Jacksonville - this week.



We made it. Not as much snow as I had hoped, but there should be plenty up on top


I'd rather be skiing

My List of things going to Switzerland (all in one bag):

Ski pants
Ski Jacket - Both parts
North Face jacket
Mammut fleece
Berghaus fleece
Berghaus pullover
North Face vest
Mammut fleece hat
Mammut wool hat
OR hat
Penguins hat

Tron suit
Long underwear
Long sleeve BR shirt
North Face sweater
REI wool sweater
Blue running long sleeve
4 t-shirts
Long sleeve button down
8 pair underwear
white socks
wool socks
2 pair jeans
1 Khaki

Ski gloves
normal gloves

North Face shoes

BACKPACK Essentials:
iPhone charger
Camera Batt. Charger
EURO power conversion


Wax Moths

This is what happens when you have a weak hive. This was my Russian hive and I have to say I'm not to bummed that the hive is gone. My Russians have always been a troublesome and unproductive hive. As the hive grew weaker as winter approached, the Wax Moths moved in. It's simple; the moth lays eggs, the larvae eat the wax then cocoon in their own webbing. They can destroy a hive in a week. I ended up completely burning this hive - which is a story in itself. Pine, propolis and wax make a perfect source for combustion. Lets just say I lit up the neighborhood.



I'm skeptical, but Matt says that he agrees. I haven't tried one yet.


Final Scoreboard

Yes, I was standing on the Centre Court grass when I took this photo. No one tackled me.


When you're dealing with international media folks sometimes you have to be very specific. This sign was in the media centre.


Team dinner

After a long two weeks we finally sat down and had a meal as a team.IDS & IBM UK at the fancy and expensive Pizza Express.


Middle Sunday

Middle Sunday is a rare day off in the tennis world. It is something that Wimbledon does that is absolutely brilliant. We all get a day of relaxation during three weeks of stressful work. Unfortunately, Erich has decided that middle Sunday should be used to sun himself in the British sun. Not very attractive.


Still playing

The roof is not just for rain anymore. They will now play until 11PM if necessary. This photo is from around 10:30PM.


Black Snake

I was walking through the gate today to go get the mail and saw a head sticking out of my rain gutter.

It turned out to be a black snake, so I watched it for a while as it crawled back and forth along the gutter and finally started up the roof.

I imagine the shingles were smoking hot from the sun, so the black snake didn't take long to find it's way onto my power line. It eventually made its way to the ground where I picked it up with a pitch fork and took it to the woods.

It will live to see another day. I used to kill the black snakes that were in the yard, but stopped a few years ago after hearing that they eat other snakes - especially copper heads. Plus, the things are pretty docile - during the entire journey on the picth fork (after dropping it multiple times) not once did it try to strike or bite me. This snake was about 5 feet long - probably the largest snake I've seen in our yard. After I released it in the woods, it came right back into the yard. So I grabbed it again and took it deeper into the woods. I'm fairly confident that it came back anyways.



This is Crumpley... Showing off his US Open Golf credential.


Pit Crew Challenge

The start of the Push for the Carolina Panthers team during Media Day.

The finish shown by the Lynx Photo finish system - which I learned a bit about this week.

I haven't been invovled with much, if any, timing software and gear during my tenure in the sports world. This past week was a true learning experience for me. Thanks to Skunk and his team for showing me the ropes!


Court 3

The new Court 3 with Court 4 in the '4ground.' Both will be inactive for 2010.

It is nearly 'Time'

I realized while standing in the Club office that I'll be back on site for The Championships in one month. Not enough time.


In the rain

Monday breakdown is looking like it's going to be a soaker. 1 - 2 inches of rain is forecasted with some of that being in strong thunderstorms. I hate breaking down in the rain - and I hate setting up in the rain.

Some memorable rain events in my career:
1. Ryder Cup '95 - I didn't prepare for rain or cold. It rained on Friday of the event and I was soaked. All I had was a tennis pull over which didn't keep out the rain or the cold - It was about 40 degrees that day. Miserable!

