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2010 Blogs

12/14/10 Tuesday
Blocked. Usually means either there's a log jam of projects or something is really irking me. Lately it's been multiple of each. Projects side there's been a lot of stuff going no where like the Mac version of ELO Calc, online league and stringing apps, and iPhone development. Finally starting to make some headway in the Mac Development. It takes a long time to just do one thing, but each new thing builds upon the previous one and it's been getting easier. Still not enough time to really make serious headway and get something spinning.

Another thing is my Mom. She's been getting confused lately...maybe both my parents are and trying to help them, work, family, and other stuff has been burning the candle at both ends and whatever is left in the middle. I had an argument with one the League players a week or so ago. Normally pretty reserved, but the gate was already knocked off the hinges by everything else going on and he approached things a little too aggressive and well let's just say he bought it. Having two League matches after that and everything else going on was just the icing on the cake.

Christmas has been another sore topic around the house. Set aside what I thought was pretty good money for my wife to buy gifts. Turns out wasn't enough and the budget was starting to suffer under the strain. So had a couple of arguments about that. Meanwhile I have to strain the budget to buy whatever gifts I need to buy outside of that Christmas pool. Anyway just keeps getting better. I'm all for putting the Christ back in Christmas, but please leave out the $.

Boys are doing well. Always watching Matt and staying on top of his nebulizer during the Winter months. Around this time last year we both were in the Hospital for different reasons, so trying really hard to celebrate Christmas, my 39th birthday and New Years on happy notes this time.

Need to lose about thirty pounds and work out with weights again. Really feel like everything is just spinning faster than I can deal with especially with my parents. My aunt told me they should move closer to me and I totally agree...but I know they won't. Have about ten days before work closes down for a week. Be good to be free of some of those obligations for a while.

Matt 2nd Birthday12/02/10 Happy Birthday Matt (12/1)
Couldn't get on the computer last night, mother-in-law, was already sleeping downstairs. Anyway yesterday was Matt's 2nd birthday. He's differnt than his brother, Jason, my wife says he's more like me. He loves when I bounce a racquetball on my racquet and has tried on more than one occassion to do it himself. He loves to hit balls with anything he can use. So need to get him on the court soon too.

He had a great time eating his cake and I always thought it would be weird having two kids that somehow my love wouldn't be the same for both. Happy to say love my boys the same. Happy Birthday Matt, love you.

It hasn't been easy getting up with him on a daily basis at 3 AM...Winter is not exactly his best time of the year, but thankfully we're all doing well.

11/14/10 Long Time No Blog.
Busy, busy, busy. Been pushing on a couple of things lately, so haven't had much free time to blog and catch up on things. Started another League at Cook/Douglas, just wrapped up the last of the Dollar Menu Racquetball classes at Rutgers, and learning about Cocoa (Mac/iPhone) programming and web applications.

Played the Iron Man Tourney at Hillsborough and did ok. I got what I put into it which wasn't much. Still been lazy about hitting the gym and trying to make progress on some projects, with two kids and a wife tugging at whatever free time is left...it's not easy. Otherwise doing ok. My youngest, Matt, is going to be two in a couple of weeks. Time flies with that.

09/21/10 Tournament Fees. How much is too much?
Been on a Dave Ramesy kick for a little over three months now. So besides saving a $1,000 for emergencies one of the inital steps is to give every dollar a home. So much for my mortgage, car payments, credit cards, child care, etc. Until every penny has a home every month. Already decided that Racquetball tournaments are very limited this Season and good thing too. I just noticed a couple of events in the $50 to $55 range, which seems pretty steep when every dollar needs a home and as everyone is fond of saying in this economy.

From a newbie perspective it's just too much money first to join the USAR and then to pay $50 for an event which might very mean you face a tournament player in the first round who thinks they belong in D's or C's and waxes the floor with you and your fifty bucks. Have seen it and have spoken with newbies who just lost in the only division they entered. Some may come back, but others feel they were robbed.

I guess the trend is to charge what everyone else is charging, but how many new faces come to a tournament? How many of them come back for the next one? Anyway I guess it's the law of supply and demand in action, but is it the best way to grow the sport? I don't know.

09/14/10 Best Racquetball Class Ever!
Been doing the Dollar Menu Classes at Rutgers for a while now and the turn out has been less than stellar. Remember doing the entire class for one person and sometimes I was just by myself and heading home after fifteen minutes and that's with sold out classes. We can chalk it up bad timing.

