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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It Actually Happened!

I GRADUATED!


I am now a college/university graduate for reals!
(check that off my to-do list.)

My diploma is in the mail!

I walked at the little ceremony thingy!

My grades are in and I passed everything!
(nightmare avoided.)

Hooray for me!

Top Ten Thoughts on Graduation

I've been thinking a lot about what it means to graduate from University.  Here are the things that immediately come to mind:

10. It's about dang time!
9. Ok...what now?
8. Phwew! Giant sigh of relief.
7. Dang! Now I have to go find a real job and be responsible and stuff.
6. Once I get a real job I will have MONEY again!
5. Once I have money I can MOVE OUT!
4. Finally I can BUY A COOL CAR!
3. Time for a fresh start someplace new.
2. I wonder how this will affect my social life...wait, what social life?
1. NO MORE HOMEWORK!


Peace out, yo!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Steven Koecher


Today marks one year since the disappearance of Steven Koecher.
I've been following his story since his family began petitioning for help via Facebook last year.
The whole thing just breaks my heart.
How can a person just disappear?

I read about Steven and what his life was like before his disappearance and he reminds me a lot of myself.  His struggles and situation in life seem to be similar to myself and many other LDS singles that I know.
I don't know Steven, but he seems like just a regular guy trying to navigate the challenges of life.
What happened to him?
He parked his car in a Henderson Nevada neighborhood just before noon, was seen walking around the corner by a home security camera, and that's the last anyone has seen of him in a year.

Please check out the website forsteven.com
Here is a link to the flyer about his disappearance.
Here is the timeline of known information.
I know a blog post isn't much, but I really hope someone out there has some information to help his family.

Things like this make me feel so helpless and sad.  I really hope that Steven is found soon.  People don't just disappear! Someone must know what happened!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Things That Must Go (part 3)

Here is yet another update to my "things that must go" series.  These are pretty much just my recent pet peeves, but I put together the list more for fun than for the sake of complaining. :)

1. Nose rings - Facial piercings in general, but especially nose rings.  Every time I see someone with a nose ring it grosses me out.  It's like they have a strange shiny tumor growing out of their face.  I can't even begin to estimate how many times I've admired the face of a pretty girl, only to be totally repulsed as soon as she turned her head to reveal a pierced nostril, eyebrow or lip.  I suppose some people find them attractive, but I don't, so I wish they would go away.



2. Zombies - I think the usual zombie stuff around Halloween is perfectly acceptable, but zombies have become an all-year thing, like vampires of recent years.  I'm kind of getting tired of hearing about a coming zombie apocalypse, and the necessity of hording weapons to fight them off.  Uh...this is real life people, there is no such thing as zombies.  I'm pretty sure it's not something you actually have to worry about.
As one friend recently put it, "zombies are in...vampires are so 2009."


3. Truck Nuts - Does this one really require an explanation?  I know of no quicker way to solidify your redneck status than by adding a pair of oversized novelty testicles to the underside of your truck.

4. Artistic naked baby photos - In fact, lets just eliminate naked baby photos all together.  Seriously, these things creep me out!  I don't want to see pictures of naked people, especially not of babies!  Who decided that these pictures were acceptable or even cute?  I see stuff like this plastered all over FB pages, blogs, framed in people's homes, and advertised on photo websites.  This includes naked newborn pictures.  I don't want to see it!  When I have kids, there will be no photos of them lying naked on a fur rug, or cradled in a bowl of fruit, or being held by their mother with their naked bum exposed.  Mark my words, NO NAKED BABY PICTURES!

5. Running red lights - Nearly every day, I see someone run a red light.  Usually I am stopped at an intersection and my light will turn green, and just as I am about to go, another car speeds through the intersection in front of me.  Once a light turns red, both directions stay red for one to two full seconds before the opposite direction changes to green.  This means that they aren't just barely missing the yellow light, they are blatantly driving straight through the red light.  It makes me mad every time I see it.  It is both rude and unsafe.  Learn some patience people!

