Thursday, April 26, 2007

Stacey and I are related

I remember a while back, Gordon mentioned that Mom & Dad are related. More specifically, they are 7th cousins, 1 time removed. Well, I was doing some research yesterday on Stacey's Great Great Grandfather. I found that his daughter Hazel Whitear married Roy A. Richins. That peaked my curiosity and I downloaded a GEDCOM file that I found. It turns out that we are not blood related, but are related through marriage. Stacey's Grand Great Aunt Hazel Whitear married my 2nd cousin, 2 times removed, Roy A Richins. Kind of funny.

I found this as I have been doing some research lately into some of my ancestors. This summer, Stacey and I will be going on Trek. We are very excited. They want everyone that is going to choose a pioneer person to go as. Stacey already found her ancestor, Elizabeth Whitear Sermon that was on the Martin Handcart Company.

I haven't found anyone that was in the Willie or Martin handcart companies, but I have found a few pioneers. One was John Waters. He came in the Wheelock Company in 1853 driving a wagon for another man. His wife-to-be, Sarah Birch, was also in that company. She traveled with a handcart. Another cool one that I found was Charles Clark Burr. Though he didn't get to Utah on the same trail, he was a pioneer. He was one of the 230 Mormon pioneers that sailed on the SS Brooklyn in 1846. His wife, Sarah Sloat, who wasn't a member at the time, went with him along with his 15-month old son, Charles Elias Washington Burr. They had a baby boy born just 3 weeks after they left. They appropriately named him John Atlantic Burr. Just 3 weeks later, their first son, Charles died and they buried him at sea. It is a very interesting read.

Another one that I found was Francis Romeril. He traveled with his wife, Mary Billot and 4 of his children. They came across the plains as part of the Harper Company in 1855.

I have really enjoyed reading the histories of these pioneers. I know that it will make my experience on the Trek that much more meaningful to me. Many times when I hear about stories about the pioneers, I feel so detached from it all because it happened so long ago to people that I don't really know. However, after reading these histories, I feel much closer to these wonderful people who made such a dangerous trek.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Cool Test

I know that I was a dork in high school, but I was hoping that things have changed since then. I came across a test today. I took it, and found out that fortunately, I am now cool. Take the test, and see if you are cool!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Politically Correct

Today one of my co-workers was describing a lady in another department. He said, "You know, the one who has skin of a darker persuasion." I laughed so hard that he would use that term. He said, "Well, I didn't want to use the work 'black' because I wasn't sure if it would be taken as a derogatory term." Talk about being over-the-top politically correct. I would hope that there aren't people out there that would be offended by the word black. I know I wouldn't be offended if someone called my white. However, there are people out there who are very easily offended. Personally, I can't stand all the politically correctness. It has gone too far.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Bank of Mom & Dad

Today, I was doing the running the camera controls for Studio 5, which is why I was watching it, so I don't want any ribbing about that. Anyway, they had Connie Sokol on today. The topic was how to say "no" to requests. A lot of people have a difficult time saying no, myself included. Most of the time if I am asked to do something, I will do it, sometimes grudgingly. So I agree with what she said to a degree. We need to make sure that we are not agreeing to do so many things that we cannot complete our responsibilities to our family, church, and work. However, I hope to be the type of person that will agree to help out my friends or family if they need.

Another thing that she mentioned is that if one of your children asks for a loan, and they already have a loan out with you, that maybe you should say no, or at least work out a payment schedule with the outstanding loan first. She said that it is better that the child learn the principle of paying a loan back from Mom & Dad then the bank. While I agree with her, what I think would be a better solution would be to teach the child the importance of saving for something you want. If they want to buy something that costs $100, teach them to save $10 - $20 each month, and when you have enough saved up, then help them purchase the item. I don't want to teach my children to always want instant gratification. Our church leaders have warned against debt and I think that applies to children as well. If we teach our children that it is OK to get a loan for every small thing, even from the Bank of Mom & Dad, they are going to be more likely to do so later in life, again, for every small thing.

I don't have children old enough to ask me for a loan, so this is just my opinion - I am not speaking from experience. I have learned from experience, however, the importance of saving for wants and avoiding debt when possible. I hope to be able to pass that on to my children.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Early Shift / Weekend

For the next 2 weeks, I am on the early shift at work. It runs from 4:30 AM to 1:00 PM. I really like getting home so early and spending more awake time with my family, but boy, is it hard to wake up that early. It is especially difficult on Monday morning, because my body hasn't made the adjustment yet. This morning, as I walk around, I can feel my body crying out, "I'm tired, let me sleep!" As the week goes on, it gets easier. It's also nice because I get 30 min. of overtime every day. They don't like us getting overtime unless it is absolutely necessary, so this is pre-approved OT.

