Wednesday, June 17, 2015

2015 AA Giants, Issaquah Little League

Thursday, October 16, 2014

More Writing Going On...

You know what kills me is that after I wrote my last post, I went back to the previous post I thought might be similar to the one I'd just written, and saw that I copied myself almost verbatim with some added details. That was spooky, and really fascinating to me as I was really discussing the same piece of writing I had just finished and had been sitting on for years...I was just as angst-filled about it years ago as I was a couple weeks ago. Needless to say, I'm thrilled the piece has finally been written.

I don't think that piece will likely be picked up by the outlet I've submitted it to, and I don't think I'll submit it elsewhere if it does get rejected. Instead, I kind of see myself putting it into an anthology of similar works that I plan to have done one day. I've got higher hopes for my second story and for my current project, but we'll see what happens.

I just finished a first draft of another section of my current project. I know it's kind of rude to be so cagey about exactly what I'm working on, but I really think that due to its nature, it would be bad to get the idea out there before it's time. It's not anything controversial or anything, just something I'd rather keep secret for now. It's a non-fiction piece, and I've noticed that writing that has been a lot smoother than the fiction pieces I wrote before like I mentioned in my last post. It's just been easier for me.

Nothing else new to report, other than my youngest child just had her fifth birthday a couple days ago. My, how time does fly. I get nervous about the passage of time as I watch my kids grow up, worried that I'm missing it because I'm not around as much as I'd like to be. But, I guess that's what everyone goes through, and is the reason that grandparents love their grandchildren so much. Plus, I've had enough parents of older children reporting that their kids frequently move back in for a time, and since I'm guilty of this myself since being married (it was in-between my second and third years of law school when I interned at Young Living), it really must be more common than I think.

Well, enough for now. Just wanted to try to keep this habit going, even when I don't have much to say!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

At least I'm writing somewhere...

I know my blog has been a bit lonely lately, and there's no good excuse for that. I've let a year and a half go by again, so there's too much to catch up on. We moved closer to Seattle in May 2013, and life has certainly been better for that...I've cut my time in the car by a lot (28 miles a day versus 126 a day is a lot).  The family is doing well, so there's no major update there. goes on!

The main reason for this post is just to make sure that my blog doesn't get removed for inactivity (that can't happen though, can it?), and to talk a little about one of my recent side projects. Just for my own interest, though, since this blog is probably not read anymore! ;)

I used to enjoy writing creatively...I did a lot of it in junior high and high school, but nothing much ever came out of it aside from winning a few relatively minor contest. Oh, and at one point I think I was named one of the 50 most promising young writers in Pennsylvania one year. I think that was probably a contest that only 50 people must have entered. But, I haven't written much of anything, aside from journals and stuff for college, law school, and work, for a long time.

About ten years ago(!) I had a strange dream that I thought I should make into a story (did I mention something about pharmaceutical dreams on this blog earlier?  later note: good grief, I did mention most of this on my previous blog post here! I'm apparently suffering from memory loss.). It was a weird dream, but very vivid. I took down a handful of notes from the dream, and promptly sat on them and did nothing with it. Soon after that dream, I had another one that I also thought would make a good story. It also was sat on for a long time. I finally started a story based on the first dream about three years ago. I wrote a few pages, got stuck, and didn't pick it up again until last month, when I figured I really needed to close the book on that story and just get it written. So, somehow I gutted it out over the next two days, and ended up with a 4700-word-or-so long story. It was a weird one...not anything I was particularly proud of, but the important thing was that I finally got some resolution to that dream ten years earlier.

