Thursday, January 30, 2014

Mystic River

Mystic RiverMystic River by Dennis Lehane

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This gritty novel follows the lives of three estranged childhood friends: Sean, Dave, and Jimmy. They have to confront the past while dealing with the present when Jimmy's daughter is brutally murdered. That same night Dave returns home covered in someone else's blood and Sean, a State Police Detective, is brought in to the murder investigation as he deals with his own demons.

The story went by quickly, I didn't intend to finish it so fast. Once I got into the meat of crime, I had a hard time putting it down. I hadn't read anything from the author before but had seen some of the movies based on his work. I will be reading more of Lehane's stories down the road.

The writing style was something I really enjoyed and the novel was well constructed, polished, and raw. On to the next read, I hope it's as good as this one.

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Monday, January 27, 2014

Running Ransom Road: Confronting the Past, One Marathon at a Time

Running Ransom Road: Confronting the Past, One Marathon at a TimeRunning Ransom Road: Confronting the Past, One Marathon at a Time by Caleb Daniloff

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

No longer do I run from my demons, but run with them. We pace each other, the past and me. And some days, I go faster.

That statement was made in the prologue of this memoir, I realized then I'd enjoy this book.

I won't pretend or act like I know what it's like to go through the things Caleb went through before writing this book. I will acknowledge though, that I have a few demons that I still need to deal with. They're just not the same as Caleb's demons of drugs and alcohol. The book chronicles his ups and downs as he runs races in locations that are central to his destructive past and how he essentially used running as one of his main recovery tools. During the different chapters he recounts his bad deeds in the town he's running through, some of the stories are raw. He holds nothing back and let's everyone see the vulnerable bits of his former life.

I think my favorite chapter was when he was recounting the Marine Corp Marathon, where he finally realized that he focused too much on the numbers and let it go. He ended up finishing shortly after his goal time and he was ok with it, something he wasn't able to accept before.

This book made me realize how much I've missed running regularly due to the cold weather and snow we've had this winter. I can't wait for the spring.

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Friday, January 24, 2014

T25 Focus: Day Ten

We finished day ten of T25 Focus this morning and I'm still really enjoying the workouts.  Since it's a Friday, it was a double work out and the combo of Lower Focus and Ab Intervals was interesting.  The biggest disappointment I've had so far has been my Blu-ray player which doesn't always want to play random chapters and will skip ahead 5 minutes and completely bugger up when it's time to do the cool down stretches.

All in all, I've got ways around that and will keep on going!  I'm still sweating buckets and feeling like I'm working really hard.  I'm looking forward to seeing the results at the end of Beta.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Devices and Desires

Devices and Desires (Engineer Trilogy, #1)Devices and Desires by K.J. Parker

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Gasp, I wanted to punch almost all of them in the face. They were conniving, annoying, too naive, and too ruthless, too much to one extreme. The one character that's more balanced than the others shines, go figure he was one of the noblest bound by duty. Maybe that gets better as the trilogy progresses?

The book just ends. I know it's a trilogy and a certain amount of cliffhanging is in order. The second book will probably resolve the same way, meaning it'll end for a time while creating tension and plot for the next portion of the story.

Overall, I don't have to love the characters or the way something is plotted to like the story. That being said, I liked the story and plan to read the next book soon while this story is still fresh.

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Monday, January 13, 2014

T25 Focus: Day One

T25 Focus: Alpha & Beta Kit
My wife and I purchased the Shaun T’s T25 Focus exercise program.  We picked up the Alpha and Beta cycles, we’ll probably pick up Gamma once we’re farther through the plan.
We took our “before” pictures before we started the workout this morning.  The week one, day one workout is Cardio.  This workout had me sweating buckets by the time twenty-five minutes was done.  I had tried a few of the other workouts before, but didn’t get a chance to experience this one.  I felt like I worked harder than some of the hour-long workout DVD’s that’ll now be collection dust on my self.
I changed into my running shoes and put on a long sleeve shirt and went for a quick one and half mile run around my neighborhood.  I’m trying to balance these workouts and running so I can complete another half-marathon in the spring.  I felt pretty good when I finished, but could tell I need fuel quickly.  I’m going to keep playing with how much I run and will start kicking it up a notch once I get farther into to T25 Focus.
I’m going to try and post our experience through T25 weekly.  I’m excited to see my results in ten weeks!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Running with the Mind of Meditation

Running with the Mind of Meditation: Lessons for Training Body and MindRunning with the Mind of Meditation: Lessons for Training Body and Mind by Sakyong Mipham

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It's the beginning of the year, so it felt right to try and refocus on running. I don't remember where I saw this, but I thought it looked interesting, so I put it on Christmas wish list.

After receiving this book as a gift, I started reading it during my annual New Years vacation. I read the bulk of the book once I returned. The first twenty-five percent of the book was tedious for me to read, I couldn't connect with the material. Why? I'm not exactly sure.

The book didn't really offer any earth shattering advise on how to improve, but rather how to focus and bring a mindful meditative mind along when you run. I did pick up a few things that I will try to apply to my next run, that is when I'm not snowed in or facing -15 degree temperatures.

Winter is awesome.

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Citrix Smart Check Setup on XenDesktop/XenApp Video Walk-through

In this video walk-thro ugh  we setup Smart Check, one of Citrix's Smart Tools.  We used Citrix Cloud and XenDesktop. Here's a ...