Sunday, August 29, 2010

Blackshirt Boxscore

Only a moment to synopsize the game from yesterday.

Ben's team dominated from the outset. The final score was 42-0. The first three offensive plays from Waukesha North resulted in -9 yards. On the day, I think North's offense ended up with probably -60 yards. It was really kind of sad, and I felt bad for them by the fourth quarter. Actually I was hoping they'd bust one just to feel how it felt to score. Alas, Ben's team was not that forgiving.

Part of the problem was North couldn't get 11 players on the field. They often ended up with 10 or 12 players. One is short handed, the other a penalty. If you want your team to have a shot, you've got to set them up to win.

Other highlights:

Ben got a fair amount of playing time because it was so lopsided. Most of his time was on Defense as cornerback. They didn't (couldn't) pass much, so he was mostly just there mopping up on some of the tackles. He also played a lot on kickoffs (kicking) where he showed tenacity and speed. He claims on the day he had two tackles, which is about what I counted.

Waukesha South ran back four, count em four, punts for TD's. The other team would have been better off going for it on fourth down, most times.

South also kicked 4 of 6 extra points, which is pretty impressive for 6th graders. Kicked points count as 2 whereas runs and passes only as 1, so that helped.

No major injuries except my buddy's kid on the last play of the game. Got his bell rung a bit, but he's going to be OK.

It was a VERY good start to what could be a surprisingly good season. Follow the action for yourself at:

Blogging off...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Game Day!

It's Ben's first game as a 6th Grade Jr. Blackshirt today. It's a gorgeous 75 degree, low humidity, beginning-of-fall type day.

The whole Ben/Football experience brings me back to my days as a young player. I loved everything about it and am trying to instill that in Ben. He seems to be much better with it than he was during conditioning week, but the jury's still out on whether he'll take it to the long term. I think for him, more than the playing itself, he likes the comraderie and team concept more than the actual playing, but I might be wrong. I do know that for the first time in forever, he sat and watched part of the Packer game with me on Thursday.

My experience as a player was much different than Ben's as I recall. It was no where near as organized or competitive. It was an intramural program run by Wally Wescott of St. Lukes. I remember him showing up at practice time in his beat up Ford convertible with a trunk full of helmets. I can't recall for sure or not, but I think we picked out a helmet every practice, and weren't allowed to take them home; but I might be wrong about that.

I do know that I, and most the other kids, biked to practice and back and had none of the shuttle service going that Donna and I are part of today. Ben could probably bike it too, as it's not much more than a mile away, but we drive him nonetheless. We at least carpool with another family.

I've got the Chain-Gang duty and Donna has concessions today. I told Ben I'd cheat a bit for his team and try and not stretch the chains when it was close to a first down for his team. (Kidding of course.) It should actually be one of the better ways to see the game up close and personal like.

I've got to run to the game now, so I'll be blogging off...On to Victory!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Very Good Day

I came home to a letter from the Boundary Waters Journal accepting one of my stories for publication in their Winter 2010 edition! I can't describe the feeling. The best part is they're paying me for the piece. As you may or may not know, I've had some poetry published, but never got much more than a couple of complimentary copies of the publication for it. This is more like the real deal. More importantly than that, is the fact that I'm starting to build a portfolio and getting some recognition. It is so incredibly sweet, I can't explain it.

That's pretty much all I wanted to post today. I do want to put in a shameless plug for all of you outdoor types to subscribe to the publication. It's a quarterly publication and is only about $23/year for a subscription. I intend to subscribe as soon as we recover from the financial shock waves caused by our multiple vacations this past summer. It is a great publication and supports local burgeoning writers like myself. The address again is:

Thanks to everyone for your support!

Life is good and I'm blogging off...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dead Penguins

The honeymoon is officially over with Linux. I uninstalled it in a fit of rage yesterday after having it loop through a couple of boots when I originally went in. Then, once I got in, it black screen of death'd me while I was trying to work. If I needed that kind of dependency, I'd stay with windows. So that's what I'm doing.

In short, it required a few gyrations to get the thing uninstalled, the details of which I won't bore you with here. Suffice it to say it took a Windows XP installation disk to reset the NTLoader and kill off the GRUB loader. If that means anything to you, well, I feel as sorry for you as I did for myself.

Just got back from a training meeting at Church. I'm acting as a table captain for Boot Camp, a Tuesday Night Live ministry that starts in a few weeks. As usual, I'm having the pre-group second thoughts about whether I should do it or not. I no doubt will, just have to work through my second guessing again. Such a waffler! :-)

Tomorrow night is Sarah's Volleyball Parent meeting/Potluck, so the busy-ness just never stops. I think we have had something every night this week. Whew, is it Jan. yet?

Well, I feel compelled to work on some "real" writing on my memoir, so I'll keep this brief.

