Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Drought in N.C. my butt

OK, I know we needed the rain. I know that just filling up the lakes isn't enough to impact the water table. But come on! Enough already.

In the graph below, you can see that since the second half of August, we have gone from about "normal" to almost 9 inches ahead. That's about 14 inches of rain. It's raining again as I type. Even when it isn't raining, it's humid because the ground is a giant sponge.

I would like to formally lodge a protest.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Football, I think not.

We went to the NC State vs. South Florida game on Saturday. What a nasty evening. It was a 7:30 game on ESPNU. At least the tailgating went well. We joined Tony and Patty Hudson and some of their friends for a great Pig Pick'n. Then we wandered off to visit with Steve and Julie Kjellberg. Steve was the builder who did all of our house remodeling.

Barbie, Julie and Julie pose in their stylish matching shirts.

My favorite tailgating tool: a gas powered blender. When fired up, it sounds like something between a leaf blower and a chain saw. Worked like a charm!

Then someone with a sick sense of humor started the game. South Florida marched up and down the field as though we had no defense. In almost no time, they had three touchdowns, a field goal and two safeties. We had a field goal. Just to rub salt in the wound, it started to drizzle. Then the drizzle changed to real rain, which in turn changed to a downpour.

NC State got their butts whomped and we got quite wet. Yuck!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Starting to run

It has been a long time since I have tried running for exercise. The last two times I did, my right knee decided it wasn't a great idea. I decided to give it another try with extra stretching and a reasonably slow start up.

The first day, I go out and plod 2 miles. It wasn't as bad as it used to be. Plodding with 20 less pounds makes each "thunk" a bit softer and easier. I do two more days of 2 miles, each day improving the speed and crossing the threshold from plodding to jogging. Then I make the mistake of figuring out how to ramp up my distance. I consult a number of running web sites and the recurring theme is to add 10% each week to your longest run. Sounds dandy! Then I do the math. 2 miles goes to 2.2, which goes to 2.42 which goes to 2.662. I won't bother taking you through all the decimals and weekly calculations, but at the end of week 8, you still haven't gotten to 4 miles. To get to 18 miles, which is a good training run for a marathon, you have to do this for 24 weeks. My attention span simply isn't that long.

Being as clever as I am, I just went out and ran 4 miles. This cuts 8 weeks off the schedule. Smart, eh? Of course, this answers why I have had problems the past two times I started running. We shall see.

This is my motivational picture from 1999. If I can run a sub 4 hour marathon while over weight and without much training, this should be easy!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The game of Clue

Who killed Mr. Body?

Mark Pozefsky....

with the golf club ....

on the 6th hole.

Amazing to shot an 82 and still get pissed off enough to break a club. I learned a lesson from this. When you toss a club, make sure there isn't a stone wall behind you.

Me, I shot 50 on the front nine, 50 on the back nine, and came home with all my clubs intact. My highlights were only losing one ball (awesome) and driving to the sand trap beside a 285 yard par four green. Nice to have a tail wind.

Our leaders at work....

"I have great, great confidence in our capital markets and in our financial institutions. Our financial institutions, banks and investment banks, are strong. Our capital markets are resilient. They're efficient. They're flexible."

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, March 16, 2008

"Our policy in this administration -- laws shouldn't bail out lenders, laws shouldn't help speculators."

President Bush, May 19, 2008

"Our economy has continued growing, consumers are spending, business are investing, exports continue increasing and American productivity remains strong. We can have confidence in the long-term foundation of our economy...I think the system basically is sound. I truly do."

President Bush, July 15, 2008

$700 billion, sure go ahead. No problem.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A bodacious football game

First, is bodacious a word, and if so, is that the correct spelling?

Julie and I went to the NC State vs. East Carolina football game. With our two extra tickets, we brought along two neighbors, Barbie Reid and Brook Shaffer. Brook hadn't been to a college football game in many years, so it was a bit of an adventure.

ECU came in 15th in the country, having already beaten ranked Virginia Tech and then crushing #8 West Virginia. I was amazed that they were only favored by 7, given that we had already been whooped twice this year. The game stayed tight and NC State scored in the last minute to tie it up and send it into overtime, where we promptly beat them. There were a lot of very, very sad ECU fans making the long drive home.

No cheering is complete without a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Wuf. They seem to do much better in mascot competitions than we do in football.

A great win. Great company. A nice way to get welcomed back to Raleigh!

Friday, September 19, 2008

How to grow weeds

Leaving Raleigh for the summer provides some interesting opportunities to see how weeds grow if you give them enough encouragement.

First, take some normal crabgrass.

Then, let it grow in the nice North Carolina sunshine all summer long, with decent rain to help. The dog is just for perspective.

But any sissy can grow 3 foot crabgrass. Instead, find some super weed that looks a bit like corn, let it grow around your fountain, which has full sun and irrigation. Now we're talking weeds!

I was going to spray the weeds with Roundup, but the bottle of weed killer was frightened and went off and hid. I did keep an eye on the weeds to make sure they didn't take Jasper.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Back in Raleigh

Smooth, but expensive. We had yet another good trip between Park City and Raleigh. Weather was good. Flights were smooth and on time. The pets are amazingly well behaved.

