Friday, September 30, 2011


This morning at about 0100 Lisa rolled over and elbowed me telling me that my phone was ringing. I always leave my phone down stairs because if it is upstairs and it rings Lisa is a very unhappy camper. Apparently I needn't have worried because she wakes up even if it is downstairs. I laid there trying to imagine who would be calling me at 1:00 AM when I suddenly remembered that Javier's baby is due on the October 8. I knew it had to be him. I ran downstairs and called the number of who ever had been calling me and sure enough. It was Javier and his baby had arrived at 12:31 AM. How exciting. Xavier de Jesus Valdez was 6lb 6oz and 19 inches long and he looks just like Javier. The delivery went well and Rosi is healthy and very happy. I thought about heading to the hospital right then and there but I knew Rosi's family would probably be there and I didn't want to overwhelm the baby and Rosi so we headed to the hospital this morning. We took Rosi some pretty Lily's. When we got there Javier had gone for breakfast so we tried to visit with Rosi. She doesn't speak a word of English and we only speak about five words of Spanish so did a lot of gesturing. We did pretty go though. Javier finally showed up and we hung out for an hour or two and then headed out.

The day only got better from there. This weekend is the Miramar Air Show and the Blue Angles are always the star attraction. In case I've not mentioned it before, Hi-Z is located directly across the street from the Miramar Marine Core Air Station so we have a good view of all the attractions. When I realized that the Angles were on I climbed onto the the roof and watched. While it doesn't do it any justice I took a few short video clips of what we could see from the roof of our lab.

Tonight we had the missionaries over for dinner. I always enjoy having them come visit and when you have a son on a mission it is even more meaningful.

Other than that I've just been enjoying a much slower and more relaxed life style with just Lisa and I at home. I rather enjoy it.

Once a man has children his testosterone levels drop dramatically and the more involved he is with the children the more it drops. Supposedly the testosterone helps him get a woman and then it drops so he hangs around to help raise the kids. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Red Tide

Lisa heard from a friend that there was a red tide at Torrey Pines beach. I knew that a red tide was an algae bloom and I'd heard that they can be quite pretty but I never realized that the algae in a red tide is bio-luminescent. According to Lisa's friend when the waves break and when they crash up on the shore they glowed. In my mind I imagined a faint blue glimmer that you might be able to notice if it was really dark or something. Boy was I mistaken. Tonight Lisa and I decided to go for a walk on the beach and see just how bright bioluminescent algae can be. 

It is bright. I didn't bother taking my expensive camera because I didn't think it would be all that dramatic and it wasn't bright enough that I could take a picture with my droid but it was really bright. Especially when the waves first crash. I downloaded the picture above from the internet. This is pretty much what an average wave looked like but when they first break they are much brighter. It was really quite eerie looking. As we were walking on the beach we then noticed that every time we took a step the sand around our feet would flash. It flashed quite bright too. I felt like I was in a video game or something with flashing lights all around me. Maybe if the red tide is still around tomorrow I'll take my nice camera and see if I can get any pictures. In any case, it was a very cool experience. 

People who live in cold environments have longer and 
bigger noses than people who live in warm environments.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

An Action Packed Saturday

This has been a nice few days. Alycia is down for the weekend to be a bridesmaid in her friends wedding. Lisa picked her up in Long Beach. She flew in on Thursday evening so I was at the Temple and unable to go get her. She flew to Long Beach because she got a cheap flight but I think next time they get a "cheap flight" I'll give them the $78 gas money that we spend to pick them up and have them fly straight to San Diego. It'll be cheaper for us and whole lot more convenient. It has been great to have her here though.

Today has been a rather intense day. A very enjoyable day as well. It started off by me sleeping in until 9:00. It's been a while since I've done that. We had a relaxed morning with Alycia getting ready to go to the Wedding Rehearsal and then we headed off to Torrey Pines Beach for the Ward Beach Party. It was a rather cool and overcast morning so there weren't too many people at the beach but as soon as we got there the sun came out and it was a beautiful beach day. I decided to park in a different place than we normally do to try and get closer to the place where we were supposedly meeting. It would have been a good move too except that they were doing construction and the access to the beach was closed. This meant we ended up walking a bit further than we normally would have but it was OK because it was a beautiful walk on the tops of the cliffs and we enjoyed it.

