Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Plan

I've decided to move on. I still have a faint spark of hope in my heart that someone will decide on repentance, and turn my camera in to the Lost and Found office on campus, but it's fading. I need a digital camera for class projects and field work. A geologist without a camera is almost as helpless as a geologist without a rock-hammer. So here's the solution: I'm bidding on a replacement camera on eBay. Bidding ends next Wednesday. If the camera shows up before then, I'll let somebody out-bid me. If not, I'll go for the winning bid and buy a replacement. Here's my reasoning: This is something important to my education. I drop 100+ dollars on a textbook without the slightest blink of an eyelid -why not a camera that will see much more use than most of my texts? And if I purchase the replacement and the lost camera ends up surfacing, well, then I can sell it or keep it as a spare.
And that's the way the cookie crumbles.
(I'm still sort of dis-heartened by the fact that a student who claims to abide by the honor code would swipe a high-dollar item from a fellow student and not think twice).

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Do You Know What it Feels Like?

Dear readers, I approach you with my spirits a bit dampened. I've lost something that has been such a big part of my blogging life. We've shared some of life's most beautiful and memorable moments together! My blog background, I owe to it's capabilities. And now it's gone -gone like the wind in a puff of smoke, it ain't comin' back and it ain't no joke.
MY CAMERA!!! You can sit and sob right here if you need to. I know I did.
I last used it snap a photo of the rock samples in a drawer in one of the lab rooms at school, and after that fateful moment, it didn't make it back into my back-pack, but rather, into unknown hands in unknown lands travelling unknown trails of unknown sand. WHY DID I NOT LOOK AFTER IT?
I sent out an email to the Department asking everyone to keep an eye out for it. SO far, no luck. But I've made some flyers to post around the building.
Why, Oh, why was I not more careful???
Luckily, I only had 3 pictures on that I hadn't transferred, so I didn't lose much in the way of precious photos.
But I can't give up hope. I have hope that the students on this campus will be true blue to the honor code of BYU (Idaho) and that honesty will bear sway, and that it will turn up somewhere, all safe, all sound, and more than happy to be back with the owner he's grown so fond of working along-side.
In the meantime, would you please keep him in your thoughts (and prayers)?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Have I totally LOST it?

For all of you who don't watch LOST, I apologize. Not only for posting something you're not familiar with, but I'm also sorry that you're not aware of what you're missing. OK, so it's not that great of a show, but anyone who's followed it at all knows how addicting it can be.
The Season Premiere aired last night.
With the start of a new season, I've been a-thinkin' and a-schemin'.
(Watch out. Don't say I didn't warn you)
I have decided on a perfect solution for winding up the series.
It's risky, and it involves time-travel. But it's LOST -that's not too much of a stretch. This won't even involve a smoke-monster guard-dog.

Here's the gist of it:
ABC teams up with all of its best competitors to bring you a real "all-out smash-bang-top-notch-thriller-of-a-conclusion" to one of TV's "most anticipated dramas".

Ben Linus travels the US recruiting an all-star line-up to help bring things on the island to order.
He grabs Martha Stewart, Dr. Phil, Michael Scofield of Prison Break, and Jack Bauer of 24.
He leads them (with burlap sacks over their heads) to a little black door that opens into a time-warp dimension. They travel back in time to the island before all the crazy plot-twists messed up everybody's lives.
Michael Scofield is thrown into captivity and eventually breaks out, liberating all the captives with him, and teaches everyone how to make little origami birds and flowers.
Jack Bauer tracks down "the others", brings them in for interrogation, and finds out all the secrets. I mean ALL of them. He also grabs Sayid while he's at it -just in case.
Once all is set right, Martha Stewart goes to work making the island feel a little more like home (who better than the domestic Diva with a shady past?), and Dr. Phil begins some one-on-one sessions with all the traumatized survivors ("Now, Michael -stop tryin' to deny it. Just own it. Say it with me: I am a DIRTBAG!").
I think this pretty much covers all the bases.
Except the smoke monster. The smoke monster is an elaborate pyrotechnic show originally created for use on the set of the Wizard of Oz. After half a dozen munchkin injuries/deaths, and several lawsuits later, that idea was brought to a helium-inhaled-high-pitched-munchkin-voice-screech of a halt. Never having used it in the film, they tried to turn it into a stage-show in Vegas, but again, too many people got hurt/ killed. So Ben Linus bought it and brought it to the island, hoping to create a theme park for the amusement of island dwellers. (The rabid polar bear/shark act was all played out)
Shows are on Wednesday nights. Reserve your tickets now. Showdates are April 8th, 15th, 16th or 23rd show.
$42.00 gets you front-row seats. $108.00 gets you backstage passes.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Of Good Report

