Japanese White Lilac

Mom (Ruth) and a Japanese White Lilac in bloom – in our backyard

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A contrast of springs.

This spring has been quite different than last spring. Here it is the second week in May, and most of the trees are still budding out. This spring has been real wet with several snow storms; whereas, last year it was real dry. We were actually in a drought situation last year. Last year, on the 9th of April, the flowering trees were all the way out in bloom. This year on the 9th of May – a month later, the flowering trees have yet to bloom out. In the first set of photos is a tree at our Sanborn Park, last year all the way out in white blooms, this year the green leaves are still coming out and it has yet to produce the pretty white blossoms.

May 9th, 2013 - Same tree at Sanborn Park has not yet come out in blossoms.
May 9th, 2013 – Same tree at Sanborn Park has not yet come out in blossoms.
April 9th, 2012 - Tree at Sanborn Park all the way in bloom.
April 9th, 2012 – Tree at Sanborn Park all the way in bloom.

I am glad that spring is taking it’s time getting here – it can take all the time it wants. The photo below is of a flower in the front yard of Mom and I’s new home. I think it is a tulip.

Flower in the front yard of Ruth and Greg's new home.
Flower in the front yard of Ruth and Greg’s new home.

Spring has sprung!

In just driving around town, it is a beautiful time of the year to see the blossoming trees.

Pink blossoming tree at Sunset Memorial Gardens - Greeley

Standing next to the white blossoming tree earlier today, the fragrance was just overwhelmingly nice.

One of the prettiest white blossoming trees in Greeley - Sanborn Park

One thing is for sure – spring has sprung!

Another color of pink - right in my front yard

Aunt Bobbie, The Mighty Flyers

Hello on this Tuesday afternoon. I trust everyone is doing well. This past weekend we had a nice memorial service for my dear Aunt Bobbie. She passed away peacefully on Saturday the 6th. She meant so much to so many people. She was my favorite Aunt. Every time I saw here she always welcomed me and gave me a big hug and a kiss. Every time I saw my dad, he would say “Auntie Bobbie said to tell Greg hi!” She was always thinking about those around her and genuinely cared about others. As a Christian we have the assurance that we will see her again someday in heaven. Aunt Bobbie we thank you for all the great life memories we will always share.

If all goes well, I should be starting a new job on Monday the 22nd. I was hired by the home based worker department of Sykes. I am already familiar with this company, they had a call center in Greeley several years ago. I will be doing customer support for Fantasy Football customers on Yahoo.com. I have three weeks of paid training and then will work up to 39 hours a week based on need. I’ve been really studying all the rules and details, I signed up for play this year and named my team “The Mighty Flyers”. There will be 10 teams in my league, each team has 15 players, 9 of those players will be starters and 6 will be the bench. The team consists of 1 quarterback, 3 wide receivers, 2 running backs, 1 tight end, 1 kicker, 1 defense and special team. In the head-to-head play, I will be going against another team each week of the real NFL season. During that week, however well my players do in real life will determine how well I will do with my Fantasy Football team. If my quarterback gets 2 touchdowns, and my running backs get 3 touchdowns, I will receive points. For example if I draft Arian Foster – a running back from Houston Texans, and he gets 2 touchdowns this weekend in his real life game, then I will get 6 points for each of those touchdowns. So my Fantasy team will consist of the best players from different NFL teams. I am really looking forward to the coming season, both in real life and in the Fantasy Football leagues – Go Broncos!

Until next time – Have a great day.

Greg

Biking, continued fractions, and the NFL labor agreement

Hello on Wednesday July 20th, how is everyone getting along. Good, I hope. We are now one month into the summer season. I am enjoying it now while it is hot, soon we will have milder temperatures again.

This morning I went for a 17 mile bike ride on the Poudre River Trail. From 83rd avenue to the Island Grove arena. It is really nice this time of year with some of the trail shaded. The river has receded and there were only a couple of places with standing water on the path. I saw a squirrel, a toad, a white egret, several pelicans, and lots of birds.

I have been studying continued fractions in trying to solve problem 66 on project Euler. It doesn’t seem like anything too complicated, I just want to implement a python function to calculate a continued fraction and go from there. If I give the function a value, like the square root of 23, I want it to return a list of the values in the decimal portion of the number, so it would be 4. then a list of numbers. I think this will go a ways in solving that problem as well as some of the other project Euler problems. That’s my approach for now, maybe I’ll refine it later.

Observing recent news reports on the NFL labor negotiations, it seems as though an agreement may be near. Each side is said to have won on some points, with a new $1 billion dollar benefits agreement for retired players being the high point. With all the recent research linking football players to brain injuries, that is a much needed part of the agreement. There will also be restriction on the players workouts, with player safety being the main concern. The owners will probably get a larger share of the overall revenue, the players are said to be negotiating for 46 – 48 percent, down from the 50/50 agreement that has expired. Rookies will also get smaller paychecks, about half of what some had signed for in the 2010 season.

Well, that’s all for now. I am not meeting the daily goal for 750words.com, today only three hundred and sixty – nine words.

Mount Evans, fastest supercomputer

Happy Monday to everyone. Did you have a good weekend? Is you new week getting off to a positive start? Looks like were in for some cooler weather, still really nice, just not quite as hot. It was 109 degrees yesterday were my sister Marsha lives, in Amarillo, Texas.