The Beach Party was fun but I couldn't get Lisa to leave in time for us to meet our friends because tonight we were going to the Aztec / Washington football game. To compound the problem I thought it would be nice to return to our car along the beach and hope there was an access to the tops of the cliffs further down. Big mistake. We ended up walking all the way to the Del Mar beach and then walking back to our car. We probably walked three miles to get to our car that was perhaps a half mile from where we started. We enjoyed the walk along the beach and we certainly need the exercise but we got home around 4:20 and we were supposed to meet our friends at 4:00.

We got to the restaurant around 4:30 and had a good meal while the Haws watched us eat since they were finishing up when we got there. We then piled in our van and we carpooled to the stadium. Unfortunately the KGB Sky Show is getting so popular that this year the parking lot filled up and we were turned away. After running around the area for a good 15 minutes Brent guided us to a secret parking place he has. It is a great place to park and not a long walk away from the stadium. I'll have to remember it for the next time I go to the stadium.

The path we path we ended up walking on opened up into the stadium parking lot and to our horror it was all barricaded with chain link fence. We were beginning to see a theme forming here. We had done a lot of walking (and driving around) only to find barricades in our way. Our beach access, the stadium parking lot and now our walk way. It was only a beginning however.

The chain-link fence was to keep people away from the fireworks and we managed to get around it only to find that the ticket booth was closed. The Haws had free tickets Brent had won on the radio station but we needed to buy ours. Another barrier. We went to the people taking tickets and asked one of them where we could buy tickets. She pulled a bunch out of her pocket and said, I just happen to have a bunch of free tickets here, would you like them? I profusely thanked her and off we went. While the barriers through out the day had been frustrating they managed to get us a beautiful walk on the beach, free parking and now free entrance to the game. Not too bad eh?

The Aztecs thoroughly beat Washington and then it was the moment we had all been waiting for. The Haws assured us that the KGB Sky Show is the best fireworks we would ever see. KGB is a local radio station and every year they put on this huge fireworks shows after one of the Aztecs football games. The Haws have been going for a while but this was our first time. Have you noticed that at most fireworks shows they have a pretty nice show but then for the last minute of the show they light off a whole bunch of fireworks all at once? This big grand finale? Well imagine that grand finale lasting 30 minutes. That is what we saw tonight. The absolute most amazing fireworks show I've ever seen. I managed to record about five minutes of it for you to enjoy. Make sure your sound isn't too loud, this is amazing.

In 2008, for the first time in the history of mankind, the number of people living in cities surpassed the number of people living in the country side.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Pratt's

Now that I've settled in from another wild weekend let me share with you what has been happening. Let's go back to when Lisa and Sarah took off and left me alone for the third time this summer. As bummed as I was it was the sensible thing to do. First of all, Sarah and Lisa had several meetings that they had to attend regarding Sarah's school, second, Lisa has been begging to spend some time in the Genealogy library and finally Lisa found out that there was a big Pratt reunion on September 10th. It just didn't make sense for her to come home and then drive back up so she begged our good friends Mahonry and Molly Sanchez if she could crash with them and Sheba and I once again got to snuggle up in bed together. 

I wanted to go to the Pratt reunion with Lisa and I'm always up for an excuse to see my kids so I decided to fly up on the 9th, attend the reunion on the 10th and then drive back with Lisa. If you buy your tickets in advance you can get a one way ticket for well under $100. It was getting pretty scary however on the night of the 8th when our power went out and Southern California was sitting in the dark. I tried to upload my picture from my android and while I think I could do it I was too tired to bother on that night. That is why I thought I'd shared my picture of me cooking dinner on my cool little camp stove. You can see my windup radio in the background. Power in the south part of the city started coming on around 9:30 and then it moved north from there. Claremont had power around 10:30 and La Jolla around 11:30 and then I went to bed. I turned off all of the lights except my bedroom light and then I turned the radio on full blast. I have a real tough time waking up. 

