Sunday, August 31, 2008

And I dream in green.

According to my psych books, everybody dreams almost every night, several times throughout the night as we drift in and out of REM sleep. Some of us are better at remembering our dreams, some of us rarely do. I don't remember my dreams that often, and when I do it's usually just bits and pieces, feelings or sometimes one specific aspect very clearly. My memory of a dream last night falls into the last category. I vividly remember using a leaf blower and being thoroughly annoyed at having to hand pump the thing to work it. I wanted one that plugged into the wall or ran on gas, and I'm not even sure why I was stuck with this manual version, I just know that I was really mad at the whole 'be green' movement. That's all I remember. Where I was, how I got there, why I was there and where it went from there I have no idea. I have, very rarely, remembered entire dreams. In fact, there is only one time in my life that I can remember having remembered an entire dream, and that was back when I was a kid, 6 or 8 or maybe 10. So, that's what I woke up to this morning. Not concerns about the 45 pages of articles I have to read every week for my classes at the U, not that there may be snow in the mountains tomorrow and that summer really is over. Nope, just woke up being really pissed off that I couldn't use a gas powered leaf blower. Go figure.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I have met the enemy, and I am theirs.

After 2 days I've seen all my classes, and probably at least 75% of the students that will be in them. Overall, I'll give them a 9.5. I worked for one year at the feeder Jr. High, and then did summer activities with them a second year, so I've known a lot of my 9th and 10th graders since they were in 7th grade. (The 10th graders were actually students of mine). So, we had some pretty good conversations about their Jr. High teachers, some good laughs and even got some work done in class. And I didn't even have to kick anyone out of class, at all, not just in the first 3 seconds (see Paperback Writer's blog of Aug 22). I did have to redirect one of the New Comer students (non-English speakers who have been in this country less than 1 year, it's a whole separate program housed at our school) to their correct class, which took a considerable amount of time. So, I guess you could say I kicked her out, but I guess it really doesn't count since she was a real sweetheart and was just lost. I have a couple of kids that are going to push things a little bit. But I don't get the feeling any of the classes is going to be pushing me all year. Both 4th periods (A & B day) are going to be very interactive groups, they happen to both be Geometry classes. They are talkative, and did wander off subject, but weren't too hard to corral back into the conversation I wanted. 3A (Algebra) was a little bit more obnoxious, mainly because it is full of 9th graders and 10, 11 & 12th graders that have already flunked Algebra, at least once. One girl is trying to make up some Math credit for graduation, so I have her in Algebra 3rd and then Geometry 4th the same day. I looked at her and said "So, you're not going to be late for Geometry too often, are ya?" She just smiled and shrugged. I've already had the requisite inappropriate comment. I was talking about hall passes and how after they're used the only thing that get's you out of my class is either puking or bleeding. (Ok, how many of you already know where this is going?) Yup, she actually raised her hand and when I called on her asked "Does it matter where you're bleeding?" I have to say I'm proud of myself because I came back with "No, but don't try it more than once a month." The beauty of high school was that it got a good laugh and then we moved on. It also told them "No, you're not going to freak me out or embarass me" which research has shown 43.75% of all things high school students do is for those reasons. (I, uh, made up that statisti, ok?) My UBSCT class was the hardest of the bunch, not because they were obnoxious or anything, but because I couldn't get them to talk. The class is to help Juniors and Seniors that were close to passing the UBSCT, to give them enough so that they can pass the test. I have 10 registered for the class, only 5 showed up. We took a pretest and then I started going over stuff they missed. I fele like that teacher on "Ferris Bueller's Day Off". You know, the teacher that says in total momotone "And then what happened in 1776?, Anyobody, anybody, anybody. They signed the Constitution. And who signed the constitution? Anybody, anybody, anybody....." (Note : For you Beullerophiles, that is not a direct quote, please do not correct me, it was just suppose to elicit the memory of the actual scene) Anyway, with only 10 students I should get a lot done, but I'm not counting on it being a lot of fun.
These are my impressions after 2 days. We'll see if things are the same after 40......

