Thursday, November 10, 2011

Engineering Flowchart

Maybe it's because I'm a guy and I like to tinker with things, but I found this simple description of what to do when you are faced with a problem in the shop, very funny.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

TP Metalica

Here is a picture I took at Speed Week last year.  For those who don't know, Speed Week is the annual event held on the Bonneville Salt Flats where people try to go as fast as they can in all sorts of vehicles.  This is the engine to one of the faster ones.  It is essentially an engine encased in a kids swing set with a seat on it.  It goes really fast but it is a bitch when you roll.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Food Tokyo Style

On my recent trip to Thailand we had a layover in Tokyo - at the airport.  I don't usually recommend food at the airport but I was in Tokyo and I do like Sushi.  Here is what we were served.  It was some of the best Sushi and airport food I've had.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Food Glorious Food

So I have been following Max's Thematic Photography Week posts and thought I would join this week since the topic is food.

I am a fan of food.  I like to cook, I like to eat and I like to drink.  All good past times to keep oneself healthy and pass the time.

Here is some food from a recent trip to Thailand.  The first is Dragon Fruit, the second is Pad Thai and the third si Green Curry with Chicken.  All delicious.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Hell of a Question


The following is an actual question given on University of Arizona chemistry mid term.  
The answer by one student was so 'profound' that the professor shared it with colleagues, via the Internet, which is, of course, why we now have the pleasure of enjoying it as well:  

Bonus Question: Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat)?  
Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle's Law (gas cools when it expands and heats when it is compressed) or some variant.  
 One student, however, wrote the following:  

First, we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So we need to know the rate at which souls are moving into Hell and the rate at which they are leaving. I think that we can safely assume that once a soul gets to Hell, it will not leave. There fore, no souls are leaving. As for how many souls are entering Hell, let's look at the different religions that exist in the world today. 

Most of these religions state that if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to Hell. Since there is more than one of these religions and since people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all souls go to Hell. With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially. Now, we look at the rate of change of the volume in Hell because Boyle's Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell to stay the same, the volume of Hell has to expand proportionately as souls are added.

This gives two possibilities:  

1. If Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter Hell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase until all Hell breaks loose.  

2. If Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in Hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell freezes over. 

So which is it?  

If we accept the postulate given to me by Teresa during my Freshman year that, 'It will be a cold day in Hell before I sleep with you,' and take into account the fact that I slept with her last night, then number two must be true, and thus I am sure that Hell is exothermic and has already frozen over. The corollary of this theory is that since Hell has frozen over, it follows that it is not accepting any more souls and is therefore, extinct..... ...leaving only Heaven, thereby proving the existence of a divine being which explains why, last night, Teresa kept shouting
'Oh my God.' 


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Ikea's Manland

It's true.  Guys now have a place to go when our wives ask us to go shopping.

Typically when my wife asks me to go shopping I feign a burst appendix or try to think of something I have to do around the house.  

My wife loves to shop.  She is good at it.  She will spend hours wandering and looking.  She gets good deals. 

I like to commando shop.  No - that's not shopping without underpants.  It is knowing what single item you want before you go into the store, heading right to it without distraction, taking less than a minute to grab it and heading directly to the check out.  The mission is complete in 3 minutes and 15 seconds if the check out line is short.  If I am in the store for more than 5 minutes I expect my unit to come in on a rescue mission. 

Ikea, the Swedish furniture giant, has come up with a great idea.  They have a room for guys to play foosball or watch football.  Sort of like a daddy day care, only it is dad who is being watched. 

I can't wait for this to come to the US.  I will actually want to go to Ikea.  My wife can browse to her heart's content while I catch up on ESPN.  I wonder if I can show up in my pajamas?

Two dudes play a game of foosball in IKEA's Manland, an adult play area for those bored husbands and boyfriends.
Two dudes play a game of foosball in IKEA's Manland, an adult play area for those bored husbands and boyfriends. Photo: YouTube

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Father of the Year

Late one night a truck was pulled over on the interstate outside Baton Rouge, LA.  The driver was 8 years old.  His very intoxicated dad was in the passenger seat along with his 4 year old sister. 

It seems dad had too much to drink and had instructed his 8 year old son to drive him home.  After all, dad shouldn't be driving, for safety reasons as well as the possiblity of getting a DUI ticket. 

My question is how does an 8 year old reach the pedals?  Did he tie bricks to his feet? 

You know, if you take the fact that the kid was 8 out of the equasion, the guy wasn't as dumb as you may think.  He didn't get behind the wheel himself, and he did get a designated driver.  I think kids should get special dispensation if they get caught driving underage when they are bringing their alcoholic parents home. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Happy Anniversary

I was having a bad day.  I had this tussle at work last night and woke up to a crappy email.  I am still recovering from jet lag so I got up at 5:00 am this morning and I couldn't get back to sleep and I lost my prescription glasses. 

I got to work and closed my door.  Everyone knows this is code for leave me alone.  I took my pharmacy reading glasses and began researching who I needed to go to for replacement glasses.  The choices were meager and I had to make an appointment. 

I decided to look at my brother's websiteand there was a banner announcement for my anniversary.  I totally forgot it was today.  I immediately called my wife and wished her a happy anniversary and luckly she had missed it too.

My wife and I have been married for 35 wonderful years.  We have grown up together, raised 4 kids together and battled against the evil forces in the universe together.  She truly is my soul mate.  A few years ago we mutually agreed that we wouldn't make a big deal about our anniversary.  We don't have big parties, we don't do lavish gifts or trips and we don't expect each other to do anything secret.  It is just another reminder that we are both very lucky to have found each other so early in our lives.

So here is my best wishes to my other half - May you continue to enjoy my company as much as I do yours in the coming years, may you always feel safe in telling me anything and may you know that I am always thinking about you and your well being.  This is my commitment to you.  I love you.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Round and Round We Go

I'm here in England and finally I have a few minutes to myself.  I set off on Saturday to get to England on Sunday (they are 7 hours ahead of SLC time and it takes more than one day to get there for those who haven't done this).  I wanted to be ready to go on Monday for our meetings.