2. Ryder Cup '99 - The hurricane that was supposed to hit Jacksonville (and didn't) came right over Boston and drenched us for two solid set up days. I had all the necessary rain gear but it didn't help. I was still soaked. Miserable!

3. Corning LPGA '08 - Set up in Cold, Rain, Sleet, and even thunder. I was warm and dry, but one of the interns who was there didn't have rain gear or warm clothes. I ended up giving the kid a heavy sweatshirt to stay somewhat warm. Tolerable!

4. Wimbledon '08, '09 - Wimbledon is of course known for its long rain delays. In the two years that I've been at the event we've had a total of about 3 hours of rain delays. I'm a good luck charm. Now that they have a roof, it will never rain again. Awesome!

5. Belmont, NC '05 - First year in our new house and it was the year of the monsoon rains bred from tropical systems. I spent one of my few couple days off digging drain trenches, installing drainage pipe and pumping out the 18 inches of water from my utility space under the house. Later that fall we had to replace the HVAC. Miserable!

Will tomorrow make the list?



I saw bees circling my yard a few days ago - that is a bad sign; it's usually indicative of a swarm. So I marched out into the circling bees and found a group of about 100 bees in the grass with a queen. It was definitely a swarm, but the smallest one I've ever seen. Let's just say that I'm sure that it came from one of my hives, but I'm not worried that it had much impact.

I've added all of my supers (boxes of frames for honey) and they are likely full already. I may spin some honey this weekend and put the empty frames back on to get some more honey. I really need to buy more supers in the off season. I was not properly prepared this year - lazy I guess.


My Golf "Rounds"

My daily rounds each day include checking on the computers in:
- The Champions Room
- The Players locker room
- The Clubhouse lounge
- The Chairman's office
- The General Manager's office
- The Official's room
- Bobby Jones Cabin (Chairman Payne's residence)

Sorry, just a little bragging.


Masters Ping Pong

It's on! I lost in the second round to Matt Ballard. In 2009 I lost
to his brother in the finals.


It is official. I am addicted to Coke again (cola that is). The nonstop free flowing supply of CoCola, as it's called in the south, is spawning an addiction that will last through the summer.
- Breakfast: Two Krispy Kremes and a Coke
- Check on Tournament HQ - get a Coke
- Lunch at the officials tent - get a Coke
- Use up my "free" lunch tickets - get a Coke, then go back and get another
- Dinner - WATER - otherwise I won't sleep

I figure that I'll keep the addcition going whilst in the UK and in France - and by the time I'm home in May, the addiction will be too bad to break prior to my departure for The Championships and The Open. When all is said and done, it will probably be the US Open Tennis where the addiction will break. Not because I won't crave Coke, but because they only have Pepsi products on site. I'd rather drink battery acid.



I took my first shower in a week just a few minutes ago and it was outstanding. From the picture you will see that all I have in my room is a tub and a partially working toilet. What makes it worse is that the bathroom smells like a combination of rust, urine and mold with a fresh coat of paint. My partially working toilet is another story. The tank only fills up to about 1/6th capacity, not allowing the next flush to be sufficient to move "materials." for some reason once the water stops filling the tank from the valve stem, water starts flowing out the tube that fills the bowl. So I've since removed the rubber tube to allow the water to flow directly in the tank until it reaches the overflow tube - then filling the bowl. A 5 dollar part could fix it, but I don't have the energy.

I never realized that taking a bath would be so difficult (I never take baths). I hate it. Plus, the grime you are washing off is still in the water that you are bathing in. I just don't get it.

So tonight I used the downstairs shower an I loved it. It's the ittle
things in life. It's 9 o'clock and I'm going to bed.


I'm Back

It is so good to be back. I saw a lot of the course and it is in fine
shape. However, the azaleas are not blooming yet. I fear that they
will not be ready for next week.



Has anyone ever said to you; "Can we do something about that?" The question can be interpreted in many ways such as; 'Company X offers this service, can we do something about that?' Basically, can we offer the same service as company X, or do we have the tools to implement such a service.

