31 December 2009
I am still very much in the Christmas spirit here, and I thought I would pass along some of my sage wisdom for no extra cost!
It’s the winter season, and so driving conditions are on the top of most peoples lists of things they hate to do or wish they could do better. Let me help out in any way I can.
Foggy mornings can be especially dangerous during the winter. Fog, surprisingly is water, and when that moisture is stuck in the air so close to the ground it can easily for black ice on the roads. Bridges and overpasses are especially dangerous, but the ice can form anywhere. Which leads me to my next point.
4 wheel drive/all wheel drive cars can get moving faster than other cars in snowy and icy conditions, however, they do not stop any faster, nor handle hitting black ice at road speeds any better. If anything they give stupid drivers a false sense of security because they believe that their cars handle better in poor driving conditions.
I can’t tell you how many times on snowy days, while the freeway is covered in snow and slush I have seen reckless idiots weaving in and out of lanes, tailgating and generally driving in a way that would prove they are idiots in perfectly dry conditions and that they are criminally insane in poor conditions. Remember that just because you have a vehicle that you can get up to 65 or 85 in snowy and terrible conditions doesn’t mean that you can safely navigate the road ways at those speeds, especially in morning rush hour traffic.
Sara asked me the other night, as we witnessed yet another idiot driving as if their was no chance of ice or slush on the road despite having snowed all day long and temperatures never getting above freezing, if it was bad to hope they crashed, just a small crash with no injuries. Personally, I think she’s being far too generous. My hope is that when they crash and die they don’t take any good people with them.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you can drive anywhere you want at 10 mph either. You must still respect the fact that the left lanes are for faster driving vehicles, and slower moving vehicles should move right. You can’t just get into the turning lane a mile before your turn and pass turn after turn because people wont know where you’re going and you will be causing confusion and danger.
Most importantly of all, drivers need to be extra cautious and respectful during this time. Anger can lead to very dangerous activities. And remember, you are legally at fault almost any time you hit another car from behind and during poor driving conditions the benefit of the doubt will ALWAYS be given to the slower driver, so give yourself plenty of time. Tailgating wont get you to your destination any sooner and you could be driving behind someone who knows the law and knows if they slaw on their brakes they could be getting a new car at your expense!
Now a special note to the idiots that run California, yes, I’m talking about the liberal judges. They have now ruled that you can only taser someone who is posing an immediate threat, rather than people who are just disobeying cops, acting belligerent to cops, or acting insane and irrational. I can’t even comment how wrong and stupid this is. If a person is posing an immediate threat I don’t want cops to tase that person, I want them to shoot that person! I want them to tase a person when they are acting exactly the way they say not to tase them. Now I know a bunch of whiners are going to say, oh so and so was just having a medical condition that caused him to act irrationally and then he got tased and died. Well, if a person is acting that irrationally there’s a good chance they are going to do something that will cause them to wind up dead anyway. Very few instances of tasing will have serious long term consequences, I’d rather take my chances that my loved one is immobilized and kept safe.
We all know your the only game in town, but this one sided coverage of the Texas Tech debacle is almost laughable. You are so intent on backing up your own Craig James that you will not even allow a two sided piece allowing Leach or his supporters (which includes every single player on the team and most of the fans) to give their side of the story, especially when the Jame’s story has been proved conclusively to be such a lie. But who could expect truth from an organization that so vigorously defends the BCS?
Now that Christmas is over, people often ask me, ‘Chad, what makes a good present?’
Other people sometimes say, ‘I’ll just give that person a gift card.’
Gift cards are nice and everybody enjoys getting them because they can get what they really want, however, in terms of gifts, they are unfulfilling because they say, I don’t know you well enough to pick out a gift for you, so here’s something at least. Now, an improvement on the gift card idea is a specialized gift card to a specialty shop or service that the giver knows the recipient is a huge fan of. That says, I know you are a huge fan of X, but I don’t know enough about X to pick out a good or service that you don’t already have.
A good gift will be an item or service that the receiver likes or enjoys and wants to have, so they can’t already have it. This is difficult, but that is also what makes it a good gift. You have to know the person you’re giving the gift to pretty well, not only to know what they are interested in but what they have and don’t have.
The best gifts will have all the elements of the good gift, but add in an element of yourself. If you can combine something that the recipient really likes, but also says something about you and your relationship then that is a truly special gift. But be careful when putting yourself in the gift that you don’t go too far and get the recipient something you like or want. You are secondary in the gift giving process!
I’m glad to say that Sara has mastered this process. She is the most thoughtful gift giver I think I’ve ever known! Thanks Sara.
30 December 2009
Follow your impressions, for they are the gift of God.