I decided I'd submit it to a science fiction magazine just to see if anything came out of it, and then made the mistake of letting my wife read it. It wasn't a mistake to show it to my wife; it was the timing that was bad...she should have seen it before I submitted it. She thought the story was very stilted and didn't get the point of what I'd written. I had purposely made the dialogue super-formal to reflect life in an indeterminate future period, so she didn't like that, but I thought she would have liked the direction of the story a bit more. But, I'm a realist, and I value my wife's opinion highly since she's quite well-read, so I took that advice under advisement as I wrote a story twice as long to reflect the second dream I'd had. I like that one a lot better, and sent that off to a different literary magazine today. I don't expect the first one will get accepted, and I'm all right with that. I'll just keep it in my back pocket if I ever write more short stories and want to put a book of them together for my posterity. I think the second one has a pretty good shot, but a posting by my sister (who's an English Ph.D. candidate and a budding creative writer) today on Facebook that talks about the value in failing, has made me temper my expectations. That's not a bad thing.

But, as I wrote these stories, I've realized my major failing when it comes to writing...I'm not very creative. Coming up with a story to tell is really hard for me. Trying to come up with a good ending for a story is even worse. I managed to come up with my second story in about two weeks' time (I really dislike going back to edit the crap out of a story, but I do perform some edits since I know they're valuable--and very necessary in my case), but I think I'm now tapped out of fictional ideas. So, I decided a couple days ago to start a third project, which is more of a non-fiction book. I don't want to reveal any details at this point as I'm still contemplating what to do with it and if I will have enough in me to finish the job, but I have spit out another 4,000 words over the last three days, and since this is more of an observational-type writing, it's going a lot easier for me. I'm kind of distressed that I really don't seem to have it in me to come up with any ideas good enough to carry a novel, but I also know that the more we read, the more ideas we do get. For now, I'll just be satisfied if I can flesh out the book I've got in my head that I'm working on right now, and eventually maybe I'll decide if I want to try to sell the idea to a publisher or Kickstart a self published book. I think this is the kind of book I could get some traction with, as well as solicit contributions from others, but for now, I'm keeping that all close to the vest while I decide whether any of that will be necessary.

The takeaway I'm getting from all this, though, is that I am enjoying writing again. It's been a long time. One of the major discoveries I've made, aside from my lack of creativity for a fictional work, is that of a computer program called Scrivener made for writers which assists a lot in organizing their thoughts, parts of the work, and then compiles them into formats appropriate for submissions. For some reason, downloading this software has really jump-started my writing, so I'm grateful for that. I suppose that sometimes, you just need the right tools to help get the work done. I'll provide some updates soon, and possibly even the stories I wrote earlier themselves if they don't get picked up by a publisher. Then I can stop being quite so obtuse!!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The "Gub-ment" and Other Stuff

Quick weight-loss update: I'm at 35 pounds, which may not seem great since the last update, but which is pretty great considering I sort of kind of threw caution to the wind partially over my birthday.  I'm down more than I was earlier in the month, so I'm thrilled with it.  We're now in the last full week of our weight loss challenge at work, so I'm back to the diet full-on in an attempt to drop a few more pounds which will hopefully be the difference over the current leader.  What can I say?  I love a competition.

I had a unique experience last week to testify in front of the Washington House Finance Committee in opposition to a bill that would have some serious consequences for the direct sales industry, which is the industry in which I work as a corporate attorney.  I was able to meet up and testify with our industry trade group lobbyist, as well as a local retailers' lobbyist, so it was quite an experience.  We were only given two minutes for each of our statements, so there's not a whole lot you can say in that time.  I followed the other two guys, so it was our "strategy" to just have me get down real specific to the impacts that such a bill would have on our state, since we're based here.  You can check out the link here, which is edited down to just my appearance, so it's not too long.  I put on Facebook that the camera apparently adds 200 pounds and thins your hair, since I still look pretty big on the video.  But, it's better than I looked eight or so weeks ago, so I'll take it.  I just didn't want my old friends from Pennsylvania to be astounded at the change since I was in high school.  But, that was a LONG time ago.  I shouldn't feel too bad.

