1
April
2015
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Our latest Zing activity: archery! Today at lunchtime all of us headed over to a local archery range and shot things. Ben and Noah have their own bows (Noah handmade his about a year ago) and the rest of us used some rentals.

Although I was hardly consistent, I did manage to hit the bullseye twice. Notice the holes in the center yellow!

bullseye

I figure another couple of sessions and I’ll be able to shoot better than Legolas, Katniss, and Hawkeye combined.

20
March
2015
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Spring ultimate season has started! The local group I’ve played with for the past 15 years, Grass Roots Ultimate, is running multiple concurrent leagues this year so I took the opportunity to play in two leagues at once.

On Tuesday nights there’s an indoor league, which is a little unusual but a lot of fun. I’d never played before, but I’d heard it’s a good time, so I signed up. I was invited to be a team captain, so even though I had never done it, I drafted a team and we took to the turf. We play triple-headers every week, and even though the games are only 20 minutes long, they’re intense. It’s very different from traditional outdoor ultimate– it’s much more fast-paced, there are no stoppages of play, and you run flat-out the entire time.

We lost all three of our games, but in each one we did noticeably better, so I attribute it to just getting to know one another and figuring out playing styles. Plus, I kept throwing deep passes that simply don’t work on a field that’s only a quarter the size of a full ultimate field.

I was exhausted at the end of the night, but in a good “wow, that was some workout” sort of way. This is definitely going to get me in shape.

Then on Thursday nights there’s an outdoor league that’s played under the lights at a nice city park in Longmont. It’s convenient: less than a mile from my office, instead of a drive down to Boulder where GRU is headquartered. I’m a captain in this league as well, and I also volunteered to run the entire league. I first ran the league last fall, and it was so much fun I decided to do it again. It means coordinating with the City, managing field space and budgets, organizing the draft, recruiting captains, acting as “host” at our after-game parties every week, and generally being the go-to guy for all of the things that come up in any sports league.

What’s fun about this league is Alex decided to join. He’s played ultimate for years with some friends at school, but it’s pretty recreational and in fact they sometimes play with some goofy rules. He recruited a few friends but none of them really wanted to commit. It’s an adult league but anyone 16 or older is invited. He’s one of three teens in the league, so I’m sure it’s a little intimidating to be playing against a bunch of adults.

We play double headers in this league, and our first games were tonight. The weather was cold and rainy most of the day, but it cleared in the evening and by game time it was still chilly and a little breezy, but considering it’s technically still winter I can’t complain. It’ll definitely be nice to have it warm up through the season, though (we play through the end of May).

Although we lost both our games tonight, just like on Tuesday I saw marked improvement in how we played over the course of the games. Again, we sort of had to figure out who was good at what, and develop strategies to use that. It was awesome to see Alex out there– he was actually really good! I knew he would at least be decent, but he made several fantastic defensive plays, out-jumped one of the opponents in the end zone, and caught everything thrown to him. I’m excited to play on a team together.

To add to the fun, the pickup group I’ve played with for over a decade also has games every Tuesday and Thursday at lunchtime. We typically play two games, or three if we have time. Although it’s just pickup, the level of play is pretty high; in fact, many of the pickup players are in the leagues with me.

It looks like this is going to be a crash course in physical fitness! I’ll be playing nine games of ultimate every week for the next few months, all on two days. How awesome is that? I suppose I’ll sleep well those nights…

16
March
2015
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Kyra’s on the high school varsity tennis team. She never played tennis until about three weeks ago.

Tonight Laralee and I watched her first home game. She played doubles and the two of them did pretty well, but lost a close match. It’s fun to see her doing something completely new and different, and I’ve already seen dramatic improvement. Maybe by the end of the season she’ll be a regular Martina.

kyra-tennis-1

kyra-tennis-2

7
March
2015
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At church our youth group (ages 12 to 18) is involved in a month-long series of seminars called “cotillion”, which is apparently from the French and refers to a formal ball. Cotillion is about manners, etiquette, chivalry, conversation, formal dinners, and dancing. The intention, of course, is to teach the teenage boys how to treat a lady, and the teenage girls how to be graceful. I find it to be an interesting concept, and although I’m completely refined and polite these days, there was certainly a time in my younger years when that wasn’t the case.

Alex and Kyra went through it a few years ago, and neither of them can attend this round because Alex has martial arts and Kyra has tennis practice. They’re not exactly heartbroken about it. Zack, who had no other activities to use as an excuse not to attend, was not excited about it at all. So, in general, amongst the teen group there’s an attitude of grumpiness and resignation about cotillion, but as youth leaders we kept telling them “it’ll be more fun than you think”.

