Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Squire Holiday Times - Volume III

It's Christmas Eve and we finally got our family newsletter out. Most of you probably received this over the e-mail, but if you didn't, click on the photo below to be taken to an online version (use the Forward to a Friend button at the top to send yourself a copy. It will automatically subscribe you to our future mailings). We hope that everybody has a safe, healthy and happy Christmas!

Christmas Kate

We took Kate to get some Christmas Photos taken a couple of weeks ago and I don't think either Alison or I posted these. She's a cutie!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Bowl Season

Have I mentioned that it's a good year to be a Ute fan lately? Nope. Apparently I haven't mentioned anything lately... Sometimes I decide to not be a blogger anymore, but don't worry, I'll always come back.

Anyways, back onto topic. I love bowl season. I look forward to catching a few minutes of every game that I can. There are always a few that are can't miss games. This year the games to watch are the following:

1. Allstate Sugar Bowl - Utah vs. Alabama, January 2, 2009

I won't go so far as to say that I think Utah will win this game, but I don't think they'll get blown out. I think that there is a good chance that Alabama overlooks the Utes and the Utes are able to surprise them in the first half. By the second half, it will be anyone's game.

2. San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl - Boise State vs. TCU, December 23

This game is being billed as one of the best matchups of the bowl season. Two stingy defenses meetup in the clash of the Mountain West and the WAC. If I were a San Diego State fan wanting to see a good football game (a rarity in San Diego) I would already have my tickets. I'll be pulling for the Horned Frogs in this one.

3. FedEX BCS National Championship Game - Florida vs. Oklahoma, January 8, 2009

I was disappointed to see that Oklahoma's star runningback is hurt. Regardless, I still think that this will be a better title game than any in the last few years involving Ohio State.

4. Rose Bowl Presented by Citi - USC vs. Penn State, January 1, 2009

This should be (and probably will be) an easy win for USC. On the odd chance that this game is competitive, it could be a good one to watch.

5. Las Vegas Bowl (two relative unknowns), December 20, 2008

I was surprised to see that BYU isn't favored in this game. While they struggled against every good team they faced (including a strong Washington team that almost won a game) I expect them to beat Arizona easily. The odds makers obviously see something in Arizona that I don't. I expect the Mountain West to continue this year's domination of the PAC-10 in this game.

As an added bonus (because I like you) I'm linking to a bowl schedule similar to the one that I posted at the beginning of the football season. I've got mine all printed out in color 11x17 and hanging on the wall of my office and at home. You can thank me by making a donation to the Crimson Club. Download the schedule here (or click on the picture below to make it bigger).

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Almost Famous?

In the October 2008 issue of EC&M magazine, my company (Spectrum Engineers) was featured in a cover story about mentors and mentoring programs. Because I’m the best mentee they’ve got, they interviewed my boss and I for their story. Holding true to form (and always quotable) I made it into the article a bunch of different times both in picture and print. The article is available online here or a pdf copy of the actual article can be downloaded here (ok, my host isn't cooperating. I'll post links later, and yes, I do have a stupid smirk on my face in most of the pictures...).

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Utah 48, BYU 24

The only reason this game was so close was because the Utes left a lot of points out on the field. Their defense should have intercepted four more balls than they did, a couple of which would have obviously been returned for touchdowns.

This turned out to be a great game... for Utah fans. Just as we expected, when Max Hall bleeds, his blood is as red as any true Ute fan. He showed last night why the team voted him the MVP of the game (even with the $10 payoff they had to give him to throw the game). The game started out strongly in Utah's favor as they took a quick 17-3 lead. BYU smartly used their runningbacks to get to the outside and were able to rack up quite a few yards on the ground, tying the game at 17. This was the closest that they would be.

It wasn't long after this that Max Hall started imploding. Utah's defense mixed it up a bit and used a couple of defensive schemes that they have never used before and that Hall had never seen before. Their defensive ends started switching sides off and on and a couple of times they even dropped back into coverage rather than blitz the QB. Each of BYU's last five drives ended with a Max Hall turnover. The Utes turned three of these turnovers into 21 points in the fourth quarter, making a close game not look that close by the final score.

Most of Hall's interceptions came when Utah was blitzing. They didn't record a single sack all night, but when they blitzed 5, 6 or 7 Max Hall couldn't make a play. Out of Hall's 41 pass attempts, 6 ball were batted down at the line, 5 ended in interceptions and 4 hit Utah's defenders in the chest or hands but they couldn't bring them in. Johnson, on the other hand, only had 6 incompletions, over 300 yards and 0 interceotions.

In my opinion, the player of the game award goes to Paul Kruger. He had one of Max Hall's interceptions, lots of tackles and was a big part of the pressure that gave Max Hall fits. On the offensive side of the ball, Utah quarterback Brian Johnson had one of his best games ever.

Now, Utah gets a second chance to play in a BCS bowl game, but us Utah fans shouldn't be satisfied with that. Once again, the Utes will be left out of the battle for the national championship game - even though that have yet to lose. With a playoff, Utah would at least have a chance to play for a national championship - if they continue to win. The BCS is, and always will be, a joke. (I'm not saying that I think the Utes are a championship caliber team, just that I think that until a team loses, it shouldn't be out of the title hunt. This includes you Boise State and Ball State!).

Go Utes!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Rivalry Week

Just a few thoughts on tomorrow's big game.

Most of the experts are picking Utah (Just look at all the bowl predictions - a large majority have the Utes in a BCS bowl). They seem to be the easy choice. This makes me a little nervous. I think that BYU relishes and finds motivation from the fact that they are the underdog. I would almost prefer Utah being the underdog, but I don't think it really matters either way.