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The mother of all Mondays....

Well, it's official. Summer is over. Not in the astronomical sense, but in the school starts tomorrow way.

For the first time in many years I'm actually nervous about it. It's been a long time since I've taught something that I wasn't confident about. In Jr. High I always taught PreAlgebra or Algebra, the last two years at the High School I taught computer classes (not part of NCLB), Psychology (also not part of NCLB), Algebra and the UBSCT* Prep class - which is basically all Algebra stuff. This year I have 1 semester of UBSCT* Prep, a semester of Psychology, an Algebra class and 2 Geometry classes. The last are the ones that are giving me the concerns. I've taught Geometry once, during my student teaching back in 1993. I spent a little time this summer going over the material and I know that I know it. The problem is, as any teacher can attest to, that knowing the material doesn't mean the students are going to understand your understanding of it. So I'm a little nervous. But not too nervous, because I know that it may take a few rounds with the material, but I'm pretty good at figuring out what works and what doesn't. So, I'll muddle through the first chapter or two, until my mojo gets going, and then I'll be fine. I hope. I think. I pray. No matter what it will be nice to have a little change from the same-old same-old Algebra that I've been teaching for the last 15 years. So to wrap it all up: Nervous - yes. Scared - nah. Optomistic - yuppers. Oh, and one of the nice things about the school I'm at - the biggest class I have right now has 25 students.

*UBSCT - Utah Basic Skills Competency Test. It's basically a graduation test that the state requires all students to take. Right now they can graduate whether they pass or not, but in the future they will not get a diploma if they do not pass the test. For now, if they don't pass they get "Did not pass UBSCT" stamped on their diploma. Kind of like back in the day when children born to unwed mothers had "BASTARD" stamped on their birth certificates.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

More on flooding the desert.....

Here is the picture I took of the kid floating down 13th South on an inner tube; and here's a picture of me (age 23) standing at the curb on 13th South with the water rushing past my feet. The funny thing about my title is that floods occur a lot more often than you'd think in the desert. Because the land is not used to a lot of water, whenever it rains heavily - and it does at least a couple times a year - all the water gets funneled down the lowest path and creates a flash flood. Every year several people die in these floods here in Utah because they figure "flood, in the desert? no way!" But, alas, yes, way!
Click here if you want to see my entire Flood of '83 series....

Flooding in the desert and other funny stuff.

I've had a few pictures sitting on my desktop for a while and decided it was time to get them off there, so where else would I put them. Click here to see the rest of them.

150 Days Left!

So, here are a few more of his incredibly brilliant comments:
  • [T]hats just the nature of democarcy. Sometimes pure politics enters into the rhetoric. Crawford, Texas, August 8, 2003
  • Let me put it bluntly. In a changing world, we want more people to have control over your own life. Annadale, Virginia, August 2004
  • The trial lawyers are very politically powerful...but here in Texas, we took them on and got some good medical-medical malpractice. Waco, Texas, August 13, 2002
  • People don't need to worry about security. This deal wouldn't go forward if we were concerned about the security for the United States. Defending his decision to hire a company from the United Arab Emirates to oversee American airport security, Washington, D.C., 2006
  • My administraton has been calling upon all the leaders in the-in the Middle East to do everything they can to stop the violence, to tell the different parties involved that peace will never happen. Crawford Texas, August 2001
  • I have a different vision of leadership. A leadership is someone who brings people together. Barlett, Tennessee, August 18, 2000
  • We cannot let terrorists and rogue nations hold this nation hostile or hold our allies hostile. Des Moines, Iowa, August 21, 2000
  • Arbolist...Look up the word. I don't know, maybe I made it up. Anyway, it's an arbo-tree-ist, somebody who knows about trees. Quoted in USA Today, August 2001
  • Brie and Cheese. Speculating about journalists' favorite foods, August 23, 2001

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Note to self: remodel bathroom next.

