Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Football is nigh upon us

Pretty much everybody knows that I love football and that I write about it here quite a bit. This year I'm introducing a new feature of Alison and Tyler's Pigskin Picks. I personally invite everybody else to weigh in with their predictions on the games of the week. Alison and I will have our picks up every Tuesday in order to give everybody enough time to voice their own picks. Note that every once in a while there might be a prize to whoever is closest. Here are this weeks games:

1. UNLV @ Utah State
Alison's Pick: UNLV 35, USU 14
Tyler's Pick: USU 21, UNLV 17 - This ones a risky pick. I'd like to see both teams do well. I guess that I'd more like to see the Aggies do well. This may very well be each teams best chance for a win.

2. Utah @ Oregon State
Alison's Pick: OSU 31, Utah 17
Tyler's Pick: OSU 24, Utah 21 - Don't get me wrong, I really, really want Utah to win. I'm just going to be a little more realistic this season. Last year I felt good about Utah's chances opening the season at UCLA. I was wrong to feel that way. This year, I realize that Oregon State has a lot more speed and skill than Utah. I really don't think that Utah is going to get blown out though. I think that with Johnson at the helm their offense will score, but the defense will prove to be too weak.

3. Arizona @ BYU
Alison's Pick: BYU 24, Arizona 21
Tyler's Pick: BYU 20, Arizona 14 - If Max Hall shows up BYU wins. If he doesn't, BYU loses 3-0.

4. #15 Tennessee @ #12 California
Alison's Pick: Tennessee 27, Cal 20
Tyler's Pick: Tennessee 34, Cal 24 - I'd love to pick Cal in this one. Unfortunately, Cal has a history of blowing important games (just in my memory - I have no facts to back that up with). Tennessee probably actually blows more games than Cal, but I think that Ainge is going to prove to be a pretty good quarterback this year. I think that they will finish ahead of Florida, but behind Georgi in the SEC.

OK. Now it's your turn to make your picks and tell me where you think I've gone wrong. I'll even make this easy for you. Just copy and paste the following into the comment box and then fill in your scores.

UNLV __ @ Utah State __
Utah __ @ Oregon State __
Arizona __ @ BYU __
Tennessee __ @ Cal __

** Update ** If this doesn't get you into the mood for football, nothing will.

"Coach, Wrong Ball"

School is in Session

I actually started school on the 20th of August (early, I know). I didn't have time to post anything about it last week because I was quite busy... I've posted my fall class schedule above for all to see. This semester I am taking 17 credit hours (more than I've ever taken before), but this will make my last semester (next spring) a bit easier.

Last week I worked more than 50 hours as well as attending all of my classes. I only worked 15 hours at my regular job, and I put in the rest of the hours on my research project. Now I'm playing catch-up with all of the homework that I had to put off. For the project a partner and I designed and implemented a PLL and our chip layout was turned in 2 days ago. It feels great to have that done. I'll post more on this research project later.

The classes that I'm taking are:

CH EN 5657 - Nuclear Engineering I - This class is both a Civil Engineering course and a Chemical Engineering course. There are actually no civil engineers taking the class and only 2 electrical engineers (I'm one of them). The rest (~25 people) are chemical engineers. This is probably because the class is essentially a chemistry class. All Nuclear Engineering is is the study of nuclear reactions (which coincidentally are chemical reactions). It's been a few years since I've tken chemistry but it should be an interesting class at least.

ECE 6900 - Graduate Seminar - This class actually only meets once a week. Each week a guest speaker from academia or industry lectures on emerging technology or projects that they are affiliated with.

PHYS 6610 - Electronics I - This class should be pretty easy for me... It's a broad overview of the first 4 or 5 electrical engineering courses for physics students. We won't be going nearly as in depth as in EE classes but maybe this time I'll actually learn something.

