19
May
2015
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Here’s a sharp-dressed guy.

jeff-jen

No, that’s not my first wife or something. Dirk sent me this photo tonight– he must have found it in a dusty box in the basement or something. It’s his wife Jennifer just before their wedding. I was a groomsman but apparently I hadn’t yet put on my tux. She was being all beautiful and smiley for the photographer, and suddenly suggested that I join her for a shot. What can I say– I’m just so photogenic.

19
May
2015
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So for many years, whenever a woman asks me the mysterious question “Guess what?”, my glib response is always “You’re pregnant?” I find that most of the time it elicits a chuckle, but in general I’m wrong. Well, in fact I don’t think I’ve ever been right.

Until Saturday.

Here’s my conversation with a friend (who will remain nameless for now):

preggers

Hah! Nailed it!

19
May
2015
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Zack’s had a Ripstik for several years now. It’s one of those funky skateboard-like things with two wheels:

ripstik

He loves it and zips all over the neighborhood. Well, he finally decided it might be time to get some new wheels for it, because the old ones had basically worn down to a nub. We ordered the wheels, and the difference is pretty staggering:

ripstik-wheels

The one on the right has worn through to whatever weird filler material they stuff inside. With the new wheels, he should be ready for another few years of zipping around.

19
May
2015
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Our old lawnmower was self-propelled, but the motor had given out years ago so it was basically a push mower that weighed about 15 pounds more than it needed to. Laralee finally got tired of heaving it around the yard, as well as listening to Zack complain about how heavy it was when he used it. We had a friend who was looking for a mower, so it seemed like an opportune time to donate it.

After extensive research online and at the local hardware stores, Laralee found a push mower that was highly rated and reasonably priced. It’s a little Honda, and since we have three Honda cars I guess we might as well continue the trend.

It’s been raining nearly continuously for weeks, so as soon as the sun broke through and the grass dried enough, Zack went out to give it a whirl.

zack-lawnmower

I’m sure he’s excited about all of the opportunities he’ll have to use it this summer…

19
May
2015
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Tonight was the final week of indoor ultimate. We got smoked in the first round of the tournament (against the top-ranked team who was 26-1 for the season). Our second game in the consolation round was a ton of fun, and even though we ended up with a 20-18 loss, everyone had a good time. I really enjoyed playing indoor, although it’s very different from the outdoor game I’ve been playing for almost 25 years.

Here’s the obligatory team photo:

raf-eye-elle

Thanks for a great season, guys!

19
May
2015
Permalink

Yesterday I received two calls (neither of which I answered) with a message that said it was “very important” that I call the “IRS hotline” to talk about an “urgent tax matter”. Whoa. What could it be?

I’m kidding. I know exactly what it was: a scam.

The callback number was 302-251-8071, which is somewhere in Delaware. These guys should at least get a 202 number, which would be Washington DC and a little more believable. From what I understand, the scam typically works by telling the victim that there’s a serious problem with their tax returns from some years past, and they owe the IRS tens of thousands of dollars. Apparently there’s occasionally a vague threat of legal action and jail time if they don’t pay immediately. Of course, few people have that kind of money, so the scammers explain that they can make a partial payment immediately via a bank transfer or by loading up pre-paid credit cards, and that’ll resolve the “urgent tax matter”. Anyone who believes it then gives them a bunch of money– often hundreds or even a few thousand dollars.

Just because I was in a mood, I called the number today. Sure enough, some guy with an Indian accent answered and the conversation went something like this:

Me: Hi, I received a message about an URGENT TAX MATTER and I wanted to get it resolved. What’s going on?

Him: Hello sir. Who am I speaking with? [Since he has no idea who’s calling back on this number]

Me: Who am I? Don’t you know who I am? You’re the IRS.

Him: Is this (undecipherable name that sounded like “Doom”)?

Me: Are you asking if I’m Mr. Doom?

Him: Yes.

Me: That’s a great name but it’s not me.

Him: Is your address (undecipherable street) in Boston, Massachusetts?

Me: Hmm, no, that’s not my address either. This is strange.

Him: Please ignore our message. Good bye. [He hung up quickly]

So I’m wondering if these guys are using public-record information (like the Boston phone book) and calling people at random. Then, with their name and address, they can sound official and scare the person into paying to avoid jail or whatever. But when I called the number, they had no context and couldn’t identify me, so they quickly dropped the call.

