Thursday, February 26, 2009

Cox Apartments

Before I start with my story I just wanted to send out a big "Happy Birthday" to my sister Jackie.

As I mentioned previously, my BYU ward included an apartment building called Cox Apartments. This was an all girl apartment and we spent a lot of time there. One night we decided to decorate the place and we marshmallowed every window in the place. I thought it was a pretty unique idea and we had the windows plastered. A couple of days later we were surprised when the girls brought us a nice plate full of rice crispy squares. Some of the guys wouldn't eat them but I figured it couldn't hurt. They tasted good and settled down much better than the brownies did.

Before Edison invented the light bulb the average person slept ten hours a night. The average person today sleeps six hours a night.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Happy Birthday Ben

Last night I took my binoculars out into the back yard and tried to find Lulin. I may have seen it but more than likely I was looking at Saturn. It was bright and in the general area where I think I was supposed to look but I couldn't see a tail, only a bright light. It also didn't look green like it is supposed to. Lulin was first discovered by a Chinese teenager and this is the first time it has come to the inner solar system. It is also the last time since it is expected to leave our solar system. Tonight is its closest approach to earth and it is quite close as far as comets go. A mere 38 million miles.

I would like to wish Ben a happy twenty third birthday today. I remember the day he was born like it was yesterday. Rather than rewrite the story I will just copy a blog entry I made last year.

As February of 1986 drew to a close Lisa's belly grew larger and larger. Ben was preparing to enter the world. His due date was the 27th but we were kind of hoping that he would go a week or so late. Kira was born Sep 2nd, Brandon was born June 2nd so we thought it would be kind of cool if Ben was born March 2nd. Dumb eh? Lisa had gone a couple of weeks late with Kira so we figured it could happen with Ben and maybe he could be born on March 2nd. It wasn't to happen and on her due date Lisa went into labor. By this time Lisa figured she was an old pro and since she'd spent the entire night in labor with Kira (twelve hours) and she'd spent the entire night in labor with Brandon she did not want to spend so many hours in the hospital in labor with this one. She was bored and so we decided we'd go and visit Pat and Gary Norton. We were having a good visit but we were a bit oblivious to the fact that every time Lisa would have a contraction Gary would go more and more green around the gills. Finally Pat pointed out that Gary was extremely uncomfortable with Lisa being in labor so we decided to give him and break and leave. I thought it was so funny that this big old rancher who'd delivered hundreds of calves himself couldn't handle a woman in labor. Lisa finally decided that she'd like to go shopping. We were in Safeway going up and down the isles and I finally told Lisa that we'd better leave because I really didn't want to be in the store when her water broke. That would be very embarrassing. Finally she gave in and we headed off to the hospital. As we were walking into the hospital we passed our Doctor, Dr Oberg. After our experiences with the first two we told him to go have a good nights sleep because we'd probably be here all night long. We were expecting the baby to be born early the next morning just like the other two. As it turned out, he maybe should have just stayed. Lisa got changed, got checked out and then they called Dr Oberg and told him he'd better come back. My sister Jackies birthday is February 26 and I thought it would be pretty cool if she waited until her birthday. After all, Kira was born on my Uncle Jay's birthday, Brandon was born on my sister Fara's birthday so Ben should be born on my sister Jackies' birthday. The contractions were coming stronger and stronger and I noticed it was after 11:00 pm so I suggested that maybe she should try and pant out the contractions and hold on until midnight. They about threw me out of the delivery room. Women in labor don't have much of a sense of humor. They all decided that Ben would have his own birthday. He was born February 25, 1986 right around 11:30 pm.

Happy Birthday Son. Good luck with school and with life.

If the fog covering seven city blocks one hundred feet deep were to be condensed into water it would fill one glass.

Monday, February 23, 2009

I Have an Owie

I have a big owie. We continue to spend every free minute on Alex's eagle project but it is now close to being wrapped up. That will be a giant relief. Saturday Alex and I were building a big wooden box to put his posters in and I was using a utility knife to carve out a notch to clear the heads of the bolts on the hinges. I then pulled bone headed move that I have told many dozens of scouts never to do and I slipped and sliced a very deep gash in my thumb. Of course I had just put a new blade in the knife so it is a very clean gash. It is funny how when something like that happens it doesn't hurt at all but as I grabbed my thumb knew that it was bad.

