Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Four years ago Lisa and I were the "Ma" & "Pa" for the youth in a Trek reenactment. It was a wonderful experience and perhaps some day I'll post the story. They are doing another Trek for the youth this year but instead of the four days like last time it is only a two day affair. I guess these things can get extremely expensive. Today was the muster for the Trek. That just means that the kids (and adults) all dressed in their period clothing and met at the church for instructions. Unfortunately they aren't even having "Ma's" & "Pa's" this year. They're going to have big brothers and sisters and I wasn't asked to be one of them. Lisa will be in one of the families. I was asked to help out with the shooting however. That will be a lot of fun. They're shooting some old flint lock muskets. These are actually the same model that was used by the Nauvou Legion. That aught to be a lot of fun. Tonight I was asked to be a part of the mob. During the "muster" a bunch of us men stormed the meeting with our muskets and harassed the kids. We were supposed to call them names and threaten them but I think all we did was wake them up. No one seemed too worried and I don't think we were very scary. That is me with the red shirt and brown hat. Pretty scary don't you think? Since I was in the mob I wasn't in the meeting so Lisa was "manning" the camera. That means that I don't have a picture of her but here is a picture of Sarah. I think she makes a darling pioneer girl. The guy in charge of the mob had a buffalo hide so I thought I'd get a picture of me with the hide over my shoulders. That thing would keep you warm through the coldest of winter nights.

I've really missed my scout camps so I'm looking forward to this weekend. To make it better my wife and daughter will be up in the mountains with me.

While Taoist monks were looking for an elixer for immortality in the ninth century, they stumbled on gunpowder, something far more suited to inducing mortality.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Another day at work

Just another day at work. Yesterday I rode my bike and I always feel great when I do that but today for a number of reasons I drove. I’ll ride tomorrow. At work I have days where I feel like I made great progress and then I have days when I feel like I lost a lot of ground. Today was a good day. The other day I made a very pretty ingot of PbTe. PbTe is a semiconductor material that has good thermoelectric properties. This ingot is so shiny you can see me clearly in the reflection.

In 2007 there were 4.3 million babies born in America. This is more babies than were born in 1957 when there were 4.2 million babies born which was the height of the baby boomer's. (trivia courtesy of Alycia)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

San Diego Temple Repairs

As most of you know I volunteer at our temple every Thursday evening. For years the temple has had leaks during heavy rainstorms. I'd say it has a leaky roof but as you can see from the pictures there really isn't a roof, just sloping walls. This year we had much heavier rains than normal and the leaks were so bad that we literally had water running down the walls and the carpet was soggy. It was sad to see buckets catching drips in our beautiful temple. It was bad enough that the church decided it was time to take care of the problem.

That is why one day when I showed up for "work" there was scaffolding going up. It felt like our beautiful temple was hurt and being cared for. Interestingly, now that they are up on the steeples and can look at the cracks in the plaster up close they are finding that some of these cracks are as big as an inch wide. Because the walls are so steep that isn't normally a problem because the rain just falls straight down but with a wind like we've had this year the rain just blows right into the cracks.

Sadly for anyone getting married this year, the scaffolding will be up all summer long. Since they're up there doing all this repair work they will also clean it while they're at it. That means by the end of summer we will have a sparkling new temple. It will be good to have it back to it's old self.

The inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell used to favor saying "Ahoy, ahoy" when he answered the phone. It was Thomas Edison who thought it would be more appropriate to say "hello".

Friday, April 16, 2010

Cameron Falls

Finally, the weekend is here. I love my weekends. I love my work too but it is always nice to have a couple of days with no pressure.

I decided to ride my bike today. It has been awhile because my tire went flat and my pump quit working so I couldn't pump it up. I've been too lazy to patch the tire. I've really wanted to ride however so I dug out my air compressor and change the quick disconnect from my nailing gun to my nozzle that fills tires. This afternoon my Treo went off at 2:00 to remind me of a dentist appointment I had at 2:30. Plenty of time if I was driving but I just can't ride my bike eight miles in 30 minutes. Even if I could I would be dripping sweat all over the dentists office. Luckily I was able to borrow a co-workers car.

The other day I was reading my National Geographic and I flipped the page and there was Cameron Falls. I believe it is the first time I have ever seen a place I've actually been to in the National Geographic. I'm not counting the famous places like the Great Wall or the Eiffel tower. It was pretty cool. And then as I continue on through the magazine I see an article about the largest swimming pool in the world. It is called the "Big Dipper" and it just happens to be in Alex's mission.

This week I went to another one of Sarah's track meets. As I'm sure you all remember Sarah runs the 300 meter hurdles. I love watching her run, she flies over the hurdles like a graceful swan. If only she could fly a little faster. It wasn't a great race this week but that is because the teams trainer made her quit training for a while so her heel could heal. I guess that is a common problem with hurdlers because the land on their heels and supposedly if she'd kept running on it it would have developed into a stress fracture and that can put you out for several months. As you can probably guess, just missing a week of training of course can put you in serious trouble as it did with Sarah. She looked beautiful and that is the most important part for me. Sarah doesn't completely agree with me but she is taking it all in stride. Win or loose, the girl is in great shape. Brandon measured her at 15% body fat and for a girl that's pretty skinny.