In any case, I’ve received plenty of letters from the IRS for my businesses and so forth, and I know the IRS only communicates by postal mail and would never call and expect me to call some random number in Delaware to resolve a tax matter. In addition, when you call the IRS, the person who answers will always give their name and some ID number… you’d think these scammers would at least act like that to be more realistic. Sheesh. Amateurs.

So if you have a few spare minutes and want to have some fun, call 302-251-8071 and pretend to be all worried about your URGENT TAX MATTER.

16
May
2015
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I was reading an article this afternoon and found an interesting infographic. This shows the most popular profession by state:

jobs-by-state

Four states, including Colorado, have more software developers than people in other careers. Primary school teachers are tops in six other states. Five states are popular for secretaries. And an astounding twenty-eight states list truck driver as their most popular profession. I find that pretty interesting.

13
May
2015
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Here’s a cool sunset picture:

martian-sunset

But wait– why is it so blue? Shouldn’t a sunset be more orange and red?

Yes it should. But this is on freakin’ Mars!

This photo was taken in mid-April by the Curiosity rover on Mars, somewhere near Gale Crater. The rover is nearing its 1,000-th day on the Martian surface and continues to do cool stuff.

Man, I love science.

12
May
2015
Permalink

Since I couldn’t schedule an appointment at the DMV, today I decided to drop in and renew my license. Interestingly, the last time I was at the DMV was to get a marriage license in 1996. The last time I went through the process of getting a driver’s license was in 1995 after moving to Colorado. In those days, licenses were valid for ten years and I could renew it online. So I’ve renewed it twice online, and didn’t have to see the inside of the DMV for almost twenty years.

I arrived at the building at precisely 8:00am, when they open. There was a line of at least 40 people– maybe up to 50– standing on the sidewalk waiting for the doors to open. Holy cow. I turned right around and headed to the office.

After a couple of hours, I went back with the hope that the initial crowd had thinned. Indeed, there were maybe 20 people waiting for their ticket number to be called. I used the little touchscreen device near the door to get my ticket, and compared it with where they were in the queue. The ticket machine was nice enough to tell me the expected wait time: one hour and eleven minutes. I hung around for maybe ten minutes to see if perhaps the estimation algorithm was wrong, but in those ten minutes I think one person was called. I walked out and went back to work at the office again.

Just shy of an hour later, I came back to the DMV. I figured I had maybe 10-15 minutes to wait. Alas, I had just missed my number being called. The number right after it was shown on the big board in the office. Argh. But surely I could point out that I had just been missed, and jump back in the queue?

I waited for a few minutes until one of the workers was free, and showed her my ticket. “I just came back and noticed that my number was called a few minutes ago. Would it be okay if I go next?”

She looked at me with a look that only a government bureaucrat could have. “Sir, you’ll need to take a new number. But don’t worry, the line is moving quickly today.”

Quickly! Ha ha! Thanks, helpful DMV lady!

Dejected, I went back to the touchscreen and printed another ticket. Estimated wait time: 38 minutes. Okay, it’s not the end of the world, and I suppose I kind of cheated by leaving the office for an hour, so I settled in to wait.

An hour passed.

I noticed on the big board that the estimated wait time for new customers coming into the office was now 1:20. As I watched with growing impatience, I spotted several ways their process is just frightfully inefficient. But then again, these people have absolutely no incentive whatsoever to speed up the process. They work their eight-hour shifts and go home, and frankly they probably don’t really care how many people they serve or how long those people have to wait.

Finally I was called to the counter. I presented all of the right paperwork and finished in about 90 seconds. No kidding. Yay, I was finished! No, wait, I had to go to another area to wait for them to take my picture for the new license.

45 minutes passed.

The woman who had been manning the camera station while I was waiting earlier had simply vanished. Maybe she was on a lunch break, or really had to go to the bathroom, or was just in a back office crying as she contemplated her career choice. Regardless, the line of people waiting for their pictures continued to grow. Eventually a guy standing next to me commented about how the line of people waiting to do the paperwork portion had shrunk to almost nothing, while those waiting for their pictures had grown. Sure enough, there were probably 3 people with tickets in hand, and 20 standing around waiting for the camera lady.

At long last the camera lady called me to the counter. She asked for a fingerprint, and I told her I’d like to opt out. (Colorado is one of only four states that requires a fingerprint for a driver’s license, and I think it’s a ridiculous requirement. I’m not a criminal, and I don’t see how my fingerprints have anything to do with driving a car.) She told me I couldn’t opt out, and that was that. I placed my finger carefully on the scanner, setting it sideways so she couldn’t get a good scan. Unfortunately she saw through that little ruse, and after a few more tries and gruff instructions about placing my finger flat and in the center and all that, she was satisfied. Click, picture, and finally I was finished.

