Monday, June 30, 2008

Andrew's Lemonade Stand

Andrew has been obsessed with money lately - counting it, trading ones for tens, playing Monopoly even. From gifts and doing chores, he had amassed about $20, even after spending some on candy. He is now intent on having $100, so Amy helped him start toward that goal today by helping him set up a lemonade stand. Andrew bought $7 worth of lemons and sugar at the store - with his own money - and helped mom make the lemonade. Then they drove to the Green Mountain trailhead parking lot, where a bunch of thirsty hikers and bikers would hopefully shell out $1.50 for a small glass or $2.50 for a large. Andrew made the signs himself. The result:

Expenses: $7
Revenue: $25
Net profit: $18

Not a bad ROI for a few hours of labor.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Tour de Southeast Colorado

Amy's friend Sara Reid, whose family owns a cattle ranch near Ordway, Colo., invited us down this weekend to see the ranch and witness the calf branding. The ranch is only a few hours drive from Denver, but it's a world away. It's wide, wide open spaces out there. Turning off I-70 onto highway 71 at Limon, the sign says "Next services 75 miles". Sara's parents Janelle and John treated us to a fantastic meal when we arrived. Of course, beef was on the menu. On Saturday morning after another filling meal, we took Andrew and Elizabeth to see the animals, along with Sara's neice and nephew, Maggie and Shane, who are the same ages and Andrew and Elizabeth, respectively. Maggie was our tour guide, and the first stop was the chicken coop. They have a few dozen chicks that are several months old and the kids enjoyed chasing the around the coop. They also enjoyed sitting in the cab of the John Deere tractor, petting the horses, and feeding the cows some hay. Later in the morning we watched as the Reids and their friends roped, branded, immunized ear-tagged, and de-horned, a bunch of calves. I didn't realize the de-horned the little things - it looks painful. After the horn buds are off, they squirt a bit of linseed oil and turpentine on the wound to slow the bleeding and keep flies off. They used an old bottle chocolate syrup for the squirt bottle. Andrew got to ride a horse, which he thought was great. Elizabeth, who loves to point out horses - both in books and when she sees them for real - was a bit overwhelmed by the specter of a big horse at close range, and refused to get on one.

Andrew also may now fully realize the implications of what he's known for a few years - that beef comes from cows. As he asked more and more questions about what they do with the cows, we told him the brutal truth - that eventually they go to a place where people cut them into pieces so we can buy the meat at the store. He pondered that reality in silence for a minute, then went back to playing. He still eats meat.

Saturday afternoon we drove another 90 minutes or so to Pueblo - observing a whole lot of boarded-up store fronts and run down housing along the way. Once there we visited Amy's grandmother and great Aunt.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Bike to work

Today is bike to work day in Denver. I often ride my bike to the park-n-ride and put it on the bus, but this is the first time I've ridden to work since I moved to Lakewood. The main reason I don't ride more is because all the routes from my house to downtown involve some riding in traffic, which I like to avoid. I did find a route that's fairly direct and keeps me out of traffic most of the way, except for about a 1-mile stretch on Perry St, which I found out today doesn't have much traffic. I may just do this ride a bit more often.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Torn supraspintaus

I while back I wrote about getting an MRI to determine how much damage I had done to my shoulder. It turns out I have a "low grade partial tear" - about 20% - of my supraspinatus - a tendon in my rotator cuff. The doctor recommended more physical therapy before surgery. I was relieved to hear that because the recovery from arthroscopic shoulder surgery, as both he and the therapist explained, is long and painful: about 3 months before I could do anything substantial with my right arm, 6 months til I could be active, and up to year before I'd regain 95% of my original strenght. Ughh. No thanks. I'd much rather do the exercise every day for a year.

