Hughes Blog
Thoughts on Software Development, Project Management, Parenting, and Running.
Sunday, November 27, 2005
Happy Birthday to The Blog!
One year and 218 posts ago on November 27, 2004 The Hughes Blog was launched!

SuperBlue99 - 5 Strikers - 1
This was a milestone game in the Hughes household for two reasons: 1 - This was Reagan Kelley's first game ever; 2 - this was Logan's first game ever with a 99 team.

I tried to talk Reagan into playing recreational soccer this fall, but she would have none of that. She ONLY wanted to play with Coach Don. The friggin kid has been totally brainwashed by YEARS of watching her sisters play competitive soccer. Reagan was too young to remember when both Marissa and Logan played rec ball. So Reagan is starting her career by playing a year up in competitive soccer, and indoors. As long as she is having fun, I am cool with it. Wild.

Reagan was pretty funny to watch on the field today. When Dave sent her out, she found her position and just stood there. Finally she started to move. By the end of the game she was running around all over the place. I have no sense how she will develop as a player, but she certainly is enjoying herself, which is the most important thing.

Meanwhile, Logan has naturally played a year up since most 98s are second graders as she is. But she has a late birthday, and there are several circumstances that will prevent her from continuing to play with the 98s. Which has lead to her current situation playing on both the 99 and 98 teams.

So, back to today's action. Logan was picked to play keeper in the first half. She was spectacular, allowing nothing, while her team mates picked up three goals. Logan can punt the crap out of the ball - once she gets her hands on the ball, she will usually put it in play at the mid field line. The other three keepers (our other keeper and the two that played for the strikers) were lucky to get the ball 15 yards kicking or throwing.

On the field Logan started as a defender, but quickly gained control of the ball and pushed it right up to the goal. Dave called her over and gave her a big lecture about playing her position. Then Dave moved her up to mid or forward. Logan drove the ball to the goal and worked it around the keeper for the fourth goal of the game. Later she got the ball again and took it to the right post, but got trapped by three defenders. Logan simply moved the ball around to the right over the top and then made an inside pass right behind the keeper. One of her team mates handled the ball and found net for the last goal.

It was a fitting end to a milestone game for both ladies!

Saturday, November 26, 2005
Texans - 0 Spirit94 - 4
45 minutes after Logan's game, Marissa's team took the field against he Spirit 94. Spirit are a year older than our girls. But their shortest girl was at least six inches taller than our tallest girl. And their tallest girl was probably taller than me, and had almost 2 feet on Marissa! It was pretty intimidating!

On top of that Katie, our keeper, was out of town. According to the depth chart, Brenna is the backup keeper. In 27 games, upmteen practices and scrimmages, Brenna has never played or practiced keeper. But ya know, ya can't argue with the depth chart and let's face it someone had to do the job.

Brenna was phenomenal! Katie is possibly the best athlete on the team, but Brenna was tremendous. Between her play and that of the rest of the team, we were able to shut out the amazon women for 19 and half minutes. Given the size discrepancy, that was amazing. Someone walked up to me to ask who were these little girls who were holding off this clearly larger team?

As I have said before soccer is a game of attrition. As the girls tired, the amazon women took control. The girls played really tough and Marissa had two scoring opportunities. Everyone was really proud of how they played and they certainly played a closer game than the score revealed.

Superblue98 - 2 Fire Angels 3
By a quirk of scheduling we had a rematch with the Fire Angels just six days after we shut them out. They were ready for us yesterday! Coach Don had a conflict, so Coach Christina filled in. Logan was pressed into service as the keeper for the first half. Logan gave up three goals: two tough ones where the Angels got ahead of our defense and one sloppy one which may not have been a goal at all. Logan grabbed the ball before it went over the line, the ref did not want to call it but the girl stopped playing.

The ladies played hard the second half and got a couple of goals back but fell short of the win.

So in three quarters we shut out the Angels 4-0 and the one quarter with Logan in the goal they shut us out 3-0. I am not sure if the difference is Logan's play on the field or her play in goal.

Nonetheless, it was an incredibly competitive set of games. Extremely fun to watch.

Always Start a New Project with New Tools
As promised, I tackled the gate project yesterday. I ripped down the wood on the gate. It turns out it was more rotten than I expected. I decided that I would replace the 4" dog eared pickets on the gate with a 6" board on board configuration. The gate is 244" wide. I figured that I would use 3" spacing between the boards. Then it was off to Home Depot for parts:

1 pint of primer for the frame
1 pint of flat black paint for the frame
1 quart of paint thiner
9 - 2x3x8 boards for the frame
3 - 1x4x8 boards for the top of the gate
53 - 1x6x6 boards for the gate
25 - 1/4 x 3.5 inch carridge bolts
25 - 1/4 bolts
5 lbs - deck screws
2 - Gallons of stain

According the Hughes Rule of Project Management no project should be undertaken without the purchase of new tools. Yesterday I picked up a spray gun to assist with painting the gate frame. Total damage: $325.

