Happy 15th Birthday To Hayden

Hayden and IHappy birthday to my son Hayden who turned fifteen years ago today. In the picture to the right, he is sporting his new Super Meat Boy t-shirt which was one of his gifts today. It’s appropriate enough since he’s a pro at the game and has accomplished all of the achievements (a feat that few others have). It’s know as one of the more difficult games to complete all achievements on and I’m sure I would have lost my mind early on in the process. If he sets him mind to something, you can bet he will accomplish it.

I’m thankful for the kind person that he is and his heart for helping out (around the house and at church). He recently took an even more active roll in running the audio and slides at church. He and his friend have been doing an excellent job at it. I was blown away by his performance in the youth drama late last year.

I don’t really know which way Hayden will go when he picks a profession, but I know that once he sets his mind to it then it will be accomplished. Happy birthday from Dad. I love you.

New Phone Decision Time

There’s nothing like a cracked screen to hasten in the selection of a new one. I dropped my phone for the 4th time and apparently the 4th time isn’t charmed (unless you think cracked screens are charming). My Lumia 920 is getting a little old (3 years) by modern cell phone standards, but it was still doing moderately well. The battery was probably the weak link before the drop.

So now I’m left with the decision about what to buy as my next phone. Yes, buy. I don’t plan on going with one of the new lease plans where you pay monthly and get a new phone every year. That’s a tad too expensive for me right now and I don’t have a ravenous desire for “top of the line” phones. With the release of new iPhones and Android devices last month and this week of new Windows Phones, I am curious as to what the real cost of these devices over multiple years and how they compare to going cheap.

New Phone Every -> 1 Yr 2 Yr 3Yr
 High End (iPhone 6S, Samsung S6+Edge)  $37 ($444/yr)  $25 ($300/yr)  $21 ($252)
 High Mid Range (Samsung S6)  $30 ($360/yr)  $20 ($240/yr) $17 ($204/yr)
 Low Mid Range (Lumia 640XL, Moto G)  $13 ($156/yr)  $8 ($96/yr)  $7 ($84/yr)
 Low End (Lumia 640, various Android)  $7 ($84/yr)  $3 ($36/yr) $2 ($24/yr)

All of these numbers assume that you don’t break your phone. If you do that, then the chart just doesn’t cover that complexity (too many options then). Suffice to say that breaking an $800 phone is more expensive to repair/replace.

You know, if you want a high-end phone and you want the latest every year then for less than $450 you can have that. Not a bad price if you value that functionality high enough. I would place myself in the “Low Mid Range” category at this point (new phone at 2 years). I could see myself maybe moving up one category, but I’m not sure. We’ll see.

Spanish Class with Duolingo

DuolingoFor the past several years we’ve been using Rosetta Stone for Homeschools to provide foreign language training for the kids. We are required to have 2 years of a foreign language in order to meet state guidelines for high school students. The boys each have 4 or more years of training and the girls are just getting started (Emma has a year already). It seems that one of the security patches that Microsoft pushed out caused the software to stop working correctly. I contacted their support line, but was told that the version that we had was no longer supported and that we would need to upgrade to version 3 (latest version).

I had heard a couple months back about a new app for the Windows Store called Duolingo that provided learning tools comparable to Rosetta Stone, but was free. Duolingo actually started as a website and later added iOS, Android and then finally Windows 8 apps that provide device specific versions. Most people seemed happy with it, so we’ve been testing it this week. Given that the website is free, my expectations were a little low as to how useful it would be. They did have a classroom system where I could have all of the kids linked together into a virtual classroom and oversee their progress from there. So that was at least a good thing.

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Milestone Reached – Century

I have mentioned before that my goal for cycling is to be able ride a century (100 mile ride within a 12 hour period). In general, centuries are popular with cycling organizations and typically are schedule annually. Along the route, stations (SAG) are setup to provide water, snacks and restroom breaks. You’ll also typically have a vehicle that runs the course continually looking for cyclist that are having issues with their bike or their endurance. There is one schedule next month that is sponsored by the Baton Rouge Bike Club. I’m not a member of that organization, but thought I might join and take part in their Fall century. I hear the group is great, but I just don’t have enough time to drive across town for a ride. You also have to give up a lot of flexibility which is the case whenever you work with a group.

Since I couldn’t find any of my friends that were interested in a century this year, I decided to just do one solo here in the neighborhood. I’ve been increasing my miles with the intention of doing one as the weather got cooler. Well the coolness in the air this weekend triggered in me a desire to get it done.

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Happy 17th Birthday Quinn

Quinn's 17th BirthdayToday my oldest child Quinn turned 17 years old. He’s taller than me and arguably better looking (although there is some debate there). Yet I still remember falling asleep with him on my chest when he was just a baby. Hard to believe that it has zoomed by that quickly. It’s a big year for him. As a senior he has several decisions that are coming at him and although most of us didn’t have a definite plan at that point, the pressure is still every present. My prayer would be that he would have clarity of thought and a realization that regardless of those choices (and the outcomes they bring) we love him and think the world of him.

Still no Facebook or Instagram for him. Strangely he’s resisted any peer pressure to sign up for the “social media” thing. He’s gotten more into music and even those preferences have changed a little even though the 80s influence of his parents have biased his choices. Of the 12 million active Dota 2 players, he ranks 14th on the Americas (North and South) leaderboard which indicates just how good of a player that he has become.

It’s not easy trying to navigate the teen years and I’ve probably not been the best at helping him out. I often feel like I’ve let him down in that area. But I know that he’s got a love for God and a good heart. He’ll continue to make more and more of those decisions and I feel confident that he will strive to make good choices.

Stop by for a few words on what is happening with the Callahan's.