Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Year's tradition

In the past I always wrote a journal entry on New Year's Eve. And now with just a minute or two left in 2006 it seemed only appropriate to do one last blog post for the year.

I'm not all that into New Year's Eve. It's not really a big deal to me. Sure, I'll stay up and, hey, any excuse to kiss my wife is great but, eh, I'd just as soon kiss her at 10:30 and go to bed than stay up until midnight.

That being said, here's my year in review:

My first full year at work
My wife was called to be the Primary Chorister
I was called to be in the Elder's Quorum presidency, then Executive Secretary
My grandma passed away
Trips to Wyoming, Oregon, Colorado and (for my wife) Texas
We found out we're going to be parents
Moved into a two bedroom apartment
Had my second anniversary
My wife read the entire Standard Works
Went camping a few times
Attended my wife's family reunion
Found a bird that fell out of its nest
Owned three cell phones
Owned four computers (thanks to Apple)
Produced various radio, TV, print, outdoor and web projects at work
Ate a whole lotta ice cream
Posted 200 blog entries and a few dozen more in my journal

What did you do this year?

I can't help but smile

I'm listening to President Hinckley give a talk to the youth for a special New Year's Eve fireside. Whenever he starts talking I can't seem to help smiling. What a blessing it is to have a prophet on the earth who loves us and has our best interests at heart. The fact that he's sharp as a tack at 97 years old and has a great sense of humor doesn't hurt either. :)

"You can be wise and happy or stupid and miserable. The choice is yours."

Happy New Year. :)

Friday, December 29, 2006

MISSING: urinal cake with plastic enclosure

Before I left work this evening I noticed something different in the bathroom. One of the urinal cakes was missing, plastic enclosure and all. It was there earlier. I know because I used it.

The janitorial staff wasn't around. I peeked around to the other urinal. (No one was using it at the time.) That urinal cake was there in all its pink glory, encased in its nasty white plastic thing. Who would take a urinal cake? What's the motivation? Is there a high street value for partially erroded urinal cakes that I don't know about?

Please, if you've seen a stray, pink urinal cake in a white plastic enclosure don't pick it up. That'd be gross.

I'll stay

After all that, I think I'm going to stay with Blogger. This new layout is tolerable (although it does leave much to be desired). When all is said and done I interact with the back-end stuff most of the time and so far Blogger's is my favorite.

That being said... refer to the T-shirt question and give me some feedback! Thanks!

Thinking of switching

I'm getting a bit fed up with Blogger's templates, so I'm thinking of switching to WordPress. Tell me what you think of the (possible) new site/look by clicking here.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Applying the t-shirt rule

I found a link to a blog post which reads:

"The T-shirt rule. It's a simple test of whether you've created a remarkable experience: Would I buy the t-shirt?

A t-shirt for your blog or your accounting firm or your bug-fighting software. If you're not t-shirt worthy, what would it take?"

Since I don't think anybody would wear a "The Other Drummer" t-shirt, let alone pay for one, I will ask you my (five) loyal readers: what would it take make this blog t-shirt worthy?

Coal: the new, clean replacement for oil?

I found this Newsweek article on Digg. It makes a very good case for coal being the next major energy source in the U.S. and possibly the world.

Not only would a car run 30% cleaner on CTL (Coal to Liquid) fuel, but they can capture C02 emissions during the manufacturing process to clean that up too. The U.S., India and China could all sustain their own transportation needs with the coal they have in their respective countries which makes for greater national energy security and less reliance on foreign oil sources.

Oh. And it would be about 25% cheaper than oil.

Check it out. It's a quick, good read.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Why I should write about my expectations of the birthing process

I have been looking for something to write about. My uncle in-law suggested I write about what I think the birthing process will be like. You'd think I'd be a pro since, well, I've been born. However, this is not the case.