At some point the week before the first session, Zack really wanted something. I don’t remember what it was– maybe it was a snack, or for someone to take care of a chore for him, or to play some extra video game time– but I told him he could have it if he promised not to complain about cotillion for the next five weeks. He agreed. I’ve learned with him that it’s usually best to get it in writing, though, so I put together a little legal contract on a sticky note:

hygiene-griping

It’s stuck to our refrigerator to remind him weekly that he can’t complain when it’s time to head over to the church for the weekly two-hour session. Interestingly, after the first one, Zack came home with a new attitude. He admitted that it was, in fact, more fun than he thought it would be. Even more surprising, he mentioned that during the dance portion (they were learning the foxtrot that day) he danced with a very nice young lady. Wow. So after that first week, it’s been a lot easier getting him out the door.

Next week I’m teaching one of the seminars. My topic: personal hygiene for the older teenage boys. Yeah, that sounds pretty… exciting, doesn’t it? So for the past couple of weeks I’ve been thinking about how to teach boys the things they should do to attract the attention of the young ladies (in a good way). I came up with a few examples and thought I’d illustrate the point with some photos.

First, don’t have messy hair. I took a picture of myself right after getting out of bed, although unfortunately my hair wasn’t as amazingly bad as it is on some days.

hygiene-messy-hair

Be sure to clean your ears. Alex used to have a “wax problem” where he’d go for weeks without applying a Q-tip, and after enough time there would literally be thick brown wax oozing out of his ears. Bleah. (Yes, he’s better now.)

hygiene-ear-wax

If you nick yourself shaving, use a little dab of tissue to staunch the blood, but don’t forget to remove it before you head out the door. Yeah, I’ve done that.

hygiene-shaving-nick

Brush often, and make sure you don’t have food in your teeth.

hygiene-food-in-teeth

And finally, my favorite, avoid the dreaded “bat in the cave”. The kids and I use that to indicate that someone has a nice booger visible in their nose. For some reason, when you’re talking to someone with a bat in the cave, you can’t help but stare. It’s like a train wreck in slow motion or something.

hygiene-bat-in-the-cave

There are some other things I’ll be teaching, including appropriate levels of deodorant, maintaining fresh breath, and yes, even taking showers daily. Hopefully it’ll not only be entertaining, but will help one of these boys enjoy a dance with his dream date.

7
March
2015
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Many years ago we thought it was funny when Zack fell asleep on the landing of our stairs. He would often play with toys there (who knows why) and apparently one day he just crashed.

Anyway, fast forward to last weekend, when some of Kyra’s friends were hanging out late on Friday night. I guess the action was just too much for Hannah and Chaille, who ended up falling asleep on the landing:

sleeping-on-the-stairs

(No, they weren’t just posing for a photo… they were actually asleep.)

Maybe there’s something to the whole “sleeping on the landing”. I should give it a shot. It’s probably more comfortable than sleeping on rocky ground in a tent…

28
February
2015
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Although it was fun to have sunny 60-degree days a few weeks ago, it sure didn’t feel like February around here. The last week, coupled with the upcoming week, are more like what I expect:

forecast-snowy

I actually enjoy winter, even though I’m not out playing ultimate. This is more like February!

27
February
2015
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Despite apocalyptic warnings about winter storms and dangerous roads, Longmont was (as usual) lightly dusted with snow while the rest of the Denver area was pounded. We had a couple of “snow days” at the office, since I’m the only one who lives in Longmont and the rest of the team commutes from Boulder and farther. To the kids’ dismay, the schools were open.

As I was driving to the office yesterday I decided to stop and take a short walk along the trees lining the road. It was a peaceful morning, with light snowfall, and everything looked nice and wintry.

snowfall-1

snowfall-2

snowfall-3

For some reason I find snow to be beautiful.

27
February
2015
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Sometimes I don’t know if Laralee is crazy or brilliant.

Here’s the latest crazy-brilliant idea: on our counter we have a jar of water that has a bunch of used eggshells in it.

egg-water

I wondered about it and asked Laralee, and she told me that if you soak eggshells in water, you can then use the water for plants around the house. The calcium in the shells dissolves in the water, and apparently the plants love the calcium. (Another option is to crush the eggshells and mix them into the soil, but that seems like a lot more work.)

Wow. Brilliant. And a little crazy.

