Game Eleven: @ Harmony

Harmony must have improved over there season, their record no where near tells their story.  They played a solid game of baseball.  We didn’t play our best game for sure, we had a couple of missed opportunities and scored a few runs below our average.  Nathan had the only hit with an extra base.

They had a couple of decent pitchers, but when they ran out of steam we strung some hits together.  We closed once again with our best pitcher and of his nine outs he pitches, seven were K’s.

Nathan had a K, a popout, a single and his double.  He had an RBI and both times on base, he had runs across the plate.

Final: 9-7

Nathan at Short-stop

Nathan at Short-stop

Game Ten: @ Dover I

Yet another questionable weather day for a game.  No shocker there, this June’s weather has been one to talk about.  We drove to Dover to play Dover I and they came ready for a game.  We made some fundamental mistakes that nearly cost us the game, but in the end, we prevailed.

Nathan took the mound to start us off.  He struggled a bit in the first and it went to coach pitch, but thankfully their coach struck out his own kids.  We managed only seven runs in the first four innings while they added nine.

It came down to the final inning to sort this one out. They quickly walked four of our first five batters so it was up to me to pitch “fat ones” to the kids.  With two on, Nathan pounded a meatball to the outfield and with a few errors on their part, managed another Home Run.  We added seven to the board in the sixth. Now we had to hold them.

After two innings pitching and three innings at third, Nathan came back to the mound to close the game.  Still struggling, it was up to the infield to get the outs.  We held them to six runs, even with their coach finishing the game on the mound.

Final: 19-17

Nathan waiting for his meatball pitch from Dad.

Nathan waiting for his meatball pitch from Dad.

Happy Fathers Day

Well, I was wondering what I’d get for Fathers Day this year.  Nathan gave me a band-aid (There’s a story).  But of course I was looking for something a bit more… techie.

If there is one thing that I haven’t jumped on at the bleeding edge, it’s Bluray.  I skipped the whole HD-DVD vs. Bluray debate and sat back and watched.  It was a battle that was never really won, but it did have a loser (Microsoft and HD-DVD).  Bluray is still struggling to get much of the market, but it has its fans.  With applications and websites offering HD streaming content, Bluray has/is becoming less and less interesting.  Sure, using every one of those 2,073,600 pixels on my HDTV with something other than my Mac would be nice… but the cost has been prohibitive.

Then, well then a few things happened that started make it more palatable.  First off, our broadband probably won’t get any faster for several more years, so downloading HD video still takes some fore thought.  Second, streaming HD content just hasn’t been becoming available as quickly as we’d all like.  Then there is the process of relocating my MacBook from the office to the living room every time we want to watch something online.  Those are the down points.  The up points, Bluray has become much cheaper (Wal-Mart has a player for $128, I bet you paid more for your first DVD player or maybe VCR!?).  Netflix has a larger selection of Bluray discs now (beware the $3/mo surcharge for this privilege).  Bluray players are becoming more useful in what they can do.  Let me explain.

Last year, the Roku player took the spotlight as a media center device that plays streaming Netflix movies.  This $100 stand-alone player was neat, but thats all it did (no disc player at all). Now, some players are including applications in the home menu to do other things other than play movies, like, stream Netflix movies.  By adding networking to the player, you can utilize the web as a video source.

Netflix, CinemaNow, MLB.TV, YouTube to name a few are coming to Bluray players as we speak.  Now we can watch online content, right from our players.  With a simple firmware upgrade (over the same network connection) the manufacturer can add more content as it becomes available. (Hulu please!)

So to end this technote with the actual reason for the post, I got a Bluray player for Fathers Day!  The LG BD370 was my choice… Profile 2.0, fair price, Netflix streaming option.  As happy as I am with this player, you know how things work in the tech world.. one thing leads to another.  My aging (11 year old) amplifier doesn’t have the smarts to decode the Bluray audio encoding (DTS-HD).. so I’m watching 1080p video with stereo audio or emulated surround.  Hmmm.. I wonder if Jess wants an amplifier for her birthday?

LG BD370 video of features. (click View HQ Video for better quality)

Streaming Netflix from the Bluray Player

Streaming Netflix from the Bluray Player

Free Digital Photography Clinic

This past winter, I was asked if I could show someone how they could use their camera better.  That request turned into, “You should give a class!”  Several months later, it finally happened.  I utilized the churches resources and put on a clinic.  I certainly do not claim to be an expert at photography, but I figured I knew enough to share something with others.

I’d never taught photography before (much less anything else), so I wasn’t too sure how well it would go.  I prepared 150 slides and had no idea how long it would take to get through them.  I broke the clinic up into three sessions, Theory, Your Camera and Using Your Camera.  We never got to the last session, but the class of seven had several questions and we covered a ton of material in the short time [probably too much].

I was told it went well enough to do a follow-up class of using software to manage and fix your photos… I’ll take a few months off before I give that one.

The Classroom is Ready!

The Classroom is Ready!

