Thoughts & Tips For November & December

Joel-jasmin-forestbird-xzPMUMDDsfk-unsplashPhoto by Joel & Jasmin Førestbird on Unsplash

REFLECTIONS

  • The 2019 Baseball Playoffs in October were awesome. Congrats to Washington Nationals for winning the World Series.
  • October 31 was a very sad day for me and my family.  It was one year ago that my Mom passed away. I really miss her a lot.
  • Christy had a teacher's conference in Palm Spring the weekend before Thanksgiving and I was able to tag along. It was very relaxing and we had some great food.
  • Thanksgiving this year was excellent.  It rained a lot so we did not play our annual Thanksgiving Two-Hand Touch game.  Hopefully we will get to play on Christmas.

CHVRCHES

20191102_183729-COLLAGEMy favorite band was in town in early November.  It was a great concert.  Some thoughts on the show at CHVRCHES FAN PODCAST.

TECHNOLOGY AND TIPS

Two big conferences I have attended in 2019 -- GTD Summit & M Conference -- have stressed the need for quite and solitude in our daily lives.  Doing so increases effectiveness and productivity.  This article on "Solitude and Leadership" is definitely worth reading or listening to the audio version.

Some tips on how to make your iPhone more productive.

Looking for some a secure phone option that isn't mainstream?

Some other tips:

FUTURE STUFF THAT I AM EXCITED ABOUT

  • Christmas!

QUOTE I'M THINKING ABOUT

"No man steps in the same river twice" - Heraclitus

I also found all these great quotes from the start of each Star Wars: The Clone War Series.


Thoughts & Tips For October

Wood-doorHealth Update (Bulged Disk & Bike Injury)

Things are going pretty darn good. Not back to 100% but I'm not sure that is totally possible.  Just did a Sprint Triathlon on Sunday, Sept. 29 (500m swim, 17K bike, & 5K run).  I was slower than I wanted, but I finished, didn't get hurt, and didn't finish last in my age group!

20190929_104027-01Getting Things Done (GTD)

Several things going on related to #gtd:

Technology & Tips

I have had a "free" version of Plex Server running on the home network to serve up digital movies, photos, and music for several years. The free version is a solid product. But recently I upgraded to a version that enables access to our family's collection of media remotely while not on our home network.  Wow! Very nice! Especially when you are on travel.  No more copying down files before going on a trip.  Just get what you want, when you need it, while on travel.

If you get to New Orleans, then I highly recommend you visit the World War II / D-Day Museum:

DSC01417-COLLAGEFuture

I am definitely ready for the 2019 Baseball Playoffs.  It should be a great October.

Quote I'm Thinking About

“I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.” - Winston Churchill


Thoughts & Tips for August & September

Omaha-woodOverload Museum - Photo: Steve Holden

Health Update (Bulged Disk & Bike Injury)

Things are going pretty well since my last update in July.  My current "perfect" weekly workout routine is: 30 minute run (Mon, Tue, Thu, Sat); Pilates & swim (Wed & Fri); and bike & swim (Sun). Also usually every day starts off with a 30-40 minute set of stretching, rolling, and core exercises.

Christy and I had a good time on the July 4th doing the 10K Old Pros in Scripps Ranch, and the kids did the Fun Walk/Run. It was the first time I  have run more than 5K in over a year.  My time was slow, but it felt good and nothing broke!

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Traveling

In July, Christy and I had a weekend trip up to Napa for a wedding.  It was a lot of fun, but I would not recommend flying in/out of San Francisco International Airport because of the traffic coming/going to the Napa area.  It was pretty bad.  Recommend considering Oakland airport or Sacramento airport for visiting Napa.

DSC01040-COLLAGEWhen we were up in Napa we had some great beers at Field Work Brewing:

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In August, Christy and I made our regular trip to #hackersummercamp in Las Vegas for Def Con 27 (2019). I go to the conference during the day, and Christy gets time to read and relax. Then we get some dinner & craft beers, and binge watch a show in the evening.  In previous years it has been Homeland & Game of Thrones.  This year it was Season 1 of Westworld. You can get a copy of this year's Def Con conference report here: https://www.technewsradio.com/2019/08/def-con-27-notes-references.html.

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We also took Spencer, Carson, and some of Carson's friends up to Universal Studios in early August.  While they were at Universal Studios, Christy and I explored Griffith Park - hiking, multiple location sighting of the Hollywood Sign, seeing great views from the Observatory, checking out some outdoor movie sets (for instance the Bat Cave!), enjoying the Autry Museum Of The American West,  and had a great lunch at the Crossroads West Cafe.  If you have never been, I recommend it -- you can almost forget you are in LA!

