Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win

The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business WinThe Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win by Gene Kim

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An IT novel? Yes indeed.

I wasn't sure how this would really work, but really it worked out nicely for me. It was so easy to relate to; actually it was eerie considering I felt like I was reliving the past during certain parts. My IT career has been riddled with some of the same craziness described in this book.

It was written pretty well and was pretty quick to read; luckily I got this from Amazon for free on the Kindle. All in all it was a good find, thanks to a friend who recommended it.

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Monday, April 22, 2013

Carmel Half Marathon

The 3rd Annual Carmel Championship Weekend was a success; I was able to set a new personal record finishing the half marathon at 2 hours, 1 minute, and 32 seconds.  That was about 21 minutes faster than my previous record.  Some of the issues I saw and experiences last year were gone this year, no shortages on shirts and the post-race nutrition was managed better.  I'm not sure I needed it, but I did get chocolate milk and did chug it.  Boom.

It was amazing to see all the support for Boston among the runners and everyone on the sideline.  It was very touching.  Thanks needs to be showered on the police officers, EMTs, members of the military, and the rest of the volunteers who pulled off an amazing weekend of racing.  Again, thank you so much!

My next half marathon goal will be to finish in less than two hours; I'm already so close.  I'm not sure exactly how my time will be for the upcoming Geist Half Marathon with the hills and all, but I'll do my best!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Ascension: Rise of Vigil

[caption id="attachment_211" align="alignleft" width="300"]Ascension: Rise of Vigil Ascension: Rise of Vigil[/caption]

I funded Ascension Online on Kickstarter and because I made that very smart decision, I received a physical copy of Ascension: Rise of Vigil about two weeks ago.

This is the first physical copy of Ascension I've owned, before now I've only been playing it on my iPhone or iPad through the Ascension app.  Since I now have this copy I can sit down with my wife and or friends and enjoy some time together.  The app is great but will never replace the great times that you create when you sit down with your friends and play.

At this point I believe my wife and I have played through at least 5 complete games.  Each game has been different, both in cards played and in length of time.  The energy mechanic is fun and adds a nice twist: you may not always get to use all of your card's actions depending on that rounds draw.  This will definitely help keep each game different and adds to replay value.  The one thing that's stayed the same is that my wife continues to win!  I've yet to win a game against her, but that’s all right because we’ve had a great time playing.

We've both enjoyed this stand-alone expansion of Ascension and I plan to pick up Ascension: Return of the Fallen that will add even more variety and the ability to play with up to six players.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Thursday, April 18, 2013


Yesterday was a whirlwind day so I've not had a chance to share this until now: I reached my goal weight!

From 250 pounds to 165 pounds, simple math says that's 85 pounds ... but it was so much more.  The stress, guilt, anxiety, and the ongoing feelings of being ashamed of myself are gone.  All that has been replaced with a lot of energy, good health, and self-confidence.

I thank God, family, and friends for helping to keep going when I felt like giving up.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Roots: The Saga of an American Family

Roots-Thirtieth Anniversary Edition: The Saga of an American FamilyRoots-Thirtieth Anniversary Edition: The Saga of an American Family by Alex Haley

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I don't think I need to write too much about this story, because many others have pointed out its flaws and lavished it with praises.

I'll say that I found it very information and that it was eye-opening, yet the events are something that I can't quite fathom. I just can't wrap my mind around how someone can take a free human and enslave them. Unfortunately, the love of money and power has caused many terrible things. As far as the writing of the book, I found it easy to read and understand.  However, the conversations between the slaves were a bit taxing to figure out at times. The pacing of the story for the first ninety percent felt comfortable, then something seemed to break loose and the story picked up so quickly that it seemed to just fast forward and end.

I would give this one three and a half stars if I could, mostly because of the pacing near the end. Otherwise it would have been a four.

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It's Race Week!

Carmel Marathon Championship WeekendThe Carmel Marathon Championship Weekend is almost here, race day is April, 20th 2013.

The half marathon presented by The Runners Forum and the full marathon starts at 7:30am.

This race and I have a history.  The Inaugural race was in June of 2011 and I walked and sometimes ran the 8K event.  That was, at the time, the hardest five miles I ever encountered, my official finishing time was 1 hour 12 minutes 23 seconds (Avg. 14:23 min/mi).  The preceding two weeks or so leading up to that event I started walking, running a little, and tried to eat better.  It stuck, because the following year they moved the race to April and I ran 8K event in 49 minutes and 48 seconds (Avg. 10:02 min/mi).  This Saturday I should finish the 13.1 mile course around 2 hours and 5 minutes, hopefully around a 9:30 min/mi pace.

Through running, strength training, determination, and hard work I'm now at about a pound away from my goal weight, in total I've lost about 85 pounds.  So this race, that starts and finishes about 3 miles from my front door, is special to me.

This is the first of four half marathons that I've registered for this year.  My next race will be the Geist Half, which should a great run around the Geist Reservoir, on May 18th.  The next two will be in the fall, I'll running the half marathon at the Indianapolis Marathon for the second time and accompanying my wife for her first half, the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon, at the Disney World park complex in Orlando, Florida.

Yes, it's going to be a great year to run!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Up Early

There is nothing quite like getting up at 4:45am on a Monday to go running.  At this point I may have to keep chugging coffee to stay with it, my energy level hasn't bounced back yet.  The good news is this:  I'm ready for my next half-marathon on April 20th.  I was able finish my last long run, 12 miles of glorious fun, in about 1 hour and 52 minutes.  My goal is still around 2 hours and 5 minutes, with luck I’ll crush that!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Age of Miracles

The Age of MiraclesThe Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was able to read Age of Miracles during this past Easter weekend at my in-laws house. Between family, dogs, activities, eating, and other fun filled times I was able to read this rather quickly.

The story starts on a normal Saturday that is shattered when it's announced that the earth's rotation is slowing.  This affects the lengths of days and nights, gravity, the environment, and relationships between friends and family. It follows Julia as she copes with the changes and continues to live.

I enjoyed the writing style and the overall demeanor of the book; the people weren't perfect and were tried through a lot of changing bad circumstances. I look forward to reading more from Karen Thompson Walker in the future.

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It's taken a little bit of time and preparation to get the site where I wanted it; as far as a useable feature set and also a design I enjoy.

Now that I’ve got things rolling, I'm not worrying about bringing any old posts back, which are still on Tumblr, this will be a fresh start.  I'll be using it to write about the things I experience and like, while also tackling bad experiences and the things I don't like.  Hopefully there won’t be many of the later.

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