BTW, Ben's scrimmage was fantastic! They did very well against both Waukesha West and Kettle Moraine. I think they'll be able to compete in this league this year and win some games. Ben got some good playing time. There was one play where he was lined up on the wrong side and by the time they hiked the ball, well, lets just say that there MAY have been a penalty flag thrown in a game situation. I asked him if he was supposed to be "in motion", to which he replied, "Not really". Needless to say Coach Marlon turned it in to a teachable moment.

More on his season as it progresses.

Sarah got her uniform jersey today and it is number 17. I can't come up with any famous #17's in the NFL. The best Sports Illustrated could come up with is John Havlicek, and that's pretty good company too. She looks great in her uniform, even though I would prefer ankle length skirts to the spandex shorts they make them wear. That's the father in me, I guess.

Blogging off...

Friday, August 20, 2010

Bogged Down in Technoland

Well, lets just say the jury's still out on my whole recent infatuation with the Linux machine. It's been a crazy few days around here trying to get it all right. I'll go into a little details so you can see how utterly insane I am.

Turns out the version I was using (PCLinux OS Gnome) was OK for what I was doing, but in the middle of a couple of web editing sessions, where I was editing my online memoir using Microsoft Live Office, the PC went into what I like to call the "Black screen of death". It's much like the linux equivalent to the Windows Blue screen of death. The first time it happened it left no message, no nothing.

The second time it happened it said something like it was trying to find a server or something.

Needless to say I can't have that happening willy-nilly. Not cool.

So, after posting my situation on line, along with the specs of my 'puter, a couple of techs said maybe I would be better with a different "flavor" of linux; a lighter weight, faster desktop better for old laptops.

It sounded like a good idea to me, so what I did was went into Windows and reformatted the 3 partitions that Linux was on in the hopes that I could then reinstall the new version. Seemed to make sense to me.

After reformatting, the booter would not boot. I thought the whole laptop was lost. If I couldn't get to windows, I couldn't do anything right?

Wrong. I put the PCLinux OS disk back in and essentially re-installed what I meant to uninstall, just so I could get the thing to boot again.

At this point I am back at zero, and happy to be there.

Back to the online forum I go. Word is that you can install the "lightweight" version over-the-top of the existing "not-so-lightweight" one. So, that's just what I do. It's been installed now for about an hour with no real problems. Time will tell. It seems to be much faster than the other version, so life is good.

Believe me there were moments where I was like "Why am I doing this?". I'm still having those moments. Linux needs to prove itself to me yet. I'll keep you posted on our little love affair.

Ben's first scrimmage is tomorrow at Kettle Moraine. I'll try and keep my cool. I'll also try and post with the grisly details.

Blogging off from linux land for now...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Penguins are Cool!

I write this post from inside a fresh PC Linux OS install. For those who don't have any idea what I just said, PC Linux is an Open Source Operating System that acts like a free version of Microsoft Windows. There are a few reasons I'm test driving this new OS.

Number one is that I like to fart around with computers. I'm a bit more of a geek than I'd like to admit, but to me it's kind of a fun hobby. Besides, it helps keep my skills up a bit for work. Who knows, maybe in 2012 there will be some kind of cataclysmic Windows Virus that wipes out ALL windows installs the world over. In that case, (and I'm banking on it) guys like me will be in great demand. If not, well at least I've given it a run-through. Not a bad skill to have in my back pocket.

Two is that I have this laptop (thank you, Jilly) that is underpowered and I want to see if it runs any faster using an OS that has a smaller footprint than the Microsoft Bloatware we
know as Windows XP. Internet surfing seems to be better so far, so I'll have to see how the rest of the stuff goes, (e-mail, and word processing, largely).

Three is that I'm kind of sick of the unending "Windows Update" thing. It is exhausting to have to wait for downloads every other day. PC Linux is such a small, unknown OS, that it is very unlikely to be hacked.

Four is that I want to get off the grid a bit. Like three, I don't like the security threats that are so constantly affecting windows. I figure if I don't have to run 3 different malware scanners every other day, life just gets easier.

So, we will see how it goes. If anyone is curious about the install, etc, let me know and I can help you through it.

Sarah started volleyball last night at South. She is so tall and lanky, that I think it'll be the perfect fit for her, if she applies herself. I know it's one of my favorite sports, for the same tall and lanky reasons. She is such a beautiful girl that the thought of her in those short shorts in a gym with boy football and basketball players makes me very nervous.

Ben seems to be enjoying football much more too, of late. Yesterday he had a scrimmage against the seventh graders and he said it was fun, even though he got knocked on his butt once. It takes that happening a few times and you start posturing yourself a little different. I know I took my fair share of de-cleating shots in football back in the day.

Donna texted me today and said that Sarah was officially signed up as a South student today. We both are kind of in shock at the whole idea. Wasn't it just yesterday that we were enrolling her in pre-school/kindergarten/middle school? I think this makes us officially old.