Well, the the first week back to school (no students) is officially over, even though I have to go in tomorrow if I want computers ready for one of the teachers whose classes rely on the computer. Ah well, c'est la vie, that's why I get paid the big bucks at the STS. (School Technology Specialist, and no, there is no extra money, although I get 2 extra free periods to do the tech work). Overall, not a bad week. There were relatively few technical emergencies, so I got all of my preparing for my classes ready. They moved my STS phone from my storage room, where I rarely was, to my classroom, so I have a phone right on my desk. They also moved my network plug from the back of the room up front at the same time, which means I don't have a long yellow cord wrapped all the way around my room, situated in a way that kids can mess with it. Yea! First faculty meeting went great, I got to make fun at this year's teachers with the worst hall passes. (If you don't remember, last year I had the most damaged hall pass, and the vice principal showed it to the entire faculty in order to stress the importance of taking care of it.) I went with a Miss America theme, and when we got to the Hall Passes in the Policy Manual I came out with a tiara on, said something about how as last year's Mr/Ms Worst Hall Pass I got to announce the new Mr/Ms Worst Hall Pass, announced the first runner up and then placed the tiara on the head of the winner. Yeah, it was funny. Anyway, we did all this up at in Midway, Utah, up in the Heber Valley, very rural area. We got up there the night before and stayed at the Inn on the Creek, a beautiful hotel right on a golf course along, yes you guessed it, a creek. They had the bath tub that I decided I'm going to remodel my entire bathroom for, a spa tub with jets and everything. Hot water, liquid soap and if I'd been sure I wouldn't have drowned, I would have slept there. Couldn't guarantee it so I had to settle for a soak before I went to sleep and then again in the morning. (Just for the record, we didn't waste a ton of the taxpayer's money, the Inn only charged us about 45% of the going rate for the rooms.) We had dinner up at the Principal's cabin, right up the canyon about 20 minutes from the hotel. This was the second year we've done this, it's good for the faculty to get away as a group and bond before the school year starts. Anyhoo, we had the faculty meeting today, were done with the faculty meeting and out of the hotel by 1:30. I was meeting the Principal and a counselor over at Wasatch Golf Course for a little lunch around 2:30 (best hamburgers in Heber Valley. Well, they were good, but probably not the best. So, I headed into "downtown" Midway (population probably less than 10,000, and that's even if you count pets) and checked out "Swiss Days". Not too exciting, but saw some really nice old houses on main street. After lunch I decided to go home the scenic way, up the canyon to Guardsman Pass and over to Big Cottonwood Canyon and back into SLC. I've gone over the pass before, but I've always taken the route that ends up in Park City rather than Heber Valley, so I wanted to check out this route. It was beautiful. Despite being a dirt road a lot of the way, it would have taken me only about 20 minutes longer than the freeway if I hadn't stopped every 10 minutes to check out the sights. At several points you could see over the whole Heber Valley, and the view from the summit was awesome. I got back to SLC right around 5:00, came home, cleaned the car, almost fell asleep watching CSI and then started writing this. Which means I'm pretty much done.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Animation Domination

or "Cloning will get you nowhere".

This link goes out especially to my IDET cohorts and anyone who has ever been frustrated working with Macromedia Flash

Click here for video.

I tried to put the actual video on here, but for some reason I kept getting an error, so you'll just have to go to it.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose..