I ran to the sink and it is a good thing I did because by the time I got there, blood was starting to run between my fingers. I washed it off and Lisa quickly put a bandaid on it but no sooner was the bandaid on than blood started oozing through the holes in the bandaid. She had six bandaids on it before it slowed to the point that I could go back to work on the box. Now the box has bloodstains all over it. I figure it will just give the stain a unique look. The picture was taken Saturday night as I changed the bandaid. The picture really doesn’t do it justice.

Sunday we had stake conference and we had a big surprise. I guess Elder M. Russell Ballard happened to be in the area so he checked out who was having a stake conference and luckily for us, we were. M. Russell Ballard is one of the twelve apostles so it was a special treat. We always get to the church early so that we can get seats in the chapel and so I always bring my copy of Josephus to read while I wait for the meeting to start. I was enjoying my book when all of the sudden everyone stood up. I said to myself, “when did we start standing for the Stake President?" when low and behold I see Elder Ballard. It was a great meeting. During Elder Ballard's talk I had my arm around Lisa and my hand was resting on the back of the bench. My thumb was on the front of the bench and my fingers on the back. Suddenly, without warning, Lisa decided to stretch or something. She leaned back onto my thumb (yes, the one with the laceration) and she pushed hard. I could literally feel the cut opening up and it hurt like the devil. It was all I could do to refrain from crying out. It took some time before I could focus again. Boy that hurt. Lisa felt bad and kissed it better but it really hurt.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


I'm feeling bad that I keep missing so many days with my blog but if you only knew what this week has been like. Brandon got his eagle scout when he was only 13 years old. I don't think we appreciated at the time what a blessing that was. Ben was not quite as motivated as Brandon. Once he got a bit older, girls and sports quickly became his top priority and an Eagle just couldn't compete. We finally got him going and snuck an Eagle in just shy of his eighteenth birthday (once you turn 18 you can't get your eagle). That wasn't such a big deal for me though because Lisa was the prime motivator. I had to help Ben with the actual project but Lisa pushed us both.

Alex now is a whole different story. I'm not sure why but I have had to step up this time and if it weren't for me there would be no Eagle for Alex. Alex and I have always had this special relationship. From the time Alex could talk he has had a bit of an anger management problem. No one could control him. It was so bad that Lisa would not take him shopping with her. As it turned out I was the only person who could handle Alex. At times I must admit that the only reason I could handle him was because I had five times the mass that he had. Over the years Alex has recognized his problems and to over come it he has developed surprising self control. He rarely loses his cool now days but he still has a very strong personality and you can't force him to do anything that he isn't convinced is necessary. It would seem that an Eagle in Alex's view falls under the unnecessary catagory. Luckily I am still about the only one who can break through the stubbornness. I think there is still some residual respect from when I out weighed him 5 to 1. That is fortunate because if it came to knock down drag out fight Alex could probably take me. That is unless I was able to lay on him first. I still out weigh him by quite a bit. At one point in my frustration I threw my hands in the air and said, "Fine, if you don't care about your Eagle then why should I?" and I stormed out of the room. Rather than tell me that we would carry on (as I was expecting), he called my blulff and he too left. He wasn't going to do it. I then decided that this was one case where it was important enough to intervene and I had to go back on my threats. All Alex said was that I should make up my mind. He was right of course.

That was a long way of saying that this week we are working on Alex's Eagle project, a mere three weeks before his birthday. The kids have no school this week and Alex is dedicating (not willingly) his time off to his project. This week I've been going into work early, leaving work early and working on Eagle stuff until late at night and then getting up early again. I think this is one eagle where I should get the mothers pin. To be fair to Lisa, she has been busting her butt this week as we actually do the work but up until now it has been the "Fred" project. I'll be happy when it is done and after yesterday we have cleared the summit and it will be "comparatively" free sailing from here on in.

The financial commitments of the United States now exceeds the GDP of the entire world.