Utah and BYU always match up pretty evenly. This year will be no different. Here's my opinion on how the teams match up:

Quarterbacks - BYU:
I don't think that I would switch Johnson for Hall, but I admire Hall's consistency and accuracy. He has played solidly almost every game. Both quarterbacks have the ability to lead a game-winning drive at the end of a game. Johnson probably does this best.

Runningbacks - Utah:
Utah effectively uses two backs that would start on almost every team in the conference. Utah's yards per carry average is almost 1/2 yard. Another difference maker here is that Utah's 3rd and 4th string backs have the speed to get to the outside. They are often used on end-arounds and when the Utes want to get the ball outside the tackles.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends - BYU:
This is BYU's strongest position. Utah will give up a big pass play here and there, but they have pretty solid coverage overall. I don't see Collie destroying the Utes (because he will mainly be defended by Utah's speediest player). Pitta, if he's healthy, could probably walk all over Utah though. They just don't have anybody that can match up with him size-wise. The Utes will give up a couple of big plays to these guys, but hold them in check otherwise.

Offensive Line - Even:
Before the TCU game (for both teams) I would have given this one to BYU hands down. But, BYU gave up a bunch of sacks to TCU and Utah's line played its best game of the season against TCU. Jerry Hughes (one of the best defensive linemen in the country) was held in check all game by the Utes. The more time either Johnson or Hall has to make a play, the more the defense is going to pay for it.

Defensive Line - Utah:
This is one position where Utah really shines. You don't become a top-10 team against the run without a strong defensive line. For the first-half of the year, Paul Kruger led the nation in tackles for loss (and Koa Misi wasn't far behind). Jorgenson is good - but he would be playing behind either one of these guys.

Linebackers - Even:
I think it's hard to compare the linebacking ranks between the two teams because they both play different defensive schemes. The linebackers are more involved for BYU with their 3-4 scheme while they play a big part of Utah's run defense in Utah's 4-3 scheme.

Cornerbacks/Safeties - Utah:
Utah wins this one in a landslide. If they're smart, Johnson will try and test the corners early. Sean Smith has as many interceptions as the whole Cougar secondary. Every team that BYU has played from TCU on has tried to exploit BYU's secondary because they rarely match up with speed and athleticism. If Utah gets the long ball going it could be a long night for the Cougars (but don't worry, Johnson stinks at throwing the long ball).

Special Teams - Utah:
Utah leads the nation in touchbacks (and I realize that BYU is 3rd). Neither team has been very consistent on punt returns, but the real key here is All-American punter/kicker Louie Sakoda. Utah has the best kicking duo in the country.

Coaches - Even:
You won't convince me otherwise on this one. Bronco's an awesome coach with 3 more wins than Kyle. Kyle, has a better record against BCS schools while Bronco has conference championships. Both coaches are the top 2 first-job hires from 2005. This year, Kyle Whittingham wins coach-of-the-year.

I'm excited for the game. On paper the Utes win, but I only give them 3:2 odds of winning. I expect that the difference in the game will be Utah's speed on defense. TCU exploited BYU and almost every team since that game has been able to keep it close. If this wasn't a rivalry game these things would matter. As it is, I expect the game to be decided by less than 1 score - and possibly by whichever team has the ball as time expires.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Utah 63, SDSU 14

There is nothing like a game against San Diego State to lift a team's confidence. I think that BYU benefited from the same confidence boost going into their game against Air Force. The Utes were able to get into a groove and hopefully gained some offensive momentum that will stay with them going into their next game.

Utah's biggest weakness in this game was probably their pass defense. They usually do a pretty good job at keeping the plays in front of them, but every once in a while they let a receiver get past them. More often than not, they are saved by a bad throw rather than good defense it seems.

Offensively, Utah was clicking on all cylinders. Brian Johnson was hitting his receivers and had 5 nice touchdown passes in the first half. Utah played far more conservatively in the second half but was still able to score a few touchdowns - two of which came in the last couple minutes on interceptions returned for touchdowns. In fact, Utah's backup safety, DeShawn Richards now has the most yards on interception returns in a single game this year.

Utah is now 11-0 and shares the nation's longest win streak. They have won 19 of their last 20 games and are looking for their second BCS bowl invitation in five years. More on this weeks game later...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Monday Photo

I'm not one to let Ada beat me in the games that we play, but this is one that she never seems to lose.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I totally won the pictured Wiimote charging station today. There was a contest on Crunchgear for these babies but you had to send them a picture of your Halloween costume. I didn't do that and they saved one prize for just anybody that e-mailed them. This morning I received the following e-mails:

My entry
On Thu, Nov 6, 2008 at 4:32 PM, Tyler <> wrote:
pretty please.

His first reply (this morning):
On Tue, Nov 11, 2008 at 12:43 PM, Peter <> wrote:
Send over your address, Tyler.

His second reply:
On Tue, Nov 11, 2008 at 12:44 PM, Peter <> wrote:
Wait a second. You didn't win, Tyler.

Ouch. His third (and hopefully final) reply:
On Tue, Nov 11, 2008 at 12:45 PM, Peter <> wrote:
Oh no. You did! Oops.

Hopefully, I'll see those babies on my doorstop in a few days.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Favorite Thing

We had Stake Conference at the Bountiful Regional Center this weekend and it was fantastic. Elder Bednar was the presiding authority and spoke for 1 hour on Saturday and 35-40 minutes on Sunday. Our stake presidency (of 9 years) was reorganized and it was standing room only. We ended up sitting in an overflow room in the back trying to watch the speaker on a little 20" TV. We expect our stake to be split soon as well. There are 15 wards and we're going to be holding our stake conferences at the Tabernacle if we keep growing...

