13
September
2014
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Kyra and some friends had a “photo shoot” a few weeks ago with one of their leaders at church. This is Kyra’s photo.

kyra-umbrella

I’m not sure how I ended up with a girl who’s so beautiful…

9
September
2014
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Funny because it’s true:
group-projects

1
September
2014
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Whether or not this is real (who can tell on the internet?), it’s pretty darn funny.

if-i-had-a-billion-dollars

If I had one billion dollars I would make an orphan believe he was going to Hogwarts to learn magic. I would pay actors to pretend to be wizards and have a fake Hagrid take him shopping at a pretend Diagon Alley. I would plan elaborate magic illusions to convince him he really was a wizard. Finally, I would convince him to run at the wall to get to Platform 9 3/4. As soon as he hits the wall balloons would fall from the sky and a giant banner would fall down and read “Magic Isn’t Real”.
30
August
2014
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Alex wasn’t feeling too well today, so he called Papa John’s and told them he wasn’t going to make it in for his eight-hour shift. He then spent most of the day on the couch, alternately poking listlessly at his computer, reading comics, and napping. Finally Laralee suggested that he might enjoy watching Lost. Without anything better to do, he agreed and she dug up the old DVD’s from the first season.

lost-poster

I walked in when Jack and Kate were talking to the pilot of the downed plane, and suddenly there’s a roar and a lot of shaking and a scary monstrous thing that no one can quite see. Of course the pilot peeks out the window, gets grabbed and yanked out of the plane, and then you just hear a scream.

I turned to Alex. “You’re probably thinking that in the next episode, or maybe later in the season, you’ll find out what that was. But you’d be wrong. You can watch this series for six years and never know what the heck just happened.” I also spoiled another thing for him by telling him that in a few episodes you’d see a polar bear on this tropical island. Yeah, a polar bear! Weird, huh? But you’ll never find out why there was a polar bear on the island. Add to that dozens of other fascinating plot twists that make the show interesting but, ultimately, are never resolved.

Man, that brought back memories. I really enjoyed Lost for about four seasons, until I realized that all of the stuff J.J. Abrams introduced in the show would never actually be explained or resolved. Whee! It’ll be interesting to see whether Alex gets interested in the show now…

23
August
2014
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Laralee thought our grass was getting a little long today, so she asked Zack to plan to mow the lawn. He’s at a friend’s house but promised to mow later this afternoon.

Well, the storm clouds rolled in and it started sprinkling a little, so Laralee decided that it needed to get done in short order since it’s trickier to mow wet grass. She went out and started working on the backyard.

Just then I came home from an appointment and saw Alex sitting in the family room– right beside a window where he could see her mowing– poking on his computer. The ensuing conversation went something like this:

Me: Hey Alex, what are you working on?
Alex: Nothin’. Just playing some games.
Me: I notice mom’s out in the yard mowing.
Alex: Yep.
Me: While you’re playing games.
Alex: Well, Zack’s going to mow it.
Me: Zack’s not here.
Alex: He can mow it later.
Me: Or you could mow it now.
Alex: Mom didn’t ask me.
Me: It would be okay if you went out and offered to do it.
Alex: heavy sigh. Okay.

So he went out and took over. In what can only be described as some kind of poetic justice, it then started to pour.

alex-mowing-in-the-rain

He was running back and forth– not that it mattered, since he was already completely soaked. I think the lawn was mowed in record time today.

21
August
2014
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Today’s winning spam message:

toilet-paper-coupons

Clever copy: “Unroll Savings”… awesome! And hey, puppies!

21
August
2014
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Last night we had a Zing outing to the Rockies game. We started out with dinner at the Viewhouse, which is across the street from Coors Field and has a really cool rooftop area. The weather was beautiful, so it was fun to enjoy a summer evening eating and then head over to the game.

The Rockies pretty much suck this year, and I didn’t even know anyone on the roster (I guess several of the more well-known players are injured now). We got off to a rough start and fell behind 2-1 in the first few innings, but then in the sixth one of their new players, Matt McBride, stepped up to the plate. He’d been called up from the minors the day before and it was his fourth Major League at-bat. With a mighty swing, he sent a grand slam home run into the left field bleachers. Wow, that’s gotta make you feel pretty good.

A bit of rain gave us a beautiful double rainbow:

rockies-1
Double rainbow!

Here are a few of us watching the game intently while munching on some peanuts– and I guess Mike was checking whether it was past his bedtime. According to Therese, it’s not officially summer until you’ve been to a baseball game, and it’s not a baseball game unless you’ve bought peanuts from a vendor standing on the street corner outside the park.

rockies-2

Another great Zing activity. Thanks, guys.

19
August
2014
Permalink

Wow, here’s today’s front page from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, reporting on the civil unrest in Ferguson:

militarized-cops

Crazy. These are policemen facing a crowd at a Quiktrip convenience store, but it looks like a massive military operation. Does anyone still doubt police forces these days are over-zealous and over-equipped with military hardware?

