Tuesday, December 30, 2003

High Speed Chase at 50 mph

Today I remembered something funny that we saw when driving south on I-15 this August. Way off in front of us we could see flashing police lights and it looked like the police had pulled somebody over.

As we got closer we could see that the lights were actually moving - but unusually they were going slower than traffic. The police officer was driving behind an old brown van that looked like it could break down at any moment - or at least fall completely apart from structural integrity failure due to rust. The cop lady was driving behind him with her lights flashing and siren on. They couldn't have been going faster than 50 mph.

All of the cars were hesitantly passing the officer and the old van, not wanting to get involved in a police chase. As we passed the van it looked like some old guy was behind the wheel. I'm not even sure he noticed that the officer was trying to pull him over, or he was doing a really good job of not caring. We tried to signal to him and point at the police car but he wouldn't look over. We were scared that he was crazy or something so we got out of there after a few seconds.

Sunday, December 28, 2003

Pernicious Proposal

I just heard a pretty crazy story. My unidentified friend ("FRIEND") had this guy ask her out last Saturday. The plan was to go sledding. He was supposed to call FRIEND but didn't call until about 3:30 that afternoon.

FRIEND had already left to go sledding so when she got back she was all upset because she had missed his call. After about a half an hour of debating whether or not she should call him back she finally did. He wasn't there so she left a message.

Later than night he called FRIEND back and they talked for a while. In the conversation it came up that the guy was freaking ENGAGED! He'd been engaged for 4 days!

I want to know why he was asking someone out when he was engaged.

Glowing Shoes

Rachel got me some new shoes for Christmas. I really love them. They are white Adidas shoes with navy blue stripes on the side.

Wearing new white shoes is always kind of weird. It feels like your feet are GLOWING. I feel like I'm walking around with these huge, white things on my feet and everyone is looking at me. All I can see when I walk is my feet!

I remember going through this same thing when I was younger. After a few weeks it will wear off and then it will feel weird when I wear black shoes.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

This is a business!?!?

Two days ago there was a lady that called work and was trying to reach someone. She called once and hung up before I could get the phone. Then she called back again and I answered.

"Hello, is Shawn there?"

"I'm sorry - I think you have the wrong number. This is a business."

"This is a business!?!?" She was so shocked that she had called a business and not a residence. But the funny thing is - before she could have talked to me she would have heard the following recording: "Thank you for calling eRentPayer - rent made easy. For sales, press 2. If you need help logging in or making a payment, press 3 ...."

How could she possibly think that was someone's home answering machine?

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

I guess I'm Lessly

It was freezing on the way out to my car today. I got into my car and started the engine as fast as I could to get the heater going. I looked up at the windsheild and noticed a note underneath the right wiper.

"Lessly, I need to talk to you. It is very important. Please get a hold of me your life depends on it. J/K. If you get this soon check the army place down the road. I will be there for a minute.

The one, the only, the cool, Marc"

Should I give him a call? haha

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Tenant Romance Drama

This summer I got a call from a concerned girlfriend/fiancee that was trying to find a place for her boyfriend in Provo. Her one constraint was that the contract term only be one semester - they were getting married in December, after all.

The next day I got a call from the guy. His attitude was not the same. She had seemed so focused on the marriage. It was the only option. The first thing that he said, when he called, was "Can I extend my contract?"

Sure enough, a few weeks after moving in, they broke up and he wanted to extend his contract for another semester. I'm amazed at the miscommunication in this relationship. My best guess was that it was a long-distance relationship that turned bad once it became close.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Use Voice Talent for Greetings

You know how when you watch trailers for movies and hear commercials on the radio - the guy with the deep awesome voice comes on and says some cool stuff seeping with enthusiasm and bass? Well, we just got a new phone system and I wondered how much it would cost to hire one of those guys.

I was thinking it would cost about $500 - $10,000 (Yeah, I know that is a big range .. but the point is, I didn't think it would be cheap)

Voice Talents are actually incredibly cheap. So cheap that I'm thinking about having him do a message for my personal voicemail at Banta. (IN A WORLD WHERE TERROR WAS KING - ONE MAN - A HERO - AROSE TO THE CHALLENGE OF HIS LIFE. THANK YOU FOR CALLING JAMES ROWELL. WEB DEVELOPER, EXTRAORDINAIR. LEAVE A MESSAGE ... BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE)

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Nobody really likes Dave Matthews Band

I think that I'm old enough now to say that I don't like Dave Matthews Band. Did anyone ever really like them? I have distinct memories from high school and college of people asking me what bands I liked. I remember that if I said "Dave Matthews Band" then everyone would say "Oh yeah, he's SO GOOD."

But oddly enough I don't think I've ever heard anyone listen to him. But, regardless, they would still name him off when they were saying bands they liked.

I always thought his songs were annoying - they would only be cool for the first 15 seconds then I would have to turn them off. I think a lot of people have been pressured to say they like DMB in the past. It's time that people start admitting that they really don't like him.

TPM threatens the wrong owner

Total Property Management, the home-owners' association managers for La Jolla, called up Rachel yesterday at about 4:00 and told her that our second story condo was leaking water into unit #1 below us.

The manager, Joe Sanchez, then went on to threaten Rachel with fees of thousands of dollars in water damage repairs for the unit below. Rachel was, obviously, upset.

She called me and I immediately called Joe and got a message saying he was going to be "out of the office on vacation" until Wednesday. That's odd - didn't he JUST call Rachel?

So I had to take the rest of the day off of work and run over to La Jolla for an emergency fix. When I arrived there I thought it might be a good idea to talk to the people below us first to see exactly where the leakage was. As we approached there door we could see that the unit below us was, in fact, unit 19 - not unit 1. I knocked on their door anyway, thinking that Joe had just said the wrong number, and asked to see their reported water damage. They looked at me like I was some kind of nut. They had no idea what I was talking about.

So I went upstairs and looked in our unit and, sure enough, everything was fine. We walked around the building to unit 1 and found that unit 2 was above them.

Stupid Joe had called and threatened the WRONG OWNER.

Monday, December 01, 2003

December so soon?

Was it really Thanksgiving last week? Seems like I just had some weird dream. It feels like Christmas time to me, though, because FM 100.3 and 106.5 play Christmas music around the clock.

I can't believe it is December already. This year has FLOWN by. One year ago I stupidly started two businesses simultaneously while working full-time (on the side, haha). One of them lasted for only 8 months and the other has grown some roots. They definitely have kept me busy along with the marriage this summer.

I'm just in shock that Christmas is just around the corner and 2003 is almost over.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Nice Haircut means Bad Haircut

I've noticed that whenever anyone says "Hey, you got your hair cut. That looks really nice" - what they are really saying is "Hey, you got your haircut, it looks really bad, which is why I noticed it in the first place." This happens because people only comment on your hair when it looks bad.

I got my haircut over the weekend and it sucks. I usually go to the Dollar Cuts up by the old Fred Meyer. It's a nice place but it takes me a while to get there because it's actually in Orem (about 15-20 minutes away). When I was looking up their number in the phone book I noticed that there was a new one in Provo. My advice is don't go there. I saw two people walk out of there before me with bad haircuts. You'd think that would have been a red flag for me, but no I went ahead and let them butcher my hair as well.

Anyway, I've heard people say "Hey James, nice haircut" more in the last few days than I have in my entire life.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Sue Booters

A few days ago Rachel got booted and I got the call to go down and pay for it. I asked to see the guy's business license and he said he didn't have to show me his license to tow my car. I called 911 and the police came. He also told me that the guy didn't have to show a license. The cop said that if I wanted to see a business license then I could get in another car and follow the tow truck back to their place of business and look at it then.

I thought that was incredibly stupid. That means that if *I* have a truck then I could just tow anyone's car without showing them a business license that I do not have. Something seems wrong there.

