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Showing posts from 2008

Christmas Newsletter

Merry Christmas to everyone. Please see our annual family newsletter, compliments of Jolayne.

A Love Affair

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I'm in love. I'm having a torrid affair. The relationship is such that I just can't hide it any longer. I must proclaim my feelings for... amazon.com. It makes it possible to be a genetically lazy male and still do a decent job with shopping for Christmas.

Seriously, I've done a fair amount of my Christmas shopping online this year, and it's been a totally joyous experience. The UPS man now shows up at my house with presents! What a wonderful thing. No lines, no fighting, and I even get to check reviews and prices, to boot. What could be better? Why would anyone want to go to the mall and wait in line with all the hassle?

And at this point I'm even thinking there's little point in shopping anywhere else online but amazon. They make it soooo easy to spend money. Their prices are nearly always the absolute lowest. Their customer service has always been very good for me, and their web site was designed by some smart people who actually considered my…

Spontaneity

Today at church our bishop, who was conducting the meeting, said he wanted to take a "slightly different format" to things. That's when bells and whistles should start going off in any sane person's head.  I "knew" right then that I'd be involved with what was coming.

The bishop said he was going to call a few of the congregation up to speak spontaneously about their experiences attending the temple this year.  Of course, I won the lotto and was selected!  Funny how we so often know ahead of time when we're going to be picked for those types of things.
Amy leans over to Jolayne and says "Did Dad know he was going to get picked?"  Jo says "Nope."  Amy then replies very triumphantly, "heee heee hee hee hee," absolutely loving the way it was going down.

Yep,  funny stuff, Amy.
Good thing I don't freak out about that kind of stuff (which is likely why he knew he could pick on me).

The Art of Possibility

Two years ago I attended a conference for work that included a presentation by motivational speaker Benjamin Zander, who is also the conductor for the Boston Philharmonic.  He is one of the most inspiring people I've ever heard speak, and I've been looking for something that shares who he is that I could post for some time.  Finally found it.



This one gives some better background about who he is.  
When he speaks, he shares the things that we commonly place over our own heads that limit our achievements.  He provides simple ways to view things that can help you to be more positive, opening new possibilities.  It's great.  If you ever have a chance to hear him speak, jump at it.  Otherwise, get his book, The Art of Possibility, off Amazon.  It's cheap.

Fishing

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OK all you female types who accidentally stumbled on this rugged, handsome, one-of-a-kind blog.  I'm gonna give you a tip for Christmas: the perfect gift for him.  As I was penning my Sweet Nothings entry, Amy came down to the office crying.
"What's wrong, Amy?" "I need your claw thing." "Why do you need my claw thing?" "Because I accidentally dropped Mom's earring down the drain." {lots of crying, followed by dad saying something insenstive, yet witty, to his eldest daughter}
Enter "the tool".
{dun dun dun}

I should clarify something before continuing.  The PERFECT gift would be an Acura TL.  


Let's not mix signals here, afterall.
But the next most perfect gift (for under $10) would be a flexible grabber (about $5 on google).  Seriously, if you don't have one at your house, you NEED to go shopping.  Buy 3 of them.  The kids will have fun grabbing one another's skin on Christmas morning.  What could be more fun?!  You pus…

Sweet Nothings

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Tonight we made a gingerbread house.  Mind you, my use of the word "made" is a little nouveau.  When I was a kid, "make" included the connotation of actual baking.  Today, "make" means $9.95 for the pre-fab kit.  Ahh, progress!  But you're getting me off of my point.
My point is that while we were creating our sweet habitat, I expected Ozzie-and-Harriett styled-conversation.  You know, stuff like "gee, golly, Dad.  This sure is swell."  Afterall, it's blowing snow outside and my kids are gathered around the table with sticky fingers.  However, if you included non-dubbed dialog to accompany this pic above, you'd hear things like:
 "SSTTTOOPP!  MOMM!  She took my gumdrop."
"Hey!  That's my tree!"
{insert dad yelling assorted orderly commands}
and my favorite of the evening,
"It looks like bird poop!"
What?! Huh?!   Bird poop?
That last one was offered by none other than my wife, made of course in reference to …