Bonus #6. People who openly criticize things you like - I realize that it is somewhat ironic to openly criticize people for openly criticizing...but hear me out.  Have you ever told someone about something that you like, or enjoy doing, or thought was cool, and then you are subjected to a nonstop barrage of reasons why they think your thing is dumb?  Do they realize that by implication they are saying that you are dumb for liking it?  People have different tastes and they are free to like, or not like, whatever they choose.  So if somebody asks you for your opinion on something that you don't like, by all means be honest and tell them that you don't really like it, but leave it at that.  Arguing about differences in taste is both futile and rude.  I admit that I have probably been guilty of this in the past, and I now realize how annoying it is, so I will do better from now on.

13.2

Sometimes I drive my Mom to work.
She is a teacher.
On the street where she teaches there is a house decorated with a large banner.
The banner says...

Congrats Kat
13.2!

It is decorated with a drawing of two feet wearing shoes and striped socks.
I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THIS BANNER IS TALKING ABOUT!

I pointed it out to my Mom today.
She said, "it's definitely not an ACT score."
I said, "at least not a good one."
She laughed.  A lot.
I still have no idea what this 13.2 is or why someone would be congratulated for it...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Someone's Secret Stash

The other day I was poking around in our laundry room trying to find a bag of some kind.
Anyway, I inadvertently discovered something totally different...

See this cupboard?  It looks like a perfectly normal cupboard from the outside...

Look what's inside!  Not just the usual laundry room junk...


JUNIOR MINTS!  Someone had a secret stash of Junior Mints, and I found them! Mwahaha!
("Mine is an evil laugh!")


They were mostly eaten already...but I helped a bit more. :)

(Bonus points for anyone who can specifically name the who what and when of my quote above.)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Is It Really Going to Happen?

I picked up my cap and gown today, complete with honor chords.
I filled out some sort of graduation survey thingy.
My name was in the school paper for 2010 Fall graduates.
I filled out some paper work in my department.
The secretary said she checked my status and everything looks good.

This graduation thing might actually happen!

The last couple of weeks I've had a recurring fear/nightmare.  I'm terrified that I will come all this way, only to fail one class that will prevent me from graduating.  I really hope that doesn't happen.
I already know that I have A's in two of my classes.  I'm pretty sure I did really well in a third class.  It's only my fourth class that I am uncertain about.  It's one of those annoying classes where you don't have any sort of grade update until you actually get your final grade.  I did well on all but one test, and I did well on the homework...so I guess it will come down to the final...(forebode!)

Here's something funny.
I had some deja vu when I picked up my cap and gown.  I had to fill out a little thing stating my degree and department, etc.  When I got to the department part I couldn't remember if it was a Bachelor of Science or some other Bachelor type degree.  The guy at the desk had to remind me, which was when my deja vu started.  After that he pointed out to me that the box I had to check was very dark, and I just needed to make some kind of mark that was visible.  Deja vu again.  It was weird. I could have sworn I had had that exact same conversation before...

Friday, December 3, 2010

Thanksgiving in Review


Thanksgiving this year was pretty awesome!  I only managed to fit in four Thanksgiving dinners this year instead of five like last year.  What I lost in quantity I made up for in quality.  Ok that's probably not true either, I just felt like saying it because it sounded rather intellectual.  Don't you agree?

So the four dinners I had were:
-Weber State institute Thanksgiving lunch thingy
-Ward service auction thingy
-Robin's family dinner
-My family dinner

Here are some highlights:

At the insitute thingy I unexpectedly ran into my good friend Jason and we had an excellent conversation about girls and dating.  That was fun.

Robin's family dinner was really cool, and I got to meet a bunch of her extended family.  One of her uncles actually served in the same mission that I did, only a few years earlier.
Afterwards Robin and I dominated at Scrabble!