Tonight Sarah and some friends went to the Mormon Battalion visitors center. Just in case you don't know the story let me give a brief recounting. When the Mormon pioneers were driven out of Nauvoo in the middle of the winter they had a tough time of it crossing the plains. Brigham Young sent a message to the US Government offering to build cabins along the trail as shelters for future travelers. The Government came back and said they didn't need any cabins but they did have a war brewing with Mexico and they could sure use some soldiers. Brigham Young told the men that they really needed the money and if they chose to go he promised them that they would not have to fight anything more than wild animals. About 500 men and 80 women enlisted. After a long and arduous journey they ended up 2,000 miles later in San Diego having completed the longest infantry march in American history. They managed to miss all of the fighting. While in San Diego the Mormon Battalion dug the first wells, painted the houses, made the first brick foundry and lined the wells with bricks and they built the first brick building in California and one of the woman bore the first white baby in California. The visitors center was just remodeled and I'm told it is wonderful. Lisa and I haven't been there yet but we're hoping that everyone can go when they're here for Alex's farewell.

Only two lifetimes ago, Britain ruled the largest and wealthiest empire in the history of humankind. Britain controlled a quarter of the earths land and a quarter of the earth's population.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Hubbles Deep Field Image

Scientist controlling the Hubble Space telescope decided one day to see if they could find anything in some of the dark area's of the sky. They looked for the darkest area in space that they could find and focused the telescope on that small patch of black sky. No one really thought they would find much in that small spot (about the size a dime would appear from a mile away). They focused on the spot for a million seconds collecting one photon per minute. They were amazed by what they found. Each spot in the picture below is a galaxy and they found 10,000 galaxies. Each galaxy of course contains billions of stars. The universe just got a lot bigger.

Hubble Deep Field Image Unveils Myriad Galaxies Back to the Beginning of Time

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Blood Bank

Today I hit a milestone. I donated blood on my way home from work and my total blood donated is now five gallons. That is a lot of blood. That is actually five gallons since I moved to the States so if you count the times I donated in Canada I've donated more than five gallons. I would have hit five gallons a long time ago except for the whole time I was traveling they wouldn't take my blood. If you've been to some high risk places like the Philippines, Thailand, China etc. they make you wait a year before they will take you blood. Since for nearly ten years I never made it a whole year before traveling back to some of those third world countries I went quite a while without donating.

They tell me I have special blood. I am O+ which is the most common blood but I am also CMV negative. I'm not exactly sure what CMV (Cytomegalovirus) is but it is an antibody that 85% of all Americans have and amazingly 1 in 8,000 babies born develop permanent disabilities from contracting it. Who would have thought? Normal people can accept blood that is CMV positive but if someone who has a weak immune system (like newborn babies) receive CMV positive blood they can get quite sick. My blood goes to babies. Cool eh?

I remember very clearly the very first time I ever donated blood. I was a freshman at BYU and walking down the hall I saw a blood donation set up. I figured I would help out and I've tried to do it every chance I get since then. Recently they opened a center near our home so I go pretty much every eight weeks now. Perhaps it won't take another thirty years for me to hit the ten gallon mark.

23% of the people who die (their heart stops) and then are resuscitated describe a near death experience where they were lucid and aware of their surroundings.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Surfing Sarah

There are a couple of stories from last week that I wanted to share. Last week was Sarah's spring break and while I wasn't able to do anything with her, Lisa and Sarah spent a lot of time together. Because I felt like I was missing out I decided to go and join them Thursday afternoon. For Christmas we gave Sarah some surfing lessons. She's the only kid who has really wanted to get into surfing but she is pretty much self taught and we thought she would enjoy some professional help.

She had her lessons on Thursday so I stopped by the beach on my way to the temple. I loved watching her. She's actually pretty good. I can't wait to see her in some big waves.
Of course I looked pretty funny there on the beach dressed for the temple. I looked even funnier once I took off my socks and shoes and rolled up my pant legs. Of course as always happens when you roll up your pant legs you can't help but walk too far out into the water and then along comes a big wave and your pants are all wet. That just meant that I looked even funnier walking into the temple with wet pants.

Another thing Lisa and Sarah did last week was go to the science museum. They have a booth there that takes your picture and then they show you what you're going to look like as you age. Not bad looking for a seventy year old woman is she? I'm glad to see she still has all her teeth.
I thought I would add this picture of her for a comparison.

The weight of China's Three Gorges reservoir will tilt the Earth's axis by nearly an inch.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Bird of Paradise

This morning I received a text from Sarah telling me that she was at the doctor's office. Along with the text was a picture of this big stick poking out of her arm. She said that she had fallen down. It is pretty gruesome to look at isn't it? Luckily I knew that she was at a CERT training session and she was a pretend victim. I think CERT stands for "Community Emergency Response Team". She had sent the same text to some of her friends who didn't know she was at the training and they were pretty freaked out. Meanwhile I was at home mowing my lawn and digging weeds out of my flower bed. Summer is in full swing in San Diego and I really love being outside right now. One of my favorite flowers is in full blossom. The bird of paradise is a beautiful flower don't you think?
The average American today has half the friends than an average American fifty years ago.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Rainy Days and Mondays

I was just a bit groggy today since I didn't get to bed until after 1:00 this morning. It was kind of raining off and on for most of the morning but the sun broke out this afternoon and we had a great day. Today was one of those days where I don't feel like I got anything done. I don't like those days. To make matters worse, I met with my accountant this afternoon and found out that I have to pay taxes. That really stinks. It's all because of my severance package. It just doesn't seem fair.

