Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Go Jazz Go

If the playoffs had started yesterday morning then the Jazz would not have made them. They were the 9th team in the west (and only the top 8 go to the playoffs). After beating the Spurs last night, if the playoffs were to start today, the Jazz would have a 4th seed. A 5 spot jump in one night, not bad...

The Jazz have been playing very well. Since going 4-11 in December, the Jazz have gone 11-2 in their last 13 games. Andre Kirilenko is playing lights out, Boozer & Williams are playing like all-stars and Okur and Korver are finally hitting their threes. The last few months of the season should be pretty exciting.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Hero

Most of you have probably heard (it's the top news story on every big news site) that President Hinckley passed away earlier tonight. I'm sure that for the majority of the Church members of my generation, he was our favorite prophet. He was never afraid to meet or be interviewed by anyone and really moved the Church into the public eye. Both Alison and I agree that it feels like you are losing a friend - although both of us have only been in his presence a couple of times.

President Hinckley visited Moscow, Russia just a couple of weeks before I came home. I entered the MTC on 13 of September but my choices for returning home were early August (which would have allowed me to attend my sister's wedding and start school a semester earlier) or early October. I chose the latter and long after my decision was made I found out that President Hinckley would be visiting the members in Moscow. I was in a city that was a 12 hour train ride from Moscow, but we were able to take a day trip to Moscow with some members to attend his visit. It was one of the most special experiences of my mission.

While the Church is in the public eye so much with Mitt Romney's campaign, it will be a special event as the leadership of the Church shows how smoothly the transfer of power goes. No colored smoke or uncertainty as to when and who a new prophet will be. God be with you Hinckley Family.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

I Voted!

Up until last Friday, I was a registered Republican. In Utah, to participate in the Republican Primary, you must be registered with that party. To participate in the Democratic Primary, you must be either a registered Democrat or unaffiliated. Another quirk of the system here is that the winner of the Republican primary gets the votes of all of the Republican delegates from the state. The winner of the Democratic primary, on the other hand, only gets a portion of the delegates' votes (assuming that there are other candidates that received at least 15% of the primary vote.) This is a big part of the reason why the Republican candidates have largely ignored Utah and the Democrats are running TV ads in the state (for the first time ever according to ksl.com)

I like Mitt Romney. I'm not sure if he's my #1 candidate or not. He's going to win in Utah, no problem (He received 90% of the Republican Mormon vote in Nevada, and I expect the numbers will be similar here - and remember, most Utah Republicans are Mormon). He is my favorite candidate for a strong economy (see Massachusetts and the 2002 Winter Olympics) and Health care reform (once again, see Massachusetts). I would vote for him for these reasons, but not because he's a Mormon. While many of the people here profess that they aren't voting for him just because he's a Mormon, I don't believe all of them. I'd like to believe that he's getting the votes solely on his record and positions (which he changes more often than I think is reasonable - we call it "pandering to the crowd"...) and not on his beliefs. I guess its only fair though, he's losing out on a lot of votes because he IS Mormon, so maybe people should also vote for him because he IS Mormon. Like I said though, he's got Utah in the bag (I wasn't really planning on going off on Mitt here, maybe I'll give the lowdown on what I think about the rest of the candidates in another post - before Super Tuesday of course).

With all of that in mind, last Friday I made the trek to the County Clerk's office. Up until January 18, 2008 I had been a registered Republican in the state of Utah (and I even volunteered at the State Republican Convention in 2003). I stopped by the Clerk's office to change my party affiliation. I wanted my vote to matter. The odds are fairly good that our next President will be Democrat (thanks to President Bush for Iraq, ballooning the deficit and tax cuts for the rich) and the race between the top three Democrats is shaping up to be a close one. I wanted my vote to go towards a candidate that could use it and that would appreciate it more.

So I voted for Barack Obama. Now there will be no waiting in line at the polls and no more waffling on who to vote for, because the deed is done (and I still got a sticker that I am saving to wear on February 5th. I don't know if I would ever vote if they didn't give you the sticker. Although I do miss the old stickers with the flag on them...).

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

18 Monther

Ada turned 18 months today. We posted a bit about her and a couple of videos on our space. Check them out! (ok. as a preview treat, here's one of the videos, it's of Ada saying her colors earlier tonight):

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Longest. Book. Ever.

Well I'm pretty proud of myself. I just finished the longest book that I have ever read, War and Peace. I usually read a couple of books a month, but this one took me 6 months to read. Granted, I didn't hardly read the book at all during the fall semester, but it still took me a long time to finish it. The book was 1691 pages long and consisted of 15 "books", 2 epilogues and 365 chapters. According to one of the translated versions on amazon.com the book has 597,773 words! That's more than 100% of all books on Amazon. As always, I've posted a review of this book on my book review blog. Read it here.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Round 2

I interviewed again last Friday with my current company. It was a really interesting interview. It was set up by my bosses boss and there were 6 guys in the room from all different parts of the company. Between them all, they interviewed me and another intern for 8 or 9 different openings. After the interviews, they asked us to rank the jobs in our order of preference. While I haven't received an official offer yet, I was told today that I would be getting an offer for the job that I ranked the highest.