Yesterday I accomplished something momentous; I finished the Yahoo daily crossword in eleven minutes and three seconds. It usually takes about 17 minutes at least. My Mother introduced me to this online crossword puzzle and in the days since, I've become somewhat of a junky. Thanks Mom.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A Change for the Best

Alltel was my first cellular service provider. I completed a 2-year contract with them, then switched to Verizon. I don't know if I can describe the difference. Have you ever crossed the border from Mexico into the US? It's a lot like that.
I had to sit and bite my lip every time the alltel ads aired, knowing full well that alltel is not what they make it out to be, and if any phone company had rights to boast and trash-talk their competitors, it wasn't them. Their customer service was lousy, at best. During my 2-year contract with them, I had about 3 different instances where I had to call in and have charges reversed -they'd erringly bill me for random things. Even after I'd finished my contract, transferred my number to my new Verizon line, and cancelled service with alltel, I got a bill the next month for a month of service. The "customer service" rep didn't even try to argue that one. How can they charge service on a line that doesn't exist?
I was not impressed.
So, in short, I've had issues with their cocky advertising when I know that beneath that huge wad of hair-wax there's nothing but a lot of talk and nothing in the way of service to back it up.
So imagine my surprise when the headlines this week stated that alltel had been bought out by Verizon. It's a cruel irony, really. Take a look at this photo from an alltel ad (below). Guess who's right behind Chad? The Verizon guy. He's in his take-over/buy-out stance, and Chad is totally oblivious. Great poker-face, by the way.
Chad, it looks like you're going to be selling lemonade again. I wonder if they let him keep his company phone just to rub it in? Now I'm waiting for Verizon to make a commercial with the Verizon guy accepting Chad's apology...
Another bit of good news: iTunes just dropped all copyright protection and lowered price brackets for purchasing music. This means you can use iTunes files on any device -not just iPods, and can transfer them to however many computers you want. It's about time.

Monday, January 12, 2009

I've Really Done It

I've been making purchases on eBay for around four years now. I knew all the ins and outs of buying. I found textbooks and movies at great prices -a student's dream world. I had to discipline myself into going onto the site with a list and never adding anything to my cart that wasn't on the list. I created a "Wish List" for all the amazing items that were "wants" and left them sitting there until the day I had the gumption (and budget) for catching 'hold of a few frivolities.
I've found it's hard to say no to something like a DVD that's listed at $3.50, even when the shipping costs are added.
In all my traipsing about through the web-based wonderland powered by eBay, I was always a little apprehensive about using the site to sell. Despite their reassurance that it's "simple", "fun", and even "profitable" (what's not to like about that, right?)I couldn't squelch the feelings of uneasiness about it.
Me? Sell my things on the internet? What if I posted something for sale and then it got lost/burned/ruined by a flood or earthquake??? THEN WHAT? What would I tell the poor buyer? "I'm sorry, I'm new at this. Can I take you out to dinner sometime to make up for it?" All the while, dreading the thought of the horrible things they'd write in my seller review. The entire digital world would look at my items with interest, until at last they opened the link to my buyer reviews: "Lousy, irresponsible, and as deceitful as an untamed weasel." "Terrible service -product arrived quickly, but was soaked in rancid bacon grease! DO NOT BUY FROM THIS SELLER!"
Well, this week was a turning point. In this chapter of my life's history, I've made the transformation from a flat character to a round character (in a strictly literary sense). Translation: I'm dynamic. I made a drastic change.
I sold some things on eBay, and I wasn't even afraid. I listed 2 very large and boring textbooks for sale. They're both worth a fair bit, so I decided to try my hand at the game. Not even a day had passed before I sold the first, and the second was soon to follow. With the thrill of a 4-year-old kid, I toted the items to the post office to package and mail them.
Here's a recap:
I select a mailing envelope big enough for the book.
In the elated ecstasy of a succesful seller, I put it in, and seal it.
I then realize that I had left out the packing slip I had printed out.
Oh. Oops. I wonder if this adhesive stuff will allow me to re-open it for a second...
...oh good. It will.
It's not looking pretty, but it will work. OK. In goes the packing list, and I fold the tab over once again and press to seal it shut (again).
I'm all smiles as I approach the service desk to have it weighed and shipped, when I realize that the "to" address is now sealed inside the package on the packing slip.
Ugh. I wasn't about to try and open the thing again, so I trudged back to the school to look it up on the web. In the end, I got it sent off successfully, now wiser having completed the process for the first time.
A key point to take away from this: keep a cool head when you process your orders. "It's not personal, it's business."
So in the end, I've converted some bulky matter into liquid funds to be sent directly to my bank account. Those large books will no longer occupy space in my room, and I'm all the richer/smarter/more confident for having done it.
The problem is, I've now got the selling mindset. I'm looking at every item I own as a possible sale item.
"Hmm, I don't really use that anymore do I?"
"College students don't really need that."
"My roommate hardly touches his guitar. I wonder if he'd notice...."
"That lamp in the library ....I wonder how much I'd fetch for that ...probably a pretty penny ..."
You see the trouble?
Even my rock samples are under scrutiny. The sad thing is, there are scads of folks out there who'd actually bid on a hunk of petrified wood.
What section would I list it in though? Antiques and valuables? It is very old and very valuable ....
So there you have it.
On that note, would anyone like to buy a 1-pound burger? (see photo)