The plan was that I would take the kids to the their game this morning, while Fran would start painting the pickets. When I got back from the game I would start striping and painting the frame. It is worth noting that we have not had ANY rain for months. I guess I should have planned this project a bit earlier. Anyway when we walked out of the soccer complex, it was pouring rain!

Fran had moved her painting project into the garage. When I got home, I helped with the pickets until it finally started to dry up. Then I attacked the frame with my sander. That worked well, so I dragged the compressor over to the gate and tried out my new sprayer. Perfect!

And thats pretty much where we stand right now. All the wood has been finished and is stacked up in the garage. The frame is primed and tomorrow first thing, I'll put the finish coat on it. Then I'll let that set up during the 'Skins game. And hopefully by 3:30 I can begin bolting up the wood.

Friday, November 25, 2005
Turkey Day
For the first time since I met Fran, we stayed home for Thanksgiving. Given the problems with her truck I did not think it was a good idea to drive down to her dad's ranch. Her step sister is living in the cabin on the ranch, so we would have had to stay in a hotel, and that did not appeal to me either.

So yesterday morning we fired up the smoker and shoved a turkey in it. I smoked that sucker all day, starting with some hickory and finishing with mesquite. That was a very tender bird! Excellent.

I screwed around with Big-Daddy some yesterday as well and I am pretty sure I know whats wrong with it and how to fix it.

We have a gate on the back of the driveway leading to our alley. The wood on the gate is sagging and is now dragging on the ground. I think I'm going to attempt a fix of that today.

Logan and Marissa both have games at Blue Sky today. Logan has a rematch with the Fire Angels and Don already informed her she would play goalie (usually that means one half in goal.) Marissa is playing a 94 Spirit team (LHCL D3). The keeper for Marissa's team will not be there, so it will be interesting to see how they do today.

Thursday, November 24, 2005
Big-Daddy is Down
The Hughes household computing infrastructure consists of two servers and a buncha laptops. The two servers perform duties as file servers, DHCP, DNS and DC. Big-Daddy is the PDC. He stopped working a couple of weeks ago.

I built Big-Daddy many years ago. It has a dual processor Soyo motherboard, the SY-D6BA to be exact. It started life with a single P2-333 processor. Later I replaced that processor with a a P3-600 and then I added a second P3-600. Last summer Big-Daddy refused to boot and I discovered that it would run with a single proc, but not a dual. That was probably the begining of the end. I pulled the second proc and it ran fine until a couple of weeks ago.

Now one of the other cool things about the Soyo SY-D6BA is that it featured on board wide scsi and it had a slot for the adaptec caching raid controler. When I built Big-Daddy originally I had a pair of 4 gig drives with the raid appliance. Later, I pulled the Raid Controller and added a 17 gig baracuda and a second adaptec controler.

Yesterday I went to troubleshoot the problem with Big-Daddy. On start up it beeps. I checked RAM, Power Supply, processors, everything. My conclusion is that the faithful D6YBA motherboard is dead. So I went to the boneyard to see what I had laying around which I could cobble together to get Big-Daddy working. I found an old I-WILL BD-100 motherboard with a P3-450.

So I stuffed the I-Will MB in Big-Daddy's case and wired it all up. The IWill MB does not have a SCSI controler, so I had to put all the drives on a single channel. Now when it boots, it gets throught the first Windows sceeen, the one where you can press F-8; then it gets to the W2K splash screen; then it beeps and does a hard reset back to the Bios.

I suspect that windows is major league unhappy about the fact that the drives are all out of whack. The boot drive is the 17 gig baracuda, but the swap drive is one of the old 4 gig drives, which had been on a different channel. I suspect that windows is trying to find that drive and just barfing. Not to mention the change in the underlying HW configuration.

What I am not sure about is how I can patch it up. It looks like I might have to do a repair. Now where is that W2K boot disk anyway?

Monday, November 21, 2005
SuperBlue98 - 2 Fire Angels - 0
Yesterday was the first game of the winter indoor season. We added three new ladies to the squad. Marissa, who came over from ASG and who is not be confused with my Marissa, scored both of our goals. This was the best game I had seen these girls play. Everyone was moving, and passing. Logan played her heart out on the field (after the game Coach Don informed Logan that it would be her turn to play keeper in the next game!) This is great little team!

