Category Archives: backlog

2007-07-00: Road Warriors

Susan and I have long enjoyed attending minor league baseball, and have tried to attend every minor league stadium within a two-hour drive of home, as well as games when we travel. We often buy t-shirts to support teams we see.

Most of the nearby teams are clubs in the Minor League Baseball association, where each team is affiliated with a Major League Baseball team. The team we’ve seen most is the Bowie Baysox, the AA affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles. However there is also an independent league within reach, the Atlantic League. This league provides opportunities for players who haven’t been able to get contracts with Major/Minor League Baseball teams, and play in towns that don’t have minor league teams. The stadiums are comparable to AA/AAA level stadiums.

In 2007, we attended a game in York, PA where the Revolution was playing the Road Warriors. The league was supposed to have eight teams, but one of them folded in 2006. In order to maintain the eight-team schedule, the league established the Road Warriors, a team with no home field that played all of its games on the road. Naturally they were underdogs everywhere they went. Naturally we rooted for them and bought the t-shirt for sale in the York stadium store.

In 2008, a new field was established in Waldorf, MD and the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs filled out the league, and the Road Warriors players dispersed. However, it turns out that there were other years where Road Warriors were needed as teams failed. The first were in 2002-2004, then 2006-2007, and most recently in 2011.

The players on the roster in July 2007 are listed below. Many also played on Minor or Major League teams.

Pos#NameB/TDOBHtWtLast ClubHighest
P23Benito BaezL/L1977-05-066-1160Road WarriorsMLB
P9Casey CahillR/R1982-03-156-3197SomersetAAA
P35Carlos CastilloR/R1975-04-016-3245MexicoMLB
P--Randy DickenR/R1982-08-196-2198CamdenA
P15Chris EickhorstR/R1975-12-196-4215Road WarriorsA
P24Bernie GonzalezR/R1980-05-106-2200Road WarriorsA
P32Julio GuerreroR/R1981-01-046-4180Road WarriorsA
P14Cody HarkcomR/R1983-12-156-1180BurlingtonA
P30Trevor MarcotteR/R1978-05-036-2170Road WarriorsIND
P18Damien MyersL/L1980-10-036-0180CamdenA
P25Darwin SotoR/R1982-01-156-2180Road WarriorsAAA
P16Emmanuel UlloaR/R1978-11-266-2180Colorado SpringsAAA
C27Sandy AracenaR/R1981-01-036-0180Road WarriorsA
C31Manuel MejiaR/R1978-10-056-2220Road WarriorsA
C28Nick ValdezR/R1986-10-36-1215Diamond Backs (Rookie)R
IF22Josh ArteagaR/R1980-03-145-9170NewarkAAA
IF21Ian BladergroenL/L1983-02-236-5210WilmingtonA
IF13Vito ChiaravallotiR/R1980-10-266-3225FrederickAA
IF8Ron FenwickL/R1978-12-195-11185ShreveportIND
IF36Omar GarciaR/R1971-11-166-2220Nashua (04)AAA
IF2David HouselS/R1981-09-066-2160Road WarriorsA
IF6Jorge MejiaS/R1982-08-156-1165Rio GrandA
IF11Gabe SuarezR/R1984-12-146-0170Tri-CitiesA
OF7Jason BryanR/R1981-11-186-2190Road WarriorsA
OF19Steve DoetschR/R1983-12-026-2200Myrtle BeachA
OF12Travis EziS/L1981-09-056-0175YorkAA
OF3Estee HarrisL/R1985-01-085-11170LI/Road WarriorsA
DL--Chris FlinnR/R1980-08-186-2180DurhamAAA
DL--Kevin MannixR/R1980-12-206-1205Long IslandA
DL26Jeff TamR/R1970-08-196-1202Syracuse (03)MLB
Mgr34Jeff Scott
Coach33D.J. Boston
Trainer--Mia Del Hierro

2017-04-04: Mom’s death

Around 4:15 am on April 4th, Dina called to say that we should go to Seattle, as Mom was in the hospital and had been told she could expect to only a couple of days if she didn’t have surgery, which she was refusing. Susan and I arrived at Skagit Valley Hospital in Mount Vernon that afternoon/evening (separate flights). Dina and Laura were with her. Mom had seen Chris, Grant, and Ren, apparently a very good visit.

