Friday, December 23, 2011

Still Here

I had a good comeback, but unfortunately it didn't last. But the fall semester is over now, although I won't know how it went for a couple of months. Nevertheless, I survived, so I may as well make another attempt at this blog. after all, it's bound to stick one of these times.

For now, here's a video of Elliott. She's excited for her first Christmas.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Tired, Not Dead

Last year, Catherine and I decided to try to save money over the winter by heating the rooms we were in with space heaters rather than heating the entire apartment with central heating. So when we fired up the furnace last Thursday, it was the first time we had done so in this apartment.

The next morning I woke up feeling sick to my stomach, and immediately assumed there was something wrong with the sandwich I ate the night before. By the afternoon I had a ripping headache and the chills, so I started to wonder if I had a flu, despite the fact that I didn't have a fever. On top of everything, Elliott was as fussy as I've ever seen her. I finally managed to get her to fall asleep in my lap at about 3:00, and once she fell asleep, I did to, and we slept for about an hour and a half.

When I woke up I saw that I had missed about six phone calls, several of them from Catherine who by that point was starting to worry. I called her and explained what had happened, and she suggested I turn off the heater, so I did.

When I talked to Catherine I felt like I couldn't even leave the house, so we cancelled our plans to meet my parents for dinner. By midnight, I was almost completely back to normal, and I even went out for my usual late night run.

The more we read, the more we worried. I was clearly fine, but Elliott was not acting like herself. She wasn't making eye contact, chattering, or smiling the way she had been for the last few weeks. Although we knew she was probably fine, we started to wonder if carbon monoxide poisoning had caused some sort of permanent damage.

On Thursday, our carbon monoxide detector woke us up. I silenced it, and it went off again almost immediately, so Catherine outside while I called the fire department. They sent two engines, an ambulance, an SUV, and a police car for good measure (it must have been a slow morning). After checking our house and our furnace, they decided that it must have been a false alarm, and that was that.

On the plus side, we now know that our heater is fine (and, by extension, that Elliott and I were not poisoned last week). The downside is that we no longer know if we can trust our stupid CO detector. Even so, if you don't already have one you should probably get one, because dying in your sleep would be a bit of a bummer.

Also, Elliott is back to her usual self.

Monday, October 3, 2011

They're Using Real Bullets

I couldn't find the video clip that goes with the title, so you get this instead:

Same movie, just as funny, not at all relevant.

Anyway, I got out for a quick ride on the Dry Canyon Loop this afternoon. On the descent down Trail 51 into the canyon, I almost took out two guys wearing camo and carrying guns. I ran into another similarly equipped guy near the Pipe.

Last year, I remember the first time I ran into hunters while running some trails up around Squaw Peak. I figured that the area was far enough from civilization that I should expect to see hunters, so I made it point to wear brightly colored clothes from then on.

I was more surprised to see the hunters on the trail today. I'd never really thought about it before, but I assumed that people wouldn't be hunting so close to a residential area. Obviously, I was wrong.

Anyway, now I'm thinking about ways not to get shot. Google turns up plenty of articles like this one, although I think I'd rather get shot than follow some of that advice. (Orange safety vest? Pfft--whatever. And if I don't ride at dawn or dusk, when will I?) Sean's advice is a little more practical:"just don't wear Elk antlers on your helmet, or a turkey tail coming out of your pants...then all should be good."

And of course, that reminds of an article I saw in some mountain bike magazine back in the day (probably Bike, because MBA and Mountain Biking wouldn't publish anything so funny). Basically, it was a one page photo spread: what to wear/what not to wear during hunting season. On one side was a guy who pretty much looked like a deer. On the other side was a guy who looked more like Las Vegas at night. Or something.

Anyway, google couldn't find it. But if anyone knows what I'm talking about and has a copy, I'd love to see it.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Occupy Wall Street*

Sean, Catherine and I have been closely following the protest all week. I hope it never ends. Seriously, this stuff is pure comedic gold. Who knew that a bunch of stupid unemployed hipsters (sorry--freelance photographers/artists/graphic designers/film-makers) could be so entertaining. They don't even have any coherent message or agenda.

For a quick primer, read this article Sean sent us today:

Consider the case of Erin Larkins, "a Columbia University graduate student who says she and her boyfriend have significant student loan debt." Ms. Larkins is one of the hundreds of protesters who "sleep on air mattresses, use Mac laptops and play drums." (Is it fair to say that anyone with a Macbook has no business complaining about their life of poverty?) Those same protesters regularly "march down to Wall Street, yelling, 'This is what democracy looks like!'"

According to Ms. Larkins, "I don't think we're asking for much, just to wake up every morning not worrying whether we can pay the rent, or whether our next meal will be rice and beans again** . . . No one is expecting immediate change. I think everyone is just hopeful that people will wake up a bit and realize that the more we speak up, the more the people that do have the authority to make changes in this world listen."

Or, as Sean summarizes it: "Like, I'm smart, I go to Columbia...someone as important as myself is above having to face the realities of life. Like, I think the government should re-pay me for the years that I have lived off the money that wasn't mine...because, I'm like smart know, I go to Columbia."

I'd love to know what she's studying. Maybe she should have thought twice before "investing" in an overpriced graduate degree.

Anyways, read through these profiles of the protesters and tell me if you think I'm being unfair.