Monday, February 16, 2009

All Arise in the Presence of the Wizard

After having completed our "attack" on the girls house we were somewhat concerned about retaliation. This is when we put our electrical engineers to work. We strung a fine wire around the cars and the part of the house where they could do any damage. The wire was then fed through a window and connected to some electronic gadget that could detect any change in capacitance that would indicate someone stepping near the wire. If a change in capacitance was detected the gadget set off an alarm. Sure enough, the very next night after our attack, the alarm was set off. We all got dressed and on cue we ran out and captured all of the girls. It was like two in the morning and boy were they surprised. We then dragged them into the apartment and put them on trial. The big Hawaiian dude put on a black bathrobe and sitting in the arm chair he was the judge. Each of the girls was appointed a defense lawyer and then we had a prosecutor. I was a witness and I testified that I personally observed the girls defacing our automobiles. They were actually applying graffiti and toilet paper to them. The girls were all convicted of their crimes and sentenced to pay to the defendant (that would be us) a plate of brownies. The girls were then escorted to their homes and released on their own recognizance. The problem is that when the the brownies finally showed up a few days later they smelled a bit "off" and no one dared to touch them. I, of course, had little self control in those days when it came to food and I finally relented and took a bite of one of the brownies. It definitely didn't taste like your normal brownies and I didn't eat the rest of it. Sure enough, by the end of the day I spent some time in the bathroom having my first experience with x-lax. I'm sure glad I didn't eat any more than I did.

Last Tuesday two satellites collided at more that 22,000 mph. One of the satellites was an Irridium satellite and the other was Russian. The collision occurred over Siberia and created tens of thousands of pieces of shrapnel that could be very dangerous for future missions. Some of the pieces fell in Texas today.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentines Day

I am sick and I feel very miserable. This is the second time this winter that I've been sick and I don't like it. My sinus's are plugged and my head feels like it is going to split burst. I hope it passes quickly. That is the common cold virus on the left there. Lisa told me one time about this very weird homeopathic remedy for plugged virus's call "netti pots". You fill this little pot that looks like Aladdins lamp, with warm salt water and you pour it in one nostril and let the water flow out the other nostril. It seems strange to me but right now I'd try anything. I want a netti pot. This week was a good week, at least until I got sick. I love my job but I can tell I'm going to have to start wearing less nice close since I'm going to spending a lot more time in the lab and this lab is not a nice clean one like it is with batteries. It is nice to get my hands dirty again. Today Lisa has let me be a bum. I really need it since I don't get sick days anymore. If I don't go to work I don't get paid. I started getting sick Wednesday, felt miserable all day Thursday and then went to Temple. I left the Temple early. I then went to work Friday and I felt like I was dying. This morning Lisa let me sleep in and I have just laid around all day. I did go and watch Alex coach his little team. It is so funny to watch him. He talks about his "boys" or his "little fifth graders". While I was out I decided to go and watch Sarah in action. I am sure I've mentioned before that she keeps the statistics for the Westview wrestling team. Now that is one sport that I could never get excited about. Not like I got excited about any sport but wrestling is the lowest on a list of the low. My only "D" in my entire life was in gymn and it was during the part where we were supposed to wrestle. I was repulsed (and I still am) at the idea of grabbing onto some other males sweaty body. Gross. Anyway, I digress. Sarah loves it and I wanted to get a picture of her doing her thing. You can see in the background behind that big blue behind.

For Valentines day my lovely wife gave me a very nice card and she bought me a video. I'm almost embarrassed to tell you what video she got me because it is a childrens video but she knew it was one of my favorites. I don't know why I like it so much but I do love it. Please don't tease me too much but she bought me "Matilda". She also bought me a Marie Calendars Lemon Creme pie. I bought her some very pretty white lilies and red roses. The red and white looks very Valentine'y to me. I also bought Oscars dinner and we sat around tonight and fed our faces and watch movies. I also bought Sarah a pink spray rose. Ever since I can remember I've always bought my girls flowers on Valentines day. At least the girls who are still home. I started when Kira was a baby and I bought her a daisy. I love it and I think they've always looked forward to it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The House of Oz Strikes