Friday after Thanksgiving we had a movie night at Robin's parents house where I discovered the wonder that is MINT M&M'S!!  They are my new favorite M&M flavor.

At my house on Saturday we had our family dinner, followed by Bingo.  I won a Salted Nut Roll which made me happy.  It was especially delicious because it tasted like victory.
After all the relatives left, the rest of us watched AVATAR.  Always a highlight.

The best part of my family dinner was discovering "Probe", the game.  You can read about it here.

The other day I was warming up some Thanksgiving leftovers and I totally overloaded my microwave!
It has a "Reheat" button that is pretty fancy.  You just stick your plate of food in the microwave, hit "Reheat", and it has little sensors and things that somehow knows when your food is properly reheated. 
This time I did that same procedure, only this time after several minutes the microwave started beeping all kinds of alarm sounds and produced a lengthy error message on its tiny little screen.
"Sensor Error.  Check dish.  Reheat option for one serving only."
I guess I maxed out the microwaves reheat capacity...HOW COOL IS THAT?
I was pretty proud of myself.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Returned With Honor

Exciting news!

My youngest brother returned from serving a two year LDS mission today!

He served in the Raleigh North Carolina Mission.

We are glad to have him home!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Accent Marks

I'm kind of behind on a lot of technological things.  One of those things is typing accent marks. 

I see people write stuff all the time with nicely formated accent marks above the appropriate letters.  Every time I see one of these, I think to myself, "how the heck to they do that?" 

Recently I decided to put years of curiosity to rest and learn how.

A quick internet search for "how to type accent marks" resulted in a nice article from eHow.com.

In less than five minutes of my initial search I was typing accent marks like a pro!  Check it out.

Ã Ñ Õ ¿ ¡ Ó Ü á é

Pretty good huh?  I knew you would be impressed.

On a side note, is it donut or doughnut?  I used to always type "doughnut", but then I realized that most stores sell "donuts".  It has been difficult making this spelling transition.  It is probably likely that both are acceptable forms of the word. 
Furthermore, I rather like words that have variable spellings because sometimes you might be in the mood for a donut and other times you might prefer a doughnut.  In conclusion...I'll spell it however the heck I want!

By way of another side note, I am currently sitting in the computer lab on campus and someone's phone just rang.  The ringtone was the theme song from The A-Team.  Let me say this in a way that everyone will understand, I WANT THAT RING TONE. 
Also, I desperately want the Magnum PI song as a ringtone.  That is all.

"Watch out! He's got his Probe!"

In my family, after we eat our Thanksgiving dinner, we like to play Bingo for prizes.  This year we had the same plan, but something funny happened in the interim.  Allow me to recreate for you the humorous occurrence.

We had just finished clearing the table, and were all gathering in the kitchen.

Dad: "Robby, will you go upstairs and find Bingo?"
Robby: "Sure."
Retreating to the upstairs region of our house I began my search for "Bingo".

After being absent for longer than expected, I finally return.
Robby: "I couldn't find Bingo, but don't worry, I found something better! (Pause for anticipation) I brought down the game of...PROBE!"

Triumphantly, I hold up the dusty cardboard box and everyone stares at me in puzzled bewilderment.
Andrew: "What the heck is Probe?"
Unsure how to respond, I turn the box over and read the game description.
Robby: "It's the most provocative game of words since the invention of the modern alphabet!"
I laugh hysterically while everyone continues to stare.

Kate: "Provocative?" (Imagine a room full of raised eyebrows.)
At this point everyone's curiosity is peaked, so they gather around me to inspect "Probe".

Robin smiles and reads a portion of the game description:
Robin: "Probe is a game that adults play together and thoroughly enjoy!"
Everyone laughs in awkward amazement at the vintage Freudian phrase.

Kate: "Children can play with adults or by themselves!"
More uncomfortable laughter.

Robby: "Probe is a true party game for any number of people!"
More laughter followed by a brief discussion of the awkward game description.

Robby: "Watch out! He's got his probe!" (Quoting The Simpson's.)

