Hawaii 2016

A Day in the Life4 Comments

We got married in Hawaii.  Ever since, it is a favorite destination of mine.  Probably the favorite.  So I was excited to be back in the land of aloha.

Hawaii 2016

While raised near the mountains, my kids realize how to be beach kids too.  Helps when there is a mountain in sight in the distance though.

Hawaii 2016

Pretty nice wearing a bathing suit every day for about 2 weeks.

Hawaii 2016

Went out and swam at the Waimea Falls but the rain had been non-existent so it wasn’t really flowing that hard this week.

Hawaii 2016

Testing out the underwater abilities of the GoPro.  Last time I was in Hawaii, I lost it in the surf.  That was not fun.

Hawaii 2016

Got in some snorkeling with that bride I was telling you about.  This was over on the North Shore.  We have a nice little swimming hole we like there.

Hawaii 2016

After a lot of snorkeling, it was time to head back.

Hawaii 2016

We never seem to take pictures together so we were trying to be more selfie friendly this time.

Hawaii 2016

Kayla and I just lounging in the Pacific Ocean.  Never got old.

Hawaii 2016

Eh, one rain storm.  I tried to wait it out.  Working the phone under the towel.

Hawaii 2016

Photo of us near our future home.  We saw a few houses that we could probably make work near this beach.

Hawaii 2016

They said they would come visit us.  Or move in.

Hawaii 2016

More time on the board.  I am not good.  But I love being out there.

Hawaii 2016

I got a few requests for rides.  I did my best not to kill anyone.

Hawaii 2016

I took Reagan out the furthest.  She was pretty uncomfortable.  But there have been zero shark attacks here on this beach so I said we were good.

Hawaii 2016

On our dinner cruise, we had this Coast Guard leading us out with a big gun on the front.  I was on the lookout for pirates.

Hawaii 2016

I told Kim I liked her hair in Hawaii.  Full of body.  This is now my lock screen background on my phone.

Hawaii 2016

Sunset.  Best I could capture on an iPhone.

Hawaii 2016

Seemed like a postcard.  I have never sailed.  Next time.

Hawaii 2016

We went under the sea again.  106 feet deep they say.

Hawaii 2016

Lots of fish and stuff.  But caught these 2 big sea turtles.  The highlight of the dive!

Hawaii 2016

There is the sub.  Largest commercial sub in the world.  Always a different trip as the conditions change under the water.

Hawaii 2016

Great trip once again to the 50th state! That’s a taste of our trip. Had lots more photos. Posted them over here

Killing Me Slowly

A Day in the Life4 Comments

Soda

Back in June 2013, I kicked diet drinks. It stuck. Haven’t had one since.

Well, there was this random Diet Pepsi in our fridge that a guest left a year ago and I tried it. It was awful. It used to be my favorite. It was funny how my tastes changed back after the purge.

Then last spring, I dieted again. Whole30 style. I wasn’t perfect but it was pretty good. I went somewhere into the 60 day range and then started disengaging. My training for the big races was ramping up and I needed more calories. And I needed my caffeine. My juice. Soda.

I have gotten pickier on my soda choices over the years. It is hard to turn down a “fruity” flavored Mountain Dew. I don’t really need regular Dew. But that Voltage stuff? That is crack in a can. If I could only have that, I would be set. And some Red Bull. It has special powers.

But I figure I am killing myself. I keep reading more and more about Type 2 Diabetes and I just assume I have it. Self diagnosed. Always a slave to the sugar. When I stop exercising, bad stuff happens. I become very inflamed. The random internet stuff I read says that massive exercise merely masks the symptoms of many of these diseases. They lurk under the surface. You aren’t preventing things by running a ton. You are just masking it. When you stop the exercise, the mask goes away and you realize the place you were really at health-wise.

Fuck. I am working too hard for this outcome.

My brain knows all this is true. So it is back to trying to remove the thing I love from my diet. I kicked soda out once again starting Dec 1st. Will it last forever? Maybe. Might be nice to get to a point where you can have the occasional cheat. But I have found that once you go off it enough, you lose the taste for it.

The loss of caffeine has always been another issue with this decision. I don’t drink coffee. I don’t want to start. However, I have been trying to find something else and I am starting to replace with unsweetened ice tea. Seems to be working. At least it is giving me something else to drink through the day and there is a meaningful amount of caffeine in the various tea selections. Having some amount of fun trying this new beverage everywhere I go. Even thinking about brewing some.

So why am I telling you? I don’t know. Some sort of public version of “calling my shot”. Trying to make myself stick to it this time.

I am not sure if I am going to try and purge sugar all together again yet. I figure this is my single largest input of the white devil to my diet. So maybe I can get enough out of this gesture to allow myself to go get some Rocky Road here and there.

Gone Solar

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Living in one of the sunniest states in America has its advantages as far as outdoor activities. But it also means there is power coming down from the sky every day. I read recently that enough sun shines on the earth in one hour to power the entire globe for a year. Folks like Elon Musk are working to make that a consumer viable option these days with things like Tesla and their Powerwall. I was intrigued by the Powerwall announcement and decided it was time to see what our solar options were.