Sunday the 20th, Sara told me that she had a strong feeling like she needed to go down to her Wyatt Family Christmas party. I knew that she was starting to get some impressions this way a day or two before, but Sunday she really let me know that she was getting the impression she needed to go. I encouraged her to look for a place we could stay, that wasn’t too much money, so that we could actually afford to go. Also, in the back of my mind (okay, who am I kidding, in the forefront of my mind, I knew that if we left early enough we could catch the Las Vegas Bowl featuring BYU and OSU).
We were lucky to find a nice place in Las Vegas that was only $37 a night, the Monte Carlo. So we made reservations to stay there the 22nd and 23rd. That would give us a chance to drive down and stay in Vegas, a mere 5 hour drive and then the next day make the additional 3 hour drive to Victorville to the party. I was hoping we’d be leaving early enough Tuesday, the 22nd, to make the Las Vegas Bowl that started at 5pm that night in Vegas.
Thanks in part to my desire to leave early, we made it out of town very quickly and were able to get through some very snowy regions that if we had left later would have been much more dangerous. When we drove through, although snowing heavily, it had not yet begun to accumulate much on the road.
We arrived in Vegas early enough for us to drive to the stadium and pick up tickets. This year they had some extra tickets that they were selling for only $10/ticket. After getting the tickets we went back to our hotel and checked in, a while later, it was back to the stadium to enjoy the game, which you can read about here, if you’re inclined.
The next day we drove to Victorville and attended the Wyatt Family Christmas Party. It was a great event, held at Sara’s grandparent’s house. I got to meet a lot of family that I’ve either never met before, or only met briefly once or twice when we were newly wed.
Playing on the TV was video of Wyatt Family Christmas parties from days of yore. Music was a big part of the event, including classic folk hits from the 60s being played to our wondrous ears thanks to the technology of cassette tapes. Uncle John says he’ll have those on iTunes soon. And then the guitars broke out and the live music started going. The Wyatts love their music, it’s an important part of their life. I almost cracked a joke here about how they never let lack of ability diminish their joy in creating music, but that would be cruel!
The most important part of the party however, was Sara and I being able to visit with Sara’s grandmother who wasn’t well, and hasn’t been well for some months, though we didn’t know the extent of it until we saw her there. We were able to go to her room and speak with her briefly. Although she probably wasn’t able to understand who we were at that point, we know that at some point she would and appreciate that we were there. I felt like in a way that she hadn’t been able to before, Sara was able to connect to her grandma Wyatt and the Wyatt family.
Sadly this last Monday, the 28th, we found out that sometime that morning Sara’s grandma Wyatt had passed away. It was a very sad and emotional time for us, but I can’t help but think about how blessed we were that Sara was in tune enough to receive a gentle prompting from the Lord and that she was humble enough to act on it, even though it may not have been easy or planned on. Thank you Sara for that! And how grateful I am to have a loving Heavenly Father who gives us what we need when we need it, oft times before we know it’s a need.
Here are some pictures from the Party
Sara, in her element
The Wyatts, the Musical
Bryon, in his element
Sara, Summer, Phil, and me
29 December 2009
BYU has turned Las Vegas into a place of utter despair and doom for the state of Oregon, having completely destroyed both major institutions football teams there over the past few years. I have been pleased to have been at both!
The story of how I got there is really quite miraculous and I will share it with you another day, but for now, let me just revel in the complete domination that was the Las Vegas Bowl 2009 when BYU dominated OSU in every single aspect of the game.
The night was bitter cold, winds swept across the field at 55mph. I thought this would heavily favor a strong OSU rushing attack, but what I didn’t count on was the utter lack of physical play by the PAC10 #2 team, OSU Beavers. They play in a finesse league, where they don’t get head to head with the physicality of teams like those in the MWC. Their speed, although quick and speedy was matched by BYU’s excellent team speed and assignment sound play. Where BYU pulled ahead was in toughness and physicality.
We were sitting on the top row in the North-West endzone, with nothing behind us but a chainlink fence the wind tore right through us. Hats were flying off of heads, the field-size flag was barely being held down by hundreds of armed forces personnel. OSU fans were among the first to leave, in fact, the first large exodus of fans happened before even 2 or 3 minutes had passed in the first quarter. They weren’t crazy (like me!) they were going to watch in their hotel rooms. We eventually moved down, off the top row, where our backs were at least a little more protected. It helped.
After the first half, a couple of OSU/USC fans (at least they were wearing USC gear and we were sitting on the OSU side) started smoking marijuana and I suggested to Sara that we should move to the BYU side of the stadium, by halftime it was pretty easy to find seats over there, though there were thousands more BYU fans than OSU fans.
From the BYU side, we watched the last half of the game, and what a game the Cougar seniors put on. They played with heart and passion, each and everyone having fantastic games. Jan Jorgenson even got a 7 yard running play! It was truly a thing of beauty.
BYU wins, 44 – 20.