As I mentioned, a new stake presidency was sustained. One of my very favorite things is gaining a testimony that a newly called leader has been called by prophecy and is the person that the Lord wants in a particular calling. In the last year, I have sustained a new Prophet, 2 new Stake Presidents, a new Bishop and a new Elder's Quorum President (among other leaders, but these are the leaders with Priesthood keys). Each time a new leader is called and sustained, I love to hear them speak for the first time. This is usually when the Spirit will testify to me that they have been called of God. It is an incredible experience, one that uplifts, strengthens and motivates. This is the experience that I had yesterday as newly-called President Coleman bore his testimony. I urge everybody to gain that same testimony of all your religious leaders. It is one you will not forget.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Yes We Can!

The Utes' attempt for a BCS bid continues. They squeaked by TCU tonight 13-10, in a cold, blacked-out stadium full of gothic-looking fans. Of course, Utah required a last-minute drive to come up with a win - they seem to thrive under pressure. I don't think I would take any other quarterback in the nation over Johnson when the game is on the line (except maybe Graham Harrell). I'm not sure my heart can take much more of this...

Helluva game.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Big, Beautiful 'O'

I voted for Barack Obama for one reason only. Watch the video (and pay attention at about the 90 second mark).

I showed up at our polls (about 2.5 miles from our house) at 6:45 AM. There were already around 40 people in line and when the polls opened at 7:00 AM, only 4 voting machines were working (out of 12). Shouldn't these sort of problems been figured out last night, yesterday or last week? Arrggh. By the time I got to the front of the line, there were 6 machines working. By 7:30 I was out of there - quicker than I expected.

Monday, November 03, 2008


If you are still undecided, you can always vote for my personal favorite candidate. It's not Obama or McCain, but he's definitely got his head on straight. See the campaign ad:

Lurp for Pres!

If anything, be sure not to let the following happen to you. Get out and Vote!

Utah 13, New Mexico 10

This was an ugly game. Once again, Utah's defense kept Utah in the game and the special teams play of Louie Sakoda and others was the difference in the ball game. I was pretty nervous of this game, simply because Utah has always struggled in Albuquerque, but more so when they are highly ranked.

Brian Johnson struggled once again. He's not a very good 'long-ball' thrower. I think they tried going over the top 6 or 7 times on Saturday and Johnson failed to connect on any of them. He did a pretty good job of getting rid of the ball quickly against New Mexico's potent pass-rush though. That gave the Utes some good practice for their next game against TCU.

While Utah was narrowly jumped by Boise State in the AP poll, the Utes increased their lead in the BCS standings. They now sit at #8. I believe that the winner of the Utah-TCU game will have the inside track to a BCS bowl this year. If TCU wins, I predict they jump the Broncos for the top ranking of non-BCS teams. This would be some consolation for Utah's impending loss. I'm just hoping the Utes have some surprises up their sleeves.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Proposition #8

(Following is an e-mail that I sent out just a little bit ago. Indulge me for a bit...)

Hi Everybody!

It's not often that I send out mass mailings, but this is something that I feel very strongly about. Everybody has heard about proposition 8 in California. This proposition contains the same language that was approved by 61% of voters in 2000. Four San Francisco judges overruled the voice of the people and called the previous proposition unconstitutional. Proposition 8 simply reaffirms the previous vote and adds a constitutional amendment in order to force the judges to comply.

There are numerous reasons why this vote will set a precedent for better or worse for the whole United States. Other states have similar issues on the ballot, but no other state is pushing the envelope on moral issues like California. Religious organizations are not immune from the consequences that will ensue if proposition 8 fails. While the full ramifications are not fully known, the Church's ability to perform marriage ceremonies in the temple may be compromised (unless they forfeit their tax exempt status or perform same-sex marriages), clergy that preach against same-sex marriage can be sued for hate crimes and adoption services that will not place children in homes of same-sex couples will be ineligible for government benefits (and may face lawsuits).

Let me be clear that I actually support rights for civil unions (which may differ from many of you). I like the registry that Salt Lake City has created (which allows couples, same-sex or otherwise) to share benefits and legal rights. I find a system like this to be a good compromise.

I don't know too many people that live in California. Because of this, my opportunities to support proposition 8 are limited. I have, however, donated to (an interfaith coalition in support of proposition 8). I urge anybody with the resources, to also donate. An interfaith fast will also be taking place on November 3rd beginning at 10:00 AM for 24 hours. I will be fasting and hope that you will join me.

I take no issue with those that feel differently on this issue than me. I sincerely believe that this is a deeply personal issue and that decisions in support or opposition should come from the heart. If you are unsure how you feel about these issues, take the time to ponder, pray and connect with your spirit in order to make this decision.

Thanks for listening,

Conversation with Ada

Daddy: Ada say "One, two, three, blow."

Ada: One, two, three, blow (followed by Daddy blowing his nose).

A minute later...

Daddy: One, two, three, burp (followed by a burp).

Ada: One, two, three, poop (followed by Ada loudly passing gas).

Where does she get it?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Monday Photo


As anyone who reads Alison’s blog already knows, I took the FE (Fundamentals of Engineering) exam on Saturday. Many universities require a passing score on the exam in order for students to graduate (mainly in the mechanical, civil or industrial engineering disciplines). The only time that an electrical engineer (like me) would ever take the exam is if they ever wanted to become a principal engineer and be able to stamp and sign drawings. I estimate that less than 5% of all EEs work in this field. If I had taken virtually any other job as an electrical engineer, then I would not have needed to take it. The test was held in a big room at the Salt Palace and I was surprised by how many people were there taking the test. There had to be around 350 people. I was assigned to sit in the front row, seat #7. I was a little disappointed that I wasn’t in seat #6 (my lucky number), but I tried not to let it distract me from the matter at hand.