So Jason and I did some investigation on how to fight against booters and we found that almost all Provo towing companies are NOT in compliance with Provo law. If you live in Provo, print this out and keep a copy of it in your car. (http://www.provo.org/council/citycode/Ch09.pdf)

Look in section 9.32.140 entitled "Reports for Motor Vehicle Booting and Non-Consensual Towing." Here is a list of their violations:

Section 5a: [The sign shall] be at least eighteen inches (18") by twenty-four inches (24") in size
Section 5b: [The sign shall] give warning, in large reflective lettering, that unauthorized vehicles will be booted or towed,
Section 5d: [The sign shall] give the name, telephone number and location of the firm(s) authorized to boot or tow vehicles
Section 5f: [The sign shall] be posted within five (5) feet, more or less, of each entrance to a parking lot.
Section 8a: The parking enforcement or towing company shall accept payment offered in cash or by major credit card, but shall not be obligated to accept checks or payment in coins and shall maintain sufficient cash on hand to make change of up to forty dollars ($40).

I asked the police officer if I could pay by credit card and he said "Just like any other business, they are not obligated to accept checks or credit cards." HE WAS WRONG! Section 8a says they MUST accept a "major credit card."

Their sign also did have "reflective lettering" and did not give the "location" (address) of the firm authorized to boot/tow the vehicle. I noted Section 5a 5f as well because most signs are not posted appropriately and are too small.

Print a copy of that PDF and hilite these sections. If you get booted then show the booter where they are in violation - they must take it off if they break any ONE of these rules. If not, then call the Provo Police - it is their duty to enforce the Provo Code - and the punishment to towing companies is considered a Class B misdemeanor according to Section 11 as follows:

(11) Violation of any section or provision of this section is a Class B misdemeanor. (Am 1997-064, Am 1998-063, Am 2001-37)

By the way, a Class B misdemeanor has a penalty of a $1000 fine and 6 months in jail. Sorry booters, you lose.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Want a Neon? Take it

Stuart stole a car yesterday - well, kind of. He went out to his car to go to work and the stupid thing wouldn't start. So he asked some random girl for a jump and it still wouldn't work.

Then surprisingly, she said "Well, if you'll drop me off at school then you can just take my car." Stuart immediately took her up on the offer, dropped her off at school, and proceeded to go to work in HER CAR.

To top it all off, on the way to work he got pulled over by the police for a broken tail light. He told the officer that it wasn't his car and he didn't even care! He didn't say anything about it, in fact, and just blew it off.

I've never heard of anyone just giving their car away for the day to people they don't even know. It blows my mind.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Hooking up means no work

Last summer we had an intern named Steve. He came to the office about twice or thrice a week. He did some really good work getting us started on bug testing and technical writing for a user's manual.

Then one day he stopped coming. We didn't see him for a few weeks and we started inquiring for his whereabouts. Turns out that is was the classic story - he got a girlfriend and forget all other assets of his life. What is more important, after all, than hooking up?

Two months passed and one evening we were sitting in the office chatting and suddenly Steve walked through the door! "Yeah! Steve is back!" we all exclaimed. We asked why he suddenly decided to show up. "We broke up" is all he needed to say. The rest was understood.

After another week he disappeared again. Apparently she decided to take him back. To this day we haven't seen him at work and they are now boyfriend and girlfriend. I'm both happy and sad for the fellow.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

OpenLunch

I'm way jealous of Provo High. Here's why:

I remember when I became a Junior in high school - the best part about that was that I was then allowed to have Open-Lunch (or leave school grounds for lunch). The only problem was that my high school was right in the middle of a residential neighborhood.

We had 30 minutes for lunch. So if we wanted to go to McDonalds it had to be a coordinated effort. We had to plan for it the period before and everyone that wanted to go would have to run like heck out to the car and meet there. Then we'd have to go to the drive-thru and eat on the way back to school. By the time we got back, class was about to start or we were late.

Provo High doesn't have this problem. These students are right across the street from numerous restaurants! Panda, Burger King, McDonalds, Pizza Factory, Hogi Yogi, Glazies, Pita Pit, Teriyaki, Rosas, Dominos, Arby's, Taco Bell, Del Taco, Carl's Jr, etc. All I have to say is that they are very lucky - I'm way jealous.

Look past the flesh and see your enemy

I am afraid - afraid of shopping carts hitting my car in the Wal-Mart parking lot. I went there three times last week for various reasons and every time I parked I spent five minutes gathering up all of the random carts around my parking spot so that none of them could potentially roll into my fender.

I would only go inside for 5-10 minutes tops. Every time when I came out there were at least two carts RIGHT NEXT to my car. People next to me would load up their car and then just leave the cart right against my car rather than walking it 10 feet to the cart holder thingy.

I'm not sure what to do ... maybe I should consider taking the bus to the store. :-)

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Fastlane Status

The freeway from Spanish Fork to Sandy is all three lanes. The whole concept of slow and fast lanes is a mystery to the people of Utah. Everyone immediately gets into the middle lane when they get on no matter how slow or fast they are. And then, they get over into the far left lane if they want fastlane status, not to go faster. Honestly, the people in the so-called fastlane are usually going SLOWER than everyone else.

I've noticed that when I'm going a bit faster than the flow of traffic and I need to pass people I spend most of my time in the far right (or slow) lane! It's so weird.

I've visited California and Nevada recently. For some reason the highways there flow slower on the right and faster on the left. Why is it the complete opposite in Utah?

Monday, October 27, 2003

Normal Edition

What ever happened to Normal Edition? I was looking at all of the new movies coming out for Christmas on buy.com and every single one was a "Special Collectors Edition" or "Limited Edition." You can't just buy the movie anymore.

Even Disney's Finding Nemo is a Collector's Edition. My question is - how can it be a edition that a collector would want if it is just coming out now? Is it already considered a classic and something that a collector must have? And how do they call movies Limited Edition? Yeah, like they are limiting it to only 100 million copies .. that's really limited.

This is kind of like what Seinfield says about medicine. Everything is maximum strength or extra strength. You can't just buy "strength" anymore.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Where are the Midget Kids?

So where are all of the midget kids?

You see midgets all of the time, but if you think about it - you've never seen a midget kid before. I'm not sure if they even exist.

So does that mean they go straight from being a child directly into midgethood? Rachel's friend from high school came over and asked Rachel about this since she's a "medical person." We just laughed because, in fact, nobody knows if there really are MKs out there.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Sneaking food into movies

Movie theatres charge WAY too much for concessions. Some people say that popcorn, soda, and candy are the only sources of revenue for movie theatres. While I know this isn't true because I worked at a movie theatre for a year and a half, charging $60 for a large coke and $39.95 for a small popcorn sure don't hurt.

This is why I feel fine about taking food to the movie theatre with me. Do the people that set these prices not realize how much stuff costs everywhere else in the world? When we go to the movies, we just run across the road to ShopKo and spend $4 on penny candy and get more than we could possibly eat. $4 at the movie's stand would get me a water and a pickle.

Nobody, in the history of the world, has ever been caught sneaking food into the theatre. While in high school, my friend Jason and I snuck in everything from McDonalds, to Taco Bell, to a whole PIZZA into the movies. The ticket guys are just minimum wage high school kids that couldn't care less.

"Even my most half-hearted attempts have been successful. I am pretty sure I could balance an overflowing basket of candy on my head like an Indian woman bearing goods to the market and no one would notice." - AmishRobot

When I was the ticket guy in Iowa City I remember seeing people walk by me with the strangest lumps in their pants, huge square-shaped bellies, large pointy hats, and awkward fragile bags making plastic crinkling sounds and ice-shaking sounds. The people would be looking at me with concern in their eyes that I wouldn't let them in. The truth is - ushers DON'T CARE unless their manager is standing right next to them.