Solar

We got a hold of SolarCity (Elon is the chairman) after seeing many of our neighbors go through the process with them. One meeting and I was on board. The trick seems to be you have to get your utility company to play ball. The City of Longmont, which we are just outside of, does not at this time allow private solar interconnectivity. However, we have United Power and they recently approved so there is a big spike in activity for this area.

Solar

The panels as pictured above are in two different spots on our roof. A larger array facing almost due west on the back of the house. And a smaller array on a south facing spot up front. The more the better. More power! The panels themselves are nothing like those ones you saw years ago. My daughter can pick one up. It is a big metal frame with a very thin solar cell on top. The solar cell is literally as think as aluminum foil.

Solar

That’s the back of the house during install. Let me tell you that SolarCity has this down. They are a dream general contractor. You sign the papers and they handle everything from building permits, inspections, utility coordination. It is a breeze. They keep you in the loop with their web site and mobile app. Everything is done online. I have been supremely impressed so far with their execution.

Solar

Now, the last part is the utitily company coming out to inspect and install a new meter. This meter apparently is able to track the electricity flowing in both directions. So when we produce excess power, it will go back into the grid and give us credits. Then when the sun goes down and we start pulling power, we start burning those off. It is nothing for us to have a $400 electric bill in a summer month. Pretty exciting to see a large portion of that being cut out by the sun.

Solar

We aren’t connected yet and that is the final step. But with the actual photos I figured it was worthy of a blog post. SolarCity gives a referral bonus to me and you if you sign up. So let me know if you want to be contacted. You can do it yourself but if you do it through an existing customer, they gives us both money & credit. What a deal.

If you are curious about the cost, it varies. SolarCity has different programs depending on your area and what your utility company allows. In our area, you have to own your own system to interconnect. So you can buy it outright or you can finance through SolarCity. If you finance, you basically pay SolarCity for the power you produce (not consume). That payment is effectively your loan payment for the month with a portion going towards interest and the rest to principal. So really, instead of paying the electric company the whole bill each month, we expect to pay SolarCity a large portion of that bill, which we retain as we own the asset. SolarCity charges a bit less per kWh than our utility company. So with a 12 kW system, we might see as much as 70% to 100% of our power bill reduced each month depending on our own consumption and the time of year.

Should be a fun experiment. Maybe this offsets the aging Hummer H2 emissions a tad. But I am intrigued now. What if I got a Tesla car and charged it off my freaking roof? That seems pretty sweet. To be continued…

Pop Evil @ Fillmore / Denver, CO / 2015

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Denver still has a legit rock radio station, KBPI. They put on concerts and this one tonight is their annual Christmas show. Headlining was a Fuller family favorite, Pop Evil. But it was on a school night and 16 and older required. So I had to go alone. But I took a video for Sydney and got her a shirt. Where can a Dad get a fake ID for his kid around here?

Concert - Pop Evil 2015

I have seen this band many times and they usually open for other folks in these bigger venues. But tonight they headlined the Fillmore and were excited to share the achievement with the crowd.

Concert - Pop Evil 2015

They focused on newer stuff which I liked. Really good set list.

Concert - Pop Evil 2015

It has been fun seeing this band mature over the years. I am a fan.

Concert - Pop Evil 2015

Setlist

  • Deal with the Devil
  • Last Man Standing
  • Goodbye My Friend
  • Dead in the Water
  • Torn to Pieces
  • Ways to Get High
  • Take It All
  • I Won’t Back Down (Tom Petty cover)
  • Boss’s Daughter
  • Ghost of Muskegon
  • Hero
  • Monster You Made
  • Footsteps
  • In Disarray
  • Trenches
  • 100 in a 55

Shot some video for Sydney. Thought it looked pretty good. I want to try the 4K resolution sometime on the iPhone at one of these shows.

I think I see me in there!

Pop Evil @ Denver 2015

Florida 2015

FamilyLeave a Comment

Just as it started to get cold in Colorado, it was time for Thanksgiving break.  Time to go somewhere!  This year we decided to head to Florida to take the kids to Disney, Universal, and catch up with family.  Here they are in my selfie attempt on Its a Small World.

Florida 2015

The big girls still love this stuff but I try and be sure that my baby has the greatest time ever.  She is totally out of character meet-and-greets.  She is ready to hang with the big kids on everything she can ride.  Which was pretty much everything we tried this trip except maybe 2 rides at Universal.

Florida 2015

I saw wildlife too, Disney-safari style.  Still a fun ride after all these years.  They go rid of the whole elephant poaching scenario which felt like it gave the ride more time.

Florida 2015

Uh?  Yeah!  I came around a building at Universal and saw this sign.  Transformers!