Do I really want to dwell on something like that? When people tell you about having a baby all they tell you is 1. how long it took and 2. how painful it was. Only does your mother go beyond that to elaborate on how happy she was to finally hold you in her arms, the reward of hours of excruciating pain. (She leaves out the intermediate steps of smacking you and cleaning off all the blood and internals.)

So do I want to write about what I think the process will be? If I make the attempt, I'm certain to come across as naive and ignorant as my experience with having babies is founded almost entirely on TV shows, movies and other stereotypes.


Fine. Here's a rough outline of how I think things will go:

Her water will break. This will be exciting and potentially damaging to whatever she's sitting on/standing over when it happens. At this point it is my job as the nervous/excited new father to run around like a clumsy idiot, scrambling to get everything together to take to the hospital.

In the car on the way there I'll try to do breathing exercises with her, although I'm not convinced they really do anything.

When we get to the hospital she's screaming in pain. I have to fill out a bunch of paperwork before a cranky, bored-looking nurse will help us. Finally, my wife is wheeled into a delivery room.

Her feet are put up in stirrups. This looks uncomfortable. That, and the fact that she's screaming because of things called "contractions". She's also "dilated", or something. This could be good or bad. I'm not sure. My wife is screaming for, "Drugs!"

Eventually she starts pushing. I start looking worried.

At this point, she starts cursing me and every other male on th earth. If I am nearby, she will take a swing at me. I try to be supportive and shove ice chips in her mouth so she won't let out any expletives.

Hours later our son will be born. He'll look pretty gross at first. But then they'll get him cleaned up and bring him in and we'll get to hold him and it will all be worth it. Or at least I'll think so. I'm not the one who had to carry the kid for nine months and then go through ___ hours of pain. But I'm pretty sure my wife will agree nonetheless.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Bun's a boy!

I'm having a son! The little tyke was a bit hesitant to show off at first but eventually left no doubt.

It was a surreal experience. We could see him putting his fingers in his mouth, kicking, yawning (how does a baby yawn when it isn't breathing?) and moving his arms around. We could even see the individual chambers of his heart as it was beating.

The Ultrasound Chick couldn't tell us anything about the health of The Bun because she's not a doctor, but I think I saw an "updated" due date on the screen of a week earlier than we were told before. Based on that we're aiming for May 11th.

They printed out three pictures for us and will mail us more on a disc. Of the three they gave us, two are of the face/head and one is of his little six pack and legs. Unfortunately, the two face ones are very skeletal which is, of course, what the doctors are concerned about. However, there were several images that showed more of the "fleshy facial features" which make him appear much more baby-like and less like Skeletor.

What a great Christmas present. Oh yes. The Bun now weighs a chunky 14 oz.

Now that we know it's a boy, let's start hearing some name suggestions!

A Bun in the oven

For those of you who may not know, my wife and I are expecting our first child. We've known for a while now but haven't made a formal announcement to anyone (except our families, of course). We've just kinda told people as we thought about it. Is that weird?

Well, tomorrow is the big day. OK, maybe not THE big day, but a big day nonetheless. Tomorrow morning we'll (hopefully) find out The Bun's gender. We're really hoping The Bun isn't feeling particularly modest, otherwise it'll be off to Fetal Fotos in the mall and, honestly, the name of that place just creeps me out.

Dad, of course, is rooting for a boy and Mom is hoping for a girl. Really though, I'll be thrilled as long as they're both healthy and happy.

It's short notice but are there any predictions? Boy? Girl? Any suggestions for names?

Monday, December 25, 2006

My letter to Santa

Dear Santa Claus,

Dang I've been good this year. Really, really good. Seriously. I've been so good the Catholics tried to cannonize me or something, but it sounded painful so I was like, "Whatever John Paul, or whatever your name is. I dig the gesture and all but I really don't have a need for any kind of ancient artillery or whatever. But maybe we could dust off a few of those indulgences and toss 'em my way. Not that I need them or anything because I've been good and all but, you know, but nobody's perfect right? But I'm pretty close so maybe I could sell 'em on ebay or something. And if you could sign 'em or something that'd be cool too. You know, really make them seem all official and stuff. Or, if you could get them in the shape of the Virgin Mary that would be even better. Man, anything that even looks like Mary sells for like a kabillion dollars more than it's worth. Did you hear about that grilled cheese sandwich? Man, it took me like a hundred tries to get it right, but it was totally worth it in the end.