I was pretty stressed about having to take the exam, but not stressed enough to start studying for the test really early. I purchased some study material a couple of months ago (with the best intentions) but I really didn’t start hitting the books hard until about the week before the exam. What made studying difficult was that my boss was out of town all week and all questions and e-mails on his projects were coming to me. In addition, we had a huge addendum due Friday on the Utah Museum of Natural History project. I came to work each day around 7:00 AM and left between 10:30 and 11:00 PM. I tried to start studying each evening at around 6:00 PM. It was difficult to only see Ada I bed for a few minutes each day but, I feel lucky that the test was scheduled during the Utes bye week. Another testament as to the divinity of the Utes…

The test is split into two sections. The morning section is 4 hours long and is a general test for all examinees. The morning test consists of 120 questions taken from the following topics:
  • Mathematics (including calculus, differential equations, vector analysis, etc.)
  • Engineering Probability and Statistics
  • Chemistry
  • Computers
  • Ethics and Business Practices
  • Engineering Economics
  • Engineering Mechanics (Statics and Dynamics)
  • Strength of Materials
  • Material Properties
  • Fluid Mechanics
  • Electricity and Magnetism
  • Thermodynamics
I needed the full four-hours to get through the morning questions. While I couldn’t answer all of the questions, the majority of them were easier than I expected. There were a couple of questions that I just started laughing at after I had read them. I couldn’t believe that they would ask something so simple. By the time I was done with the morning exam, I was looking forward to the afternoon section because everything had gone so well. They are pretty strict about what you could take into the exam. There is a list of 6 calculators and aside from that you can only bring drinks or snacks. They wouldn’t let you in with anything other than a zip-lock bag and they took away any unauthorized writing utensils as well.

The afternoon session was 4 hours long as well but only had 60 questions. Examinees could choose from General, Electrical, Civil, Mechanical, Chemical, Environmental or Industrial tests. I took the electrical section and found it to be more difficult that the morning section, but not too bad as well. The topics on the afternoon exam were:
  • Circuits
  • Power
  • Electromagnetics
  • Control Systems
  • Communications
  • Signal Processing
  • Electronics
  • Digital Systems
  • Computer Systems
The afternoon exam was slated to go to 5:35 but I finished my part by 4:00. It was nice to leave early and to be free of the stresses that these tests cause. There were still plenty of questions that I didn’t know the answer to, but I guessed on them and knew that any additional time spent trying to figure them out wouldn’t benefit me. Alison met me downtown and we used a coupon for a free meal at Tucano’s Brazilian Grill in the Gateway. Is there a better ending to a day full of testing than a gut full of meat?

I think not.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Utah 49, Colorado State 16

Just as I predicted last week, Utah came out with a vengeance and played their best game of the year. Just as the fans have been hoping (for the last three years) Utah went back to a true spread offensive attack. I'm not sure why they hadn't been running this offense earlier in the year, but it made for an exciting game, reminiscent of their '04 blowouts.

Utah was solid in every facet of the game. Their defense wasn't as stingy as other games, but they were content to allow the offense to control the tempo of the game. This ends Utah's easy streak as now their next game is in Albuquerque against New Mexico and then against TCU at home. Utah will be preparing for TCU on a short week's rest, while TCU will have the full week to prepare for the Utes (much like Oregon State earlier in the year). Incidentally, if you want to watch the TCU game, then you'd better make sure you have CBS College Sports Network. It's not nearly as widely distributed as Versus, unfortunately.

As predicted, Utah came out on top for the non-BCS teams in the BCS polls. I was hoping that they would be ranked a little bit higher, but these things require patience. It was exciting to see 6 non-BCS teams in the rankings. With this type of parity, I'm pretty confident that the BCS won't last forever. Hopefully, it dissolves sooner rather than later...

Monday, October 20, 2008

Monday Photo

My feeble attempt at offending vegetarians everywhere:

My second favorite drink (After Fresca with bacon, of course):

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Rainbow Conspiracy

Utah 40, Wyoming 7

I know, I know. I'm getting these short reviews up later and later each week. I'll keep this one short. Once again Utah's defense and special teams stole the show. Utah's offense still struggled and was even outgained by Wyoming. The difference in the game is that Utah forced turnovers (and capitalized off them) while not turning the ball over themselves. The coaches are blaming the wind for the offensive struggles but I continue to believe that there are some deeper problems.

Incredibly, Utah received a first place vote in the Harris Interactive Poll (used for 1/3 of the BCS formula). They are #3 in time of possession and are just outside the top 10 in red zone offense. This week Utah meets CSU at home. I don't expect Utah to have any problems putting the Rams away early.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

BCS Watch

Don't get me wrong, I hate the BCS just as much as everybody else (in the non-BCS territories, of course), but we've got no choice to play along with the crummy system in place, right? While the official BCS standings don't come out for another 2 weeks, there are a few things that I have found interesting. (I realize that there is a lot of football yet to be played and Utah has looked awful their last few games. The fact remains that Utah was the first team in the country to become bowl eligible and they have continued to find ways to win games, even as they have played embarrassingly poor on the field.)

Utah continues to be highly ranked according to the computers. 5 of the 6 computers that are used in the BCS rankings have published their rankings. Utah is ranked in the top 6 according to 4 of those computer algorithms (and 9th in the other). This gives Utah a projected BCS ranking of #9, which is high enough to warrant an automatic BCS bid.

Simply for comparison's sake (and because all the talk (as of late) has centered around BYU or Boise State, busting the BCS), let's look at how a couple of other teams are ranked. BYU is unranked by two of the BCS computers and ranked 25th by another. All computer algorithms place the Utes ahead of the Cougars. Because BYU had a head start in the human polls, Utah continues to trail a few spots behind. Because of BYU's poor showing in the computer rankings, they are projected to be 12th in the BCS rankings. Boise State is projected at 14th. When Utah first busted the BCS in 2004, their weakest ranking was always the computer rankings.