Life Lessons

I picked up a little morsel tonight that I thought you would all profit from:
It's generally preferable to have an actual reservation at the car-rental agency if you expect your name to appear on the big board! Apparently, not having a reservation will cause you to not show up in the system. Go figure.
It's generally preferable to make an actual reservation at the hotel you want to stay at if you expect it to have any rooms left when you arrive. They don't ask other people to leave just because you arrive without a reservation. Hmmm.
So I thought I'd made reservations for my latest trip, but it turns out I was mistaken. Whoops. Good news is that after calling for help, I have a room, although at a different place, and I have wheels that will be fine for the week. (In my defense, I did try to make the reservation weeks ago, but it erred out and I simply forgot to do it again. Too bad close only counts in horseshoes and hand-grenades...)

Lesson learned.

Crackberrys

I've seen it all now, I think.  
Any of you who travel with any regularity have no doubt observed the guy or gal who thinks he/she's just too busy to stop the phone call long enough to use the bathroom at the airport.  A least once a year I have the pleasure of sharing some bathroom time with the guy who's sporting the too-cool bluetooth headset, which allows him to tend to his bio-business while continuing his phone call.  And since he's just talking away it's rather apparent that no, he's not on mute.
Dude, on behalf of every other traveling American out there, I'd like to share with you that this is not cool!  Not even a little bit.  You need therapy.  You need to have your phone taken away.  You need public ridicule.  What the heck does the guy on the other end think you're doing, anyway?!  
But as if that weren't the worst bathroom infraction one can encounter in an airport, I think I have a new chart topper.  This week I tended to business next t…

Armrest Wars

Anyone who has ever been to a movie theater or on an airplane has done it at least once.  You know you have, you just won't willingly admit it in public, right?  What's that, you ask?  
... No no no, not that!  Come on, keep it clean!  This is a PG-rated blog, after all.  I'm talking about how we have all fought over control of the armrest at one time or another.
As personal space in public places--particularly on airplanes--continues to decrease, it's obvious that the traveling public has gotten progressively more serious about elusive control of the all-important armrest.  Afterall, he who controls the armrest controls the comfort.
I'm guessing that if we took a straw poll, most everyone would say that when they purchase a ticket somewhere, they expect that they are puchasing usage of a seat and a couple armrests, not half an armrest.  Yet there just ain't enough armrests to go around.  
I used to feel kind of sorry for the guy in the middle seat when I was lucky…

Go Cougars!

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I was able to attend my first BYU Football game in at least two years last night with a bunch of friends. We drove up to Ft Collins (about an hour north) to watch them play an away game at Colorado State. I was surprised at how much beer was flowing at this game. Wow. Nearly everyone in green had at least one cup in hand. Those in blue...not so much. :-)



We had a great time. It's a nice field, and we were very entertained by the back-and-forth scoring nearly the entire game. BYU is presently in the top 20 (though we were top 10 before an ugly loss a few weeks ago). It's the first time in a long time that we're back in the national spotlight, and it just raises the fun level for everyone.



As is often the case, the last 5 minutes on the scoreboard were the most intense, and we wound up coming away happy after a close win. In two weeks we're taking the kids and another large crew down to Colorado Springs to attend another away game at Air Force. If the weather hol…

Airline Safety

OK, here's a few questions I've had for some time now. Maybe one of you is much more intelligent regarding airport security and can answer these questions.
Why do you have to show a boarding pass as you go through the magnatometer in some airports but not others? Shouldn't it be consistent? Is there any actual security value to needing a boarding pass?
Why do I never set off the detectors at some airports, but often at others? It's obvious to me that they are not all set with the same sensitivity. Does that mean that I'm safer at some airports than others? It's kind of like when taking off your shoes wasn't quite mandatory. Some airports thought you had to do it and others weren't as concerned. I actually asked these questions a while back to a TSA guy at the airport. The answer was a cursory government-smokescreen response: "the TSA boss at each airport gets to choose." Reassuring.

If something is a threat, is it not a threat for all o…

More Traveling Fun

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Apparently my fun with flashing lights wasn't enough last week in Portland. No sooner had I checked into my hotel in southern Cal tonight than the hotel fire alarm started going off. At first, the staff came on the PA and said to ignore it a couple times. Then they changed their minds and told us to evacuate the building. Hmphhhh. I'm tired.



