Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Joke from Quora

A farmer stopped by the local mechanic’s shop to have his truck fixed. They thought it might have something to do with the transmission, so they couldn’t repair it while he waited. He told the mechanics that he didn’t live far and would just walk home.

On the way home he stopped at the hardware store and bought a bucket and a gallon of paint. He then stopped by the feed store and picked up a couple of chickens and a goose. However, struggling outside the store he now had a problem ― how to carry his purchases home.

While he was scratching his head he was approached by a little old lady who told him she was lost. She asked "Can you tell me how to get to 1603 Mockingbird Lane?” The farmer replied "Well, as a matter of fact, my farm is very close to that house. I would walk you there but I can’t carry this lot."

The old lady suggested "Why don’t you do this? Put the can of paint in the bucket. Carry the bucket in one hand, put a chicken under each arm and carry the goose in your other hand."

"Why, thank you very much, that works just fine!" he said, and proceeded to walk the old girl home.

On the way he said "Let’s take my usual short cut and go down this alley. We’ll be there in no time."

The little old lady looked him over cautiously then said, "I am a lonely widow without a husband to defend me ... How do I know that when we get in the alley you won’t have your way with me?”

The farmer said with some irritation "Holy smokes, lady! I’m carrying a bucket, a gallon of paint, two chickens, and a goose. How in the world could I do that?"

The old lady replied "Set the goose down, cover him with the bucket, put the paint can on top of the bucket, and I’ll hold the chickens."

Thursday, May 11, 2023

BikeID Patron Tequila Bike

Listed on and off by Andre Meredith for a few weeks for $200.  Description is as follows:  "56cm frame Bikeid Custom PATRÓN TEQUILA Bike. SRAM Automatix 2 Speed Hub. Concor Saddle.  Has SRAM Automatix single gear. Super rare BikeID custom Patrón Tequila fixie bike. Has Concor S Marco Supercorsa seat. This bike was custom built for Patrón Tequila. This is a Scandinavian built bike sold in Europe. A similar bike is posted on eBay for $750"

It has a Tektro R359 front brake.  Kenda 700x25C tires.  Apparently the handlebar ends are cork.  It should have Beau Velo leather grips.  The SRAM gear is kind of interesting. In theory, it shifts at around 10 mph automatically.  The handlebars, stem, seat post, cranks, pedals, wheels are nothing to get excited about, but everything certainly seems functional.

I am looking for a bike to keep at the office and ride around downtown.  Ideally it would be a $100 bike that does not look like it is worth stealing.  The downside on this one is that it may look like it is worth steeling.  They have changed hands on the secondary market for around $500.  I am not particularly a fan of the Patron branding, but it is subtle and only evident on the head tube.

Tuesday, May 09, 2023

Summer Activities for Kids

Growing up, I did not have many summer activities.  We played in the neighborhood, rode bikes and just goofed off.  I tried to piece the summers together the best I could going through my memorabilia archives and feel like I made a pretty good pass.


1985 - Post 8th Grade - Scout camp?
1986 - Post 9th - Family Trip to India? Gulf Shores trip?
1987 - Post 10th - Philmont Scout Trip
1988 - Post 11th - Studied for SAT, Creative Writing Program
1989 - Post 12th - worked at McDonald's, Memphis in May Triathlon
1990 - Post Freshman - Worked at Cafe Max
1991 - Post Sophomore - MCAT prep, Biochemistry at Memphis State, worked at Olive Garden
1992 - Post Junior - Volunteered at The Med, St Jude CRH (Plasmid Research)
1993 - Post Senior - St Jude CRH (DNA Screening, Phage libraries)
1994 - Finished up Northwestern Degree
1995 - Post Med School Year 1 - Research at Purdue University - Small Intestine Swine (SIS)
1996 - Post Med School Year 2 - Prepped for USMLE Part 1 in Memphis
1997 - Lost year after leaving medical school

By Comparison my daughters have enjoyed slightly more enriched summers.


2022 - Post 7th - St. Louis Trip, Mines STEM Camp, AUMC Drama Camp, Band Camp

2023 - Post 8th - Europe Trip, AFA Basketball Camp, Tennis Camp, Volunteer at Hospital? AUMC Drama Camp


2021 - Post 8th - AUMC Drama Camp, Band Camp

2022 - Post 9th - St. Louis Trip, USAFA Legacy Camp, Mines STEM Camp, AUMC Drama Camp, Band Camp

2023 - Post 10th - Europe Trip, AFA Internship, Band Camp

I am not too worried about Dxxx.  She has a list of things she wants to do an try that is a mile long and she has developed a keen ability to reach out to teachers and other adults when she is interested in something and wants more information.  I am not sure when she developed these abilities, but I expect Nxxxx to have them as well and that may or may not be a reasonable expectation.  Nxxxx did run for Student Council and win a seat as a representative on her own.  She has followed up on volunteering at Children's Hospital.  I expect her to participate in high school activities because my older daughter did.