As an answer to the whole old thing, we're both setting goals for each other physically. It seems that Donna is training again (starting today) to try and run in the run from the cops 5K in October.

Her run today went extremely well, so I think she's still in good shape from the run we did in June. She has a whole contingency of friends who are training with her, which is proving to be very motivating. I hope she keeps it up, but even more importantly that she sees the importance of exercise. I think she does.

I am contemplating a Duathlon in September. The deal is a 2 mi. run, 20 mi. bike, 2 mi. run. I'm still waffling, as I do with most things, but will likely make a decision in the next two weeks or so. Until then, I'll continue to train for the cop run as well as Al's run
Al's run is one of the funnest running events in the country, with over 13,000 runners typically showing up. Donna and the kids may do the walk for that one. Hopefully by then 5 miles will be commonplace for me.

I submitted a memoir piece to the Boundary Waters Journal today. It is an edited version of the trip I took right after graduating from High School. If accepted, they'll actually pay for the piece, so I figured what the heck. It'll be a testing of the waters so to speak. Wish me luck!

That's all that I have time for on this amazing August night where the heat and humidity have subsided...amen to that!

Blogging off for now...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Bevy of Idyllic Thoughts Wrapped in Confusion

It's been a long strange week around these parts. Lots of relatives and friends (friends' kids) staying with us this past week. Early in the week it was my niece and her boy friend (a VERY nice guy) and then late in the week a friends three kids + one foreign exchange student of theirs.

So in the chaos that was last week, many random things came to me.

  • While we are a private family, we DO like our interactions with friends and family. Only if it is followed up with long periods of just us again.
  • Why does my dog stop at every dog doo that he sees, regardless of whether he's stopped there before? Doesn't all poo pretty much smell the same?
  • Professional Skateboarders may look like they have an ideal job, but they earn every cent. I can't imagine how beat they are at the end of a demo like I saw today.
  • Summer is really just an ongoing battle of homeowners trying to tame God's creation known as their yard. Unfortunately chaos always prevails in the end.
  • The U2 Concert at the Red Rocks amphitheatre in 1983 was the best concert ever, anywhere, and I wasn't there. (I did stand on the stage where it happened this summer however...if that counts.)
  • To write in a coffee shop, on my laptop, with a large coffee, is a bit of heaven for me.
  • Extended periods of heat and humidity bring our productivity levels to a slow crawl around here. When it cooled off here today, I was like a man possessed.
  • I watched my cat jump to his food dish the other day and he left a "hair wake". It's no wonder there's dust bunnies everywhere
  • The Packers defense looked highly sketchy in their first showing last night. Luckily we have an offense that is capable of scoring a lot of points.
  • Along those same lines, I really am only good for the first half of ANY preseason game. I can ALWAYS find a better use of my time than to watch a player wearing #48 trying to cover a receiver that just got his drivers license.
  • Band camp for Ben and Sarah's volleyball practices start this week and none too soon. These kids need to get out of the house.
  • I cannot express the satisfaction I get from seeing Ben all suited up for football. His practice number is 20 which suits him perfectly as a WR/DB. Back in the day, my number was 15 and I was small like him.
  • We've discovered over the past three weeks of having hardwood floors, that we're NOT hardwood fans. We'll be carpeting sometime this fall. We like the ability to sack out in front of the TV, or anywhere for that matter, and hardwood just doesn't allow it, or invite it.
  • Kids at the skate park under 21 drinking Monster Energy Drinks should be required to show an ID. That stuff is poison; kid poison.
  • Carroll students are starting to trickle back which always makes me think of Rod Stewart's song Maggie May.
  • I can get through an entire issue of Sports Illustrated in a single lunch. (The parts I deem worthy of reading.)
  • I did not watch one minute of the PGA at Whistling Straits. Who cares? Am I un-American? I cannot imagine a duller sport to watch, with the exception of Nascar. At least golfers have some physical skills.
  • With that little political rant, I'll be calling it a weekend.
Blogging off...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Dog Days of August

So we're on day 27 of intense heat and humidity, or so it seems. What is with this summer? First torrential rain, then enveloping humidity and heat, wrapped in a cloud of mosquitoes. It is especially hard for us as we have no central air conditioning. The two window air conditioners are going all day and night. It makes the two living areas and dining room at least bearable, but the rest of the house is a sweat box.

I shouldn't complain, because there's many people with much worse. I don't often wish for summer to end, but this is pushing me in that direction rather quickly.

Poor Ben has had practice all week in pads in this heat. He's been a real trooper through it all. He had some big complaints early on when he was extremely sore. Now that he's in better shape though he seems to like it a bit more.