All in all, I spent over two hours to do something that actually required a little over two minutes of my time. Absurd. I think going to the dentist is actually better than the DMV, because at least at the dentist they’re doing something.

Five years from now, when my new license expires, I sure hope I can renew it online. Twenty years between visits isn’t enough.

10
May
2015
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After six straight days of rain, last night the weather forecast called for 6-10″ of snow. Snow! In the middle of May!

Well, it didn’t turn out to be quite that much, but we got enough to make the tree branches bend a little bit. Last night around 11pm Laralee went out with a broom and knocked some snow off the big tree in our front yard.

This was how our backyard looked this morning:

may-snow

By noon it was completely gone.

At least the grass is lovin’ it. And now I’m ready for some nice sunny weather.

10
May
2015
Permalink

Zack is the kind of kid who buys all of the goofy slime toys, little action figures, magnets, and so forth. A few weeks ago he ordered some “toxic slime” from someone on eBay. He loves this stuff.

zack-slime-1

zack-slime-2

10
May
2015
Permalink

The New Horizons spacecraft is about 60 million miles from Pluto and closing fast. Here’s the latest from NASA, showing Pluto and Charon rotating around each other:

pluto-charon

The key here is around each other… because Charon is so big compared to Pluto, they rotate around a barycenter which is actually in the space between them. (Almost all planet-moon systems have a barycenter very near the center of the planet.)

It’s so cool to see these guys after almost a century when we could only see them as faint blobs of light. I’m excited for the July flyby when New Horizons is close enough to resolve surface features on Pluto. I love astronomy.

8
May
2015
Permalink

Laralee noticed yesterday that my driver’s license has been expired for about three months now. Oops.

I checked and I’m not allowed to renew it online, because it was a ten-year license, so I’ll need to go to my local DMV to go through the paperwork. I think people generally look forward to visiting the DMV almost but not quite as much as a visit to the dentist. In any case, I noticed on the Colorado state web site that I can make an appointment at the DMV to save time. Hey, cool!

I went to the appointment scheduling page to find a time when I can go.

dmv-appointments

Umm, yeah. So apparently it’s just a cruel joke. Maybe there’s one ten-minute slot available each month on the third Tuesday or something, and it was already taken. I don’t know, but this just seems silly.

I guess I should block out a few hours next week for this. Sigh.

8
May
2015
Permalink

I ordered some hard drives earlier this week and figured I’d check on their delivery status. Imagine my surprise when I found out that severe weather and a train derailment have delayed them!

tracking

Yikes.

6
May
2015
Permalink

I’m wrapping up my first season of the indoor ultimate league. This is the first time I’ve played indoor, and it’s been a load of fun. There are four teams in the league, so at the draft all of the captains decided to name each team after one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I picked Raphael.

raphael

Although we don’t have a very good record, we have a great time together. Last night after our games we headed over to a local Mexican restaurant to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, and right outside was a little pinata of… Raphael! So we had to pose with him.

raf-eye-elle

Here’s looking forward to another week of regular-season play and then the tournament. Good times.

26
April
2015
Permalink

For about a year and a half, the faucet in our kitchen sink hasn’t rotated. We have two sinks, like most people, and the faucet has been stuck over the left sink for all that time. Finally yesterday Laralee said in an exasperated tone, “Why can’t we have a faucet that works?”

Since my Saturday afternoon was actually wide open (for a change), I climbed under the sink to take a look. I fiddled around a bit but didn’t see anything obviously wrong, so I decided to just take the whole thing apart to see if there was something that could be re-aligned or whatever. It turns out the faucet mount was screwed on tighter than a mere mortal could undo, and the nut was completely inaccessible to any reasonable wrench. I spent a solid 30 minutes laying under the sink wrestling with pliers, a flashlight in my mouth, to get the stupid nut off. Finally it came free (raining little bits of rust and metal in my eyes) and I was able to remove the faucet.

An inspection of the faucet showed that something was broken inside– it’s not clear what– but given my adventure in frustration, I decided we should just get a new faucet. Laralee and I headed over to Lowe’s to take a look at their selection. I think the cheap faucets are around $90; the most expensive ones are over $300. Wow. For that price, they’d better do the dishes for me.

We turned around to see an array of sinks, some of which were “complete kits” that included faucets and drains. Since our sink is 15 years old and sort of pitted and worn, we thought maybe we should just replace the whole darn thing. The price wasn’t that much different than just buying a nice faucet anyway. So we picked one, confirmed with one of the Lowe’s guys that we wouldn’t need anything else, and hauled it home.

