Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

My First Go Kart Race

My niece and nephew have been racing go karts for a couple years (ages 12 and 14). Last weekend, one of the tracks where they race added a late season race day to their schedule.

My niece didn’t want to race because of school activities, so my brother set up the cart for an adult driver. He entered it in the RWYB (run what ya brung) class. Most of the classes have pretty strict rules about what you can do to the motors, but this class would allow any motor you wanted to race.

We didn’t have any illusions that we’d win, or even place. We knew that others in the race would  have different motors that produced a LOT more horsepower. We simply wanted to have the experience of racing, which would help us in setting up the karts for the kids. Plus, neither of us had raced before.

I ran the hot laps and the second heat, and my brother ran the first heat and the finals.  Here I am in the hot laps:

Notice where the main grove of the track is, where I am, and where the disk blade marking the inside of the corner is.  A split second after this picture was taken, I  hit the disk blade, which bounced me to the outside of the track, into the loose dirt. This caused me to go farther up the track, going head on into the hay bales along the outside of the track. I spun all the way around, and ended up facing the right way, so away I went.

Here’s another picture where one cart just passed me, and another is fixin’ to pass. That was pretty common for both my brother and I.

To give you an idea how “well” we did, my best lap time was 14.08 seconds. My brother’s best was 13.68 seconds. This translates to about 40 MPH. We thought this was pretty good, until we looked at my nephew’s lap time from another class, which was 13.58 seconds.  That’s right, a 12 year old beat our lap times.

Doing this gives us a much better perspective of what the kids are doing on the track. We now understand why they can’t always answer us when we ask them how the kart handled through the turn. They are too busy aiming the cart, and praying that when they get through the corner, it is headed in the right direction. At least that’s what I was doing 🙂  And as soon as you get it through one corner, it’s time to throw it into the next one. Things happen so fast.

I’m so proud of the kids.  They make it look so easy when they are out there, but it’s not. It’s a lot of work, and they do a great job.

As I reflect on this experience, I can’t help but think about these blog posts by @k1v1n (Suggesting solutions we don’t use ourselves) and @jasonadamyoung (Online courses). You really do need to experience things before you understand them, whether it’s online courses, social networking tools, or racing. Be the ball.


I’ve Been Tagged

My friend, John Dorner, tagged me last week week. Thanks John. Usually I don’t follow through with things like this, but this time I thought I’d make an exception. After all, I enjoyed reading posts from others that have gotten tagged:

Five snacks I enjoy:

  1. White Chocolate
  2. Peanut Butter Cookies
  3. Other Types of Cookies
  4. Rhubarb Desserts
  5. Salted Peanuts

Five Things on My To-Do list today:

  1. System to handle audio/video/podcasting
  2. Revamp the county CMS application
  3. Experience a Jimmy Buffett Concert, too late to see the Greatful Dead
  4. Get into shape, run/Jog
  5. Build a tall case clock and tv stand

Five Things I would do if I were a billionaire:

  1. Large donation to church/synod/Lutheran Schools of America
  2. Other charity opportunities
  3. Pay off debts for friends/family
  4. Travel more, just try to keep me away from beaches/mountains
  5. Cry (I won’t want the troubles, don’t even play the lottery)

Five jobs I have had:

  1. Farm laborer
  2. Electrician’s assistant
  3. Network/System Administrator
  4. Rigger/Spotlight operator (I like telling stories about this)
  5. Web Developer, interests in usability, accessibility, and SEO

Five random things:

  1. I was raised by my aunt and uncle. But don’t even try to tell me that they aren’t my Mom and Dad. As for my cousins, they are my brothers and sisters. “Family” is much more important than biology.
  2. I’ve easily seen over 200 concerts/shows, and have over 100 concert t-shirts, and close to 150 back stage passes. I’ve paid to see less than 5 of these shows. (see jobs I’ve had)
  3. I attended a one room school. K-5th grade, I was the only kid in my grade. A new family moved to the neighborhood, and my class size doubled for grades 6-8. Going to high school with about 180 in my class was a big shock.
  4. My niece and nephew (ages 13 and 11) race go-carts. Whenever possible, I’m a member of their “pit crew”. It’s more work then you’d think.
  5. I’ve always loved music, and wish I could play. Anyone give piano, guitar, or drumming lessons?