This intensifies my search for a job. I've applied a handful of other places and interviewed with a few (none recently). I'd like to have a few offers from which to choose - but that requires work (and a bit of luck). Now I appeal to you, gentle readers, if anybody knows of anyone hiring entry level (or Master's level) electrical engineers and could give me a referral, then I would be much obliged.

The Plan

As I mentioned last week, I've been working hard to try and lose a bit of weight. Here's a vague outline of my plan. In order to cut down on my caloric intake, for breakfast and lunch I have been eating 1 serving of cereal. I choose from cereals like Special K, corn flakes, kix, etc. I've been eating a banana with my meal in the mornings and during the day I also try and eat an orange or apple and some carrots or something. I didn't really want to remove all of the fat from my diet so I've been eating a small handful of sunflower seeds during the afternoons. Our dinners haven't changed too much - but I know that Alison has been trying hard to plan healthier meals (more soups, stews, etc). We went out for pizza (at Litza's, our favorite) on New Year's Day to celebrate, but another big part of this plan is to avoid eating out during the month of January (this is actually a budgeting goal, if someone else is paying we're all over it). It's good to eat at home, pack lunches and plan our meals a little better.

Another part of the plan is to exercise. Since about the beginning of fall semester I have been exercising almost daily. I'm following a plan that I read about here. It consists of 5 exercises that you do a certain number of, depending on what stage you are on. I spend about a week on each stage and I'm on the 12th stage right now. In addition to these exercises (which I try and do in the mornings) I stop by the gym after work or school and ride a stationary bike for 20 minutes or so. I'm not trying to go too crazy because more important to me than losing the weight quickly is formulating healthy habits that will pay dividends in the future.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Last Hurrah

Anybody who is anyone already knows that I'm in my last semester here at school (because I certainly mention here enough). School started this last Monday and I've already made it through one week. I thought that I could get by only taking 2 classes, but I found out that my plans for taking a few credits of faculty consultation (for a research project) weren't going to work out. My schedule doesn't look too bad. Here's a quick preview:

ECE 3510 - Introduction to Feedback Systems - This is my last undergraduate class. I put it off for 2 years and now I've got to pay my dues. I'm not all that excited for this class (otherwise I would have taken it 2 years ago), but I don't expect it to be too hard. It unfortunately meets 4 times a week, it has a lab :( and homework due a few times a week.

ECE 6324 - Antenna Theory & Design - This class is taught by an old guy that has a knack for confusing classrooms of students. It also has homework due three times a week. The material will be somewhat tough, but I'm looking forward to getting into this stuff (this is the class that I added on Monday).

CVEEN 5730 - Survey of Nuclear Power - This class shouldn't be difficult at all, but I'm looking forward to talking a bit about the different nuclear power plants and uses of nuclear energy throughout the United States and the world.

This semester should still be my easiest yet. I'm looking forward to getting a consistent 20 hours a week in at work and hopefully having the evenings free to spend with Alison and Ada. I can't wait for spring break!

Monday, January 07, 2008

2008 Resolutions

Here are few of my 2008 Resolutions:

1. Obtain at least a 3.5 GPA spring semester.

2. Read the Book of Mormon, study a principle of Russian grammar and floss every day.

3. Exercise at least 5 days a week (more on the exercise program that I've been following since September in a later post).

4. Lose 25 lbs by summer (see my previous post).

As for family resolutions, the Squire family resolves to:

1. Hold Family Home Evening every week.

2. Attend the temple at least 6 times.

3. Save $20 a week in an emergency fund.

4. Read 4 books a day to Ada.

$100 Challenge

My mom issued a challenge to anyone that wanted to participate in losing 10% of their body weight (beginning Jan 1st, although I started on the 2nd). Growing up and even on my mission I was a pretty skinny kid [major understatement]. Once I got married though, my activity level decreased and I gained a few pounds. In order to participate in this challenge you have to be 20 lbs overweight - which I was in the evening, but not the morning, after gorging myself for the week between Christmas and New Year's. My ultimate goal is to lose about 25 lbs, but for this competition I've got to lose a bit less than 20 lbs. I'll keep my progress updated here in a bar graph on the top of my blog. Cheer me on, I certainly deserve that money as much as anyone, right?

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Frustrating Falcons

Utah played Air Force on the hardwood yesterday and ended up beating them 58-36. While the final margin of victory was pretty large, Utah didn't pull away until the end of the game. Air Force is one of those teams that just rubs me the wrong way. Pretty much, Air Force is to Tyler as the Spurs are to Alison (1,2).