“How hard can it be?” I said to myself. I mean, come on, you pop out the old sink, drop in the new one, hook up the water lines, and you’re done, right?

Hah.

Removing the old sink proved to be pretty simple, and we had to scrape off the 15-year-old caulk and mildew around the edge.

sink-project-1

That took a while, but it wasn’t bad. We then opened up the new sink and discovered that the instructions in the box were completely different from the hardware. The pictures of the parts didn’t match at all; I can only guess they included the wrong instructions. Still, with a bit of poking at the bag of parts I figured out how the mounting brackets were supposed to work.

We lowered the new sink into the hole in the countertop… well, mostly into the hole. Even though 95% of sinks are a “standard size”, it turned out our countertop was not. The hole was about a quarter-inch too narrow from side to side, and a quarter-inch too short from front to back. Also, there were rounded corners on the countertop and the sink was definitely square. Sigh.

Fortunately the countertop is a cheap laminate atop half-inch particle board. I brought out a hacksaw and took care of the rounded corners in short order. Laralee was hesitant– what if our next sink needed those rounded corners?– but I told her if this thing lasts fifteen years like the old one, we’d be long gone and wouldn’t need to worry about it. Because we couldn’t really saw a thin quarter-inch strip off the sides, front, and back, we grabbed our wood files and went to work. I think it took us about thirty minutes of filing and re-measuring before we finally had a hole big enough to accommodate the new sink.

That’s when we realized that we needed caulk. Duh. We didn’t want to go back to Lowe’s, so we dug through the garage boxes and found some caulk from a while ago. Still fresh! We caulked along the edges and lowered the sink in place. That’s when I discovered that the mounting brackets wouldn’t work on the front and back, because the countertop was inch-thick particle board there. (For reasons I don’t understand, just the front and back were thick; the sides were both half-inch.) Oh well. I slapped extra brackets along the side and tightened them down, and we’ll hope the middle of the sink doesn’t bow up.

Because the locations of the drains and the depth of the new sink aren’t the same as the old, we learned that we’d need to get creative with the plumbing beneath it. The old pipes didn’t quite fit, so out came the hacksaw again, and a few cuts and hard shoves later we had the drain and garbage disposal in working order.

The moment of truth came. I turned on the water and it all worked! The new sink looks pretty sharp, too:

sink-project-2

I asked Zack and Alex to take care of all the trash while Laralee and I cleaned up the kitchen. The boys took the enormous cardboard box to the backyard and proceeded to slash it to little pieces with a sword.

sink-project-3

Hey, if you have a sword, why not use it?

In the end, I learned two things:

1) If you start a home project thinking “How hard can it be?” you’re already in trouble. Something that you suspect might take an hour or so will end up taking four and cost twice what you thought.

2) I never want to be a plumber.

26
April
2015
Permalink

We bought new towels. The ones in our master bathroom and the kids’ bathroom were all many years old and were starting to get scratchy and worn. I found a good deal at Kohl’s and picked up new ones for everyone. Of course you need to wash your towels before using them the first time, so Laralee did that and then ran them through the dryer. The result: a huge sheet of lint that was like a fragile towel itself.

kyra-lint-rag

This is just from the red towels for the master bathroom; the kids’ towels hadn’t even gone through the wash yet. Laralee decided to run them all a couple more times, and each time the lint was quite impressive. By the end we had a stack of multi-colored lint that was at least twice the weight of one of the hand towels. Most impressive. It’s also probably an indicator of the quality of the towels… hmm.

19
April
2015
Permalink

It’s been about a week since we returned from our spring break trip to Cancun, so I figured it was time to sit down and write about it. It was fully awesome and worth all of the expense. We’d never taken a vacation quite like this before; most of our trips consist of loading everyone into the van and driving a few thousand miles. While those trips are a lot of fun, it was definitely a nice change to go somewhere tropical and let someone else take care of the arrangements.