The interpretation that I always hear is; "Chase (my dog) is restless, can we do something about that?" Or, "I need a patch of sod cleared for my vegetable box, can we do something about that?" Those two questions are, of course, uttered by my wife - The latter one is usually on a Saturday morning while she is reviewing her list.

Wife: "I need a patch of sod cleared for my vegetable box, can WE do something about that?"
T-Rav: "What? Do you want me to get you the shovel?"
Wife: "No, I was hoping that you would dig it up for me while I'm doing other stuff."
T-Rav: "So what you're saying is that you want me to clear the sod, dig the hole, built the box, fill it with dirt and then call you?"
Wife: "Yes, that would be perfect!"
T-Rav: "Then why did you say WE?"
Wife: "Well if you need help I can help."
T-Rav: "Right!"

The prior one (about Chase) at 5AM this morning.
Wife: Grumble, moan, barely awake(as Chase is whining and pacing) "Can WE do something about that?" (assuming that I am already awake)
T-Rav: "By WE do you mean ME?'
Wife: Uttered something incomprehensible in annoyance.
T-Rav: "I guess so!"
Funny thing is she won't even remember it.

WE is only included because the person asking the question doesn't want to do the work, but at the same time doesn't want to sound like they are bossy.

I'm probably going to have to pay for this post once the wife reads it. Payment will likely be 'US' digging out stumps in a few weeks.


Spring is here

Finally, two straight weeks with no freezing temperatures.
Time to get the yard back in shape prior to my trip to The Masters.


15K Update

After viewing the Gate River Run 15 K results I found out the following information:
- My gun time was 1:30:42
- My chip time was 1:28:46
- Ave. Pace 9:33/mile
- I was 478/974 in my age group
- I was 4306 overall (of about 13,000 finishers)
- If I were 75 years old, I would have won my age group (all other younger age groups had a winner faster than my time)
- If I were a 70 year old woman, I would have won my age group (same as above)
- There was another Travis Smith running the race - he is 2 years older and beat me by 23 minutes.

I'm slow but I had fun - I'm ready for the 1/2 Marathon now.


1:30:40 gun time

It wasn't too bad. My knees are killing me.

25 minutes to go

Dom and I gearing up.

1 hour 5 minutes to go

Visited these twice already. Plus two at Andy's house. I'm definitely hydrated.



Since I'll be delerious at the finish I thought I'd get a photo now so I can remember it. I'll be getting up around 5:30am tomorrow, arrive at the race around 7:00am and prepare myself mentally for the 8:30am start. Hoping for a 10:00 pace per mile.



Yes! Andy can read. Who knew?


This Week

My week coming up;
- Drive 400 miles to Jacksonville
- Lunch at Noon
- Spend the night at the Cabbage house
- Meetings
- Swing set assembly
- Meetings
- Inventory
- Carnet Preparation
- Argue the 'Left' with TBG, SLAW, Ingalls
- Possible Lunch at Hooters to discuss the above
- Meetings
- Bubble wrap
- Load cases
- Meeting
- Conference Call to London
- 15k Gate River Run
- 400 miles to Charlotte


It's Snowing Again

Seriously, I'm ready for this crappy weather to end. Since I've been home from Australia we've only had one day over 60 degrees in Charlotte. I know it's still winter, but we typically average 55 degrees this time of year. Hopefully my trip to Jacksonville next week will warm the bones.


Bee news

It's hard to see, but in the photo above (click on photo to enlarge) there are about 100 bees in a pot that is just inside our gate entrance. Why? It is in the 50's today and the bees are out looking for water. I've noticed over the past few years that the bees are attracted to Brandi's potted plants. My theory is that the potting soil that Brandi uses contains peat. Peat is good at holding moisture and it also has certain resins that the bees can use for propolis. Propolis is, of course, used in 'gluing' areas inside the hive such as cracks that may allow air or pests through.

I did manage to open one of my hives up this past Sunday (with my 86 year old neighbor Jackie). I found some brood, but I was expecting more. With the recent cold weather, I'm not entirely surprised. Seeing brood however means that I have a healthy laying queen.