ECE 6710 - Digital VLSI Design - This class will easily take most of my time. It was a tough decision for me because of the time committment but very few schools teach such an in depth class of VLSI design. After taking this class, students are virtually gauranteed that companies such as HP, TI and Intel will look at their resumes because these skills are in high demand. The chip-making (simulation and layout) will be easy for me but I've never been very good at digital design or Verilog. I just need to team up with a good CS major...

ECE 6960 - History of Computer and Engineering Logic - This class is being taught by an adjunct professor that retired more than 20 years ago from the U. It's actually turning out to be a much more interesting class than I originally expected it to be. We already had guest lecturers from the philosophy (I guess logic is actually a huge part of philosophy) and computer science departments.

It's nice to have my mornings free for work and homework. It's unfortunate that I've got to be in class almost every evening though. Last week there were 2 days that I didn't see Ada at all (it was sad) and one day where I only saw her for less than an hour. That's probably going to be the theme this semester.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Props to the Chef

Alison and I went to Lugano restaurant tonight for our anniversary and my birthday. Lugano is located on 23rd East just south of 33rd South. It's probably the nicest restaurant that we've been to since our 1st anniversary three years ago when we dined at The Roof (although my meal was only $15 and Alison's was $14). You know you're at a nice restaurant when the wine list is 3.5 pages long and the most expensive wine is almost $350. After dining at Lugano, I've got to recommend it to anybody looking for fine Italian food in Salt Lake City. I got Fettuccini with Italian sausage, fresh mushrooms, red onion, baby spinach & tomato cream sauce. It ranks up there with the best meals that I've ever had. Alison got Pizza Margherita and enjoyed it as well.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

History of Me

Alison and I were at my grandpa's a couple of weeks ago and he gave me a couple of pictures of me, my siblings and cousins taken in the summer of 1982. Here they are:

Monday, August 13, 2007


Potpourri was always my favorite Jeopardy category. There's been a lot going on that I haven't had a chance to write about. This weekend was a busy one. We had a birthday party Thursday night, wedding reception Friday night, wedding, wedding dinner and baptism Saturday, baby blessing Sunday and we went the Bees game tonight.

My niece Maddie got baptized on Saturday. She's my parents oldest grandchild so every milestone that she reaches is obsessed about more than any other. It was exciting to see her take this step and then try and remember some of my baptism. I don't remember much. I was baptized while my family lived in Ohio. I do remember getting a candy bar from my Grandpa Squire though ;).
Tucker and Rachelle's little baby boy was blessed on Sunday morning. Keaton Tucker Steed was born just over a month ago and was blessed while Kevin and Alysia Bischoff (my sister and her husband who live in Las Vegas) were here. It's always nice to see them, but they were probably a little stressed because their 3-year old daughter suffered a concussion after falling off of her bike on Saturday.

Tonight Alison and I went to the Bees game with her parents and brother's family. It was an exciting game that the Bees won 11-4. We had to leave after the 6th inning for Ada to go to sleep but we saw the majority of the offense from both teams. The starting shortstop for the Bees (Casey Smith) had 3 errors in the first inning. The Bees are lucky to have only gone down 1-0 during that time. He also went 0-3 from the plate when Alison and I left. Needless to say, he wasn't having a very good day.

My Windows Live Hotmail account was upgraded to 5 GB today. Take that all of you gmail users with 2888.426690 MB and counting and all of you yahoo mail users with a measly... ok, I just checked and yahoo mail users get unlimited storage. I take back everything mean that I said. For a while there, I was feeling pretty good about myself.

Alison and I rarely watch anything except sports, news, The Colbert Report and American Idol on TV. Last Tuesday we were just flipping through the channels and we stopped on ABC. There was a show called Just For Laughs on from 7:00-8:00 PM. We were both laughing so hard that we were almost crying. It's a candid camera type show that was obviously filmed in another country. There is no dialog, only music to cover up whatever language was originally spoken in the show. We both highly recommend it to anyone looking for a laugh.