So a couple hundred people filed down the stairs (I was on the top floor), but at least it was still 70 degrees outside. Let's all be glad there was no actual fire, because the Fire Dept didn't actually roll up for about 20 minutes. Not sure on that one, but seems a little odd. I can't really trash firemen, though, cuz they're off limits. :-)



Every few minutes, the staff told us to move further away from the hotel, perhaps just to keep us all interested. When the FD finally did arrive, the guys jumped out with their full gear and SCBA tanks and went inside. Funny. I decided I needed a drink and so went down into th…

New Sponge Day!

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There's some things in life that are just worth celebrating.  For me, it's new sponge day.  Come on, you've all experienced it.  You go along doing dishes with an ever more disgusting sponge as your tool, only subconsciously realizing that you're probably just moving the grime around.  Then one day, the sponge fairy comes to visit, and presto.  You now have a nice, clean sponge in its place.  At our house, that happens pretty regularly (thanks, Jo).  
Jolayne was kidding me recently that she can very often hear me whenever she breaks out a new sponge.  Usually, she's somewhere down the hall when she hears, "O, I love new sponge day!"  And no, I'm not embellishing there.   (And there's the proof that I do a large amount of dishes at our house!)
So let's celebrate the little things in life and all give three cheers for new sponge day.  Next time you're in the dog house, you might just bring home a new sponge.  It could do wonders for your prob…

Dinner and a Show

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It's been a couple weeks since I've come up with anything witty enough to be publicly shared. Even now, no wit is to be found between my ears. But I have to share something anyway. Tonight, however, I was walking around Portland when I stumbled on a Macaroni Grill. Yum, I thought, so I doubled back and went in. After ordering, I was settling into the page-turning USAA magazine (it's a freeby from my insurance company; just shows how pathetic I've become).

I'd cleverly thought to bring along for some 8/5x11 dinner companionship when the waitress mentioned something going on directly across the street, directly across from my window. Some guy apparently had another guy in a sleeper hold, with a good 15-20 people standing by watching. Apparently, in Portland, that's a perfectly acceptable behavior. From my vantage point, it seemed like one of the onlookers was a security guard. Also, apparently, interdiction wasn't part of his job. A few minutes later…

Is China Breakable?

I'm on my way home right now from a visit with Grandma in the middle of nowhere, CA. (That's about 3 hrs north of Sacramento and an hour from the nearest puddle-jumper airport). Took Misha with me this year since Amy got to do it last year, and we dug for things to do in the mighty town of Mt. Shasta. Frankly, that's a tall task to accomplish, but if you ask Misha, I did it pretty well. She wanted to go back over and over to the fish hatchery, after all. I'll tell her story in another post.

Grandma is moving to an assisted living place in Phoenix, in a couple of weeks, and so most of the visit was taken up with moving furniture and packing stuff. Grandma appears to have gotten over the first emotional blow with a move like this, and she's now unloading junk like there's no tomorrow (pun intended). She's very matter-of-fact about the whole thing, which is refreshing.

Grandma bequeathed her nice china set to us, which was very nice of her. We thus spent…

Perspective

I'm going to break my no-work-stuff rule this time for obvious reasons. Yet I'll try to keep things generic enough to be mildly entertaining.   If you actually want details, ping me on the side and I'll fill you in.

After a number of years, I chose to leave my current employer this week. It was one of the hardest decisions of my life, and one that never got easier by following traditional weigh-the-facts type discussions. You see, I had a good gig going there. I had friends, respect, a good assignment, and great upward mobility. Some people thought I was crazy to leave.  Maybe I was.  And yet, there was something in me that said I should look beyond my comfort zone, consider a bigger picture, and take a leap of faith. I can say for sure that there were multiple times in the last couple weeks where I wondered if I was leaping right into a brick wall of some sort, though. To boil it down, I guess it all comes down to a simple word: "perspective."