I got on the plane from JFK to Manchester on Saturday night.  About a half an hour into the flight there was this loud rushing noise.  The pilot put down the landing gear.  It turned out the landing gear wasn't going up properly and they had to return to JFK to fix it.  We circled for 2 hours to lighten the load, they couldn't just dump fuel over Long Island - or could they?

We landed and they said they would book us into a hotel and get us on the next flight out.  This was 10:30 in the evening. 

That's when the fun started.  They had one gate agent doing the rebooking for all 250 of us.  We finally got through with the ticketing about 12:30 in the morning.

I went down to the taxi stand to get a taxi to the hotel.  In most airports taxi stands are orderly and move along relatively quickly, time is money.  Not at JFK.  The airline had booked us with a certain car service so we couldn't give our vouchers to anyone else.  There wasn't a line so every time a car arrived impatient passengers waiting for a ride jumped at the driver before he got out of the car.  Rather than taking the first ones in line, since there was no line, the cabbies took the shortest routes, time is money.  Of course I was at one of the farthest hotels.  This was about 1:00 am.

I finally got a taxi by getting 4 other people who were going to the same hotel together and we attacked a cabbie in unison and brought him to his knees.  We climbed into the cab before he could say no and we locked ourselves in.  He had no choice.  This was about 1:30 am.

As we were careening along the Long Island Expressway toward Brooklyn the cabbie missed a turn and tried to cut across the merge area, the right front tire blew.  This was 2:00 am. 

It was amazing how many people were up blasting along the L.I.E. at this time of night.  I don't think we see that much traffic on Friday afternoon in Salt Lake. 

The cabbie got the spare out and proceeded to demonstate why he was a cabbie.  He knew nothing about changing the tire.  After a half an hour of this I jumped in and essentially changed the tire.  He cranked on the jack while I took the tire off and put the spare on (I know, there is a joke in there but I am trying to keep this clean).  This was about 2:30 am.

We finally got to the hotel and I got checked in and to my room after 3:00 am.  What a blast.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Down and Out

Today I went out for a bike ride.  I was coming along a street waiting for the red light to turn green.  I wanted to go straight and there was a right turn lane.  I was slowing to get behind the car in the straight lane when a tow truck driver came along side me to turn right.

The driver didn't see me and since I was between lanes he pulled up to the cross street and waited to turn left.  The only trouble was I was attached to the side of his truck.  Since he didn't see me when he pulled up, he took me with him.  I couldn't get away so I fell against the truck and down to the ground.  He was pulling a Subaru on a dolly so I fell between the truck and the car.  The truck didn't stop - although it was going slow.

I was yelling to stop but he kept moving up to the cross street.  I tried to push away from the car since the wheels of the dolly were coming up.  I got away just in time but the dolly wheels ran over my bike seat and my back tire doing significant damage to the bike.

At this point my wife, who was behind me, was yelling also, so the truck driver stopped.  The police came and interviewed us.  The tow truck driver wasn't at fault since I was in-between lanes.  I got a lecture from the cops about following the rules of the road.  I should have been squarely in the straight lane and taking up a space like a car. 

I am physically OK but I have my ego bruised.  Yeah, I could have done things better but the driver of the tow truck could have cared less that he ran over a bicyclist.  He yelled at me when I got up off the ground and he kept yelling at the cops about the accident until one cop had to tell him to shut up.  I even went over after the accident to tell him I had no hard feelings but he continued to chastise me for being in the wrong place. 

I feel run over, not physically, but like I was just in everyone's way.  I know I need to take personal responsiblity for things and we are so litigious as a society that no one wants to say anything for fear of being sued later, but as soon as the cops and the guy saw that I wasn't bleeding internally, the whole experience was so blazee.  Write up the report, file this, etc. 

I feel like a big dork.  If I had just followed the rules of the road and taken up a space in the line going straight this probably wouldn't have happened.  My wife and I were both scraped up, she fell too.  No one was injured, but I could have been killed.  

My scrapes will heal and my bike can be fixed I think. I hope the frame is OK.  Everyone else can feel good about not doing anything wrong.  I guess the moral of this story for me is respect the car.  I would also ask that drivers double and triple check when bikes are traffic. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Violent Video Games - I Can Die Now

I appear to have committed the ultimate liberal sin.  My brothers are going to disown me.  I agree with something Gayle Ruzika said.

Gayle Ruzika is the neo-nazi, ultra right wing liberal bashing fundamentalist at the center of the Eagle Forum here in Utah.  If it involves guns, freedom and liberty for all (those who are entitled to it) she is for it.

Given my natural tendancy toward a more liberal and/or moderate view of life it would seem that Ms. Ruzika and I would never see eye to eye on anything.  It appears that I should never say never.

Yesterday the US Supreme Court struck down a California law prohibiting violent video game sales to minors.  The Court said that this was an infringement of the rights of minors.  Aside from the fact that minors really don't have rights, it would seem in contrast to their views on obscenity.  You are a criminal if you sell a kid a nudie magazine (I'm not advocating this) but it is their constitutional right to buy a game that shows rape, torture and exploding body parts. 

I usually side with the US Supreme Court and most of the time I can see their reasoning.  I haven't read the decision but I would assume there is more to it than we are getting on Fox News.

Here is the part about Ms. Ruzika.  She said that the US Supreme Court was wrong (no suprise) and that we needed to protect our children from these sorts of violent games.  I couldn't believe that she was saying what I was thinking.  I can die now!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Where is it?

I guess I am starting my own theme of photos - where is it?  This is in the United States and is from a city I visited a few weeks ago.  It is a famous building of historical sigmificance.  I guess a better question would be what is the historical significance?

If you zoom in on the wall sign it will give you a clue.  The plaque below was on the house across the street.  It also contains a clue.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

They're Roos

If anyone guessed Australia on the Hungry Jack photo you are right.  To prove that I was there, here is a photo of Kangaroos on a golf course. 

Friday, June 17, 2011

What is it?