One day we decided that we would play a trick on the girls who lived in the house. Being a bunch of engineers we had no problem breaking in so one night when we knew the girls were out we broke into their house. We played every trick that we could think of. I'm sure I'm forgetting some of them but the ones I remember are:

put honey on the earpiece of the telephone
put gelatin in the toilet bowl so the water gels
put a garlic clove in the shower head
put a dime in the kitchen sink faucet so that water would shoot out the aerator
used a syringe to inject methyl blue into their Twinkies, methyl blue makes your pee turn blue. We were going to use methyl red but we decided it might not be cool to make them pee red.
put tartaric acid in an open bottle of pop. Tartaric acid tastes very bitter.
we removed all of their light bulbs and hid them
took all of their records out of their covers and put them back in the wrong covers, they had over a hundred records
we put computer punch (this was in the days of punch cards) all over their carpet
we had itching powder to put in their underwear drawers but we chickened out of that.

We then hid outside their house until they came home. The reaction we got was somewhat unexpected. At least it was unexpected for the naive 18 year old I was at the time. Now that I'm a bit older it was exactly what I would expect now. Some of the girls laughed and thought it was funny. Some of them were quite distraught and started to cry. My biggest surprise was how angry some of them got. A couple of the girls were spitting flames. We felt a bit guilty so we decided to help them clean up. They had lit some candles before we figured out where we had hid the light bulbs and sadly, one of the girls who had very long and beautiful hair caught her hair on fire. She wasn't hurt but then she too started to cry. I was feeling a bit low by this point but I still thought it was very funny. I was smart enough not to laugh though and I put on my best remorseful face. We got the lights on and as we were trying to clean up the computer punch, the phone rang. No one said anything as we watched the girl put the phone to her ear and get honey all over the side of her head. Again, I refrained from laughing. Luckily she was one of the ones who thought it was funny although she did not think the honey was funny. As we continued cleaning, another girl took a drink of her pop. She immediately spit it out and poured the rest down the drain. To my horror she then took her Twinkies and threw them out. Hating to see a good Twinkie go to waste I grabbed one out of the garbage and ate it. I was a bit disappointed, my pee wasn't blue but rather more of a green. I guess blue plus yellow makes green. We got the computer punch cleaned up but we did leave the record albums, jello toilet bowl and shower head in place. Someone managed to find the dime in the faucet before we left. It all made for a rather exciting evening. I decided then that I wanted to make sure than I married a woman with a good sense of humor and not one of the cry babies or angry type. Lisa would normally take most of those jokes in stride but I have to admit, if I caught her on the wrong day I might not want to be too close.

Many of the powers portrayed on the weekly show Heroes are technically possible today. The regenerative powers of Claire is a power we already possess — we are just slower to heal. Hiro's teleportation has been achieved, at least in the subatomic world, and metamaterials with negative refractive indexes promise invisibility for all. Other powers, such as the ability to steal memory, are already with us in the form of drugs that help victims of trauma to forget.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

BYU's Park on the Hill

Academically BYU was a terrible shock to my system. I had managed to get through high school with out doing scarecly any homework so when I started my classes at the Y I had very bad (non-existent) study habits. I did more homework in my first week at BYU than I had done in all of my twelve years of school. I was getting bad grades and was in danger of failing and to top it all off I was getting homesick. Sure, I had been gone over night before but I'd never been away from home for any length of time. Even with all of the attention from the girls and my room mates I was sinking into a real depression. In 1976 long distance charges were very expensive so calling home was not possible and I didn't know what to do. Finally I remembered the teachings of my parents and I knew that I had a Father in Heaven who loved me and I could talk to him. Our house was half way up the hill on the south side of campus. Most of this hill has been made into a beautiful park with a path going through it and in a few places they have stairs. The park also has many tree's. I went into the park and I found my own sacred grove. I made sure I was alone and I poured my heart out to my Heavenly Father. The experience I had was a turning point in my life and is very sacred to me. I don't want to go into details in a public forum like this but suffice it to say that when I left my personal sacred grove I was a new man. Everything became easier after that and I don't think the work got easier but rather I was more focused, more energized and more capable. That day was a turning point in my life.
average life expectancy for divorced men 67
average life expectancy for divorced women 72
average life expectancy for married men 76
average life expectancy for married women 82

