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Thursday, July 09, 2009

JrNYLC

Patrick was nominated by the school counselor to go to Washington, D.C
for a youth leadership conference know as JrNYLC. He would need to fly out there by
himself. April and I were not too comfortable about it. One the return
trip he would need to change planes because there were no direct flights
in the time frame they required to drop him off. He does have a direct
flight out, and calls after he gets there to tell us it was long and
boring. The conference emails us each day with links to pictures. He
is not in the first days set of 85, which was weird to me because he
is usually a ham for a camera. He does show up about 50 pictures in
on day 2. Of the hundreds of photos, he is in 3. He did have a great
time, going to Harper's Ferry, the American History muesam (which
was closed for renovation the last time we were there), and the
Newseum amoung other places.

The flight back was delayed taking off, and he missed the connecting
flight. April called the airline, and was told the next flight was
full, so they'd send him back. She had to explain that he was heading
home, not leaving. Ok, then they can put him in a hotel. Right, an
11 year old by himself in a hotel. They called about about a half
hour later to tell April he was on the next flight. My guess is
that they bumped somebody rather than be responsible for a child
(takes up one employees time).

Baseball 2009

I coached baseball again for Patrick this year. There is a new
guy running Ogden City youth sports. He allowed coaches to form
up to 6 boys on a team. Boys not selected go to a tryout. Coaches
then evaluate the tryouts, and do a round robin draft. I selected
4 players I had last year, and 2 more from cub scouts (that had never
played baseball before). I managed to pick up another player from
last year in the draft, and 5 more I didn't know. Given that, it
was not a bad team. A few interesting things I noticed. Last year,
I had 10 boys, 8 of whom wanted to pitch. This year, I had 12 (one
more would be added just before the first regular game), and only
Patrick wanted to pitch. 3 others would do it if I asked, but reluctantly.
Last year, I had 1 kid want to be catcher, this year 1 more wanted
to do it. The first 2 boys to get a hit and score a run were the
2 that had never played before. In the end we only won 1 game,
but 3 of the boys (aside from the 4 who are school friends of
Patrick) wanted to know if they could play for me next
year. That makes it all good.

The fourth or fifth game into the season, Patrick is playing
shortstop. The ball is hit out to him, takes a bounce, and hits
him in the knee. He manages to pick it up and throw the batter
out at first. My assistant coach tells me my son is lying on the
ground. I carried him off, and April took him to the doctor the
next day. X-rays didn't show a break, and the doctor thought it
was a bruise. He said he could not walk, and was on crutches for
the next week. He was playing again by then. This, however, is
not the last of the story. The X-ray tech called the next day to
tell us something strange was on the shots. If there was any more
problems, we needed to bring him back in. It would happen last week.

Thomas made the same baseball team as last year. The coach seemed
a little stressed this year, and complained to me a few times that
there were too many kids on the team. I guess this was a hint, but
Thomas wants to play with his friends so I didn't take it. He did
say that Thomas had a strong arm and was one of the few boys who
could throw from third to first base. We showed up to all the
practices on the schedule he passed out, and I noted that the
contact list had my cell number as the primary number. Thomas sat
out all but one inning of the first few games. Then I started to
get questioned on why we were missing practices. I told him I
didn't hear about any more practices. I assumed we had missed a
call, but I didn't find any numbers on my caller id for the cell or
home phone. Toward the end of the season April told me she didn't
see him bat even though they had gone through the line up twice.
Thomas confirmed he didn't, and when he asked the coach about
it he was told to sit down. I asked about this, and the coach got
defensive and said yes, he did. and how could even suggest that
happen?I wasn't there, so I could not say what went on. I do
know he did get up to bat at the games before (he gets upset
with himself if he strikes out). The last game I watched very
closely, and he got ready, only to have some of the other boys
on the team yell at him. When I asked the scorekeeper where his
number was in the batting order, she told me he was on second base.
No, he never batted. I think now I know what happens. The games
he did not bat the kid who bats before him was not there. This
confused some of the boys who told him it was not his turn. The
unfortunate part is that I lost my temper with the coaches (the
one I talked to was not there). I don't understand why nobody
noticed. He goes to school with these kids, his teacher was there.
I probably shocked them because only Thomas has seen me lose my
temper before.

Not everything that went wrong had to do with the team. Pictures
were done at Lindquist Field where they had base running, pitching,
and hitting. April and Rachel had a Girl Scout activity, so I
had the boys. Thomas went off with his team, and I stayed with mine.
My team was in line to do the hitting, when a halt was called to
do the flag and introduce the guest. After most of the teams,
including Thomas, went to get free hot dogs. My team wanted to
go back and hit. That took another 15 minutes, and when we went
out to get food, there was no sign of Thomas or his team. I started
calling cell numbers of parents on the team, but found him by a
table. He was mad at me because he didn't know where I was.
Another time he had a game that started a half hour before Patrick
had Boy Scouts. I dropped him off at the game, watched it for ten
minutes, then got Patrick in the van to go to scouts 15 minutes away,
planning to drop him off and go back to the game. 10 minutes into
the trip, it starts to rain. 2 minutes later, the coach calls; they
called the game, and where was I? One of the parents dropped him off
at the Boy Scout meeting.

