Server Move Happened Today

April 19th, 2008

As I had mentioned a couple weeks ago when the hard drive crashed on my computer, I was also looking for a new host for this website. There were intermittent problems of pages loading too slow. This was most noticeable on the cycling and outdoor gear pages.

I’ve been working hard over the last couple weeks to move to a different hosting company. I’ve been testing and making tweaks to get everything to run on the new server. Today I switched the site over.

Although I’ve done my best to check that everything is working, it wouldn’t surprise me if there’s something that’s not. Please let me know if you find something missing or isn’t working right.

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Technical Difficulties

April 1st, 2008

I wish this was an April Fools joke but it’s not. A couple days ago the hard drive on my desktop computer died. The computer isn’t much over 4 months old. I doubt that the hard drive was poor quality but one of the tiny fraction that fail early for some unknown reason.

Dell shipped out a new hard drive yesterday and I was supposed to get it today. They called to make sure I had gotten it but I didn’t. The address they say they shipped it to is my home address but somebody at my old job signed for it. I’ll have to get it track it down in the morning.

So how does this affect this website? The computer that went down is the one that runs scripts a couple times a day to update the products and prices of the cycling and outdoor gear search. Hopefully I’ll have it updating again tomorrow. I guess I need to set up a 2nd system to handle problems in the future. I think it would stress my current laptop so I may need to look at something else.

average page load timeAnother technical issue I’ve been having is the pages on this site are intermittently loading very slow. I’ve contacted my hosting company, GoDaddy, a couple times and they’ve been less than helpful. I’ve heard several bad things about their hosting from others. They say they can’t do anything unless they see it happening even though I have monitoring logs that show the problem about once an hour.

I’ve gotten a few suggestion on good hosting providers and have been researching them. If you have any other suggestions, please let me know. Once I get my main computer back up and running, I want to get this site moved to somewhere reliable.

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Happy Thanksgiving

November 22nd, 2007

Thanksgiving is a good time to reflect on all we have to be thankful for. This isn’t the only time of year to be thankful but I find it easy to go through life and not think how good I have it. Sure my life isn’t perfect but I know there are a lot of people less fortunate.

Camping with the KidsOf course one of the things I’m thankful for is being able to do cycling and other outdoor activities. The love of the outdoors is one of the things I want to pass to my kids. My 4 year old has already hiked almost all the way up the Manitou Incline and likes to ride her bike. She says when she gets older she’s going to race her bike across America. She’s been asking to go skiing. My 3 year old has been enjoying riding her bike and I think she’ll enjoy doing more when she gets a little older. They both like to go camping.

The Fat Cyclist wrote an excellent post about what he’s grateful for. A lot of them have to do with cycling.

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Looking for my Life Back

November 20th, 2007

A few times this year I’ve posted about my job stressing me out and also a Dilbert cartoon describing the situation at work. Although my job wasn’t the only thing that kept me busy and mostly off the bike this year, it really sucked the energy from me. An anonymous poster commented the following on the Dilbert cartoon post.

I can so identify with crappy working conditions. I’ll say some prayers that I read of a new job for you rather than see you in the news because you’ve strung up your boss by his toenails and are now forcing him/her to watch the Wiggles, Blue’s Clues and Thomas the Tank in an endless loop.

The prayers have been answered and my boss wasn’t forced to watch the Wiggles, Blue’s Clues or Thomas the Tank.

Tomorrow is my last day at my current job and I’ll start my new job next Monday. I’m excited about my new job. It’s at a small company which is something I like. My new manager used to work with one of my good friends at HP. One of my co-workers has finished the Leadville 100 8 times, 6 of them on a single speed. He’s currently training for the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo. I won’t have to get up from my desk to see outside and I’ll have a view of Pikes Peak out the window. I’m sure there will be some things I don’t like but there’s plenty of things to like about it.

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Perfect Description of My Current Job

August 9th, 2007


It would be impossible to describe my current job situation better than this Dilbert cartoon. I’m not sure how but it has to change soon. My health and my family are too important to let it continue. If you wonder what I do for work, you can look at my LinkedIn profile.

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I’ve Been Tagged

August 1st, 2007

Red Rock Canyon Open Space

View of Red Rock Canyon Open Space from my parents’ house. When I was growing up, the grassy area on the left was a landfill.

I’ve been tagged by Fritz at Cyclelicious to tell five random facts about myself. I was also tagged in December by Biking Bis but never got a post written.

  • When I was 6 months old, my mom put me in the top bunk of my brothers’ bunk beds so I could watch my siblings play. My Dad had put a board across to keep my brother from falling out so she thought I’d be safe. My brother climbed up with me and his weight pushed the mattress down enough that I slipped under the board. I fell head first onto the concrete floor. My Mom saw it happened from across the room but there was nothing she could do. At the ER they couldn’t find any signs of a concussion but a x-ray showed I had fractured my skull. I was kept in the hospital overnight and sent home.
  • I’ve lived in 4 houses in my 36 years. I was only 2 when my parents moved to where they still live so I don’t remember the first one
  • I’ve been in 49 states. Guess which one I haven’t been to.
  • I did an unsupported solo ride of 140 miles when I was 16. It was part of a bigger trip. I rode about 130 miles to part way up Independence Pass. I met the rest of my family and we camped for 2 nights. Then I rode on over to Aspen and up to the Maroon Bells. My brother and I then climbed the Maroon Bells. We also did an overnight trip to do Pyramid Peak and 3 high thirteeners on the ridge to the south of it.