The downside: cost. You've probably heard about Delta charging $50 for a second piece of luggage. Have you heard about the pet fares going up? The cat, who sits under a seat as a carry on, cost $150, one way! The dog, who rides as a piece of luggage in his kennel, cost $275 one way. That's even though we had no checked bags! The pets cost $425 one way, more than either of our round trip tickets.

All this on a day the stock market dropped 400+ points.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The end of summer

If you listen to the meteorologists, they say summer ends September 1st (for record keeping). Others look to the fall equinox. Parents think about school starting. For Julie and I, summer ends when we get on a plane and head back to Raleigh. Today is the end of summer.

In Park City, the leaves are just beginning to change and we haven't seen any snow other than one storm that dusted the highest peaks. Last year, our first good snow was September 24th. Of course, we did have two snows this June.

A quick recap of the summer:

Visitors: only two visits this summer, which was a good thing given how much "new house" stuff we still had to do.
The house: I think it has really become our home now
  • The punch list is down to zero and all the construction costs have been paid. Everything from here on must be maintenance.
  • Julie has done a good job of decorating with art, floral arrangements, pretty mirrors, and some of my photography.
The condo: Damn thing didn't sell
  • One written offer, but a crappy low ball
  • Finally found some nice renters, giving us some income. We can try again in a year or two.
My Health: Yeah! Best year in forever
  • Dropped my weight from 188.6 (yes, the scale does tenths) to 171.2. I actually saw the 160's on an occasional day. I think that last time I saw that was 1986.
  • Failed miserably at the 100 push ups project, but I have gone from 20 to 40. I will not give up!
Activities: Lost of things to see and do in Park City.
  • Saw The Police, Bob Dylan, the Mormon Tabernacle, and numerous local bands.
  • Lots of hiking. Some just local. Some more adventurous.
  • Grilling out. Eating out. Drinking lots of wine.
  • Trekked to Annapolis for an awesome birthday party.
  • Golfing, although I will always be mediocre.
Yet another wonderful summer. The only downside was how amazingly fast it flew by.

Off to Raleigh!!!!

Friday, September 12, 2008

What's missing in this picture?

Take a good look. No peeking at the answer.

There is no more For Sale sign for our condo. Now, that would be great if it simply had a SOLD sign on it, but we're not quite that lucky. We did find some nice renters though. We signed a one year lease with a couple who used to live in Park City, but are now in Florida. They want it for at least a year and we want some income until the market recovers. Do wish it had sold though. We had lots of lookers but only one offer in the 10 months it was on the market.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A new piece of electronic equipment

This week I ordered, received and installed a new toy. It is a Netflix player from Roku, a $100 box that connects to Netflix over the Internet and plays any of the films and TV shows that Netflix streams. This is limited to about 10,000 titles right now, mostly older or artsy. The list is growing pretty quickly though.

Check out http://www.roku.com/netflixplayer/

It was incredibly easy to set up and it works like a charm. We watched some of previous season's The Office and Weeds. Video and audio quality is good and there are no commercials.

If you already have a Netflix account, and we did, then this is a great little bargain. I think the idea of getting physical DVDs is on its way out the door!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Bits and pieces

We are busy getting ready to head back to NC. We get back at the end of next week. It is always a fair amount of work to close up the house.

I played in a golf tournament this weekend. In case there is any question, I still stink at golf. Now I can show it quantitatively. Take my normal mediocre game and mix in some tension and anxiety from the competition and you get a very high number.

Jasper loves trips to the Home Depot. We drive down a frontage road. On one side is the highway, on the other side a big pasture. The only animals I ever see in the pasture are lamas (or alpacas?) and miniature donkeys. Jasper loves both and is always watching for them. Yesterday we stopped and got out of the truck. The lamas are as curious about Jasper as he is about them. Them came wandering over to check him out.

About half the ones in the field were young ones. The were cute, fluffy and quite curious, but the adults were smart enough to keep them away from the fence and the bouncy dog.

How do you tell an alpaca from a lama?

Monday, September 01, 2008

A dramatic transition to Fall

We have been enjoying a nice summer here in Park City. On Saturday, it got up to 98 in Salt Lake City, hitting 83 here on our side of the mountains. Then Sunday roared in. We, along with probably 7000 other people, had tickets to a Bob Dylan concert over at Deer Valley. After less than an inch of rain all summer, it waits until about an hour before the concert (outdoors of course), and lets loose. It felt like a good NC thunderstorm, which we rarely have out here. Just to make the air feel more like fall, the temperature dropped about 30 degrees after the storm had soaked everyone. Now we get to listen to Bob in 46 degree, breezy weather, wet. The concert was good, but when it started raining again, we left early. We did get to hear about an hour and a half though.

This shot was taken during the nice time, when the rain had moved off for a while.

Didn't grab a photo of it, but there was some snow up at the top of the higher mountains this morning and our high today is soaring to 54. Summer is no more.