Five of my bad habits:

  1. Caffeine in the form of diet soda
  2. Use inbox/deleted mail as file cabinets
  3. Work too much
  4. Jump from task to task, then back again
  5. Shyness

Five places I have lived:

  1. Born in Ames
  2. Farm by Saude, IA (is that on any maps anymore)
  3. Ames, IA

Five people I would like to get to know better (yes, this means you are tagged!):
Now go and post your lists of 5.

  1. Floyd
  2. Deb
  3. Lynette
  4. Kevin
  5. Matt

Honorable mention goes to some people that have already been tagged:

  • Greg (also tagged by John)
  • Vince -(also tagged by John)
  • Becky (Also tagged by Anne)

In addition, I’ve encouraged a number of people to start blogs. I really wanted to list names, but I won’t. This time:-)

Mission Style Mirror and Table

The last few weekends, I’ve been able to spend quite a bit of time in the woodworking shop. This is a great get away for me.

On Saturday, I completed a mission style table for my living room. It is located by my front door, where I kick off my shoes. This area always looked messy, so I decided to try to fix that. Here is the result.

Picture of mission style hall table

The inspiration for this table came from a table featured in WoodSmith magazine. I made some very major changes to those plans to make it better fit my needs.

A consideration in sizing this table was that it had to compliment this mirror, which I built last winter. It hangs behind the front door, and provides a place to hang coats.

Picture of Mission Style Wall Mirror

The plans for this mirror came from an earlier issue of Woodsmith Magazine.

Now, I’m looking at the stand my TV is sitting on, and am thinking I see another upcoming project 🙂

New Aquatic Center

This week Ames held a special election to determine whether we can do a bond issue to build a new aquatic center. It passed, approximately 75% yes!

The aquatic center is something that Ames desperately needs. We have a couple of swimming pools now, but they don’t have the slides, toys, etc. When some daycares take kids swimming, they travel to one of two small towns close to Ames, because they have newer, better pools. It’s unusual for people to go from a bigger town to a much smaller one for services.

The best thing about getting this new aquatic center is that it will give the kids another option for something to do in the summer. In my mind, this is a good way to help keep them from getting into trouble.

Mission Style Clock

Some of you know that I enjoy woodworking in my spare time. I find it’s a good way get my mind off work for a few hours. It gets me away from e-mail/web pages/phone/IM etc. for a while.

Mission Style ClockOne of my most recent projects was this mission style clock. The clock is about 2 feet tall and 14 inches wide. It can either mount on a wall or be used freestanding, as seen here.

This particular clock is special because it was donated to a benefit auction for a friend who was seriously injured in a car accident last winter. Pam – I miss your contagious smile and laughter!

About This Blog

The main purpose for this blog is to document things I learn while doing web development. This will be a successful endeavor when I can point new developers to this site, and tell them these are things I’d like them to be aware of when doing their own development projects.

Most of my work recently has been in the ASP.NET development environment, so that is where many of my topics/example will come from. Don’t let that scare you off. Although I work in .NET, many good development techniques apply to other development environments as well. In addition, I will also write about many topics that have nothing to do with .NET at all. From time to time, you will even find some posts that are not development, or even technology related.

To be really successful with this blog, I need to hear from you, the reader. Comments are encouraged.

I feel like I’m stepping into a great unknown. Can’t wait to see where this journey will take us…. Here goes!

Here I Go!

About a month ago, I was on top of Sandia Peak in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with some friends from Alabama. Being a bunch of technologists, the topic of blogging came up. Two of them have fairly active blogs, and the third doesn’t blog yet. When asked why, he said because nobody would want to hear what he had to say, a lot of eyes rolling was the response. Then they asked me the same question, I gave the same answer. Wow, if looks could kill.

I had been thinking about starting this blog for a long time. Thanks to encouragement from these friends, Anne (Anne’s Spot) and Greg (Network Redneck), I decided to write a list of possible subjects for a blog. I thought if I had over 20 items, it might be worthwhile to start a blog. Who’d have thought that list would be 50+ items long. Some of those are big topics (MOSS, ASP.NET, Web Standards, etc.) others are simply a single post, like this one. Others may never see the light of day. With that, this blog came to be.

Jonathan, I’ve started one. We really want to hear what you have to say as well.