Well, Sir Benedict IX was looking like he was sitting on something pointy and one of his cardinals was about to blow his top. (By the way, you totally look a lot better in red than he does. You totally pull it off. Seriously.)

So anyway, I didn't get a cannon. So if you could get me a wreath or somethin', that'd be grand. Also, I don't know if this is your thing or not but my brother in-law really wants a midget, so maybe you could get me one and we could share.

Thanks and all,


My brother in-law's letter to Santa

Dear Santa,
I'm sorry to say that global warming might kill you in the next 5 to 6 years. That's what Mr. Al Gore told me in "An Inconvenient Truth." Since that is the inconvenient truth I am going to need my presents ASAP. This year I would like A 2008 BMW M3 with all the options and a 42" HD plasma tv. I still have not received the midget I asked for multiple Christmas's ago, so how bout hoppin' on that before you melt away into the soon to be warm waters of the North pole.

Expecting you arrival soon,


Spreading the blogging joy

My brother in-law is setting up his first blog. I'm so proud. I think he's pretty stoked about it, mainly because he's now sporting a shiny new Macbook. NICE.

Go get 'em Brad.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to everyone! I am truly blessed...

Friday, December 22, 2006

Mario Kart

My wife just kicked my trash at the old SNES version of Mario Kart. I have to remind myself that I had a Sega Genesis, not a crummy Super Nintendo, as a kid so it's OK. Besides, Sega was a heckofa lot cooler. Yeah.

Las Vegas Bowl Champs

It was a great game. After getting warmed up the Cougs performed wonderfully.

However, Oregon's coach seems to be in denial and refused to eat his slice of humble pie:

"'No, my opinion has not changed,' said Bellotti, who a day earlier said BYU would not be among the best football teams in the Pacific-10 Conference."

Well, if you honestly believe that, you must think very poorly of your own team.

Here's the rest of the article, courtesy of The Oregonian.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Title of the final Harry Potter book

If you haven't heard already, J.K. Rowling has released the title of the next, and last, Harry Potter novel. Wanna find out what it is? Follow these directions:

"Go to her home page, click on the eraser and you will be taken to a room -- you'll see a window, a door and a mirror.

In the mirror, you'll see a hallway. Click on the farthest doorknob and look for the Christmas tree. They click on the center of the door next to the mirror and a wreath appears. Then click on the top of the mirror and you'll see a garland.

Look for a cobweb next to the door. Click on it, and it will disappear. Now, look at the chimes in the window. Click on the second chime to the right, and hold it down. The chime will turn into the key, which opens the door. Click on the wrapped gift behind the door, then click on it again and figure out the title by playing a game of hangman."

Personally, I'm a little disappointed at the title. I can't put my finger on why. I just am. Regardless, I'll probably be at the midnight release when it does come out.

Thoughts on the title?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Life without my computer

I was, of course, frustrated when my iMac crapped out on me. However, I decided to try and have an optimistic outlook. It would be a refreshing, liberating experience. Yes. I'd find that I could get by just fine without it, thank you very much. Kind of like when you go camping and remember there is life without the Internet and cell phones and it's quite relaxing.

I was wrong.

It was terrible. For both my wife and me. Computer companies have done a very good job of getting us to center our lives around our computers (*ahem* iLife) and I have admittedly become very dependent. From music and podcasts to calendars and the Internet, it was a royal pain to be without a computer for a month.