I've want…

Cell Phone Greetings

Here's a rant for ya.  Today I'm mad at the automated greetings on the voicemail systems of cell phones.  You know, the part that comes on after your message and says 'press 1 to hear things you don't care about, press 5 to repeat these options, press 7 to order a pizza, press 9 to learn Tongan' and so on.  THEY DRIVE ME CRAZY.  Worse yet, you can "do nothing" and lose 30 seconds of your life that you'll never get back while this prerecorded lady drones on and on about nothing.  The least they could do is give her some super-sexy voice or something.
On some systems, they've had the good sense to make #1 skip all the junk and just go to the message-leaving part.  But apparently there's no consistency in the industry on this, and on other systems #1 does nothing but anger the prerecorded lady and make her repeat everything from scratch, all in an effort to simply tick me off further.  It's working.
Can we not have some consistency here?!
My ple…

Ups and Downs

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Saturday I went mountain biking.It was awesome!
It was so awesome!
It was almost better than sex.
Wait a minute, let's not be unreasonable here!

But boy was it fun. The weather was absolutely perfect (70 and clear), and there weren't too many people to observe all my bad techniques. I'm ashamed to say it was the first real mountain-bike trip I've done in Colorado. And we started with a biggie. A friend, Ken, and I went to Hall Ranch in Lyons, about 20 minutes from here. It's right at the base of the mountains, and all trails lead only one direction... UP! We bit off more than we bargained for, but it all turned out good. The round trip was almost 10 miles, and I think we did about 1,200 feet vertically (though the site we used said 2300, which sounds nicer to post!) It was the most challenging terrain I'd ever ridden, with a couple miles being extremely rocky (think big, steep boulders and such that are more suited for climbing than riding).



Side Story: While…

The Posse

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I'd like to share a concept a friend at work taught me a while back. It's really stuck with me as one of those "life lessons." He calls it The Posse. You all know what a posse is. Most often we associate it with the Sheriff, or perhaps the Old West. I think of the posse as that group of men in Tombstone days who the sheriff called when someone needed help or a bad guy needed catching. These men came from many different walks of life, but when duty called, THEY RODE. It didn't matter if funding was available, if guyA was friends with guyB, etc. They simply rode when there was a need.

Life isn't all that different today. We all have events in our lives and in the lives of those near and dear that require the posse to ride. In a career sense, having a posse is SO important. It's via your network and friends that the real work so often gets done. One thing I've learned in my job is the great value of that posse, and how the good old mantra '…

Building Bleachers

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Last Friday was the annual volunteer day at work for a girl scout camp up in the mountains. It's always one of my favorite things to do at the end of each summer. The camp is about an hour's drive, and it's situated right at the edge of Rocky Mountain National Park. I've been 6 or 7 years now, and the weather is usually pretty beautiful. The leaves on the aspens are usually just beginning to turn. This year, however, things were a little different. For starters, it was only about 45 or 50 degrees. Usually it's in the 70's. And of course it was raining. I'm amazed whenever I go into the mountains at how quickly the weather can change. Over the course of the time we were there, the weather literally changed from rain to overcast to sun and back again about 3 times. Funny stuff.

One of the things that makes this volunteer day so fun for me is the chance to build things. I always sign up for the construction projects; they're the most fun. When …

Hilarious Seinfeld and Gates Commercial

Just Tell Me!

Here's a little pet peeve.
Have you ever gone somewhere and been interacting with others for a while, only to go into the bathroom and learn that you have some nasty piece of half-eaten food stuck somewhere in your teeth?  Smile!
Happens to me all the time!
Come one, people.  If I have half a picnic stuck in my teeth, tell me!  How else am I supposed fix the problem?  Instead, you like to ignore the whole thing, silently thinking, "He has almost a whole picnic stuck in his teeth!" the entire time.  
Some of us are genetically prone to what I am dubbing "picnic tooth."  It's not our fault!  I'm sure we could get government protection as a disability class.  I could probably even get a handicapped parking placard, a special box to check when I do my taxes, and certainly a discount on my hefty medical premiums for the whole thing.
My only saving grace is that I work from home and rarely actually interact with real people!

Bees... Here's Your Sign!