Which is why it must come to an end. Even though I've been at the school on and off for the last couple weeks, I haven't yet HAD to go in. Alas, after tomorrow that all ends. Bright and early Tuesday morning the school year starts all over again. Well, not for the kids, they don't show up 'till the following Monday. I'm starting my 16th year of teaching, and the two times a year I realize how different this job is from anything else I've done is are the beginning and the end of school. Mainly because not many jobs have an actual ending every year. Accounting, sort of. The pizza business had it's seasons, so did the Chevron. But when you came back to work the next day, it was going to be pretty much the same as the day before. Even when I taught the same thing every year for 10 years, every August I start off with a whole new group of people to work with, and completely different mix of personalities. Yeah, there's always going to be the good kids, the bad kids, the funny ones and the ones that just blend into the flow of the classroom. But every year I have to discover which is which, who will be who and how I will have to deal with them. I still get nervous, wondering if this is going to be an easy year, or will I have a class that pushes the enevelope every day. Last year I was amazed at how much better the first semester was compared to the second half of the year. My 1st semester Psychology class was an incredible amount of fun, and I had some really "hard" kids in it. They talked a lot, voiced their opinions, sometimes loudly, all the time, but it was always about the subject we were discussing. Second semester Psychology was a struggle just to get them interested. I had 3 or 4 pockets of kids that were just too interested in talking about who was doing what with who and what they were going to be doing later that day. First semester was so engaged I never gave a test, we just did projects to show what they learned. Second semester I gave tests just so they would pay attention to the few who were willing to discuss the topics with me. It doesn't matter if you're teaching the same stuff, if you're engaging the class at all you're going to have a different experience every year. (Yes, I've known teachers that have had the same exact year over and over again. Which is why they really shouldn't have been teaching). I think that's what I like so much about teaching, the unpredictability. Meeting new people every year. Ending the year and being able to look back on it and reflect. Starting fresh every August, knowing that this year is going to be the perfect year. No mistakes, no losing my cool, no shoulda-woulda-coulda's. And knowing that no matter what goes wrong, I'll always have NEXT year as the perfect year.

Man, this was supposed to be a lament to the end of the school year, it almost sounds like I'm happy to be starting the new year. Ahhh, must be the little pill I took for my back pain. Good thing I'm not driving.....

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Jenn & Scott


Camden


Friday, August 15, 2008

I've decided to change careers......

I got this job offer in an e-mail a while ago. I've been trying to decide if I want to give up teaching and try my luck at being a Allocation Manager. Well, I finally decided there just is no way I could turn down one fourth of $20,000,500. Why, that's over five million dollars, and all I have to do is help transfer and spend their money. What a deal. Wish me luck, I'm sending in my resume today!

DEPARTMENT OF MINERALS & ENERGY RESOURCES
PRETORIA 0001, SOUTH AFRICA.
FROM THE DESK OF: Mr. Daniel Matumbe (Manager Project 14 Allocation)
Email:

I am a member of the contract award committee and 14-project allocation manager, of the Department of Minerals and Natural Resources in South Africa; I am in search of an agent to assist us in the transfer of Twenty Million Five Hundred Dollars(USD) and subsequent investment in properties in your country.
You will be required to

(1) Assist in the transfer of the said funds
(2) Advise on lucrative areas for investment
(3) Assist us in purchase of properties.

If you decide to render your service to us in this regard, 25% of the total sum of Twenty Million Five Hundred Dollars(USD) will be for you. Thank you and God bless, as I wait in anticipation of your fullest co-operation. Email:

Yours Faithfully,

Mr. Daniel Matumbe

Oh, and I deleted his email because I didn't want anyone beating me out on this deal. Although I know I really shouldn't worry since it's obvious that I was hand-picked for the job.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Lynda & Todd


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Just shoot me now.

Yesterday (Tue) was the day of hell. Broke everything in site. Started in the morning when I was rolling down the windows on Old Blue and broke a window crank. Went to lunch with a few people from school and broke one of my teeth, a molar in back that had had a root canal, so the tooth doesn't hurt but it's ragged and my tongue's a little sore. Broke my door key in the back door (this one I could have prevented, I've been meaning to replace it for a week or two). Opened the back door and heard water running in the basement, the hose to the swamp cooler had burst and there was over an inch of water down there. It was trash day and I tweaked my back so bad I can't even put my socks on. And, no, I didn't tweak it moving my huge recycling can full of paper from school, I did it picking up the trash can in my bedroom. The one with 4 tissues and an old pair of socks in it. I'd hoped the pain would go away overnight, but I ended up at the doctor's office today. X-Rays show that my spine is all fine and dandy, everything where it should be. Which means I basically sprained my back, pulled a muscle or tendon. Nothing to do except take it easy, and take some good pharmaceuticals so I can sleep. Fun day.