Friday, October 17, 2003

Misconception of Programming

I'm shocked at the responses I get when I tell people that I am a programmer. Well, I usually first tell them that I'm a Developer and I get blank stares. Then I tell them that I'm a Web Developer and I get even more blank stares. Then I say I'm a Computer Programmer and they seem to get it.

4 out of 5 times I hear "How do you keep track of all those ones and zeroes? I don't know how you guys possibly can do that ..." and then before I even get a chance to explain that we don't actually program in binary and that there exist higher level languages they have already lost interest.

I think that the general public's misconception of programming is what makes us "programmers" so wealthy.

Scale of a Man

I didn't buy season tickets to BYU football this season. It would have been fun to go watch the games with friends, but in the end I've been sick, out of town, busy, broke, etc. every time there has been a home game this season so it has turned out for the best.

Jason and Larry made up a funny list about men who can't go to football games. (Ironically this was a list making fun of me since I wasn't there) Here it is:

After you are married you can tell how much of a man you are by this scale:
- not a man if you can't watch football games
- more of a man if you are allowed to watch them on TV
- more of a man if your wife watches with you on TV
- more of a man if you are allowed to go to game
- more of a man if your wife comes to the game
- you are a fruit if during the game you have to go shopping

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Homeless in Provo

In the last few weeks I've seen a bunch of homeless guys around - this isn't strange, but the fact that they were all very young was. I swear two of them couldn't have been over 25. Rachel was with me when we saw one guy and she commented that he was "too young to be homeless."

I tend to agree with her. For some reason it's just funny to me to look over and see a guy about the same age as me who is hiking along the side of the freeway with his guitar.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Google promotes jamesrowell.com

I just made it into the top three on Google!!! And of course, since I'm saying "I'm in the Top 3" that implies that I am number three.

I've been trying to get on to those search results for months. I guess my site just wasn't old enough before. So the other day I opened up a web browser and google.com came up - it's my homepage. And just for the heck of it I typed in "James Rowell." I was shocked to see that my site was NUMBER THREE.

Good job to me. I finally passed up all of those geneology links.
http://www.google.com/search?q=james+rowell

UPDATE: As of 20 Feb 2007 I am now #2!!!

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Olive Garden unlocks doors

eRentPayer's success can be attributed to many things, but it all boils down to one thing in the end - Olive Garden Gift Certificates. I'll tell you how.

When you make a deal with another company (a merchant provider, an ACH processor, a constantly discontent client, a referral crazy client, etc) you need a way to ease things over and/or show them your gratitude. Something to juice them up before you ask for a favor.

For example - (Sept 5) our agent with our processor receives a letter from eRentPayer saying how grateful we are and how much we love working with them. (Sept 6) our agent receives a fax requesting millions of dollars for a new limit. (Sept 7) our funding approval is received without delay and has a "PS Thanks for the Olive Garden Gift Certificate. I'll put it to good use!" attached to it.

Disgruntled clients also love it when they get these things in the mail. It seems to make all their problems go away. It's the perfect gift because it is a national chain. Any city has an Olive Garden. And everyone loves Olive Garden - they just don't go there all of the time because it is expensive. So when eRentPayer sends them there, they just love us.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Pillows-a-Plenty

I think it's funny how women like to have tons of pillows on the bed and couches. You ask them what they are for and they don't really have a good answer.

Some people say they are decorative pillows. But why are we decorating our bed with 2 millions pillows when we are the only ones that ever see it? It takes half an hour to get ready for bed - 5 minutes to get ready and 25 minutes to remove the pillows.

Sometimes when I go to visit friends I try to sit on their couch and I end up with about half an inch for me to sit on because the pillows are pushing me off. I have to turn around and move the pillows but there really isn't a good place to put them. You can't put them on the floor - that would be rude. I can't put them next to me because someone else is trying to sit there. So I end up piling them up in my lap until I can't even see anyone anymore.

I think one or two pillows is okay. But having a whole stack of pillows on the bed and couch is just out of control.

Monday, October 06, 2003

The Perpetual Blanket

Yesterday SOMEBODY kept stealing the blanket from me while I was sleeping. I'm not sure what was going on. I remember at one point I woke up and slowly pulled a small section of blanket back over - just enough to cover my freezing feet. I've never seen a more violent "sleep tug" in return to my action. Before I knew it I was left with nothing and I was worse off than when I started.

I found a hilarious article on a Dilbert Newsletter about this. Someone proposed that married people should use a "Perpetual Blanket" so that it is impossible to lose your portion of the blanket:

"It's a blanket that wraps down one side of the bed, under the bed and up the other side of the bed, returning to the top. This way people who have spouses that constantly steal the covers can always have a fresh supply being drawn up from beneath. Optional feature: Alarm when blanket is pulled to PROVE that spouse steals the covers."

I think I might have to get one of these.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Why don't they have 3% milk?

I'm giving up whole milk. It had a good run. I've been drinking it since 1997 (if you count the stuff in Brazil 97-99 as "whole" milk. It was more like straight-cream). Yesterday I was talking to Rachel and told her that I've had enough of whole milk. It was time to downgrade to 2%.

But wait a minute - 2% is too thin. And whole is too thick. Don't they have 3%? I mean they got skim, then 1%, then 2%, ..... then WHOLE. There is this amazing gap. They like skipped a whole bunch of percents. I'm writing to the milk company today to demand 3%. I think they'd be able to sell it a lot to those of us who don't want it so creamy as whole but not as thin as 2%.

Milk is funny.

UPDATE: Today is 20 Feb 2007. I have only had skim milk for about 3 years. It seems weird to think that I thought 2% was watery.

Monday, September 29, 2003

Cafe Rio: Good or Horrible?

Last week Rachel and I went to Cafe Rio for dinner. Ask anyone who lives in Provo - Cafe Rio is one of the best places in town for good (and not so expensive) food.

The problem with Cafe Rio, however, is that their lines are super long. Usually the line goes right to the door. It takes about 5 minutes to get far enough in the line so that you are in their cattle-herding markers. Then you are there for about another 10 minutes.

So Cafe Rio must be good, because I would never wait in a line that long for any other restaurant. But is the food really that good? Or have I just gotten super hungry from waiting in line so long that anything would be good at the point?

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Dog has more effect than Saturn

Today I was reading a very funny thread on slashdot.org about horoscopes. Someone quoted Carl Sagan where he was saying how ridiculous the idea of astrology was:

"'The idea behind horoscopes is that the way the planets were aligned when you were born affects you. The only way this could actually be true is if it was their respective pulls of gravity against your body while being born.' Then he pointed out that the gravitational pull of the obstetrician that delivered you far outweighed that of any celestial body."

Here was the response to this quote:

"There was a related incident on NPR a couple of years ago. Someone claimed that, if you have a large dog, its gravitation pull on you is more that the pull of Saturn at its closest approach. Someone else questioned this. So someone else looked up the numbers in an astronomical reference book and did the calculations.
As I recall, they assumed a 50-pound (20-kg) dog. It turned out that at about 3 or 4 meters the dog has the same gravitational pull as Saturn at its closest approach to Earth. If the dog is closer, it's pull is greater that Saturn's. And if you're touching, even a small dog has a greater pull than Saturn.
I also recall thinking that a large dog that's very close when you're born might very well have a greater effect on your life than Saturn. But this is not due to its gravitaional pull.
Ain't physics wonderful?"

And then in reply to the response:

"What you sayin' bout my momma?!"

Monday, September 22, 2003

Steak Amnesia is real

I think that it is impossible to remember what a steak tastes like - either that or I have steak amnesia.

Yesterday I was at my parents' house for a Rowell family BBQ. My dad made this T-bone steak that was mmm, mmm delicious. While I was eating it I just kept thinking, "Man, this is the best steak I've ever had in my life."