We spent the next five minutes reading and re-reading the game description almost in disbelief at the overtness of the euphemisms being presented.

After all that fun, the only question left in my mind was, "How could we have gone all these years without knowing that there was a game called "Probe" lurking in our closet?"

I am still quite pleased with my discovery.

Unfortunately we didn't actually play "Probe" that night. I ended up finding Bingo tucked away on a shelf somewhere, so we went ahead with the previous plan.
I did have a pretty good Bingo card though.  I actually got "Bingo" three times!  My first prizes got traded around a few times, but I ended up with a Salted Nut Roll, so that was pretty awesome.  I LOVE THE SALTED NUT ROLL!

Although nobody got to enjoy the provocative game on this occasion, mark my words, someday I will play "Probe"!


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Are You Well Read?

Here is a fun little activity I took from The Wonderful Pen.

This is a ranked list of "the world's" favorite books, in order of popularity. How many have you read?
Instructions: Copy this list. Bold those books you've read in their entirety; italicize the ones you started but didn't finish or just read an excerpt.

Please leave a comment letting me know your count, and feel free to copy this list to your own blog.

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen *
2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien *
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte *
4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling *
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee *
6 The Bible *
7 The Divine Comedy
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell *
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens *
11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy *
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller *
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien *
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger *
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch – George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald *
23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams *
26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky *
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll *
30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis *
34 Emma – Jane Austen *
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen *
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis *
37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Berniere
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown *
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery *
47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding
50 Atonement – Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel *
52 Dune – Frank Herbert *
53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen *
55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens *
58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon *
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez *
61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck *
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas *
66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
72 Dracula – Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses – James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal – Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Posession -- AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens *
82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White*
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle *
90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad *
92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
94 Watership Down – Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas *
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare *
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl*
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

My count is 22 read and 3 in progress.  Wow, I didn't do as well as I thought I would.  I added asterisks to the ones that I own or have in my possession, 37 in all.  It looks like I still have a lot of catching up to do.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Communication: Top Ten

Currently my LDS singles ward is holding a special marriage prep class for people 26 years old and older.  Basically it is a class designed to help the old single people figure out what they are doing wrong so they can get married. 
I recognize that outside of Utah being single in your late 20's or early 30's is perfectly normal, but here, we are considered defective.
Despite the semi-offensive implications of this "special needs" marriage class, the content is usually excellent.  On Sunday the topic was Communication.  The always-vibrant Brother Massey gave us his top ten keys to good communication in marriage. I really liked them and wanted to share them here because I think they apply to all relationships.

10 - It's better to be kind than to be right.  Disagreements are healthy from time to time, but it is important to approach them properly.  When both parties are kind, it makes it easier for each person to put pride aside and change their mind if necessary.

9 - Be transparent, be deliberate.  Don't play games.  Don't expect someone to read your mind.  Don't hide your real feelings.  Just be honest and say what you think or feel.

8 - Unplug.  Many marriages now are being challenged by technology.  We are so used to communicating via text and Facebook that often we neglect real meaningful interactions.  Also, don't neglect the people who are most important for the sake of video games.  When you are with your special someone, turn off the techno-gizmo tingy and give them the time they deserve.

7 - Be Vulnerable.  It is impossible to have a deep and meaningful realtionship with someone unless you completely open yourself up to them and allow yourself to be vulnerable.

6 - Don't hold grudges.  This one is self-explanatory.  Nobody wants to live in fear of being reminded of some past offense whenever it suits the other persons agenda.  Not healthy.

5 - No score cards.  At first I thought this was the same as number 6, but it actually deals with who owes whom what.  Just do nice things for each other without keeping tabs or thinking that someone owes somebody something.

4 - First seek to understand before being understood.  I don't fully understand this one and I wish he had gone into more depth with it.  As I understand it, you should be more focused on understanding the other person rather than pushing your own ideas on them.  If both parties are focused on understanding each other first, it will eliminate a lot of miscommunication.

