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SQUID practice 8-2015.

I didn't go skiing today because the ankle I smashed at the last swim practice did not feel good inside a ski boot. So... I went to swim practice instead! Swim practice, & then brunch at Waffle Brothers. Mmmmm, brunch after swim practice is the BEST.

WARMUP = 500 yards
500 easy swim

FIRST SET = 250 yards
5 x 50 free 25 kick no board / 25 swim focus on body position 1:00

SECOND SET (name game) = 300 yards
4 x 75 free / stroke / free
Each person in the lane took turns telling the others their name & picking the stroke for the second 25.

THIRD SET = 300 yards
3 x 100 IM
1: hard 25 fly, :05 rest, finish the rest of the IM
2: the hard 25 was backstroke, followed by :05 rest
3: the hard 25 was breaststroke, followed by :05 rest

FOURTH SET = 400 yards
8 x 25 IM order by 25 :10 rest
1 x 200 IM

FIFTH SET = 450 yards
6 x 75 choice (I did free / breast / back x 2)
odds: kick / swim / kick by 25
evens swim / kick / swim by 25
:10 rest

SIXTH SET = 200 yards
4 x 50 IM order by 50 build :10 rest

SEVENTH SET = 800 yards
1 x 200 free :10 rest
2 x 100 free :05 rest
4 x 50 free :50
8 x 25 free :30

WARMDOWN = 100 yards
100 easy swim

Total workout = 3,300 yards in ~100 minutes.
I did all 3,300 yards!
Cumulative distance with the SQUID = 21,450 yards (12.2 miles).



Today chaosvizier asked me to write about the best trip I've ever taken as part of the "Give Me A Topic" meme.

Unfortunately, I was awakened before dawn by a phone call from my mom, letting me know that my Grandma June passed away this morning after a long decline. Grandma was 95 & had been in hospice care for several weeks, so this was hardly a surprise. In fact, as soon as I heard the phone ringing in the early morning darkness, I knew what the call was announcing.

Death is a journey of sorts, but not one I've taken yet. Grandma's passing has had me thinking more of the journey that genes take through time. She was my last surviving grandparent, & the refrain my mind has been stuck on all day is, "Your parents are next." When my dad's stepmother Delda died many years ago, I remember him saying to one of his siblings at the funeral: "Hey look, we're in the front pew now." Which I think was him expressing the same thought. There is now only one generation between me & the front pew. And of that generation, I have already lost one aunt & one uncle. The Reaper continues to bring in his harvest.

But my Grandma June has many descendants. If I recall my genetics class correctly, you share half of your genes with each child, then one-quarter with each grandchild, one-eighth with a great-child, & one-sixteenth with a great-great-grandchild. Grandma June has four living children, 10 grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren, & three great-great-grandchildren (with a fourth due any day now). So ... (4 * 0.5) + (10 * 0.25) + (11 x 0.125) + (3 x 0.0625) = 6.0625 copies of Grandma's genome are still living in the world. Her genes continue to travel through time.

And - because grief at someone's passing is usually at least somewhat comprised of fear of one's own death - I also considered how my own genes are moving through time. I don't have any kids, & I'm not likely to ever have any. I'm also pretty sure I won't have any nieces/nephews. But that really hasn't slowed down my genes. I have one full sibling (one-half genetic similarity), four living aunts/uncles by blood (one-quarter), eight full first cousins (one-eighth), two half first cousins (one-sixteenth), 10 full first cousins once removed (one-sixteenth), four half first cousins once removed (one-thirty-second), and three full first cousins twice removed (one-thirty-second). That's ... (1 x 0.5) + (4 x 0.25) + (8 x 0.125) + (2 x 0.0625) + (10 x 0.0625) + (4 x 0.03125) + (3 x 0.03125) = 3.47 copies of my genome, other than my own full copy, living in the world. And that's only going with the descendants from my grandparents - if you reach out to second cousins descended from great-aunts & -uncles, or go back further to third cousins, etc. ... it's infinite. My genes aren't going to die. In some genetic sense, Grandma June didn't die. I'm not going to die. We are all immortal.

And oddly, I find that somewhat comforting. In concrete, real-world terms, we all die - it's part & parcel with being born. But while we are alive, journeying through our life, we are accompanied by a great crowd of family & friends. We share bonds of blood with many, many people, & we share bonds of experience with many more. It's a path that is completely impossible to map out ahead of time. And no one follows the same route as anyone else.

What an adventure.


SQUID practice 7-2015.

Yep.... I haven't been at a swim practice since May 12, 2015. Tonight was... instructive. I need to get back into the water on a regular basis very soon - or I will have to start calling myself an ex-swimmer.

Also I smashed the $^*#&@! out of my ankle at the very beginning of practice. Now it's swollen & bruised.

WARMUP ~ 300 yards
10-minute free swim warmup.

FIRST SET = 300 yards
6 x 50 free 25 catchup / 25 swim 1:00

SECOND SET = 2,200 yards
4 x 200 free swim 3:45
4 x 50 kick 1:00-ish
4 x 200 free pull 3:30
4 x 50 25 drill / 25 swim IM order by 50 1:10-ish
200 free 3:45 focus on stroke count

WARMDOWN = 200 yards
Easy free

Total workout = 3,000 yards in ~90 minutes.
I did 2,850 yards (skipped one 50 & cut two 200s short).
Cumulative distance with the SQUID = 18,150 yards (10.3 miles).


