

This kind of weather makes it hard to stay inside so I decided to head out for an afternoon hike up in the mountains. My youngest son decided to join me so we grabbed my camera bag and headed out early afternoon.


We headed out to the Superstition mountains and found the trailhead we had selected without any problem. About 3pm, we headed out from the car. We had no rush to set a fast pace and just set out along the trail. We had great weather, mostly clear skies with just a few white puffy clouds floating by. Perfect t-shirt weather.

The chart on the right shows the elevation. Pretty gentle till the last section before we turned around where it go a bit steep.

The overall pace is surprisingly low, even when you consider that this was the longest my son and I have gone together, but we stopped quite a few times for sight-seeing. There are some amazing views in the Superstition mountains as well as quite a bit of wildlife. Several times we saw several hummingb…

Love is in the air...

OK, maybe not in the air, but it is definitely somewhere. I know it is. I can smell it. At least I think that is love. Maybe it is just a new fabric softener.

I am scheduling this to publish early on the 14th, so in case you forgot, you still have a chance to get a card before the only thing left are the leftover Christmas cards.

I'll admit it. I am a softie at times. I like to do nice things for my wife "just because". While I do not do them as often as I would like, I sort of resent being told I am required to spend $$ on roses on a specific day when a week before or after that day I could give her twice as many flowers for half as much. And a dinner out the week before Valentine's Day is much more relaxing than bumping elbows with everyone else because the restaurant squeezed another 10 tables to make a few extra bucks.

Will the current financial state curb plans for folks? Will more people have a surprise Valentine's Day a few days early? Will the jewe…

Sequential or Random Access snack machines

Of Databases:
As a Database Administrator (DBA) by profession and training, I understand a bit about database technology. I have learned about the early versions that required data to be read sequentially. If you had to use a phone book sequentially, that means in order to look up someone with the last name Smith, you would first have to scan past every other name in the book that came before Smith. Anderson, Barker, Cadwell, etc. For some purposes, this was acceptable, since machines were doing the work and it was much faster than a human could do the same thing.

The next major improvement became what is called a Relational Database. This allows the data to be retrieved from any place in the table without needing to read all the records before it. This makes a database more efficient and practical for data sets with very large numbers of records. This allowed what we consider random data access.

Of Snack Machines:
Snack machines allow for the buyer to choose which product (record)…


WooHoo! What a great way to end a weekend. Saturday, I drove up to Prescott for a portrait session with my cousin, Frankie! She is a doll and had a great time. My aunt had a great spot picked out and we had a lot of fun. I hope to put a few of the pictures up on my photo site later this week.

Then, later in the day, I went for a 5 mile run. Same as last weekend only with newer shoes. No soreness today at all! Just over 15 miles again.

Sunday afternoon, DS#2 took me out for a run so he can stick to his c25k plan. Just as we started running after our warm-up walk, he asks me if that is a woodpecker. Go take a look and let me know what you think. Or you can cheat and go to my photoblog site when it posts and see it there.

What a fun way to end a week (of course, I'll pay for it tomorrow since I am up so late, but that is the price of playing with Lightroom for hours on end).

How was your week? Leave me a comment here or say "Hi" over on Twitter.


Running last night was great. First 2.1 miles were run/walk with my youngest son and was at about 15 mpm avg including the ~5 min warm up and another ~5 min cool down. He is working through Couch to 5k (C25k) and just started week 2. I am using the runs with him as either an easy day or a warm-up depending on my schedule.

So after the 2.1 miles with him, kept going and decided to do another mile or so "faster". To be honest, I was thinking a mile or 2 at 10 mpm or so would be ok. After about 2 min, I checked my pace and Mr Garmin said I was doing about 8:30. It felt ok and I thought I could hold that for a mile, so I picked up the effort a bit, and got my average for that mile as low as about 7:20 for a bit and just tried to hold it together for the rest of the mile. I faded a bit by the end of the mile, but still managed to make that 3rd mile in under 8 minutes.

This morning, I felt fine, with to tightness or soreness. I had a 20 min chair massage and she said that …

The List

I have never made a list of things I wanted to do by the time I was 40, 50 or any other age. I never made an infamous "Bucket List", at least not in writing. I am not against any of these lists, but like the idea of having a "To-Do" list. Here is my first official release of my list. I am including a few items that I have already done, just because I feel they are momentous enough that they have influenced my life.

Learn a second language (Spanish 1976ish)
Complete a marathon (Twin Cities Marathon 2006)
Complete an Ironman Triathlon (IMAZ April 2008)
Take a photo workshop/class
Sell a photograph to someone I do not know
Learn to program better in Perl
Learn to fly an airplane
Visit China

I am sure that there will be things that I will discover later. Some of these things are easier to do and some are harder and will take longer. For now though, this will be my list.