19
February
2015
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I saw a funny graphic about how movies were made, then and now:

movies-then-and-now

14
February
2015
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Laralee isn’t really into flowers or jewelry, so I get off pretty easy on Valentine’s day. This year I bought her a dozen long-stemmed chocolate roses:

vday-chocolate-roses

(Only six fit in our vase.) Unfortunately we discovered they’re hollow milk chocolate, so they’re not as impressive as you might think. I also bought her a stack of dark chocolate Chocolove bars, which are far superior and will definitely win me a few points in the Valentine’s game.

14
February
2015
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In today’s mail I found an amazing card that Nooch Dirque had sent to me for my (upcoming) birthday. This is what the front looks like:

unicorn-card

Inside it says “Have a magical birthday!” and Dirk had taped 43 cents, including a bicentennial quarter!

birthday-coins

How awesome is a barfing unicorn card with money in it?

10
February
2015
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While I was playing ultimate, some IT guy called and left me a message about some domain changes he needs to make. Fine, no problem; I called him back when I was in the office but his phone just rang and rang. Finally it dropped to a generic message about “This subscriber is not available. Please call back later. Goodbye.”

It’s 2015, man. What kind of IT professional has a business line (or mobile phone) without voicemail? Seriously?

Maybe he’s expecting me to Facebook message him or something. I guess that’s what all the cool kids do these days.

10
February
2015
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Today it was sunny and about 65 degrees– just another day in the strange month of February in Colorado. Of course I went out to play some ultimate. My team won the first game handily at 7-4, and in the second game we were down 6-3 with the opponents only one point from a glorious victory. We managed to score two in a row, and had some momentum for a comeback.

Jay threw a deep pass into the endzone, and I went the distance (panting and wheezing, it seemed). I can brag just a little bit to say that I made a spectacular diving catch in the back corner of the endzone, grabbing the disc in fingertips for the point. Tie game!

I scraped my right knee… a huge abrasion from the winter grass. But it was worth every drop of blood. Woo hoo!

5
February
2015
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Today at work I exchanged a few texts with Kyra:

kyra-bio-test

That’s my girl.

5
February
2015
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Today I was heading west into town, and the mountains looked absolutely stunning. They’re coated with the snow that fell last night, and the sky was a crisp blue with some light clouds. I grabbed my cell phone and took a hasty shot out of my horribly dirty windshield:

midday-0205

That’s Longs Peak on the far right, and the Indian Peaks on the left. This photo doesn’t really do it justice, of course.

Later, as I was heading home after work, there was a fading crimson sunset… also spectacular. I was heading north this time, so I rolled down my window and stuck my phone-camera into the cool air:

sunset-0205

Longs Peak is out of the shot, but you can see the same profile of the Indian Peaks on the left half of the photo. Again, this picture isn’t nearly as impressive as the real thing, but not too bad for a cell phone out the window of a moving car.

4
February
2015
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Congratulations, Thom and Katie!

katies-ring

And may I say it’s about freakin’ time, heh…

1
February
2015
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Today at church I gave a lesson to the little kids, aged 11 and younger. My lesson involved some photos of famous people, Jesus, and one of me when I was about eight years old. Anyway, at the end of the lesson a bunch of the kids asked if they could have the photos. It was funny to see who wanted the Jesus pictures versus those who wanted the other people (like Hagrid, for example). At the end of it all, I was left holding my own photo… apparently no one wanted a picture of an eight-year-old Jeff.

I handed it to my friend Franz, who is one of the teachers. He took it home, framed it, and put it on the stairwell in his house.

portraits

He’s waiting to see how long it takes the women in the house to notice it. Hilarious.

31
January
2015
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Ahh Zack… always having fun with Amazon when he buys things.

chinchilla-master

I must admit it’s pretty funny when a package shows up with a label like that.

31
January
2015
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I just found this in the man page for resize2fs, a Linux filesystem tool:

When “kilobytes” is used, I mean real, power-of-2 kilobytes, (i.e., 1024 bytes), which some politically correct folks insist should be the stupid-sounding “kibibytes”. The same holds true for megabytes, also sometimes known as “mebibytes”, or gigabytes, as the amazingly silly “gibibytes”. Makes you want to gibber, doesn’t it?

Ahh, geek humor. I love it.

28
January
2015
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I’m installing Mediawiki for a client. This is the same platform that Wikipedia uses (they make the source code available for free) so it’s a familiar interface and it’s surprisingly easy to use. As I’m going through the installation process, I found myself at this step:

mediawiki

That’s hilarious. I wish more installation programs were honest like this.