Other than that, not much to add, except for the aforesaid birthday which took place last week.  I was really bummed at not getting my whole three-day Presidents' Day/birthday weekend since I had to testify on Presidents' Day (apparently not a state holiday in Washington??), but still had a nice time, as Laura took me to Red Lobster (the in-laws sent along a gift certificate to help) and Best Buy (gift certificate from my parents) and then gave me a couple of Lego sets I really wanted to help fill out my city block.  Yes, I enjoy Lego sets, but just the complex ones.  The city block buildings are pretty cool...I love just building them from the ground up and watching the details emerge.  I've almost got the most recent building I've started done, so I plan on taking some pictures just for the heck of it soon.  It's a pretty impressive sight with all the buildings connected together (which they're designed to do).  I spent yesterday as a make-up day for Presidents' Day just building Legos and catching up on sleep, so it was a refreshing start to the week.

We did put on a Pinewood Derby on Saturday for our Cub Scout Packs (we're over three combined units, with a count of 42 kids right now).  It was a big production, requiring lots of track transport, set-up, and time, so I'm glad it went off well.  I'll put some pictures down below, which also include some of Kyle, who somehow smoked his entire den and didn't lose a single race on his way to the den championship.  I have no idea what we did with the car that made it faster than the others, but needless to say Kyle had a great time and enjoyed winning a cool ribbon and pocketknife.  Pretty nice feeling for a dad, too, who doesn't have much skill in that arena.  We'll take it!!

 Kyle's car mid-race.  The light blue blur.
 Kyle during the races. This look says, "Hmm...we might actually do well!!"
 The Three Amigos watching the races (center).

Friday, February 8, 2013

Weight loss is tricky...

OK, so now I'm one month and one day into my serious diet (more serious than the rest I've done, at least), and there have been VERY positive results.  And, a few negative ones resulting from those positive ones.  First, the positives:
  • I'm down somewhere in the neighborhood of 32 pounds from where I was when I started this on January 7.
  • I'm not in new clothes yet, but have had to notch my belt up a couple of holes to keep me pants up (yes, "me" was correctly typed--I'm sure it sounds better read out loud).
  • I can get my wedding ring off my finger if it's sufficiently cold.  That puppy hadn't seen the light of day for at least a year and a half, if not more.  The wife questions why I'd want to take it off, but it's only to demonstrate to myself that I don't have fat fingers.  I also like reading the inscription inside the ring...I mean, I know what it says, but it's nice to see it and reflect on how sweet the wife is.  Ahhhhhh, how sweet!!!.....
  • It isn't yet official, but I've probably won this month's work weight loss contest.  OK, so that's really just selfish, but I'm kind of competitive when I want to be, and the contest has been a fair motivator.
But, the negatives are starting to come to light:
  • I'm so low on energy, it's driving me crazy (and my family).  To be expected when your daily caloric intake has been so severely restricted.
[OK, time for a caveat here...I know that severely-reduced calorie diets like the one I'm currently on are not recommended for most people due to the side effects I'm in the middle of describing.  I have fully accepted the risks that are contained therein.  (Man, this lawyer thing just permeates EVERYTHING, doesn't it?)  Please don't take the opportunity to tell me how stupid this is...I'm doing this for a variety of reasons, even though I know it's not necessarily what most credible experts preach.  I am doing this only temporarily, to give myself a fighting chance at starting over at a more healthy weight, and I even don't recommend this for everyone.  Consult a physician (like I've done).]
  • I've hit a fairly moderate plateau...I've only lost a pound in the last week and a half.  This is distressing, as it's tough to want to stick with the diet when it looks like it ain't working.  This led to...
  • Last night, when I experienced some moderate internal distress as well as some of the worst malaise I've yet gone through.  I swore I couldn't eat another vegetable that night, so the wife (bless her heart) made me some ham sandwiches on whole wheat bread with a minimum of mayonnaise.  This is contrary to the diet, as carbs like grains are pretty much forbidden if they're not already incorporated into the provided meal packets.  After gorging on two sandwiches, I couldn't help it and ate two 100-calorie granola bars as well as two snack bars that are part of the diet system (and which are restricted to two a week).  The internal distress is still with me this afternoon, but emotionally I'm feeling much better...I think the "gorge" (and I say this in quotes, as my gorge was an exceptionally healthy one, by most standards) helped a lot.
Going forward, I still will be extremely careful.  But, everything I'm reading right now (by more generally accepted standards) a plateau can be an indicator of the body starving (especially after extremely quick weight loss, as I've experienced).  The solution is counter-intuitive, and involves actually eating closer to normal for a little while to convince the body that it won't starve, then reducing calories again.  The trainer here at work, who is very skilled, also indicated that a couple weeks "off" would be advantageous, if for nothing else than my mental outlook and mood.  So, I think I've resolved to temporarily eat a little closer to normal, although I'm still going to avoid sugary foods like the plague.  I'm sort of afraid this will screw me up going into the last month of our little contest, especially when I'm not in first place overall yet, but long-term weight loss is what's important, so I need to set myself up for success that way more than I need to worry about winning a little contest, which probably should be set for more than 3 months to encourage a more healthy approach for everyone.

