Saturday, November 24, 2007

Utes Lose By 7

I usually wait a few days after Utah loses before posting about the game. This allows me to clear my head and get rid of my anger before spouting off and embarrassing myself. This time, I'm going to allow my anger to flow freely...

Neither team played spectacularly. Utah was down 3-0 going into halftime. Utah had major problems stopping Harvey Unga. They always seems to struggle with backs like him. He also dropped a couple balls in the second half that should have been easy catches. In short, Utah was extremely lucky to not be down by 3 touchdowns early in the game. Brian Johnson struggled against the other teams defense. He had a hard time reading the defense and making plays. When he finally began making plays with his legs, the Utes were able to convert on a few key third downs.

The worst part about games like this (including last years game in this generalization) is that you (i.e. Ute fans) think that they've got the game in the bag. This incredible thrill followed a couple minutes later by the realization that your defense choked and the game is actually lost has got to be dangerous on your heart.

Much of the talk after the game centered on two late calls made against the Utes by the officials. While these hurt, the game-winning play was converting on 4th and 18 inside your own 15-yard line on a 49 yard pass play. Why Utah's defense let Austin Collie past them at such a crucial time will never be answered. That should simply never happen.

I will not blame the officials for this loss (I blame the aforementioned play) but I think that "questionable", "iffy" or "game-changing" calls should be made with great care at the end of the game. I thought the officiating wasn't too bad until the last minute. Here's a closer look at the calls in question (you've got to look closely to see my written commentary):
video

I don't think that Utah would have won even if the officials hadn't made the calls shown above (or lack thereof). However, how can the Utes ever win when the officials are even allowing the other team to run the infamous, yet exclusive, 3-point conversion play?

The Utes were dominated in this game and certainly didn't deserve the win. The fact that they were as close as they were speaks volumes. As Austin Collie said after the game, when you're doing what's right, "The Lord steps in and makes good things happen". I'm not sure how I feel about the Lord meddling in football games, but I'll leave that for another post.

Poinsettia Bowl here we come!

Talking Smack


I'm usually not much of a smack-talker (I can hear the yeah-rights coming from every corner), but today I came across a humorous blog post that all of you BYU fans will probably enjoy. I actually thought that the post was quite clever and everything that I planned on posting here on my blog, I ended up posting in the comments. Without further ado, I present Welcome To My Soapbox's take on Talking Smack (Be sure and read my rebuttal comment, that's where the good information is found...). I love commenting on random blogs. When I grow up I want to be creepy.

At least we know where Ada's heart lies:

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Gratitude

I'm thankful for you, my dear readers.

Lilypie Expecting a baby Ticker

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Art of the Flop

I took Ada to the second half of the Utes home basketball game yesterday. It was simply awful. The team had no consistency, toughness or heart during the game and they ended up losing by 15 point to Santa Clara. Somethings got to change if they want a winning record at the end of the year.

And now, you decide 2007: Who's a better flopper, Baron Davis or Robert Horry?


Why does it always have to happen against the Jazz?

Not Elementary?

I'm trying to be accessible to all education levels. Looks like I've got to dumb this thing down a bit.
cash advance

Monday, November 19, 2007

Utah 28, New Mexico 10

Utah needed a bit of help to get by New Mexico on Saturday. Lucky for them, New Mexico began turning the ball over when the Utes needed it most. For the last few years, Utah has struggled against New Mexico's brand of the 3-3-5 defense. New Mexico has always scouted the Utes really well also. The Lobos have consistently played poorly against the Utes in the first half only to come out in the second half and give the Utes a scare (Last year the Lobos erased a large lead by the Utes by throwing short crossing routes the whole second half).

Utah's defense was fantastic. They were lucky that a 50 yard play (the first play of the game) was called back. After that, it took the Lobos a while to get any points. Going into half-time, Utah had gone 12 quarters without letting anybody into the end zone. They had also gone 8 quarters of shutout football. That's some pretty tough defense. New Mexico struggled returning Utah's punts (muffing 2 of them, turning the ball over to Utah). Utah was able to capitalize on these mistakes and put points on the board. Out of the last 6 or 7 games, this was Utah's sloppiest and they should feel pretty lucky to be coming away with a win.