EDIT: Catherine points out this article, which isn't as "mean" to the protesters. Which is not to say it does their cause any favors. Watch the video. The big problem problem with this "movement" is that every time these people open their mouths, you end up wanting to punch someone. (My favorite is the guy running around in a mask and bandanna [pictured above]. He apparently thinks he's actively seeking employment, and he seems to wonder why no one is hiring him.)

* The pictures are from the New York Observer article I linked to.

** I don't get what she's complaining about. Catherine and I eat rice and beans all the time, and we like it.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Last-Minute Dental Work

After Friday, Catherine and I switch from health insurance through her job to the student plan at BYU. In addition to higher monthly payments and less-awesome coverage, we'll also lose our dental plan. In anticipation of that, Catherine went to the dentist a few weeks ago to make sure that anything that needed to be fixed was fixed while we were still insured. Me being me, I didn't make it in until this week.

Because it was so last minute, I ended up choosing a dentist at random from the ADA website. And I was shocked when the dentist told me I needed 7 fillings and one crown a a cost (to me) of nearly $700. (The crown is because apparently I grind my teeth, and I've worn holes into the top of several molars).

Thinking that couldn't be right, I headed up to Catherine's dentist (and the guy I saw last year) for a second opinion. According to him, I needed four small fillings. Because the holes on top of my molars were free of decay, they could fix them with a bit of sealant (at no additional charge). Guess who I let fix my teeth?

Of course, since my insurance ends after tomorrow, I had to get everything done today, and that involved numbing my mouth completely. The dentist told me the anesthetic would wear off in 3-4 hours, but more than 12 hours later my lower lip is still numb. Also, my cheek hurts because I took a bite out of it when I tried to eat something while my mouth was still numb. Live and learn, I guess.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

My Beloved Tank

I sold an old road bike a couple of months ago and used the proceeds to buy this on clearance from Jenson USA:

I call it my tank because of the color and because, according to my bathroom scales, it weighs over 28 pounds, which I think is shockingly heavy for a hardtail with no gears. But since I'm not doing any racing (nor do I plan to anytime soon), I guess that doesn't really matter. Besides, I can still climb reasonably well, heavy bike or no.

With school back in session, I haven't had much time to get out and ride, but it's great when I do have time. There are few enough moving parts that I can ride without worrying about mechanical issues too much (although I think I did just strip the threads on one of the post mounts on the fork), and it's perfect for the trails in Corner Canyon, where I spend most of my time.

Best of all, Sean has a single speed, too (and has for years), so we've been riding together a lot. Overall, we're at about the same level. I smoke him on the climbs, and he returns the favor on the descents, so we end up at about the same speed over the course of a ride. Someday I'll figure out how to descend, but he'll probably catch up on the climbs by then, so I doubt much will change.

Anyway, I'm not sure what the point of this post was other than to post something. Maybe I just wanted to mention that as far as I am from racing these days, I'm still riding when I can, and enjoying it as much as I ever did.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Red-Eye Express

This weekend I went down to Las Vegas for a few interviews at a job fair the school put on. My original plan was to drive to visit my grandparents in St. George on Friday night, and then to continue to Vegas in the morning.

Unfortunately, thanks to a few unexpected events, by Friday it was obvious that this was not the best week for a trip to Grandma and Grandpa's. We decided not to go as a family, and I decided that instead of driving to St. George by myself on Friday, I would wake up early and drive by myself to Las Vegas. So, I went to bed a little before 10:00, woke up a little before 1:00, and, after a quick shower and a Red Bull stop at Seven Eleven, I was on the road at 1:15.

I love driving late at night. The roads are so empty, and that makes the trip much less stressful, as long as you're not too tired to enjoy it. I had a rough time through Utah County, where there were not only cars on the road, but rain and construction, too, but by the time I hit Payson the road was wide open.

I debated flooring it and gambling that there would be no police out so late at night, but I decided against it. Despite my conservative pace, the GPS still gave me a 6:00 ETA. I was worried that that meant it was broken, but as I rolled through Parowan I remembered that I gain an hour traveling to Vegas. Which meant I could have slept for another hour. Oh well.

Anyway, despite a gas stop, a bathroom break, and a 20-minute nap at the side of the road, I arrived in Vegas a just after 6:00 local time, which means that the entire trip took less than six hours.

I had planned to grab breakfast and then sleep in the car for an hour or so before getting ready for the interviews, but after I ate I realized I had forgotten to bring copies of my resume and some other documents, so instead of sleeping I set out in search of a FedEx/Kinko's or whatever they're called now. Then, I changed into my suit in a parking garage and headed in for my interviews.

The interviews went well, I think. I spoke to three very different people from very different firms. I guess the interviewers are trying to sell their firms as much as I'm trying to sell myself, and I think they did good jobs. I could see myself being happy at all three, for different reasons.

Anyway, I guess this is going to just be a travelogue post. At the job fair I picked up two passengers for the return trip, which meant I didn't have to drive on the way home--a good thing, given my lack of sleep.

We made it back to Prove at about 7:00, and I headed up to AF to pick up Catherine and Elliott, and then we headed down to Orem to watch the BYU game with Kelsey and Matthew (who, by the way, is catching up with Elliott fast and will probably outgrow her within a month). If you're reading this you already know how things turned out, but I'll say it anyway: Worst. Game. Ever.

By the time we made it home and I made it to bed, it was almost midnight. Talk about a long day.