I had a spare doorhandle so I got that fixed, and a little piece of hose fixed the water to the swamp cooler. The basement isn't finished, still mostly dirt so the water just soaked into the ground and what was left evaporated. (I store everything there at least an inch off the floor because I've had water issues before). I have an appointment on monday to take care of the tooth - considering the back pain the tooth is no issue at all. My little brother has spare keys just because of key situations like this and, yeah my back hurts like hell whenever I bend over, but at least it's nothing serious. Always look on the bright side of life, do, do , duh dum, da, dum da, dum.....

Monday, August 11, 2008

Strolling through the park one day......

If you don't know that I'm not a big fan of driving while on the phone, then you're either new or haven't been paying attention. I'm not sure why we, as a society, tolerate it any more than we tolerate drunk driving - studies have shown it's every bit as dangerous. Anyway, I'm taking my walk around Sugarhouse park today, walking opposite the direction of traffic because I like to look people in the face as I pass them. 3/4 of the way around the park I see this car coming towards me, and the driver is not only talking on the phone, but also reading at the same time. While driving through a park. Where a bunch of kids are running around, not to mention bikers, joggers, walkers and skaters. When are we going to put some teeth into our laws so that these people can be pulled over and told that this is just not OK? We have a distracted driving law on the books with two fatal flaws. It does not state any specific behavior as an example of distractred drivingand it's only enforcable as a secondary infraction. You cannot be pulled over for distracted driving, but if you cause an accident or are pulled over for speeding you can be cited for it. I thought laws were supposed to be preventative, not punitive. Secondary infraction laws are punitive, not preventative, because nobody thinks that they're going to cause an accident. It's like having drunk driving laws that are secondary to vehicular homicide. Don't kill anyone and you're OK, but if you run someone over we're really going to slap it to you for being drunk.

Alex & Marijke


Sunday, August 10, 2008

30 years.

Well, the 30 year reunion wasn't as much fun as I remember the 20 year one being, but it was still nice. The first evening we met out in front of the school. If you've ever seen any of the High School Musical movies, then you've seen the courtyard in front of my school, that's where the movies were filmed. The building's not the same, they tore it down and rebuild it over a decade ago, but like in the movie, it really is named East High School. Of course we weren't the Wildcats, we were the Leopards, but they even kept our school colors, red & white. Anyway, moving on before I get too narcissistic about the movies, as I walk down the stairs from the parking lot to cross the street one of my classmates is already standing at the corner, waiting for the light to change. I walk up to him and he sticks out his hand, introduces himself and comments on how he decided he was just going to introduce himself to everyone, since after 30 years most of us wouldn't recognize each other. Good thinking, and adopting his philosophy made things easier as I mingled. As I walked up to the crowd, I recognized Tracy immediately, she was with another classmate, and unfortunatley I've forgotten her name. Looking at the pictures I took in back then, we noticed she wasn't in any, and figured out why. It seems that she and Tracy and Gail (who was also there) had a falling out in our senior year, and she was persona non grata in ouor group. Which also explains why I didn't know her as well as the others. The only other person that made it from our group was Annette, who I also recognized immediately. I had really hoped my best friend, Ed, would make it, he had said that he planned on it, but he wasn't there. 10 years ago there were about 12 people from our little group, this year only 4 made it. Which is why it wasn't as much fun as the last one, but the 4 of us still had a great time. The first night we just sat around and chatted, mingled a little bit. The second night was a more formal affair at the Marriott Hotel. I mingled a lot more, talked to some of the parents of students I had when I taught at Churchill Jr. High, and some of the other people I knew a little more peripherally (if that's a word?). I also ran into an ex-student who was working for the portrait studio that was taking pictures for the event. We had dinner, then they had a raffle where the number right before mine, and right after mine was called, but mine wasn't. But that's ok, because the one person in our group that lives in another state won a gift certificate to Emigration Market, a locally owned, independent grocery store, which she gave to me since she wouldn't get a chance to use it. Then they gave out the awards. It was kind of a get to know your classmates kind of thing, the MC would ask something like "Who has more than 3 kids?" and everyone who did would raise their hands, then he'd up the number until only one person had their hand up. (by the way, 9 was our maximum). He asked about grandchildren (Annette won that one with 7), living closest to the school, farthest, most moves and things like that. We also discovered that there was one of our classmates that not only lived in the same house as when she was in high school, but still owned the Jeep she drove. (She lives just down the street from where I lived.) The really funny part was the gift certificates they were giving out. (Those of you who weren't in SLC in the 70's please bear with me.) $50 gift certificate to Saans Photography, $50 gift certificate to The Chalk Garden, $50 to Wolfe's Sporting Goods and $50 to Rick Warner Ford were among the ones they gave out. We were surprised that they include Grand Central or Bill & Nada's. (Get it now you SLC'ers?) I didn't figure it out until the 4th gift certificate, when I looked over at Gail and asked "Hey, didn't Wolfe's close down a long time ago?" Yes, my friends, they were giving out certificates to businesses that no longer existed, but were around when we were in school. That was a lot of fun. The re-creation of the Hawaiian dance from our Senior Class Hello Day Assembly the guys did, with topless 48 year olds, was somewhat disturbing and my friends and I were completely absent in the photo slide show they did, so that had limited appeal. We did laugh at the thought of us brining my photos up and saying, "Now for the seemier side of things..." But we decided not to. Overall it was an enjoyable time, it was nice to see some of the people who were such a big part of my life so long ago, catch up with what they were doing and promise to, if nothing else, see each other again in 10 more years, at the 40th.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