If there's something in life that I just HATE doing, its climbing on the roof to shoot and kill wasp nests!  It's right up there with puke cleaning.  Yesterday, I emptied 2 1/2 cans of spray on a couple new nests--which, incidentally are always in hard-to-reach places on the 2nd story--and found that the very resourceful beasts have now found a way into the eave near our master bath.  I have nightmares that they get into the attic, build huge nests, and take over everything.  After shooting all of them that I could,  I took some spray foam to fill the gap they were using, and it was obvious that the ones I didn't kill were kinda ticked at me the rest of the day for filling in their hole.
Another fun mental image.  Last year, I ran out of spray one day, so I took my pressure washer up on the roof to make battle with the beasts.  Afterall, you gotta use the tools you have, and it seemed like the proper tool for the job.  I could not bow away from the call of battle.  I can im…

The Multitasking Myth

So often these days, we try to do multiple things at the same time. I routinely hear people, both at work and outside, say that they're multitasking. The funny thing is that we humans are single-threaded beings and are pretty much incapable of such behavior. In non-computer terms, we can only do one thing at a time physically (unless you count breathing and blinking in there). Any yet, we all live under this myth that we can actually do a bunch of things at once.

The younger generation is even worse. They like to listen to their iPods while watching TV, surfing on their laptops, while eating dinner, (and probably painting toenails!)

With blackberries and such all the rage today, it gets even worse. People try and do all these things driving down the freeway (not that I ever do it, you know!) I've even been in bathrooms (usually at the airport) where the guy next to me is on a phone. Can you say L-O-S-E-R? That, my friends, DOES NOT QUALIFY AS MULTITASKING!!!

In my wor…

What I Think of The Political Conventions

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I don't normally wax political here, but with local happenings, I can't refuse the bait...
So the Democratic National Convention (DNC) comes to Denver this week.  Yay.  Not!  The paper tells me I should be happy because it'll do great things for Colorado.  However, the only great thing I've encountered so far is that they'll be closing the freeway when Obama does his speech, making it impossible for locals to get around their own town.  Oh yeah, it'll be great.  My cop friend also tells me that professional protesters are all coming to town to disrupt anything they can for the week.  Oh yeah, I'm sure glad they chose Denver.  Thanks, leaders!
I don't really understand why, in an age where we complain about spending millions of dollars a day on the Iraq war and we have record prices at the pump, we get to also pony up $40 million for events such as the DNC (or, for that matter, the RNC which will be the following week in Minneapolis), for what is really no…

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Jo mentioned our elation at the kids going back to school. I thought I'd show you the commercial she mentioned. It's old, but hilarious. Totally captures our attitude.


So what are your favorite commercials? We should create a compilation of the funniest ones.

11 Great Years

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11 years ago, Jolayne and I were married.  Amazing how quickly the time goes.  The other day, I asked Jo what the traditional gift for an 'eleventh' anniversary was.  Without so much as a stutter or hesitation, she quickly replied 'diamonds.'  Way to go, sweetheart.  Should have married a sugar-daddy.  Oh wait, I do like sugar, dang.
As diamonds were just slightly beyond my budget for the oh-so-special occasion, I bought the next best thing for her.  What's that, you ask?  A Ped-Egg, of course!  Nothing says I-Love-You like a callous remover that's shaped like an egg!  Wow, I'm good! I know, I'm just such a romantic.
Seriously, I am so fortunate to be able to share my life with Jolayne.  She is probably the most amazing person I've ever met.  Here's just a few things about her that contribute to her Super-Awesome-Great Sweetheart status: She doesn't know how to sleep in.  Not even on vacation.  Really.She exercises countless hours each week.  …

The Ice Cream Conspiracy

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OK, here's a new conspiracy for me to rant about.  Upon returning home after a nice, uneventful drive through southern Wyoming (which, by the way, is far prettier at night!), we stopped for groceries and I picked up some ice cream.  Something seemed wrong, however.  Either I had become an amazing specimen of muscular masculinity since previously purchasing ice cream or the ice cream container had gotten far smaller and easier to lift.  Sadly, it was the latter.
Notice exhibit A.  On the right is the ice cream I purchased a month or two ago.  It is 1.75 quarts (since a "half gallon" of ice cream is obviously 1.75 quarts and not 2.  Probably a previous conspiracy I somehow missed).  On the left is today's ice cream, on sale for $3 (so no cheaper), and now a lovely 1.5 quarts.  Looks smaller than that to me, so I'm sure the conspiracy goes even deeper.  I might have to Call 7 for Help on this one.  It's so heinous!  
Sad proof that, in addition to the price of pra…