The SuperBlue99 squad had game on Saturday, but the other team canceled so they had a scrimmage instead during which Logan scored two goals.

Today I picked up Logan from practice at the Sting facility. On my way in to get Logan the Sting 95 girls team were selling cookbooks to raise cash for their team. Sadly the mom selling the cookbooks was the mother of the girl who broke Marissa's arm. Needless to say, I don't have a Sting cookbook.

Dallas Texans Fall Festival
The girls entered the Texans Fall Festival last weekend. They played three games on Saturday as result of that decision. There were eight teams in their group composed of two brackets of four teams each. The girls lost their first game 0-3 against WF Express. The Express play in LHCL Division 2. That was the best result that they have ever posted against a D2 team! Next they lost 0-5 against Lubbock LoneStar. It turns out that Lonestar are the league winners for the West Texas Classic League. Finally they lost 0-2 against Waco United. United are a LHCL D3 team.

Now the interesting thing is that Lonestar and Express both advanced to the finals, meaning that we drew the tougher of the two brackets. It was a tough day, but the girls should be proud of their play.

Sunday, November 13, 2005
Brewers Note on the Oct 30 batch
The Oct 30 Batch is reading 1.014 SG today. That puts the batch at 5.0% alcohol. It's going into the bottle! The yeast on this batch was particularly lively. I reused the yeast from this batch in last weeks brew. But in the mysteries of brewing, it was not as responsive. Nonetheless, I am sure both batches will be excellent!!

Saturday, November 12, 2005
Boeing 777-200LR Sets New World Record for Distance
Boeing has done it again! They flew this triple seven from Hong Kong to London the long way, that is heading east. Over the pacific, over North America and over the Atlantic. They flew this more than half way around the world. Now any two cities in the world can be connected by a single non-stop commercial flight. Awesome!

Thursday, November 10, 2005
My Wife is Cursed....
Tuesday evening she complained that the power cable on her laptop is not working and worse than that the machine is stuck on the Bios page and won't boot. That was easy to fix, as the Dell laptops check the incoming power on startup to make sure you don't have a crap power supply hooked up. Since the power supply was really flaky, the Bios hung. Unplug the power supply and it worked.

Yesterday noon. She calls me at work. She has a flat tire. Changing the tire on the Excursion is no small matter. Good thing that I had my workout clothes with me. Once the spare is on the beast, she tries to start it up. It won't crank over. So I have to jump start it.

Off she goes to Walmart where they tell her they think it might be a bad alternator. She gets the kids at school, drops Reagan off at UofG and then takes the car to The Auto Shop. They tell her that the alternator will cost $450 plus another 200 clams to install it. I love how their web site sez, "To perform high quality repair service at a fair and just price." What a crock of shit. So Fran calls me to tell me about the $650 repair bill. I tell her that sounds like thievery to me. So while we are on the phone I punch up Autozone.Com and I look up the part on their web site - $150 bucks (Punch in part no: DL3603-18-2 for zip code 75082 if you want to see for yourself!) That really hacked me off. So Fran tells the crook at Auto Shop - my husband sez $150. Then he tells her well do they have it in stock (yes, this is like one of the most popular engines in the world); it must be the wrong part; and bunch of other FUD.

It was 4pm and I had no meetings. Fran had to get Reagan and take Marissa to practice. I was not sure what to do, but I figured I had $300 bucks to work with which was the difference in price of the part. So cut out of the office.

There was an Autozone right around the corner from the theives. I stopped there and sure enough they happily sold me an alternator for $150 Then I drove around the corner to get Fran. Now I was going to just give them the alternator and have them install it. Of course they probably would have rejected that idea. But when I got there I was still pissed off about the whole thing. Fran had left the truck idling. I was thinking that I might have to have it towed. I gave Fran my truck so that she could run the kids around. I took Logan.

Now the good thing about a diesel is that it really doesn't require much electricity to run. In fact, just enough to control the fuel pump and the injectors. Real trucks don't have spark plugs! So I drive the beast home.

Once home I discovered that a rookie can install an alternator on an Excursion in less than 30 minutes. Fan belt, three bolts, two wires. No kidding. That made me doubly pissed when I think that the Auto Shop wanted 200 clams to install the Alternator. That's $400 per hour!! Unreal. Don't go to the auto shop in plano texas. Those guys are thieves!

This morning Fran answered my phone and it went off into la-la land. I had to pull the battery to get it to reboot. My wife is cursed.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Several Thousand Man Days of Work
On August 1 of 1994 I kicked off a large software development project for BMC. Today my team shipped the first commercial gold master released as part of the effort. There is much to be said about the project, but I am too tired to write!