I'm going with the Thematic Photograpic theme this week of  “signs that make us wonder”.  .  I took this on one of my travels last month.  It is a real sign for a fast food place.  If it looks familiar with another name that is because they are related but due to some long lost dispute this is how this brand appears.  Can anyone tell me where?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Quote of the Day

This morning I was watching TV and saw a story on the You Tube movie "A Life in a Day". 

You Tube asked for submissions of video from all over the world from one day in March and then they compiled the best into a single 90 day movie.  There are a lot of mundane scenes and some very clever and dramatic.  One shows a lady skydiving.  The cameraman goes out of the plane first and then catches up to her and films her as the camer passes her.  It is beautiful film. 

The producer said in summing up the experience "All around the world our differences are superficial, our similarities are more profound".  I thought that was very moving.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Diversity in Utah

Yesterday morning I opened the sports page of the Salt Lake Tribune and on the front was an article about a U of U women's basketball player. The article focuses on the fact that she is only the second African American to complete 4 years in the U of U basketball program. Do we really have to make this point?

I know my roots run deep into the progressive, hippie, liberal Northeast but I thought we left this sort of racism behind several decades ago. I also know that African Americans are not a large part of the cultural makeup here in Utah, but we do live in the 21st century at least 50 years removed from the days when that's all we saw of people, the color of their skin.

I would have hoped for better, even in Utah. I would have hoped that her individual accomplishments would have meant more than her ethnicity.

Racism comes in many forms, blatant and subtle. If we are to truly grow beyond our forefathers and not discriminate against someone because of their race, creed, color or religious, or other, preferences, we need to stop pointing these differences out. She is a star athlete and an academic success, nothing more, nothing less.

Monday, May 2, 2011

More Snow in Utah

Its spring in Utah.  This is April 30th in Utah.  One minute it is snowing, the next it is 60 degrees.  This is what we woke up to Saturday morning.  This afternoon the high will top 60 degrees.

Friday, April 29, 2011

An Open Letter to Utah Drivers

This is a letter I wrote to the UHP:

Dear Utah Highway Patrol,

I am writing to express my displeasure with the drivers in Utah. I know this is a generalization and not all Utah drivers are like this but I have spent 30+ years driving in Utah and I have detected a pattern.

This morning two incidences on my 5 mile trip to work again reminded me of this pattern. The first involves getting on the freeway. I was behind several cars entering the freeway at 40 mph. I signed left to enter and sped up. The middle lane was clear for a while and no one was in the left lane. The driver in the right lane sped up to try and prevent me from entering (he or she was at least 3 car lengths away from me). When they got up to me they hit their horn. They could have easily moved left to avoid the whole mess.

The second incident involved merging from one freeway to another. The car ahead of me was in the far left lane. He or she was travelling in the left lane for about a mile. I was behind them in order to pass another car in the middle lane. I had to merge right after I passed the car ahead to get to the other freeway on ramp. I signaled. As I entered the center lane the car in front of me put on their signal and tried to merge right. I was less than a car length from them. They kept coming until they realized I wasn’t going to let them in and after I passed them they got behind me and put on their high beams.

Both of these incidences should not have happened if the other drivers were used to driving in traffic and could anticipate other car’s movements.

I call this “self-involved” driving. I believe the driver is only thinking about their needs on the road and either doesn’t see the other drivers, doesn’t consider them when moving from lane to lane or doesn’t care. They are where they are and they have a right to be there.

It is just common courtesy to try and make the flow of traffic as reasonable as possible for as many people as possible. We all have to share the road and we can do a lot to improve safety if we would just think about someone other than ourselves. With increased traffic in our area this will only get worse.

I find myself so frustrated by this “self-involved” driving that I take on the same attitude just so I can get where I am going. This is counter-productive and sometimes dangerous. I am also concerned it will be seen as “aggressive” driving, the target of a recent UHP campaign, when I am just trying to get away from poor driving habits.

I encourage UHP to put more emphasis into your “share the road” campaign with respect to other drivers. Train people to look out for others, anticipate their moves and work with them rather than against them. UHP should also have an enforcement campaign to ticket those drivers who make unsafe maneuvers in order to maintain their place or not yield the road. I think UHP was successful with this in part with the “move left” campaign for stopped patrol cars on the right side of the road.

UHP officers have a very dangerous and thankless job. I appreciate your work every day. I offer this insight to help, not to complain.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Mineral Bottom Road Revisited

On our trip to save a German (see my last post) we rode down the Mineral Bottom Road.  It is completely repaired and as good as it was before the washout, if not better.

Grand County has done a wonderful job of getting this road back up and operational in time for the spring tourist season.  They have also put in diversion canals at the top of the canyon and cement pads along the road where they believe water could run in heavy rains. 

It is possible to get a 2 wheel drive car down the road but I wouldn't advise it.  You can't go any further than the bottom of the switchbacks in a 2WD and in anything but ideal conditions this road will still provide challenges to the un-initiated. 


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Saving a German

Last weekend we were in Canyonlands.  We had a permit to camp at one of the campsites along the White Rim trail.  The White Rim is a 100 mile long 4x4 road isloated from civilization that is popular with mountain bikers.  Once in you are on your own.

We camped at Murphy Hogback.  That is 50 miles in, just halfway.  At 8:00 pm, just as we are about to retire, we hear a voice.  "Can you help me?".

Usually this area has some traffic at this time of year.  The weather is typically spectacular, not to hot, not too cold and usually sunny.  This weekend it was forcast for a rainy, dreary onslaught of several storms.  In addition the US government threatened to close the Park on Friday night - budget cuts.

Friday's weather turned out a lot better than we expected.  The storms went north and we didn't get much rain, just a sprinkle or so.  On our way in on the White Rim we commented on how few people we saw.  At our camp area there were 3 other sites, all empty.  There was no one else around for at least 20 or 30 miles, most likely 50 or so.

The voice belonged to a German tourist who rented a mountain bike in Moab and wanted to bike the White Rim.  He was alone, out of water and very lightly clothed.  The temperature was predicted to be 27 degrees F that night.  He wanted to know the fastest way to get out of the White Rim.  We told him it was the way he came in, 50 miles of rough road. 