They are both also eligible to participate in Girls State the summer after their Junior year.  It is an excellent chance to meet with like minded girls around Colorado.  The camp is only one week and takes some of the pressure off of finding a summer job.

D'Evelyn Activities

Cyber Patriot - D
Mock Trial - D
Forensics/Speech & Debate
French Club
Latin Club - no longer an activity
Math Counts
Mu Alpha Theta (math tutoring) - D
Society of Women Engineers
Spanish Honor Society
Science Bowl
Anime-Manga Club
Glass Club
Bible Study
Sources of Strength - D
D'Evelyn Service Corps
Social Inclusion Club
Fellowship of Christian Athletes
Fall Play
Stage Crew - D
Improve (D'Evelyn Disguise)
Student Council
Mentoring - D
National Honor Society - D
Student Voice
Marching Band
Orchestra - D
Color Guard - D, N
Choir - N
Chess Club
Knit and Crochet Club
Role Playing
Strategic Gamin
Water Painting Club

Miscellaneous Test Scores:

I came across these while looking through the archives

SAT 2/15/1988 - 540/700
SAT 10/21/1988 - 680/760
AP Chem - 4
AP Lit/Comp - 4
AP Calc A/B - 5
AP Comp Sci A - 5
AP Comp Sci A/B - 4
MCAT - 1991 - 27
MCAT - 1993 - 37
USMLE Part 1 - Pass - 198 - 81
GMAT - 2003 - 720

Boy Scouts

I finally took the time to go through some of my scouting memorabilia.  It was an interesting collection that was not particularly organized, but a fun trip down memory lane.  I started cub scouts in 1st or 2nd grade and continued all the way through high school.  It was a big part of my life and I enjoyed making pinewood derby cars, camping, and general outdoors activities.  It gave me a chance to take on leadership roles and organize food, etc.  Based on the issue dates of the ranks, it seems like I really slowed down in high school, but still managed my Eagle Scout as a senior in high school earning the bare minimum of 21 merit badges.  I found all of the award cards, but not all of the merit badges.  I recall going to summer camp nearly every summer and a highlight being the Philmont scout camp between my Sophomore and Junior Year.

Troop 64 Germantown, TN
  • Boy Scout 10/4/1982 (6th grade)
  • Tenderfoot 1/2/1983 (6th grade)
  • Second Class 8/29/1983 (7th grade)
  • First Class 2/6/1984 (7th grade, First Aid merit badge)
  • Star 3/4/1985 (8th grade, Swimming, Pioneering, Canoeing, Camping , Citizenship in Community merit badges)
  • Life 5/19/1986 (9th grade, Communications, Citizenship in the World, Citizenship in the Nation, Personal Management, Architecture)
  • Eagle - 1989 (12th grade, Safety, Emergency Preparedness, Environmental Science, Hiking, Scholarship, Sports, Rifle & Shotgun, Firemanship, Backpacking, Cooking)
Merit Badges (need 21 minimum)
  1. First Aid - 1984
  2. Swimming - 1984
  3. Pioneering - 1984
  4. Canoeing - 1984
  5. Camping - 1985
  6. Citizenship in the Community - 1985
  7. Communications - 1985
  8. Citizenship in the World - 1985
  9. Citizenship in the Nation - 1985
  10. Personal Management - 1986
  11. Architecture - 1986
  12. Safety - 1988
  13. Emergency Preparedness - 1987
  14. Environmental Science
  15. Hiking - 1985
  16. Scholarship - 1987
  17. Sports - 1987
  18. Rifle & Shotgun - 1987
  19. Firemanship - 1987
  20. Backpacking - 1987
  21. Cooking - 1989

Order of the Arrow - ORDEAL member


Philmont - Trek 24 (1987)

Starting Camp - Lover's Leap
We Camped at 
Miner's Park
Lambert's Mine
Ute Springs
Indian Writings
Peublano Ruins - enjoyed most
Dan Beard

The Programs I enjoyed most were:

Blacksmithing at Black Mountain
Rock Climbing at Cimmaron Cita
Archeology at Indian Writings
The highest mountain I climbed was Baldy which is 12,441 feet high


Other Patches I found

Peckerwood Nature Trail Camp Currier
Chickasaw Council Kia Kima
USS Alabama Mobile, Alabama
Stones River National Battlefield
Eastern District Camporee - Camp Currier BSA 1985
Scouting in Action - The Mall of Memphis 1983 Eastern District
Eastern District Camporee 1982
Big E Camporee 1985
Petit Jean Trail BSA
Chickasaw Council Expo 1983
Fort Pillow Trail
Battle of Vicksburg 1863 National Military Park Trail
Mammoth Cave National Park

Mile Swim - 1600 meters


Girls High School Sports

With my daughters in entering high school, I am finally looking into high school sports, albeit late to the party.