To add fuel to the fire, without his permission, I am reposting Ben's comment from my earlier post on the Oregon State game. While Kirk Herbstreit is notorious for telling people what they want to hear, during Saturday morning's College GameDay broadcast he was talking up BYU like it was his job. Apparently somebody knocked some sense into him over the long weekend...
Ty, a bonus to my job here in Ohio is I get to hob-knob with influential people in the communities. This morning's winner was Kirk Herbstreit, Mr. College Gameday himself. Three things I learned from him today as he answered my questions over breakfast: 1) The Utes will still win the conference. He is annoyed with how high BYU is ranked since they haven't played any good teams. 2) If both teams remain undefeated until Nov 22, he says there probably wouldn't be anything standing in the way of College Gameday coming back to SLC. He loves the fan support in Utah, and loves the area. 3) If they come to SLC, I told him I'd take him, Chris Fowler and Lee Corso, to dinner with my good friends. (i'd need to take him somewhere spendy, so i'd need people to split the check with...) Hopefully this will ALL happen...!!! SO, there ya have it. BYU still sucks, according to Herbie.
By the way, yes Ben I will gladly help foot the bill for their dinner. In fact, they are welcome to come eat roast cougar at my new house. I'll cook it up just like the Utes have been doing for hundreds of years.



From a couple of magazines:
  • Health, November 2007, p. 16 - "Q. Is the five-second rule for dropped food accurate? A. Surprise! Even food that's been on the floor for 30 seconds is safe to eat. Last May, two college students proved this by dropping apple slices and Skittles candy on the floor. They found bacteria only on the apples that had been left on the floor for a minute or more, and only on the Skittles that had been there a full five minutes"
I used to love going into an empty classroom before class and finding candy on the floor. That always made for a good day...
  • Reader's Digest, December 2007, p. 114 - "The average person passes gas between 14 and 23 times a day."
I was going to do a whole post about the quote above. I even carried a little 3x5 card around with me in order to keep track of my gas-passing abilities. I fully-expected to be above-average (and I was going to brag about this here on my blog), but there was only 1 day in the week that I ripped more than 5. A bit of a disappointment if you ask me.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Monday Photo

Does the Devil live in the Capitol?

I've had the chance to visit the State Capitol a handful of times for my job. We did the electrical design of the capitol and I've had to check the work of the electrical contractors (to ensure that things were installed correctly, clean, in good working order, etc.). I've been down underneath the capitol building where all the huge stabilizers are (in case of an earthquake) as well as in the underground tunnels and up in the walls of the rotunda. On the main floor of the capitol there is an image in the marble that is slightly disturbing:

As an added bonus, here's a picture of the rotunda (yes, it truly is your lucky day):

I'm also doing a study for the state as to the viability of solar panels on the roof of the capitol (I also did a similar study for Salt Lake County for a couple of buildings, including the Salt Palace). I visited the roof on the same visit to take pictures of possible locations for solar panels. Here's the view of downtown from the roof of the capitol:

Friday, October 03, 2008

Utah 31, Oregon State 28

A Tale of Two Teams:
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Chocolate and vanilla
Rich and poor
Obama and McCain

As I've stated just about every other week this year, Utah has some major issues playing consistently. This problem was magnified in Thursday night's game against Oregon State. At times, Utah looked like a team that might belong in the top 25. Other times, they probably would have been destroyed by the mighty Aggies. Their biggest problem lies in the play of their quarterback.

Last year Johnson was hurt for a lot of the season. This year, his body appears to be functioning at 100%. What doesn't appear to be completely working is his head - more specifically, his decision making process. If Utah's offensive line would let him, I think that he wouldn't mind having a little tea party in the pocket. He doesn't seem to mind doing anything but scramble or get rid of the ball anymore.

These bad tendencies only come up off and on throughout the game. There are other times where Johnson is the man of the hour, a quarterback so crisp and decisive that you can't imagine him playing any other way. He definitely is somebody to count on under pressure though.

I mentioned to a few people that I was more nervous for this game than for any other. I also predicted that if Rogers ran for more than 100 yards, Utah would lose. Rogers ran for 101 yards (A large chunk of them coming on 2 carries) and Utah needed a last second field goal to win the game. For the second game this year, Utah sold out on the run, stacked the box and made the Beavers beat them with their passing game (which was a highlight of the night for the Beavs).

Utah only had 30 yards of offense in the third quarter. When they got the ball back down 8 with just over two minutes remaining, most hope and all of the confidence had been sucked out of the stadium. Johnson and company proceeded to have arguably their best drive of the season, and one of their best defensive stops of the season (made more impressive by how exhausted they all looked). Utah tied the game up on a 2-point conversion, got the ball back and let King Louie kick the game winning field goal as time expired.

It has been a really long time since I've been to a game with so much emotion and passion from the fans. The stadium was probably about as loud as football games ever get - my ears were ringing for a couple of hours after the game. One of the ugliest games of the last few years as well as one of the most incredible comebacks in a long time.