School starts a week from today - yuck. I just found out a couple of days ago that one of the classes that I was looking forward to taking has been canceled. What a joke. Maybe I'll take a Poly-Sci class or something.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Summer Wedding

Alison and I had the chance to attend the wedding of one of her friends at the Salt Lake Temple today. Kim Locher married Paul Kindred. I don't remember the name of the guy that performed their wedding but he was fantastic (If anyone reading this does, then let me know in the comments). It is fun to remember when Alison and I were married more than 4 years ago. In comparison to most of our friends, we're the oldies. I especially enjoyed a poem by the great western poet Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) that the sealer shared. He wrote this poem for his wife before she died.

I Love You - by Carl Sandburg

I love you for what you are, but I love you yet more for what you are going to be.

I love you not so much for your realities as for your ideals.

I pray for your desires that they may be great, rather than for your satisfactions, which may be so hazardously little.

A satisfied flower is one whose petals are about to fall.

The most beautiful rose is one hardly more than a bud wherein the pangs and ecstasies of desire are working for a larger and finer growth.

Not always shall you be what you are now.

You are going forward toward something great.

I am on the way with you and therefor I love you.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Sunday, August 05, 2007


Ada was just awful today. It's days like today that allow me to appreciate my job and that give me a greater respect for Alison staying home all day with Ada - every day. I really don't think that I could do it. As she mentioned on her blog, we went boating yesterday at Echo Reservoir with my family. I really like boating and swimming. Yesterday was a good day because I got to ski, wakeboard, knee board and tube. Granted, I am sore today (not nearly as sore as Alison) but after the butt massage Alison just gave me, I feel pretty good...

On the drive home, Ada was simply inconsolable. She cried the whole drive. She has been throwing little tantrums the last few days and hasn't been eating well either. It's so hard to know whether or not she is sick or just angry because she is a child with a lot of anger. Around Park City on the drive home, Alison wondered aloud whether "that smell" was Ada or some cows. I couldn't actually smell it so I offered no answer to her musings. As we descended Parley's Canyon, Ada continued to cry and we tried everything that we could to console her. Driving along Foothill Drive and nearing our apartment we looked back at Ada (who was still riding in her forward-facing car seat) and she had her left leg pulled up to her face. She was only wearing her swimsuit and a swim diaper and under her leg poop was slowly oozing out onto herself and the car seat. We immediately knew what that nasty smell was. We were less than a mile from home but our fear now was that she would get her hand in it and begin playing in it. Luckily for us, these fears were unfounded because Ada was just enjoying the relieved pressure from her bottom. I carried her into the house (still in her car seat) and we got her (and her seat) all cleaned up. At least neither of us were alone when this happened. That would have been a struggle.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Arches National Park

Our last day was spent at Arches National Park. This could easily be my favorite National Park. There are so many interesting rock formations and so many arches all in one area that I find it simply amazing. The first thing that we did when we entered the park was to hike to Sand Dune Arch and then part of the way to Broken Arch. It was a really hot day and we found ourselves not wanting to exhaust ourselves like we had the previous day at Canyonlands.

Our next hike was about a 2 mile hike to Tunnel Arch, Pine Tree Arch and Landscape Arch. This was a really pretty hike and we saw a few lizards (and even touched one of them) and a lot of people. After this hike we sent to a viewpoint of Delicate Arch (we didn't make the hike) and viewpoints in the Windows Section of the Park. After taking our fill of Arches we took off for home.

All in all it was a really good trip. Ada traveled really well. She would get a little fussy in the car at times but other times she would fall asleep just when we wanted her to. The hardest part for her was not having much space to crawl around. She always wants to be on the move. She slept really well on the trip though. She went down every night without a fuss and never got us up before about 7:15. It's nice to be back into the swing of things here at home though.

Canyonlands National Park

After our first night in Moab, we went to Dead Horse Point State Park and Canyonlands National Park. It was quite a bit hotter than it had been on the earlier parts of our trip - mainly because Moab is at a lower elevation than all of the other places that we had been. Our first stop was at Dead Horse Point State Park. The point is on a mesa-top around 1,000 feet above the surrounding land and canyons of the Colorado River. The view was fantastic. To get to the point, you have to cross a narrow neck of land no more than 30 feet wide. The story is that back in the day, cowboys would corral the horses on the point and build a short fence across the neck in order to keep the horses in. Although the horses could see the water of the Colorado River below, there was no way down to it. The horses were forgotten about and subsequently died of thirst.