So, I actually ordered a sandwich from Subway today.  On wheat bread, of course.  I feel a little better, for sure.  I still had a Coke Zero instead of a full-on non-diet soda, and had the usual cookies (they're to die for at Subway, if you've never had them) replaced by a yogurt.  I think I can live like this, at least for now.  Since I still have a lot more weight I'd like to drop (close to 70 pounds yet), this will only last a little while, but should be more representative of my approach after the diet has ended.  Good to get used to it now, especially when I'm afraid I may just binge my way around all the fast-food places in town I've missed during my diet after it's all over.  This is a mental game like I've never played before.  Throw in some real body changes, both positive and negative, and it's a real personal battle.  But, right now, I think I'm winning.  I've had so much support from loved ones and co-workers, and it's so helpful.  I really hope I continue to succeed, because I want to look better--but most importantly, I want to FEEL better.  I'm on the right track, I think.  It does feel good to have accomplished something this hard.  Just gotta keep it up, and not beat myself up if I slip.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

He's back...again!!

I was told yesterday that there is at least one person out there who reads my blog posts, so in honor of that person (thanks, Marcie!), here goes the latest from my life:

I have restarted the weight-shedding journey that I talked about previously here; and I think I've had a bit more success lately than I did during my first attempt.  As you may or may not remember, I ended the previous post saying that I had begun running.  That attempt was short-lived, unfortunately, because I managed to injure both my knees while running, even on that easy schedule I had set out for myself.  I'm almost certain the injury came because tubby guys shouldn't be running at all (thanks, Mr. "Running for Weight Loss" Book-Writer-Expert).  At least, I shouldn't have been running.  I hurt myself to where my knees ached for a couple of months, which threw my resolve in the toilet (sorry, my will to do the right thing--can't be offensive) and ended my early attempts.  I did manage to lose somewhere around 8 pounds in a couple of weeks just by being slightly more concerned about what I was eating, but I'll consider that effect negligible since there really wasn't much hope behind it once I hurt myself.

So, I went to my business's convention for our sales associates later that year.  During it, I endured all sorts of terrible self-reflection moments as I sat through presentation after presentation about our revamped weight loss program, and finally resolved that I would think about following that program.  (I like to start off slow.)  With the motivation of one of our higher-ranking associates, along with the happy coincidence that my company was holding an internal weight-loss contest for the employees about the same time, I decided it was my chance, and after postponing the first weeks of the diet till after the holidays (hey, I'm not that good) and tanking the first month of the contest, I got started on the 7th of this month (had to wait to get the diet foods/supplements I'd ordered from my place). 

Good news: I'm down 24 pounds in 2 1/2 weeks.  Bad news...I've still got about three times that to go.  And, let's admit it, this diet thing is kinda ROUGH.  The plan I'm on is extremely restrictive eating-wise, which is hard for me, and it feels like the food choices will do me in before long since there's not a ton of variety there.  I also am having trouble knowing that the tremendous amount of weight I've lost so quickly in the beginning will not sustain itself in the coming weeks.  But, I'm trying really hard to take this one milepost at a time.  For example, right now I'm just focusing on the second of our three contest weigh-ins in a few weeks.  Then, I can focus on weigh-in number three.  Then, I can worry about something else.