1 minute faster on Mt. Evans Ascent

Yesterday I ran in the Mt. Evans Ascent, 14.5 miles from Echo Lake at 10,600 feet elevation to the summit at 14,264 feet. My time this year was 2:24:17, or 9:57 per mile, which is 54 seconds faster than I ran the same race last year. Even though my time improved, it was a much more competitive race this year and I went from 21st place overall in 2007 to 43rd in 2008 (out of 360 people). Not bad, but I was hoping for a bigger improvement over last year's time. The overall winner was Matt Carpenter, who beat the previous course record by 4 minutes, and beat the 2nd place finisher by more than 12 minutes! That guy is a rock star of running.

I ran the first mile in 8 minutes, but wasn't feeling strong, my place slowed, and many people passed me. I improved in the second half of the race, at least compared to other racers, and was able to regain position by passing several people, including 5 people in the last half mile of the race - which is definitely my fondest memory of the race.

Before the race I had delusions about a top 10 finish, but I would have had to run at a pace of 8:25 per mile to do that. That's a minute and half faster, per mile! To do that would take a fundamentally different level of commitment to the sport, and/or different genetics than I was born with. I don't think I'm ready to commit the time it would take to get to that level.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

5:48 mile

I while ago I set the goal (perhaps overly optimistically) of running a 5 minute mile. I hit 5:05 on a treadmill, and in November ran a 5:49 mile on a track. I tried again yesterday and ran a mile on the same track in 5:48. Most of my training recently has been for hills, distance and altitude, and I guess that doesn't necessarily translate into a faster mile.

Monday, June 09, 2008

The 5-year-old world traveler

A few days ago Andrew saw my sister, his Aunt Lynette, and they talked about Lynette's husband Jeff being in China. I wasn't there but here's what Lynette had to say about it.
When I told him on Saturday that Jeff is in China, he said, "Oh yea? Where in China?" I thought it was cute because I don't know of many 5 year olds that would ask where in China. I told him I wasn't sure of everywhere Jeff would be but he was starting and ending his trip in Beijing and Andrew said, "Oh I've been to Beijing".... like most 5 year olds would say about having been to Chuck E Cheese or something. It made me laugh.
Just your typical conversation with a five-year-old!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Backstage and 3rd row for Big Head Todd

Amy and I had a memorable experience at Red Rocks Amphitheatre yesterday - a backstage tour, access to the sound check, and 3rd row seats for Big Head Todd and the Monsters. Our tour included a glimpse of the cave-like backstage dressing rooms and the tunnel from backstage to the sound booth - scrawled with graffiti from decades of rock stars and their crews.
The show itself was fantastic: great performance, perfect sound. It was 2 full sets of BHTM - about 3 hours of music. Hazel Miller made a special appearance on several songs as did a horn section. The encore finally was an extra-bluesy cover of Joe Walsh's Rocky Mountain High. The band filmed the whole show for a DVD they'll release later this year.
The 3rd row seats made the performance unforgettable. If you've never sat up close before, I highly recommed getting general admission tickets to a show and arriving early to snatch the good seats. It's well worth it. Here are a few photos and brief video clip.

Sound check: Todd and Jeremy

Tunnel under the seats at Red Rocks

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

IP Commerce announces $17M funding

My employer, IP Commerce, announced the closing of our Series C capital raise of $17M, which was led by Venrock venture capital.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Altitude training

To prepare for the Mt. Evans Ascent race in 3 weeks, I did some altitude training yesterday. Here's a timeline:

  • 4:59 am - wake up (I woke up on my own 1 minute before my alarm was set to go off)
  • 5:20 am - leave the house after having a drink and a banana
  • 6:30 am - arrive at Summit Lake on Mt. Evans (12,850 ft)
  • 6:40 am - begin running. uphill. on the road. 5.5 miles to the summit
  • 7:40 am - arrive at the summit (14,264 ft). Enjoy a few minutes of the spectacular view
  • 7:50 am - start running back down (another 5.5 miles)
  • 8:28 am - arrive back at Summit Lake
  • 10:50 am - back home to watch the kids while Amy plays soccer
Hell of a way to start a Sunday!