I was also bummed because everyone was talking about the earthquake. I guess it was the strongest earthquake felt here in San Diego in most peoples life times. And I missed it. A lot of people were quite frightened.

I thought I would share these pictures of Sarah. Last week in her US History class she had to dress up like they did in the 1920's. I thought she looked gorgeous. We meant to take a picture of her before she went to school but Lisa actually had to be at the school so she took a picture of her there. She looks pretty good doesn't she?

As of 2006, 200 million blogs were left without updates

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Easter Sunday

What a wonderful weekend. We spent the weekend with Vicky & Thomas McCormack. We drove up Saturday morning (traffic was horrible and it took us much longer than it should have) and Brandon & Serene and their girls joined us on Sunday morning. Thomas and I went and watched general conference and boy was it a good one. One of my favorite talks was given by an Elder Rasband who talked mostly about missionaries. I think I was drawn to his talk because of Alex's recent missionary call. I loved his description of how a missionary is actually called. Again Sunday morning we enjoyed two more conference sessions. It made it even more special because it is Easter Sunday today and we can celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I can guess we can celebrate the resurrection of our Lord any day but it seems more special today. Between conference sessions the kids had an Easter Egg hunt. Sydney needed a bit of help but boy was she excited when she did find an egg. As you might imagine, we had egg salad sandwiches for lunch. It was sure good to see the grandkids again and of course Brandon and I had a great time solving the worlds problems. Now if someone would just make one of us King so that we could implement some of these ideas. After the last session of conference we had a traditional Easter Sunday of ham. Is ham a traditional Easter meal? It seems somehow sacrilegious to have ham while the Jews are celebrating Passover. In any case, Vicky made a wonderful dinner of ham, asparagus, roasted potatoes, fresh carrots and peas etc. All of this was topped off with Strawberry pie for dessert. The only thing wrong with dinner was that I was so full it made it tough to stay awake on the drive home.

I am really quite disappointed today. I seem to miss all of the good earthquakes. Today while we we were within just a few miles of the devastating earthquake they had in Northridge several years ago San Diego felt a fairly significant earthquake they had in Mexico. I've lived here for eighteen years and all I ever feel is a minor movement where I'm not even sure I felt anything but we talked to several people who told us it was quite strong today. One person told us it even knocked one of the pictures off the wall. I was quite disappointed that I missed it all. We got home expecting to find our pictures all askew but they were all perfectly aligned. I hope that means that our house is built upon a good foundation.

Six people on a love seat. I guess that means that we love each other. It's pretty tough to see but I am buried beneath all of those bodies.

The "A" marks the epicenter of the 7.2 earthquake.

A cow can convert eight pounds of feed into one pound of meat. A chicken can convert 2 pounds of feed into one pound of meat.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Healthy Fred

How quickly things change. Within mere hours after I posted my last blog entry West Virginia beat Kentucky and I quickly fell from glory. Who would have thought that West Virginia would win? I guess both Brandon and Ben did. I'm telling you that Kentucky was favored to win 2 to 1 over West Virginia but according to Ben, West Virginia has been hot and was on a streak with some great momentum. That is something I would know nothing about. I'm still ahead of Brandon though. This means that both Ben and Brandon have Duke and West Virginia in the final four and even though Brandon is trailing Ben by 12 points the final four game is worth 16 points. Ben has Duke winning and Brandon has West Virginia winning so it will come down to the wire to see who wins our bracket. I just know it won't be me.

Ben actually came down to visit us this week. Sharley is in Utah visiting her mother during their spring break but Ben had to work. He had a couple of days off so he took the train and came to visit us. It was good to see him again.

So this week Brandon calls me and he is quite concerned. It feels good to know your kids care about you. Apparently he had two dreams in one night. In one of them he dreamt that I had a heart attack and died, in the other I had a heart attack and nearly died. Now neither of us believe that his dreams were prophetic but I guess Brandon isn't taking any chances. He called up later in the week and reminded me that a goal not written down is only a wish. He has set up a website for me to report in on and he has committed me to an exercise routine and a diet along with a whole slew of targets. Let me share with you some of his targets that I am to commit to.

Blood Pressure 115/75
Body Fat 12%
Resting heart rate 60 bpm
Waist to hip ratio <0.95
Weight 170 lbs

In addition I have to fill out a daily questionnaire detailing many aspects of my life focusing on diet and exercise. I pointed out to him that the last time I saw 170 lbs on the scale was in the 80's. I think the other targets are good targets however and I'm seriously considering accepting his challenge. I'm actually kind of exited to see how this goes.

I'm also excited for conference this weekend. I love conference weekend.