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Life &Sports by Spencer on January 28, 2012

Slow Off the Blocks

One of my resolutions this year is to continue to increase my fitness and I had mentioned that there was an aquatic center near my work that I was looking into. Well, that place didn’t suit my needs but I found a recreation center with a nice 6 lane pool near our house and joined up.

My plan was to build up to a mile (1650 yards straight, not a true mile, but what is considered a swimmer’s mile) and I found a plan that helps get you there in six weeks starting with 700 yards three times a week. I figured that would be easy as I did 3000+ yards in practice in high school. Boy was I wrong. My first workout was a Friday a few weeks back, and I couldn’t even do 300 yard and made myself sick… I had to pull over on the way in to work because of it.

So, I took a step back and have been working up my yards gradually… I was able to do 600 yards this past Friday (4 x 100 then 4 x 50). I am hoping to start the six week trek officially on Monday with the 700 yard workouts.

My start has ended up a little slower than I wanted but I really like the rec center pool and am enjoying swimming as a workout again. Hopefully six weeks from now, I can do the mile and go from there with my swims.

Life by Spencer on January 1, 2012

New Year, New Start, New Resolutions

It is the beginning of a new year and I can honestly say that I am glad to see 2011 done and over with. In nearly every area of my life, there were challenges this year and difficulties throughout. Rather than looking back, however, I want to use this time and this space to look forward.

In this year (and really the last month of 2011) I am in a new house, in a new state, starting a new job. We picked up the family and moved from Las Vegas to just south of Charlotte in South Carolina. I have taken a new position with one of the largest health systems in the region supporting the oncology service line that is going major growth. It is a position with a lot of potential and I feel like I am making a more direct impact on the care of cancer patients, especially given that I don’t have a clinical background.

Resolutions have been up and down over the last few years. 2 years ago I feel I did pretty well since I used this blog to help keep me on track. Last year, I wasn’t as focused and didn’t hold myself accountable by having specific goals or a plan to implement them. With all the changes going into this year, I want to be specific and dedicated to my resolutions as much as possible. So without any further delay, here are my resolutions for 2012:

  • Daily Devotional: In 2010 I set out and successfully read through the Bible in one year. Last year I wanted to keep up with a devotional but was never consistent about it. This year I want to try again.
  • Physical Fitness: I have been able to maintain my weight for a couple of years but I still have a long way to go to get in shape. I don’t believe that I will be able to bowl regularly as there are no centers within a decent range of the house. There is, however, an aquatic center very near my office. I will check it out sometime this week, but my thought may be to swim each morning before work. If that doesn’t work to be a good option, I will have to figure out something else.
  • Self Improvement: For the most part I believe I am a good person but there are certainly times that I react to situations in a less than ideal manner. The only way to truly change to become better is to acknowledge those times and figure a lesson to learn from that to hopefully not make the same mistake twice. While I may not detail out every aspect, I want to use this space as a personal journal to identify those situations and what I can do to better handle them. This will by far be the hardest resolution I have ever taken on and also the hardest to truly measure.

I believe those three are plenty for this year and hope to be more active on the blog this year as I track these and post about life in general. Take care all and I wish the best 2012 for each of you.

Life by Spencer on November 15, 2011

Boxes, Boxes, and More Boxes

We are in the process of packing and moving out of state…so far things are lining up fairly well. We have the moving truck booked and coming next week, we have our housing lined up in the new location, and we have gotten a good start on packing. It is a lot of work and we are swimming in boxes right now but we are on our way.

Life by Spencer on January 1, 2010

New Year’s Resolutions – Looking Back and Forward

Greetings and Happy New Year to all!  First, as I’m writing this, Purdue has just knocked off West Virginia in Men’s basketball and that was very enjoyable to watch.

This is really the first year where I (mostly) kept up with and tracked my previous resolutions.  Here are my final thoughts about 2009’s resolutions:

  • Daily Devotional – This had its ups and downs throughout the year and ended more down than up so I can only give myself a ‘C’ for this (as you can tell, I am MUCH more honest about my grading myself than Obama is).
  • Weight Loss – My goal for the year was 190, and I ended up the year at 182.  This gets the ‘A’.
  • Regular Blogging – I took the summer off from bowling and blogging and had a rough time getting back into it in the fall.  I’ll give myself the ‘B+’. 🙂

This year, while I will work to maintain my weight, I don’t have any specific loss goals or resolutions.  As far as blogging, I’m taking the same approach.  I’ll try to post fairly regularly, but don’t really have any targets or goals.  This year, I have one resolution; something I’ve never tried before and there isn’t any grading except for pass/fail… read the Holy Bible in a year.  I’ve found a schedule that has me read it through in book order which I felt was important for my first attempt.  Today I will start with the first 3 chapters of Genesis.  I have always tended toward the New International Version of the Bible and plan to use that for my first go through.