Monday, November 07, 2005
SuperBlue98 Team Photo

Logan is in back of the braids (Amanda) and in front of the baby. This photo was taken after this past Saturday's game.

Sunday, November 06, 2005
Texflats Brewery - Home of Big Ed's
Welcome to the Home of Big Ed's. Producing a good home brew requires some effort and some good equipment.

A standard batch of homebrew is five gallons. A standard batch of Big Ed's is closer to six gallons. One key to making good beer is to boil your entire batch. That requires a big pot! This one holds 30 quarts and is made of aluminum. I'd love to get one this size made of copper! It is my experience that females are repulsed by the smell of hops. Cooking the brew in the house is out of the question. The brewpot is sitting on a propane cooker that I converted to natural gas. Also note the large stainless spoon. With a large kettle, one needs a large spoon!

Cooling 6 gallons of boiling juice can be tricky unless you have a wort chiller. Basically at the end of the boil, I drop the coil into the kettle, shut off the gas, hook up the hose to the chiller and in 20 minutes the temperature of the wort will drop by 130 degrees!

Once the wort is chilled it is transferred to a glass carboy for fermentation. These carboys are either seven or eight gallon units.

Yeast is important for fermentation and flavor. Critical to a good fermentation is to start the yeast in small container then add back into the fermentation tank after it has become active. A one quart milk jar works perfectly for this!

Hops are equally important for the flavor and character of the brew. Hops are highly unstable. Pictured here are a bag of Saaz and a bag of Kent Goldings. Also displayed is the vacuum sealer - a very important piece of gear if you want to keep your hops fresh!

Marissa and Stompy

Marissa and The Cat

Brewers Note - Today's Batch comes in at 1.055SG
Its a brewing day! Today's brew adjusts the basic Big Ed's formula with 40 grams of the 10% Challenger Hops, plus 14 grams of 3% Hallertau hops for the boil. I finished with 16 grams of 3.5% Saaz Hops. The Specific Gravity came in at 1.055.

Texans - 3 Frisco Strikers - 1
The Texans got their second win, and the first in league play. It was their final game of the season. I was not able to attend the game, as it was my turn to take Logan to her game. They finish their fall campaign with 1 win, 5 losses, and 5 draws. Now on to indoor season!

Saturday, November 05, 2005
Logan Scores....Twice!
Yesterday's games were the last ones of the fall season for both Marissa and Logan. In Logan's match there were two interesting themes that played out.

Soccer age groups run from August to July. Logan was born the first week of August which means that she is the oldest player in her group - which are commonly referred to as 99's. Most 99's are in the first grade. Logan is the second grade so for the last two years she has played a year 'up' with the 98's making her one of the youngest players on the field. Logan is going to start playing with 99's this fall. It has been a tough mental transition for her to make. Yesterday's match was against Solar's 99 academy team.

Before the game I told Logan that we would be playing a 99 club so most of the opposing players would be younger than her. She told me that she wanted to play on the field, not keeper, if that were the case. So before the match, she went over to Coach Don to tell him the same thing.

Logan started at forward and won the second of our four goals. In the third quarter she played forward again and added our third goal of the match. It was a pretty big day for her, as Logan had not scored a goal in match in quite a long time. I think that she is getting mentally ready to play on the 99 squad!

The other theme in yesterday's match was an inept referee. The game is composed of four 12 and half minute quarters. After about 20 minutes into the match the ref refused to call a quarter. So Don pulled our players from the field. There was lots of heated discussion between the ref and the coaches. Our parents told me to be prepared to coach as it was not looking good for Don! Later in the match we had the ball pressed on Solar's side of the field when one of their players kicked the ball across the end line. The ref signaled goal kick. I shouted, "you gotta be kidding me," and the ref changed his signal to corner kick. One of the solar moms looked over at me and said, "I think he heard you!". Later in the game Solar made a long kick from their side to ours. Amanda, our keeper, ran out of the penalty box and played the ball up the field to our backs. The ref called a foul on Amanda for, get this, coming out of the penalty box! Don was trying not to go completely nuts and just turned around and walked away. I was unsure as to what the ref called, so even I kept my mouth shut - how do you heckle the ref when he is making up new rules? The ref then spotted the ball where the back received the pass - which is totally weird - but then again when you make up the rules as you go along, what the heck.

Solar beat us 6 to 4. They were fast. But in was a great game for Logan with two goals.

All views expressed in this post and on this blog are my own. None of my comments should be construed to represent the views of others including and not limited to: BMC Software Inc., Corel Corporation, Dun and Bradstreet and AC Nielsen. Copyright Chris Hughes 2004-2012