Friday, January 9, 2009

Treacherous Paths

This semester, I've got a class that starts at 7:45 every morning, Monday through Friday. Oh, how this vexes me. I don't really mind waking up before te sun rises to get ready for the day. Nor do I mind the subject of the lecture I sit through for an hour. What really chafes my trousers is the fact that at 7:30am, the sidewalks are at their worst. During the day, snow melts and puddles. During the night, it all freezes. By the time I'm walking to class on it, there is just enough melted on top of the ice to make it nice and slick.
Thursday morning I fell at the exact location shown above. I was being careful, but trying to hurry to class at the same time. I slipped and fell to the right, catching my body with my right knee and ripping a large hole in the knee of my pants. A nearby girl came to my aid asking, "Are you all right?" and offering such kind suggestions as "Just take little steps" and "Be careful". I didn't really care that all the other people saw the whole thing, I was upset that my day started out that way. Holes in jeans are frowned on with an unforgiving cruelty at this school, but I had no other choice but to sit through that first lecture and walk home afterwards flaunting my unintentional rebellion.
So my pants are no good to me here anymore, my knee is a little tender, and the ice is still here. I think it would be more practical to skate to class.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Arizona Sunshine

This post has a purpose. (Shocking, isn't it?) For all the northerners who believe that Arizona is nothing but desert, take a look at these shots from my hometown taken Jan. 4, 2009:
This is my aunt and uncle's home. Cat, you just have such a photogenic piece of property -I can't help myself.
This is probably my favorite shot from the trip (well, not counting the one of Mike and Suzy Snowflake's furry gloves). Sometimes pictures just jump out at you. I came around the side of the woodpile, and there it was. Snow can really bring out the beauty in the simplest of scenes.
Here's a shot of the most typical scene in town -the grazing cattle. (Watch where you step)
This old international pickup belonged to my Great Grandpa James Delbert Hansen (Pumpa).

I really wanted to get in a good tan while I was in Arizona, but gosh darn it if the cap on the suntan lotion wasn't frozen shut!

