Sunday, March 30, 2014

WEP 2014 3.28-30

What a weekend.  My wife and two of my kids got up Saturday morning to go to a fun run.  While they were there, our dog, which was on a leash, was attacked by a dog not on a leash.  I'm not going to go into all the details, but the owners are idiots.  Our dog got 12 stitches - poor thing.

Then today, I took him on a walk in the late afternoon.  We came to a street and we saw this medium sized dog in someone's drive way.  It was not on a leash.  It came running towards us.  I told me son to get me a big stick.  Once he gave the stick to me, the dog backed off a bit, but was barking madly.  The owner finally game out to get the dog.  I yelled over to her that our dog was attacked and bit just the day before.  She acted all shocked.

Then tonight, I took our dog out for a little stroll before bed.  As I came back to our home, some guests of our neighbors were leaving and they had two dogs.  One of them came running out towards me and my dog!  I had my big flashlight with me and was ready to give the dog a good thumping.  I shone my light into its eyes and it backed off.  The lady said, "he's friendly" and I replied, "nope, you need to get your dog on a leash right now."  She scrambled to get him and finally had to get someone else to get a hold of the dog.  After they got a hold of him, I explained that our dog was attacked the day before by a dog not on a leash.

This is so weird.  It's like our dog has a target on him this weekend.

Other than that, the weekend was gorgeous - I got lots of yard work done; went on walks, runs, bike rides and enjoyed the beautiful weather.

I also spent a lot of time watching the NCAA tourney.  Looks like I'm going to win my family's bracket challenge.

Friday, March 28, 2014

WIR 2014 3.24-28

Not much to report on this past week.

My wife and I got to walk pretty much every day this week.  My son B and I were only able to play basketball once this week; one day was really nice, the other day it rained.  The pine pollen finally got washed away with a nice rain storm.  I ate pretty good this week and tried not to stuff myself.

My new shoes came - they are nice!  My feet and knees feel much better now that I have some cushion under them.

This is the 5th year in a row I've bought Brooks and the 3rd year in a row I've got the trail running version of the shoe (Brooks Adrenaline ASR).

Pretty average week.  The big event was writing the retirement eulogy for my boss.  It was his last day at work today.  So I had to write up some praises for him as well as some "stats" about him.  My new boss was very impressed with the write up.  Today, she delivered the "retirement eulogy" at the end of our big weekly and monthly meetings - it was really good.

Still no word on the missing airliner.  The news stations are all over the road guessing what happened.  A big mud slide in Washington killed 10 people.  A huge fire happened in Houston - a video went viral of a construction working barely escaping the flames.  Obama and Pope Francis met this week.

My wife's good friend came over the other day to cook Venezuelan food.  It was really delicious - that was all I ate yesterday.  Tonight, wife and I are going out to dinner - probably Chuy's.

Not much else for now.  The weekend should be relaxing - some yard work, soccer game, NCAA basketball games.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

WEP 2014 3.21-23

The weekend was good.  I spent a lot of time watching NCAA basketball.  Currently, I'm sitting at number 1 in my family bracket.  The biggest game this last weekend was Wichita St. vs Kentucky.  I picked Kentucky and they ended up beating Wichita by two points ... the game went down to the last second.

Our church youth had a big activity this weekend.  I spent most of Saturday hanging out at that - I had to help with the dinner.

My son E had a soccer game - they are the 1st place team in their league and they played the 2nd place team on Saturday and won 7-3.  It was a fun game for them.  It was tied 2-2 at halftime, but then they just turned it on in the 2nd half.

I didn't get a whole lot of reading or chess done this weekend.  So, I'll have to catch up on tactics at lunch time during the week this week; although there are two lunches I need to attend this week.

Friday, March 21, 2014

WIR 2014 3.17-21

So, I'm going to try something new and see how I like it.  It's called Week In Review, in which I talk about the big things that happened this week; the big things I learned and made an impression on me.  I'm also gong to try what I'll call Weekend Postmortem; same thing as the WIR, only it'll cover the weekend.  The WIRs will be on Fridays and the WPs will be either Sunday night or Monday morning.