3 - Treat to your spouse like you did when you were dating.  This one is really important to me.  How many couples do you know that criticize each other constantly or just don't seem to like each other much anymore?  I don't want that to happen to me.  This is about continued courtship.  We should always be trying to preserve romance and be our best selves for each other.

2 - Speak with kindness and respect.  Similar to number 3 but more fundamental.  Be kind, be patient, be loving, be complimentary.  Avoid sarcasm, and criticism, and saying things to give offense.  You love this person, so why would you speak badly to them?  I would also say that this includes not complaining about them behind their backs.  There are few things more uncomfortable than being around someone who is constantly complaining about their spouse.  I feel bad for those people.

1 - Listen.  Two ears, one mouth, use accordingly.  Duh.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

'63 Peugeot

Here is what I started with:

My Dad's old bike.
It is a 1963 Peugeot U08 ten-speed.

Until a few months ago, it had been sitting in a storage unit covered in 10 years of dust.
Prior to that, it had sat in our garage collecting dust for about 30 years.

I should have taken pictures before I cleaned it so you could see how gross it was.  In these pictures it actually doesn't look too bad.

All the cables were seized and rotten, it had a bent tooth on the rear cassette, and the handlebars definitely needed some work.  Oh...the tires were also flat.
Yes that is masking tape above the brake levers.


So several weeks ago I went down to the Salt Lake City Bicycle Collective with Robin's dad, who just happens to be an expert in vintage Peugeot's.

Three hours of work, and $14 dollars spent on parts, and I had a '63 Peugeot that rides like new. :)

We installed new cables and housings, straightened the cassette, put a new tube in the front tire, and gave it a thorough tune-up.

Getting the masking tape off took quite a bit more work.  
It was clear that I was going to have to cut it off somehow, but I didn't want to damage the metal underneath.
I went through about 10 plastic knives trying to saw through that petrified mess.
Once I cut through most of it, I just had to go to work peeling as much off as I could.
A rag soaked in gasoline took care of the remaining sticky residue.

The handlebars came out looking clean and shiny!


With the addition of some new cork handlebar tape, a few lights, and my trusty saddle bag; I am now one happy cyclist. :)

I love sweet vintage rides!

In the near future I would like to do a little more work to it.
I need to install some toe-clip pedals, as well as get new tires.
The 40 year old tires still have a lot of tread left, but they are awfully stiff.
The brake pads are functional, but also fairly stiff.
I also plan on polishing the metal parts that have collected a bit of oxidation over the years.

For now though, it rides really well, and that is the biggest thing.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Fresh Vegemite!

Today I stopped by the London Market near Trolley Square to pick up a new jar of Vegemite.

Somehow, my last jar of delicious yeast extract got lost when I moved last year.
Somebody probably thieved it from me in an attempt to obtain some of my elusive awesome sauce.
It was expired anyway, so I was probably due for a new jar.

I always have to exercise restraint whenever I visit this place because they pretty much stock all of my favorite British goodies.

Here is todays haul:














I got a small jar of Vegemite, because a little goes a long way.
A large Cadbury Bournville bar, because it is the BEST dark chocolate ever!
A Kit Kat Chunky, because a Kit Kat is even more awesome when it is Ginormous!
And a classic Yorkie bar, because I like its slogan. :)

I also made myself a Vegemite sandwich for lunch today.  You know, like in the classic Men at Work song?  Yeah, it was amazing, and you should be jealous of me.

JEALOUS!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Breakdance Cat

Today I was wasting time on the internet (as usual) and came across this page of the best viral videos that are 30 seconds or less.  Some of them are awesome.  Here are my favorites:

I watched this one at school in the computer lab and had to exercise all my self control to keep from laughing hysterically.  It is pretty dang funny.




This one is just shocking!



I wish I had these skills!