To keep myself held accountable, I will continue to give updates through this blog of my status and any setbacks I may encounter.

I hope you all have a safe and wonderful 2010.  Our country especially has a lot of trials coming up with our government set on taking away our freedoms and liberties right in front of our eyes.  I have hesitated on turning this into a primarily political blog, but expect more political commentary and insight as it suits the times.

Life by Spencer on December 19, 2009

Recordable CD Woes

We are about to embark on a long trip across the mountains for Christmas.  For the last few months (on and off, but more off lately) I’ve worked to create MP3 and WMA versions of all of our music on our CD’s.  The purpose for the two formats is fairly simple; MP3 is a bit more accurate and WMA is smaller so more can fit on a data CD.

I had run some tests a while back of burning WMA discs to use in our mini-van and they worked well.  Now that we are about to go on a trip and I have completed ripping all of our CD’s I wanted to burn the WMA files to discs to take on the trip.  Great idea but one issue: the brand of CD-R I bought don’t match those I tested with…

I have long heard that different media can have trouble in different players, but I really thought we would be past those days.  Apparently not.  I don’t know if I’ll be able to for this trip or not, but in order to try again, I’ll have to buy a different brand (preferably those that tested well before).  I’ve gone through 5 discs burning different ways to get a playable one without success.  I’ve been using the same burner so I know that isn’t the issue.

If I do go buy another set, I’ll let you all know how that plays out.

UPDATE:  Now we’re trying plan ‘B’… using our MP3 players instead.  This had some drawbacks as over time and moves I had lost the AC charger for my MP3 player and we can’t find the USB cable to charge/transfer on Kylah’s iPod.  We also didn’t have just a straight through stereo cable to plug into the AUX jack in the van.  Luckily, Fry’s Electronics is the best store ever!  I was able to get a new charger/transfer cable for the iPod, a universal AC adapter with the proper connection for my MP3 player and the straight through cable.

I’m currently charging my MP3 player and have downloaded our entire music collection to it.  After the charge is complete, I’ll test it out in the car and hopefully we’ll be good to go.

Bowling &Life by Spencer on December 3, 2009

Solid Night

Greetings all,

First, let me apologize for my lack in posting this season.  There really isn’t any excuse other than my time was being used in other ways (more on that a bit later).  I hope to be back to regular posting for the rest of this season.

Last night was finally a consistent, solid night.  Earlier in the year, I had  a 299 and finished with a 716 series for my best overall series.  Since then, however, I had been seeing more red than green and my average had trailed from a 198 to a 194.  Still so far my best average in a league, but short of my 200 goal I have for this season.

Last night, I shot a 201, 235, 203 for a 639 series and my first night where all games were above 200.  That was a pleasant feeling.  Of course, I needed to strike out the last 5 shots on the 3rd game to keep that alive, but was able to pull it off.  If you want to take a look at my stats for this league, you can click here.

Now for one of the reasons for the lack of posting.  A couple of years ago, I wrote a program to keep track of all of my leagues and scores and those of my teammates as well.  It worked well for the most part and I was happy with it since it was my first time trying to develop an entire application.  While it did work, there were areas for improvement and I decided if I was going to work on it again, I should try to get it to a point where I can make it available to people.  So I spent my free hours on weekend evenings redesigning and coding from scratch bowlingSTATS, along with all the help files and registration information needed to make it public.  It is available freely to download, and is fully functional for entering up to 8 weeks worth of scores; after that, registration is required.  Please check it out and let me know what you think.  Any feedback is welcome.

I know this is getting to be a lengthy post, but if you’re still with me I’ll give a quick resolution update:

  • Bowling Blog – D, this is only the second week of 13 where I’ve posted any notes at all.  My apologies.
  • Devotional – B, I’m reading most of the passages most days, but do tend to rush through instead of taking the necessary time to reflect.  This has still been my best year for doing a devotional, but better habits are still needed.
  • Weight Loss – A+, I’m currently settled in around 185 and am very happy.  I have exceeded my goal of 190 for the year.  I don’t have any immediate goals right now, but for next year may want to add some weight training to build overall strength.

Have a great day and I hope everyone had as wonderful a Thanksgiving as I did.  Take care!

Bowling &Life by Spencer on September 9, 2009

Bowling Starts Tonight

Greetings to all of my fine friends,

After a summer hiatus, bowling starts for me again tonight.  The season technically started last week but I was on vacation so I missed it.  My goal for this league is a lofty 200 average.  This will be tough especially considering that I only bowled twice all summer (had planned to continue to bowl practice regularly, but it didn’t pan out that way).  We’ll see how rusty I am after tonight.

