I thought it was spring

April showers bring… snow, I guess.

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For most of April, it’s felt like November or something. The past few days have brought cold, grey, drizzly days that eventually turned to snow. I suspect this year we’re just going to skip over spring and go right into summer.

Ending the pizza fast

As a guy who typically eats pizza several times a week, the last 16 days have been pretty hard. Since I’ve been sick, I haven’t been eating my “normal” diet, and given my runny nose and hacking cough, a half-pound of mozzarella cheese probably wouldn’t have been a good idea.

But today I was able to end my fast. Brian and I went out to Parry’s Pizzeria and enjoyed a half-pound of mozzarella with an obnoxious amount of grease.

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Ahh, it’s good to be back in the saddle.

Da prom

So Kyra went out to prom last night with her long-time friend Ricky, who looked dashing in a white suit.

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It almost didn’t happen… Ricky lives in Utah and had been planning to drive out here, but was involved in a car accident a few days ago. His friend, who had been planning to come as well, ended up cancelling. In the end, Ricky bought an airline ticket and showed up ready to roll. Now that’s dedication! (Or a serious crush on my daughter.)

Bowlin’

It was spring break, Zack was off with friends (as always), and the rest of us were sitting around home wondering what to do. Kyra’s friend Chaille was bored as well, and lounging on our couch. Laralee was just getting over a cold, and I hadn’t yet started mine, so we decided to go bowling. Because, why not?

Of course all of us were terrible, but that’s not the point. The point of bowling, as everyone knows, is to launch the ball down the lane with the most speed possible so it absolutely crashes through the pins and knocks them over with sheer momentum.

It’s also important to have a little dance prepared for when you get a strike. Here’s Kyra showing hers.

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(I had quite a few little dance moves, which naturally irritated Laralee, who only had one or two strikes all day.)

We’d paid for 90 minutes, which was just about enough time for three games with four people. As the minutes wound down, though, we realized we weren’t going to quite be able to finish the last game. So the final three or four frames became sort of a comical speed-bowling competition, where we were often tossing the ball down the lane before the little gate had been pulled up. Luckily there weren’t any incidents like that time at Dirk’s 15th birthday party (long story).

Here are the three ladies looking all professional or something.

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And of course I always look good.

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Horse head

For a long time, Zack has been planning to buy one of those goofy rubber horse heads. We keep telling him it’s a waste of money and after about five minutes he’ll get bored of it, but it doesn’t squash his dream.

A couple of weeks ago, Laralee was putting together an order on Amazon and needed to spend a few extra dollars to hit the free shipping threshold (yeah, we’re too cheap for Prime). So she dropped a horse head in the cart, and a few days later we had it. Zack didn’t know, and he was off at his friends’ house when it arrived. Kyra put it on and sat on the couch, and he came in, saw her, and was confused. “I didn’t know you wanted a horse head too!” he said. Kyra told him it was for him, and he practically melted. He gave her a big hug and told her what an awesome sister she is.

Here it is in all its glory:

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Ahh, Zack. Sometimes I don’t know about that kid.

Adventures with TKJ

I found a few more photos from our adventures with Thom, Katie, and Julian a few weeks ago.

All of us headed down to Boulder to hike at Chautauqua, which is a popular trail leading into the foothills on the western edge of town. It was a gorgeous day and fairly crowded on the trail.

Julian might sometimes wonder about that weird cousin of his…

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We’re resting at the top of the Flatirons:

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Thom gazes out at the rest of the Flatirons, with Spivey (?) peeking out of his pack.

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Zack and Julian “ride the dragon”, so to speak, in a park in Golden:

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Here are Thom and Katie at the peak of Copper Mountain:

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Good times as ever.

Rocky Mountain Winter Wonderland

When Thom, Katie, and Julian dropped in for a visit a few weeks ago, we decided to head up to Rocky Mountain National Park for a day hike. The three-mile (or so) hike up to Emerald Lake has always been my favorite, so we hoisted our packs and started up the trail, which was buried in at least four feet of snow.