Eat My Dust

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I've loved mountain biking for years, but I haven't exactly done a ton of it. I'm looking for someone who lives nearby who's into it, since I'm not comfortable going by myself. However, this week while in Utah, I've been able to do a few great trails with a couple of Jolayne's brothers. They go a couple times a week. Makes me jealous. Mitch helped me adjust the derailleur to stop skipping finally (apparently the $100 I paid for a tune up to the Longmont bike shop last summer was so they could look at it really hard without actually doing anything useful) and it's now finally a fun bike to ride. That's good, cuz I was ready to throw the thing out and get something else, so now I can save some money for a couple more years.

There are tons of great trails within a 30 minute drive of Jo's brother Brad's house. How nice that would be.

Tonight, just before sunset, we went up American Fork canyon (very nice shots here) and did a nice 4 mile…

Colorado Cares Day

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Q: How do you tell a crazy Mormon from a sane one?

A: The crazy ones will go clean dumpy alleys in town on a 100+ degree day!

Yesterday was the "Colorado Cares Day" and our Stake (the collection of local congregations for our church) was asked go help clean up a section of Longmont. Probably 300+ Mormons showed up on what was supposed to be the hottest day of the year to cut weeds, pick up garbage, and shluck trash. Thankfully, it clouded up even sprinkled abit, dropping the temp 10 degrees.

We separated into small groups and were each assigned an area to clean. Our area must not have been too bad, because the worst we found was a Walmart shopping cart, a pallet, a mattress, and a few I-don't-want-to-know-what-it-is items. Other groups, we saw later, found old toilets, bbq's, and more.

At the end, we rode back in the flatbed one of the guys had brought. One of the things I learn from these events is that it really doesn't matter how unpleasant the task is when y…

Bumper Cars for Big Boys!

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I'm white trash. I admit it. I'm comfortable with it, even. How liberating to proclaim!

As promised, I took a group of dads and their kids to the county-fair Demolition Derby. It was so much fun! I had never been, and really had no idea what to expect. After a lengthy trip to Burger King for some nutritious dinner (took 15 min to get the first order served, so be very careful at the Ken-Pratt location if you're in any sort of hurry), we made our way over to the fairgrounds. Parking was a disaster. Without nice little white lines to guide us, we are apparently a fallen society. People were parked pretty much everywhere, usually with about 7 feet between cars, just so there wasn't room for another car. I wound up parking in the race-team pit area.



But once things finally got started, WE HAD FUN! You all obviously know that the basic tenet of such an event is for the cars to cream one another. But, come to find out, there are actually rules to the whole thing! Th…

Pretzels and Sunday Traditions

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As a kid, one of my favorite things to do on Sundays was to bake treats. It started with my mom when I was pretty young, and progressed from there. I actually got pretty good at it at one point, and picked up a reputation in our family as "the pretzel maker." Years before, my mom had come across a recipe in a school newsletter, if I recall, which showed a simple method for making soft pretzels. These are more like the kind you get at the mall than the kind you get in a frozen box at Costco.

When we were married, I forgot how to cook. Really. Still can't remember much! One thing I've managed to pull from my childhood memory banks, though, is how to cook pretzels. And now, my kids love baking them with me. During the last school year, Amy had to take treats a few times. She tells me that her class always told her to bring pretzels after that first time when she did.

Today, when I got home from church, I was greeted not with "Daddy! You're home!"…

Buick Drivers

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So I had probably preface this post by saying that if you drive a Buick, you'll more than likely be offended. Read on at your own risk! :-)
First, some context...

Several years ago, I took a business trip and received a complementary upgrade from Hertz to a full-size car. Nice, right? Well, it would have normally been fantastic, though in this case I guess it was just simply a little too much car for this man. You see, they gave me a absolutely-freaking-huge Buick. This was the kind of car that normally comes with simulated-wood-grain paneling as siding, Sinatra and Lawrence Welk preprogrammed on the XM radio, and 0-60 times measured in minutes, not seconds (but that acceleration is oh-so-smooth). I drove the thing around (alone) for a day before concluding that it just wasn't the vehicle for me. I think people must have been following me around most of the time wondering when we'd get to the funeral.  When I went back to the airport to trade, the Hertz guys were somew…

Do You Have An Awesome Bar?