I can't say how proud it makes me to see him in that uniform. It brings me back to the days when I played intramural football as a 6th grader. I loved everything about it. Well, except for running laps. That was no fun. When I watched the last 10 minutes of his past couple practices, that was what they had them doing. If they let me, I'd suit up and run suicides with them.

I'm writing this post on my latest aquisition. My friend Jill got a new MacBook, and gave me her old Jetbook laptop. It should help me considerably in my writing pursuits, at least that was my promise to her.

I've committed to running in the run from the cops 5K in October as well as Als Run Let me tell you training in August is NO FUN. I think I'll be doing much of my running at the YMCA because it's air conditioned. I think Donna and some of her friends are committing to running in one or both of them too. I've determined its MUCH more fun if you run with someone. No one likes getting to the end of the race and not being able to hook up with someone you know.

That's the view from the engine room for a Tuesday.

Blogging off...
That's all from the view on Wed. Blogging off for now.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Colorado Outlaw

As I mentioned in my previous post, Colorado was amazing, fantastic, splendid and outstanding! It has enough natural beauty in it to keep you watching around every turn.

I had a couple of run-ins with the law during our 10 day stint in CO.

The first incident was while I was weaving my way through downtown Manitou Springs. The GPS had us taking all kinds of crazy turns in what did not look like the right direction. Donna took it off the suction cup holder and started futzing with it. I came to the bottom of a hill to what I thought was an uncontrolled intersection and then took a left. A cop was ahead of me and he pulled over to the side into a parking spot, and let me pass. Within 1/2 a block, he had his lights on and so I pulled over.

Donna and the kids looked back when he turned his siren on for a short burst. "Is he pulling you over?"

"Uh, yeah hon he is..." I replied.

So as he's walking to the car, I reach for my wallet, which of course causes him to put his hand on his gun. In my trying to expedite my own arrest, I think I startled the guy.

He gets to the window and says "Do you know why I pulled you over?"

"No, frankly I don't" I said

There was a red light at the bottom of the hill. You ran right through it."

"Noooooooooooooo" I said

"Yes sir. May I see your drivers license please?"

After five anxious minutes, he returned and says "They do have stoplights in Wisconsin, right?"

"Yes they do" I replied.

We both laughed. He asked where we were headed, I told him to the Pikes Peak Cog Train.

He said he was going that way and we could follow him. Then he took off like a bandit and left me to find my own way, which I eventually did. Turns out we missed the noon train because of being stopped, but we ended up catching the 1:20.

The next day, we were driving along a mountain road at 5 over the speed limit and suddenly I look in the rear view and there are more cop lights. What the heck?

As I pull over on a highly dangerous section of mountain road, Donna says "What are you doing?"

"There's a cop back there."

"Again?" she asks in disbelief.

"Yes, again," I say.

He gets on the mic-speaker and says "Please pull over to a safer spot on the road."

I pull ahead to the first available turn off and again reach for my wallet. Again, he checks his gun.

He comes up and says "Do you know why I pulled you over?"

"Why, no I don't actually"

"You veered over the white line on the shoulder and I just wanted to make sure everything is alright."

So then he takes my license, registration and proof of insurance (I was waiting for him to take one of the kids too, as ransom or something,) and headed back to the Cop Charger (Nice car!)

After another anxious 5 minutes he comes back and says that I'm lucky they're only ticketing for people crossing the YELLOW line today. He hands me a warning ticket and says "Have a great rest of vacation"

I say "Thank you, I will. Just grateful to be ticket free.

So in keeping with the three strikes and you're out theory, I kept the speed at the limit or for the rest of the trip.

I have to hand it to the CO law enforcement folks, they are some of the nicest I've ever run into. No one likes to ruin a vacation for someone who's travelled as far as we did.

More vacation stories later, I hope.

Gotta run. Blogging off.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

From the Mountain to the Valley...

I have to keep this post short, as our internet wifi connection is sketchy at best and prone to dropping at any moment.

Suffice it to say that our Colorado experience has exceeded every expectation. Without a doubt the most beautiful part of this country that I've seen yet. Glorious mountains, fertile valleys, breathtaking vistas and eye popping geologic formations.

I've even had a couple of run-ins with the law that I'll blog about at a different time.

I know my kids are going to miss CO when we leave tomorrow, and Donna and I will too...greatly. It will go down as probably the best family vacation we've had, though we say that every time. In future posts (Perhaps even later today, as it is a "downtime day") I'll try and go into more detail about each location:

  • Estes Park

  • Rocky Mtn National Park

  • Whitewater rafting

  • Colorado Springs

  • Garden of the Gods Horseback Riding

  • Red Rocks

  • Air Force Academy

  • Million Dollar Highway

  • Durango and Mesa Verde

It's been so overwhelmingly amazing, that it deserves more than one post. That said, I'm blogging off before I'm cut off by the mountains. :-)