The upside is that Thomas still wants to play baseball, but not
with this team.

Is anybody there?

It's been a while, but I just have not felt like posting. I have a few to post now.

Monday, May 18, 2009

My Thoughts on Star Trek (SPOILER ALERT)

The view of the hull from the bridge of the Kelvin was interesting. Are
these windows with a HUD, or viewscreens? The scenes before
the main title were excellent. One little nit-pick: Kirk's mother is
the only one watching the Kelvin get destroyed. One of the doctors was
not human, but the other appeared to be. I would have thought he would
be watching.

Bad:
Sigh. Nero is another in the long list of paper villians. I expected
it, though, because the time needed to develop main characters. But
the recently late Ricardo Montablan still wears the mantle of best
Trek villian.

The scene with the car was a throw away. It did take me a couple of days
to place the voice on the other end of the phone. Ethan Phillips?

Engineering on the Enterprise looks like a brewery. Huge tanks with
workstations in front? And the bridge was !BRIGHT WHITE!. I liked
the bridge of the Kelvin and I hope the Enterprise is toned down
in the next movie.

Why can Spock Prime see Vulcan destroyed from Delta Vega? Is it a moon,
or a space station?

Sigourney Weaver in Galaxy Quest is screaming in my head "What is the
purpose
of this?!?" after Kirk and Scotty beam in. I would have prefered an
intruder
alert and a chase through the ship. It seemed a little contrived.

The climatic battle with Nero seemed easy. At least throw the Enterprise
in front of the missles. On the other hand, there was no transporter
malfunction cliffhanger where Spock or Kirk can't make it back onboard
until the very last second.

James Kirk hasn't finished Starfleet Academy before he is made
captain of Starfleet's flagship? That's a leap. However, Spock Prime
is standing in back watching over it all. I had the feeling he had
been manipulating events ala Darth Sidious/Palpatine without the
evil revenge endgame.

Good:
The acting was superb. The last scene of Chris Pine stepping on the
bridge had me thinking "Wow, that's James T. Kirk!". I knew Quinto
would do a good Spock and was still pleasantly surprised by the
way he did it. The scene at the Vulcan Science Academy was a
favorite. Salanda had a bigger part than I expected, but was
well done. Cho was more limited and still good. Yelstin as Chekov
was over the top at first, but came back down. Pegg was more of
a comic relief Scotty, still the character worked. Sarek (can't come
up with the actors name right now) was just the right touch
when needed. I would have been happy to leave Chris Pike in the
captain's chair. Bruce Greenwood was my favorite in this movie.
I hope he has a part in the next one.

I could not help getting a little choked up at Nimoy's first line, and
he assumed the character that made him famous with ease. Even the scene
between Quinto and Nimoy is touching. This was the perfect part for
Nimoy's Spock. There was the puppetmaster overtone although
it was used to put things right.

So my final analysis: Not quite up to the Wrath of Khan, but
a good second. The flaws were technical for the most part, or
a matter of taste.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

One season down

Indoor soccer is over. Patrick's team ended up in third place, losing out to a girls team and a La Roca team. Not bad overall. Thomas's team did not win at all, but he did get a few goals, so he is happy. They did win a few futsol games, and they still have a couple more to go.

 

Basketball has one more tournament in Pocatello (March 20-22). Patrick missed the first game of the tournament last week, and sat on the bench the next game. I was a little upset over it, because I have yet to see him play (although he has played), and I felt he didn't really want to. For the final game, the coach put him in the fourth period with the score 15-17 in our favor. He played the whole period, and the final score was 15-25. The opponent, Rowland Hall, did not get a single basket. He was in the face of each player who had the ball. They were forced to take long shots, and the very tall point guard got most of the rebounds.

 

Rachel has been busy with Girl Scouts, either helping other scouts or learning to be a counselor. Her top braces are off, and the results are stunning. She spent the last two months working on her science project. It was about the effects of color on memory. I thought she did well, but one of the judges (a high school boy) thought she did it at the last minute and marked her down. She seems to have had fun with it.


End of Entry

Monday, January 26, 2009

January to date

Patrick is taking snowboarding lessons. He started two weeks ago, and is enjoying it. The instructor is the guy who sits next to me at work. After the first lesson he walked around for two days saying 'Ow', 'ow'. Apparently he fell on his butt quite a bit. The next session went much better, although April was not happy because on one run he 'caught air'. I didn't take him up last Sunday because of the rain and snow.

 

I usually run into people I know from the kids' school. Most of them ask where Rachel is. She had some skiing lessons a couple of years ago, but feels embarrassed that she isn't as good as her friends. A friend's of April daughter offered to teach her away from all her classmates, and she jumped at it. I hope she can gain some confidence.

