Saturday, March 27, 2010

March Madness

As I have stated many times on this blog I am not and I have never been much into sports. Because of this, many in the family were quite surprised when last fall I suggested to Ben that he start a family Fantasy Football league. I must add that I did quite well in that league considering my complete lack of football knowledge I came in fourth out of eight putting me in the top half. I wasn't surprised when Brandon refused to participate in the league since he has acquired my anti-sports gene but I was completely surprised when at the last minute he tried to organize a family "Bracket" competition for the "march madness" college basketball playoffs. If I knew little about professional football I know less about college basketball. Unfortunately Brandon's efforts were too little too late and in the end he was only able to get Ben and I to sign up. Reluctantly I went online and found more information about the teams than I was able to use and I picked my winners with some logic. I would like to take this opportunity to brag and in-spite of some major upsets I correctly picked eight of the "sweet sixteen" and I have five of the "elite eight". I have picked Kentucky to go all the way so lets see how I do. I would also like to point out that at this moment I'm in first place and beating Ben is truly something to be proud of. Personally I think I will win this thing.

In her entire history India has never invaded any other country.

Friday, March 26, 2010


If you want to see how our unemployment has changed over the last couple of years just click on the link below and hit play.

click here

Unemployment among professionals is four and a half percent, among production workers 14 percent and construction 20 percent.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Health Care Bill

So we just passed a health care plan written by a committee whose chairman said he didn't understand it, passed by a Congress that exempts themselves from it, signed by a President who smokes, with funds administered by a treasury chief who didn't pay his taxes, all to be overseen by a surgeon general who is obese, and financed by a country that is broke. (borrowed from Michael Leavitt's facebook)

The mortality rate for an elderly person who breaks their hip is 20%.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Six Flags - Magic Mountain

Back when Alex was still in High School I agreed to go with him to magic mountain. As life happens however the date kept getting pushed out until he was gone to University and our date was long forgotten. Alex is now down for spring break with some friends and they planned a trip to magic mountain so I thought I might see if he was still interested in our date. I was afraid I would be crashing his party but when I brought it up he seemed sincerely happy so today Alex and his friends and I got up early and headed to magic mountain.

Boy did I abuse my body today. I'm sure we walked at least ten miles and I rode some of the best roller coasters in the world. What made it tougher than normal however is that there were no lines. We walked from one ride to the next ride and we never gave my stomach a chance to settle down between rides. I've always had a bit of a problem with car sickness but I've never had a problem with roller coasters before. Of course I've never been in a situation where I was able to go from one ride to the next with no breaks. My only saving grace was the fact that Frank was always just a little bit more nauseous that I was and so when they gave him a chance recover I was able to recover. Once we stopped for lunch however we stopped long enough that I got a chance to recover and I was great for the rest of the day.

It was great because I moved so fast that by the time we stopped for lunch we'd ridden every single major ride in the park. In the afternoon we basically just re-road our favorites. Let me see if I can remember the rides we road.

The Riddler
Tidal Wave

After lunch we road some of them a second and in some cases a third time. I think my favorite was Superman and a close second was Tatsu.

Of course one of my highlights of the day was meeting Flash and Batman. That was pretty cool.

This was Batman - not my favorite ride but that might be because I was starting to get sick when I rode it.

Tatsu - On this ride you were held horizontal and it truly felt like you were flying. You were also up very high. I loved this ride, especially the barrel rolls.

Deja Vu - This ride was great as long as you were going forward but when we repeated the entire ride backwards I started feeling nauseous for the first time today. I didn't really like this ride after that.

X2 - This was probably the most exciting ride in the park. It was a bit too aggressive to be my favorite but I have to admit it was very exciting. It went fast, it rolled you in every direction you could imagine and it kept you completely disoriented. A very crazy ride but I kept worrying that I was going to lose my glasses. I probably would have enjoyed it more if I'd worn my contacts.