As soon as the game ended, the students rushed the field. I've mentioned on this blog before that I am totally anti-students-rushing-the-field and I told my brother-in-law minutes after the game that "the Utah studentbody was embarrasing me." In cases of a conference championship or when you beat a team in the top 5, rushing the field may be justified, but I still think it's kind of hokey. I will give the Utah students the benefit of the doubt on this one though for a couple of reasons (I'm neither defending nor endorsing their actions. I was in the MUSS and stood firmly in my seat as other students rushed by):

1. While not the equivalent of making it into a BCS bowl, it's late enough in the season to know that if Utah goes undefeated, they will be in a BCS bowl game. Therefore, this win was almost like that.
2. It was pretty much only the students rushing the field, showing their school spirit. When the University of Utah class of 1998 joins in the rush, it better be a big deal.
3. The emotion in the stadium was incredible (and pretty much a had-to-be-there moment, in order to understand). Once Louie's kick went in, everybody just wanted to celebrate, hug, mosh and go crazy. Where's the best place to do that? The field of course.
4. Oregon State beat the number 1 team, USC, one week ago. Utah had 5 days to prepare and still beat Oregon State. Doesn't that mean the Utes should be ranked #1?
5. Almost everybody in the Muss was so stinking drunk that they didn't even know Utah had won. They all thought they were running from a fire.

(Point of clarification: I did join in with the Utes in rushing the field after beating BYU in 2004. This was the year Utah went to the Fiesta Bowl (an official of which was at the game Thursday night). I also went onto the field after Utah beat Georgia Tech in the 2005 Emerald Bowl in San Francisco. I had to know whether or not the field was spongy.)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Today I paid under $30 to fill my car (not to mention that I got more than 35 mpg). A part of me wants the market to continue tanking - as long as gas continues to get cheaper...

Monday, September 29, 2008

Utah 37, Weber State 21

Everybody should know that this game wasn't nearly as close as the score indicates. Not to make any excuses, but Weber scored two of their 3 touchdowns very late in the game against Utah's second and third teamers. They should have still been able to stop the Wildcats though.

Once again we are waiting for the game that Utah's offense will really shine in. For at least one more week, they've underperformed and left everybody wondering where the magic is. It was nice to get a better look at the backups though.

Utah's defense is still rolling. They lead the conference in pass defense and total defense. In addition, they are only giving up 60 yards per game on the ground, a number all the more impressive once you realize that they've already played Air Force. Nationally Utah's defense is in the top 5 in a bunch of categories as well.

Thursday night's game against Oregon State got a whole lot more interesting after the Beavers beat USC. It just goes to show that any team can have a bad night (everybody just hopes their team doesn't have a bad night on the same night that the team they're playing has a great night). Utah should still be able to handle the Beavers. They looked awful in their first three games and Utah won't let Jacquizz Rodgers run all over them like he did USC. It's a good thing it's at home (at least I think it is. has other ideas though. I'll be ticked if I show up at Rice Eccles and find out the game is on the road...)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Manly Man?

I saw this on Popular Mechanics Website - 100 Skills Every Man Should Know. I decided to see how I stack up (and what I need to work on). So, much like my 200 Have-or-Have-not post, I decided to share my manliness with the whole intarweb.

Red means I HAVE done this
Blue means I'm reasonably certain that I CAN do this, and do it well
Black means I suck

1. Handle a blowout - especially if it's Ada or Kate's
2. Drive in snow
3. Check trouble codes - I just go to Checker
4. Replace fan belt
5. Wax a car - I waxed the family suburban when I was 8 years old... granted I kicked the side door in. I was an angry child.
6. Conquer an off-road obstacle
7. Use a stick welder - I don't even know what this is
8. Hitch up a trailer
9. Jump start a car

Handling Emergencies
10. Perform the Heimlich
11. Reverse hypothermia - Just get naked and cuddle, right?
12. Perform hands-only CPR
13. Escape a sinking car

14. Carve a turkey - not well...
15. Use a sewing machine - I could figure it out
16. Put out a fire
17. Home brew beer
18. Remove bloodstains from fabric
19. Move heavy stuff
20. Grow food
21. Read an electric meter
22. Shovel the right way
23. Solder wire
24. Tape drywall
25. Split firewood
26. Replace a faucet washer - ??
27. Mix concrete
28. Paint a straight line
29. Use a French knife - What is this?
30. Prune bushes and small trees
31. Iron a shirt
32. Fix a toilet tank flapper
33. Change a single-pole switch
34. Fell a tree - I chopped down a tree at a scout camp once with a hatchet. All the leaders were pretty ticked...
35. Replace a broken windowpane
36. Set up a ladder, safely
37. Fix a faucet cartridge
38. Sweat copper tubing
39. Change a diaper
40. Grill with charcoal
41. Sew a button on a shirt
42. Fold a flag

Medical Myths
43. Treat frostbite
44. Treat a burn
45. Help a seizure victim
46. Treat a snakebite
47. Remove a tick

Military Know-How
48. Shine shoes
49. Make a drum-tight bed - Probably not to military standards
50. Drop and give the perfect pushup - Just one, though

51. Run rapids in a canoe - This is something I'm good at
52. Hang food in the wild
53. Skipper a boat
54. Shoot straight
55. Tackle steep drops on a mountain bike - I've ridden from the top of the tram at Snowbird all the way down into the SL Valley.
56. Escape a rip current - Hint: swim parallel to the shore.

Primitive Skills
57. Build a fire in the wilderness
58. Build a shelter
59. Find potable water

Surviving Extremes - I won't profess to know anything about the real survival skills required to make it through a disaster unscathed. I like to think I'm prepared though.
60. Floods
61. Tornados
62. Cold
63. Heat
64. Lightning

Teach Your Kids
65. Cast a line
66. Lend a hand
67. Change a tire - As long as the lugs don't break
68. Throw a spiral
69. Fly a stunt kite
70. Drive a stick shift
71. Parallel park
72. Tie a bowline
73. Tie a necktie
74. Whittle - Not well
75. Ride a bike

76. Install a graphics card
77. Take the perfect portrait
78. Calibrate HDTV settings
79. Shoot a home movie
80. Ditch your hard drive

Master Key Workshop Tools
81. Drill driver
82. Grease gun
83. Coolant hydrometer
84. Socket wrench
85. Test light
86. Brick trowel
87. Framing hammer
88. Wood chisel
89. Spade bit
90. Circular saw
91. Sledge hammer
92. Hacksaw
93. Torque wrench
94. Air wrench
95. Infrared thermometer
96. Sand blaster
97. Crosscut saw
98. Hand plane
99. Multimeter
100. Feeler gauges

Ok. Truth be told, I thought that this would turn out more interesting than it did. Nonetheless, without scouts and working as a construction grunt for a few years, there would have been a bunch more things on the list that I hadn't done. There's still work to be done!