Give me a topic.

chaosvizier has introduced me to a meme. You, my wonderful and loyal (and hopefully still present and accounted-for) readers, comment below with a date and a subject, and I am honor-bound to talk about it on that date. Photo essay/entry requests are allowed. Encouraged, even. Bring it on, folks! Come partake of my vast tasty wisdom!

I'll update this entry with date and subject requests as I get them.

So far......

November 20th: best trip ever (chaosvizier)
December 15th: muffins (etcet)


OK, maybe not. But still - I had a vision yesterday of the future of GIS & pricing data intersecting in a way that would undermine a lot of today's retail environment. Imagine if you had a program. You enter your shopping list - groceries, toiletries, etc. You'd fill in some other parameters - Yes, I'm fine with generics; I only want to buy meat/fish/poultry from Safeway; I have time to visit 3 (or 4, or 1) locations; maybe something like Yes, I'm fine with buying a bigger size box or getting 2 boxes of Cheerios instead of 1 if there's a sale. Then the program checks prices on all the items on your list at: Kroger, CVS, Walmart, Target, Walgreens, etc. It maps the nearest locations to where you are. It considers your parameters (I'm in a hurry today - let's get this done in 2 stops). And then it gives you your shopping lists, broken down by destination. Cool! I'm going to Target to get toilet paper, blueberries, peanut butter, eggs, & orange juice (buy 2 bottles & get free butter). Then I'm going to CVS to get shampoo, canned soup, hamburger buns, & antiperspirant (which wasn't on today's list, but is on a general "Keep in Stock" list, & is on a really good sale).

I know there are people out there who sit down every week with the shopping circulars & coupon sheets, & compare prices until they've found the cheapest deals for each item. But I think that vast majority of us massively fail to optimize this process. There are websites out there to help, but I've never found them all that useful because they mostly address processed/frozen/canned foods, & they only show bargains - not everything that's for sale. So if I want to buy a specific thing (ORGANIC FRESH PEACHES), I can't find that specific thing. This may be because they don't have access to the stores' entire price database - I don't know.

Maybe programs aren't smart enough yet to incorporate the flexible rules I'm envisioning, & that I think would make such a program more appealing to shoppers. But I don't think we're far from this. Someday, there will be an app for that. And it will be a game-changer for retail.


Construction squirrel or Police squirrel?

I'm really not that great at making field identifications:

 photo bd858075-8564-4079-905e-3e3de367c129.jpg

Quiet day at the home office today. I'm banging out a Phase I ESA for a natural gas field in Wyoming for a Big O&G Client. It's going all right, but I'm missing quite a bit of data from the field team & so I'm writing a series of emails requesting more information. It's a beautiful day here today, so I've got the outside door propped open (which is how I spotted Mr. Donut Squirrel).



This glorious piece of knowledge floated back into my life today. For some reason, I was trying to remember where I first heard the acronym "SOCMOB", which stands for "standing on corner/minding own business". It turns out that EMTs & ER staff hear this phrase pretty frequently during patient admissions interviews, especially admissions involving a trauma diagnosis.

#Homeowners #insurance.

OK, what do I need in a homeowner's insurance policy?

What companies are good? What companies are bad?

What discounts should I look for (other than combining home & auto - that one I know)?

Other tips, stories, suggestions, advice welcome!!

Platelet count was low today #SaveLives

So today I had an appointment at Bonfils to donate platelets; however, my platelet count was too low, so I ended up donating red blood cells & plasma instead. Now I can't donate again until August 10th.

The phlebotomist said my platelet count was 150 & the minimum to donate is 190. The normal range for a platelet count ranges from 150,000 to 450,000 platelets per microliter of blood. So I'm guessing that "150" means 150,000 platelets/uL.

Not having enough platelets is a condition called thrombocytopenia. I don't have any of the symptoms of this condition, & none of the causes ring a bell. So I guess my normal platelet count is just on the low end of normal?

Oh well, back to donating whole blood. That's faster anyway.

Addendum: Also, my blood pressure was low today - 96/68, with a resting pulse rate of 68.


One month in. We've looked at nearly 30 houses, bid on two. We were the third-strongest bid on the first one, second-strongest bid on the second. Statistically speaking, we're gonna win the next one, amirite??

Part of the whole experience has been learning how to lower our standards. We started with a list of things that were MUST-HAVES:
  • 2 bathrooms
  • fireplace
  • basement
  • good kitchen
  • A/C
  • garage
  • big fenced backyard

.... & we thought we were being flexible when we said stuff like "Well, I guess a fence-ABLE yard would be okay...." HAHAHAH THE DENVER REAL ESTATE MARKET MOCKS OUR NAIVETE.

So here's a Facebook exchange between me & hotpantsgalore today:

HPG: what time are you going to be home friday?
HPG: That house isn't doing showings till Fri.
Me: Maybe by 2 PM?
Me: Make the appointment later than that just to be safe.
HPG: ok
HPG: not too much later
HPG: i'm gonna set up a sniper stand & shoot everyone else who comes to look at it after us
Me: Solid plan. All that exposed brick!
Me: That gorgeous kitchen!
HPG: I know! But it's only a 2/1
Me: We can deal with that. You may have to learn how to pee in the yard. Shadeaux can teach you.
Me: Not even for exposed brick?

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