Superman - This ride was short and sweet and perhaps my favorite ride. It used 17 induction coils to accelerate you from a standstill to 100 mph in something like 5 seconds. You then shot straight up a vertical track and then it was 100 mph straight down. We would hold pennies in our hands and when we started down we watched the pennies float up in the air. A very fun ride.

Goliath - This was your more conventional roller coaster. It took you right to the top of a very high roller-coaster and then it was straight down and very fast. It was a fun ride.

Terminator - Another somewhat conventional roller coaster.

Clocks made before 1687 had only one hand, an hour hand.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Mitt Romney

What an exciting day this was. Let me start at the beginning. A couple of weeks ago Alcyia and Trevor went to a speech that Mitt Romney gave in Salt Lake City. I was quite jealous, especially when I learned that they were going to get an autographed copy of Romney's new book, "No Apology". Imagine my excitemnt when Lisa sends me an email about a book signing that Romney was doing here in San Diego. I was talking to Alycia about it and when I told her I was going to buy a copy of his book Alycia was all bummed and told me she was going to give me her autographed book as a Fathers Day present (or was it birthday?). I told her that she needed to send the book down with Alex and then I would take her book to the book signing and get Mitt to write "To Fred" in it and then I'd give it back to her so she could give it to me. Sure the surprise is gone but hey, I have his autograph.

So today I left work and headed straight to the book store. It started at 6:00 and I was right there on time but imagine my dissappointment when I noticed that the line up went completely around the store, out the doorway, down the entire length of the mall, out the front door and almost completely down the length of the mall. I was going to be there for hours and I was afraid that they'd close up before I got to Mitt and if I was ever lucky enough to get to him he'd probably have major cramps in his hands and his writing would be illegible. After surveying the line I decide to head for the end and there was Richard Collard and his mother. Richard was one of my scouts and is now a Sophmore in high school. We visited for a while and when I said that I'd better get to the end of the line before it grew even more he suggested that I just wait with them. I quickly won the battle with my conscience and graciously accepted the offer. They were actually inside the mall still and had been waiting there since 4:30.

Mitt must have been signing quickly because it didn't take too long before we were inside the store. They gave us special instructions that he was not personalizing the autographs and they told us exactly what page to open the book up to and everything. When my turn finally came I decided to break the rules and asked him if he would sign "Fred". He smiled and personalized my book. Richard took a picture of me and if he sends it to me I'll post it later. They also had a photographer there who will post pictures on line but they're not up yet. For now I'll post these pictures. Now I'm supposed to give my book back to Alycia but I've already read a couple of chapters and I don't want to wait to read it.

Thank you Belle

The United States is the only known country to win a war and not take land from the conquered country.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Elder L Tom Perry

Well I guess we should have known better but if we had wanted to be in the chapel for stake conference today we would have had to be there before 8:00AM. As it turned out we didn't get there until about 8:40 which is plenty early enough for a normal stake conference but not if an apostle is going to be there. It was still wonderful and we were only about ten rows into the gym. The first speaker was our stake president ( a wonderful man who gave a wonderful talk) followed by our mission president (who I'm sure is a wonderful man but I haven't gotten to know him very well) and the it was Elder Perry. The choir also sang two wonderful songs. They are really very good.

I've been wondering all along why we had a special conference because we just recently had one but there was nothing mysterious. They had a priesthood training meeting in the area and the prophet told him to visit a stake who hadn't had an apostle in a while. Since we've never had an apostle I guess we were the lucky ones.

After having been spiritually fed for 90 minutes he stayed and shook hands with anyone who wanted to. Alex and Sarah both went through the line twice. The second time Alex went through was with Lisa and I. I thanked him for taking the time to meet with all of us and then I told him that he had visited my mission in 1978. He totally ignored me and looked directly at Alex and said, "And when do you leave?". Alex smiled and said, "June 16th". It was obvious that Elder Perry was pleased. So am I.