You know that look you see in people's eyes when they realize they are in much deeper than they expected?  He had that exact look.  We didn't have spare sleeping provisions but we did have some food, water and a blanket we shared with him.  He slept in the outhouse - his name was Klaus so we called it the Klaus house.  It wasn't very pleasent but it kept him warm.  In the morning we fed him a hot breakfast and sent him back on his way.  He was very greatful to find us.

The trouble with the vast country that is Canyonlands National Park is that first time visitors can't appreciate it's enormity.  It is the wild.  It will swallow you up if you aren't prepared.  I guess that is part of the reason I like going there. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Unlimited Runs Update

My Dad had a great response to the "unlimited runs" comments last weekend.

We were coaching kids baseball (7 and 8 year olds) and the other coaches were assertive.  The league rule is each team can score only 5 runs each inning even if the other team doesn't have 3 runs.  This team was up 20 to nothing.  Before the last inning the other coach announces "remember, we get unlimited runs in the last inning".

Dad said I should have responded "How about I give you 100 runs now and we go home?".  No wonder I have such a sarcastic sense of humor.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Snow in April

It snowed yesterday.  We got about 6 inches. 

The strange thing was that the power was out for more than 12 hours.  At first it was cool.  I liked the quiet without the heater blasting.  We snuggled under the covers and didn't get up until about 11 am. 

Then it got weird.  We didn't know what to do.  I kept looking for things to do without power.  I finally ended up reading the whole Sunday paper. 

We kept calling RMP.  They kept saying, in a recorded message, that they knew about the outage and we would have our power on in a couple of hours.  Finally I went through to the complaint voice message and inserted our address.  They recorded it and said they were working on it.  I was uncharacteristically patient with the person less voice on the other end.  After all, it was Sunday and we had nowhere we needed to be.

Just as we decided to leave for dinner out, after I had struggled getting the garage door open and closed manually, we noticed the outside lights were on.  The power had finally been restored.  Of course I attribute the ultimate power restoration to my persistent phone calls. 

Friday, April 1, 2011

Unlimited Runs

I help my son coach my grandson's baseball team.  These kids are 7-8 years old and they are just learning the game of baseball.  This is the first year they are hitting a ball pitched to them and they are still figuring out what to do once they hit the ball.  Its a lot of fun to coach them and watch them learn baseball.

Yesterday we had our second game.  The first game was an exercise in learning the rules and having fun.  The kids cheered each other on and there was a lot of forgiveness when the kids on either team didn't know the rules.

The second game was totally different.  The coach on the opposing team was yelling at the kids.  He was a stickler for the rules (only three strikes and you are out - most of our kids went out on strikes) and he played a very aggressive brand of baseball, teaching his kids to run until they either reached home plate or had to stop because our kids had run in the ball. 

One of the rules is that the inning ends if one team scores 5 runs in that inning.  This is to prevent a coach running up the score on kids who are just learning. 

We were behind about 20 to nothing as the last inning approached.  Their kids hit well and took advantage of every opportunity to score.  Our kids hung in there as Jeff and I kept encouraging them to have fun and not worry about the score. 

As the other team got ready to bat for the last inning their coach announced "remember, we get unlimited runs in the last inning".  Like they needed it.  What a tool. 

We found out that the other team was made up of 10 all-stars from last year.  I guess they needed to play some beginners to get their confidence up before they faced someone who would not be so easy on them. The players weren't mean spirited, they were just 8 year olds having fun.  It was the Douche Lord (that's Maddy's word) coaches who took the game way too seriously. 

After the game Jeff went to put the equipment back and he talked to the opposing team's coach.  Jeff was being positive and said something like "it's all in fun".  The coach shot back "you need to push them, they like it".  It's tough when your ego is wrapped up in an event so much that you loose sight of the real purpose - the kids. 

I want to take on the saying "remember we get unlimited runs in the last inning" as my mantra.  Not in the way their coach meant it, but as a reminder that we shouldn't take life too seriously and that we should focus on what matters. 

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Back to Normal - Almost

I am back from the UK. I am almost recovered from jet lag and I am mostly sleeping through the night.

I still get the sweats and that ringing in my ears and I am tired by 3 pm.  They say it takes a day for every hour time change you go through.  The UK is 7 hours ahead of Utah so I should be coming around about Saturday.

Last Saturday we rode motorcycles in the UK.  It was a grueling day of pounding up and down a closed course.  The track was slippery and I kept loosing control until I figured out that my tires (tyers in the UK) were inflated too much.  I lowered the air pressure and it was much better.

Due to the punishment I suffered on Saturday, Sunday was a bit rough sitting for up to 8 hours in a cramped plane.  I'm not complaining.  I was on my way home and the ride was a blast.  Just informing.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Nice Sleep

I arrived here in England on Monday morning.  I was shuttled to my friend's house where he went off to work and I was given a nice cushy oversized couch on which to take a nap.  It was a great hour of sleep. 

I then checked into my hotel room and we went to the office.  I worked for a few hours and then we went to dinner.  I was in bed by 9:00 pm and slept through the night.  I woke up at 8:00 am feeling a bit groggy but rested.

Tonight is the rough night usually.  I get good sleep the first night because I am so exhausted. The second night I wake up at about 3 or 4 and can't get back to sleep.  I wonder around the next day in a zombie state. 

Wish me luck. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Nice Upgrade

I was set to go to England on Saturday.  I got to the gate in SLC and waited.  The flight was oversold so they asked for volunteers who might want to go later. 

I really didn't need to be there on Sunday, but I wanted to get there to rest up for work on Monday.  Usually the flight is such a pig. Crowded, uncomfortable, like steerage on a turn of the century steamship, only without the discentary.  I usually don't get much sleep.  This makes for a bad first day on the ground.

I told the gate agent I had some flexibility.  She offered me a voucher for travel later and an upgrade to first class.  She said she could only give me first class on the US leg of the flight.  After some proper schmoozing she agreed to see if a seat was available in first class from Atlanta to Manchester.  It was.

I am now in the Delta Crown Room on Sunday waiting for my first class flight to Manchester.  Guess what else you get with a first class ticket?  I trip to the Crown Room.  I could get used to this.