Looking ahead, Utah's got a tough game this week. While BYU has been winning their games during the last month and a half, they didn't look pretty doing it (much like the Utes looked today). Instead, BYU played their best complete game of the year against Wyoming and has to feel pretty good about themselves going into Saturday's match up. This game could easily go either way (home-field advantage means nothing) and your wasting your money if you're betting on either team.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

State Championship Football

As you may recall, Layton High played in the State 5A Championship Football game this last weekend. The game was played at the nicest stadium in the state (not the largest) and there was a huge crowd (almost 20,000 people) on hand. While they weren't able to move the ball with any consistency (credit Alta's speedy defense for that one), they did have one highlight which I will share with you here:



While the Lancers gave it a "nice try", props to them for making it as far as they did this year!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

An Example to Us All...

Now even Paris Hilton is in on the game. Everybody has a cause they're pulling for and I think that Paris' is the best. She's highlighting the plight of drunk elephants in India. Sometimes I wonder why I'm doing what I'm doing, when it's obvious that my help is needed elsewhere in the world. I think that I could really make a difference with those elephants.

Hilton Tries to Help Drunk Elephants (from MSNBC.com)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Monday Photo - Cool Whip

I love Cool Whip and all the fun things that you can do with it... (Click on the picture to enlarge it).

** This photo was taken from Wired Magazine - one of my favorites.

Utah 50, Wyoming 0


I'm not sure where to start with this one... First of all, Wyoming's coach gauranteed a win against Utah while talking to students last Monday. This obviously angered Utah (and Coach Whittingham especially - he should have been happy after the game, but he was on one) and Utah came to pay a bit of revenge. Utah played a fantastic game, but took a few minutes getting started. After Wyoming tried a fake punt in the first quarter (on their own 25 yard line) Utah used a modified version of the old fumblerooski play (watch for it in the video below) to score from 25 yards out.

This game seemed to be a throwback to the Urban Meyer days. Everything was working out, there were a bunch of "trick" plays, the defense was fantastic and Utah could have kept up with anyone in the country playing the way that they were. They were up 40-0 going into the half (and they threw an interception in the end zone in the last minute of the first half - they should have had another TD...). The best play of the game was probably a faked punt by Utah where Louie Sakoda (the punter) faked his kicking motion before tossing the ball (like a girl, I might add) across the line to a defensive lineman who ran the ball down to the 1 yard line (it was actually a touchdown, but the officials had already reviewed three calls and Utah wasn't afraid that they wouldn't score - so it wasn't reviewed).

There's a bit of controversy brewing over the game as well. Utah tried an onsides kick in the third quarter when they were up 43-0. While I don't condone his (Whittingham's) actions, I do think it was a good time to practice an onsides kick, but not a very sportsmanlike thing to do. Utah failed at the attempt (because they retrieved the ball at the 9.5 yard line and a guy was offsides). This gave Wyoming their best field position of the day (on the 34.5 yard line) and they still couldn't convert. This same attempt prompted Wyoming's Coach Joe Glenn to give the Utah bench the one-fingered salute. I've got to agree that the call was inappropriate and I think that Whittingham agrees, stating after the game that he regrets his decision.

The meat of this controversy is actually being fueled more by BYU fans than it is by Wyoming fans (I'm not saying that they aren't mad, but from visiting everybody's fan boards, that's the feeling I get). This is often the case and is something that drives me nuts. It goes both ways, Utah fans are angered more by things BYU does than the teams they are playing against and vice versa. The good news is that this (mainly the one-fingered salute) is giving the conference more attention than they've had all year and it's the first time that I've seen a MWC team featured on ESPN's homepage. Thanks Wyoming.

As for running up the score, I think that Utah's attempt on fourth and 2 in the fourth quarter should be viewed as more an attempt of running up the score than their failed onsides kick (you can't score on an onsides kick). Either way, Utah only scored 10 points in the second half, compared with Boise State's 21 points in the second half against Utah State (where BSU won 52-0) or John [from the comments I learned that I accused the wrong Beck. It should be Jason Beck here] Beck's TD pass to Harline in the latter-half of the fourth quarter against the Aggies last year (where BYU won 38-0 or something). In this game, Utah had pulled their offensive starters for the fourth quarter (although Mack only needed 3 yards to set a Utah record at consecutive 100-yard games). I really don't think that Utah was intentionally running up the score in the second half though (you better believe that they were in the first). I know that there are a lot of people out there who probably disagree, and that's ok. I'm certainly not condoning Utah's actions because I think that there are things that both teams regret.