But last Sunday there was like ten students! Glad I had small numbers at first to learn how to present better and what worked with students and what didn't. I've done and said some stupid things in those inital classes. Anyway felt good to help expose people to Racquetball and I hope to see more people on the courts this year.

08/09/10 In the Land of the Blind...
Been some new players on the courts lately at Rutgers and that's very good news. Problem is they are new players and don't get all the rules, strategy, or shots of the game. Not that I'm any great genius on the court or anything, but as they say. "In the Country of the Blind the One-Eyed Man is King" never really followed where that quote came from. See Wikipedia. Anyway it's a really sad story about someone who stumbles upon a bunch of blind people, feels he can rule them, and eventually gives up trying to convince them that people can actually see. Now I feel compelled to find and read the book.

Anyway I see some of the regulars try to show some of these newcomers a technique or tell them what they are doing wrong. When not too long ago they were almost the same way. There's too many damn quotes that can fit here.

Sometimes I feel bad since I could be in a better spot to help them or I feel like I could correct them, but I've been burned so many times in the past and seen the same results time and time again. That I realized...they aren't going to listen! They are in a frantic state of adrenaline, of trying not to look bad, or just plain old trying to win. Bloodlust. Like those Ogres from the PC Game Warcraft II. Trying to tell them they are doing something wrong just increases the bloodlust and tunes them out even more.

I'm happy to show anyone what little I know about the sport, but they have to do one important and fundamental step. "I need some help. I just can't seem to get it right." That seems to end the bloodlust and maybe, just maybe a player can be open to something new.

07/14/10 They All Feel Important!
Sitting here tonight tired and looking at my computer screen and thinking which project to work on first. It's like Writer's Block or something and it's frustrating which leads to a bigger block and more frustration. Wash, rinse, repeat. It sucks. Have lots of need-to-work-on items on my list and they get in the way of each other.

  • Player Profiles
  • ELO Calculator for Mac and iPhone
  • Stringing Access/Web Application
  • Member Area Improvements

There's a couple of more projects that I have cooking. They all feel important and some like Player Profiles have been limping along for a long time and can wait. I'm going to focus on the ELO Calculator for Mac and then iPhone. At least, that's been something new, fun, and can help improve my Company.

Between work and the family there's a little bit of time left. That time can get easily swallowed up by stringing, helping clean up, paying bills, etc. I can't afford to be wasting time on a whole lot of nothing. So ELO Calc is up first and besides stringing nothing else is getting in the way.

06/17/10 Anyone Notice?
I changed something on my website and unless you used an iPhone or other device without Flash you probably didn't notice. The useless Flash that displayed my site's logo is just a regular image now. I read an article from Steve Jobs about why Flash is not allowed on iPhone's Safari browser and I kind of agree with him. I got pretty tired of looking at my site on my iPhone and seeing a big gapping hole for my logo.

I thought about researching Flash detection scripts and other stuff to make it substitute an image just for iPhone, but first thought is why? It didn't do anything cool and just show an outdated total of players and games played from 2006!

Things are getting uncomfortably old around here and believe or not dropping that Flash was a small step in the right direction. Growing up programming Commodore Vic-20's and C64's. I'm not a big fan of too many database connections or other heavy resource hogs. I think it's better to leverage more JavaScript and soon HTML 5 so people can use the site without a lot of fuss.

06/08/10 Not Renewing with Team Head
I decided last Friday not to continue. Couple of reasons. First, finally have my wife serious about our debt problems. So dropping some money on another racquet, clothes, and tournaments in the upcoming year will send the wrong message. We can make some sacrficies together. I know, that one is kind of BS. Second, I felt there's a conflict of interest between my stringing and doing demos for Head. I have a real problem working hard so someone else can profit. There should be more incentive for Sponsored players to get rewarded for moving product.

So am I still going to play with a Head Racquet? Yep. I found something special in my two Head Meanstreaks. I really don't want to go up or down 5 grams with a new stick. So absolutely no malice toward Team Head and I'll miss the camaraderie I felt. I also like the all black shirts this year, they rocked.

Jason and Outdoor 201006/02/10 Jason and Outdoor
Jason is really starting to pickup stuff now not just racquetball but the Wii. Over last time, he's making contact with the ball and not just chasing after it to pick it up. He's squishing the bug on some of his swings and just darn proud to see my boy starting to shape up on the court. Just need to setup a routine and stick to it, this once a year crap isn't working.