Day 1

We went to the airport, where Zack felt pretty cool because he thought flipping open his passport made him look like a secret agent.

cancun-01

When we crowded onto the airplane, we were greeted by Frontier’s amazing new slogan:

cancun-02

I’m not sure what they mean by “more perks”, but they found several more ways to prove that air travel can be even more uncomfortable and frustrating. First, the seats on their newest planes are all hard plastic and don’t recline at all. The lack of padding means they can probably squeeze yet another row into the aircraft, and that means dollars! Also, the tray tables are so small that they quite literally won’t even hold a paperback book.

cancun-03

I’m not really sure what you could put on these trays. Fortunately we stowed them before takeoff, because you wouldn’t want to slam into them. As we were taxiing, a strange mist filled the plane. It was pumped from behind the walls. You can see it here near the top of the photo, as Kyra demonstrates the proper choking maneuver.

cancun-04

When we arrived in Mexico I was amused by the prolific “exit” signs. These green signs were everywhere in the country– apparently it’s really important to know how to get out of buildings.

cancun-05

One reason I was so amused is because the little stick guy running for the exit bears a striking resemblance to the dudes in the 1980 Apple game Lode Runner, which Thom and I played for untold hours.

lode-runner

A van from the resort picked us up at the airport, and while we were riding we struck up a conversation with the other family in the van. It turned out they were from Longmont, live a few blocks from us, know many of the same people, and even know a bunch of the kids’ friends. Small world, I guess.

When we arrived, I was impressed. This place was easily the nicest hotel I’ve ever stayed in. The floors were a really nice tile (predictably, for sand and water reasons), all of the linens were immaculate, and everything just looked so nice.

cancun-06

It’ll be hard to go back to the Motel 6 and Super 8 places we usually stay on our trips.

cancun-07

There was even a phone conveniently located beside the toilet, for those important calls to room service while you’re conducting your business, so to speak.

cancun-08

They even had a team of guys whose sole job, as far as I could tell, was to scoop up seaweed that washed ashore on the beach.

cancun-09

They would work in the hot sun loading the seaweed into wheelbarrows, which they rolled up the beach and stuffed into garbage bags. Because I’m a curious kind of guy, I kept an eye on it and watched them load the bags into pickup trucks and drive them off several times a day. Who knows where the stuff goes… maybe they truck it up to a neighboring resort and dump it on their beach at night.

One of the great things about an all-inclusive resort is that food is always available. On our first evening we enjoyed a really nice dinner at an outdoor cafe.

cancun-10

There were several restaurants peppered throughout, room service was 24/7 and had an amazing menu, and you could walk (or swim) up to the bar and order pretty much any drink you wanted. We quickly learned that the lemonade and chocolate milk were both amazing. Yeah, that sounds weird, but it’s true.

Day 2

We took a taxi south to a place called Tulum, which is famous for its Mayan ruins. The Mayans built a fairly large city right on the beach, presumably for defensive reasons, but also because hey, who doesn’t want beachfront property?

cancun-16

cancun-12

The buildings are in remarkably good shape considering they’re something like 1,600 years old.

cancun-15

We didn’t have a guide, and all of the signs were in Spanish, so it’s anyone’s guess what some of this stuff was. Maybe these are outhouses? Servants’ quarters?

cancun-11

It was pretty hot that day, and away from the beach there wasn’t much wind, so the humidity was stifling. Zack was in kind of a grumpy mood most of the time, so Alex and I couldn’t help but mock him.

cancun-14

Kyra and Laralee posed in front of some guy’s hacienda.

cancun-13

Laralee was a little worried about getting around, but I found the public transportation to be a breeze. There were plenty of American tourists, so there were plenty of taxis. I found myself doing the math every time we had to hand over a fistful of pesos, just to make sure we weren’t paying $200 for a 10-minute taxi ride or something.

When we arrived back at the resort, Zack headed for the pool. As it turned out, he spent a lot of hours in the pool… he loved it. Since our rooms were “garden” level, we could walk out our sliding back door straight to the poolside. It was sure convenient for Zack.

cancun-17

We settled into some lounge chairs to enjoy some drinks.

cancun-19

It was fun to just sit back and watch the palm trees sway in the breeze. Man, I tell you, this tropical thing grows on you pretty quickly.

cancun-18

There was a giant chess board near the pool, so of course we had to play. Kyra and I started a game while Alex kibbitzed.

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Here Kyra considers a difficult move while sucking down some chocolate milk. I believe the USCF recommends chocolate milk (or lemonade) for most championship-level play.

cancun-22

In the end, I had no mercy and took down Kyra’s king. She was pretty upset.

cancun-23

Later in the afternoon, Kyra, Alex, and I decided to grab some kayaks and head out to sea. They were cheesy plastic things, but still a lot of fun as we paddled out past the breakers.