The cool thing about a first class seat to Europe is that you can sleep.  The seats are twice as wide as the coach seats and they recline most of the way.  There are more flight attendants and fewer screaming kids. 

I may actually get to England feeling the same as I would have if I had arrived on Sunday having suffered through coach. 

Ah, to sleep, perchance to dream. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Rainbow of Colors

I was riding home from work today, it was misting and as I approached the exit this huge rainbow popped out of the clouds. It was a lot more impressive than the picture shows.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Charlie Sheen is the New Gary Bussey

I watched Charlie Sheen on a 20/20 interview earlier this week.  He wasn't even listening to the interviewer's questions.  He was asked a direct question, in plain English, about his past sex life, drug use or allegations of spousal abuse and Charlie would ramble incoherently about how he was a nice guy.  I know this can be a tactic, but he seemed to genuinely consider the question and then set off on another trajectory with words that sounded like English but didn't string together like they were even in the same room as the question.

I like the sitcom Two and a Half Men.  I think the character Charlie Harper is funny, as a character.  Charlie Sheen is the real thing.  It just looks pathetic without a laugh track and a dopey sidekick.

He reminds me of another soul lost to drugs and fame - Gary Busey.  Gary would also ramble into the camera when approached. It got so unintelligible that the only thing that separated him from the homeless guy we see on our walk downtown is that Gary sort of reminded us of someone who played an actor in a few films. 

Imagine a conversation between Charlie Sheen and Gary Busey.  One would ramble nonsense and the other would respond, with similar but creepily disjointed nonsense of his own.  This would go on for a while until one got angry, fell asleep or fell down.  Sort of like two blindfolded boxers - funny for about 30 seconds. 

The real drawback to fame and fortune, aside from the hordes of hangers on who take advantage of you and the stalkers, is that it gives you permission to do what you want, without consequences.  Charlie will have to learn, or is learning, the hard way, that life is about choices.  May God bless him with the ability to pull himself out of the morass he finds himself in before it is too late.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Today's Beefs

I have two beefs.

The first is the Utah legislature.  Not their total lack of reasonableness in wasting most of the 45 day session promoting "message bills" leaving themselves precious little time to deal with real issues like the budget or education.  Not that they are wasting my time and yours promoting a bill to remove the 100 foot no gun safety zone around schools so unsuspecting "carriers" don't get unwittingly trapped into breaking the law.   

My beef with the legislature is their total hypocrisy in ethics reform.  Last year they were all up in arms that they needed to control influence pedaling so they passed an "ethics in the legislature" bill.  The problem is that the bill has a whole big enough to drive a catering truck through.

Lobbyists are required to report gifts over $10 per legislator with the exception of food and beverage.  This year with 33 days in the session so far lobbyists have provided 112 separate meals.  And that is for all the legislators since under the sweeping ethics reform the lobbyists have to invite everyone.

That's more than three meals a day.  In fact that includes 15 breakfasts, 12 dinners, 27 snacks and 15 receptions among the 112 events sponsored.  I'm glad to see they took ethics reform so seriously.

The second beef is the raves at the Salt Palace.  The news reported for a second time this year (I'm not sure if that is calendar year or in the last 365 days) drugs have been confiscated and people arrested at raves at the Salt Palace Convention Center. 

Why are my tax dollars subsidizing a venue for raves?  Can't the promoters at the Salt Palace get some legitimate gigs?  Maybe they should ask the legislators who they can get for conventions?  Maybe the same people who are catering to their every wishes.  At least then their bribe food will have done some good.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Mineral Bottom Road Open This Season

For those of you who have been following the dialogue about the Mineral Bottom Road, it was announced Friday that the road construction will be completed Monday, March 28, 2011 with the road being open to the public on Tuesday, March 29, 2011.  This is great news.

The Mineral Bottom Road was washed out in a horrific rain storm in August, 2010.  This is a major tourist back way that cut off access to a large portion of Canyonlands National Park. 

The road was supposed to take 12 weeks to repair, once Grand County, the overseeing state entity, received funds.  It looked like this would take away most of the travel season in 2011.

 This is what the road looked like in August 2010 just after the washout.

This is what the damage looked like close up when we went down in October 2010.

Congratulations to the crew who put this road back in service in such a short time.  This truly was a gigantic task that was done very quickly so we could enjoy the backcountry.  Thanks.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Hippie Happening

I haven't had much to talk about lately, but last night was an experience. 

Tim DeChristopher is going to be tried in Federal Court for disrupting a Federal bid auction for oil & gas leases.  He bid on leases he didn't intend on paying for, to demonstrate that leases should not be granted close to a National Park (Arches in Southern Utah) and that the continual pursuit and use of petrochemicals is killing our planet.  Tim's trial started today in Salt Lake City.

Last night the Unitarian Church in Salt Lake City held a solidarity meeting in support of Tim DeChristopher's actions.  A few hundred people showed up; mostly older, long graying hair, jeans and tie-dye shirts.  They had made banners with the number 70 on it, Tim's bid number. 

There was one speaker who was particularly powerful.  Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary fame.  Sorry if you're too young to really appreciate the significance of this.  Peter Yarrow marched with Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963, he was at the Chicago National Convention when all hell broke out in 1968.  Peter, Paul and Mary are famous for singing such protest anthems as Blowin in the Wind and If I Had a Hammer.  They also popularized such folk songs as Puff the Magic Dragon and Leaving on a Jet Plane.  They embodied the hope and optimism of the 60's.  They were an anchor where all seemed unhitched.

Last night's event was a throwback to those days, a true peace rally.  We sung We Shall Overcome and This Land is Your Land and of course Blowin in the Wind.  We sang one song that was really reminiscent of the 60s. It's title is Have You Been to Jail for Justice. The chorus goes: Have you been to jail for justice? I want to shake your hand; Cause sitting in and lyin' down are ways to take a stand; Have you sung a song for freedom? or marched that picket line? Have you been to jail for justice? Then you're a friend of mine. Peter Yarrow gave a rousing speech about why we need to question our leaders and why we are being very American for doing so.