What about you? Do you have a list of things that you want to accomplish in your life? Are you mak…

More running!

It was a chilly 42*F when I headed out, so I wore a long-sleeve compression shirt under a t-shirt. I know all you Northerners are laughing at me calling 42 cold, but at my current slow pace, I don't generate enough heat, so I need a bit of help.

I managed to keep an even pace. The first mile was 12 mpm including about 3 min of fast walking to warm up. Overall average was close to 11:30 mpm. This was my longest run so far in 09 and I felt great the whole time other than a bit of an upset stomach.

The total for the week of 12.75 which is, I'm pretty sure, my best week in over 6 months. Woo Hoo! I feel a 15 mile week coming up soon.

More good news!

Hear me Roar!: Good news!

In addition to being good news for Amanda, it is good news for all of us to know that there are so many men and women putting their lives on the line to protect our freedom.

So, Jarrod, thank you for your service and glad you are home safe and sound. That thanks also goes out to the rest of our armed forces.

Terrific Tuesday

Have you ever lost your wallet or purse? I think most of us have at one time or another. If so, you know the sick-to-the-pit-of-your-stomach feeling that hits you when you realize it is missing.

The flip side of losing your wallet is finding it again. Or finding something else. It feels great to find something of value. Finding 25 cents while I was out on a run one day brightened my day. Finding a coupon for a favorite restaurant can make someone happy.

With that incredibly long, but hopefully not too boring lead-in, today's news story is about a movement to help more people feel the good feeling of finding something.

Burger King is dropping real wallets in Chicago and Orlando with real money and real gift certificates in them to brighten people’s lives and make things better for people...

More recently, some other folks have taken this idea and run with it. Nina Hershberger and Daiv Russell have launched a Pay It Forward campaign. Instead of real wallets, which would be a …

Double Digits!!!

I finally made it to double-digit mileage this week (with a 1-time adjustment from Mon-Sun to Sun-Sat for this week only). 12 miles!!! This morning was a 4 miler which is a new record for 2009, so that was a great way to start the weekend.

Lets see if we can keep this up next week.

Wish me luck! No, really, wish me luck here in the comments or drop me a note on Twitter, it really helps.

This is strange

I logged in to a bill paying site I have used for several years and got this message:

Please note that you will only see this message once and must take immediate action on it.

We take great care to keep your personal information secure. As part of these ongoing efforts, we are notifying you that the computer you use for online bill payment may have been exposed to software that puts the security of your computer's contents at risk. This letter will help you determine if your computer is actually infected and advise you how to fix the problem and protect yourself against future risk.

The malicious software affects some but not all customers who accessed online bill payment on Tuesday, December 2, 2008. For a limited period of time, some customers were redirected from the authentic bill payment service to another site that may have installed malicious software. Your computer may be infected if all of the following are true:

* You attempted to access online bill payment between 12:3…

Running and stuff

I really started this blog to monologue about my running and have a place to put my race reports for future review. Thus, now that I have started running a bit more regularly, I am going to start logging my runs here. I also log them on (I am CactusTriathlete there) and that feeds my Twitter-stream. But to my loyal blog readers, I will keep the most interesting (interesting being relative, sometimes a run is just a boring run) stuff here.

I ran a total of 3.1 miles in a shade under 34 minutes for an avg pace of 10:52 mpm. Miles 2 & 3 were a tad faster than the first and I ran the whole way with no walk breaks. I feel like I could have gone a few more miles (but not too much further tonight). Effort was moderate and I went without water (trying to avoid water for anything under 1 hour until the temps start to climb back up.

Thanks for dropping by and may your runs be fast and feel easy.

Terrific Tuesday

While this is going out Wednesday, I am calling it Terrific Tuesday because of when I heard and found these items.

Item #1.
My mom called. Biopsy results are in. Not Cancer. GREAT NEWS!!!

Item #2.
A friend on Twitter sent a link to this video. That prompted me to dig a bit more to find out about this guy and found his site here. If anyone has a reason to be bitter, Nick would be it, but he is not. You will fall down, but you don't need to stay down. Keep trying and never give up!

Now, your turn. Share something good that has happened to you recently. Or something that you read that made you feel good. Or tell me this stuff makes you sick (though if that is the case, I highly doubt you have even read this far). Hey, that is why the comments are there and I just made it easier than ever to post a comment. As long as I don't start getting a ton of spam, I will leave these looser settings, so if you want to post a motivational message about your discount pharmacy, please don&#…

Tech Coolness

A friend just passed this link on to me. Besides the expected low price, this laptop looks like it would meet the needs of upwards of 90% (my guess) of home computer users. Based on only this one post, as long as the drivers for printing are available, my suspicion is that this machine has the potential to be a best-seller. The prototype they are showing looks like something Fisher-Price would make (that is a compliment in my book) and would be pretty reliable which would make it a great addition to any household with kids or new computer users.