Last Friday I took a drive to the top of Mount Evans. I had a nice lunch with my dad, he then graciously helped me fill my gas tank, so I thought it would be a good time to take that drive. There is still quite a bit of snow, but the road is open. I parked my car in the parking lot at the top of the mountain, then took a hike the rest of the way to the official summit. The view is just spectacular. You can see Long’s Peak to the north, Grey’s and Torreys Peaks, South Park, the Collegiate Range, Mount Bierstadt, the Sawtooth Ridge, the plains – just awesome. To view a four minute slide-show of my pictures, click here. I threw a snowball or two just for the fun of it. There were quite a few people up there, the parking lot was full. There were also some bikers, some riding from Echo Lake to the summit. Just a day after I was there, I read a sad news article about a woman in her twenties falling from Sawtooth Ridge. Click here to read the article. I am very blessed to be so close to something as awesome as the Rocky Mountains. Adventure is just a few hours drive away.

Today in the online algorithm class we learned about the quicksort algorithm. This is recursive partitioning. It is generally faster than insertion sort or merge sort. The mathematics part of this class is way over my head, but I am getting the gist of the algorithms and how they work. The math is about how long it takes the algorithm to run, there is a worst case scenario – the longest it would take to run, the average case scenario, and and a best case scenario. Usually in this class, they deal with the worst case. This is to get a ‘guarantee’ on how long the algorithm would take to run. I suppose computer time is a big commodity when dealing with large amounts of data, such as with phone companies, grocery stores, government entities, the electric company and so on.

The other day I read that Japan now has the fastest supercomputer in history, nicknamed K – a play on the Japanese word kei, meaning 10 quadrillion, the number of operations per second it is designed to perform when it is completed next year. It has performed 8.16 quadrillion operations a second, making it 3 times faster than China’s previous record holder.

Poudre River Trail, Greeley rodeo, tomato wars

I just got in from a bike ride on the Poudre River Trail, and am sitting down with my laptop and an ice tea. 1:00pm and it is already 88 degrees. Sure is a nice day.

Although the bike trail is open, I did get a little wet on my ride. There were four or five places with standing water on the path. One place was 6-8 inches deep, so my feet got wet. No sooner did I pass through that part of the path when I saw a big bull snake sitting in the middle of the trail. He was not bothering anyone, so I left him alone. The river is still running real swiftly and has not receded very much. There were several other people on the trail, so for all practical purposes, I suppose most of the trail is open. It will probably remain closed were the path goes under a bridge. The water is probably still too high in those areas.

This time of the year is rodeo time. The world’s largest 4th of July rodeo starts tomorrow, June 24th, and goes through July 4th. We will probably start to notice some of the ‘cowboys’ and their trucks and horse trailers in town. There will be a flapjack feed, nightly concerts, a carnival, a demolition derby, and a daily rodeo with the finals being won out on July 4th. The 4th of July fireworks are a neat thing to see. People park their cars within viewing distance of Island Grove Park and are treated to a pretty spectacular show. In the morning of July fourth is the parade. Sixty-thousand or more people line the streets of the parade route and see: marching bands, hot-rod cars, lots of horses and civic leaders, beautiful floats, clowns, street sweepers, tons of American flags, and a jet fly-over at the start of the parade.

During a quick trip to get some more ice tea, I saw 40-50 horses riding thru town. Riding them were sheriffs and local officials of Greeley. I suppose it was to kick-off the Greeley Independence Stampede. I read that the Independence Stampede is losing money, and has done so for the last three years. I wish them well and hope they have a great turn-out this year.

Today for my algorithms class, day 2, there was a young guy, really smart; however, he was not as good of a lecturer as the day one professor. He just lectured on the math of algorithms, most of it was over my head, but I understand that mathematics plays an important role in developing algorithms – in trying to find out the best solution as far as the time it takes your program to run. I’ll probably continue to watch each day’s lesson. When I was in school, a long time ago, I did not have the chance to take an algorithm class. I know algorithms and data structures play an import role in programming, so I think it is good to have some sort of understanding about them.

The tomato wars are back. During the 1980’s and 90’s, Twin Lakes was the site of Colorado tomato wars. People would throw tomatoes at each other and get all covered in tomato juice. The wars were stopped in the early 1990’s due to some legal requirements. I remember driving by the 1987 war in Twin Lakes, they were really going at it. They’ve been brought back to Copper Mountain, Colorado. They will have a tomato fight this Saturday. There is a charge of $39 to participate in the days activities.

How about the Colorado Rockies. After starting out the season in the top spot in their division, they are now in third place, three and a half games behind the San Francisco Giants and Arizona Diamondbacks. If they can get some consistent pitching, and some good batting they may work their way back into first place.

I just got done applying at a work-at-home company. VIPDesk is looking for customer service professionals to service an outdoor audio company. They cater to snowboarders, skiiers, and surfers. The company sells audio products to 18-35 year olds. They sell headphones and things you can wear while participating in one of these ‘action sports’. VIPDesk calls the position a Brand Ambassador. Who knows maybe I’ll get through the application process, which includes a background check. Their background check consists of a credit check and a criminal check. I just recently completed the bankruptcy proceeding so my credit should be fine, and I have no major criminal history.

Have a great day!