This weekend was a fun one. We went out to the Schumann's Saturday and had the Easter egg hunt. John and Ashley couldn't make it last weekend, so they decided to postpone it till this last weekend. It was fun, the kids sure do love running all over the yard looking for eggs. I just have to make sure that they don't pick up any "brown eggs" left over from Bailey (their yellow lab). Christy also makes a hunt for the adults. It is fun, and I try really hard not to get too into it and make a fool of myself. The Schumanns tend to treat Easter much like Christmas (i.e. it is a big holiday). When I was a kid, Easter was a time for some candy, and perhaps some small gifts. Christy ended up having a total of over $250 available for the adults, not to mention the kids. Stacey and I made out with $139, while John and Ashley got $117. Awesome! They sure do treat us well.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Friday Night Lights

If you have seen any of the series, "Friday Night Lights," this post will make more sense. If you haven't, in short, the starting quarterback, Jason, gets injured and paralyzed from the waist down in the first game of the season.

I mention that because Stacey had a dream a couple of nights ago that Jason got so mad about something that he came right out of his wheelchair to argue with someone. He didn't even realize that he was walking for a while. It was kind of funny that she would dream about a TV show. Wouldn't that be interesting in anger could help repair physical problems. If that were the case, I know a lot of people that would have no physical ailments.

Speaking of Friday Night Lights, it's season finale was last night. This is a show that both Stacey and I have been following. It's a pretty good show, not the best I've seen, but overall, I have to say that the acting is done quite well. Anyway, the ending was very predictable (they win state) and definitely left some things unanswered just asking for another season. Hopefully, they do another season. We'll see!

Kaylee's getting glasses!

Well, a few months ago, we took Kaylee to her pediatrician for her annual check-up. They did an eye test and found that her eyes were not as good as they would have liked. They suggested that we take her to an optometrist for an official eye exam. Well, Stacey took her yesterday, and it turns out that she is a little nearsighted and has astigmatism. They got a pair of glasses fitted for her and they should be here on Monday. Kaylee was actually quite excited to get glasses, she thinks she is going to look so cute with glasses, and she's right! She picked out her own frames, and she had the choice of pink, Disney princess, and lots others, but she chose a light brown pair.

It was kind of weird for me, because it's hard for me to realize that my little girl is no longer perfect. She has always passed every physical or mental test beautifully, and this is the first one she didn't. I know that it really isn't that big of a deal, and it could be much worse.

Also, with her starting Kindergarten this fall, I hope that she doesn't get teased. Kids can be so mean these days, and I want to protect my daughter all I can, but I can't protect her at school. I remember in grade school kids would get teased for wearing glasses; not by me, of course! Now it seems such a dumb thing to tease about that it's hard to imagine that it would happen, but I think we better prepare her for it nonetheless.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Can my dog poop in your yard?

I don't remember anyone ever asking me that question. But somehow, I keep finding dog poop in our front yard. The only time Delilah goes in our front yard is when we go on walks, so I know it's not hers. I really hate it when people let their dog out in the front yard to go poop on neighbor's lawn. It is no wonder that our local park has banned dogs completely. I mowed the lawn this weekend, and found a huge pile in our front yard. I feel like putting up a web cam to find out whose dog is it, then collect all the poop for a month or two and dump it on their lawn.

Even when we take Delilah on a walk, if she were to poop on someones lawn, we would pick it up. I can only request the same respect from other people.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Microsoft Windows Activation

I had to reactivate my Windows Vista last night, and I tell you, that is such a pain in the butt. I have to vent my frustration.

With Windows XP, I could activate the same serial a few times successfully. However, they have taken away that leeway. As soon as you replace enough hardware to require a reactivation, the online activation fails. So I had to call Microsoft. This process is only made more difficult by the thick English accent that the support reps have. I had a very hard time understanding them. One I spoke with asked for my first name, I replied, "Eric." He then asks, "George?" Apparently, they have a hard time understanding me, too.

All in all, it only took about 10 minutes of phone time to get it done, but here is what I don't understand: If I really were to install Vista on a different computer, and then call them, they ask if it is installed on any other computers. If I lie and tell them no, they have no idea. If that is the case, why make me talk to a person that I can barely understand? Why not have a form online I can use to do this? Are people less likely to lie to a person than to an online form? In my opinion, someone is going to lie either way. At least make it less of a hassle for the honest, legitimate users who simply replace hardware.