Maybe it is the lack of sleep but I want to march on the capital and participate in a sit in.  The 60s were a time of profound change that affect us all in a good way now because a few had the courage to stand up to the status quo.  All those feelings came back.  I was really young in the 60s so I was an outside observer, not a participant.  This brought back all those desires to be involved and be part of something big.  It was history in the making and I'm glad I was there.

Friday, February 18, 2011

All is Well

I've been sucked in.  My new employer is having a convention in Las Vegas.  We have spent the past 10 days working to put it together, strategize and handle all the challenges of getting 150 people from around the world into one place, motivated and come together. 

There always those who want just a few minutes of your time.  You try to squeeze a few meetings into the tight schedule I set.  I wake up tired and go to bed exhausted.  I will need a few days to recover and then I can plow through the month's worth of work I need to get done next week.

I love it.  I am demented.  I need therapy. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Car Surfing

I saw this story on the news yesterday about teens "car surfing".  That's when a kid climbs up on the roof of a car going 30-50 mph piloted by a buddy.  If the driver were a professional and you had worked out a plan beforehand of signals and what would happen if the unexpected were to happen and if you were wearing protective gear, this might be fun.

In most cases the kids are high and there is no plan.  They aren't wearing safety gear and things happen.  Some kids get killed.  Kids - don't try this at home.

Things are made worse by "ghost riding".  This is where the driver puts the car on cruise control and climbs up on the roof himself or herself.  This won't end badly, will it?

The article said this concerning trend was probably started with the movie Jackass (2002).  I don't think so.  Not that I would admit this to my kids, but I have been known to use a car as a vehicle for stupid stunts.  That was in the 70s.  There was a movie in the 80s called Teen Wolf (1985) where Michael J. Fox climbs up on a really nice van and surfs into the school parking lot.  In Footloose (1984) Kevin Bacon is fooling around in pick up truck beds driving side by side on dirt roads. 

This has been going on for a lot longer than they think.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Epic Day

It snowed last night, 11 inches at Solitude with a 98 inch base. 2-3 inches of the lightest, fluffiest, greatest snow on earth on my driveway. The sun is out, the wind is non-existant and it is a weekday.

Unfortunately I have a meeting planned for 10:00 so I am having as much fun as you are. Working for a living sucks!

The trip into work was made even less enjoyable by the drivers around me.  The roads were just wet but they were going slow.  This was compounded by some who had snow on their cars.
To the snow covered morons - take a minute before you leave to wipe off your car.  Your blocked vision and attention to getting your windshield clear while driving diminishes your otherwise pathetic driving skills to the point where you are, more than usual, a danger to all around you. 
I could be cutting turns in the powder right now. 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Anarchists Came Over Last Night

We had our kids over last night.  All 7 grandkids were in attendence.  It was great.  It is wonderful to see them growning and interacting.  They really do like each other.  They also seem very comfortable at our house.

There are two in particular that are especially comfortable with each other and everyone else.  They are cousins.  They are two of the triplets.  Not real triplets, they were all born in the same year, in fact in the same quarter, to each of our kids (or their spouse in the case of our son).  They have grown up together and get along well.

These two I refer to are particularly close.  They go to the same preschool.  Their mothers are sisters and get along well.  They live within a mile of each other.

They also are full of personality.  They are not shy and they both have a flair for the comedic.  When they get together they are a hand full.  I don't know how their preschool does it but when I go to pick them up, everyone knows them.

When they arrive they always ask for the other.  If they are alone they are ok.  They respond to direction and appear to play well with the others.

When the other shows up, all bets are off.  They blast from room to room finding as many toys as possible and dragging them out in to the living room. Scattering the legos all over the place.  Asking us to read a book and then getting another and then getting another until we have a stack on the coffee table, which eventually gets shoved off for a game or a stuffed animal. 

I don't mean this in a negative way.  I really love them and they are a blast to watch.  I enjoy their energy and I try to keep up with them for a bit.  I fade quickly and they are off to terrorize another room. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

European Terrorist Alerts

I pulled this off an email.  All credit goes to John Cleese of "Monty Python" fame. 

By John Cleese

The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent terrorist threats and have therefore raised their security level from "Miffed" to "Peeved."  Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to "Irritated" or even "A Bit Cross."  The English have not been "A Bit Cross" since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies nearly ran out.

Terrorists have been re-categorized from "Tiresome" to "A Bloody Nuisance."  The last time the British issued a "Bloody Nuisance" warning level was in  1588, when threatened by the Spanish Armada.

The Scots have raised their threat level from "Pissed Off" to "Let's get the Bastards." They don't have any other levels. This is the reason they have been used on the front line of the British army for the last 300 years.

The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from "Run" to "Hide." The only two higher levels in France are "Collaborate" and "Surrender." The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France 's white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country's military capability.

Italy has increased the alert level from "Shout Loudly and Excitedly" to "Elaborate Military Posturing." Two more levels remain: "Ineffective Combat Operations" and "Change Sides."

The Germans have increased their alert state from "Disdainful Arrogance" to "Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs." They also have two higher levels: "Invade a Neighbor" and "Lose."

Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual; the only threat they are worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels.

The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy. These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy.

Australia, meanwhile, has raised its security level from "No worries" to "She'll be alright, Mate." Two more escalation levels remain: "Crikey! I think we'll need to cancel the barbie this weekend!" and "The barbie is canceled." So far no situation has ever warranted use of the final escalation level.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Anti Democracy

What the h--- happened in District 57?  Sould we really stand by and watch this happen to our fundamental way of governing?

Craig Frank has been serving the constituants of District 57 in Orem for the Utah Legislature for 8 years.  Last year, while the Utah Legislature was out of session, it was discovered he didn't live in the district he represents.  This is against the Utah Constitution.

I understand and support the Utah Constitution.  I agree a representative at the State level should live in his or her district to be a representative.

The problem is that Rep. Frank, all his constituants and the State Office of Voter Registration thought he did live in his district.  Only after many years of this misconception was it discovered, by comparing a State legislative district boundary map with the official map was this error found.  At least one election had been fully competed under the eroneous map description.  So, but for a map error by the keeper of the map, he did appear to live in his district, people in that district thought he lived in that district and in fact he was elected to that district because he supposedly lived in that district.