18
August
2014
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So today Alex and Kyra both went out on their first dates. They had a good time watching a movie, bowling, eating pizza, and getting slushies at Sonic.

Nineteen years ago today, Laralee and I went out on our first date.

To Arby’s.

laralee-longago

She’s just as awesome as she was nineteen years ago. Maybe even more awesome.

16
August
2014
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Today was the much-anticipated Grass Roots Ultimate summer league tournament. All summer we’ve been playing double-headers every week, leading up to the tourney, so this was a big deal. Just like all major sports, the regular season is all about positioning for the final games.

Well, we finished in third place during the regular season, which is actually the most desirable spot in a fourteen-team pool. The top two seeds, both 15-3-1, skipped the first round. We were 15-4-0, so we were definitely contenders. We had a first-round game against the lowest-ranked team. It was actually kind of sad; we beat them handily 13-1 and the only reason they scored the one is because we were playing a lazy defense against them. That was pretty much how their entire season had gone, which can be pretty frustrating as a team.

Second round was definitely a tougher game, but we ran up the scoreboard early in the first half and expanded our lead in the second half to finish at time with a 12-6 win.

The third round was against the second-place team, who had barely beat us 8-7 during the regular season. They made a few questionable calls and tempers flared a bit on both sides. One thing I really enjoy about the Boulder ultimate league is the spirit of the game and how most of the players are there to have fun, not to win at all costs. So we generally just redid a questionable play, and did our best to shake it off. We took a commanding lead in the second half and finished 11-7.

Then came the finals. The top-seeded team had been bumped out in the semifinals, so we were playing a strong team coming off an upset victory. They were pumped. In a really cool move, the opposing captain suggested we start the game with a joint cheer, so we all whooped and hollered and hit the field. Both of our teams had played (and won) three hour-plus games, so we were starting to get tired. It didn’t help that it was almost 90 degrees and the sun was beating down.

We traded points, with a few of the points turning into grueling back-and-forth contests as the wind picked up a bit. At half we were in good position, leading 7-3. They came out strong and picked up a few points, but their captain (one of their best players) twisted his knee badly and had to sit. They were also missing another strong player. We, on the other hand, had almost our entire team (a couple players were out of town) and played good, solid ultimate all day.

The final game is always extra fun because many of the other teams stay to watch, so the sidelines are packed with people shouting and heckling. A bunch of the women were chanting “take off your shirt!” to one of the well-built guys on the other team. There were also a lot of calls for hammer throws– always a crowd pleaser. I threw a long hammer on the last point, hoping for the score, but it ended up just outside the endzone and the receiver then made a light toss to one of our cutters and we won the game 13-7.

In ten years as a captain, I’ve never won the tournament. This was a huge day, and a ton of fun. I really enjoyed this season, and the strong players we had. We also had a really good time together, finishing with one of the top spirit scores in the league as well as the most points scored in all. Interestingly enough, on average we were also the oldest team and the tallest team. Tall and experienced: a great combination.

Here are a few pictures from today’s games.

First, the team photo before we started. Everyone is fresh, happy, and not at all sweaty:
d-tour-01

Raj tosses a nice backhand past his defender:
d-tour-02

Here’s an amazing catch by Tessa, who left her feet and landed right at the back corner of the endzone:
d-tour-03

This guy isn’t on our team, but it was an awesome catch.
d-tour-04

Writing a cheer for the opposing team is a very important part of the league. Here Brenda (the cheer master) writes while Peter and Tessa look up the words to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”. Yes, it was an amazing cheer to that tune.
d-tour-05

Cameron does some kind of monkey leap to catch a point in the endzone:
d-tour-06

Here’s Tessa with a tough mark on Barb:
d-tour-07

And here we are after our victory, holding our awards. Yep, that’s right: we won flip-flops with the GRU logo on them. I’ve won the championship three times in fifteen years, and this is the second time I won footwear. Don’t they realize I’m Shoeless Jeff?
d-tour-08

It was a great time and a great season. I’m looking forward to the fall season, which will be in Longmont under the lights. And I’m running the league. We’ll see how that goes…

13
August
2014
Permalink

Yesterday Kyra was asked on her first date by a guy named Ricky. It’s been a long time coming… about a year ago, he approached me to get permission to ask out Kyra when she turned 16 (our kids aren’t allowed to date until 16). Ricky is 16 and a good kid, so of course I said it was fine. He’s literally been waiting almost a year for her sweet sixteen birthday, and all of his friends– as well as Kyra– were well aware of his little crush.

Now that the deed is done and he has a date secured, Ricky asked Alex about going out on a group date. Why? Because Alex can drive, of course. At first Alex was willing to just be the chauffeur for Ricky, Kyra, and another couple, but I told him he wasn’t going to be the “fifth wheel” and he needed to get a date.