Game Nine: @ Guilford

More questionable weather was brewing today.  We drove to Guilford under gloomy skies but managed to get the game in with only a light mist towards the end.

Nathan had the night off as a pitcher so he played 3rd and Short the whole night.  He had a decent night of batting with two singles, a walk and one strikeout.  That’ll help him keep his batting average above .500.

The rest of the team did well batting as well and we added “above average” runs to the board.

Final: 16-3

Nathan waiting for "his pitch".  Photo Credit: Albert

Nathan waiting for "his pitch". Photo Credit: Albert

Ship Him Off to Summer Camp

That’s right. We shipped Nathan off to summer camp.  Sorta.  We get him back every night.  And it’s only a mile and a half down the road.  He was getting bored at Grammy’s a bit too quickly, so we had to do something.  Bangor Christian was having a summer camp also, but it cost a bit more and there was the whole traveling thing if I decided to work from home.

We had noticed the sign in Corinth back before school let out and looked into it.  The sign sold us.  Swimming, tumbling, lunches and snacks (and school work)!  It was cheaper than any other camp we’d seen and it offered so much more.  It was located in the Corinth Health and Fitness building and used all their resources.  Jess used to have a monthly membership with them so was familiar with the building.  I took the papers down and received the grand tour.  Very nice.  Very impressed. Very structured and disciplined.  I like it.

We (Jess) was a bit concerned how Nathan would react to a new place.  I took him back down with me on the next trip to deliver documents.  He loved it.

His first day was just OK, he said; he didn’t want to go back even though he had fun.  He didn’t meet any new friends so it was a long day.  With some encouraging words, he returned and accepted his new surroundings.  So, he’s met some friends and is enjoying his summer so far.

Located right close by... a pool, a dance studio, day care, day camp, a workout gym.

Located right close by... a pool, a sauna, a dance studio, day care, day camp, a workout gym.

Game Eight: Dover II

Nathans buddy’s team came to Charleston today.  They’re a decent team and having beat Dexter, who we just lost to, were certainly contenders.  We rushed them early and hit the five run rule in the first while holding them to none.  They rallied well in the second and did the same to us.

Nathan was on the mound again for the third and fourth inning and shut them out in the third.  We continued to work the bats and in the end added two more runs than they did to the board.

Nathan pitched well and had four strikeouts in his six outs pitched and gave up four runs.  He batted 1,000 with two triples and a single.

Final: 13-11

Nathan adds four more K's to the books.

Nathan adds four more K's to the books.

Game Seven: Dexter

Dexter came in for a strong game.  Charleston wasn’t ready for it. The only thing we have for excuses.. the kids were on their last day of school.  They really weren’t thinking baseball.  And about everyone struggled with batting.

We managed seven hits… all singles, nothing more.  Add in a few walks and we were able to add seven runs to the scoreboard. Dexter on the other hand, played a great game.  They slapped the ball a little bit more and handed our hats to us.  They pounded the runs on and finished with fourteen, giving us our first loss.

I told the boys I’d rather get that out of system now than at the Championship game at the end of the year.  There is a good chance we’ll be meeting up with that team one more time this year… hopefully were ready for them.

Nathan “struggled” with a .333 batting average, had three strikeouts from the mound and gave up five runs.

Final:7-14

Coach Pitch: I had a strikeout too! (oops)

Coach Pitch: I had a strikeout too! (oops)

Highway Robbery!

Well, Jess’ trip to CT was tainted with an incident.  The conference she was attended ended and she enjoyed herself, so that was good.  But as she left the conference to leave, she sat in the car and noticed things weren’t quite right.  She was robbed!  Someone felt they needed everything inside the car more than we did.  They broke a small back window and entered the car with ease.  They stole the ten day old stereo we just had installed (doh!).  They stole everything in the car that was loose… GPS charger (thankfully the GPS was in her purse), Power inverter, jackets, snacks and tissues!!

Obviously she was quite shaken up, but I assured her there was nothing she could do about it, we could just be thankful she wasn’t involved physically.  The Hartford police just handed her a claim/reference number and said they had had recent budgets cuts, so they couldn’t do anything more.  Nothing like giving the thieves a calling card!

UPDATE: The window has been replaced, the stereo replaced and reimbursed. We lost about $200 worth of lose items.  Home Ins. would have paid, but the deductable was too high to bother.

Somethings amiss here.... ?

Somethings amiss here.... they were "nice" enough not to cut the plugs off!

Skipping Stones on the Big Pond

We had a pretty full day fishing, running a few errands and practicing pitching, but Nathan wanted to get as much mileage out of his time alone with Dad as he could.  He talked me into going down to the irrigation ponds down back.  We hadn’t been down for quite a while so we thought the scene may have changed a bit.

We ended up just hanging out for a while and skipping stones.  Nothing interesting to see other than a pair of Red Winged Black Birds and a Leopard frog.

"Can you beat 7 skips Dad!"

"Can you beat 7 skips Dad!"

[The day was lengthened by crashing a family BBQ party for two hours and then Nathan talked me into riding bikes past eight o'clock.]