If you change the height of a stair by just 2 millimeters, the average person will trip over it.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Alex is Home

In our old age Lisa and I are developing very different reputations. Lisa is getting a reputation for spending a lot of time on the phone and I'm getting a reputation for never answering my phone. I know my problem is that I work at a very intense job and I'm often in the middle of an experiment or a technical discussion with the other engineers. Lisa has always loved to visit and since her kids are now mostly out of the house she loves to call them or she loves it even better when they call her. It is probably just my imagination but it seems like my kids are calling me more often now that I don't ever answer the phone. In reality they are probably calling me the same but I just notice it more. Usually when they call me at work I can't answer the phone so I try and remember to call them back when I have a spare minute but this week something very odd happened. Brandon called me Thursday and it so happened I had some time and I talked to him for about ten minutes. Immediately after I hung up with him Alycia called me. I figured I had just talked to Brandon so to be fair I should talk to Alycia so I answered the phone and we talked for about ten minutes. I had barely hung up the phone from Alycia and Kira called me. By now I was starting to get a bit antsy wanting to get back to work so even though I felt bad about it I only talked to her for about five minutes and what do you know but as soon as I had hung up from Kira, Sarah called me. I figured I had talked to all the others so I should talk to Sarah too so Sarah and I talked for about five minutes. Lisa didn't call me until an hour or so later so now I'm beginning to wonder if Ben and Alex don't love me. More than likely they've just given up on me.

Track season has now started and I'm quite disappointed that most of the meets are on Thursday. That means that if I go to Sarah's meet then I'll be late for the temple. Normally that wouldn't be a big deal except that I'm an assistant coordinator which means I'm supposed to be a good example for the others. I missed her meet last week because the coordinator was sick and while two coordinators can run a shift OK it would be pretty tough for one guy to run it on his own. I picked the wrong week though because last week she had a good time and this week she performed quite poorly. She still came in third but they weren't running against a very good school. She was quite disappointed but I thought she looked beautiful.

The other great news is that Alex came home yesterday for spring break. He also brought a couple of friends with him. Harrison Hinz is from Lehi and Tyler Griffin is from St George. The weather couldn't have been better either for those poor frozen souls from Utah. It was in the 80's today and I spent most of the day working in the yard. I love working in the yard and even though my back is killing me I feel like I played all day. Tonight we barbecued some burgers for the boys and they were pretty good.

I'm very excited for tomorrow. We're having a Stake Conference and Elder L. Tom Perry will be speaking. For those who may not be familiar with the structure of our church, Elder Perry is one of the twelve apostles and so it is a big deal to have him come to our lowly church. We did have an apostle (Elder M Russel Ballard) come once before but he was just in town visiting family and his visit was informal. I'm told that this is the first official visit our stake has ever received from an apostle. I'm looking forward to it. As you can imagine we're planning on getting there quite early.

In the year 2000 for the first time in the history of man, the number of obese people in the world exceeded the number of starving people.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St Patricks Day

I thought I would add this cartoon as my contribution to St Patricks Day. Have a great St Patricks day everyone.

The strongest earthquake ever recorded was a 9.1 in Chile in 1960.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Priest / Laurel Conference

It looks like my blog has turned into a weekly blog. I'm not quite sure if my days have become so boring that I only post on the weekends or if I've become so busy that I only have time to post on the weekends. The week really was quite uneventful but the weekend was a bit more interesting. This weekend was the Priest/Laurel conference. Just in case you don't know who the Priests and Laurels are they would be the youth in our church age 16 and 17. Sarah is a Laurel. Friday night they had a formal dance that everyone fondly refers to as "Mormon Prom". She went with a group of six kids and they had a blast. Saturday morning I went to help the Havertz fix up their house getting it ready to sell. Mike is an FBI agent and he's been battling Parkinson disease for several years now. It has grown so bad that he has had to retire early and they are moving to St George. I've noticed that St George is becoming a very popular retirement destination for people in Southern California who can't afford to retire in San Diego but can't bring themselves to endure the frigid Salt Lake City winters. Mike loves to go boating so I think St George has the added attraction of a close proximity to several nice lakes. We painted fences, eaves and general yard work. It is always quite sad when we see a great family like theirs leave.