AARP, the finger and Olex Manufacturing....

First of all, I'm oficially old. Or at lease I will be in two years when I'm eligible for an AARP card (American Association of Retired Persons). Yeah, my older brother told me that he got us a good deal on our hotel room for our Boston trip by using his AARP discount. Nice! The really nice thing is that we get free walker rentals while we stay there.....

Today I spent the afternoon at a church camp for abused and neglected kids. It was the last full day of their summer camp for these kids, and they celebrate with kind of a carnival. I was in charge of the huge bouncy slide. It was a lot of fun, except for helping to set up and tear down the blow-up slide and obstacle course. Those things are heavy. I mean really heavy. It took 4 of us to roll the smaller one up onto the truck, we had at least 8 working on the slide. And I'm sore. But it's all worth it when a 9 year old whose life has not been the best looks at you and thanks you, by name, for being there so they could play on the slide.

Anyway, on my way to my brother's house to ride up to the camp with a group from church, this curly-haired witch in a white 4-door Nissan zips a right turn through a red light directly in front of me, causing me to slam on my brakes and come within inches of her bumper. Now, normally this wouldn't warrant even mentioning on here, even though there was absolutly nobody behind me, meaning this was to get one car ahead. No, this warrants mentioning because even though I did not blare my horn at her, even though I did not flash my lights or shake my fist or curse, swear or flip her the bird, she flipped me off when she turned right a block later and I passed her. Yeah, she flipped me off, like instead of coming close to her back bumper I should have slammed into a parked car rather than startle her. I don't know what her motivation was, but I swear I didn't honk, wave my hand at her or curse (other than under my breath - the window was up, she wouldn't have heard if I did). Again, it seems I have no right to drive on the roads getting in the way of these other, more important, people.

And finally, on the ride up to the camp we start talking about Opie, Obama and Oprah, and my older brother decides that to bercome a mover and a shaker, he's going to change his name to start with an "O" like the rest of these people. Olex. Well, as we're driving around the reservior we notice that someone is having a HUGE barbeque, it happens to be the Outdoor Retailers Convention. This is where the logo comes in, because bro wants to crash the barbeque, telling them that we're from Olex Manufacturing. Well, it was funny at the time, and I had fun making up the logo, so I just had to put it on here. And that's it for today, except REUNION TOMORROW!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

CSI & TT

Want to know what NOT to do while watching CSI? Removing sausages from their casing, that's what. I'm preparing some sausage to go into the spaghetti sauce I'm making and I look up at the TV and I swear the coroner is doing the exact same thing I am, except it ain't Johnsonville sausages HE'S working with. Anybody want some spaghetti sauce, it doesn't sound appetizing anymore.