Monday, February 09, 2009

BYU Girls

If I was the unpopular kid who was mostly ignored in High School that all change at BYU. I was completely included in my apartment, in the ward and especially by the girls. What a change. It was also very early on at the Y that I became aware of a very serious flaw in my personality. I have theorized endlessly on why it would be but I don't remember people. I don't remember their names and often I don't even remember meeting them. Now you can't blame my memory capability because I can remember numbers, equations and many other facts but I don't remember faces and names. I had never noticed this before but it soon became painfully obvious at the Y. In our ward we had the Cox apartments that were all girls and we included another house that was all girls. There must have been an apartment full of boys but for some reason I wasn't too interested in that. The apartment must have had over a hundred girls and the house probably had at least another ten.

Our house (basement) was known as the "house of Oz" and every time we answered the phone we answered, "House of Oz, Wizard speaking". We did that every time. Sometimes we would answer, "City Morgue, you stab em we slab em". We were always either at Cox apartments or at the girls house. One day some girls came over to our house to go ice blocking down the hill. I introduced myself to this pretty girl and she was so offended. She said, "Fred, don't you remember me? You were just over at my apartment!" I felt about a foot high and I can't believe I didn't remember her. She was very pretty. I now remember to this day that her name was Joy. Once I do get to know you or if something different happens to print the memory in my mind then I can remember their names but I am so bad otherwise. The sad thing is that after thirty years I am not much better.

Even though I dated a lot at BYU I didn't have a steady girl friend. I just had a lot of fun. There were two girls that I became pretty good friends with I don't remember one of their names but the other one was Laura DeVors from Danville Illinois and it was her who taught me in no uncertain terms that it is pronounced "Illinoy" and not "Ill i noise". Laura was a pretty and very fun girl and we had some good times together. The other girl was the opposite of a butter-face. She had a gorgeous face but she could have lost about thirty pounds off the rest of her. We were still good friends and went on a few dates. We didn't see each other for a few months and then I happened to see her and she had this big bandage on her hand. I guess she was doing something stupid with the bread knife and accidentally stabbed it completely through her hand. I mean the knife missed her bones and was sticking out the other side. She had to go into emergency to get it removed. I really wish I had a picture of that to post on my blog.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

World of Concrete

I have now finished my first week at Hi-Z and it doesn't feel like I've even been to work yet. That is the way it used to feel back when I worked there before. That is the way it should be, you should enjoy what you're doing so much that you look forward to going to work. On Friday Lisa and I got up at 5:30 with the kids when they got up for seminary and we headed up to Las Vegas. Dixie and Mark were there taking courses at a concrete convention. It is difficult to imagine a concrete convention but when you think about it, there is a lot more to concrete than mixing water with a bag of premix from Home Depot. Mark tells me that they have the convention in Las Vegas because that entire city is made of concrete.

We arrived in Vegas about 11:00 and Mark finished his last class at noon. It was so fun to just sit there and visit. Lisa and I were starving because all we had was a piece of toast at 6:00 so Dixie came with us while we had a hamburger at MacDonalds in their hotel. Mark joined us and we visited there for a couple of hours. We then decided to go and walk around the strip. Las Vegas avenue where all the casino's are located is called the strip. I really have little memory of where we went but we walked from hotel to hotel and the whole time I was talking Marks ear off. It is so fun to visit with him because he actually understands (and critiques) all of my wild ideas. He shot down several of them and it is like losing a good friend to give up on ideas that I've had for years. Let me see if I can remember at least some of the hotels we walked through. Bellagio, Casino Royal, Excalibur, Luxor, Stratosphere (Dixie and Mark stayed here) and the Venetian. I'm sure there were others but as I said before, I wasn't really paying attention. We stopped and had lunch at an all you can eat buffet and I had several helpings of prime rib and many glasses of chocolate milk. It was delicious and it is probably a good thing I walked as far as I did. By the time we decided it was time to go back to the car we were a good two or three miles away from it. By this time my legs were turning to rubber and that was a long walk back.

The plan was to leave at 9:00 so we could be home by two in the morning but it was well after ten before we got left. I did well but that last half hour was pretty tough. It was so wonderful to see Dixie and Mark again. I don't think I've seen her since Kira was married in 2003. I really am sad that I've missed the last two family reunions. I promise to repent and get to the next one.