Took a bunch of pictures and I see him copying me on some of the mechanics. Overall I'm pretty confident with my mechanics so I'm glad he's copying me. If I keep it fun for him...I might be able to influence some of his mechanics and try to help him make them better. I know from experience, trying to force him is just going to shut him down to racquetball and I definitely don't want that.

Toughness wise, well he needs some work. He tells me, "I hate you." when I beat him at Mario Kart which is almost immediately followed by whinning and even crying sometimes. When he wins he's kind of a sore-winner, so need to knock him down a peg once in a while. Want to instill in him that some times you win, some times you lose, but you never quit.

Jason's 5th Birthday05/13/10 Happy Birthday Jason (Big Hat)!
Happy 5th Birthday Jason. I love you. Wish I had a better picture but low light and an iPhone don't take great shots. Anyway been blogging about Jason since before his first birthday. He's starting kindergarten soon and the time seems so fleeting sometimes. I wish I could provide more for him and his brother (upper left). I also wish we could do more together.

The boy in the lower right is Ian, one of Jason's good friends. They had a good time and I plan on shooting more pictures with a better camera on Sunday. I quickly posted something to meet 12:00 AM and wouldn't be able to sleep without posting a picture of Jason on his birthday.

05/10/10 Long time...No Blog.
Been pretty busy between stringing, my Racquetball League, and learning about Objective C programming on the Mac. Been trying to focus more on one project so I can get it done. The problem with too many things cooking at once is something is going to get burned and it's normally me.

League went pretty well and now just trying to get the Tournament Draw in the books. I took 8th seed out of ten people, so not bad. Play into the top half of the draw and my first match is against someone who beat me in straight games. I like that, it means I need to work harder to win. Winning or losing doesn't matter so much, just want to do my best. It would feel akward to win my own League (again), but if that's not the objective then why play?

My son, Jason, turns five this week. Seems like yesterday I was writing something about him being a couple of months old. Anyway time flies and I better get a grip on my finances. Anyway we've been playing the Wii more often and he's starting to take more direction. So more court time for him soon. Weird how there never seems to be enough time.

03/27/10 Fitness is Step 1.
Playing once a week was fine. Basically show up the arm and rest of my body are pretty much rested. I can hit pretty hard with my Head Meanstreak and have had some respectable games, but start throwing in a few more games, a few more days, and I start breaking down. After my four games with Alex and Vinny think...last Friday. I was walking around all hunched over and my back was on fire. My wife, a PT, had to fix my back. Then I played Dave Tuesday and luckily I won. Now a few more days later and there's no more lead in the pencil. Don Odgers wiped the floor with me on Friday.

I took a long hard look at my Head Meanstreak tonight and thought about weight and how much effort and how often I can swing at full strength. Last night, I was showing Joe how to hit into a radar gun and my digits were about 74-78 MPH and my racquet hand hurt, so pushed on. Alex looked at the ball after my match and said the ball was moving pretty slow. Yeah about 20-25 MPH slower. Not making excuses for my loss, but until I get this fitness thing licked. I'm doomed.

Years ago, BC (Before Children) I was on the courts at least three nights a week. I could play round robins and still look for more. Playing once a week as Fred Letter once told me is not enough. Been playing one day per week for a long time and got real fat and lazy.

Tina, my doubles partner, emailed me writing that she missed me and if I was coming back next year. So that's all there is to it, I need to get back on the ball and get pushing. I miss tournaments, playing Doubles with Tina, and I miss having more fitness.

03/15/10 Rutgers Racquetball Listserv or Spamserve?
I went a little commercial on my last Racquetball Listserv post with two trackable links just to see how much traffic the email blast to about 227 members would generate. So far about four. Hmmmm, doesn't take a lot of effort to see most of the messages either wound up in spam, ignored, deleted, or maybe it's the wrong message or fear of clicking on my tracking links.

Then I get an email from someone else sent to his group of players to buy from a competitor for a simple ten percent discount. Net result possibly negative. Unfortunately the listserv has been seldom used correctly and continues to be a one-way street that leads to a black hole. We did have someone looking for a place to play and he got like thirty responses, which was great! So maybe it was the wrong message. Anyway still worth the effort...well less effort.

