My Personal Blog
hobbies, events & our own personal circus

A few vacation videos

posted on Jul 11, 2013 / tags: / 0 comments

We recently decided to pack up the kids and tote them south of the border to Hilton Head, SC.  We were a little nervous about it, but it turned out ok, and the kids had a great time.  Here are a couple videos that I shot on my GoPro Hero3.

Here we are at the Great Wolf Lodge in North Carolina:

And of course, some time at the beach:

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My Take on Lance Armstrong

posted on Oct 14, 2012 / tags: heroes, lance armstrong, cycilng / 0 comments

Kids have heroes.  They choose their heroes from their accomplishments, their records, their wins, the things they say and the the things they do.  Sometimes when those kids grow up they choose to move on, and sometimes those kids keep their heroes.  Their achievements haven’t changed, and even as adults, we admire their work.  Unfortunately, sometimes our heroes let us down.  Sometimes we have that moment where we shake our heads in disappointment and wish that it wasn’t true.  Now I don’t believe in idols, or putting people on pedestals, but I believe that there are people in our world that have done great things, and I think it’s OK to appreciate those people for the things they’ve done.  That’s what I call a hero.

When I was growing up, I had two heroes: David Copperfield and Lance Armstrong.  I’ve seen Copperfield perform live a few times and to this day, I think he is a tremendous performer.  Likewise, I first saw Lance race in person when I was a sophomore in High School.  Lance was lined up with the Motorola Cycling Team for the annual Thrift Drug Classic in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Yeah, he won it.  I managed to capture an image of him before the race. Since that time, Lance battled cancer, fought his way back into the sport, and won the Tour de France seven straight times.  All that to say that I’ve been a fan for a long time.  I followed his career though the Tours, the retirement, the Leadville 100, and the Comeback.  I rooted for him on U.S. Postal, Discovery Channel, Radio Shack and even Astana.  I have a signed jersey hanging proudly in my office at work.  I’ve even defended him.  I wanted to believe that a truly dominant rider in a known dirty sport could actually be clean.

Now some people that are reading this are probably thinking I’m a fool right now, but before recent news, there really was no solid evidence to the contrary.  No positive tests, no credible eye witnesses.  But that all changed recently, when the USADA released their findings.  The report is over 1000 pages, so I haven’t read it all, but I read the important parts, and those parts hurt. I can’t say that I was totally surprised by it, because the thoughts have gone through my mind before, but when I read the testimony by George Hincape, I realized my worst fears are probably completely true. George is a good friend of Lance.  They raced together for many years, and trusted each other completely.  George even said in his testimony that Lance is a friend and he didn’t want to hurt his friend.  But I guess when it all boils down, he had to do what was right for his family and be truthful.  For that I applaud him, but I feel that I lost my hero.  The burden of proof has undoubtably shifted from the USADA (and many others), to Lance, but he has chosen to not address this issue any more. Unfortunately I have no choice but to assume that the testimony of good people like Levi and George is all true.  We may never know the full truth, but at this point we have to accept what we know. This really hurts to say, but yeah… Lance let me down.

After putting a lot of thought into this situation, I’ve settled on one key ingredient of a hero; Character.  Back in 1992, this was the one thing that Lance lacked.  He was known to be cocky, confident, and even cold to other competitors.  But somewhere between fighting off cancer to helping millions of cancer patients around the world, he found his character.  This is the Lance that I appreciate. I’m not going to lie here, I really enjoyed watching Lance race.  The competition, the challenges, ‘The Look’.  It made for good TV and great cycling.  But let’s be honest, generally speaking (especially in this country), people don’t care about cycling.  Lance became far more well known for what he did off the bike than on.  Wether you love him or hate him, he has done great work off the bike.  I believe that it has been proven that Lance truly desires to do great things for cancer patients around the world.  Lance likes to win, and he wants to beat cancer.  This is the character that Lance has, and now, more than ever, needs to display.

Character would accept responsibility.  I want to teach my kids that.  I want to be able to say that of myself.  An apology goes a really long way.  At the end of the day, people don’t care about Tour de France titles.  They care about the lie.  They care about the thought that maybe if that was a lie, then maybe Livestrong is too.  Maybe the yellow bracelets and the millions of dollars were all just a way for Lance to make money.  Maybe he doesn’t really care.  Maybe he doesn’t really have character.  I really believe that these statements are completely false.  I think he does care.  I think he cares DEEPLY about this disease.  But as I said, the burden of proof is on him. 

What I hope for is for Lance to step up.  The peloton in the 90’s and early 00’s was clearly not clean.  You don’t have to read much of the USADA report to see that.  So you doped in a time that basically every contender was also doping.  I get it, I don’t like it, but I get it, so own it.  Apologize for it.  Apologize for the lies.  Apologize for pulling the focus from the 28 million.  Then let us know that you have moved on.  That you have turned that desire to win into a desire to beat this disease.  Let us know that you have your focus.  Let us know that you have character. 

Let me know that I can have my hero back.

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Moneyball, Science meets sports

posted on Oct 13, 2011 / tags: sports, baseball / 0 comments

Carrie and I had an opportunity to have a date night tonight. Any night that I get to spend with Carrie is a good night, and tonight was no exception.  We went out for dinner, and the went to the local movie theater to see Moneyball.  Moneyball turned out to be a fascinating movie.  The acting was very good, but the subject matter carried it for me.  The film documents the 2002 season for the Oakland Athletics.  Billy Beane, the GM of the A’s decided that with the meager budget he had, he wanted to try something different.  Instead of looking at batting average, good looks, age or other traditional indicators of players of that era, Beane looked deeper.  He raised the value of offense and devalued defense (Joepa would cringe).  He used statistics like on base percentage, slugging percentage, and other lesser used stats to find the best team that he could with the money he had.  Well, it worked.  The 2002 A’s went on to win 20 straight and make it to the ALDS. 

Moneyball

In today’s baseball, it’s believed that these techniques are used everywhere.  Coming up with unique ways to look at player data is just part of the game.  Baseball is more than bats an balls.  It’s a complex series of formulas and equations.  Servers crunching numbers, playing an extremely high level of fantasy baseball.  Finding value in players that may not be the youngest, healthiest, or most versatile.  Fascinating stuff.

This brings three questions to mind:

1. Are these techniques used in other sports?  Can you put together a football team based on stats?  Can Penn State find a quality quarterback using moneyball tactics?

2. Can moneyball be used to explain why Ryan Howard is still playing for the Phillies?  Do they know something we don’t know? (I hope so, because I really like the Big Piece!)

3. Can someone please send Billy Beane a plane ticket to Pittsburgh??? Because the Pirates need a clinic on how to put together a baseball team… I mean seriously!!

Go see Moneyball, it’s worth it.

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Family Portraits

posted on Mar 09, 2011 / tags: family, photography / 0 comments

Carrie and I took the circus on the road to get some family portraits done.  It’s been a while since we had any photography done, so we thought we should get going.  A few months ago, we were attending Christmas Unwrapped at Calvary where I met Joel of J and A Photography.  We thought we’d give them a shot, and are very glad we did.  After a fun photo session, Joel needed just a few hours to retouch and edit the pics, and the results were fantastic! 

You can check out a few more pics on J and A’s blog.

We’re really pleased with Joel’s work and would recommend J and A Photography to anyone!

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