Friday, January 2, 2009

To a Good Friend

This Christmas Break, my mind was able to shift out of overdrive and recover from the mental gymnastics that left it in a mangled heap of contorted tissue. Once I de-stressed and relaxed a bit, I was able to open my mind to the Christmas season with all its delights and memories.
I thought of great gifts that I'd been given over the years, and my mind drifted back to a Christmas when I was in high school. That year, my aunt Minnie had given me a present. I never knew what Minnie had up her sleeve (besides a kleenex she kept there for emergencies) and so I had no idea as to what the gift contained. The box was small and was wrapped in a vintage paper, probably a good decade older than I was, that seemed to have covered another present in years past.
On Christmas morning, I was most curious to see what aunt Minnie's gift was. Tearing the paper revealed the packaging -an old saltine cracker package, perfect for gift-wrapping. And what was inside? Squares of old fabric. Flashy polyester flower-prints that were probably the rage when my parents were kids. Oranges, reds, pinks, and browns, all tucked together in a neat stack. And with the fabric there was a letter.
She had put together a pattern for a small quilt for my gift. Now, here I must confess that at the time, I had no desire to take up quilting as a hobby, and for a few moments, I thought of how I might just get rid of the little fabric squares. My conscience and my sincere care for my well-meaning friend got the better of me, and I determined to bite the bullet, swallow my masculine teenage pride, and sew the quilt top together.
And now another confession: all the hours I spent at the sewing machine grew on me. I would put a classical music CD on, and spend my spare time piecing together projects. The whole process was very relaxing and fulfilling. I was always thrilled with what I produced in the end.
So I finished putting the quilt top together. And then I put it aside for the day when I'd find the time to make a back for it and tie and bind it together.
I left for school in Mesa, and there it sat. I left for my mission in Canada for two years, and it got placed in a storage bin with the rest of my quilting fabric (yes, I do have some). And there it stayed until I thought of it this year. My dear friend Minnie passed away over 3 years ago; she couldn't help me stretch it onto the frame down at her mother's house and put it all together. She couldn't help me roll the edges of the backing over and pin it for binding it on the sewing machine. She couldn't stand back and admire it with me once it was finished, but she taught me how to do all these things.
And so I did. My aunt Julie inherited Minnie's quilting frame. I borrowed the frame for the project. Memories of long visits and tired shoulder muscles came back as I saw the frame, with thousands of holes from the staples she'd used to tack the fabric on, and her name burned into the wood.
I stayed up late one night into the early morning tying, and the next afternoon, I bound the edges to finish it.This Christmas, I remembered a person who knew the meaning of giving. She shared her talents, her warmth (usually in the way of quilts), her humor, her smile, and everything she was blessed with; she passed them on when she saw the need for it.And in that same spirit of giving, I share this with everyone who knew her -hoping that you'll find the same joy in remembering Minnie that I've found this year.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Most Horrific Ideas

There are those thought-filled moments when you find yourself carrying out some brainless chore like scrubbing the sink or vacuuming when your brain doesn't have to focus much on the task at hand, so it wanders where it will. These moments are usually the inspiration for a lot of what I blog about.
This time, I want to share what I think are the most terribly awful ideas ever construed by American culture.

1) Carpet in bathrooms. Who's the idiot that thought of that? Have they heard of rugs? The bathroom is the most wet, soggy, spil-prone, germ-friendly place in the house. A rug can be taken out and cleaned regularly. But carpet stays tacked to the floor, providing a long-term welcoming shelter for all sorts of nasties that want to live under there -not to mention the inevitable stains and funky smells. WHY oh WHY?

2) Mixing Christmas and Halloween. There are people out there who will vehemently disagree with this stance (usually the ones who shop at Hot Topic), but you just don't do that Mr. Burton.
He's got a real knack for eerie creations, but why'd he have to let the black inkpot spill over nearly two months out of place into the lovely picture print that is Christmas?
It's like mixing rotten fruit into your ice-cream; you don't like the taste, it leaves you feeling sick, and begs the question, "Who is responsible for this?". Well, his name is in the credits and on the DVD cover. I love both holidays, but they don't mix well at all.

3) Drive-thru liquor stores. Don't they realize what they're doing? If you buy kid candy, I guarantee you they'll want it out of the grocery bag and in their hand before you even pull out of the parking lot. If a boozer has to use the drive-thru to get their alcohol faster, what's gonna stop them from sippin' back while they're on the drive home? Alcohol sales are disgraceful to begin with, but are we that devoted to vice that we give it a drive-thru convenience for distribution? Rubbish. It's all folly and poppycock.

4) Energy Drinks. There are tons of justifications. The one I hear most often is, "I need it to get through my day."
Wow. What ever did you do before energy drinks were contrived? It's some kind of miracle that you were able to make it through those times well enough and survived to see the day your "medicine" was concocted.
Some people use it to make sure they stay awake when they drive. This is an all-out cop-out. Hyped-up stimulants alter your physical condition to the point that I feel is unsafe for anyone who's operating a vehicle.
No, I've never had one -and no, I never will. Anyone who understands the doctrine of the word of wisdom and still uses these stimulants is acting in direct contradiction to all reason and logic. Want the Lord's protection while you drive? Want energy to get through the day? Live the law that provides those blessings.

That'll do for now. My first post of the new year, and I'm already sort of ranting. What am I ever going to do with myself ...