    The day after finishing the mountain climbing, I tried riding home. I ended up running out of daylight. I was a little less than 30 miles from home with 23 miles of downhill and a drop of 3,000 feet. I was bummed I didn’t get to ride the easy part. I had thought my tires felt really low but I kept pumping them up to 100 psi. A few days later, I figured out my presta valves were stuck and I only had about 40 psi. That’s when I learned to always depress the valve before pumping.

  • I didn’t get my drivers license until I was 18. I could get everywhere I wanted to on my bike. When I was 18, I was working for a stucco company and my boss was happy I couldn’t drive the trucks out to the job sites so I got my license. My first year and a half of college, I rode 10 miles each way from my parents’ house. I never missed class because of weather. Not even when it snowed 8 inches or when it was -10 degrees. Now I’m dependent on driving and don’t commute by bike nearly enough.

Now it’s my turn to tag 5 other bloggers. I know this meme made the rounds the end of last year on several blogs I read. I don’t remember which ones and I’d rather ride my bike than spend time figuring out which ones. If you’ve been tagged before, I’m sorry to tag you again.

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Jury Duty Finally Over

October 15th, 2006

Friday afternoon we finally finished the court case that I was on the jury for. A day of sitting in court was more exhausting than a day on the bike when I’m fit. The weather has been great with highs in the 70′s some days and I’ve been stuck inside. Because the case was so long, we were only given 50 minutes for lunch most days and often only a 10 minute break morning and afternoon.

Last Monday was a court holiday so I was out but that was the day that the temperature hung around 40 degrees and it was drizzling most of the day. I went in to work and my coworker had the courage to tell me how great it had been riding in the Air Force Academy. There’s a lot of good riding at the AFA but after 9/11 the AFA was closed to visitors except the short distance from the north gate to the Visitor Center. According to an article in The Gazette, the number of visitors had dropped from 1.4 million a year to 250,000. This had hurt the athletic programs because much of their funding comes from sales of souvenirs at the Visitor Center. They were also worried about recruitment because a lot of their recruits report visiting the AFA and then wanting to go there. In any case having it open again is great news for cyclists and hikers.

So what did I have to listen to for 2 weeks in court? A couple had a house built for them in 2003. The house had a basement dug into the sandstone and claystone that was only 2 feet below the surface. As soon as they moved in, they started finishing the basement. While they were finishing the basement, they noticed a lot of condensation on the windows but never called the home builder. In February of 2004 which as a little over 2 months after they moved in, they pulled back insulation up by the rim joist to drill a hole for an air conditioning line and found mold.

The home builder came in and was concerned there was a ground water problem because of the amount of moisture. They brought in a several experts to look at what was going on. The basement was sealed off and the mold removed. Once the mold was gone, they used dehumidifiers to dry out the basement. There was a perimeter drain around the foundation and also another drain 6 feet down connected to a sump pit with a pump. The home builder had a company come in and run a camera through the drains to check for clogs and nothing was found. There was nothing really to indicate that there was too much water around the house. The basement stayed fine during the summer but some moisture reappeared after it got cold in the fall. None of the experts could really identify why the basement was damp so the home builder offered to install a whole basement humidifier. This was unacceptable to the home owners because they had gotten it in their heads that there was ground water around the house.

In my opinion the home owners were unreasonable from the beginning and had attorneys and their own experts involved. The home builder went to great lengths to fix things. Based on one experts findings, some changes were made to the ducting to increase air circulation in the house and a trench was dug about 20 feet behind the house and another drain was put in to catch water running off the hill behind the house. It turned out that the humidity was running around 45 – 60% which seems a bit high for here but not terrible.

We listened to hydrolygists with PhDs, geohydrolygists, geotechnical engineers, environmental hygenists, medical doctors, and other experts. They talked a lot of theory but never proved why the basement was getting damp. One of the claims was that the people’s kids had been really sick because of the mold but none of us were convinced that it wasn’t other allergies. The people had their kids tested for mold allergies but not for any other allergies. It appeared they wanted to blame mold instead of figuring out what else could be causing the allergy systems. On 2 occasions after the basement was dried out, the air in the house has tested for mold and it had less than outside.

So what did the jury decide? For the most part, we were all young because they seemed to want people on the jury that had kids. We actually were inclined to give them nothing but a couple older people on the jury felt they deserved something. The home owners had brought in an expert that claimed it would cost $282,000 to put in additional drains under the basement slab and do other unnecessary things to the house. They also claimed another $103,000 in medical expenses, loss of use, reduced value of the house, etc. So that comes to $385,000 of real damages and their lawyer also suggested that they be awarded a similar amount for all of the mental anguish and inconvenience. We felt that they caused most of their own mental anguish.

We ended up awarding them $46,625 based on what we thought was reasonable for additional deep drainage, some stucco damage that seems unrelated and the fact they will have to disclose the mold when they sale the house and may have to reduce the house price. I think even that was a bit high but we spent over 5 hours deliberating and that’s the least some were willing to go. We did make them 10% responsible since they didn’t report the moisture in the basement before mold grew. That means that 10% will be deducted from the $46,625. They want to get out of house as soon as possible because they have bad memories in it.

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