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Honoring My Mom

Also in the beginning of August my sister and her kids came down to San Diego for the weekend.  We had a wonderful time remember our Mom and spending quality time together - including a harbor cruise.

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Getting Things Done (GTD)

Several things going on related to #gtd:

  • I taught two classes this summer at work - one at the end of July (Class#10), and another at the end of August (Class#11).  I'm going to be teaching at least one and maybe two courses in the DC area in September.
  • David Allen had a great presentation about "building the ultimate GTD application" at the #GTDSUMMIT, and I summarized all the content - video, audio, and documents - on my blog ---- LINK!
  • I am also very excited about the new book "GTD for Teens."  It is very approachable for teens, and young adults.  If you aren't a big reader (and like lots of pictures), then maybe this version is for you!

Technology & Tips

My trusty work Samsung Galaxy S8+ recently had an issue where it appears that the battery was expanding, and causing a gap to grow on the side.  I was able to get a replacement new phone - Samsung Galaxy S10+.  I'm really enjoying this new phone.  Here are some setup recommendations and tips that I ran across during my setup:

I am still enjoying the Sony RX-100 VI (6) ... but I just learned that there is a new Sony RX-100 VII (7) out now.

Future

Some plans are starting to come together:

  • Work trip to DC.
  • Work trip to New Orleans.
  • Sprint Triathlon at the end of the month.

Quote I'm Thinking About

"Simplfy, simplfy, simplfy ... Simplicity of life and elevation of purpose." - Henry David Thoreau


Thoughts On The Sony RX 100 VI

Screenshot 2019-07-20 at 15.10.45

I've had my Sony RX 100 VI since early June and I have been using it a lot since then.  Most of the photos and movies were taken as a "travel" camera during a recent trip to Europe. 

I've also been carrying it around with me just about everywhere I go, and I have found the pictures to be so much better than my Samsung Galaxy S8+. 

I recently read this review on Wired about the Sony RX 100 VI. I agree with most of what is written in this review, but I haven't seen the poor low light performance reported or the overheating at 4K video (I haven't tried to do 5 minutes of recording to be honest.  At the most 30-45 seconds at a time).

I posted some of my pictures taken at the GTD 2019 Summit in Amsterdam on Google Photos (most of them are mine, a couple are from the official photographer who used a different camera body and lens).  Most of these were in low light.

Screenshot 2019-07-20 at 15.03.25

 


Getting Things Done (GTD) Summit 2019

GTD Summit 2019 Collage

The Getting Things Done (GTD) 2019 Summit was held in Amsterdam from June 20-21, 2019.  We had already purchased our airplane tickets by the time I confirmed I was able to attend, so we ended up re-arranging and making some adjustments so I could attend, Conrad could still get to his major city requests, and Carson could fly home but still spent time in Germany, Belgium, Normandy, and Paris.  It was an answer to prayer that it all worked out.

The conference was amazing!  I still need to summarize all my notes, but here are some links to some online content about the conference:

GTD Roadmap For Summit 2019


Experiencing Rome

Rome

We arrived in Rome late in the afternoon on Monday (June 17, 2019) and made it to our AirBNB via a reserved driver.  This worked out great as our time in Rome was actually the shortest overall at this point.  The driver was waiting for us as we left the luggage area and drove us straight to the AirBNB.

Here are some pictures of our AirBNB.  I would recommend staying there again.  The location was good and it had a good kitchen and sleeping arrangements for us.

We did a walking tour the evening we arrived And then had dinner.

Our second day Tuesday (June 18, 2019) consisted of the following events:

On Wednesday morning we got up pretty early and made our way to the airport again using a reserved driver.  We had a relatively early flight to Amsterdam and we had read things could be problematic at the Rome airport. In our case it was not and things went very smoothly.


The Big Travel Day

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Today (Monday, June 17, 2019) is our big travel day - Carson flies home to San Diego from Paris; and Steve & Conrad fly off to Rome (and then on to Amsterdam, Berlin, & back to Frankfurt to fly home to San Diego on Monday, June 24, 2019).

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The trip from our hotel in Paris (Hôtel de Roubaix) to Charles de Gaulle airport was a straight forward train/metro ride (RER B).  It took less than an hour and wasn't very crowded.

For some reason even though this was a "BIG" day I only have four photos documenting this part of the trip.

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Carson made it through security and then customs on her own in Paris but it took much longer than we had anticipated. She was successful in flying home on United from Paris to Washington, DC and then on to San Diego.

Once Carson was airborne we made our way to a smaller terminal to fly down to Rome via Vueling Airlines that was booked via CheapOAir. 