Jefferson County offers:

Cross Country - V, JV
Volleyball Girls - V, JV, L3 and L4
Softball - V, JV
Field Hockey Girls (at Dakota Ridge) - Camp July 29-August 1 at University of Denver



Track & Field - They offer a winter track season
Soccer Girls - V, JV, L3
Tennis Girls - V, V2, JV
Lacrosse Girls (at Dakota Ridge)
Rugby Girls (at Denver East High School)

My 10th grader is primarily looking for a sport to round out her college applications.  Going into 11th grade, her options are limited to Cross Country, Track & Field, Tennis, Golf and possibly Field Hockey or Lacrosse.

My 8th grader is interested in sports in general, but has struggled to find her niche.  Going into 9th grade, everything is available to her if she wants to make a commitment and train.


My older daughter has also considered Kendo -
Pricing - 
$85/month - 14 and under
$90/month - 15 and over

Family Membership - 
1 Junior and 1 Adult - $165/month
2 Adults - $170/month

Shinai - $38
Anaka? - $50

Monday, May 08, 2023

Cervelo P2

After 15 years of on and off participating successfully in short course triathlons, I happened to come across a deal and took a look at a dedicated triathlon bike.

The 2010 Cervelo P2 boasts a carbon fiber frame, Dura Ace group set, Cobb saddle and Easton Aero training wheels.  It was a 56 cm frame which felt like it fit me pretty well.  

In 2010 the Ultegra and Shimano R500 wheels, this bike retailed for $2800 in 2010.  The upgrades would certainly push this to $3800+.  

I was dealing with the second owner of the bike who purchased it in 2017.  He had it tuned and fitted, raced it a couple of times and put on a few hundred training miles.  I am guessing he got a good deal on it and paid between $1200 and $1500 for the bike and then another $100 for a tune and $300 for a fit.

Flash forward, he was selling because he does not race anymore, but still enjoys running and biking.  He listed it for a reasonable $875 and I made what I thought was a lowball offer.  He accepted and threw in an extra set of pedals, new elbow pads for the aero bars and a Giro Air Attack helmet.

On the first test ride, the saddle was definitely low and a little forward.  The handling felt twitchy.  The shifting was smooth and the brakes adjusted well.  The 39/23 small gear certainly left something to be desired as I enjoy the 34/28 small gear on my road bike.  I had struggled needing a gear on my Pinarello which sports a 39/25.  The bike will be great for flat courses.

Stuff - Revisited

I have been aware of how much stuff I accumulate for a long time.  I recall  a blog post from 2008 which highlights this issue.

As I re-read the post, my concerns that year were trivial.  I had been buying kitchen gadgets, electronics and sporting goods.  I still use the bicycling computer, pedals and compact crankset.  I wore out and got my full money's worth out of the heart rate monitor, running shoes, swimsuit and goggles.  At that stage in my life, I was 37 years old with a one year old daughter and a baby due in a few months.

Flash forward 15 years.  My spending on Vintage Weights and Physical Culture is bordering on obsessive averaging about a purchase per week.  Having a bigger house with 3 car garage and full basement has allowed me to purchase items that I could not in the past including a reverse hyperextension and 45 degree back extension.

I have also picked up some scuba diving gear.  I have spend some money on every day carry (EDC) items to streamline my pockets.

A lot of the purchases are on the secondary markets like Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist.  For the maturing athlete like myself, a 13 year old triathlon bike will provide the same benefit as a new bike, but at 10-20% of the cost.

I have kept my eye out for a personal flotation device (PFD) to use this summer potentially tubing or stand up paddle boarding.

Last year, I purchased a bare bow archery set up that I have certainly enjoyed, but some would consider another money suck.

Collectibles have been kept to a minimum and I have not been aggressively pursuing coins.

Most of my clothes shopping is from Costco and Sam's Club which is fine.  My tipping point is the closet being full.  My weight has been up but relatively steady between 190 and 200 pounds.