I know I probably do more "techy" posts than I should, but it's my blog and not yours, so there.  If you're not an avid Firefox user, shame on you.  It's so-way-entirely-cooler than Internet Exploder.  And, version 3 came out just recently.  What's so cool about version 3, you ask? Simply put, it's the "Awesome Bar."  Does your browser have an Awesome Bar?  If not, you need one.
The so-called Awesome Bar is the navigation bar where you enter your URL.  In Firefox (FF), you can now enter the actual site you want to visit, but you can also put in partial names of bookmarks, places you've been, and so on, and it's remarkably good at finding just the perfect place you want to go.  There are many sites out there explaining the finer points of it, so I won't waste space here.  
You can now also tag bookmarks for easy lookup, plus it's pretty much the fastest browser out there.  My gmail loads 3x faster than with FF2.  I love it.  When yo…

Expectations and Orange Buckets: Part II

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A while back, Jolayne blogged about our summer project with having the girls move a good-sized pile of rocks in our yard (primarily for the "work" experience).  Then, she just recently posted about some of the problems we're having with sassiness, especially in our eldest.  I feel compelled to offer a little more detail. 
Last night, we were talking at dinner and I said something about being respectful to parents, but I was kidding and having fun.  Amy took it a little too far when I asked her to do something a shot off a "like I care" comment.  That left me no choice but to demonstrate my pecking-order superiority by handing down swift punishments as though I was Zeus on Mt Olympus!  (OK, maybe not.)

The rock project has moved along, and they are nearing the end.  However, due to Amy's speak-before-you-think problem (which incidentally I had just as bad at her age), she now has the awesome punishment of getting to finish the job HERSELF!  You would have thou…

Demolition Derby

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The Boulder County Fair is coming up soon, and on the opening night they have their demolition derby. I've always wanted to go to something as white-trashy as that, and this is my year. I'm trying to get a group of guys together to go, so if you're interested, it's Aug 1st, let me know.

That means you have only two weeks to totally trash a tshirt and jeans so you'll have something appropriate to wear!

HOMEWORK: If you're going, you must watch 10 hours of CMT reality shows before you can buy your ticket. Start with My Big Redneck Wedding.

By the way, the fair is changing things this year, in case you didn't know, and admission and parking will both be free again. Yay. Now we can go with the kids and see all the animals. No way I was paying last year.

Why Your Blackberry or Cell Phone Causes Speakers to Buzz

Update (07/21): it appears that a anti-static bag (or something that looks similar to it, anyway), will help kill that annoying noise. Check this out:




He's charging $5 for a 2-pack. Just need a way to get it to have that shielding while in the holster; then it would sell very well! Thanks for the tip, Dave.

I came across a very interesting article this week that explains why a blackberry or (less often) cell phone causes that annoying buzzing sound near speakers. I'm sure you've heard the noise; it's kind of like a bunch of buzzing bees. Basically, here's the crux of the whole thing:
To get to the root of the issue, I spoke with Duncan Bradley, Research In Motion's (RIM) director of global market intelligence. RIM is the BlackBerry manufacturer. Bradley explained to me that cell phones cause this buzzing interference when near some speakers or other devices that can resonate radio frequencies (RF) because such devices often feature poor quality shielding mech…

Weeding, the Followup

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As promised, I took the kids to the Church farm way up north last Saturday. We had to get up at a lovely 4:30am and drive for a good hour to be there around 6:00. Then a short ride in the back of a pickup and we were in our very own field the size of Manhattan, full of beans. Not sure if you can make it out in the picture from my phone, but the rows are about 2/3 mile long. We were supposed to have 300+ people for our field. We had maybe half that. Many folks misinterpreted the "rules of engagement" and were down on hands and knees pulling every little weed. After more than an hour, many of them were only a few hundred feet down their first rows. I was somewhat more liberal in my application of the rules. In fact, as time went on, I became about as liberal as a granola-loving biker wearing hemp pants with a special prairie dog pouch in Boulder. By the time we'd been there 3 hours, my rules were "anything two feet or taller". It was a good rule.


The ki…