I look forward to the continued progress of this product and hope it doesn't languish in development due to the current financial struggles.

What do you think? Would this find it's way into your house? Would it replace some or most of what you do with a laptop? Let me know in the comments.


... made it to double digits this week. Just over 8 miles. Nothing record-breaking for me, but a new high for 2009. Maybe next week will be over 10.

Today was a nice 3.15 mile progression run. Each mile was faster than the one before.

That's all. Stay tuned for more running next week (I hope). If you need more before then, feel free to visit my photo blog or head over to Twitter and say "hi".

I ran again last night!

OK, I ran at the gym on Tuesday as well, but last night I went about 2.4 miles. I made a few up and down sprints at the water retention basins for a bit of extra and threw in a short speed interval to give my son a run for his money (he was pacing me on his bike). I only took about a 30 second walk break after the speed interval to get my HR and breathing back under control.

I managed about 5.5 miles last week (1 of those was walking with my lovely wife) and so far this week I am at 3.9 with 4 days to go (my training schedule starts Mondays) so if I get 2 more workouts in and average 1.55 miles each, I will be at 8 for the week. Any walks and I should be able to hit double digits!

And that is on top of getting off to a spectacular start on maintaining my photo blog. My minimum goal there is to have at least 1 photo a week and try to get post every other day as a stretch goal.

I can't say anything else...

Frankie's blog entry from yesterday is powerful. There is nothing I can add except my own humble thanks to the men and women of our armed forced putting their lives on the line every day to protect my freedom.

Lest the cynical among us (myself included) suspect this is just some political hot air trying to drum up pro-war sympathies, snopes has verified it and lists it as true.

Check it out.


Remember that? That was one of the main reasons I started blogging here. That and swimming and biking make up triathlon. Since April about the only time running has come up here is me moping about not doing it very much.

Well, this week I ran 3 times. Only a total of 4.5 miles and at a pretty easy pace, but I have to start somewhere. Also, 2 of those runs were followed by a good 30+ minutes of weight training.

Next week, the goal is at least 3 runs and shoot for 6+ miles. Should be a reasonable goal, but keep your fingers crossed.

Blog 2008 year in review

In most sports, numbers are used to analyze everything from a baseball batters performance to the percentage of free throws a basketball player makes. In businesses, managers will use numbers to analyze their profitability as well as well as to identify profitable products and markets. I have likewise been trying to balance what I am interested in with what the people that come to my blog like to see.

To that end, earlier this year, I implemented Google Analytics to track statistics on my visitors. Don't worry I do not track any personal information about anyone stopping by here (I don't even think I can) but rather just information about how many people, what part of the country or world where they are logged in. So how did I do for 2008?

1332 Visits
18 countries
41 states
80 posts

I started blogging in May, but started doing it a bit more consistently in July. Also by July, I had gotten most of the kinks worked out of Google Analytics so the numbers above are not complete …

Darwin Awards are back

The 2008 Darwin Awards are out. You can vote on your favorites here. I'm sure you know that Charles Darwin is known for the theory of evolution which in a short, non-technical, average-joe/jane kind of way says that species will evolve or change over time by the stronger traits becoming more prominent and the weaker, less useful ones being less prominent or disappearing. If you have not heard about the Darwin Awards (named in his honor), their web site explains it this way:
The Darwin Awards salute the improvement of
the human genome by honoring those who
accidentally remove themselves from it...
In other words, they are awards given to people who managed to kill themselves in some spectacularly idiotic way.

My favorite is Run! No, Run Away! It meets the spirit of the Darwin Awards in a wonderful way.

New Year's Eve Report

Last night, we had a family get together for New Year's Eve. My parents made reservations for a hayride and campfire dinner. We met at MacDonald's Ranch right around sunset. My sister was in town for a few days with her son and my brother and his girlfriend/fiancee also came with. My oldest son brought a friend with as well.

Everyone was entranced by the horses and their willingness to come over to the fence and visit. We got everyone together and made our way over to the wagon. We all piled on for horse-drawn wagon for the ride out to our campsite. When we got there and unloaded our stuff the cowboy took off with our wagon and said he would be back at 9 unless we called for an earlier pickup.

The fire was going when we got there, so all we needed to do was add wood when it needed it.

There was a generator running some lights at some of the picnic tables and a couple porta-potties. We sat down to eat and while we were eating, we heard some coyotes howling. We didn't…