However, I remember thinking the exact same thing a few months ago. And I especially remember feeling the same feelings at Sizzler about a year ago. Steak amnesia is real. You can remember kind of what it's like, but it's impossible to remember the supreme joy you feel while eating a good steak.

UPDATE: As of 20 Feb 2007 the best steak I've ever had was at Bob's Steakhouse in downtown San Fancisco. At least of the steaks I can remember.

Will work for food (except at Wendy's)

A few weeks ago I was driving by Wendy's and I saw a homeless man standing out front with a sign that said "Will work for food."

Then I looked up at the Wendy's sign and it said, "Help Wanted." I couldn't help but laugh because of the irony of the situation. Maybe he didn't know how to read - I'm not sure.

Wendy's should hire the guy, put him in back on the grills and pay him in hamburgers. They'd save a lot of money and he would get the food he wanted.

Hive Gone

So what ever happened to The Hive? I realized today that I never wrote the story of The Hives' disappearance. (FYI, The Hive was a PC Gaming center in Provo, UT that three friends and I opened up. People would essentially come and pay to use our computers and play our games. It was located inside Laser Assault in Provo.)

On the night of Thursday, 10 July 2003, we decided that enough was enough (or rather, not enough money was not enough to stay in business). Rich, Dave, and Adam all thought that we should wait until Monday to close - but I felt like we should do it the very next day to avoid problems with the landlord. We were on a month to month contract and we didn't want him to try and get us to pay for an extra month or anything. That selfsame night I took home four computers that were my personal assets. I was going to come back for the rest (3) the next day.

The next day Adam went in to The Hive for the afternoon shift and called me up all panicked. "Please tell me you came last night and got two more computers," he said. "Nope," I replied, "just the four that I took last night. Why, what's wrong?" As it turns out, the owner of Laser Assault, Jim DeGroot, had stolen two of our computers when he came into work and saw that four of them were gone. He was scared that we were going to move out and he was going to lose his lease money for the next month (which was an error on his part, because we were on a tenancy-at-will agreement with him, so he had no right to expect rent for the next month). So he was holding two of our PCs, valued at $1800 for ransom until we paid up. Needless to say, we were all pissed and we all left work immediately to come down and resolve the issue.

Luckily, Adam was able to convince Jim to return the computers before we got there. (There would have been some serious trouble had he not). Adam simply told Jim that the IRS would be getting a call about tax fraud if he didn't return the PCs right away. Somehow the computers magically appeared within five minutes. Rich went and got his brother's truck and we loaded all of the monitors and boxes into it and took my portion to my house and the rest to Adam's house.

It was unfortunate that we had to leave Laser Assault with such bad blood. Jim tried to cover for himself and blame the fact that he stole the PCs on us somehow. We were going to close down anyway that weekend, so it wasn't too much of an inconvenience, but we still can't believe he did that.

The Hive was fun, there's no doubting that. But PC Gaming Centers just don't make enough money to make it a profitable venture. As a side note - I still wear my Hive shirt at least once a week. I'm actually wearing it right now.

Friday, September 19, 2003

McDonalds MIA

From the movie Money Train: "McDonalds is forever"

... except on 900 E. I've always wanted to save up enough money to one day open a McDonalds. It seemed to me as though McDonalds was a sure investment. Maybe I was wrong.

For the first time in my life, I saw a McDonalds close. It happened this summer to the McDonalds on 900 E in Provo by Gold's Gym. One day I went there with Jason and Van to have lunch. It was business as usual. We all ordered our food and were served by smiling employees. The next day I went back to get a double cheeseburger and the windows where boarded up with huge black boards.

A few weeks later the place was torn down and now there is just a big dirt spot in the middle of a parking lot, as you can see from the picture. I'm not really sure what happened. The word on the street is that this particular franchise was the dud of all the McDonalds in Provo, but who knows if that is true. I guess from now on we have to drive to East Bay or Bulldog-and-Freedom if we want McDonalds.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Embarrassing Order

Today at lunch I was sitting at Barry's Drive Inn in Spanish Fork eating my mozzarella sticks when suddenly three old guys walked in. One of them said, "I'll take the usual." Then the other said, "Make that two." Then the third, "Make that three."

For some reason I can't bring myself to order the same thing as someone else. It feels very strange. It's almost embarrassing to me. But these three men were so casual about their duplicated order that it made me feel comfortable. These men have inspired me. From now on I'm going to order what I want - even if someone else already ordered it. It may take a while to get used to, but I know it's the right thing to do.

Van VS Honor Code

Van Phillips recently took on the head guy at the honor code office. This was no simple matter that any counselor could take care of. This was serious. Very serious. This was a matter for the DIRECTOR.

Van went to eRentPayer's competitors and got a demo from them of their product. Van told them that he was a property manager for Kree Management, which he is. He got several important facts out of this demo, but the most important thing he learned was that they don't have a product yet and they are still in very early stages of development.

While van was there one of the staff recognized him from BYU and tried to interrupt the demo to tell the guy that Van was an alleged spy. But the guy shrugged him off as being rude to a potential client. A few weeks later Van got a call from the honor code office. Apparently a faculty member associated with them was so upset that he referred Van to the honor code office for being dishonest and deceitful. We know it was faculty that referred Van, otherwise there is no way that such a stupid matter would make it all the way to the top.

Of course, when Van went in he quickly caught the director of the honor code office in his words and proved to the guy that this whole claim was unfounded. He was, in fact, a property manager looking at potential software. He was disappointed in what he saw. The faculty member also made a claim that Van told a potential funder not to invest in the competitor which is absolutely not true and unrelated completely.

These guys have resorted to tattling on us to BYU to try and get Van in trouble.

Monday, September 15, 2003

Vacation from the vacation

I just got a letter from my sister that lives in Italy. She had a baby a while back and it sounds like she is having a wonderful time in Europe. She said that she is going to come visit Utah in the spring! I can't wait to see her and the new baby.

Louise brought up an interesting point in her letter. She said that they went to London for two weeks to visit Fred's mom and tour with some friends - and then when they got back they were so tired from that trip that they needed a vacation from the vacation! She said, "We totally need a vacation after that vacation. So, this week we are going to Sardenga, a big island off of Italy."

I totally agree with this. Every time I go on a vacation I come home exhausted the night before I have to go back to work or school and I feel like I need more rest. From our last trip, Rachel and I came home 2 days early. That gave us plenty of time to get settled and relax. I think that's the best way to do it.

Fees returned

Please consider this blog an addendum to "Utah Crappy Crap Union" that was posted on Friday, Sep 5, 2003. At that point I was overwhelmed and upset with my bank because of an excessive amount of overlimit and overdraft fees. To be more precise, $125 of banking fees.

I was all sad about this and then Jason told me that if the bank gives you fees all you have to do is ask for the money back and they'll give it to you. I didn't believe him. I thought that the bank would be spineless if they did that. But I am here today to tell you that it is true. The secret is to find a friendly employee that looks nice. I went to the Spanish Fork branch and they simply said "no" - which surprised me because they are usually the nice ones. On the way to my parents' house I tried Pleasant Grove.

The guy at Pleasant Grove gave me the $40 overdraft fees back right on the spot. Then he had me fill out a form for the $85 overlimit fees and they were just returned to me this morning. Needless to say, I'm a happy camper now. For proof, see below:

09/12/2003 Deposit REIMBERSE NSF FEE Checking $40.00
09/15/2003 Cr Crd Pmt REFUND OVERLIMIT FEES Cr Crd Payment $85.00

Can You Raed Tihs?

I thought it was very weird when I read this. I suppose it's true. We don't read every letter of every word - so it doesn't really matter what order the letters in the middle are.

Scrambled words are legible as long as first and last letters are in place.