At 1:00 the lights came on and the radio was blasting in my ear. I got up and checked taht my flight was still on time. I printed out my boarding pass and went back to bed. 

Lisa was at the airport to meet me I spent the day doing errands at Sarah's apartment and Alycia's apartment. It was good to see them both. That night we took them for dinner at the Awful Waffle and since J Dawg's was across the street we went there for a hot dog. No one went home hungry. 

Saturday was the reunion. We picked up Sarah and Alycia and off we went. After we registered and bought the new Pratt Biography we listened to several very cools stories about the Pratt's. Just in case you're wondering about our connection to the Pratts, after Lisa joined the church and started getting involved in her genealogy she learned that she was descended from Anson Pratt who is the brother of the famous Parley and Orson Pratt. Anson isn't too well known because he died early caring for his ailing mother. She eventually died from Cholera and then three days later Anson died from Cholera. The Anson Pratt descendants wore green name tags and there weren't too many of them. 

After her dad died his daughter Jane Elizabeth walked across the plains with Parley's family so we feel a close kinship with Parley. Jane lived with them until she got married. Another interesting story that we learned is that Parley Pratt is that he was the very first Mormon Missionary to enter Chili. I guess Alex is there now finishing what he started. 

So let me explain the hand. Sarah loves to draw on people and if she is ever in one spot for more than fifteen minutes she starts drawing. I on the other hand really enjoy a good massage and when Sarah is drawing on me it is actually a very nice massage. The only problem is that I end up with a hand that is embarrassing to have in public.  You have to admit that it is a pretty good job. Perhaps Sarah should consider a career in Henna. 

Everyone at the reunion (nearly 700 people) were asked to put a colored dot on the family tree. If take a close look at the tree you can see our dots on the Anson branch and the Jane Elizabeth twig. We're kind of out numbered by the blue and yellow dots.

So after the reunion we went to visit Aunt Nola. It is always good to see her. She is looking great as you can see from the pictures.

And then it was on to Provo where we dropped Alycia and Sarah off. We loaded up on BYU chocolate milk and then hit the highway. We originally planned on just driving to St George and crashing with someone but we were doing well so we just continued on arriving in San Diego at around 6:00. We slept until 11:00 (at least I did) and then we went to hear Alex Jafek give his farewell talk. He is going to Peru for his mission. He did great and he will be a great missionary. 

Sunday night was pretty cool. Our Temple presidency will be release in a couple of months so they had a get together for all of the coordinators they've worked with at the temple. Spouses were invited. I've never been to a get together in the temple before. It was very cool. 

Hippo sweat is red.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering 9/11

Today I would like to remember the events that took place ten years ago on this day. It really did change the world we live in. I think it is interesting how that single event revealed so much about our world. It reminded us that evil is real and we can never become complacent. It also showed us that in a time of need we can come together and support each other. In spite of our many differences, on that day we were all united. 

I hope as we move forward to the next ten years we can never forget that day. I hope we can forgive those who wish us harm, that we can recognize that true happiness comes from friends and family and not from material things. I hope we can be more tolerant of those who are different from us and wish each person the very best in their lives.