After Dead Horse Point, we made the short drive to Canyonlands National Park. Our first stop was at the Grand View Point in the Island in the Sky District. We took a 2 mile hike that gave great views of both the Colorado River and the Green River. Our next stop was at Upheaval Dome which many believe to be the remnants of a meteor that struck earth. We took a fairly strenuous (and extremely hot) 2-mile hike to a couple of viewpoints of the Upheaval Dome. After this hike, both Alison and I were worn out and we decided to head back down to Moab. We finished the evening by dining at a Mexican restaurant in town.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Four Corners

The day after visiting Mesa Verde had a lot of driving. We had to drive from Cortez, CO to Moab, UT but there were a few places that we wanted to stop on the way. The first stop was at Four Corners Monument in the heart of Navajo country (or Navajoland as they seem to prefer). How many of you have been in 4 states at one time. Now Ada can say that she has (proven by the picture in the slide show below).

After Four Corners, we made the drive to Monument Valley - for nothing else than a photograph. We stopped in Mexican Hat for a couple of gallons of gas (it was $3.40/gal) and then we went to Goosenecks of the San Juan State Park. After that we continued our drive north stopping in Blanding for lunch and letting Ada play in a little playground. We stopped and took a couple of pictures in front of the Monticello Temple and once again let Ada crawl around on the grass.

A few miles north of Monticello we turned off to take a short (12 mile) drive to see Newspaper Rock. The last stop (before Moab) was at the infamous Hole n"the Rock. This is a house that a guy built in the sandstone. We didn't tour the house but we did walk through the petting zoo and let Ada chase a few rabbits. She loves animals, what can we say?

Mesa Verde National Park

The next part of our journey took us to Mesa Verde National Park, just outside of Cortez, CO. We took our time getting ready and we didn't get to the Far View Visitor Center until around noon. At this visitor center, you have to purchase tickets (at $3.00 each) in order to take guided tours of 3 of the largest cliff dwellings. We decided to try and visit both the Balcony House and the Cliff Palace. The earliest tickets that we could get were 2:30 and 4:00 so we had a little bit of time to kill. With this extra time we took the 6-mile Mesa Top Loop drive.

Ada was asleep and so at each of the viewpoints and stops Alison and I would switch off going to see the ruins and sitting in the car while Ada slept. There were a ton of Ancestral Puebloan pithouses, kivas, and villages along this route. It gave us just a small taste of what the national park actually contained (from the brochure: "The park includes over 4,500 archeological sites; only 600 are cliff dwellings [italics added]).

As mentioned earlier, the first tour that we went on was the Balcony House tour. This tour is the most strenuous of the guided tours, but Alison and I felt up to the task. Ada didn't exactly love the tours. There was a little too much standing around for her. She had to be in the backpack because we climbed several ladders and had to descend from the top of the cliff down into the cliff dwellings. She was able to crawl through a small tunnel all by herself though - and she really enjoyed it. We stayed a little behind the rest of the tour group so that everybody else could still hear the guide over Ada's fusses.

Immediately after the Balcony House tour we cruised over to the Cliff House for our second tour. We were a little tentative because of how Ada treated us on the previous tour. We lasted for about 25 minutes (the tours are 1-hour long) before we moved ahead of the rest of the group and made our way out. It was a long day in the sun for the poor little girl.

After the Cliff Palace tour we briefly stopped at the Chapin Mesa Museum and an overlook of the Spruce Tree House (another cliff dwelling, the only one that you can tour yourself - without a guide) before heading back to the hotel. Ada and I went swimming back at the hotel but the wind was kicking up and making it a little cold in the pool. Alison and I hung out in the hot tub after Ada went to bed instead. Another good day in Colorado.