02/28/10 Joe's NJ Racquetball 3.0
I'm happy to be running a League again...but there's a lot of broken links, old pages, and just stuff that looks like crap. A couple of decisions I made back then to use XML has kind of backfired on Safari since the client-side code I wrote doesn't work. Also using the same Racquetball database I developed a number of years ago which I have to admit is still holding it's own and is pretty rock solid for what it does.

Wrote up some stuff for better profiles and rankings on a piece of scrap paper. The ideas kind of spiraled out of that. It can be pretty awesome. I just want to make sure it's the most efficient database design possible and just go for it.

02/14/10 Happy Valentine's Day and Back to Playing!
Wife is watching a movie that I'm not interested in so might as well update the blog. I played twice last week once by myself hitting the ball around and Friday playing near full strength. I don't know going full tilt on day two was a great idea, but I can tell you it felt great to play and hit the ball again. Some good horse-power behind some of the shots and had my share of sloppy moments...but after all of the scary thoughts over the past few months it was nice to put that behind me and just play racquetball. Legs...well they took a while to loosen up. Dropping about 12 lbs. has helped with that. I plan to keep on going to 200 lbs.

Played with One Lee (of course), John Sarti, Erik Lopez, and another Joe. Played some doubles and cut-throat which was good had a couple of good gets and some good shots. Walked out with no real problems and feeling pretty good, so not much else to ask for. Erik Lopez challenged me for the League next Friday and as of tonight I accepted.

Lastly have my first Racquetball 202 class to teach at Rutgers next Sunday. One of my fatal mistakes with the basic class was an overload of information. I want to scale things back give people more play time and focus more on some aspects these "advanced" players maybe haven't considered. Like playing a more defensive game, controlling their shots, and maybe trying a two step drive serve for starters.

01/28/10 Still No Racquetball $%@#!
Been feeling pretty good. Appetite has been coming back, kinda wish it would not come back full force. I've lost about 12 lbs. since 1/1/10. Doesn't sound too healthy, but no one has raised any flags either. Anyway asked my Doctor today if I can play racquetball and she said "No." Just need another blood test to come back in my favor and maybe...just maybe. I can hit the courts again. My wife is also thinking about leaving one of her jobs for good, so that might open an occasional Wednesday night. Wow two nights to play...that would be awesome!

The other stuff I mentioned is going well and just had another procedure today. Hopefully a couple of more and that's all squared away. Haven't felt this good in a long time, so it's been worth the process. Doctor also mentioned more Vitamin B Complex, D, and I added Fish Oil just to be safe. More Fruits, Vegetables, and lets not forget Fiber! Ooof, I feel old.

Boys are doing well and at Day Care. Wife is working, so nice to take it easy around the house and rest.

01/10/10 My Turn (Revised 1/11/10)
Had to stay a couple of nights in the Hospital myself due to an enlarged liver and spleen from Mono. Even though I did not present with Mono that's that they are sticking with. Came home yesterday and the Doctors didn't look at another important problem I've been having, so going to another Doctor tomorrow for that problem. Still consider it housekeeping from 2009, so I refuse to attribute anything to 2010.

One Doctor said Racquetball is on the shelf for two months. That's been the most difficult to deal with. Between my limited time playing, my time off for my foot to heal, and now this I might as well start over. It's been a tough few months and sitting down to write is a good step in the right direction. It's hard to think about projects with Matt and then myself sick. Really puts into perspective how fragile certain things are and how easy it is to get financially screwed up.

I had to buy a few things from the store since my wife took the boys to give me a break. I went into a local store and saw how empty the shelves were. I mean they were barren then I noticed the local supermarket had a similar problem in some aisles. Guess I colored it with my own bleak pencil, but it just seemed odd. WTF is going on with my neighborhood.

01/02/10 Happy New Year!! Adios 2009!
Sorry I haven't been around...Matt was in the Hospital for four days right up to New Year's Eve. Between staying with Matt so my wife can actually get some sleep, being worried, and driving all over the place. It was a challenging end to 2009. Since Matt has been to the Hospital Twice. Think Jason once. Myself once for my foot, and a tree falling on my house. I'm more than ready to write off 2009.

Overall was a pretty good decade: got married, got a house, had two kids, started my LLC, but the last few days had everyone wound pretty tight. Sad that I couldn't advance some projects as far as I wanted, but better that my family is safe and sound. I've been running low grade fevers for two weeks now. So really hate starting the year sick, but at least we started it.

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