Now the Utah Legislature got involved.  Instead of accepting responsibility and rewriting the boundaries, they declared him ineligable as a Representative.  Rep. Frank was pressured to resign so his position could be filled by the Legislature with someone who did live in the area.  It turns out the Legislature can call together a committee of deligates and appoint someone for that seat.  64 people appointed another person for that seat. 
A lawsuit was filed by the 1500 or so people who live in the affected part of the district, who now don't have a voice in who their representative is.  The lawsuit was obviously a tactic to get the Legislature to consider them in their decision, because the lawsuit will be decided long after this process has moved on.

This is reminescent of the abuse Senator Robert Bennett suffered at the hands of the delegates last election.  Other candidates were chosen instead of the veteran Senator Bennett to represent the Utah Republican party in the last election, without the public vote.  The republican deligates appointed two candidates and Bennett wasn't one of them.  It turns out a majority of voters would have voted for Senator Bennett to be in the primary, but they never got a chance to say this.

I know I am probably making this too simple, but I think the Utah Legislature took the easy (chicken) way out with Representative Frank.  It makes you wonder if there was an ulterior motive behind all this.  This appears all too clean, to easy.

Our democratic process, the foundation of our country, was established to give us all a vote.  It is the most unpatriotic thing to prevent votes from being heard.  People in other countries die trying to vote because they believe so strongly in this premise.

We should not stand for this.  We should not tolerate the ignoring of one vote.  We should not allow the democratic process to be hijacked like this.

You have a voice.  You can let your representative know how you feel and how you would cast your vote for any of the bills being considered and any of the issues before them.  Go to This is the website for the Utah legislature. You can look up your legislators, current bills being considered by number and key word search and you can listen to the current debates and follow the ones you want with a daily agenda.

I am a strong proponant of personal involvement.  I have written my representative many times and sometimes I get a response.  I feel like I am part of the democratic process.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

New Job

 I started a new job today.  I haven't had an employer for almost ten years and I am working to adjust to it.

I have been an independent contractor for a while, enjoying the benefits/drawbacks of that business model for a while.  I could go skiing or travel when I wanted but if I didn't work I wouldn't get paid.

I also felt like I was static.  I wasn't moving forward.  I wasn't part of something bigger with goals, dreams or aspirations.  I didn't dream of growing my firm to be sold to a larger firm.  I just provided services to a few clients and kept my head above water.  I did ski a lot.

One of my clients grew to the point that they needed full time help.  They made me an offer last month, and  after some back and forth, I took it.

I now have someplace to go each day.  I have goals and objectives.  I am not just a hired gun, but part of the team.   I can see my future with this company and I hope to be here a while. 

I will miss the ability to come and go as I please.  I already turned down a ski day on Friday.  I didn't think it was a good idea to take a vacation day during my first full week of employment.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sad Loss

I lost a close friend this weekend.  He was 45 and he took his own life.  The senselessness of that act is just sinking in.

We hadn't seen much of him and his family in recent years.  A few years ago we reconnected for a moment and we had them over for dinner.  We then went to a play he was in to see his performance.  I often remember fondly the times when we were working together and spent a lot of time on vacation and in other parts of the country for our company. 

He was funny, really funny, comedian funny.  He was always thinking of ways to express his artistic nature.  Once we were in a company meeting.  A retirement plan was being proposed and the speaker was telling us how we could manage our contribution from the company to maximize our return.  He blurted out "Put mine all on black 17".  We couldn't stop laughing and the presenter seemed a little sheepish.

He once played a practical joke on me by sending me a letter saying I was being sued.  His timing was perfect.  I was having a bad day and he slipped the letter into my box at work.  Just as I was reading it he knocked on my door.  That was it.  I blew and he just laughed.  It was perfect.  I had been had in a major way and I knew it. 

More than being funny he cared about his job.  He worked very hard and was always thinking of ways to creatively solve challenges.  He was a real asset to the company and often they just looked at his antics and not his accomplishments.  I'm sure that is how it was for other areas of his life.

Its really sad when someone takes their own life.  I feel like there is something I could have done.  Maybe I could have told him I appreciated his work more.  Maybe I could have stood up for him more often in meetings.  I will never know.

We all have dark thoughts but what keeps us from following thru?  Maybe if we were slower to judge and quicker to be empathetic someone we know would stop short.  This is the 6th time I know of where a friend or aquaintence has taken his or her life in the past 4 years.  I wish there was something I could do to let them know someone cared.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Snow More

Its snowing again!  I don't mean to be ungrateful, we do need the water, but this has been a very prolific year for snow.

In past years when we have had a dearth of snow we all prayed we would get more.  I was disappointed that I couldn't go skiing as often as I liked.  We worried about the water for the summer and generally a year doesn't feel like a full year if you don't have snow season.

This year has been unusual even for a good snow year.  In a typical abundant snow year we have the stuff piled up everywhere and it gets in our way.  This year the snow comes in small bunches and we can handle that.  The white stuff is piling up in the mountains but so far we haven't had that epic snow storm in the valley that takes out power lines and prevents clean up on side streets for a few days.  To date the only ill effect has been a really cold snap about New Year's. 

The weather guys (and gals) didn't predict any snow for SLC today so that's why I thought it was weird when it started snowing this morning (the weather professionals wrong? no way).  I thought it would just brush by and sprinkle a little.  No real accumulation but just enough to powder the driveway. 

It kept coming. On my way to work the snow whitened the roads.  Cars left those tracks where the rest of the road is white.  I got to work and had to go back out to my car and the snow had piled up about 2 inches.  As I gaze out my window trying to avoid work the snow is continuing to fall at a steady rate, covering everything.  We have about three inches here in Sandy and it doesn't appear to be letting up. 