What do I do about this habit, this way of life? Do I slowly adapt and find new ways to do things to become more independent? Of course not. I plan on buying a laptop as soon as I can.

*Sigh* I may never learn.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


A new addition to the blog: Twitter. It's a site where you can make quick updates about where you are, what you're doing or what you're thinking. So if you ever wonder what I do all day...

Monday, December 18, 2006

What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?

A more provocative question than, "If you could do anything, what would you do?"

I think I'd start my own business (perhaps around something I'd discovered/invented) and write a book.

So, what would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

It's back [updated]

I just got a call from Becky, the nice lady from Apple. The good news: my iMac is back at my local Apple Store and I'll have it by tonight. The bad news: all she was willing to offer me was a free .Mac account.

We had a nice discussion and I told her what I thought was reasonable: "When people ask me how this experience went I want to be able to tell them that Apple went out of their way to keep me as a customer."

She said she'd get back to me by the end of the day.

I'll keep you posted.

UPDATE 1: Becky called. She said she could give me an eCoupon for $100 off something from the online store. Thanks, but that doesn't even cover the RAM upgrade on the Macbook I was going to get.

UPDATE 2: The new mouse is busted. Figures.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Steve Jobs* called me

*More or less. Well, a lot less actually. It was actually a nice woman who opens his mail. An assistant of some sort (although I wonder if she actually has any direct contact with Mr. Stevie J. or if she's a highly-elevated customer service rep). Regardless, she called. Here's the back-story:

At the three week mark in the Apple Saga I wrote a letter to Steve Jobs. Snail mail baby. I couldn't find anywhere on their website to file a complaint so I went straight to the source. The address? Steve Jobs c/o Apple, 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino, CA. I was confident my correspondence would find its way to the proper source. From what I can tell, it got as close to The Man as I could hope for.

Friday I had called the Apple Store to find out why the new computer they'd supposedly "overnighted" the previous Friday hadn't arrived yet. I was told it wasn't there and was assured they'd call me when it showed up (they are getting annoyed with me over there, I could tell). I was pretty ticked off. As of this posting it has been four weeks since I took my iMac in for repair. I was visibly angry (which is very rare for me). I tried to work but couldn't focus. Frustrated knowing I'd be going at least the weekend without a computer, I signed myself out of work so I could go outside and walk around the block to cool off. At the last minute I came back to write down the main phone number for Apple in case I wanted to vent or something.

As soon as I came back to my desk my phone rang. "Unknown" flashed on the display. "Great," I thought. "It's someone at the Apple Store with more bad news." Instead I hear, "Hi, David? This is Becky from Apple. I'm calling in response to a letter you wrote Steve Jobs."

I have to admit the timing of the call threw me completely off guard. Anyway, I rehashed the story to her. She said she'd call the Apple Store and call me right back. Now, I've heard the whole "I'll call you back" line from customer service people more than once and rarely do they ever call back. Ten minutes later my phone rang. I was impressed.

She said it was taking longer because my computer had to be custom-built because of the upgraded video card and RAM. I asked why it was taking so long for it to ship when the online Apple Store has "popularly configured" iMacs ready to be shipped out within 24 hours. She didn't know about it. (Figures.) After checking she said she'd look into it more and call me back Monday (today). She gave me a number to call her if I needed anything between now and then.

Today I hope to get some answers and some compensation. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The fart that grounded a plane

Honestly, if you know your gas is that foul why would you voluntarily put yourself in a confined area with hundreds of people at 30,000 feet? I guess if you're dumb enough to light a match on a plane...

Read the whole article here.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


So I've been heading over to the library the last couple of days to crank on some long copy work I have to do. It's nice to get off-site and be able to focus on the work with no distractions: phone calls, e-mails, etc.

I get all set up here and right across from me are two Arby's employees (I know this because they're still wearing their polos, visors and name tags). Rachel has been yapping on the phone since I sat down. She seems to be conversing with someone at a grocery store and advising them on the benefits of buying freshly ground pepper verses the "stuff that's been sitting in a can on the shelf for months."