While we were waiting for our flight we found a store called Spencer, and as we were leaving we could see a Concorde airplane display from our seats on our plane.

The trip down was uneventful and we got to Rome without any issues. Our Airbnb host reserved us a driver who was waiting for us and we made our way to our Airbnb in Rome pretty efficiently.  After checking in we managed to do some city exploring and get dinner before bed (see next post).


Normandy To Paris (2019)

BayuexOur trip from our Airbnb included a stop in Bayeux on the way to returning our rental car in Caen.  We ended up renting the car from Avis which worked great from my phone while we were actually traveling via train to Normandy via Paris.

We stopped in Bayeux to see the Tapisserie de Bayeux. that was more than like created in the 11th Century and is over 70 meters long. The tapestry tells the "engrossing story of the conquest of England by William, Duke of Normandy in 1066."  It was definitely worth seeing and the audio program was very well done.

After this museum we made our way back to Caen and then turned in our rental car.   We had a train ride into Paris (via the Saint Lazare Train Station) and then a Metro ride from the train station to the nearest stop near our hotel.

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The hotel was the Hôtel de Roubaix (6 Rue Greneta, 75003 Paris, France).  I thought the place was average and good for our situation.  It was easy to get to and easy to navigate to the Louvre for sure by walking.  Also it was easy to get from the hotel to the airport via a big transit hub that was just down the street (10 minute walk).  We used Booking.com to reserve our rooms.

Here are all the photos from this part of the trip.


Experiencing Normandy

Normandy-CollageOur Airbnb was excellent (photos). We would highly recommend staying there.

And the area around our Airbnb -- known as Les Bateaux -- was very amazing. It was a short walk down to the beach. There was a WWII Jeep parked at the bottom.

Our first thing to do in Normandy was to visit to the Overload Museum.  This is a great museum. Easy to access, tons of good info, and a large amount of physical hardware from both the Allies perspective and from the Germans.

Then we went to the Omaha Museum. I liked this museum a lot as it had a lot of personal items like all the types of firearms, uniforms, etc. There was also a good video documentary that they shared in their theater.

After that we spent some time on Omaha Beach. It was very low tide at the time we were there and the waves were very small. It is surprisingly long but only a few ways up from the beach to the high ground.

Once we finished at Omaha we drove to Pointe du Hoc. Being up on the high ground and looking down to see what the soldiers had to accomplish to take over this area was humbling. The bomb holes are still there and they are massive. The German guns at this site could have dropped rounds on both Omaha and Utah beach but they had been moved inland because of all the aerial bombing leading up to D-Day.

Then we went to Utah Beach. The drive reminded us that that there was almost 10K between each of the D-Day Beaches, and each beach covered a 10K operating area. I learned that Utah Beach went easier because of the tides and currents. The main body of troops landed in a place less fortnified than their planned location and the units here captured more ground in the first 24 hours than expected. The drive from Omaha to Utah had references to several locations were paratroopers and gliders landed.

After Utah Beach we went to the Normandy American Cemetery just before it closed. This was a very somber place and well done. It is much smaller than I expected given how big it has looked in the past when on TV but that was probably all angles and framing.

For dinner we went to Port en Bessin. The food was very good. The beach was area was interesting because it was full of shells. And we learned some more about what happened in this area during D-Day. The city and port were liberated by Canadian Special Forces.

We made the most of June 13, 2019!

 

 


Traveling from Ottignies, Belgium to Normandy, France (via Paris)

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The trip from Ottignies to Normandy started out great.  We went from Ottignies to Belgium Central, and then took a high-speed train (French) from Belgium to Paris, France.

Brussels To ParisWe were very concerned about our transfer from our arrival station (Gare du Nord) in Paris to the station (Saint Lazare Train Station) that goes from Paris to Normandy, but we were blessed with a great seatmate on our trip to Paris.  He gave us some great recommendations on what to do in Paris (stay tuned), and then when we arrived in Paris he took us personally from our station to the station we needed to go to via the Metro.  It was super easy with a guide, which would help use a ton when we came back to Paris -- and set the tone for the rest of the trip that we could easily take public transportation in Europe.  Wow a friendly French person helped the language challenged American!  Thanks!!

Metro In Paris

The trip from Paris to our stop in Normandy was pretty straight forward once we got on the train.  The WIFI wasn't as good as on the German trains, but that was OK.  We decided to end our train trip in Caen instead of Bayeux (which was closer to our Airbnb), because the Avis car rental company location was easier to get to.  It was a great decision because in Caen the Avis rental car location was a short walk and easy to find.

Fiat

In the end the drive from Caen to our place in Normandy worked out great.

Drive In Normandy

Here are the full photos from Belgium to Normandy.