Promised Video

As promised, here is the video from the April Fool's Joke we played on our kids. In case you missed it, here is the story.

Monday, April 2, 2007

USDTV

For those who have heard of USDTV, they have gone out of business. That is bad news, because they were a great solution for people who wanted good quality channels without having to pay $50.00 or more per month. They offered all of the local channels in HD, and also had ESPN, ESPN2, Discovery, Food, Disney, Toon, and the MTN. I was able to watch last year's BYU-Utah football game live at home.

They discontinued their service and have allowed people to get their set-top boxes converted to be just a normal HDTV Tuner. I was able to get my hands on one of the USB flash drives with the software needed to do it. For those who may have the USDTV receiver and want to convert it, here are the instructions:
  1. Download this file. In the zip are two files: a shell script to make the USB flash drive and the software itself. Unzip both of these files into some convenient directory on
    a Linux machine.
    • cd to the directory where the software is.
    • Insert your USB drive into the USB port of the Linux machine (you do not need to mount it). Make sure that the directory /mnt/flash_drive exists.
    • Use this command to run the script: ./makekey usdtv_fta.fromService.2.7.15.0602031002.keychain.tar.gz
    • The script will format the drive, copy the software and unmount the drive. When it is done, it will tell you it is safe to remove the USB flash drive.
  2. Unplug power from your USDTV box.
  3. Insert the USB drive at the back of the USDTV box.
  4. Plug in power for your USDTV box.
  5. The conversion will begin automatically, and progress is indicated on
    screen.
  6. When it is done, it will tell you that it is safe to unplug your box.
  7. Unplug the USDTV box again.
  8. Remove the USB flash drive.
  9. Plug in the USDTV box, and it will boot in FTA-only mode.
Note also that this is a complete refresh, so you'll have to do a channel scan, set the time zone, and other settings, but it's not too hard. Good luck.

April Fools Day

Well, Stacey and I were trying to think of something good to do for April Fools Day for the kids. I remembered a little trick that Russell pulled a while ago at one of our Adult Dinners, and I thought it would be perfect.

*****Crudity alert*****

If you have ever heard of No-Bake cookies, you may know they are also called Gorilla Poop sometimes. Well, we made a batch of those cookies, then formed them into rolls so that they looked just like poop. When the kids asked if we were going to have dessert, I replied that we were going to have poop for dessert. They were grossed out, and had to ask Stacey to see if I was just joking. Stacey confirmed it, but they still didn't believe it. Well, after dinner, I told them that I had been saving up poop for a while and I was going to go get it. I went into the bathroom, where I had hidden a plate of our "cookies" and came out with it.

The kids were completely grossed out when they saw it, and neither wanted to even touch them. They both responded with a "euww" when I reached out and picked one up. They were even more shocked when I took a bite. It was hilarious! I tried coaxing them to take a bite, but Aaron would have nothing to do with them. Kaylee finally picked one up and took a little nibble, then excitedly proclaimed, "they're good!" They eventually realized that they were just cookies, but man, it was funny. We got it all on the camcorder, so I will post a video when I get a chance. Great April Fools joke!

*****End Crudity*****

We enjoyed our April Fools day quite a bit.

General Conference

Well, this last weekend was General Conference for the LDS Church, of which I am proudly a member. I especially enjoyed the Priesthood session.

Last week, there was a group that was trying to "help save the Mormons out of pure love." It frustrated me that such propaganda would be distributed under the guise of love. It was pure hatred for Joseph Smith and everything the LDS church teaches. It seemed to me that some people were offended by a member of the church, and have made a goal since then to tear down the church any way they can. There is a website that goes through each point of the DVD and provides a rebuttal.

Anyway, back to General Conference. I have to say that this weekend of General Conference was one of my favorite ever. Perhaps it was because of that Anti-Mormon DVD that made me listen even closer, that helped me feel the spirit even stronger. During the Priesthood session, all 3 members of the First Presidency spoke, and I felt the spirit so strongly testify to me that they are prophets of God. I was even more determined to fulfill my priesthood responsibilities, to do my home teaching, to love my wife and children, and to keep myself worthy of spiritual guidance. One recurring theme that I picked up on was that of obedience. If I want to be worthy, I must obey completely...I cannot pick and choose what I want to obey.

Overall, great weekend! Enjoyed spending the time with my wife and children, I sure do love them!