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Teen Confidence

From Coach Will @coachingwithwill on Instagram

Here are 10 things teenagers can do to grow in their confidence and take control of their life.
  1. Stop waiting for "enough' motivation and confidence to take action.  Motivation comes directly from action.
  2. Surround yourself with positive people.  You're the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.
  3. Make a list of ALL the things you can control, do the best with them and let go of the rest.
  4. Focus on being present.  Your mind will trick you into thinking the next moment is better than this one.  This one is all you have.
  5. Confidence doesn't come from being good at things.  It comes from not fearing being bad at them.
  6. Ask yourself "What would I do if I had more confidence?" Go and do those things.
  7. Exercise, sleep, and make an effort to see the sun / go outside.
  8. Remind yourself that no matter what society says, you have time.  Lots of it.
  9. Practice delayed gratification.  Stop giving up what you want most for what you want now.
  10. Place confidence in your character, NOT results or others' opinions.

Monday, April 17, 2023

Private College Counseling

Preparing for College

Our family has met with several college counselors as my oldest will be finishing up 10th grade and entering her clutch junior year of high school.  The higher education stakes continue to rise and a strong application is not built by happenstance.

Out of the gate, grades and standardized test scores will put boundaries on the application.  There is not much you can do about this entering your junior year.

Next, the pillars of athletics, volunteer work and extracurricular activities build the story.  Athletics are foundational for service academies and do not hurt any application.  Volunteer work is often overlooked and could be working at soup kitchens, tutoring students or structured.  Extracurriculars are the hardest to define and span the gamut of travel, youth organizations like scouting or armed forces auxiliary groups, music and the arts, school clubs and hobbies.

Finally the feared college essay is the intangible that can propel a meh application or raise a red flag for a strong application.

For between $5-$20K, you can hire someone to hold your hand through this process.  An expert in the field has connections, historic evidence and suggestions that can change your student's life.

Primary School

I see the attraction.  My own upbringing was scattershot.  I was raised in a middle class home.  My father was an Industrial Engineer who valued education earning a BSME in India and a MS at North Carolina State.  My mother raised us having never finished college.  Her street smarts are unparalleled.

Flashing back, I did not struggle to get good grades in primary school.  Grades were the only priority in our household.  I did not have any chores, except for helping with yard work.  I took an interest in cub scouts and then boy scouts.  I played little league baseball as a 2nd grader and some church league basketball as a middle schooler.  We traveled to India and around the country.

Secondary School

In high school, I continued to get good grades graduating with a 4.0 in 1989 (8th in my class of 606).  Any volunteer work came from scouting.  I ran Cross Country and Track in 10th, 11th and 12th grade (I got involved because a friend of mine was going to do Cross Country).  I did a science project as a 9th grader (encouraged by my teacher).  My extracurriculars included knowledge bowl, math bowl and membership in Mu Alpha Theta (math honor society) and the National Honor Society.  I completed my Eagle Scout.  Aside from some baby sitting jobs and science tutoring, I did not work in high school.  The summer after 9th and 10th grade, I do not recall anything that stands out.  In all likelihood, I rode my bicycle and we traveled.  I did raise money and participate in (2) MS 150 bike rides.  I took a Kaplan prep course the summer after 11th grade.  I went to Philmont Scout camp the same summer?  After 12th grade, I worked at McDonald's.  I did not take advantage of the arts, Model UN or Boy's State.

In terms of adversity, I was in a car crash being a passenger is a single vehicle road departure that resulted in spinal injuries.  I was in the hospital for a few weeks and then in a brace with limited activity for a several months during my junior year.  The crash was caused by reckless driving that I did not do anything to discourage.

I applied to (8) engineering schools based on my academic strength in math and science.  I selected the schools based on US News & World Report articles.  I was rejected by Princeton, MIT, Stanford and the US Air Force Academy (Al Gore wrote my recommendation, but I was a medical DQ based on my health history).  I was accepted by Duke, Georgia Tech, University of Illinois and Purdue.  I remember really struggling with the MIT interview.  They asked about reading and the last book I read for fun was a Ken Follett novel.  I accepted a spot at Purdue having being offered a $1500 scholarship.