Florida 2015

Optimus Prime showing the way!  My girls loved this ride as did the adults.  Universal has a bunch of rides which I guess are motion simulators but you aren’t in a box.  You are in a car that moves through 3D scenes.  It is pretty sweet. Some of the actions like when you fall off a building really freak out your senses.

Florida 2015

But don’t puke!  I was pretty good on most rides.  I never puked.  But I am getting older and too much motion puts a little kink in my wellness for the day. When I was a kid, I thought adults were wussies for not riding all day.  Now I get it.

Florida 2015

I was enjoying the signs while waiting in line.

Florida 2015

Universal had these “drink all you can” plans so I got one.  You could take it to a Coke Freestyle machine and fill up all day.  I figured I will get one and just keep refilling to get drinks for me and the kids.  Plus we were coming back another day! But I knew there had to be catch.  These guys are smarter than the average tourist.  Turns out there is a chip in the bottom of the cup.  Once activated the cup is only good for the day.  When you put the cup in the normal Coke Freestyle machine like you have seen there is an additional sensor on the plate and it gives you restrictions on screen.  Darn.  And if you try and refill too quickly, they tell you you have to wait and tell you how much longer.  Nifty.

Florida 2015

This was Diagon Alley at Harry Pottter World.  Pretty impressive.  My mom was with us and was really blown away by the detail.  She likened it to when they went to Disney in the 70s and were in awe after never seeing things like that.  Such detail.  All those stores are working stores.  It was thick with people.

Florida 2015

The dragon up on the bank from Harry Potter.  It breathed fire a few times a day.  I never saw it but the kids did.  The ride inside the bank was pretty awesome.  Another motion simulator like Transformers as if you were in a mine car.  They new scenes from Harry Potter inside like with the real actors.  I don’t know if they film these with the cast after or how that works.  Or its all just CGI.  Cool in any case.

Florida 2015

My sister-in-law is a Florida resident and Disney annual pass holder.  So he had a few tricks up her sleeve that I had never seen.  She was able to get us FastPass comps a few times on rides.  Stuff I didn’t have the balls to do.  Like complain about the experience on a ride.  There were these people speaking/screaming non-English in front of us throughout the Star Wars ride.  Disney is there to please.  Take advantage of it.  Nice work, Sara.

Florida 2015

I totally was just posing for this.  I wasn’t pretending or anything.

Florida 2015

MagicBands!  In Disneyland (California), they don’t have this technology.  So I was curious to see what this multi-million dollar retrofit/upgrade had in store.  Basically, you buy these bracelets and they are your ticket to the park.  No more turnstiles.  You basically wave this RF bracelet near a Micky logo and it turns green and you are in.  The FastPass system in Florida was totally replaced by these too.  You would use your mobile app to reserve rides and the passes are linked to your band.  The rides all have the RF readers. When you got off the ride, you go to those screens to find your picture but now you just hold your band to the screen and it puts the picture in your account for later review and optional purchase.  A couple other rides made us of the bands as well.  It was pretty neat technology upgrade for the park.  Although, I think people are down on this FastPass experience.  If you knew how to work, the old system was more lucrative.

Florida 2015

I hadn’t ever seen this light display at Epcot with a bazillion lights.  All timed and sequenced to music.  Fun to watch the detailed programming they had in place.

Florida 2015

The tree.  Disney was blowing snow too.  I came to get warm people!

Florida 2015

Finally bumped into a buddy of mine.

Florida 2015

He was a little skinnier than I thought he would be in person.

Florida 2015

Jurassic Park still is magical to me.  From the day I read the book (written by my favorite author!) to the movies.  The ride gives me chills with the music and all.  I sort want to believe that they could really build this park someday.

Florida 2015

Hi, T-Rex.  Love ya.

Florida 2015

More Harry Potter time.  They recreated the Hogwarts Express train.  It travels between the 2 parks at Universal.  I thought it would be just some lame train where you look out the window at the parking lot.  Not.  It is a whole experience.

Florida 2015

Then I bumped into Megatron.  Just standing there.  He moved and talked.  he was huge.  Like 10-12 feet tall.

Florida 2015

The worst thing…we got broken down on a ride.  This is the Harry Potter ride inside Hogwarts.  I mentioned those motion simulators?  This is one kind.  It is known as “the arm” in industry.  You ride on those seats and the arms throws you around.  The black screen the people are looking at is a big movie screen.  IMAX like as it wrap around you.  We broke down here and they turned the lights on.  Fun to check out how everything looks behind the scenes.

Florida 2015

Bad part was we sat there for an hour.  They had to install scaffolding to get us off as they couldn’t get the ride restarted.  It was pretty shitty.  On my birthday no less.

Florida 2015

So 5 days at Disney.  1 at each park and a repeat at Magic Kingdom.  2 days at Universal.  4 tired people.  Me too.  We went every day until the park closed.  No strollers.  No stopping.  Vacations are an endurance event for this group.  I train for long days and long distances.  But even with Hokas, my feet were throbbing at the end of each day.  But it was worth it.  All my girls pictured here had a great time.

Florida 2015

See you again, Florida.