From the languagehat site: 'Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht frist and lsat ltteer is at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by it slef but the wrod as a wlohe. ceehiro.'"

http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=03/09/15/2227256&mode=thread&tid=133&tid=134&tid=186

Friday, September 12, 2003

Time to be healthy

My wife has encouraged me to eat healthy and always get something to eat in the morning before work. Today on my way to work I decided that it is about time that I listen to her and be a healthy person.

On the way out I even made my own lunch and took it to work to eat it there. My breakfast included a Coca-cola and two Nutty Bars. My wife will be so proud of me when she hears that I've taken the first step on my own. I can't believe I never did this before. Breakfast is great!

Three year response

Tonight I got an email from Kevin Corbett. He wanted to know if I was available for work so he could hire me. Here is a copy of an email that I sent to Kevin:

Yes I'd be interested in being a part of the hottechnology.com team. I attached a copy of my resume in word format for you to look over and I should be available for hire within a few weeks.

Please keep in mind that I wrote this email to him on Friday, July 07, 2000 2:58 AM. Note the year - 2000.

I got this email today:
James, Are you available?

It took him THREE YEARS to respond to me. I understand that corporations are slow and it takes some time for paperwork. I can see how it might take 3 hours, 3 days, 3 weeks, or even 3 months for him to get back to me. But 3 years? That is just insulting. It is as if I haven't worked or done anything for the last three years and I've just been sitting by my computer waiting for him to respond. I told him that I was available for $100,000/year. We'll see if I get a response in 2006.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

We'll miss mom

Late Tuesday night, at about midnight, my mother-in-law, Nancy Bartlett, passed away.

Needless to say, everyone is shocked and sad. We miss her terribly. The day after I took work off to stay home with Rachel. She is taking it quite well. While it's not good to dwell on the why and how it happened, I'll explain briefly. Nancy had breast cancer that was found earlier this year in its very late stages. The doctors started her on chemo right away and she has been very sick from the treatments over the last several months.

Last Saturday Nancy was out painting in her backyard and spending time with her family. On Sunday she was at church for James Bartlett's baby blessing. Then, on Monday, she started to have some really serious pain in her abdomen. The doctors supposed it was her appendix. The pain got so bad that they took her to the ICU at Utah Valley Hospital. Upon surgery it was clearly evident that she wasn't going to survive because she had a blood clot that almost completely destroyed her colon - not to mention the fact that her immune system was shot so that recovery from an operation was almost impossible.

All of the Bartlett's were able to be there to say one last goodbye. We'll miss mom. She was so loving and caring of everyone around her. Nancy's funeral will be this Saturday at 11:00.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

New Office

I was looking for some pictures of roundabouts (I can't remember why) and I came across a picture of a roundabout by Seven Peaks that happens to have Belmont in the background. That big pile of dirt is where my condo is now. I just thought it was kind of cool to see how things were before my building even existed.

We finally found a tenant to move into Belmont, which means eRentPayer has now moved to its new office downtown. The new place is much, much larger than our old one and it is a refreshing change that the company needed. We now have almost limitless space for our sales and integration departments.

Pay as much as you want at the drive thru

So I just got back from going to Taco Bell for lunch. They told me over the intercom that it was going to be $4.79. I pulled all of the money out of my pocket and saw that I had a measly 10 bucks. I started rummaging through my car for extra change and realized that my ash try was full of coins.

My ash try is amazing. I've been buying stuff at drive thrus for about a week now with this change and the coin level hasn't gone down one bit. I think that I could retire off of my ash tray.

Drive thrus generally have somewhat long lines at lunch time, so when I handed the guy a hand full of nickels and told him it was $4.79 on the dot he just took it and through it in the register. This made me think. You could pretty much pay as much as you want to at the drive thru. No employee getting paid 5 bucks an hour is going to sit there and count nickels while there is a huge line of cars full of hungry people. I could have given the guy 2 dollars in nickels and he would have never known. Not that I would ever do it, but you could pretty much pay whatever amount you want to as long as you pay in small coins.

No country without good mood

On the way home from Zion National Park Rachel and I were both very tired. We couldn't wait to get home and rest for a bit. I was flipping through the channels on the radio and came across a country station. I listened for a moment.

I generally like country. It has really grown on me in the last few years. But this was not a good time for country music. I was thinking out loud to Rachel about how you can't listen to country when you are in a bad mood. She said, "It's true. You have to be in a good mood to listen to country." I'm not sure why, but when you are tired or upset about something, country music is just simply unbearable.

Usually I have to listen to pop for a few minutes and then switch to country for about 15 minutes, and then go back for air. If you listen to country too long you may just suffocate.

Friday, September 05, 2003

Over and under the limit in one day

I've had some recent, bad experiences with UCCU. It's not totally their fault, but nonetheless you always have to blame the bank.

On our honeymoon, Rachel and I put hotels, dinners, and other minor expenses on my Visa with UCCU. I knew that my balance was close to my limit but I didn't know how close because I was out of state and had no way to check. When I got back in town I looked online and saw that my balance was OVER my limit and that I had been charged a $68.00 "overlimit fee."

Okay, where the crap did they get the number 68 to charge me. Sounds like some teller just pulled that out of her crack. Anyway, it turns out that there is a $17 per transaction-over-the-limit fee. BUT WHY WAS THE BANK AUTHORIZING TRANSACTIONS OVER THE LIMIT!?!?!? What is the purpose of a limit if the bank is going to authorize anything ANYWAY?

So I emptied out my savings account and put all of that money into Rachel's personal account so we could have money to buy our new house. Then I transferred everything except $100 from my checking to the credit card. Within 30 minutes after doing that my stock broker took $200 from my checking account (auto-withdrawal program for savings) and the bank charged me $20 for overdraft fee and then another Visa transaction came through from Sprindale, UT that put my Visa over the limit again and the bank charged me ANOTHER $17 fee. Needless to say, things are a little crazy right now.

Pledge of Michael Jackson

My school only said the Pledge of Allegiance until I was in 2nd grade. Why did they stop? Because we made up our own inappropriate words and ruined its image.

There have been some recent debates in the news about legislation to make the Pledge of Allegiance illegal or unconstitutional in the United States. Certain people didn't think it was appropriate for children to be forced or pressured to say the pledge when they went to elementary school. At my school when I was a child, this wasn't even an issue.

I remember going out to the swing set during recess and chanting these words with my friends:

I pledge allegiance to the flag
Michael Jackson is a fag

We would keep yelling that over and over until the recess lady would blow her whistle at us and send us back inside. A few kids said that when everyone was saying the pledge to the flag and so Mrs. Lawrence, the principal, just called off the whole thing.

Why it's good to be married

I get asked the question 'So how is married life?' a lot now. I'm sure Rachel does, too, since she spends her days at BYU and is surrounded by friends. So far it has been difficult to come up with a good answer.

Sure, it's nice to have someone who loves you unconditionally ... but there is one thing that has made it all worth it.

The other day Rachel made these enchiladas that were like WHOA. "Holy crap this is the best things I've ever eaten," I said with a tear of joy swelling in my eye. These enchiladas have made it all worth it.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Family Home Dating

In the LDS Church there is a program recommended to its members called Family Home Evening. Essentially every family is supposed to take Monday evening off from other activities and stay at home and share a spiritual message and activity together. It promises to bring the family closer together and invite happiness into the home.

There is a flaw with this program. Because the leaders of the church asked everyone in the world to participate in FHE (Family Home Evening) this blanket invitation also included college students and all single adults alike.

I look back at my FHEs when I was a single and rarely did any of them ever have any spiritual uplifting going on. For the most part, people simply would not go. And for the remaining people who actually did show up, it was only to see who was there and possibly get to know someone so you could ask them out. I like to refer to it as "Family Home Dating."

