Friday, February 29, 2008

Happy Leap Day!

Don't you think that each leap day should be a holiday? I do. When I was little I always wished that my birthday had fallen on a leap day. I figured that was what it would take to make me cool. Apparently I had no idea ;). If Alison and I had been planning ahead then we would have obviously tried to time the birth of Baby Who Shall Not Yet Be Named to today. The good news is that we will have another chance in 3 years 3 months...

I found this really interesting description of leap years that I thought I would share. Just to quote from the explanation the author gives of the rules for leap years:

Every year divisible by 4 is a leap year (adds an extra day to February),
EXCEPT the last year of each century, such as 1900, which is NOT a leap year . . .
EXCEPT when the number of the century is a multiple of 4, such as 2000, which IS a leap year . . .
EXCEPT the year 4000 and its later multiples (8000, 12000, etc) which are NOT leap years.

(read the article if you're looking for a better explanation). I never knew that some years divisible by 4 were not leap years - but it all makes sense. Once again, Happy Leap Day!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

For Sale

Quarter Horse for sale to the highest bidder:

I've had one test this week and I've got one to go. Can't wait till May...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

New HDD!

I know I'm a nerd and this post will probably prove it. A couple of weeks ago we thought that our hard drive had crashed. I've been wanting a second hard drive and this scare helped us to realize that $150 is not too much to pay to preserve our priceless pictures and videos. So last night, I installed a new hard drive in our computer. I was excited as soon as it arrived and I've been excited ever since. The hard drive that I purchased is a Samsung 750 GB 7200 RPM 32 MB Cache SATA 300 (and of course, it's already $10 cheaper than when I bought it).

We now have 1.05 TB (that's terabytes - i.e. 1,000 GB for you computer unsavvy folk) of storage in our computer. I haven't been able to defrag our original hard drive for months because it has been so full (you need 15% free space to defrag properly). After installing the hard drive I set up a couple of partitions. One partition is used for nightly backups of our original hard drive and the second partition is used solely for our Media Center DVR (aka TIVO). Now we have room for more than 150 hours of recorded TV (to add to our collection of more than 50 movies already stored on the computer). The computer spent 16 hours backing up everything from the old hard drive onto the new and now we can breathe easy knowing that our data is safe (relatively speaking, of course).

Sunday, February 24, 2008


"Computers are incredibly fast, accurate and stupid; humans are incredibly slow, inaccurate and brilliant; together they are powerful beyond imagination."
--Albert Einstein

(Remember, Einstein died (and therefore said the aforementioned) before even the integrated circuit had been invented)...

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Zion National Park

Alison and I finally had the chance to use our National Parks pass again on President's Day. We purchased it over the summer when we took our big trip to the four corners area. This is the 5th National Park that we have visited since we purchased the pass (and we've got plans to visit many more before the pass expires)...
Having made innumerable trips to southern Utah throughout my lifetime (my grandparents own a home in La Verkin that we often visit) Zion is easily the National Park that I have visited most. This excursion was a quick one and it was a beautiful day. We tried to hike to the emerald pools but we wimped out because the trail was so icy and we were sliding all over. We got to where we could see them though. I was surprised that Ada consented to be carried in our hiking backpack. She wasn't loving it, asking to get down again and again but between fruit snacks and candy we were able to make it.
The second trail that we went on was the Riverside Walk near the Temple of Sinawava. Ada walked most of this trail on her own and we patiently allowed her to go her own pace, begging for handfuls of dirty snow the whole time. She loved seeing a small herd of deer near the end of the trail. It's so fun to spend time in nature in some of the most beautiful places on earth.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

More Snow?!

A few tidbits from the last week:
  • The few days before today were just beautiful. Today it snowed heavily from 2:00-8:00 and driving home from work on the interstate my undercarriage was dragging along the snow in the middle of the lane. Another good reason for me to try and lose a few pounds. We've had at least 3 storms dropping 8-12" of snow and many more dropping fewer inches.
  • I've had 3 job interviews this week.
  • I'm excited to have another girl (if you didn't read that on Al's blog, we found out Monday that we are having a girl). Hopefully Ada and Baby Who Shall Not Yet Be Named will enjoy playing with each other.
  • I've had a miserable cold the last few days. I think that I have a pretty high pain threshold (I stayed at school all day after I broke my arm in 4th grade in 1st recess) but I'm a huge wuss, pansy, wimp, etc. when it comes to body aches and chest/gut pain.
  • I often wonder if Ada isn't a prodigy.
  • I saw this article the other day about the coldest places in the world. I lived in Russia (and it was cold) but I was in a comparatively warm part of Russia. Send this article to anybody complaining of the cold (unless they live in Yakutsk).
  • I drive through 23 lights going to work and 24 lights coming home. If they're not timed very well it can take a long time...
  • We went to dinner yesterday at Romano's Macaroni Grill for Valentine's Day. They've got good bread.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Good Day for Ballin'