Utah is easily the best team in the conference right now. They are running the ball, passing the ball and playing defense like its nobody's business. They haven't allowed a team into the end zone in 10 quarters. Wyoming had the 6th ranked defense in the country going into the game with Utah and Utah put up over 500 yards (while limiting the Cowboys to 122 - and 1/3 of those came in the fourth quarter).

You're not going to find me garaunteeing any wins though. As good as Utah is playing right now, they seem to have a knack for having big letdowns under Coach Whit. If they can keep the same intensity that they've had the last few weeks then everybody better watch out!

Yes, I've categorized this post under "rant" because that's exactly what I've done.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Lancer Football!

My alma mater (Layton High School) has had a fantastic season in football. During the three years that I was in High School, the football team won a grand total of 7 games (and 57% of those were my sophomore year). This year they have already won 12 games and they are playing Alta for the state championship next Friday (They last won a state championship in 1978).

This last Friday they played American Fork at Rice-Eccles Stadium. I met my parents and brother there to cheer the Lancers on. They had a great crowd (easily double the size of Am. Fork's crowd - and that's no exaggeration) but had a slow start in the game. I know a couple of the kids on the team and was impressed by them all. Layton simply played a great game. The play of the game was when Layton's quarterback, Gavin Green, broke free from a sack and was able to scramble 49 yards for a touchdown, while crossing the field, breaking free from tackles and getting some great blocks.

Here's some mediocre video highlights from Friday's game:


Go Lancers!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Election Day

I've probably already beaten the dead voucher horse more than I ever should have, so I'm going to make my election day post a little different (see Alison's post from yesterday if you'd like a bit of a voucher recap). In a nutshell, I look forward to voting for a new President in a year from now (now I didn't say anything about President Bush...). As I've thought about this and tried to learn a bit about the candidates, I've felt a bit overwhelmed because of how many rich folk have decided to try their hand at the Presidency.

I went out searching for websites that would match me up with the candidates whose views most closely match my own. I found a couple of different ones that helped me in this endeavor. All of these sites ask you to rate your opinion on key issues and to also assign an importance to them. Using this information, they attempt to match you up with the candidate whose views are nearest to your own. I would urge any other voter who is unsure, as I was, about who to support to take a look at whose views match your own. You may be surprised...

The first site that I visited was a website for Minnesota's Public Radio. The candidates returned from this site were not too surprising to me. I've always been impressed with Mike Huckabee. He seems to be a good role model for children (and for fat people). I was also not surprised to see Barack Obama and John McCain near the top. I didn't appreciate Tom Tancredo showing up so near to the top though. I think he's a bit of a one-issue nut.
The next site that I visited was vajoe.com. I didn't like the way that they profiled the issues as much but I was looking for a variety of recommendations to look for any consistency. As you can see, my top match was Senator Joseph Biden (but Hillary Clinton and John Edwards were both in the top 4). Once again Mike Huckabee and Barack Obame showed up near the top. I don't want to be a supporter of a candidate because they are the most popular or because they appeal incredibly well to a specific demographic (see Mitt Romney/Mormons).
The last (and probably tied with the MPR site for my favorite) site that I visited was selectsmart.com. The questions on this site were very specific and sometimes a little tougher to answer. Once again, Joseph Biden found himself right near the top of my list. Looks like I'll have to try and learn a bit more about him.
It's too bad that Stephen Colbert wasn't listed as a candidate choice on these websites. I think that we would have been a match made in heaven.

***Sidenote: I went through the belief system selector on selectsmart.com curious to find out what religion they would recommend to me. Imagine my surprise (pleasantly surprised, of course) when I matched up 100% with my own chosen religion. Now for everybody else, this is a good quiz to take to see whether or not you actually know your religion's doctrine (or believe everything that your religion professes to teach). If you do, then you should obviously also get 100% rating with your chosen religion.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Break-In

Alison and I were rudely awakened by our neighbor Saturday morning letting us know that our car (my beloved Prizm, i.e. Lurp) had been broken into. Not the best way to start your weekend. During the night, the robber busted the rear passenger vent window (the little triangle-shaped one, on the rear door) and used it to unlock the doors. Once inside, the thief busted open the dash and ripped out our stereo. We were "lucky" because the thief made clean work of the job, not breaking any clips or tearing any wires out (which makes the damage a whole lot more difficult to repair).
The thief in the night also broke into 2 of our neighbors' cars. They broke the passenger side windows in both of them. Alison and I feel that we were "luckier" than our neighbors. One of them sold the car Thursday, removed the insurance from it on Friday and the buyer was going to pick the car up from them Saturday morning. Our other neighbors' stereo wasn't stolen but the girl's purse was, which had her wallet, passport, SS card, etc. Let this be a lesson to you all, don't leave your valuables in your car - although I'm not entirely sure what to do with our stereo when we're not using it.
The other lucky break that Alison and I caught was that we had comprehensive auto insurance with only a $50 deductible on the car. If I had realized that we had such good coverage on the car, then I would have taken it off months ago; now... I'm glad it was there.