Now for some pictures…
The flag was nearly ripped from the stadium and sent hurling towards the heavens
BYU in their Royal Blue uniforms lines up on the play that ends up going in for a score
Now from the other side
The Cougar defense was more physical all night long (that’s what she said)
The score ended up being 44 – 20 but it wasn’t even that close
17 December 2009
Our work held their annual Christmas party a short time ago and we were all invited to spend a good evening at Noah’s. If you don’t know what Noah’s is, it’s the huge gray cement building you see as you drive on the freeway around the PG exit. Inside are a number of luxuriously appointed rooms with pool tables, flat screen tvs, etc. On the roof is even an area for you to ice skate.
Sara and I decided to go, but she wanted to take a date (other than me!) and her date brought a friend. Oh well!
Sara and her dates
View from the roof
I’m ice-skating on the roof!
One of my coworkers, Steve, with his friend Michelle
Another coworker, Margaret, and her friend Steve (no relation to the Steve listed above!)
I have never seen better ice skaters than the St. Juliens. And I’ve been to the Winter Olympics!
Work people tolerate each other for a few hours until they can go home
All in all it was a fun time, I liked the place. We played some board games, Apples to Apples and Clue, got some skating in, many people played pool, and the Wii.
14 December 2009
My parents had just been killed in car accident only a few weeks before and I was left to pick up the pieces, not only of my own now shattered life, but that of my younger brother Alex. The situation was difficult on me, but I can't even imagine how it was for Alex, going through the loss of your parents and finishing middle school has got to be hard.
Over Christmas break we were attending the Family Christmas Party. This was the first time I ever remembered having the Christmas party professionally catered. Caterers in pressed black uniforms carried warm dinner foods from the kitchen area into the Cultural Hall where tables were setup and families requisitioned seats. I was talking to Grandma and Grandpa about the Christmas party a few years ago when my mother and I had sang for Grandpa. I wish now that I had spent more time singing with my mom. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the a commotion, I turned to see the East doors blow open wildly with such force that it knocked the serving tables on their side. A moment later I felt a concussions from multiple directions hit my body while bright lights popped and shimmered every where I looked. The hall was filled with high pitched howls, screeches and pops until you couldn't hear or see anything.
As my eyes cleared I saw with disbelief as one of the catering staff reached to his side and uncovering his shirt pulled out a small pistol, firing it in the same motion as he brought it up. As quickly as he raised the gun his body was thrown backwards, leaving a misting of fine red particles. I turned and saw helmeted men entering by each door way, rifles raised and firing. Everywhere I looked our catering staff lay dead or wounded. Families ran, crouched over, in terror. But it was all in vain. Anywhere peopled moved they were mowed down by the silent assassins.
This can't be happening, I thought frantically to myself. I saw Alex jump up and run towards the stage from where he had been knocked over when the doors had blown over. I saw the nearest attacker raise his weapon, pointed straight at Alex's back. 'NOOOOO!' I thought and screamed in rage, 'Not Alex!' I couldn't bear to look, my eyes clenched shut. After a moment I realized I hadn't heard a shot. Slowly I opened my eyes. Alex stood not 10 paces for my, eyes wide in shock. Behind him, the man who had been about to shoot him lay motionless on the floor. I looked all around me, everywhere I looked, black helmeted men lay fallen.
11 December 2009
8 Favorite TV Shows
(in no particular order!)
1. The Office
2. Friday Night Lights
3. Criminal Minds
8. 30 Rock
8 Things I Did Yesterday
1. Kissed my hubby
3. Called clients and asked for money! (past due invoices)
4. Made and consumed tacos ... so good! Homemade tacos are the best
5. Watched TV
6. Wrapped mine and Chad's white elephant gifts for the my family's Christmas party
7. Went to Wal-Fart
8. Feed and watered my cat
8 Things I Am Looking Forward To
1. When Glee comes back
2. When 24 starts up
3. When Chuck starts up
4. When American Idol starts up (can you tell I'm a TV person?)
5. Being released from my calling (and because I said that, I will forever be in it!)
6. Seeing Kaleya again
7. Meeting Chad's parents (I hope they like me! Otherwise it will be a little awkward)
8. The release of the 3rd Hunger Games book
8 Favorite Restaurants
3. Texas Road House
4. El Torito
6. The PIE Pizzeria
7. The Cheesecake Factory
8. P.F. Chang's
8 Things On My Wish List
1. A new car
2. A house that doesn't face north
3. Travel the east coast
4. Actually leave the country (going to Mexico when I was a kid so my dad could buy tile doesn't count)
5. To do another tree at the Festival of Trees
6. My cat to grow out of her crazy faze (like that will ever happen!)
7. For Chad to make a ton of money so I can sit at home and watch Days of Our Lives and eat bon bons
8. To finish our basement
8 Things I Love To Do
2. Watch TV
3. Kiss my husband
4. Hug my husband (he seriously gives the best hugs!)
5. Chill with my family
6. Play board games
7. Attend the temple
8 People I Tag
2. The person sitting to your right
3. The person sitting to your left
4. The person right behind you reading this
5. The person across the street
6. The person in front of you at the check out stand
7. Your waiter/waitress
8. Your mailman ... sorry, mail person
10 December 2009
Sara and I were invited to a luncheon with BYU Athletics Director Tom Holmoe at the Energy Solutions Arena (formerly the Delta Center) before BYU played San Fran. Never one to turn down a free lunch, Sara and I decided we would make the trip up, and then after the game hit up the festival of trees.