Of the three elements contained in the name we only got one of them. 1 - Family. We are at college ... the people at that meeting are not my family. 2 - Home. It's just an apartment that I'm renting out for the semester ... it's definitely not my home. 3 - Evening. Well, it is usually at night. We gotta give them at least that.

I personally took advantage of Family Home Dating while I was single. I think that I got about half of my dates from it. I like the concept of getting together once a week as friends to do something ... but it definitely shouldn't be affiliated with FHE.

Stationary Store

I saw a really funny quote the other day and I thought I'd put it down here.

Herb is the kind of guy who likes to walk into a stationery store, go up to the clerk and say, "You're right. This place isn't moving at all."

It's pretty dry humor but I gotta admit that it makes me laugh. Along this same random note - my uncle John used to be the CFO of some Jewish community up in Salt Lake City and he made a few comments about how funny those Jews were. The Rabbi especially would make fun of Jews all the time. He said:

The only down-side of being a Rabbi is that you have to work with a bunch of Jews.

Wendy's - Only Source of Food

I've been eating at Wendy's way too much lately. The problem is that it's just way cheap there and the food is pretty darn good.

I can eat lunch at Wendy's for $2-3 and it would easily cost that much to make a lunch for me at home - not to mention the time it would take to make the lunch and the annoyance of having to store the lunch in a public fridge in the break room at work. Wendy's is just more practical than buying groceries.

While Jason and I spend hours and hours working on eRentPayer we get pretty hungry. A few weeks ago we looked at the clock and it was 1:45am. He looked at me and said, "We need to leave right now. Our only source of food closes in 15 minutes!" Only source of food? At first that sounded ridiculous ... but I thought about it for a second and he was right. Besides Little Caesars awesome price of $5 for a large pizza, Wendy's really was [is] our primary source of food.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Weeping Rock, Zion National Park

A cool place we went to at Zion National Park was called Weeping Rock. From what I understand, this particular place has slate on the bottom and sandstone on the top. The water seeps through the sandstone very slowly and eventually hits the slate. At that point the water slides along the slate until it falls out of the side of the mountain - which gives it the appearance of "weeping." It was pretty cool to see water coming right out of the side of the rock. Some of those water droplets are up to 40 years old.

The ranger at Zion got really mad at me when I called the park Zions. But everyone around here calls it Zions because we have Zions Bank. Everyone asks me 'How was Zions Park?' ... so I guess I'm not the only one. The lady ranger copped an attitude and said in a very nagging voice, "It's not Zions, it's Zion. See, no S. You must be from Utah."

Okay lady, just let me in the park, please. Whatever. The Zion Lodge has some freakin awesome ice cream. We'd go there after hikes and get some.

Angel's Landing, Zion National Park

We went on a hike in Zion National Park up a trail to a place called Angel's Landing. On the map it seemed to be quite a short little hike. Just off of the road and back for a few miles. Little did we know that those few miles were STRAIGHT UP.

I was impressed at how many people were there. The majority of the people we ran into were actually from England. They had come all the way from England to hike this trail in Utah. I thought that was amazing.

Before we left Provo, Rachel's dad had put some drinks and snacks in our car as a surprise so we'd have something to eat on the trip. One of the things he gave us were some bottles of water. As we were leaving the hotel for our "little hike" we decided to grab three bottles just in case we needed them. All I can say is - if we hadn't have gotten that water I don't know if I'd be here today to tell the story.

At the top of the trail there are a few parts where the trail just turns into some slanted and steep rock and they just put a little chain for the hikers to grab on to. It was terrifying to me. If you slipped you would fall right off of a cliff. I was even more surprised that they let anyone go up on that trail. Old people and young kids were going up that thing (and even harder, going down it). They say nobody has ever died on that trail. But I didn't want to be the first. The view from the top was outstanding. No picture could ever capture the feeling you get while you are up there. I highly recommend this hike - oh, and take some water!

Hines Mansion in Provo, UT

After you get married you're supposed to go somewhere close by so you don't have to travel a long ways after such a big day when you're totally exhausted. At least, that is what everyone told me. So I decided that Rachel and I would go to a local B&B that was at a mansion-converted-to-hotel in Provo called Hines Mansion.

The rooms were beautiful and the breakfast was great. We loved how the rooms were themed and they had nice big, comfortable beds and jacuzzis in each room. Seems like a great "getaway" for any couple in Provo that needs a night away from home.

However ... I do not recommend Hines Mansion if you want privacy. It is the perfect place to relax, but not the best place in the world if you want to be alone. If I ever go back I'm going to tell the hotel owner that they need to invest in installing insulation in the walls. We could hear the TV going in the next room! We could hear people talking across the hall! Luckily we didn't have to hear anyone doing something else!

This also made it very weird for Rachel and I so we were glad to get out of there and go down to Vegas and stay in our suite there. Don't get me wrong - I liked Hines Mansion. But it is not the place to go when you need to make any noise at all.

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Tournament of Crap

When I was in high school I went to Toronto because my choir was in a tournament (which we won, btw) and the awards ceremony was held at Medieval Times. It was great. That was so much fun.

Las Vegas has something similar called Tournament of Kings at The Excalibur. Rachel and I decided it would be fun to go so we faced the extremely large bill (after all, it was our honeymoon) and enjoyed ourselves. They gave each person a whole rotisserie chicken. It was really good meat, I was impressed. They made you eat with your fingers, because in the Medieval Era they didn't have silverware. However, I guess they did have Pepsi - because that is what everyone was drinking.

The show was fun. It wasn't the best show in the world but I would recommend a friend to go see it once to have the experience. They had some acrobat guys come and do all sorts of flips and tricks, and they were really awesome. The sword fights seemed a bit too choreographed, but what can you expect after those poor actors have done it so many times. The whole time we just kept thinking how fun this show would have been if we were kids.

IMAX

I just got back from my honeymoon. It was great, to say the least. We spent two nights at a fancy bed and breakfast place in Provo called Hines Mansion, then three nights at a suite in New York New York in Las Vegas, and then three nights in Zion National Park.

Rather than writing about everything in one monster blog, I'll just split up over several shorter blogs to keep things interesting.

One of my favorite experiences in Vegas was going to see a movie at the IMAX inside Luxor. When I saw that I just about crapped my pants. They walk you up into this theatre that is way high up inside the Luxor's pyramid. The screen is 7 stories tall. I've never seen anything like it. You walk along the aisles and sit down and then the railing folds down over your lap and locks you in similar to the way a roller coaster rail holds you into your chair. This was necessary to do because the stadium seating was very steap. Needless to say, they don't want anyone going to the bathroom - which made me need to go the bathroom. hahah

With the combination of the screen being so huge and the sound system being absolutely perfect, it made for quite an awesome experience.

Friday, August 22, 2003

Two Rachels

Last week Rachel was at a Bridal shower at my mom's house. It was a bridal shower for my side of the family, so she got the opportunity to meet all of my aunts really well. Whether that is a good or bad thing, I'm not sure - but it happened.

Lisa, my sister, brought her little girl, Kate (3), along with her because she couldn't leave her at home during the shower. Rachel went to the party with her mom and twin.

During the shower Kate saw Rachel and her identical twin, Ruth, sitting on the couch and was amazed. She looked them over and didn't know what to think. Finally she went to her mom and said - "Mommy, there's TWO RACHELS!" I thought that was a very cute observation from a three-year-old, little girl.

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Real Ultimate Power

Back in the days of The Hive we used to read from a very funny ninja website called Real Ultimate Power. Pretty much all of our humor was based off of this website for about 3 months. It's pretty funny. I've included the text from the main page here:

Hi, this site is all about ninjas, REAL NINJAS. This site is awesome. My name is Robert and I can't stop thinking about ninjas. These guys are cool; and by cool, I mean totally sweet.