At Purdue, I did fine as a freshman, making a few friends, getting involved with the triathlon club and made good grades finishing that year with a 4.0 GPA.  I did fraternity rush in my second semester and accepted a bid from Delta Sigma Phi.  Being exposed to alcohol and to a much lesser extent drugs was an inflection point in the negative direction.  I did have the opportunity to play intramural sports including basketball, flag football and softball.  We did support the community through Habitat for Humanity and other charities.  I otherwise did not take advantage of the opportunities at Purdue.  I was in trouble with the law and my grades dipped to a low of 2.2 in my first semester junior year before rebounding from there forward.  My Dad had a heart attack during my sophomore year.  I started taking medical school pre-requisites after my sophomore year in a bid to apply to medical school.  I worked in a microbiology lab as a lab assistant my senior year.  The summers were hit and miss.  After freshman year, I worked in restaurants.  After sophomore year, I volunteered at the Med downtown, waited tables and adventured to California via bus to attend a series of Grateful Dead concerts with a high school friend.  After junior year, I took biochemistry at Memphis State to fill out my pre-requisites.  After senior year, I worked at St Jude Children's Research Hospital.  I graduated with a 3.3 GPA  in 1993 (top third of my class).

Graduate School

Failing to get into Medical School, I started a one year Master's at Northwestern University.  My grades were solid, graduating with a 3.8 in 1994.  I did some research on hip implants and then PCR assays.  I had an opportunity to polish my speaking and presentation skills.  I did not do any extracurricular activities.

Medical School

I applied a second time and was accepted to Indiana University and East Tennessee State University.  As unorganized as I was, I missed a paperwork deadline at ETSU and enrolled at Indiana.  I went through the motions, but my drinking was in full force.  I held it together enough to pass.  After year one, I worked in a biology lab on campus helping research Swine Small Intestine as a surrogate tendon replacement.  After year two, I dug in with both feet for the US Medical License Exam boards part I and managed to skate by.  I was asked to leave during my third year getting in trouble with the law and failing to own up to my previously undisclosed criminal record.  I left school in 1997.


I applied to University of Colorado to pursue an MBA starting in the fall of 2003.  For three years, I worked full time and took night school graduating with a 4.0 GPA and the top 10% of my class in 2006.  I did not participate in any extracurricular activities.  Students did put together a team for the Entrepreneurial Challenge.

My undergraduate education was paid for by my parents.  I took out loans for Northwestern and Indiana that my parent's and I paid back 50/50 over 8 years.  My employer paid for University of Colorado.


Career kickoff.  After leaving school I did odd jobs, until I fell into a career by happenstance.  I went from a 21st Amendment Liquors, Red Lobster, Hauser Chemical, Feiger Health Research Center, temp agency to StorageTek.  I applied for an assembly position at StorageTek and was offered a job that had just been opened as a Manufacturing Engineer.  The line manager who interviewed me ended up having a long career in Human Resources.  From there, I was poached to design engineering.  After finishing my MBA, I got into Program Management.  Since 2017, I have been bouncing as a Frac Field Engineer, ITS Transportation Engineer and now a Safety Transportation Program Manager.  I still do not have a goal, but my story still positions me for future continued employment.

As an adult, I have done some volunteer work (most notably in 12 step programs, our elementary school, the HOA and the Arvada Triathlon Club), participated in community sports leagues (basketball, softball and flag football) and have had good professional performance reviews (in Technology, Oil & Gas, and Transportation).  I have never managed others.  My hobbies and interests have spanned coin collecting, rock climbing, mountain biking, skiing, tennis, endurance sports and most recently archery and CrossFit training and "coaching."  As a family we have traveled, gone on adventures and supported one another though the vagaries of life including births, deaths, promotions and layoffs.


Although haphazard, my path has been looking at the story my life told and then using that hammer to find a nail.  My career has been similar without an overarching goal or endpoint.

Alternatively, my wife knew what her nail looked like (wanting to pursue the law as an Air Force Officer).  She then set out to build out the best hammer she could through being the valedictorian of her graduating class, participating in Girls State and sports, accepting an ROTC scholarship at Tulane, working as an RA at Tulane.

My younger sister, wanted success and has worked hard and reached for it.  My baby sister wanted to be a doctor and crafted a story to get there.

My 15 year old is beginning to tell a story.  My 14 year old is still surveying the landscape and is honest that she is still exploring.

Friday, April 07, 2023

Damn Yankees at the Arvada Center

Ratna and I had the opportunity to attend Damn Yankees at the Arvada Center.  This upbeat musical is based on a Joe Hardy, a middle age man, who desperately wants his Washington Senators to beat the New York Yankees and win the American League pennant.  He makes a deal with the devil, but ends up missing his old life with his loving wife.

The musical numbers were really fun and the play was well cast.  It was certainly suitable for all ages.  The most risque scenes involved a woman in the devil's employ who attempts to seduce Joe closer to his new life and further away from his old.

I did enjoy the production, but am still more of a fan of plays than musicals.  The caveat being if I really enjoy the musical genre.

Of note was the amazing athleticism of the cast.