Riveting Rachel! Let's hear more!

Ooo! Rachel has snakes and, contrary to popular belief, they are quite active in their little habitat.

Rachel can't wait to be old enough to buy margaritas because she loves the way they taste. And, if you were wondering, she thinks vodka is the grossest stuff on Earth. Hey Rachel, if you're not old enough to buy booze, why are you drinking it? Granted, if I had to work at Arby's, I'd probably hit the bottle hard too.

It's funny to think that for some reason I would feel bad for asking her to be quiet. Why is that? She's the one who's being obnoxious and loud in a place that is very clearly supposed to be neither of those things.

Wait. The call has abruptly ended. No "goodbye". No "See you soon." Apparently the person on the other end of the line was as tired of hearing Rachel yap as I was. However, now her partner in crime feels the need to read aloud the content of the website they're both sitting there looking at.

It's fairly quiet for a while until Rachel mumbles, "I really like shoes. I don't know why I like shoes so much, but I do." What a burden. Something surely worth discussing aloud at the library.

Her friend just pulled out a little toy top in the shape of a pig. She began spinning it on the desk which was quite noisy. I looked at it and she looked at me, said sorry... and spun it again. Unbelievable.

Things have been quiet for a bit.

The phone rang. (Note: it did not vibrate, it the library.) Rachel answered but before she could start talking I asked if she would please take her conversation elsewhere. She looked at me, then ignored me. Her friend motioned for her to leave and she finally did. I'm glad I spoke up because that conversation started about a half hour ago and she's still talking.

Finally, they've packed up and left. Ah...the sweet sound of silence.

The moral of this story: if you're in the library, shut up.

Non-related update: still no iMac.

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Apple saga continues

"Gee Dave, I noticed you haven't been posting as much lately. Why is that?" Well, that's because my iMac is still "being repaired" at the Apple Store. Two and a half weeks and counting.

During week two I'd had been checking up on the status of things fairly regularly, but decided on Monday to just wait and see how things were handled. Finally, after not hearing from them, I called the Apple Store last night.

"Yes! David! I've been trying to get in touch with you..."

Really? How? Telepathy?

"We have done everything we know how to do and can't figure out what's wrong with your iMac. So we'd like to replace it."

Brilliant idea. I believe I suggested it a while ago.

"We'll order a new one for you and do a data transfer for free!"

Really? You'd plug in a Firewire cable and click a button just for lil' old me? Shucks.

I asked what else Apple was going to do to compensate me. He asked if I had Apple Care on my iMac. I replied that I didn't.

"How would you like discounted Apple Care?" he asked.

"How about complimentary?" I said with a bit of an edge. He told me he'd check. A few minutes later he came back.

"We'd like to offer you $50 off Apple Care which will make it only $119."

First of all, that's the educational discount and my wife is a teacher. Second, my computer broke at a huge inconvenience to me and now Apple's trying to sell me and extended warranty "at a discount" that costs them nothing to provide? Don't insult me.

"OK. I've been authorized to give you $30 off a .Mac account."

Do I look like a fool? Honestly, do I come across as an idiot? (Don't answer that.) .Mac accounts are already discounted $30 when you get a new computer. In short, Apple was willing to do NOTHING to compensate me for my time, trouble or (at the very least) the month of unused high-speed Internet I've been paying for. Instead they were trying to hit me up for more money.

Hey Apple, here's my idea of fair compensation for the crap you've put me through:

• Give me a loaner computer until my computer arrives.
• Express ship my iMac and do a data transfer.
• Throw in complimentary Apple Care, Pro Care and .Mac
• Then, to say you're sorry, a generous Apple gift certificate/coupon. (I'm talkin' in the ball park of 25% off a new computer.)

None of these things would cost them anything out of pocket.

Any predictions on what they'll actually do?