I recently posted about my new VPN.  So, last Saturday, my internet went down hard again.  After a few reboots, it seemed all back in order, but by Sunday night, I was only getting 0.1 or 0.2 download speeds.  The technician was going to come out on Monday, but then my speeds returned to normal.  On Tuesday, they were back to a trickle.  Finally the technician came out on Wednesday and found the modem was broken.  It was an old 2.0 protocol modem; he replaced it with a 3.0 protocol modem which could handle 50mbps as opposed to 15mbps.  After it was up and running, I tested speeds again and I have consistenly been getting 30+ speeds.  Today I was able to download several files quite fast :-)

The big news lately has been the missing 777 airliner which left Kuala Lumpur on March 7 and never arrived at Bejing.  They have still have not found the plane nor any debris.  The story is truly odd.

I got recognized at work 3 times this week - by three different managers!  One of them sent me a thank you note with a $25 Amazon gift card.  The other two "sung my praises" in various meetings I had.  I feel really on top of things right now at work - and I'm busier than ever.

Along with that $25 gift card, I had another $30 in Amazon gift cards sitting around.  I finally decided what I was going to use them on - a new pair of running shoes.  I have bought my Brooks running shoes directly from the site the last 4 years or so.  I learned this week that Brooks also sells their shoes on Amazon.  So I was able to knock off $55 from my new shoes.  I'll post sole pictures when they come.  Old Navy had a polo shirt sale this week - I bought two Jersey Polos - my favorite kind of polo.

The weather has finally warmed up this week.  My son B and I have started a new tradition.  Every Tuesday and Thursday we go to the middle school outdoor basketball court and play 3-5 games.  We play by ones and go to 11.  He then practices his one-hand shooting while I go on a short run.  I then finish with 10 pushups.  I have a new secret goal.  I am starting off with doing 10 pushups, twice a day.  Each week I will increase the number of pushups by 1.  In a couple of years, I should be to 100 pushups.  We'll see how it goes.  Also, I'm going on a little 2 mile jog 2-3 times a week (at night); along with my 4 mile walk with my wife in the mornings.

Wednesday Night
I help plan activities for my church youth group.  This Wednesday they did floor ball hockey.  They boys had tons of fun.

March Madness
It started yesterday.  The games are all streamed via the NCAA app.  So my question is: why can't all the stations (local / free) do this?  How hard would it be to stream all the local 2, 5, 8, 11, 13 channels to any device?

Still reading the Immortal Game.  Once I finish, I'll post the book review to

My wife made corned beef and cabbage this week.  My mom used to make that all the time, but this is the first time my wife made it.  I love corned beef.  My favorite sandwich is the Reuben at Jason's Deli.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Is my ISP Throttling?

I discovered a fascinating thing this week; I think.

After suspecting my internet traffic was being watched, especially after reading the headlines the past nine months, I decided to finally pay for a VPN.

Over the last several weeks and months, my internet connection just seemed so slow.  I used to occasionally test my connection.  Sometimes my download rate was slower than my upload rate!  Often, I would reboot the internet modem, my wi-fi router and even computer to see if that would fix the problem.  I'd say about 75% of the time that worked.  But one time nothing I did fixed the slow-down.

After a few days of no Netflix and slow web-site loading, I called my ISP.  From their end, "everything looked fine."  I ended up powering down everything and then bringing things on-line; first the modem, then the wi-fi router, then the laptop.  It fixed it, but I was still only getting around 3 to 4 mbps.  I'm paying for 15mbps.

For a few months I had been meaning to get Astrill VPN, but after doing some additional research, I decided to go with Private Internet Access.

I set it up this week.  After ensuring I was satisfied with the setup, I decided to do some speed tests.

I had normally been getting around 3-10 mbps on average days and up to 15 on the best of days.  After setting up the VPN, my first test came in at 28.41 down!  I was shocked.  I ran several other tests and have been running them off and on.  I've yet to get under 28 mbps when my VPN is connected.

Then I ran another test and it was slow again ... but I discovered my VPN had disconnected.  I re-connected and ran another test: 28.7 mbps down.

Now the rest of the story ... the last few times I called my ISP, just before ending the call, they would ask me if I wanted to upgrade to 30 mbps for an extra $10.  I think they are throttling my connection when I'm passing un-encrypted data (i.e. no VPN).

After a little googling I found this interesting article which totally confirms it now.