Saturday was also day two of the Priest/Laurel conference. The main speaker was Brad Wilcox, the author of several books. One of his books is called "The Continuous Atonement". Coincidentally Sarah bought and has been reading that book so she took it with her to get him to autograph it. I think he was surprised to see someone as young as her reading his book. It sounds like they're now best friends. After the conference we ran her out to Cameron's JROTC ball. That was another formal dance. The girl is partying way too much.

While Sarah was at the youth conference Lisa and I attended the wards St Patrick day party. The highlight was these little Irish dancers. They were very cute and it was a thrill to watch them dance. I'm not sure why but Irish dancing has always fascinated me. The cutest were these two girls who must be identical twins. The number two highlight was a story told by Marilyn McPhie.

Today I was asked to teach the "Gospel Doctrine" class in Sunday School. That would be the adult class and I'm always very intimidated to teach the adults. I do great with the youth but people my own age scare me. They are also much harder to get to participate than the kids are. They don't interrupt me though so I guess that's a plus. I gave an OK lesson but it wasn't stellar. I didn't embarrass myself though so I guess that is good.

So that was my weekend. Let's hope this week is a bit more exciting.

The first couple to be shown in bed together on prime time television was Fred and Wilma Flintstone.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Steel Implants

A couple of weeks ago I was grinding up some PbTe into a powder using a home made morter and pestle. I was banging on the steel pestle with a hammer when I suddenly realized my arm was wet. I looked down at it and there was blood running down my arm. I thought to myself, "hmmm, that's weird, I guess a piece of steel must have chipped off of the pestle and cut my arm". I wiped away the blood and sure enough, there was what appeared to be a rather deep cut in my arm. I put a band-aid on it and carried on with my work.

Over the next few days I noticed that the cut didn't heal real well but sort of puffed up like a zit. I just figured there must have been a bit of an infection and didn't worry about it. Today Lisa noticed the giant zit on my arm and asked me what it was. I told her the story and she immediately said that I must have something in the cut. Again I thought, "gee, why didn't I think of that?" When we got home tonight she took a pin after my giant zit and after digging for a bit she found a small black thing in the hole she'd made. She finally dug out a relatively large piece of steel that had gone all black from spending two weeks trying to be metabolized by my body. Very strange.

During World War II, a German U-boat was sunk by a truck. The U-boat in question attacked a convoy in the Atlantic and then rose to see the effect. The merchant ship it sank had material strapped to its deck including a fleet of trucks, one of which was thrown in the air by the explosion, landing on the U-boat and breaking its back.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

The Hay Field

The weeks are just zipping by lately. For a while there I was updating my blog almost daily but now I'm only managing to update once a week but I feel like I did when it was daily. To review the week, it was sunny and beautiful and I worked long and hard every day. I've made good progress on my project but it was hard fought for. There, hows that for a quick "week-in-review"?

Today they were predicting rain and I figured I needed to get my lawn mowed before the rains came. I wasn't going to post a picture because it is quite embarrassing but I never get home before dark and every weekend for the last several weeks has been raining or else we were out of town or something. My lawn was totally over grown with clover. I'm sure I harvested at least a couple of bales of hay. The lawn was still quite wet so it was not easy mowing and the grass kept building up on my wheels but I managed to finish just as the rain started coming down. Here we go with some more rain. At least it is a warm rain unlike the past when it was quite miserable.

Tonight Sarah had some girlfriends over for a girls movie night. It is turning out to be an evening of chick flicks. Oh well, I've got plenty of other things I need to be doing. The funny part is that one of my old scouts just called me and asked if he and some friends could crash the party. I told them to just walk in the house and don't bother knocking. I think the girls about wet their pants. It was quite funny.

Due to obesity, today's young generation may be the first generation of Americans who have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.