I also found a lot of dead bees in the frames. This surprised me at first, but I realized that this is the earliest I've ever opened up a hive coming out of winter. The dead bees I found were all in the cells of the wax which to me indicates one thing; they died of exposure. When it gets really cold, the bees huddle into a ball shape to maintain a temperature of about 95 degrees (within the ball). The bees on the outer edge of that ball face the coldest temperatures and they can succumb to the cold. Over the next few warm days, the worker bees will start clearing out the dead bees to make room for the new eggs that the queen will be laying. They better hurry; the nectar starts to flow in mid April.


Carbon Credits

Brandi and I are going to France the last week of April and I am meeting her in Paris after my Wimbledon spring test. When booking my flight on British Airways, (which was cheaper than the travel sites due to the exchange rate) I noticed I could contribute to carbon reduction projects by paying a about 1 US Dollar. What they do is estimate the amount of carbon I use by flying on that particular flight and then they give me the option of offsetting my carbon usage. Of course I said yes!

But climate change is a hoax so I guess I wasted my money.


Full force

The bees were out and about today with the nice weather. We got to a high of 60 degrees and the bees took full advantage bringing in loads of pollen.

I'm bringing a guest into the apiary tomorrow. My 85 year old
neighbor, Jackie, will be joining me as I take a quick look into the
hives. It will be my first educational visit and I'm looking forward
to it.


Northwest breakfast

In honor of my colleagues working in the Pacific Northwest, I decided to have myself a nice PNW breakfast. Scrambled eggs on toast with smoked salmon. Oh, with a nice sprinkling of feta cheese. Outstanding.


Looking for Organ Donors

The first email I got today was from the "Brain" (Mitch). The second email of the day was from my better half...

"If you go to the grocery store, please get apples, broccoli, and organs. Only get the fruit if they look "bright" and healthy."

My first question was; does this mean I can get the organs if the look old, dark and cancerous?

My wife does work in health care; but seriously, what kind of operation are they running?


BEEginning of the season

The thing that aggravates me the most about our recent cool and snowy weather is the impact it is having on my bees. As I look up at the tops of the Maple trees, I see them starting to bloom. Maple is the first important source of nectar, and more importantly, pollen. This pollen stimulates brood growth in the colony and kick starts their productivity. Now the cold is affecting the blooms and the ability for the bees to get out of the hives.

It is right about two months until the "honey flow" for the Piedmont of North Carolina. Two quick months for the bees to build up their brood. Considering that it takes a worker bee 21 days to go from egg to adult, there is not much time to get things moving. Once the Tulip Poplar blooms, it is all up to the bees and the weather.

Last year was the first year out of three that I had any luck. My first year was a learning year. Add to that a hard frost (those of you at the Masters remember the cold) that killed a lot of the Tulip Poplar blooms and it was a dismal year for me. The second year started out strong for my bees. Two really strong colonies - right up until they swarmed. So again, no measurable amount of honey. But last year... man was I in for a surprise. 150 pounds later, I'm just now running out of honey.

If I can get lucky with minimal swarms and good weather in April, I'll be looking at another bumper crop. But those things are beyond my control.

Sick of it

2 inches of snow overnight. It's not much in comparison to my father's
house, but dammit I live in the south.


Pain, is it my age?

So I played some hockey on Wednesday night. It was one of my rougher excursions, especially with number 85 on the other team. Just for reference, I play defense. Defense entails protecting the area around your goal keeper by any means necessary. And, in the somewhat rare instance, protecting the goalie who is usually defenseless when being bombarded by the opposing team. This is all standard hockey defense. Unless you are 5'8" and slightly over 150 lbs.

I typically defend my side of the net against dudes (and ladies) who are significantly larger than me. Therein lies the fun. Imagine me trying to push someone out of the way who is 6 inches taller and 100 lbs heavier. Some of them are even the size of The Big Guy. Typically when they are as big as TBG they just turn around and laugh at me.