Yesterday was a fairly typical Saturday. Alex coached, reffed and played RPB (community basketball) and Sarah took the stats for a wrestling tournament at Mount Carmel High School. Alex's team is now 4 - 2 and one of their losses was because he wasn't at the game. What is so frustrating is that all of their wins are so very close. Yesterday I thought I could relax because at half time we were up by more than twelve points. In RPB however they have rules to make the game more fun for the less talented players. Every player has to sit at least one quarter and every player has to play at least one quarter. Yesterday Alex sat the third quarter and when he started again in the fourth quarter we had a one point lead. The fourth quarter was extremely frustrating with the only point being a foul shot by our team. We won by two points. A real nail biter.

Lisa really wanted to go into the M&M place. There were at least four stories of M&M stuff. They had a fairly interesting exhibit showing how M&M's are made. I guess that was OK.

The Venetian was made to look like Venice and it seemed quite authentic. Do you see the sky? That was painted onto the ceiling and even though it was dark outside you truly felt like you were on a city street outside. They even had pigeons flying around but I'm really sure that was intended. That pigeon flew into a store and he was not happy. Neither were the people in the store. They kept ducking.

This is the Luxor. Not much to say about it. That is one bright light on the top.

This is the Belagio. It was very cool. They played music and the water fountains were choreographed with the music. They had many different songs and we could have stayed there all night long.

Salt Lake City is the only city in the United States that has three words in its name.

Thursday, February 05, 2009


I have no idea why I was so narrow minded but it never occurred to me to go to any other university than BYU. I don't know why that was, none of my siblings went to BYU and none of my friends did but that was the only school I was interested in and it was the only school I applied for. I also have no idea why I never applied for any scholarships either but it never thought of it and apparantly niether did my parents. I did have to write the ACT test and I scored well enough on the math portion that I was able to skip the GE math class and go straight into calculus. Our family was in Utah for some reason and while we were there Mom and Dad found out about a room for rent. It was off campus but right on the edge and so close to all my classes. So, after working for my last summer in Waterton it was off to BYU. I actually rode down with Greg and Gaylia. I'm not sure where they were going but where ever it was, they dropped me off at my new home.

My new home was a very strange place. It was on 5th ave east half way up the hill on the south side of campus. It was literally twenty ten feet from campus. It was a house with a family living in the upstairs and the basement was rented to eight boys. There were four bedrooms with two guys in each room. They had two very tiny bathrooms and the kitchen was literally in the furnace room. The furnace room was small enough that I could stand in the middle and reach out my arms and I could almost reach both walls. On one of my recent trips to Provo I have driven by and to my great dissappointment I saw that my house is now a parking lot. The spot where my actual bed was is now where they park motor bikes. I've marked on the satellite image where my house was, the ditch and the hill where we used to go ice blocking. You might have to enlarge the image to read the words. I also put an "X" in the approximate spot where my bed was.

I don't remember all of my room mates but let me describe them as best I can. My actual room mate was a quiet guy and that is perhaps why I don't remember his name. There was a French Canadian from Montreal who was older fellow. He had gone off the deep end and was involved in drugs and everything that goes with that life style. He was trying to get himself straightened out and doing a pretty good job. There was a couple of guys who were majoring in electrical engineering, they came in very handy on several occassions. There was this big Hawaiian guy. He was probably the oldest of us all coming in around 26 or so. He loved to buy "poi" and that was the first time I had ever heard of such stuff. It is really quite gross. And then there was Lyman Rose. He was the only other freshman. Lyman for some reason wasn't too interested in school and I remember he ended up failing every one of his classes. I couldn't help but think it was such a waste of money. Of course it was his Dads money. I was going through on my own money and so I was much more worried about not wasting my hard earned cash. Because the house was on a hill we had a door that went straight into our basement. Right beside our door was an irrigation ditch that flowed past. We would sometimes buy blocks of ice and slide down the hill into the irrigation ditch. My room mates were all very nice guys and we never had any conflicts of any kind. In fact, we had some wonderful experiences that I'm going to love telling you about.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009