The lunch with Brother Holmoe was just okay, speaking of the food. There were wings, some sort of south-western wrap, deep fried chicken strips. Tom Holmoe talked about how difficult it is getting to schedule big name teams to come to BYU in either football or basketball. These teams know that there is absolutely no incentive to playing a good non-bcs team, especially on BYU’s home turf. They are working on getting more neutral floor games for both basketball and football. One thing Holmoe did let slip was that there would be a big game announcement in the coming weeks.
Holmoe also talked about expanding the MWC. He is very much in favor of bringing in Boise St. and possibly Houston as a travel partner for TCU. He actually didn’t mention any teams by name, but we all knew what he was thinking. Apparently there are other schools in the MWC who are not for expansion, likely for $$ reasons (the more schools, the more the $$ gets split up). He seemed to indicate that a vote would be close right now, and they may not have the 5 votes necessary.
After lunch we went and watched the BYU basketball team absolutely destroy the San Francisco Dons. They have a basketball team, but apparently they left their hearts in San Fran.
Cougar United Luncheon
Top Floor of the ESA
Yep, that’s us
The room over looked the arena, we’re high up!
Introducing the Cougars
BYU ended up winning this game by essentially a million to nothing, so it wasn’t all the exciting, but there was some great ball played by the Cougars and it was really fun to watch!
08 December 2009
Nov. 28th shaped up to be a great football day. Rivals BYU and Utah were about to face off at arguably one of the most beautiful college stadiums in the nation, LaVell Edwards Stadium. This game almost always ends up being a grueling grudge match between the two teams, and this year it looked as if both teams were pretty even, with BYU only having a slight upper hand.
All-time great linebacker, Bryan Kehl was on hand to watch the Cougars win
An acquaintance of mine was given the honor of sounding the George Q. Cannon when the team ran onto the field
When the team came out on the field in Royal Blue uniforms, everyone knew it was going to be a special game
The Cougars who really caught fire in the 2nd quarter and first drive of the second half were clearly in the drivers seat of the game, but then they got too conservative, let down, whatever, allowing the Utes to make a comeback to tie up the game. The Ute offense, however, which had difficulty against the Cougar defense all night just couldn’t get it done in over time and Max Hall rifled a pass between two defenders to Andrew George who split the defenders and ambled in for an easy touch down to give the Cougars the win, 26-23.
The fans were ecstatic
After some time celebrating on the field, the crowds parted so that the Cougars could honor their seniors who had just played, and won, for the last time at LES.
A great shot by a professional photographer of the winning play
07 December 2009
It had been several weeks of away games when finally the Cougars came back home. Their opponent, a surprisingly strong Air Force Academy that was making a much stronger showing later in the year than normal.
Many people were concerned about this game, but I felt pretty confident, for one, BYU always handles Air Force’s option attack much more effectively than any other team in the conference, and I’m naturally an optimistic guy. Though many others didn’t share my optimism, I really looked forward to the game.
The Cadets stretch vigorously before the game
Captains from both teams meet to have the coin-flip
Cougars get set to run a play
It ends up being pretty successful. In fact, the Cougar offense has almost no trouble moving the field the whole day
BYU in the Power I
Hall hands off to Tonga
and another 5 yard gain
BYU ends up winning easily
In fact, the only real controversy in this game was a terribly blown call by a very corrupt official. I don’t normally get on the officials after the game (but I’ll gladly boo them during the game) especially not after an easy victory; however, this official actually had the audacity to call, and I kid you not: “Attempting to deceive the defenese” against BYU when they ran a trick play. Here’s what happened:
Max Hall lined up under center, the offense was set, when Max Hall stood up and walked backwards and towards the Air Force sidelines motioning with his hands as if he is making an audible, all of which is perfectly legal, while out from under center, the ball is hiked to Harvey Unga, the running back, who is 5 yards or so behind the line of scrimmage. Basically it’s a direct snap to the RB. Harvey then easily runs the ball in to the endzone for a TD. Except, the ref throws a flag and uses this rule that is almost never called, for a play that doesn’t even break the rule as defined by that rule (except so far that it deceived the defense, which could be said of any play in football!).
All in all, we had a great time!