I actually thought that McCain's pick of Sarah Palin for VP was a pretty shrewd move... That is until I started hearing her interviewed. Now, I'm leaning towards her being a pretty scary choice. She is such a hard-line Republican that she makes me a little nervous. Here's a little clip from an interview she had with Katie Couric (she kind of reminds me of South Carolina Girl):

Now a pretty funny SNL spoof of the same interview (I still can't get over how much Tina Fey looks like Palin):

The Vice-Presidential debates Thursday night should be pretty interesting. One of the oldest, most experienced Senate debaters vs. somebody having trouble putting her thoughts into words. This could be a disaster (for the Republicans, that is)...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Audacity of Football

I just finished reading Barack Obama's most recent book, The Audacity of Hope. I won't give a review here, for that check out my book review blog. I did want to point out a few things that I found interesting though.
  • After Bush's tax cuts, Warren Buffett pays a lower tax rate than his receptionist or most average Americans. Copying the quote from my book review blog:
"(p. 190 - Opportunity, Obama recounting a conversation with Warren Buffet) "I did a calculation the other day," he said as we sat down in his office. "Though I've never used tax shelters or had a tax planner, after including the payroll taxes we play, I'll pay a lower effective tax rate this year than my receptionist. In fact, I'm pretty sure I pay a lower rate than the average American. And if the President has his way, I'll be paying even less."
  • I don't actually remember the other items. Oh well. I'll just keep going with other random tidbits.
  • In the Colley Rankings (used in the BCS calculations, not to be confused with Austin [shoot your mouth off] Collie), the Utes are the #1 team in America (due to their incredible win over perennial powerhouse UNLV). If the season ended today, Utah would be playing Wisconsin for the Colley National Title.
  • According to the Massey Ratings (another one of the 6 computer algorithms used in the BCS rankings), Utah is just a little behind USC for first place. Regardless, if the season ended today, those two teams would be playing for the Massey Title.
  • Are we really sure the season needs to continue? Playing Weber State isn't going to help those rankings...
  • There's been a wootoff the last few days. While I didn't score a bag of crap (I tried though. The crappy servers were too bogged down) I bought my parents a computer and I got a cheap bluetooth headset.
  • YouTube broke when I was watching a video earlier today. You should really check it out. Really, I mean that.
  • I've been working late the last couple of evenings helping my boss finish a big project. No sweat though, I still love my job.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Utah 30, Air Force 23

The Good

Utah's offense was very productive against Air Force, averaging almost 7 yards per play. The Utes had two backs (Mack & Asiata) run for more than 100 yards. Their defense was also stellar, holding the Falcons to only 53 yards on the ground (their lowest total since 1980). Utah's defense forced a safety and two interceptions, with one occurring in the last minute of the game to seal the win for the Utes. Brian Johnson's passing game looked the best it has all season. Most of his throws were crisp and he had more zing on the ball than he has all season. His only interception was the result of a lucky defensive tip by Air Force. The mere fact that Utah beat the Falcons is a positive because Air Force is the only team in the Mountain West with an overall winning record against the Utes (as I read somewhere, the Falcons are to the Utes as the Bobcats are to the Jazz).

The Bad

King Louie (Sakoda, the punter) missed two field goals. One of them can hardly be blamed on him because he was kicking into a fierce wind. The second (from 54 yards, with the wind at his back) had more than enough leg, but his aim was a little off. This one was on him. Utah also got burned a bit by the pass. This was because the Utes sold out to stop the run, by packing the box with one or two extra guys. Forcing Air Force to beat you through the air is always a good plan, considering they had 0 completions against Houston the week before they played the Utes.

The Ugly

Brian Johnson was sacked 5 times. For a senior quarterback he has been making a lot of bad decisions in the pocket. Add to those sacks two fumbles (both by Johnson), with one being returned directly for a touchdown and the Utes know what they need to be working on this week. This game should not have been as close as it was. But, every year, the Utah - Air Force game comes down to the last drive, this one was no different.

This week the Utes meet mighty Weber State from glorious Ogden, Utah. The triumphal return of Mac (aka Ron McBride). This game comes at a good time for the Utes, because they've got loads of things to work on and improve upon before they will be a true Force.

Friday, September 19, 2008


Today is one of my favorite holidays of the year. If only people would stop looking at me so strangely when I wear my eye patch around.

Happy Talk Like A Pirate Day!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Utah 58, Utah State 10

I know that I say this every year, but I like Utah State. I cheer for them when they're playing anybody but the Utes and I like to see them do well. Unfortunately, they haven't been playing well all that often anymore. I even had a Presidential Scholarship to Utah State when I graduated High School. As you probably know, I passed that one by.

While BYU was in Provo playing like the best team in the country, Utah was showing off their weaknesses in Logan. They struggled on the punt returns and didn't hold onto the ball all that well (in fact, all of Utah State's points came off of Utah turnovers deep in their own territory). Utah's offense looked pretty good, but there still seemed to be something missing. Once Brian Johnson and his receivers start clicking, the Utes might be unstoppable. Their running game is strong and it's fun to watch Asiata line up in the "wild hog" formation popularized by Darren McFadden at Arkansas.

