Pinball Wizard…

So, many moons ago when I was a young man, my good friend Ryan and I spent a small fortune in an arcade. Pinball was our game of choice and there were two pinball machines we played religiously – Cyclone and High Speed. I think for the amount of money we spent playing them over the years, we probably could have bought them.

Fast forward a couple of years (or decades) and I came upon an opportunity to do just that… buy one of those pinball machines we spent so much money on as kids. A friend of mine let me know about a guy selling a High Speed pinball machine that needed some work. The opportunity was too good to resist. I picked up the machine and started restoring it. It didn’t take long for me to realize that restoring an old pinball machine wasn’t exactly in the wheelhouse of things I do well. So I did something I CAN do well… pay someone to do it for me.

I put in a lot of hours playing that restored High Speed. So many hours, I started looking for the other machine that consumed so much of my time and money as a teenager. I eventually found a Cyclone in decent condition, the only problem was, it was 5 hours away in North Carolina. Not easily deterred, I made the 10 hour round trip to acquire our newest family member only to discover that it too needed restoring. By now I had gotten much better at working on pinball machines and actually got this one a lot further down the road. Not far enough though, and I ended up taking this one to the restoration shop too.

I now have both pinball machines from my youth and I am just sitting back, waiting for Ryan to come visit so we can spend all night drinking monster sodas and playing the two magnificent pinball machines.

If you’re ever feeling lucky, or if you think you might have some skills in the pinball playing arena, hit me up and maybe we can put together a little tournament. Until then, I will keep practicing and working on my next project…

a Mame cabinet…

Until then, here are a couple of pictures of the Cyclone and High Speed.

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Our Geocache…

So, Luke and I have gotten pretty serious about Geocaching. After finding quite a few caches on our own, we’ve decided to hide a cache of our own. After a lot of thought about what we should do with it, we’ve decided on this:

Our cache is going to be hidden in a low traffic, foresty area. We’re going to hide a game camera to take pictures of the people as they’re searching for it. Then we will put those pictures on this blog. Inside the cache, we’ve got a bunch of those cheesy plastic decoder rings you used to get as a kid in a Happy Meal or a box of Cracker Jacks. We are going to put a coded message in the cache, along with the rings, that gives the URL for this blog. Once they decode it, they will be able to go to the blog and see pictures of themselves searching for the cache.

Pretty fun idea if you ask me.

We’ve got our cache container, we’ve got the game camera and we’ve got the decoder rings. Now we need to figure out how to secure the camera to the tree so it doesn’t get stolen. We’ve also got to get permission of the property owner where we are planning to place the cache. After that, we have to register it with Geocaching.com and let the fun begin.

Do you have a great idea for a geocache hide? If so, place it in the comments and maybe we will steal your idea and use it for our second hide!

Our cache

Our cache

Inside our cache

Cache and the game camera

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I’ve been waiting…

I have been waiting a while for the opportunity to take Luke Geocaching. I always knew it would be something he would love. His mom and I actually took him a couple of times when he was a baby. Now that he is turning 4, he is old enough to understand what’s going on and actually help in the search. It’s been a lot of fun for both of us.

His very first find was a simple Altoids can in a pine tree at a park not far from our house. He was pretty excited when we found it but not as excited as I was for him. In the picture below, you can see it hidden in the tree above his left shoulder.

Since we’ve started, we’ve found 10 caches now. We’ve found one that had a lot of sweet loot in it – Luke chose a can of Playdoh over Glowstix. In another cache we found a Travel Bug that wants to go to Germany. I have a good friend at work that is going to France next month and she is going to take it and hide it in a cache there for us.

The Travel Bug find led us to buy some Travel Bugs of our own. We are going to send them to the cities where each of us were born – San Antonio, TX – Webster, TX and Des Moines, IA.

This has also led us to discussions about placing a cache of our own. More to come on that…

 

 

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I am Certifiable….

Bucket List Item:

Get PMP Certified. This was on the Bucket List more from an accomplishment standpoint much more so than a ‘hey, this would be fun’ kinda thing. Because it wasn’t fun. In fact, it sucked. It sucked hard, like few things in my life ever had or have since. I am thrilled to death to be done with it though.

For those that aren’t familiar with the PMP Certification, it stands for Project Management Professional. It is an extremely difficult certification to get, not only because of the difficulty of the curriculum and the certification test but the whole process is cost prohibitive as well. My good buddy David Quesada and I started on this journey in early 2012. I remember joking with him that just the application process was painful, that I wasn’t sure I had it in me to actually run the gauntlet to certification. I was only half way joking about that part though. The application took me about 3 hours to complete. They wanted a detailed breakdown of every project you had led for the prior 6 or so years… including every phase of every project, who you worked with, their contact info, expected outcomes, actual outcomes and whether or not you stayed on schedule and on budget. Did I mention the PMP certification process sucked? That was just one part of the application process.

Needless to say, I wouldn’t be blogging about it if I didn’t complete that grueling 4 – 12 hour days of training followed by the grueling 4 hour test. I wouldn’t wish that hell on anyone. Except for the part that I am now certified and it feels great.

Not only that but, I was so inspired by completing the PMP, I also went out and got the PMI-ACP, CSM and CSP certifications.

Up next, SPC certification… Wish me luck!

 

PMP – Project Management Professional

PMI-ACP – Project Management Institute – Agile Certified Professional

CSM – Certified Scrum Master

CSP – Certified Scrum Professional

SPC – Scaled Agile Framework Program Consultant

 

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I’m coming home…

It’s no secret that I loved the time I spent living in Nashville back in 2004 and 2005. I think I realized moving back to San Antonio, while it was great to be around all my San Antonio friends and family again, it became apparent pretty quickly that I wasn’t going to be away from Nashville for long. I have a lot of fond memories of my time in Texas but, almost all of them involve family and friends. There was really not anything about San Antonio keeping us there.

Mary Kate and I were married in Fredericksburg back in 2006. Shortly after that, she gave in and agreed that we could move back to Nashville if we put together a five year plan to make it happen. I should point out here that by saying ‘we’ could move back, I really mean me. She visited me several times in the year and a half I was here but she never lived here. So, we made a 5 year plan.

Over those five years in San Antonio, lots of things would change and the thought of leaving friends and family would make the decision more difficult. We bought a house and got married in 2006. We started a successful business in 2007. We had Luke in 2010. Lots of factors came into play.

Nearly 8 years later, circumstances in our lives provided an opportunity to seriously consider a move. I flew out and interviewed for a job. The job ended up being an incredible opportunity and we made the decision, reluctantly, to move as far northeast as our southern roots would allow. The very highest point below the Mason Dixon Line to be exact.

We are now comfortably settled into our new home. Luke is in a great school and Mary Kate and I both have great jobs. Even Baxter seems to prefer it here.

I am attaching a few pictures of just what draws me to the area. For our family and friends that are reading, you should make a five year plan to move to Nashville too! It has exceeded our high expectations!

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