I hope you enjoyed these few clips! :)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Chop Shop



Remember my declaration to become a "retrosexual"? So far I am doing pretty well in that regard, but one thing has still eluded me...the barbershop haircut.

My hair is difficult to cut because it is really curly and grows kind of funny, so I have been trying to find a place where the hair-cutting people really know what they are doing.  Unfortunately, I haven't really liked the last couple of haircuts I have received.  I don't like getting home and having to cut hairs that they missed, or even things out on my own.  I wanted something better.

So a few weeks ago I needed a haircut...bad.


See how bad I needed one?

When I was a kid, my Dad used to take my brothers and I, once a month, to Leroy the barber for haircuts.  Leroy cut my  hair all the way up until I was in high school.  He has cut my Dad's hair pretty much his whole life.  He even cut my Grandfather's hair when he lived in SLC.  Three generations of Spratts have gone to Leroy for haircuts, and I figured it was time for me to go back.

I was a little nervous about the haircut because...well...Leroy is old.  He was old when I was a kid, so he must be even older now.  Turns out, Leroy is now 80 years old.


It was a good haircut!  I got the cut, and a head and neck massage, all for $10!  I thought it was pretty awesome!  I'm bummed that I haven't been there in so long though.

Let me tell you something.  Nobody shaves the back of your neck like Leroy!  I don't know what he does differently from other haircutting people, but with Leroy, the neck shave is my favorite part!  It is all slow and relaxing and warm and scratchy and tingly.  It's great.  I had forgotten how much I had missed Leroy's amazing neck shaves.

It's a good thing I went back on this particular day because after over 50 years in one location, Leroy is moving.  He got a really good offer on his building, so he decided to sell and move his business in with the guy who cuts his hair.  It was also lucky that I happened to have my camera with me.  Leroy said that he had already started taking things down, and I did notice that some of the shelves were missing, but I wanted to get pictures anyway.  Most of the important stuff that I remember as a kid was still there.









I'm sorry to see Leroy leave his familiar old place, but at least he will still be cutting hair.  I'm eager to go get a haircut from him at his new place.

I'm just glad I got to relive some fond childhood memories, one last time, by getting my haircut at Leroy's Chop Shop. :)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

My Mac Education


I've been a PC user all my life.  At various sporadic times I have delved into the world of Apple just enough to become familiar with the most basic fundamentals of operating a Mac.  These times included high school photography classes, one summer job, using friend's Macbooks, and the rare usage of the Mac computer labs on campus.

There are those who have very adamant opinions about the superiority of one platform over the other, but I think these debates are silly, so I don't take sides.  As far as I can tell, it really just comes down to personal preference, and I have just stuck with PCs because that's what I have always been most familiar with.

When I transfered to Weber State, I was surprised to find that almost all of the computers on campus were Macs.  The only PC computer labs I have used are in the engineering building, and in the Non-Trad Student Center.

Because of the abundance of Macs at school, I am using them now more than ever before!  Most of them have a dual-boot mode where you can select to use either MacOS or Windows XP.  Call me crazy but I think it is strange to use a Mac that is running Windows.  I guess I'm just a purist.  So even though I'm less familiar with Mac OS, I usually selected that boot option.  At first I was content to limp along with my limited knowledge, capable of performing only the most basic tasks.

Recently I decided that if I was going to be spending more time with the sleek and stylish iMac, I should probably figure out how to use it properly.

As with all Apple related inquiries, I headed over to www.apple.com.  There, I found a library of extremely useful tutorials specifically designed for users, like me, who are coming from a PC background.  They were really informative, easy to follow, and fun.  I really enjoyed watching the videos, following along, and then exploring the features on one of the school Macs.

In one afternoon I became a competent MacOS user, but more than that...I love it!