Even in the cold, grey, windy weather it was amazing.

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The lakes were all frozen, but I think there’s a pretty constant wind up in the area, so the water was wavy and actually looked more like a flowing river.

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Here are some of the “waves” up close:

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Heading back a few hours later, the clouds started to clear and the sun warmed things up a little. Here’s another view of the peaks with some blue sky peeking out:

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Prom hair

Another reason it’s great to be a guy: prior to prom, a guy might run a comb through his hair just before heading out the door to pick up his date. Might.

For a girl, four hours before prom begins, you need a hairdresser to start working on you so your long golden locks are just so.

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Click for cluck

Today one of our clients wrote to Brent:

We need to remove the dog image. There was a list of approved assets for launch. I’d like to make sure they are implemented. The dog is approved for use, but not for launch.

That reminded me of the classic Click for Cluck situation we had many years ago

We have these two sound clips, one is of chickens clucking and one clip of a rooster call. We would like to make a sound clip using the chicken sound first for a few seconds and ending with the rooster, altogether maybe 5 seconds, when the website is opened. Only for the home page, not for the other pages.

My response, which I felt was pretty diplomatic considering how much I was laughing after the initial request:

I would recommend against this. Very few web sites use audio clips on their home pages, and playing sounds without having the visitor click on something is typically considered intrusive. In addition, not all browsers and operating systems support the same audio formats so it can be a challenge to have a format that will work across all platforms.

If you feel strongly about doing this, I’m sure we could work it out, but it’ll probably take several hours to combine the audio clips, choose an appropriate fidelity, convert to the best format, and add the code to make it work across browsers.

And the answer:

How about just putting a button on the first page that says ‘Click for
Cluck’ and let people decide if they want to press it and hear the
clucks and rooster call?

And thus was born Click for Cluck. Josh combined the audio clips and built the code on the home page so visitors could click on the link to hear chickens and a rooster. I think it stayed on the site for several years before we were asked to take it down.

Ahh, clients.

Sick sucks

So I’ve had a cold, or the flu, or some kind of horrible combination, for a full week now. Laralee caught something about two weeks ago, suffered through it for about five days, and then I caught it from her. She and I were both coughing and sneezing for a few days together, but she finally recovered while I continued to be laid low. I skipped out of work, missed several ultimate league games, had to get substitutes for my seminary class, and basically spent day after day in bed or on the couch. Ugh.

I rarely get sick– maybe once every year or two– but boy, this one is probably the worst I’ve had in a decade or more. It reminds me how nice it is to feel well. Hopefully I’m finally on the upward swing (although I stayed home from work again today) and can put this behind me. Sheesh.

Life Hacks… circa 1995

Every now and then someone publishes a list of “life hacks” which are basically clever things you can do to help make your life a little simpler. Most of the time I find them pretty pointless because they’re obvious things anyone would figure out if they’d sit and consider the problem for a moment.

Today I stumbled across a list of life hacks from, oh, the turn of the century or so. Here are the ones that made me laugh:

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Today’s kids won’t even get these jokes.

Cowboy Nick

Every morning, the Zing team gets together for a “standup” meeting where we review our projects and make sure things are on track. Since we work at home on Fridays, we all join a video call on Google Hangouts for the meeting.

Today Nick showed up in a cowboy hat and… well, maybe nothing else.

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Well played, Nick. April Fool’s.

GRU retreat

This weekend was the first ever Grass Roots Ultimate “retreat”. GRU runs year-round ultimate leagues in the Boulder area, and even though I’ve been a player in the leagues for more than 15 years, I hadn’t done much “behind the scenes” work until recently. In the past couple of years I’ve been running the Longmont leagues and the “big” summer league in Boulder, and finally a few months ago I took the next big step and joined the board. There are seven of us, all volunteers, who not only oversee all of the leagues but also the larger goals of bringing ultimate opportunities to the community– including a big emphasis on youth sports and involving more women.