As for the rest of my resolutions for this year… I’ve hit the weight goal of 190 so I’m really excited about that.  The summer has seen a bit of a drop in the devotionals, especially during vacation so still some room to improve.

Take care and you can expect more regular posting to start up again!

Life by Spencer on June 19, 2009

Good Customer Service vs. Bad Customer Service

Recently, I’ve had two vastly different customer service experiences.  I wasn’t planning on writing about the bad one until the good one just happened providing a perfect contrast to write a significant post.

Anecdote 1:

Early last week, I received my league bowling money; which was a fairly decent payout with my 300 game and good sweeper weeks.  We decided to purchase a patio set with some/all of the money depending on how it worked out.  We went to Kmart and found one that we really liked.  I went up to purchase and got rang up.  After nearly 20 minutes, they come out with the chairs but say they are out of the table.  They call around to other stores and find one that has one in stock.  This was after the Kmart associate was on hold for 15 minutes with the another store.  It was about 30 minutes away, and we decided to make the drive even though it was already passed C-man’s bed time.

I get to the store and they inform me that yes, they have the table, but that it is on lay away for another customer.  I ask for my money back and they say they can refund the chairs but not the table since I don’t physically have it.  Furthermore, they state that the other store should have refunded my money for the table before I left (which begs the question of what would have happened if they did have the table available to me, would I have had to pay again?).  So, we drive back to the original store… another 30 minutes.

When I get back, I demand to talk to a manager who agrees to refund all the money, corraborates the story of the other store stating that I should have been refunded there and offers me a whopping $5 gift card, to help cover the gas.  How nice… we won’t be going back to that Kmart ever again (and preferrably not to Kmart at all).

Anecdote 2:

On Sunday, while watching golf, I decided to take a few practice swings trying something new in my living room… yes something bad was bound to happen and I’d be up for a Darwin Award if I had in fact lost my life.  I made sure I was clear of all furniture and things were ok… until I forgot about the ceiling fan.  A few swings were fine and then all of the sudden, crash, chink, oh crap!  Two of the glass bowls that surround the lights broke.  I own up to it and expect to buy a new fan.  We really like the fan in the family room and I knew it was from Lowe’s even though it was here when we got the house.

I e-mailed Lowe’s and got a response back saying they can probably help me if I get them the model number and the store I would most likely work with.  On Wednesday, we got a call from our local Lowe’s stating that they could order two new glass bowls for $14.50 each.  I just need to come in to order the bowls and they’d call me back when they came in.

Today, I went in and asked for the associate that had called.  The manager (although I didn’t know he was the manager at the time) told me he was off but we could work with someone else in the department to get it ordered.  I was able to point out which glass it was even though they didn’t have the estimate in the system as I hadn’t come in before.  They also had two of the later model of the fan in a shopping cart next to the desk; either they had been returned, or the original associate had used it to get the part for the bowl on my behalf.  I’m not sure which.

The manager quietly told the electrical representative to just get two bowls out and give them to me and they would worry about re-ordering if they need to later on.  As he gave them to me, I stressed that I was willing to pay and they told me no and told me that if I had trouble leaving to say that Eric (the manager) gave them to me.  I had no trouble leaving.  I’ve given that Lowe’s quite a bit of business in general (but they didn’t know that) and they really impressed me.

Such a contrast… one store that truly wasted my time was willing to give me a spit in the face (really, what can you get for $5, they want you to spend more)… the other, which had done nothing wrong at all, really took care of me.

A little customer service can go a long way… Lowe’s gets an A+ in my book!

Life by Spencer on May 11, 2009

Under 200!!! Finally!

This morning, I woke up, put in my contacts, and did my official weekly weigh in… 199.8!  For the first time since sophomore year in college, I’m under 200 lbs.  I know it is just barely under and weight can fluctuate but to see a number on the scale that doesn’t start with a 2 is a pretty good feeling!

Life by Spencer on May 1, 2009

Resolution Update

The beginning of a new month, time for a resolution update:

  • Daily Devotional – I don’t think I missed a day this month, but did have to do two one day to catch up for a missed Sunday.  I still rushed on a few, but overall this is becoming a part of my daily routine.
  • Bowling – The blog was consistent and the 300 game trumps all. 🙂
  • Weight – Came in at 202.4 this morning, so no real loss.  I’ve been pretty good with the Wii Fit but have found a number of limitations.  I’d like to have a more structured workout so I need to look into other inexpensive options.

This month, I’ll give myself a B+.  Since I didn’t lose any weight this month, or reach my goal of 200 I can’t give myself the A quite yet.

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