I've never been much of a Microsoft fanboy anyway, but lately Windows has been irritating me quite a lot.  Perhaps it is just me, but Windows seems to get worse with each new incarnation. Windows 7 is supposed to be quite good, but I've only used it a few times.  Regardless of how good Windows 7 turns out to be, I think I might prefer MacOS anyway.  Reliability aside, I really like the interface, and it seems to come pre-loaded with software that is actually really useful, and not just for advertising purposes.  Safari is so much better than Internet Explorer that it isn't even funny!  Though I still prefer Google Chrome for surfing the internet.  Anyway, the software on Macs is excellent.

Now before any PC fans start calling me a heretic, I haven't totally converted just yet.  There are still things I don't like about Apple products.  Ergonomics? Forget about it.  Apple has never had a decent mouse that actually felt good in the hand.  The new Magic Mouse is so bad it is laughable.  Luckily you can use any USB mouse with a Mac.  Logitech FTW!  I also don't like Apple's new standard keyboard.  It is the same keyboard that comes on their Macbooks, but is a slim stand-alone unit.  If I wanted to use a laptop keyboard I would just use a laptop.  Desktops should have a better, more substantial keyboard, with actual buttons, not the "Chiclet" style keys.  I guess the same USB peripheral rule applies here as with the mouse.
The price difference is debatable, but Macs are generally quite a bit more expensive than a comparable PC.

The purpose of this post isn't to say that I have finally taken a side in the Mac vs PC debate...because I haven't.  I'm just saying that I have a newfound appreciation for Macs and I actually enjoy using them now.  I like using PCs too, so I suppose it is good to be familiar with both platforms.

I think my next challenge will be to become an adept Linux user!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Timpanogos: Top Down

September 11, 1:30 am.  Robin and I, along with my friends Dave and Meagan (they are married) set off on a nice little night hike.  A hike up Mount Timpanogos.  This was my first time dong this particular hike, but Dave had done it several times and informed me that it was about 12 miles.
You may remember that I hiked Mount Olympus, which is 10 miles, and did it in about 5 hours round trip.  Based on that experience, I thought that 12 miles would be a peace of cake.  I was wrong.  It was hard...dang hard!
It took us about five and a half hours just to get to the top!  Once there, we rested for quite a while before starting back down.  All-in-all I think it took us around 12 hours to complete.  That's a lot of hiking!  It was long, but also very fun.  I loved the journey down because we actually got to see all the stuff we had missed during the night.  It was hard hiking in the dark with nothing but a headlamp and a trail to hopefully lead us in the right way.
Because of the darkness, I didn't even start taking pictures until we near the top.  So you get to see our adventure from the top down.

This was taken on the saddle, when the first glimmers of light began to appear.

Here is Robin at the top, just after sunrise.

Here I am, all bundled up.  It was cold up there!

Meagan, also very cold, and Dave is behind her in the brown hoodie.

The view from the top was fantastic!

This was where we hung out for a while so we could rest out of the wind.  We had some food, I took a nap, and we took a bunch of pictures.  It was fun sleeping on the top of mount Timpanogos.

Looking up at the shack from our retreat.  I really want to know how they got that up there.

Naturally I had to bring a little obnoxiousness to the experience.

Robin trying out a funny face. :)

In case you can't read my mark on the register, I wrote, "I totally kicked this dang mountain in the face!!"

Time to hike back down...

Meagan reluctantly posing for another picture.

That's where we were!  It was pretty barren up above the tree line.

Sometimes we felt like we were walking into Mordor.



Getting ready to go down the glacier!

Somehow we had to get all the way down there.

This is probably my favorite picture! 
Robin carefully selected some nice sharp rocks to help traverse the glacier.

It was quite the precarious decent.

This is my other favorite. :)

That's what we hiked/slid down!

At the bottom of the glacier was a delightful little lake with nice clear water.

I thought this lingering ice was really pretty.



The path was very scenic, but we still had so far to go!



Only hours before we were all the way on top of that farthest peak.

Walking, walking, and more walking...

Berries!



Waterfall!

Turns out there was a sign at the bottom of the trail.  How nice.

Caterpillar!