Yeah, I probably sound like I'm doing a lot of complaining at the moment, and I guess I am.  I've been extremely hesitant to tell many people what I'm doing, which is why you won't see "pounds gone" updates on Facebook.  I hate setting myself up for a potential failure, even though I've done great so far.  Maybe once I'm done, I'll put up a picture or something.  But, I have to get there first.  Thankfully, though, I'm on my way.  I need to take that and be positive about it.  Especially as I eat yet another piece of celery.

Other than that, life's other events seem to be going well...the job is fine, although my commute to our "new" offices in Seattle is wearing on me a bit.  We moved to downtown in July, and now I do a 63-mile commute each way to work (I haven't been counting, honestly I haven't!).  A few months ago I was able to join a vanpool, which helps, but it's still three-plus hours a day in a car.  Gets old quick.  And I'm usually exhausted, especially by the end of the week, so my dear wife and children always have to put up with tired Daddy.  We will be almost certain to move up closer to the Emerald City once the school year is over, but that's still almost six months away, and feels even longer than that when we're stuck in traffic in Tacoma or in between the Joint Base Lewis-McChord exits on I-5.  But, so far so good, although it becomes really, really difficult on days where I have to run a Pack Meeting or Pack Activity for our Cub Scout packs (we have three combined packs meeting together, so it's usually a zoo).  I haven't asked to be released (decommissioned) yet, so maybe there's some benefit to sticking it out.  But sleep is at a premium now.  I slept a lot anyway before the move to Seattle, but now it seems worse than ever.  I go to bed by nine-thirty if I'm lucky, wake up at 5:15 (I remind myself that at that time of day, it's already 8:15 on the East Coast, so someone else is already up), and make it to the vanpool pick-up point by 6:30.  We get to work about 8, leave again at 3:30, and on a good day I'll make it all the way home before 5:30.  Long days.  I know some work longer, though, so I shouldn't complain.  At least I get to go to a job that I adore, where I truly enjoy the people I work with, and get paid well to do what I do.  That usually makes up for it!

The family's good, too...everyone seems to be surviving school (well, mostly...Kyle's teacher held up his paper a couple days ago as an example of how not to turn in an assignment, he cried [he's a very sensitive kid, as many gifted kids are], and got in trouble again for being "immature"--has his gifted class teacher actually worked with gifted kids before????????) and Sarah loves having Mommy to herself ALL DAY LONG (not what Mommy wants, but Sarah is there all the time anyway...typical 3 year-old).  Mommy is holding up OK under the circumstances, but I think she's sick of this Pacific Northwest winter we're having so she can go back to the beach (even though she grew up in these winters most of her childhood!!).

So, life is treating us well, I must say.  Happy to be where I'm at, and still loving the great Northwest.  You know, it's nice to have an outlet like a blog to just be myself.  Of course, there's still some self-editing that needs to occur, and my rule is to NEVER, EVER hurt anybody's feelings in the process (except for that lawyer who said I have no sense of humor--he's exempt), but it's nice to have a chance to blow off steam.  I don't have a lot of steam to blow's just nice knowing only a select few people know about my half-hearted blog and that it's only there if they want to read it.  Soon I'll get back to the amusing-kind of post...I like writing them more than these somewhat-introspective posts anyway, and I'd rather everyone laugh with me (or at me, I don't care) than to have to empathize with me.  It's just the way I am.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Another Baseball Game Simulation

I know, I know...I haven't updated my blog in a long time. Hopefully that will change soon, but since I don't think anyone's checking regularly, anyway, that's probably not a bad thing. Anyway, this is an unusual game I just simulated: pinch hit, walk-off home run to win the game. Pretty cool...I do enjoy seeing what comes out of these simulations.