The skiers are going to love this.  It will add to our water for the summer and it really is better than being in Florida for the winter, I think so anyway.  The really funny thing is all this talk does nothing to change the amount, variety and frequency of the snow, rain, sun or clouds.  They were here long before us and will continue, unfazed, after we are gone. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mineral Bottom Road Update II

I heard from my contact at the Grand County Commission that the Mineral Bottom Road has received funding for it to be fixed and the work has begun.

The first of at least two blasting events has taken place.  This blast was done to clear the debris from the road.  The second, which may have already taken place or will in the near future, is to create the topography necessary to put the road back in place.

There is no time frame set for completion of the project.   As I am sure you can imagine rain, snow and unforseen consequences will most likely dictate the completion time frame. 

I also called the National Park Service's office for backcountry permits and they said they didn't know when the road would be finished.  They were still going on the assumption that if you wanted to camp on the White Rim you had to go in and come back the same way. 

Both entities appear to be doing all they can to get this recreational treasure opened and functional for visitors.  I'll keep you posted.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Cultural Void

I have been listening to the debate over the prosecution of "pot hunters" in the Utah desert Southeast.

This post isn't about whether the gatherers (modern day "pot hunters" - not the hunter-gatherers of ancient civilizations) deserved their prison sentences.  My interest here is in why the pots were left and why we have the notion that we can take anything laying around.

The pot hunters say they are entitled to the pots because they found them.  Isn't that like saying "I found this money in this bag so I can keep it?".  The law requires you to surrender any unattended property for a reasonable amount of time to give the rightful owner the opportunity to claim it. 

I know the Anasazi aren't coming back for their pots, but the gathering of ancient artifacts from federal lands is strictly prohibited.  In addition the "pot hunters" destroy valuable information when they take their finds.

As part of the background for the article on the "pot hunters" the journalist interviewed an archaeologist who speculated the pots were left because the ancient people had to leave quickly.

Doesn't this assume a lot?  Doesn't this assume that if the ancient people could have, they would have taken all their possessions when they left this area?  Doesn't this also assume that if someone isn't holding onto something tightly there is an overriding reason they left it behind, meaning that people wouldn't just leave things behind?

What I mean is that the settlers of the US who pushed west during the 18th and 19th centuries thought of the land as free and available to them.  As long as someone hadn't come along earlier and claimed it, they could have it.

As I understand it, the Native Americans believed, and still believe, the land was to be used by all and they were only stewards, charged with keeping it in good shape for the next group to come along and use it.

What if the Anasazi left those pots, assuming someone would inhabit this area later, and could use them?  I know this goes against centuries of manifest destiny thinking but wouldn't it be better to think of our natural resources as shared rather than owned?  

I know some of this comes from my hippie upbringing but in my opinion there is a respect for nature that is lost in this conquering mind set.  Part of getting along with others is trying to understand where they come from rather than trying to subjugate them. 

In light of the recent events in Tucson, maybe if we tried to see where others are coming from and understand their motivation we could find some common ground, rather than point out, in hurtful and inflammatory language, our differences.

I guess Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's words have again impacted me this day that we celebrate his birth and influence on our society.  If you have a chance read his "I have a dream" speech. It will send chills up your spine.

Goin to the Land

Saturday we took my snowmobile to the land.  Our objective was to get to the cabin.  There was a lot of snow but I made it.

What I mean by I made it was that we tried to get the trucks up the unplowed road and we couldn't go more than a few feet.  I then got the snowmobile (or is that snowmachine as per our Alaskan political hottie Sarah Palin?) and followed a track up the main unplowed road that led past our gate.  I figured I could go up alone (lighter) and blaze the trail so the trucks could follow.

The track continued up past our gate and the entrance to our land was unplowed, untracked and snow drifted.  I charged ahead and promptly got the machine stuck in the deep snow.  I got off the machine and sunk down to my knees.  I struggled to get the machine out and finally got it to the gate. 

I did get the machine up to the cabin, not without burying it two more times in deep drifts.  There were several broken limbs across the road.  This is unusual for our land; broken limbs.  The first picture is of a particularly large limb down across our road by the cabin.  The snow must have been heavy when falling and come down really fast.

When I returned to the trucks I was exhausted from pulling the machine out of the drifts.  My brothers had been trying to get the truck up the now machine blazed trail but without any success. The guys did manage to get their truck stuck in the snowbank while I was gone.  The second picture is of the impression the front bumper made in the snowbank.

My wife and I had visions of getting up to the cabin alone with the snowmobile but I guess we will have to wait until the snow melts a bit or I track it up a lot more. 

Any way it was fun riding up to the cabin.  The air was fresh and clean. my lungs appreciated that.  

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Shoe Tree is Gone

Last week I read a small article in the Salt Lake Tribune saying the Shoe Tree along Highway 50 in Nevada was cut down.  What a tragedy.

Last March a few friends and I rode motorcycles from Salt Lake to Death Valley, CA and back.  On our way back we stopped at the Shoe Tree to pay homage.  Its located on a very desolate stretch of one lane highway litterally in the middle of nowhere.  Surely it was safe from vandalism.

I guess some people can leave well enough alone.  The Shoe Tree was not hurting anyone, it wasn't blocking anyone's view or disrupting traffic or encroaching onto the highway.  It was one of those weird bits of Americana that made the trip all that more interesting. 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Heil Fido

There was a really funny article in the paper yesterday.  It seems the Nazis were angered by a dog in Finland that raised his left paw in a mock Nazi salute as a trick.  The headline to the article read "Hitler-mocking dog in Finland infuriated Nazis".

"The Foreign Office in Berlin commanded its diplomats in the Nazi-friendly Nordic country to gather evidence on the dog and even came up with plans to destroy" its owner's business (By Kristen Greishaber, Associated Press, Saturday, January 8, 2011, page A8 of the Salt Lake Tribune).  The article goes on to say They "were looking for ways to bring [the dog's owner] to trial for insulting Hitler, but in the end, none of the potential witnesses were willing to repeat their accusations in front of a judge.".

Can you imagine the trial?  The owner is asked to demonstrate the trick and he says "He vont do zee trick mine furher, unless General Goebels commands him."  They should have been concentrating on the Battle of the Buldge or the Normandy Invasion rather than a Furher mocking dog.