This week I also went with my parents and brother to the Kyle Whittingham coach's show at Famous Dave's BBQ in Midvale. The food was good, I forgot to wear red (unlike most of the crowd) and my brother Jordan won a football and had it signed by Coach Whittingham and Louie Sakoda (the punter, and possibly the Utes only draft pick next spring). I probably won't go again but it was a fun night nonetheless.

This week Utah has a really tough game in Colorado Springs, CO. Air Force is one of the four unbeaten teams in the Mountain West Conference (more than any other conference). Utah lost to Air Force last year at home and Air Force has been racking up the yards on the ground. This will be a real test for Utah's defense - but I think they're up for it.

Monday Photo

A picture of me as a child:

Or maybe it's a picture of you?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Which Conference is in the BCS?

Mountain West vs. Pac-10
TCU Horned Frogs 31 - Stanford Cardinal 14
New Mexico Lobos 36 - Arizona Wildcats 28
BYU Cougars 59 - #26? UCLA Bruins 0
UNLV Rebels 23 - #15 Arizona State Sun Devils 20 (OT)

So, 1 team from the Mountain West lost today (San Diego State) and 6 teams from the Pac-10 lost today (Cal, Washington and the 4 teams mentioned above). Tell me again, what conference is in the BCS?

Where's the justice?

Monday, September 08, 2008

Utah 42, UNLV 21

This game started out reminiscent of last year's game at UNLV (where the Utes were shutout by a team that only won one other game the whole year). UNLV converted on the first drive of the game, only having to convert one third down inside the 10-yard line. The Rebels finished the quarted with almost 200 yards of offense (The only good news up to this point was that we had chicken wraps from Red Robin for the MUSS tailgate).

Utah was lucky to be tied 14-14 going into the locker rooms at halftime. They got some breaks from UNLV penalties and an overturned fumble call that allowed them to keep their drive going. In reality, they should have been down a couple of touchdowns considering the way they played.

The second half was full of good old Utah football. Brian Johnson completed 90% of his passes, the running game was clicking and the Utes scored touchdowns on 4 of 5 posessions (running the game clock out on the 5th). If consistency was Utah's strong point, then they would really be a scary team. As it is, it's still hard to guess what team is going to show up when.

This week Utah travels to Logan to take on the mighty Aggies. While I'd love for the Aggies to make it a game, I expect the Utes to win this one easily. Go Utes!

She would be proud

A couple of things that would make my High School English teacher proud (I never really cared much for English):
  • I just posted my 50th book review on my book review blog. I never liked having to do book reports in school, but I usually enjoyed reading most of the books. I started my book review blog as a place to keep my thoughts on books I read. I have a real hard time remembering movies or books after I've watched or read them. I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to keep it up when I started, but I'm proud of my reviews.
  • Last week when I was on campus picking up my MUSS tickets I also picked up a book in which I was published. It's a journal of abstracts (titled University of Utah Undergraduate Research Abstracts) that will be archived at the Marriott Library. Maybe I'll post the full text of my abstract sometime...
  • Tomorrow I'm being interviewed by a consulting magazine. I'll let ya'll know how it goes.

Friday, September 05, 2008


Late last night we took Kate to the emergency room at Primary Children's Medical Center. She had been running a fever of 101.0 degrees and after calling her pediatrician's office they told us to take her right in. We got to the ER at about 9:45 and got all checked in. As fate would have it when she was called into triage she wasn't running a fever of any kind.

They told us that they just about had a room ready for us but we ended up waiting for quite a while in the waiting room. A 3-day old Kate had come in just before us and they had mixed the two up when they were calling us back (shocker, eh? I thought ERs could do no wrong...). They inserted a catheter to get a urine sample, they put an IV into the back of her hand and drew a few blood samples and sent everything off to the lab. We were hoping for everything to come back negative so we could get home and get some sleep.

They came back and let us know that they wanted to do a lumbar puncture (i.e. spinal tap) in order to check for meningitis. The resident tried to insert the needle/catheter but was unsuccessful after which the Nurse Anethetist completed the job. Around 1:00 AM the doctor let us know that we would be staying the night in order for them to monitor her. They thought that she had a bit of a urinary tract infection and gave her some antibiotics before sending us upstairs at around 2:15 AM. I left soon after that to be home with Ada.

The plan was to do an ultrsound of Kate's kidneys and ureters to make sure that everything was connected properly and that all of the proper equipment was installed. They also planned to do a VCUG, where they inject a radioactive dye into the bladder and image it with an x-ray machine to make sure that her bladder is pumping her urine out of her body and not back into her kidneys.

This morning Kate's regular pediatrician paid her a visit and told us that they didn't think she had a urinary tract infection anymore. They weren't sure if it was a viral infection or something different and we're still waiting for the lab results on that one. Poor Alison has had to stay with Kate all night and day and has hardly gotten any sleep. Too many nurses, techs, residents and doctors all measuring the same vital signs. She would leave to sleep if Kate wasn't exclusively breastfeeding. The sacrifices she makes are overwhelming.

Kate has been mostly oblivious to the whole ordeal. She fusses a bit when they poke her and check her mouth but she's been the same happy baby throughout it all. All the nurses love her because she's not shy about flashing her gorgeous smile to all of them. It's difficult to believe that she is sick because she seems like the same little Kate to us. We're glad that they are taking everything so seriously, though. They get worried when babies so small get fevers of any kind.

Thanks to everybody for your prayers and support. Alison and I are doing great (considering the circumstances) and Ada is enjoying the extra time spent with grandparents and cousins. I'll be sure to post updates as things change.