Strat-O-Matic Report

BOXSCORE: 2005 Colorado Rockies At 2005 Pittsburgh Pirates 4/9/2005

Rockies AB R H RBI AVG Pirates AB R H RBI AVG
C.Barmes SS 5 0 1 0 .273 F.Sanchez 3B 3 2 2 1 .233
L.Gonzalez RF 5 0 1 0 .182 T.Redman CF 4 0 2 0 .308
T.Helton 1B 3 1 2 0 .516 J.Bay LF 3 0 2 2 .364
L.Bigbie LF 3 0 0 0 .167 D.Ward 1B 4 0 1 0 .286
G.Atkins 3B 2 1 0 0 .222 R.Mackowiak RF 4 0 0 0 .194
D.Mohr CF 3 1 1 1 .333 J.Castillo 2B 4 1 1 0 .154
D.Relaford 2B 3 0 0 0 .238 H.Cota C 4 0 0 0 .206
D.Ardoin C 4 0 1 2 .192 J.Wilson SS 4 0 0 0 .182
B.Kim P 2 0 0 0 .000 M.Redman P 2 0 0 0 .000
M.Carvajal P 0 0 0 0 .000 M.Gonzalez P 0 1 0 0 ----
A-O.Quintanilla PH 1 0 0 0 .321 B-T.Wigginton PH 1 1 1 2 .400
R.Williams P 0 0 0 0 ----
-- -- -- --- -- -- -- ---
Totals 31 3 6 3 Totals 33 5 9 5

A-Pinch Hit For Carvajal In 9th Inning
B-Pinch Hit For Gonzalez In 9th Inning

Rockies......... 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 - 3 6 1
Pirates......... 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 - 5 9 0

Rockies (1-7) IP H R ER BB SO HR PC ERA
B.Kim 7 6 3 3 3 2 0 109 6.94
M.Carvajal BS(1st) 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 15 0.00
R.Williams LOSS(0-1) 0 2/3 2 2 2 0 0 1 18 27.00
Totals 8 2/3 9 5 5 3 2 1

Pirates (3-5) IP H R ER BB SO HR PC ERA
M.Redman 7 6 3 3 5 2 0 114 3.45
M.Gonzalez WIN(1-0) 2 0 0 0 2 1 0 28 7.20
Totals 9 6 3 3 7 3 0

ATTENDANCE- 35,629 DATE- Saturday, April 9th 2005 TIME- Night WEATHER- Good
T- 2:43
LEFT ON BASE- Rockies: 8 Pirates: 5
DOUBLE PLAYS- Rockies: 1 Pirates: 2
ERRORS- D.Relaford
DOUBLES- F.Sanchez(2nd), J.Bay-2(3rd)
HOME RUNS- T.Wigginton(3rd)
WALKS- T.Helton, L.Bigbie, G.Atkins-2, D.Mohr, D.Relaford, B.Kim, F.Sanchez,
J.Bay, M.Gonzalez
STRIKE OUTS- L.Bigbie, D.Mohr, D.Relaford, J.Castillo, H.Cota
GIDP- L.Gonzalez, D.Ardoin, D.Ward

Pittsburgh Pirates won a dramatic crowd-pleaser over Colorado Rockies at PNC
Park pulling it out in their last at bats, 5 to 3.

Pittsburgh scored the decisive runs in a big bottom of the 9th inning scoring
2 runs utilizing 2 base hits. Jose Castillo kicked off the action when he
delivered a base-hit, and an error was also committed. Two outs later Ty
Wigginton stepped up to the plate and he cleared the fences for a two-run
home run (his 3rd of the season) making Pittsburgh the winners and sending
the 35,629 fans home happy. Pittsburgh had 9 hits for the game and Colorado
had 6.

The winning pitcher was Mike Gonzalez(1-0) who allowed no runs in 2 innings.
Randy Williams(0-1) was tagged with the loss in relief.