Mom was entirely lucid, and determined that she was ready to die. It turned out that the prognosis was a bit pessimistic, and when she appeared to be lingering on Wednesday, we were told that she would be discharged from the hospital on Thursday; home hospice arrangements were made for her to be moved to Dina’s. It was not possible to move her to a formal hospice institution because of her determination to invoke Washington’s Death With Dignity law. This would entail her taking a prescription that would end her life, and no institution would allow this on their premises. However, on Thursday morning, her medications were not stabilized, so they did not discharge her. On Friday, the “hospitalist” told us that she wouldn’t be discharged before Monday; he also said she would probably not last that long.

Through Friday, when she awoke, she would sometimes make a comment like “That’s all folks”, or “Still here?”. She said also that she was sorry to be a burden to us. Once, she said “Be sure and tell your friends this isn’t easy.”

Through it all, she was very brave. She didn’t complain, except to request adjustments to her position or an ice pack for her forehead. She was in some pain, and apparently Fentanyl wasn’t as effective on her as expected. Sometime on Sunday they turned off her pacemaker (though it wasn’t thought to be having any effect). She passed more or less peacefully Sunday evening, April 9th, with Dina and me at her side.

She was cremated, and her remains were mixed with those of Terry (died 1996-07-07) and Gary (died 2008-05-19). Together, they were sent over Snoqualmie Falls, a spot which had been meaningful to Terry and Mom.

 

2017-06-01: Monthly review

NS is up to chapter 69.

No progress on WN.

Activated SS benefits; first payment expected July 26 (payments are scheduled for fourth Wednesday of each month).

Planned CO/WY part of August trip. Will locate Harry Gant’s house location (307 S Sherwood St, Fort Collins) and the street where John E Gant lived (number came up 1, but probably incorrect). In Greeley, hope to find some info about the Tenney ranch and brand, and maybe the Gant brand in 1905 Colorado Brand Book. Still need to refine questions for Fort Collins Museum of Discovery and Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum.

Saw Orioles/Yankees game with Barbara/John and Phyllis/Jim, in suite 62.

Had a quiet birthday, mostly to be celebrated when Chris/Ren arrive mid-June.

 

 

2017-05-13: As I Knew Him

As I Knew Him

My Dad, Rod Serling (2013)

by Anne Serling (1965-)

I was always a fan and admirer of Rod Serling, but there is much I didn’t know in this book. It is a well-written description of a good relationship between a daughter and her father, and of the father himself. It also describes the grief Anne dealt with after her 50-year father died when she was just 20.

In the last chapter, she sums up:

The gifts and lessons my father left me will last forever: Never take yourself too seriously, never miss a chance to laugh long and hard, speak out about political and social issues you believe in, use the written word as often as you can to make yourself and the world a better place, and love your children with all you’ve got.

The book is full of anecdotes illustrating these themes.

2017-05-01: Monthly review

I didn’t write a review of March, due to a major distraction in early April: I was summoned to Mom’s deathbed on 4/4. She died 4/9, and we held a ceremony to commemorate her, Gary and Terry on 4/23. See the post: 2017-04-04: Mom’s death.

Aside from those significant events, March and April included the following.

Ended my trial run with mint.intuit.com and deleted my account. There were numerous problems with mint.com connecting to certain financial institutions, requiring me to repeatedly enter login credentials. Also (maybe not caused by mint) a credit card was fraudulently used (fortunately caught by Chase).

NS is up to chapter 61.

Little progress on WN.

While in Seattle, we attended the PBR at the Tacoma Dome. We visited the exhibition of China’s Terra-cotta Army; the exhibit was very good, and I have recommended it to others when it moves to Philadelphia.

 

2002-01-03: GTD – Quarterly reviews

The quarterly review helps keep priorities aligned with goals. The list below is a snapshot of one of my quarterly reviews from early 2015.


These serve one or more of my life goals. Whenever I undertake a specific project (or one-time activity) it should be possible to relate it to one or more of these goals. Most of these Project Goals don’t have a definite end-state (and so technically aren’t projects); simply finding ways to work toward them is the goal. Ideally, every project or other activity supports one of these goals. (Note that these are in alphabetical order, not priority.)

Create: Creative activities in various media (such as writing, software, artwork) can leave a “footprint in the sands of time”. Acts of creation support the life goal of maintaining a sound mind. Ideally, the results of these creative acts support the life goal of influencing others.

Castle Knob: Castle Knob is a way to organize my creative endeavors, and supports my life goal to influence others. It would be nice to hand it on to someone else.