This weekend I went up to the property with my brothers and my dad. I wasn't sure my little brother was going to go, so my dad and I planned to go it alone. So he shows up in his recently purchased Audi TT Quattro. Or is it Audi Quattro TT? Either way, I look at him and ask "You're going to take that up the dirt road?" He gets this little kid caught in the cookie jar look on his face and says "No, I was hoping your older brother would come down and pick us up." (My older brother was already at the property, and it was only 3 miles to the bottom of the dirt road). Well, that was all fine and dandy, except that the car has only 2 seats, my little brother wanted to go and we weren't going to strap him on the trunk. So, I call my little brother up and ask him if we can go in his Jeep because dad's car is only a 2 seater. Well, actually, I think I started off the conversation with "You owe me big time, I was going to get the chance to drive dad's Audi TT!" My brother, not wanting to hear me bitch and moan about my missed opportunity for the next 20 years (and probably figuring he'd get the opportunity to drive it too, which he did) suggested we take both cars, since dad wanted to take his, and either way the Jeep was going to go. So we went up in a 2 vehicle caravan. And just for the record, that Audi drives NICE! I was going up Daniel's Canyon (curvy mountain road) at speeds up to 80 MPH and the car didn't even feel the curves. Bro's Jeep and my Subaru can take the curves at 80 MPH too, but in our cars you know you're going around a curve. And when you go to pass someone, downshift from 6th to 5th (did I mention it has a 6 speed manual tranny?), kick in the turbo and whatever you're passing is so far behind you can't even see what it was. Ok, not quite, but it was a lot of fun to drive. And my friend Adele is going to kill me when she hears that I got to drive one. She's been working on her pharmacists degree for 7 long years, promising herself that when she gets her first full time pharmacists paycheck she's going to reward herself with an Audi TT convertible. I tried to get my dad to loan it to me one day so I could bring it to her, but he never really answered me either way.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Cleaning up old eMails...

And I found this video (rated G, nothing bad about it). See if you can get it right, I even had to go back to the beginning to see they weren't messing with my mind....

video

"We stand for things" - Davenport, Iowa, Aug. 4, 2004

A hundred sixty nine days left of what is arguably the worst presidency in the history of our country. Let me put it this way - less than half the people in Utah are happy with our president. (According to the Rasmussen Report on June 23, 2008, only 45% of Utahns think GW is doing good or excellent). When you consider that even George the First at his worst hit 68%, (Deseret News, May 25, 2003) that says a lot. So, in honor of the dwindling number of days left of this walking embarassment of a leader, here are some of the quotes I've gleaned from my "GWBush Official Countdown Calendar";
  • "I don't know all the facts, I want to know all the facts. The best place for the facts is to be done is by somebody who's spending time investigating it" - Washington, D.C., July 2005

  • "Give me a chance to be your president and America will be safer and stronger and better" - Marquette, Michigan, July 13, 2004 (campaigning for reelection)

  • "Justice ought to be fair" - Washington, D.C., 2004

  • "No more public scatology." - In a personal note to future Supreme Court nominee, Harriet Miers, July 18, 1997.

  • "I wish I wasn't the war president. Who in the heck wants to be a war president? I don't." - Washington, D.C., 2004

  • "These people don't have tanks. They don't have ships. They hide in caves. They send suiciders out." - Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 2002