Testimonial: Ninjas can kill anyone they want! Ninjas cut off heads ALL the time and don't even think twice about it. These guys are so crazy and awesome that they flip out ALL the time. I heard that there was this ninja who was eating at a diner. And when some dude dropped a spoon the ninja killed the whole town. My friend Mark said that he saw a ninja totally uppercut some kid just because the kid opened a window.

And that's what I call REAL Ultimate Power!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If you don't believe that ninjas have REAL Ultimate Power you better get a life right now or they will chop your head off!!! It's an easy choice, if you ask me.

Ninjas are sooooooooooo sweet that I want to crap my pants. I can't believe it sometimes, but I feel it inside my heart. These guys are totally awesome and that's a fact. Ninjas are fast, smooth, cool, strong, powerful, and sweet. I can't wait to start yoga next year. I love ninjas with all of my body (including my pee pee).

Q and A:
Q: Why is everyone so obsessed about ninjas?
A: Ninjas are the ultimate paradox. On the one hand they don't give a crap, but on the other hand, ninjas are very careful and precise.
Q: I heard that ninjas are always cruel or mean. What's their problem?
A: Whoever told you that is a total liar. Just like other mammals, ninjas can be mean OR totally awesome.
Q: What do ninjas do when they're not cutting off heads or flipping out?
A: Most of their free time is spent flying, but sometime they stab. (Ask Mark if you don't believe me.)

realultimatepower.net

So I got chased by an Axe Murderer

My friend and I almost got chopped up by an axe murderer - it's a true story.

Today I was recalling a story from my church mission to Brazil that happened in January 1998. At the time, I was serving with Elder Elias in Santa Cruz. I had been in Brazil for two months, so I didn't really speak Portuguese very well. There was a particular neighborhood in Santa Cruz that was extremely poor. All of the locals advised the missionaries not to go in there because it was extremely dangerous. So naturally, like any other curious 19 year old boy would do, we went in there right away to see what all the fuss was about.

We were shocked to see the run down condition of these people's lives. The old brick road quickly turned into a dirt path about the width of a sidewalk and the trees became denser. After a few more hundred feet the path was only wide enough for one person to walk and we were in the middle of the rough. We looked around and saw a few houses here and there. It was obvious that there was no plumbing back here. How could anyone live back here?

We found a clearing with a few houses and began to talk with an old guy that was hanging up some laundry on a string tied between his "house" and a nearby tree. After about a minute we heard some screaming and yelling and we all looked up at the path to see what was going on. There was a young man, about 20 years old, with dirty, dark hair that had was swinging a full size axe around in the air and hitting stuff. A few women and children were standing about 20 feet away from him, yelling profusely at him - demanding that he stop.

This enraged the man only more and he cut down their clothes line. Then we ran over to their house and started chopping down the side wall. He put a pretty big chunk in the side of the house and knocked down their door. By this time people were starting to gather. We just sat frozen only about 40 feet away - watching, not knowing if we should get involved.

The man was just going ballistic. He stopped for a moment and glared at the people. He looked around for another target. A few people tried to approach him but he would just swing the axe wildly until they stepped away. He almost got one kid right in the head. (Why the kid was trying to get him to stop, I don't know). The man spotted the satellite dish next the little house. (Yes, that's right ... a freakin' satellite dish. Brazilians, no matter how bad their life, no matter how poor they are, no matter their income, will always have a nice TV and stereo. It comes before buying clothes and food for their children) He approached the satellite dish and everyone stopped yelling because they were over come by horror.

Never mind the house. Never mind our tree. Never mind the little kid you almost cut open. JUST PLEASE DON'T HIT THE DISH!!! The man cocked back and came down on the dish, tearing away one of its panels. The silence broke out into a roar and everyone charged the man. After all, how dare he hit someone's satellite dish?

The man swung wildly to back the people away. He ran around and started heading for us. Right at us! We sat frozen. The people started throwing rocks at him, trying to knock him out or scare him away. The rocks were flying all around us, but for some reason we just sat there calmly. Mid-stride the crazy man with the axe spotted two missionaries with bright white shirts and ties sitting in front of him and his whole demeanor changed. He stopped running and calmly sat down in the chair next to us. People stopped throwing rocks and we just sat there looking at each other.

I broke the ice. "Hey, how's it going?" "Good," he calmly replied, as if nothing was wrong. "I'm kind of having a rough day." My companion looked at me, then at the man. "Hey, do you need some help with something?" The man looked confused, as if he had no idea that something was wrong. "No, I'm good."

Suddenly, a rock nailed the man right in the back and he clutched his axe tightly and screamed at the top of his lungs as he lunged out of the chair back at the angry mob. Everyone ran in every direction and we took that as a cue to get the heck out of there. Sirens were heard in the distance and everyone started running inside. It would take the police at least 15 minutes to get back there by foot, so we had time to get out of there. The last thing I needed was to get caught by the Brazilian police for being involved in an axe fight. They would be very upset when they found out that a satellite dish was damaged in the attack.

I was amazed at how the man changed when he was in our presence. He saw us and could apparently see that we were missionaries trying to teach the Word of God to the people. He felt our peace, if only for a moment. I'm glad we were protected that day. We left there (running as fast as we could) with a prayer of thanks in our hearts.

Monday, August 18, 2003

I'm lucky when it comes to cupholders

I consider myself a very lucky person ... when it comes to cupholders. When I first got my driver's license I was fortunate enough to be able to use my dad's Dodge Intepid to drive to high school every day. I always enjoyed the comfortable feeling I got when driving that vehicle with a drink. I wasn't worried at all about that thing spilling. After a while we went out and bought a Ford Escort for me to drive to school. It, too, had quite the luxurious cup holding apparatus.

Almost two years ago now, I bought my Acura and have never looked at another cupholder since. The cupholder in my Integra is a pull out tray that just has two holes cut in it. Then the cup or can itself rests on the console with the stick-shift on it. It's perfect! It holds anything from a small can of soda to an XL from Carls Jr.

I've been in my friends' cars when we go to the drive-thru and I'm just embarrassed of their cupholders. They end up putting drinks in the CD compartments or between there legs. That just won't do.

Birthday vs. Wedding

Wow - so I'm getting married in like 5 days. That's pretty soon. It just so happens that the wedding day is on my birthday. Whenever anyone hears that they say, "Well, at least you'll never forget the anniversary."

Headphones are the modern Do Not Disturb sign

There are some days when I just don't feel good. These are days when it is nice to be able to just come to work and relax and surf the net (and write blogs). This is one of those days.

I've found that the best way to keep people from bugging me is to put on headphones. For some reason people do not want to disturb you when you are listening to music. It might be more to do with the fact that my back is turned to my office door so they are just afraid of sneaking up behind me when I can't hear them. But I also think it has to do with the fact that it makes it look like you are concentrating on something and blocking out the outside world.

When, in fact, you are just enjoying some nice Avril Lavigne or [insert your favorite artist here]. Sometimes I even put my headphones on and don't even turn on the music so I can hear what people are saying while thinking that I'm not listening.

Steal money from your mom electronically

eRentPayer is proud to announce a new feature. Now, with eRentPayer's bleeding edge technology, you can steal money from your mom without the hassle of stealing money from her purse. With ERP's advanced features, you can debit the money directly from her account and do a direct deposit into your personal account. Stealing money from a purse is so 90s, get with the times and sign on to eRentPayer today.

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The reason I say this is because this actually happened last week. Some guy in Orem had an agreement with his mom that he would pay half of his rent and that she would pay the other half. She logged on, put in her account information, made her payment, and logged off. Then, the very next day he logged on, and noticed that in the pull-down of accounts associated with his login he saw his mother's bank account information. So, rather than typing in his own account and making the payment like he agreed to, he just stole the money from his mom by making the payment from her account!