 

It's been a busy month. Patrick is on the basketball team, and they have games and practice twice a week. April is not happy with the coach. Patrick has had about a minute of playing time in the three games played so far. He's not as good as the 'fab five', as April called them, but she thinks he should have some playing time each game. He doesn't care, but she feels it's not worth our time to get him to practices and games only to watch him sit there.

 

The schedule for the week this month has been: Monday April goes to class, and I run Thomas to soccer practice and then Patrick to basketball practice. Tuesday April runs Patrick to a basketball game, and then I pick him up, get him something to eat (Sizzler has been the choice), and then go to scouts while April goes to class. Wednesday April does homework and I take Thomas to scouts. Rachel has managed to upset him on at least two Wednesdays so that he hides in his room and we miss it. Thursday April takes Patrick to his basketball game, and then goes to class. Friday has been a down evening, although this coming Friday is Thomas's Pinewood Derby. Saturday is spent at the 12th street indoor soccer with games for Patrick and Thomas. Sunday I run Patrick to Snowbasin for snowboard lessons. And repeat.

 

This last Saturday Patrick had a game at 8:30 AM playing a girls team. Both this team and his are at the top of the league. It was a close match, but the girls won 5-3. The coach was upset about playing a girls team. The girls knocked the boys around (include Patrick getting pushed over twice), but none of the girls were even pushed aside. It's a double standard, but at least the boys had a competitive game and they did make some mistakes.

 

Thomas's game was at 10 AM. His team lost again, but did score three. I see the same sort of mistakes in his team as in Patrick's. No girls on the other team, though.

 

Patrick had his Pinewood Derby after Thomas's game. He drew the design on the wood, and I cut it, polished the axles and wheels, lined them up, glued more weight on, put the graphite on, and he swiped the sandpaper over the car a few times. He thought about painting it Saturday morning. He was pretty pleased when it came in first or second every race. After the race he went to a neighbors birthday party.

 

Rachel went with April to the hospital to work on her science project. She was pretty happy by the response, and seems to be having some fun with it. It was not what April wanted, but she is the one doing it, so I think it's good.

 

We got the van back last week. The insurance company agreed the transmission problem was due to their repairs, but the transmission place was surprised that most of the issues have gone away. They say they will pay for further repairs if we have problems in the future. I'd like that in writing, though.

 

End of Entry

Friday, January 16, 2009

Legend of Bill

David Reddick did a comic called 'The Trek Life' for Startrek.com, and does several others including working on Garfield. He has guests do comics for him on Thursdays, and Kevin Hancock had his put up this week.
http://www.legendofbill.com/

Congrats, Kevin.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Keyboard

Warriors have no use for USB!
http://tinyurl.com/6wzzff

Friday, January 09, 2009

Since U Been Gone

The last post was one month ago. The Christmas break was also a break in the kids activities, so it was good for April and me as well.

On December 13th, while driving to the airport to pick up April, a lady in the middle lane tried to break for a slow traffic around an accident on I-15 in Clearfield, spins her car around to the right lane and directly in front of me. The collision was low speed, so fortunately no one was hurt. She had insurance, so no worries there. The left fender of the van was smashed, and the yellow-green liquid pooling under the van told me the radiator was broken. I called April, and she got the toll free number for our insurance company, and I filed the claim. The lady on the phone told me where the van needed to go, and assured me the a case manager would talk to me on Monday. Not so. I called the autobody place, and they had already talked to our insurance company. They would need to subcontract the engine work, but the body work would be done by Friday at the latest. By Wednesday, April called the local office of the insurance company because we had not heard from them. She was reamed because we had taken the van to a shop, and told the adjuster should have been out to see the van before anything was done. She told them we followed what their company rep told us to do that day. One good peice of advice April got was to call the other lady's insurance company and make sure she filed a claim. April did, and yes, they did know about it, it appeared to be thier claimants fault, and they would be happy to reimburse us for a car rental, towing, and other expenses. The receipts where faxed to them, but I haven't seen anything yet.

The van was ready on Friday. April and I picked it up after the shop closed, and I noticed the transmission was not right. We called the adjuster, who called back and told us to take it to whereever we liked to have it looked at. We went to our regular service place, and he told us the transmission fluid did not look good, but he didn't have the tools to do much else. He recommended a place in West Haven. I dropped the van off, and told them it had been in an accident but didn't give any details. The guy told us it would be a day or so before he could get to it. On Wednesday, he called me to asked if I know the radiator had been replaced. Yes. Well, the transmission fluid was almost gone from the van, and there is a hose that would have to have been disconnected for the radiator to be replaced. He thinks the fluild drained out, and was not replaced. He's going to talk to the adjusted about it.

On Monday as well, I was almost finished shoveling the driveway that night and slipped on a patch of ice at the end of the driveway. I landed on the point of my right elbow, and wrenched my shoulder. I am able to raise my arm all the way up once, but not twice. Rachel slipped on the ice at school and cut her leg up. Patrick also slipped on the ice at school and has a big bruise on his left knee. Topping that off, he lost one lens in his glasses. The winter is not going well.

On the bright side, Rachel got her top braces off, and her teeth look great.

End of Entry