1,300 children became orphans on 9/11/2001   

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Sitting in the Dark

This afternoon at 15:40 I was talking to Lisa on the phone when suddenly my computer shutdown. I then realized that the power had gone out. Somewhere out in central Arizona the main high voltage line that feeds southern California was severed but so far no one knows why. Once that line went down the only other line feeding Southern California from the north quickly overloaded and it went down. The massive power surge automatically disconnected the two large nuclear reactors in San Onofre and the few remaining generators couldnt possibly meet the demand and all went of them went down. As I type this on my very cool Android phone everyone from the southern tip of the Baja of Mexico to the southern parts of Orange county and east to parts of Arizona are sitting in the dark. Of course I knew none of this so when I was talking to Lisa. I told Lisa that I had to take care of my press and test stations because if the power came on I could do some damage to them. Once I took care of all my equipment i decided to head over to the temple for my regular Thu shift. Listening to the radio as i negotiated threw all the non-functioning traffic lights i began to learn the magnitude of this problem, 1.4 million people have no power right now. People are stuck on rides at amusement parks, people are stranded downtown because the trolly isnt working, the airport is shut down, malls are in the dark and it being a hot day the temperature is beginning to rise all over. I continued on to the temple because i knew they had a backup generator. Once i got there however i learned that the generator keeps the lights on but doesnt run all of the equipment including the A/C. They told us to go home and that is when i saw what was happening to the freeways. You'd think the freeway would be the one good place to drive because there are no lights but every exit has a light and with no power the traffic was backing up onto the freeway. Even still it only took me 45 min or so to get home. I quickly filled several pitchers with water in case the pumps went down, i dug out my headlight and camp stove so i can cook dinner and read a book tonight. I dug out my windup radio so im sitting here listening to the news to see what is happening. I even fired up my ham radio to see what is going on but it wasnt too informative. My wifi has a back up battery so i still have an internet connection. My computer doesnt work (Lisa took the laptop) but my Android does. I charged up my phone in the truck so i can now post to my blog with my phone. You'll have to pardon any typo's because it isnt fun typing with my index finger. I'm supposed to fly to Utah tomorrow so lets pray my flight still goes. They're saying some places won't have power until later tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

The Neighborhood Psycho

I think every neighborhood needs to have their trouble maker. We certainly have ours. Our neighbor across the street had an on going feud with her next door neighbor that lasted for years. At first they fought over their fence. It got so bad that they each ended up building their own fence so they now have two fences that are about four inches apart. The psycho neighbor even put up video camera's on the eves of her house and most of them point into her next door neighbors back yard. That would make me very uncomfortable. They've called the cops on each other several times. One time the police even came and interviewed mom to get someones else's version of the story. Finally miss psycho got so bad that she built a steel fence right across the front of her house and of all things she painted it red. She took a nice house and made it look real creepy. I guess in light of all of that, I shouldn't be surprised at what happened this weekend. I am very angry.

Last night I came home from work, picked up the mail and saw that I had a letter from the city. I can't think of a single good reason to get a letter from the city so with great trepidation I opened the letter. It was from the police department telling me that my Camry had been towed. I couldn't believe it. I went out front and sure enough my car was gone. Since Sarah had gone back to college I hadn't worried about the Camry so I didn't even notice that it was gone. Apparently it was blocking miss psycho's driveway but she couldn't be like a normal neighbor and walk across the street to let me know, nope she called the cops and off went my Camry. I called today to see what it would cost me to get it back and it would be $600. I think "Anytime Towing" just got themselves an old beat up Camry. Now we're trying to figure out what was in the car that we might need. 

So I called the police today and I guess I can "dispute" this but I think it will just come down to the cops saying it was blocking the driveway and me saying no it wasn't. I'll keep you informed because I totally intend to dispute this as far as I possibly can. I won't be paying the $600 however since the cars window's don't work and the air conditioner doesn't work and it will cost a $1,000 to fix them and I would still have an old car with extensive front end damage. 

It makes me sick though because I could have sold that car for $500 easily and now I have no car and no money. Bummer.

In the desert more people die from drowning than from thirst.

Monday, September 05, 2011

A Random Week

I keep waiting for something exciting to happen so I can blog about it but all I get are a series of little things. None of them by themselves are worth a post but all together these last couple of weeks have been quite eventful.

August 24 was Sarah's birthday. She was going to make it a big and exciting event but in the end she decided to keep it small and just with the family. Ben and Sharley came down and we had a barbecue. It was fun. Sarah also invited a friend from Provo to come down for the week. Nate Crenshaw seems like a nice guy. I would have pictures of the birthday except Mom took the camera with her and I didn't get the pic's downloaded before she left.

August 27 and everyone left me. We loaded up the van with all of Sarah's laundry that she brought home and then we threw in a desk for Alycia and Trevor and with Mom and Nates luggage the van was full. I kissed them all goodbye and once again I was left here all alone. Ok, so I didn't kiss Nate goodbye but I found it much harder to say goodbye to Sarah this time. The last time I said goodbye it was for a few weeks, this time it will be months. I really hate this part of parenting. 