  • "I think war is a dangerous place." - Washington D.C., 2003

Jeff & Amy


Sunday, August 03, 2008

Alex & Marijke


Saturday, August 02, 2008

Swamp coolers and ceiling fans

I got a lesson on the effectiveness of ceiling fans. I was laying on the couch watching my 3rd Rock DVD's, it was a warm evening and my living room gets the evening sun, so as always the swampcooler* was working at keeping the room cool. At least where I was laying, outside the flow of air. I leaned forward to grab the remote off the coffee table and noticed something I hadn't before; there was a cold breeze coming through the room. It was the cool air from the swampcooler, going right past the little nook the couch sits in. So I thought "Hmmm, maybe if I turn on the ceiling fan, it'll mix up the air a little bit and cool off the couch area." Less than 2 minutes later it was actually getting a little cold on the couch. Amazing what mixing up the air can do, now I know why I put ceiling fans all over the house...
*Swampcooler, also known as an Evaporative Cooler, is an effective way of cooling a house in areas like Utah where the humidity is low. Basically, you're pulling outside air through water soaked pads and blowing the cold air through the house. Unlike an air conditioner, you have to leave windows open because of all the air you are pumping into the house. I really like it because it's real cheap to run ($10 a month for the hottest months) and you're always running fresh air through the house.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Ahhh, the good old days. Gas @ $1.80 a gallon, minimum wage @$3.65

Ok, quiz time. Do you know what the letters BBS stand for? You, in the back with the wrench hanging from your ear....Nope, I'm talking before Boy Band Singers.....Yes you? Oh, the contractions are only 4 minutes apart? Is your mom sober yet? Think you can make it until 3rd period? Good. No, I'm talking about Bulletin Board Systems, the fetal period of the public internet. If you have no idea or don't care about what I'm talking about, then just move along. If you remember it, or want to get an idea about what it was like before DSL, terrabytes, http://www.anything.whatever or Windows 95, have I got the blog for you. An old friend of mine from a BBS called "The Motel West" has a blog about the good old days. He doesn't post a whole hell of a lot, but for me it brings back some fond memories. Check it out, or not, the choice is yours....

Super Dell needs Super Straight-jacket.

Little history for those of you who don't know who Dell Schanze is. He's a local lunatic*. He used to own a string of computer stores in the Salt Lake area, his commercials were of the totally off the wall, in-your-face type. They were obnoxious and annoying, but not really offensive, except to your intelligence*. He made the news when confronted by a group of angry parents when he drove through their neighborhood at, some say, up to 50 MPH. He pulled a gun on the men because he felt threatened. Now, instead of just saying that the guys had a rock and he was with his young son and felt threatened, Super Dell starts arguing 2nd Amendment rights and that the State courts have no jurisdiction over him. I can't even remember how the court case came out, but I just remember him claiming that they had no right to judge him. A year later he's back in court and now he's claiming government harassment. This time he was flying his little one man helicopter and didn't understand why he wasn't allowed to buzz commuters on the freeway. After all, it's their own damn fault if they get startled by his copter and get in a crash* (my words, not his). Again I don't remember the outcome of the case, but he did lose his businesses shortly after, sold them to his brother-in-law for a song*.

So today, in the Salt Lake Tribune, I see his name again. I laready knew he was runnning for Governor of the Great State of Utah, I just didn't know how desperate he was to get the office*. He got one of those auto dialing machines and started calling with a recorded message calling Huntsman (our current Governor) an "anti-Christ socialist." And that's a direct quote from the Tribune, not just my opinion. Furthermore, when asked about it, he said "It's not name-calling. It's just stating fact." Now, Governor Huntsman is no Saint, nobody in government these day is, but to call him the anti-Christ is a little bit, um, how can I put this, totally and utterly deviod of reality?* Personally, despite his being a Republican, I kind of like Gov. Huntsman, he's lightyears better than that two faced Mike Leavitt* and the bonehead Nerm Bangerter who spent $60 million to water a concrete tree out in the middle of the west desert*. The democrats will have to come up with someone extrodinary to keep me from voting for Huntsman, and I rarely vote Republican. So Dell thinks Huntsman is responsible for outrageous taxes, not standing up for gun rights and, ironically, signing laws that ristrict our freedoms and failing to stop abortion. Even funnier, if it weren't for Gov. Huntsman, we'd all be driving cars that run off water. Yup, Super Dell is sure of that, after all he has a friend that has a 4 stroke Weed Eater that runs completely on water. (So, why doesn't his friend patent and sell the technology?). I hope he get's elected Governor, it'll give Bagely (a local political cartoonist) a lot of material for the next 4 years.

*These, and possibly other, statements are my opinion only, and are not proven facts.