Utah had a hard time getting points from inside the 3-point line. In the first half, their only points came from the free throw line or from behind the arc (all courtesy of Johnny Bryant, going 5-5 in the half - but they did have 5 assists on those 5 buckets). Their first 2-point bucket came 4 minutes into the second half.

What was really bothering me was the flopping (remember how I hate flopping?) and one official. At one point in the game, this hated official made 8 or 9 out of 10 calls against the Utes (7 in a row, nonetheless). Overall the officiating seemed pretty fair but there were at least 2 make-up calls made for the Utes by the other 2 officials after the hated one made a couple of pretty bizarre calls (anybody who tells me that there are no make-up calls doesn't watch enough MWC basketball). The other frustrating thing was not only the flopping in the lane by the Falcons whenever Utah was attacking the basket, but the Falcons were using the "flop shot" from behind the arc. After just about every three pointer that the Falcons took with a Ute player within a yard was followed by landing on their butt or their back. They were all "flop shots" - luckily the Falcons only came away with a foul once using this strategy.

I'm glad that Utah only has to play the Falcons once more this year and I pity all of the other teams that still have to meet them more than once. They make me so mad!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Overheard in the Bathroom

Some guy (with the last name of Harmon) talking to another guy:

"I don't know if you know, but the Harman that started Kentucky Fried Chicken and the Harmon that started the Harmons grocery store chain are brothers. They had such a fractured relationship that one is 'o' 'n' and one is 'a' 'n'."

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Caucus Watch

I'm very interested in the Iowa Caucuses this year(beginning in less than 10 minutes). It has been a really long time since the race has been this wide open (i.e. no President seeking reelection, No Vice President seeking the nomination). While I like how involved many of the people in Iowa are, I don't like that one state (two if you include New Hampshire) shapes the Presidential election more than any other. While winning Iowa doesn't guarantee the nomination (see Howard Dean) the boost received in the national polls and spotlight after winning such a state is priceless for candidates with lesser known profiles (the reason Romney and Huckabee have focused so strongly on Iowa).

I won't tell you who I'm pulling for (because I'm not entirely sure myself) but I hope that Iowa starts a trend of increased voter participation throughout the primary season. May the best candidate win (excepting Hilary, of course)!

**Update** It looks like congratulations are in order for Huckabee and Obama. Now onto New Hampshire!

Good Luck Charm?

Al and I have gone to two Jazz games in the last 8 days. The first game was against the Dallas Mavericks the day after Christmas. Previous to this game the Jazz had lost 9 of 11 so the outlook was not good. While Dallas has been playing nowhere near the level that they were playing at last year, they are still a rather formidable opponent. Luckily, The Blonde Bomber (Nowitzki) was only 3-10 from behind the arc and Jason Terry finished the game with a big goose egg going 0-10 from the floor. The Jazz started the game on a 16-0 run, but the lead was all but gone by halftime. The Jazz eventually came away with a win 99-90.

We again went to a Jazz game on New Year's Eve (Al gave me tickets for Christmas). This time around, the Jazz had to play the streaking Trailblazers. They came into the game sporting a 12 game winning streak (with 2 of those wins coming against the Jazz). After beating Dallas, the Jazz lost games against the Lakers and Celtics. This second game was more exciting than the first because it was a pretty close game for most of the time. It's hard to say how the Blazers are so good. Greg Oden (#1 draft pick from last year) is out rehabbing his knee, and I think that I read somewhere that the Blazers are the 3rd youngest team in the NBA, of ALL time (I cannot cite where I read this, and I am not going to do the appropriate research to verify it, so take it for what its worth). The highlight of the game was the play of new Jazzman Kyle Korver (acquired in a trade with the 76ers two days before). Almost everybody agrees that he is an improvement over Giricek and it will be interesting to see how he fits in Sloan's system. The Jazz played a very balanced game (with 6 players in double figures). They again came away with a win 111-101.

Obviously Alison and I are a bit of a good luck charm for the Jazz. LHM, how 'bout some free tix?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008


I gave blood today. I don't mind donating, but there was a bit of a problem this time. The blood drive was at work and I went down in the afternoon. I read through the book, answered the questions, got my finger pricked and was ready to donate. The girl that was going to draw my blood cleaned my arm, and prepared the site before giving me a poke. As far as I could tell, everything went fine - until another worker jumped up and grabbed my blood bag and held it up (to keep blood from entering the bag). Apparently, the tube has to be clamped when the needle is inserted into the body. The girl had forgotten to clamp it and they had to now draw my blood from my opposite arm. If the blood had made it into the collection bag, then I would not have been allowed to donate at all. I didn't mind getting poked on both sides (the second draw was done by another guy), I just relaxed in the chair reading my book (War and Peace for those interested - I don't normally get to read much at work) and squeezing my fist. The poor girl that messed up though was pretty distraught and felt really bad. And she should.