Of course Alex is a year and a half older than Kyra and hasn’t ever been on a date, so this is a pretty big deal. He pretended to really think about all of the girls he could ask, but everyone knew all along that it would be Brianna.

alex-babes
(Brianna is the pretty blond on the left.)

There are now two other boys in the posse, and today one of them asked out Kelsey, Brianna’s younger sister (and the girl to the right of Alex in the photo). Apparently when he was over at her house talking to her about it, Brianna said she was still waiting for Alex to ask. It’s funny that even she knows it’s coming.

Anyway, tonight Alex was brainstorming about how to ask her out in a funny and creative way. I tossed out a few ideas– it’ll be fun to see what he decides to do. Even more fun is the fact that Alex and Kyra will be on the same group date…

5
August
2014
Permalink

Kyra and I competed to see who has the most chins.

jeff-kyra-chins

From what I can tell, she only has two. Amateur.

5
August
2014
Permalink

Zack got a shirt from Kyra for his birthday… it’s one of the crazy purple minions.

zack-minion

Somehow, it suits him.

31
July
2014
Permalink

Last week Zack was at Scout Camp. He and a dozen other boys went to a local lake and spent the week camping, hiking, and learning to wakeboard, kayak, and surf. He had a lot of fun. Heck, I was there for a day and I had a lot of fun too.

The day after he came home, he complained that his legs hurt. We peeked beneath his shorts and discovered that he had a ton of little bites. Laralee actually counted 46 of them, mostly on the back of his legs but also on the front. Here’s a photo of the back of his right thigh:

zack-chiggers

Yikes.

Strangely, they actually got worse over the next couple of days. They were very painful– so much that he couldn’t sit, and had to spend the day on his stomach reading books and such.

A bit of research indicated that they’re probably chigger bites. None of the other boys at camp had any problems like this, so the best we can figure is that Zack either had a bunch of them in his sleeping bag, or he sat down somewhere in the forest and managed to stir up a bunch of the little buggers.

It’s almost a week later and they’re finally subsiding, but it was pretty crazy for a while. Hopefully this isn’t all he remembers about Scout Camp years from now…

31
July
2014
Permalink

Here are a few artsy photos from the latest download from my camera…

Blinkenlights at my hosting facility:

blinkenlights

Peering into the guts of a server:

server-guts

And Skittles!

skittles

31
July
2014
Permalink

Over the past few months I’ve made a lot of progress trimming the amount of spam I receive. Every now and then something still manages to sneak through, but it’s nowhere near the flood I used to endure.

Today’s awesome sneak-through message? Toenail fungus cure!

toenail-fungus

I can’t imagine the sorts of people who click through on this. But I suspect it got through the filters simply because I wasn’t filtering for “toenail fungus”. Until now. Mwah ha haaaaa!

30
July
2014
Permalink

Today we had a conference call scheduled with a client. The purpose of the call was to decide how many opportunities the client’s customers (end users) would have to install a software license before the system told them they’d exhausted their attempts and would need to contact customer support.

Generally you don’t want to give customers just a single attempt, because something might go wrong during the installation process, or they might get a new computer and want to continue using the same license, and so forth. On the other hand, you don’t want to give them tens or hundreds of attempts because that opens the door for rampant piracy. So we knew going into it that the number would probably be in the neighborhood of 3 to 5.

Prior to the call, Ben commented that there really wasn’t any need for us (the development team) to even be a part of the call because in the end, it was a business decision for our client. We could save a lot of time– that’s billable time from us– if the client had this conversation internally and then spent two seconds telling us the number they decided to use. Unfortunately, they insisted we join the call so Ben and Josh spent 55 minutes listening on the conference line (not really even offering input) as about a dozen people at the client site debated the merits of 3 versus 4 and so forth.

I felt kind of bad that Ben and Josh had to endure that, because I came up to them after the call had ended and asked for the two-second summary. Ben said the number they chose was…

here it comes…

wait for it…

3

Ahh, meetings.

19
July
2014
Permalink

Pawel Kuczynski is a Polish artist who has just released a series of paintings with clever social commentary. Two of my favorites are these:

tear-down-erect-another

(Especially apropos given the situation in the Ukraine and other places.)

facebook-periscope

19
July
2014
Permalink

It’s a sad commentary on today’s world that so many countries and groups of people dislike each other we need some kind of “friendship chart” to understand the relationships. Not surprisingly, the Middle East is a prime example of this.

Slate just published this helpful friendship chart:

friendship-chart

Note the legend in the top right: friends, enemies, and “it’s complicated”. I also can’t help but smile (in a sad way) about the correction at the bottom of the chart: the editors mistakenly thought two countries were friends, but alas they are not.

From experience with Kyra, I think this friendship-chart technology could also be used to help junior-high girls map their relationships with each other. So I suppose I’m saying, in the end, that the countries and groups in the Middle East are somewhat like a bunch of junior-high girls…