Effective Processes: A lot of life is just doing the day-to-day stuff we need to do, in the limited time and with the limited resources available to us. Effective processes and procedures help minimize the time and effort required for the mundane stuff, leaving more time and energy for the more interesting or challenging stuff. The goal of improving processes and procedures directly supports the Work/Life goal, and also leaves more time and energy for the other life goals.

Finances: Income from work and saving for future needs is necessary; managing money can make it more valuable, and move the possibility of retirement closer.

Fitness: Regular exercise in a variety of forms supports the life goal of maintaining a sound body.

Fun: Everyone should enjoy a reasonable amount of fun, supporting the life goal of enjoying life.

Habits: Good is better than Bad, for a sound mind and body. Monitor the bad to discourage them, and actively pursue development of good habits.

Health: Health depends on expert knowledge and assistance, supporting the life goal of a sound mind and body.

Household: A household (including house, yard, car, furnishings, appliances, and occupants) should operate smoothly, at reasonable cost and effort, supporting the life goal of maintaining a work/life balance.

Memetics: Understanding the working of memes should be able to promote a better social fabric, to everyone’s benefit (except for sociopaths). Making this understanding explicit and accessible to a broad audience supports the life goal of having a good influence on others.

Mental Challenges: Meeting mental challenges (e.g., learning a new skill, solving puzzles) is a part of keeping the mind sharp.

Relationships: Happiness comes from having good relationships with relatives, friends, casual acquaintances, and others. Creating and maintaining good relationships supports the life goals of influencing others, maintaining a good work/life balance, and enjoying life.

Work: Until retirement is possible, work is the primary source of income to support all other activities.

2002-01-02: GTD – Monthly reviews

2002-01-01: GTD – Life Goals

Part of the GTD approach involves an annual review, where you examine your projects and goals, making sure everything you’re doing supports achieving your life goals. The short list below guides the establishment of other (project-level) goals; they are guidelines for living in the most general sense. Ideally, everything I do would further the achievement of these life goals.

Sound Mind in a Sound Body: There won’t be much point to my life if I don’t have the mental and physical capacity to perform the actions to maintain and enjoy it.

Influence Others: I hope my family, friends, coworkers, acquaintances, readers and the myriad others that they influence have better lives as a result of my actions.

Work/Life: Work is the time/effort that I exchange for the income that enables the rest of my life’s goals to be realized. It is an aspect of living in society, and should be balanced with non-work aspects of life, including the potential to retire from work in part or entirely.

Enjoy: I expect to get some joy out of my life, even while working to achieve my goals.

2002-01-00: GTD

I started trying to apply David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” principles about 15 years ago (I’m writing this in March 2017), with imperfect results. His approach is oriented to executives and managers, but there is plenty of advice on the web to simplify it. I generally think it’s a good approach, and I recommend it. Here’s my take-away:

The key is to have a trusted system (e.g., a paper notebook or a computer application) that holds everything you need to get things done. The main point is: as soon as you find something that needs to be done, if you can’t do it in the next couple of minutes, get it into your trusted system (i.e., an inbox). Then you can stop worrying about trying to remember it, and trust that you’ll be reminded in a timely way. Just this simple principle is a great stress-reducer.

Around this notion, Allen recommends a workflow of five main steps (some refinements are possible; check his book for details, or find web resources):

  1. Collect (Inbox, etc)
  2. Process (actionable? next action?)
  3. Organize (add actions to lists)
  4. Review (daily: actions;  weekly: lists;  monthly/quarterly: projects;  annually: goals)
  5. Do (actions by context, priority, time, energy)

In my attempt to apply the GTD approach, I tried the following:

  1. Documented some life goals
  2. Identified some projects that support those goals
  3. Identified tasks that would move the projects forward (in a. spreadsheet named ProjectsTasks)
  4. Prioritized and tracked accomplishment of tasks in monthly reviews

I haven’t been entirely successful in executing this program, but I still think it’s worthwhile to be aware of the approach, and try to adapt it as much as makes sense. The links above are to some additional posts that expand on aspects of the approach as I was trying to apply it.

 

 

 

2017-03-0: Beyond the Northlands

Beyond the Northlands

Viking Voyages and the Old Norse Sagas (2016)

by Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough (-)

 

The sagas are an interesting mix of historically-based story-telling and fantasy, hard for a modern reader to understand without knowing their manner of composition and context. The “Vikings” are thoroughly stereotyped in most people’s minds, to the extent that the actual roles of the Norse in history is little known to most of us. Barraclough does an admirable job of putting all of this into a coherent picture.