This was my first GRU board meeting. The board usually meets about once a quarter, and in years past they’ve always gathered at someone’s house for a few hours, or met at a coffee shop, or whatever. This year, we decided to do something a little different and have a “retreat” up in the mountains. That involved renting an amazing cabin near Glenwood Springs– the cabin was 6,000 square feet, could comfortably sleep 14 (and probably less comfortably could have slept 40), and was on 40 acres of mountain hills. Wow.

We spent long hours discussing various topics related to the organization, the volunteers, the players, and even our mission. We got a lot of things done, and also realized how much more we still have to do. I’ve known all of these guys for years, but this was a cool opportunity to get to know them a little better.

When the weekend finally wound down and we headed back east over the Rockies for home, I think we all felt a combined sense of purpose and enthusiasm. Oh, and we managed to take a group picture on an old-school fire engine.

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Snow day, continued

Yesterday as Kyra and I were walking back from lunch (it’s nice having a great pizza place right outside the neighborhood), I thought the trees looked amazing with all the snow on them. Here are a couple more shots of our winter wonderland.

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Surprise snow day

Kyra and I agreed that “surprise snow days” are the best. Sometimes the weather forecast says it’s going to snow, and the night before everyone is going to bed thinking surely tomorrow it’ll be a snow day, and then at 5:30 the next morning it’s not, and it’s a huge disappointment.

Today, on the other hand, we were surprised. Well, maybe not entirely: the National Weather Service had issued a “winter storm warning” (upgraded from a “winter advisory”, apparently) for the area. Still, it had been 60+ degrees yesterday– in fact, I played ultimate in bare feet for the first time all season. So we didn’t really expect more than a few inches.

At 5:07 the phone rang with the happy news from the school district. Sure enough, looking out the window I saw that it was the real deal.

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The temperature is hovering right around 32 degrees, so the snowflakes are those big wet ones. Of course, Laralee and I had to shovel the foot-deep heavy snow in our enormous driveway…

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It’s still coming down, meaning we’ll need to shovel again later, but in the meantime we’re enjoying some fun at home.

Do you know…?

Well, Google Plus finally figured it out. I might know myself.

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What happens if I become friends with myself? Does it create some kind of social-media infinite loop?

Settlers of Catan… in 3D

Ben received a 3D printer for Christmas, and he and I were chatting a few weeks ago when he mentioned that he saw a “recipe” online to print tiles for the Settlers of Catan board game. It sounded intriguing, so I asked if he’d be willing to print some for me. He did, and they were awesome. I think they’ll add a whole new dimension to the game. (Dimension– get it? Hah!)

Of course they’re not too exciting in their native white.

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But with a little paint they’ll be amazing. I went to Michaels and bought a bunch of acrylic paints, and for the past few weeks we’ve been sitting down as a family now and then to work on them.

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This is Zack working on a water tile:

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He really did a great job on the tornado (which replaces the robber):

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Here’s my first attempt, a wheat field:

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Kyra’s mountain was the best so far though:

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We’ve also invited “guest artists” to join us. Kyra’s friend Hannah did an incredible job painting one of the forest tiles (although I don’t have a photo of it now). Hopefully over the next few weeks we’ll complete them, and can play a sweet game of Settlers!

The last recital

A few weeks ago Kyra played in what is probably her last flute recital. She’s been taking lessons from Kaye Lloyd (the wife of Kyra’s band teacher in sixth grade) for almost six years, but once she heads off to college I don’t know if she’ll continue private tutoring.

She was great, of course, and it’s been wonderful to have someone like Kaye teaching her all this time.

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Deep Thought by Zack

Today Zack and I went to Freddy’s for lunch, and he remarked,

What if there was something like snow in the summer? You could have a hotball fight.