Being alone with no responsibilities I can pretty much do what I want. Ben was singing in church on Sunday and Sharley was giving a talk so I decided to say goodbye to Sheba (and the turtles and Tom) and head up to Anaheim. Ben and Sharley moved on the 31st so with the pick up we hauled a load over to their new apartment and I got to see their new digs. The apartment is old but really quite nice. They have a little private courtyard (private from the neighbourhood but shared by the eight apartments) that is very pretty. Again I would have pictures but it was dark when we got there so no pic's. I don't think Sharley will be going for many late night walks by herself however. The neighbors look a tad bit rough.

After we unloaded the truck Ben took me to a little Taco truck that he found and I had some of the best taco's ever. Delicious. I had three taco's el Pastor and one lengue. I'm sure I spelled that wrong but it is a tongue taco. The tongue taco was delicious but the el Pastor is by far my favorite.

August 28 I went to church with Ben and Sharley. Sharley did great on her talk and Ben sang beautifully. He sang the bass part in a quartet. Him and the Soprano were excellent but the Tenor part was interesting. The guy tried hard. That evening was the Fantasy Football draft. I have no idea if I have a good team or not but it is fun drafting them. For anyone who may know or care the big players on my team are Matt Ryan QB, Roddy White WR and Ray Rice RB. Wish me luck this year. I don't why I always go up against Ben first but alas, that is once again my fate this year.

August 30 was moving day for Ben. I'd offered to come up and help again if they needed it and they really needed it. I left work at 13:30 and was at their apartment by 15:00. We finished after midnight. Sharley is an art major and has great taste in how she wants to decorate her home but her taste is heavy. When Ben and I finally got her TV cabinet on the truck I thought I was going to be crippled by my herniated L4-L5 disc. I then walked into her bedroom and saw her dresser. It made the TV cabinet look small. Thank goodness it fit on the moving dolly to get it out and by the time we hauled it up the stairs at his new apartment he had some help show up. I used to pick up and move anything not caring how much it weighed. That is probably how I ended up with a herniated disc. After living six months as a hunch back walking with a cane I've decided those days are over. I let the young guys haul that thing up the stairs. 

Part of the deal for helping move was another visit to the taco truck. This time I ordered a Tripas taco and three more el Pastors. Again the spelling is certainly wrong but you may have guessed the tripas toco is tripe also known as intestines. It wasn't bad but I won't be ordering tripe again. Especially when the el Pastor is so good. If I ever make it back to the taco truck again I'll try the stomach and brain taco's. I'm sure my favorite will always be the el pastor but hey, you've got to try it right?

So that was about it. On Saturday I puttered around the house mowing lawns and what not and on Sunday I watched a ton of old Star Trek episodes. Let me share with you one of my favorite scenes. I saw this first on Nates blog but I actually saw the episode on Sunday. That Captain Kirk sure knows how to treat a woman.

Sunday Ben and Sharley came down with their friends Jose and Chardonnay. They decided to play around town today for memorial day. It actually rained a bit today so I hope that didn't mess up their day too much. It was a nice warm day in spite of the overcast.

I decided to go into work today because I'm going to be gone on Friday. Driving in to work I came across a firetruck and three cop cars at an intersection. When I got up to the intersection there was a bicycler in the middle of the road with a LOT of blood all over his head. I didn't see a car so I wonder if it was a hit and run. The guy was sitting up but very dazed looking. The paramedics were getting a back board out and a cervical collar. He looked in pretty bad shape. It makes me wonder about riding my bike on those roads. He was on the same road I take when I ride my bike. I hope he's alright. 

CERN scientists together with NASA have demonstrated that the temperature of the earth is dominated by the electromagnetic activity of the sun. When the sun produces a strong magnetic field, cosmic radiation is deflected away from the earth, when the magnetic field is weak cosmic radiation ionizes the earths atmosphere which seeds clouds an order of magnitude faster than normal. If there are fewer clouds the earth gets hotter. Their report states that human activity is a very minor part of global warming.