Tonight was a good night for basketball teams from Utah. First off, the Utes came away with (arguably) the best win from the Jim Boylen era, taking down the UNLV Rebels. The Rebels were the #1 team in the conference (holding the tiebreaker over BYU) and had beaten the Utes 5 straight times. Utah has struggled against teams that they should have beaten (most recently Wyoming at home) and has shown much of the same inconsistencies that plagued them last year. They have shown a huge improvement in their defense though - leading the league in many defensive stats. They are giving up almost 20 points less than last year and holding teams to 12% worse shooting (and an amazing 18% worse from beyond the arc).

This win was not only a statement win for the Utes but a welcomed win from Cougar fans as well. BYU (having beaten TCU this evening as well) now has sole possession of the top spot in the conference. That obviously won't last as the Utes have to play in Happy Valley on the 20th. But, nonetheless, you're welcome.

Now onto the Jazz. The Jazz played the Denver Nuggets tonight in a dirty division game. Both teams were called for numerous fouls and a couple of players fouled out on the Jazz, while Carmelo Anthony fouled out on the Nuggets. I had to turn away from the game for a bit because I was getting so worked up over it. Boozer had a horrible night, but Deron Williams and Kyle Korver more than picked up the slack. The game was played in Denver, decided in overtime and ended up being their 10th straight win (the last time that they won 10 straight games was almost 9 years ago!). Like I said, a good night for Utah basketball teams.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Candidate Notes

I had no plans of posting this but while listening to Radio from Hell this morning they were talking about the elections and I realized that I have a lot to say. I tried to keep this short - but once I got going it was hard to stop. Lets agree right now to agree to disagree - but I'd love to know why you support who you support. This is an important day for the nation.


Ron Paul
I really like Ron Paul. I like that he wants to make the government smaller, but I disagree with his proposed methods. He is against the federal "War on Drugs", hates NATO and the UN (and I actually like NATO), and wants the US to pull our troops off of foreign lands (including Iraq, S. Korea, the Phillippines and Germany). I think that he takes the idea of hard money (the gold standard) too seriously but I love his stance on fiscal conservatism. I think automatic weapons (such as assault rifles) should be taken off the streets, he disagrees. Ron Paul has been notoriously anti-net-neutrality and has only seemed to soften his stance recently (which is a total deal breaker for me). I don't like how a newsletter published for more than a decade under Ron Paul's name was very often bigoted towards blacks, gays and Jews. While Paul didn't write the articles he took moral responsibility for their printing. Among the federal departments that Paul wants to get rid of are the IRS and the Department of Education. While I dislike the IRS as much as anyone I appreciate the police protection, fire protection, roads, parks, cultural events, schools, public transportation, government welfare programs, etc. that the money brought in by the IRS through taxation provides. I like 50% of Ron Paul's ideas. Unfortunately, the other 50% are too far off base for me to consider him as a candidate.

John McCain
I don't hate McCain nearly as much as many people I know. I like his military background. In my opinion, many of the best presidents have come from military families and the leadership experience that is obtained must be invaluable. While he is older than I would like, I don't think that it is fair to hold that against him, because I have watched numerous old men in leadership positions and if nothing else, their increased wisdom has helped them. He's obviously not the smartest in the group (he graduated fifth from the bottom in his class at the Naval Academy!). After McCain was shot down in Vietnam and had been there a while, the Vietnamese offered to release him (because his father was such a high-ranking Naval Officer) but he refused until everybody captured before him was released - and ended up being a POW for 5 years longer than he would have been. McCain has had numerous affairs and is now married to his second wife. He has always had fishy relationships with big business and people with money. One of the things that I like most about McCain is his ability to cross the political barrier in order to get things done. Many of the bills that he has sponsored have been co-sponsored by high-level democratic Senators allowing compromise to take place in the Senate. McCain did not support Bush's infamous tax cuts for the rich (originally), wanting to give them instead to those who needed them most. He's often not a very republican Republican (if that makes any sense) and has even been labeled as a liberal (but a moderate in my view). While I think that he is a power-hungry dirty old man, I don't think that he is as bad as many are making him out to be.

Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney is a Mormon. Many people here (i.e. Utah) like him. I think that he played his cards well in coming to President Hinckley's funeral. It was a very quiet visit and did not seem to be calculated for political gain. Nobody in the running can match his business experience and he is arguably the smartest of the group as well. Being exceptionally rich has helped in that he's donated tens of millions (~$35) to his own campaign. Romney took a $379 million deficit in the Olympics and turned it into a $100 million profit. Romney has a history of pandering to the crowd. He was pro-choice while running against Kennedy in 1994 but has since decided to be pro-life (although he promised the residents of Massachusetts that he would not touch the abortion laws while Governor). As Governor of Massachusetts he faced a budget deficit of $3 billion. He left the state with a $700 million surplus and was able to cut taxes. I really like the health care plan that has been implemented in Massachusetts. It still allows the consumer to choose their care but has penalties for those who don't (and can afford it). His views align fairly closely with mine.

Mike Huckabee
I've actually liked Mike Huckabee for a long time. He appeared on The Colbert Report to talk about his incredible weight loss (110 pounds) and healthy lifestyle that he was advocating. He is an ordained Baptist Minister and his religion is an integral part of his campaign and life. While Governor, he came under fire for commuting the sentences of numerous convicts. My biggest issue with Huckabee is that he has a hard time separating his religion from his campaign (and I'm not so sure that he wants to). I think that he would bring far too much religion into the oval office if he were elected. He is definitely the most conservative candidate in the race.


Hillary Clinton
I have no doubt that Hillary is qualified to be President. She played a large role as first lady in the creation of the state children's health insurance program (S-CHIP). She is a very polarizing figure and is probably the candidate least likely to unite (rather than continue to divide) the American public. Up until her last year of college she was a pretty staunch Republican. Clinton also has ties to many tiers of big business and receives a lot of her campaign money from them. She played a huge role in the Whitewater controversy having worked at the Rose Law Firm in Little Rock. There seems to almost be a trail of bad decisions. She is obviously very forgiving; otherwise there is no way that she would have stayed with Bill this long. Clinton is a very well-liked Senator enjoying approval ratings from 64-74% in her second term. She has been a poor debater and she and her husband have often been accused of boiling the democratic nomination down to race. She is a very liberal Senator and has not shown any tendency to protect American's 2nd Amendment rights. Hillary Clinton is a candidate that most people either love or hate.

Barack Obama
Obama is only the fifth African-American Senator in US history (and the only one currently serving). He seems to be a fairly honest candidate, not hiding the fact that he toyed with drugs during his teenage years. During his political career he has focused on ethics reforms sponsoring bills controlling the lobbyists' power (eliminating gifts of travel) and on health care reform. Obama is certainly the least experienced candidate running for office and was only elected to the US Senate in 2004, enjoying the largest margin of victory in Illinois history. In my opinion, Obama has done a fantastic job of surrounding himself with qualified advisors, which is crucial to success as a young Senator (or future President). I believe that Obama is one of the few candidates that could possibly help unite the the fractured American public. For too long the Presidents have been from so far one side or another that I think he has the chance to unite. Obama seems to be very technology savvy. He has always been committed to net neutrality, which is one of the most important issues for me. Obama has always been a foe of the Iraq War and has pushed for major air pollution caps and climate control strategies. He has been one of the few politicians to speak out against the genocide in Darfur. He is the least wealthy of all candidates - possibly helping him to relate to the common citizen better than the others. Obama has proven his knack for reaching out to people across many cultural, political and racial barriers.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Superbowl XLII

Ugly logo notwithstanding, the Super Bowl will still be held tomorrow. While I'm not promising a candy bar to anybody this year, the option is still there and I'm still interested in everybody's predictions (although with the game starting in less than 24 hours I don't expect this post to be read by many). I don't know that I'll actually be cheering for either of the teams. I despise Eli Manning and the Pats are the Yankees (or the Red Sox) of the NFL. I'd be okay seeing them get their 18th win. They certainly deserve it, but I don't think that it's going to come easy. The Giants were arguably the best against the Patriots during the regular season (I think the Ravens deserved to beat them more) and this should be a pretty good game. Of course there's a chance that the Pats will blow them out, while there's probably a slimmer chance that the Giants will win. They've had three impressive wins here in the postseason, so anything can happen.

I've been more into the NFL this year than ever before. I was in a Fantasy Football league with Alison, my dad, brother/brothers in law and one friend. I started out doing very well but was no match for Alison and Jordan (my brother) at the end. Jordan had both Tom Brady and Randy Moss in this their record-setting year and was only beatable the few weeks that the Pats played mediocre games (all of which they still won). I had Carson Palmer, T.J. Houshmanzadeh and Ocho Cinco (Chad Johnson), all from the Bengals - and the Bengals did not have a very good year. The final standings are below. My team was the Salt Lake Sweet Tarts and Alison's team was the Pocatello Powder Puffs.