One of her points is that succeeding versions of saga stories were reinterpreted to reflect the culture in which they were refined. Of course, this interests me because it is exactly what I am doing with Njal’s Saga (Neal’s Story). Her writing is vivid and full of humor. I can recommend this book to anyone with an interest in any aspect of the Vikings or sagas. It might be interesting to send her a copy of Neal’s Story.

I particularly liked the part on the West, primarily Greenland. Coincidentally, just after reading it, the Smithsonian Associate magazine (March 2017) had an article describing the latest research on the nature and fate of the Greenland colonies.

 

 

2017-03-07: Castle Knob website

The original CK website was hand-coded with HTML and CSS. It isn’t very good, and hasn’t been updated in quite a while. I intend to replace it with a new website based on WordPress. I will use as much of the original content as possible.

Tasks:

  • select a template
  • create basic pages from existing content
  • add new content
  • ?

 

2017-03-01: Monthly review

NS: began making map to show relative locations of ranches and certain landmarks that figure in the story, e.g., waterways.

ISTRA: contacted Western Livestock Journal to inquire about archives. They’re at Colorado State University library in Fort Collins. Unfortunately, 1931 is missing. Still might find something interesting. Archivist Linda Meyer sent link to CO newspapers: https://www.coloradohistoricnewspapers.org/ which looks interesting.

Retirement: decided to move up start of SS benefit.

Finances: started trial of mint.intuit.com to see if budget, etc functions are worthwhile.

 

2017-02-17: Glass Universe, The

The Glass Universe

How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars (2016)

by Data Sobel (1947-)

This is interesting to me for two reasons.

As a book about astronomy, it is very accessible, with its focus on the period from the mid-late 1800s to the 1940s (and a bit beyond). This period laid the foundation for our current view of the universe, and yet did not require any esoteric knowledge. It is almost completely devoid of relativity and quantum mechanics. For this reason it should be very accessible to any reader with an interest in the sky, with no special education required.

It is also the story of how women contributed to astronomical knowledge in the face of discrimination against their talents; their deserving of equal pay for the same work done by men; and their deserving of official recognition in the form of degrees, titles, official positions, and job security. In the face of such discrimination, it is also the story of key men who made possible the great achievements of certain women in astronomy.

I heartily recommend this book.

2017-02-01: Digital legacy

Inspired by Joe Kissel’s book Take Control of Your Digital Legacy, this is a project to structure and record the data necessary to allow Susan, Chris or someone else to find and make use of the digital aspects of my legacy, and Susan’s. This includes:

  • Financial accounts
  • Photos
  • This “backlog”
  • Other websites under my DreamHost account (for blackstone.name and castle knob.com)
  • Details of the published works under Castle Knob, including CreateSpace, Kindle and Smashwords, and including J Verl Silvester’s CS account for Code of the West
  • Notes for updated will(s)
  • Projects in progress, that might be taken over or finished by someone else

 

 

 

 

2017-02-02: Eagles/Kids

This would be a sculpture, along the lines of Swimmin’ Hole – Polliwogs. The scene would be set with a couple of kids on the swings, another waiting his turn, and another flying through the air having just “bailed out”. The quirk is that kids in flight, or just taking off (and maybe landing) are shown as eagles, or transitioning between kid and eagle.

 

2017-02-02: The End

This is an idea for a series of short stories, inspired by a remark made to me by a colleague at Unisys circa 1993. The remark was by John ?, a Texan who always wore western-style coats and cowboy boots, to the effect that if he learned he had a terminal disease, he would “take out” certain bad people. I think he had mafia types in mind, rather than political assassination, but it’s impossible to be sure now.

Anyway, the notion could serve as the premise for a series of stories involving different people in a retirement/nursing/hospice setting who “catch the meme” from one of their community, and separately carry out various schemes with various kinds of targets.

 

2017-02-02: Saved By Aliens!

This is just an idea, perhaps already done by someone else.

At a conference of astronomers, held at a time when society is going to hell in a handbasket (i.e., much like today), two astronomers hatch a scheme to convince earth’s leaders that they have detected an alien vessel heading for earth, apparently decelerating to stop in our vicinity in several years time. The hope is that this news will result in global cooperation to meet the impending crisis.