Wow, what a crazy week. I've not been this busy in a very long time. It just so happened that some major potential investors showed up at Hi-Z this week to perform their due diligence so it was a good thing that I have been there. The problem is that they are there from first thing in the morning until late at night so I haven't had time to do any of the stuff I need to get done related to my being laid off. I need to transition my cell phone number, find new life insurance, new health insurance, decide what to do with my 401K plus on top of all that, I haven't made any formal arrangement with Hi-Z if I'm actually working there or not and how much I'm going to get paid. I went in late Monday morning just so that I could take care of some banking and to go over stuff with Lisa but they didn't quit until quite late. Tuesday was even worse because we all went out for dinner Tuesday night but to complicate things, one of other clients desperately needed me to do some work for them so I went over to their place after dinner at about 8:30 and worked there until midnight. I was dragging when I got up this morning. Today I needed to do some followup work for the clients so at lunch when everyone else went out to eat I headed over to their place for an hour and finished that up. I left early (6:00) tonight because it is mutual and I needed to be home. Tomorrow I was planning on whipping up to Las Vegas and see Dixie but about 4:00 this afternoon they said they wanted to go over PbTe costing and I'm the only one who can do that so I called Dixie and postponed to Friday. Thursday would have worked much better but Friday will be OK. Anyway, I feel like I can scarcly catch my breath. I am tired and I need to take a breather. No more complaining, I'm just very grateful that I have work to do. That really does feel good and I'm loving the stuff we're doing at Hi-Z. When I get settled into a routine I'll tell you all about it. So far I don't even have a desk.

Did you know that most nuclear reactors only "burn" 1% of the Uranium in the fuel rods? They have developed a new generation of fast reactors (they use fast neutrons) that burn 99% of the uranium in the fuel. These new reactors can "burn" the waste that has been stockpiled and using only the existing nuclear waste they could supply our power needs for 300 years. Why don't they build them?

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Sunshine Hitch-hikers

Once we had drivers licenses we entered a new world of freedom. Lester and I decided that it was time we learned how to down-hill ski. We'd done a lot of cross-country skiing by this time so down hill skiing came naturally. We skied at Fernie because it was the closest ski hill and it really did have some nice slopes but they only had a "T" bar at that time. We loved it never-the-less. I think Greg still worked at Gotchna Ski Haus at that time and they had some old beater ski's in their ware house that we bought quite cheaply. I remember one day I was skiing down the hill at a fairly good clip. I was going across the slope keeping my eye on what I was heading towards and not really paying attention on what was coming toward me. Suddenly I heard this blood curdling scream coming from up the hill and I glanced up just in time to see this wild woman crash into me. We both went tumbling for quite a ways down the hill. Luckily I emerged more or less unscathed but if I was expecting an apology from the kamakazi I was to be dissappointed. She actually got mad at me for getting in her way. Crazy woman.

One day we decided we were going to join the big leagues and we planned a trip to Sunshine Village. Rick drove in his big beast of a car and Rick, Tom, Lester and myself got up in the dead of night and headed to Banff. Not too far out of Banff we saw a hitch hiker on the side of the road and we decided that we should be good Samaritans and give her a ride. The fact that she was a beautiful girl not much older than we were might have influenced our decision as well.

She climbed in the back seat and there we were, way too nervous to have a normal conversation. Finally she tried to break the tension and she offered to share a joint with us. All four of us simultaneously said, "NO THANKS". I think we scared the poor girl. It was pretty quiet after that. We had a great time skiing Sunshine and it became my new favorite ski hill. They have bowls off the back side of the hill where you are in powder up to your chest and you still move down the hill at lightning speeds. Many of the hills I was the first one down the hill and the fresh powder was great. I remember wiping out one time and when my body came to a stop I was buried in the snow and everything was black. I couldn't tell which way was up and it took quite a bit of wiggling around to figure out which way I should dig.

What I liked the best about Sunshine Village was that at the end of the day you could ski down to the parking lot rather than take the bus. It was a long and fairly gentle trail. It must have been a few miles but I loved moving down the hill at a fairly good clip just standing there doing nothing. I love skiing and I wonder why I don't go more often. It might have something to do with the fact that it requires snow and I'm not too excited about going places that have snow. What a dilema.