The stereo that was stolen was a nice one. I spent between $300-$350 when I bought it 5 years ago. It was one of the first to play mp3s, wma and other digital audio. It was 5 years old though...

This is the third after-market stereo that I've had stolen. The first was from the original Lurp Truck while the car sat in the school parking lot one morning in high school. The second was from Al's dear little friend Sedric (when the whole car was actually stolen as well) and now this is the third in an epic. Looks like we'll be getting a new car stereo for Christmas!

Thieves are slimeballs.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

School Days


As I lie in my bed each night I think about how everybody must be wondering about my semester. Now for all of my imaginary wonderers, I am ready to divulge a bit of information.

This semester has been going fairly well. As you may recall, I've been taking 17 credit hours (along with trying to work 20 hours and fit some research in). The big difference in my classes this semester is that a couple of them are night classes. This has turned out to be very good for me. In the past, most of my wasted time came in the evenings when I would be at home. This semester, I have been forced to give most of that time up and instead spend it in lectures and labs. This has allowed me to work in the mornings, go to class in the early afternoons and then do my homework and research in the afternoons before my night classes. Here's a bit of the nitty-gritty:

ECE 6960 - History of Computer and Engineering Logic
This class has turned out to be just as boring as expected - which I'm more than ok with. The teacher is a former professor (who retired from teaching more than 25 years ago) who wrote his own book. He has a passion for logic and is teaching the class without a salary. The information has been somewhat interesting, but I'm afraid I don't hold the same passion for the material as the teacher does. There have been 5 homework assignments (all extremely easy) and 2 tests (which you could do just fine on with a couple of hours of study). This class will probably take the cake as the easiest graduate course that I will take :).

ECE 6710 - Digital VLSI Design
I'm not a huge fan of the digital world. I'm much more in tune with my analog side. Luckily for me, I've been able to get through this class without too much difficulty so far. Now that we are doing all of our assignments in teams, I conider myself lucky to have teamed up with a few teammates that are much more savvy, experienced and interested in having to program in Verilog. We are just starting our final project - which is a CR16 microprocessor. I'll post more on that later.

PHYS 6610 - Electronics I
You would think that a class titled Electronics I would be a breeze for an Electrical Engineering graduate student. While this is mostly true (I only go to class on exam days), the class (at least the tests) have turned out to be more difficult than expected. I haven't been studying much for the exams and that becomes a slight problem when the teacher writes the test to check your knowledge of the few unusual cases. Aside from the tests, the homework and labs have been pretty easy and I've had no problem finishing them in half the time that it takes most of the students.

CH EN 5756 - Nuclear Engineering I
This has been my most diificult class so far. The homework has been extremely difficult and time-consuming and the labs and lab reports have been really tough as well. I've done pretty good on both tests so far though. The class has really been quite interesting and enjoyable though.

I think that things are going along pretty well. The hardest part of the semester remaining is my class project from my VLSI class. All of my other classes should continue humming along just like they have been, with or without me.

Nuclear Reactor

Yesterday (Halloween) I had a lab for my Nuclear Engineering class. This lab was especially interesting because we were finally able to go in and see the reactor. It's an interesting experience because you can stand right at the edge of the reactor and look down through a deep pool (probably around 20 feet) of water to see the reactors core. The reactor at the University of Utah is a TRIGA reactor, which is a very common installation for research facilities. While the reactor is licensed to run at 100kW, it has no way of actually producing any power and all of the energy is transferred directly into the water as heat. For this lab we were only verifying the effects of control rods in the core, but for the next lab the reactor will be powered up to a level that the core will actually begin to glow with radioactivity (like in the picture above). That will be interesting.

As a side note, students that have recently visited Moab or other areas in Southern Utah are often not allowed in the reactor because they emit too much radioactivity. Just by walking around on the red rock in Southern Utah can cause the Geiger counters to not function properly - and, there are piles of "yellowcake" just sitting around near the old mines as well. The Geiger counters can even detect if you ate bananas for breakfast. Apparently some bananas are a shade radioactive...