But it is when I (the small guy) and the opponent (the big guy) start getting angry at each other when things really start to hurt. This past Wednesday, I drew three penalties against the other team for retaliation. But those penalties came at a small cost. 1) Slapshot to the calf -which began cramping shortly after. 2) Sore jaw - from my head slamming into the ice. 3) Whiplash - again from my head slamming to the ice. 4) Sore back and hip - from #19 hooking my legs then falling on me - and then picking me up by my legs as he got up and slammed me back down. It is important to note that even though I had to urge to get up and punch #19 in the face, I just didn't have the energy.

Even though I am walking around the house gimpy, having to pick my head up off of the pillow to get up in the morning, I loved every minute of that hockey game. I liked it because playing against larger and rougher guys makes me play harder. I also get a kick out of the bigger dudes getting a bit upset that some little guy is challenging them.

Nonetheless, I shook hands after the game and told them all I look forward to our next game. Number 85 and I agreed that we both had fun and no matter what happens on the ice, we'll laugh about it after.

We lost 4 - 1. Our next game is against a team who is much faster than us. That will take more agility and less thuggery.


Chilly Walk

Since I was up early for the Federer match, I decided to take the dogs for a walk just after sunrise. Shortly before our walk Chase alerted me to a coyote in the front yard. It was about 20 feet from our window just staring back at us wondering why Chase was barking. I hoped to see it again on our walk, but no luck.

Anyway, it is cold and icy here. The main roads are still a sheet of ice - I'm not sure that Brandi will be going to work tomorrow.

It's funny that the south cannot manage a little amount of snow and ice. I feel like I'm with The Big Guy at the Olympics, snowed in and preparing for the luge. I could probably set a Gaston County, NC luge record going down my street.

I'm Up

Call me crazy, but I'm awake at 3:30 am to watch Federer v Murray. The jet lag makes it easy to wake up early. (update) And I'm glad I got up... It's good to see the old guy can still beat up on the young guys. 6-3, 6-4, 7-6.


Cafe Girl

My wife is going to kill me for this, but my readers have demanded it. Here is the photo of the girl. I had to take this pretending to be searching on my iPhone so I wouldn't look like a stalker. Sotto on Equitable Place off of Little Collins. sotto.com.au

Federer and Hewitt at the FED

This is a photo of Federation Square I took in the walk home. Everyone was watching the Federer vs Hewitt match on the big screen. At the time if this photo, Fed was up 5-2 and he cruised to a 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 win.


Bells update

Here is the update on the bells. Have fun reading it sideways.


I took this photo today upon entering the TV compound. Japanese tourists will take photos with anyone. In this instance it was the Security Guard.

Which brings me to another story. The Broadcast manager here at AO (Brad) was showing some Asian media around the TV compound and I happened to be in the Show Court 3 production checking my graphics for the day. He mentioned to the group that I was famous world wide for the work I do - and immediately all of the members of the group started taking my photo in the production booth. Thanks Brad, I've never felt this important!

Cool Change

This is what the Aussies call a cool change. Shortly after this photo, the temperature went from around 96 degrees to about 75 degrees in a little over 20 minutes. Refreshing.


This is a picture of the coffee shop with attractive girl that makes
my latte. Apparently she hails from Malta. I really don't go there
because of the girl - it's the outstanding coffee she makes. I have
since convinced half of our staff to get coffee there.


The Bells

These bells are chiming everyday I walk to work. It's a neat little sculpture/artwork/cultural display. They have something to do with the aboriginies that once inhabited the land around the Yarra. I'll have to read up on the history tomorrow when I walk by them and provide an update.

1 Month

Celebrating 1 month. Isn't love grand?


Show Court 3

Rain - suspend play, Sun - play, over and over. At least the
production from show court 3 is awesome.


A+ Stats Team

Getting ready for the hit for Haiti.

The Queue

As I walked to work this morning I ran into a queue of folks buying tickets to the charity tennis match that the Australian open is having to raise funds for Haiti. The line was very long - I'd say the length of a cricket pitch. For you non-Aussie's a pitch is a field. The photo was taken at Federation Square.



This was Melbourne a few evenings ago. Quiet, still and cooler.