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cancun-25

We decided the sea was too calm, so we headed over to an area that had more waves and looked interesting. We learned that little waves can quickly become bigger waves, and that a plastic kayak isn’t always great for getting over them. Kyra ended up getting beached on a bunch of volcanic rock, and Alex and I went in to rescue her but were washed ashore right alongside her. We had to portage the kayaks back.

Day 3

We headed up the coast to the north to a place that had jet skis and snorkeling. I always enjoy jet skis, and I found that they’re way more fun on ocean waves than on lakes. Here are Zack and I as we head out from shore.

cancun-26

As we headed out to sea and picked up some speed, I had a great time hopping waves and catching air. A few minutes into that, Zack was holding on to my life vest for dear life and asking me not to do that. I calmed down the ride a bit, but it was still difficult to avoid the occasional wave and airborne crash.

After a twenty-minute jet ski trip we arrived at a secluded beach where we donned snorkeling gear and headed out to the sandbars and reefs near the shore. It was pretty cool stuff.

cancun-27

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After about forty minutes of snorkeling we jumped back on the jet skis. Zack decided to ride with Laralee, thinking it might be a smoother ride. Since Alex had his own jet ski, I hopped on with Kyra, who had decided to drive. I caught a few pictures of us jumping waves.

cancun-30

About halfway back to base, Kyra decided she was too freaked out to keep driving. She’d been doing fine, but okay, I offered to switch with her. Of course that’s tricky on a jet ski in the middle of the ocean– sort of like switching places in a canoe. Sure enough, as we attempted to pass one another, the whole thing tipped to the side and sent me into the drink. But I survived, climbed back on, and we continued our trip.

cancun-31

One thing I really liked about the beaches was the nice warm, fine sand. It was so soft and just pure bliss on bare feet.

cancun-32

Back at the resort, we ran into our new friends from Longmont. They told us about a “secret” beach on the far end of the resort, where there weren’t any crowds. Sure enough, when Laralee and I headed down there we found a bunch of empty lounge chairs and were able to lay back and watch the waves come in.

cancun-33

Day 4

We had another day of snorkeling, at a different location that advertised sea turtles. Sure enough, there were a bunch of them lounging around near shore.

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I grew to love the (relatively) cheap underwater camera I’d purchased for the trip– it did a great job and captured a lot of pictures I wouldn’t have otherwise. Here’s Laralee watching a stingray or something.

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After the sea turtles we went to a cave, where we were able to swim in a cenote or underground river. Apparently there are thousands of cenotes around Mexico. The water was noticeably cooler, but we quickly grew accustomed to it. I think we were spoiled by the bathwater-temperature water in the Gulf.

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Naturally it was dark, so most of my pictures didn’t turn out so well. Here are Kyra and I getting ready to submerge.

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And here are Kyra and Laralee swimming around a cavern.

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I did my best to take some shots of the underwater stalagmites, but the flash didn’t work out so well.

After the cenote we hopped on some ATV’s for a ride through the jungle. That’s what they advertised, anyway; in fact it was riding on a dirt road that happened to go straight through an area with a lot of trees.

cancun-39

Zack was stoked because the tour guide let him drive (he hadn’t been allowed to drive the jet skis the day before).

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After we’d been out for a while, we were heading back on a rough jungle trail and Alex managed to crash into a tree.

cancun-41

Luckily there wasn’t any noticeable damage, since we’d declined the insurance. We recovered and made it back to catch a taxi to the resort.

The resort had a couple of catamarans that you could reserve for a little 20-minute trip out to sea. Each day I’d gone to put our name on the list, but it was already full. We were running out of days to ride the catamaran, but fortunately our new friends from Longmont mentioned to us that they had scored a reservation but wouldn’t be using it (dad and daughter had gone out, but mom and son didn’t want to). Alex and I gratefully used their reservation and had a nice trip out to sea.

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Here’s a fun shot of us crashing through a wave.

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Day 5

On our last day we had some time to kill before our flight out of Mexico, so we went down the beach and relaxed a bit. Here’s me with my lemonade.

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Laralee spotted a little hermit crab making his way across the sand. This guy was maybe an inch from end to end… pretty cool.

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As we were getting ready to grab our luggage and head to the airport, we asked someone to take our picture. Adios, beach!

cancun-46

We enjoyed some overly expensive Domino’s pizza at the airport, then boarded our Frontier flight back home (don’t forget: More Choice! More Perks! More Savings!). They gassed the plane again, and we were on our way.

All in all, it was a fantastic trip. I’m sold on tropical vacations, and assuming we can get the money together, I’d love to head out to Hawaii or Florida or even back to Mexico again. Good times.

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…