Finally, somebody put eRentPayer to some good use. hahaha. We are now adding some new features to associate BankAccount entities with UserObjects (logins) rather then Persons. This is a good security feature that only came up because some kid stole money from his mom electronically. I still can't believe he did that, though. Did he think she wouldn't find out? I mean, it's HIS MOM.

Sunday, August 17, 2003

Perks Gone Wild

Banta has recently been giving out these coupons for Carls Jr. One of them is stupid - "free fried zucchini with purchase of ... " Uuuuhhh, zucchini? Are they serious?

Another is pretty cool. "Free Six Dollar Burger with purchase of ..." Now that sounds good to me. But I always that it was weird that the six dollar burger doesn't cost six dollars. It's kind of like 5 buck pizza costing over 10 bucks. Why did they name it 5 buck pizza if NOTHING on their menu actually costs $5.00?

The last offer was the only good one on the coupon sheet. "Free Western Bacon Cheeseburger ..." Holy crap that thing was good. I went and got another one from HR today so that I could go have another one for lunch. Maybe I can convince them to just give me a whole stack of them.


All these coupons got me thinking. It's very funny that Banta gives these out to employees. I mean, they pay all of use well over $50,000/yr. What kind of perk is a free cheeseburger? Doesn't everyone here make enough to buy a cheeseburger every 2 minutes?

UPDATE: It's amazing how things change as you get older. I'm re-reading this post on 20 Feb 2007 and the zucchini actually sounds really good!

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Drink Big, Win Gas

I went to Taco Bell today to get one of those "Stuft Burritos." I wonder why they didn't spell "stuffed" right. Maybe they were so full from eating them all day that the extra effort to write a "FED" at the end was just too much. Or maybe Taco Bell is trying to appeal to the youthful Internet Generation that never types anything out. (e.g. brb, wtf, asap, ttyl, ^^)

I noticed that the drink that I got with the combo had one of those peel sweepstake thingies on the side. I never win anything. It wasn't even worth my time to check. But then I thought - well, why not. Peeeeeeeeel. WINNER! I won something! I think that is the first time I have ever won anything in my entire life. I looked down and read the text. "YOU WIN REGULAR NACHOS" Aw man, that sucks. If you just go in and get nachos you'd have to buy other stuff, too. By giving out free nachos they are only guaranteeing return customers.

I also looked on tacobell.com to see how many of these suckers they were giving out. I then saw that I was actually super unspecial because there are almost 2 MILLION free nachos given out. (http://www.tacobell.com/gas/)

It's also hilarious what their theme is for the giveaway. DRINK BIG WIN GAS. I think that anyone who goes to Taco Bell will go away with gas. So you don't have to really win anything to get that. :)

Monday, August 11, 2003

Feet and Head should be segregated

I know some people who sleep facing one way on the mattress, and then the very next night they put there pillow on the other side of the mattress and sleep facing the other way.

To me that is really gross. I don't know how they do it. If I am lying down and I know that my feet, or someone else's feet, were there before and my face is now flat in feet germs, there is no way I'm going to fall asleep.

I would just sit there and worry about all the bacteria from the feet getting on my face. I can only think of one exception to this rule, and that is the couch. All kinds of gross stuff is on the couch. People lay down there all the time when they are watching TV, but there is not a right or a wrong side to lie down on the couch. For some reason that fact that it has a more textured surface makes me feel better about not getting bacteria. But as far as mattresses go, keep your feet on one side please!!!

Sunday, August 03, 2003

No Drano for you

Jason was on his way home from his friends' house and realized that we needed some Drano because our shower drain is totally clogged up. Also, it wouldn't hurt to get some Comet because the tub is getting kind of funk-de-fied. So, he thought it would be nice to swing by the grocery store and pick up the cleaning items so that we could finally use our shower again and not have to use Stuart's shower.

I happened to be outside as he pulled in so I went over to see if he needed any help. He popped open the trunk to reveal a bunch of groceries ... but where was the Drano? The Comet?

I've noticed that whenever you go to the grocery store to get something, you end up getting everything except the thing you went to get. He would have gotten Drano if he had walked by it at the store, but where is the Drano aisle anyway?

The grocery store business model seems great. You go there for something, buy tons of stuff, and then don't even get what you wanted. So then you have to go back later to get it and you end up buying 2 million things along with what you went to get.

Stuart went to get some cake for Jason's birthday and then ended up buying tons of groceries for himself, too. Anyway, our fridge is full but we still don't have what we need yet.

Saturday, August 02, 2003

New World Closet - The Laundry Machine

I think it has been a week now. How did I make it this far? I did my laundry last weekend. It is now Saturday night. Every day after I get out of the shower I go to the dryer to get my clothes for the day. It makes for a good place for extra storage, not to mention I completely avoid the hassle of folding clothes and putting them away.

The other funny part is this - when was the last time anybody else in my house did laundry? I don't recall anybody using the machine for about two weeks before me, which means both Stewart and Brady haven't done laundry for almost a month. I'll discount Jason from this roster of no-launderers since he was on vacation and most likely did laundry right when he got home.

I, by no means, am the one who can point fingers. I once went about 2 months without washing anything. Every time I ran out of clothes I just went shopping and bought more. Seemed to work for a while, but it was getting really expensive.

Friday, August 01, 2003

First Date Thursdays

It seems to me like the general "single" population is not taking advantage of Thursdays like they good be. I think that Thursdays are absolutely the best day to go out on a first date.

Think about it. If you are having a good time with the person, then you can hang out with them for about 5 hours. (7pm - midnight) If you REALLY like each other then go ahead and hang out longer. It's okay to be really tired for a Friday since you'll have Friday night and Saturday to rest.

If you don't like each other, then at about 8pm you just start saying that you have homework due tomorrow or you need to be at work at 7pm, so you better get going. So you just get stuck with the dinner and then that's it.

These excuses are great for a weekday, but would never work on a Friday or Saturday. All of us have been on the so called marathon dates that go for hours and hours. If you don't like the person you are with, there is nothing worse.

Thursdays have the feel and freedom of the weekend, but are safer for both parties. I've been on Thursday first dates where I got home before my roommates got home from school. And I've also been on one particular Thursday date that has turned into a marriage :) (We stayed up until 4am talking)

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Official Photograph

We got our engagment photos taken last Saturday. Sharon, took the pictures and they turned out great. We found out about the Provo-photographers' secret spot for engagement shots. It's behind the mental hospital on center street.

If you drive in past it there is a hill and there is a little castle type thing there with an ampitheatre. Everyone who takes engagement photos around here has the rocks in the background. We tried to avoid them, but after taking about 50 pictures, the one with the rocks turned out the best! Oh well.

I took the digital picture (added a white border and touched it up, of course) to wal-mart and they had 375 pictures printed out in under 30 minutes for me! INCREDIBLE. Now I guess I'm going to spend the next day or two stuffing invitations and cards and licking envelopes. I hope I got the non-toxic kind.

Thursday, July 24, 2003

New shoelace wanted, needed

I think that you can tell how much money somebody has by looking at their shoelaces. If they don't even HAVE shoelaces, you know they're in trouble. That was a blanket statement, which included all sandal-wear. I have never seen a rich guy walking around in flipflops.

If you will take a second to observe my shoe in this picture, you will readily see that I have hit rock-bottom and am completely out of money. I just bought a diamond and a new car for Rachie. And now we're looking at buying a house rather than renting. I think my shoelace tells the rest of the story very well.

Sometimes, life is like a shoelace. But isn't it supposed to be like this when you first get married? Isn't this part of the American dream? If not, please don't tell me.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

A very engaging experience

Rachel and I got engaged Monday night. She knew it was coming - I mean, we were practically planning our wedding already - but I was still able to surprise her. So much that she did a double-take when she saw the ring.

We are getting married on 23 August 2003 at 9:30am at the Provo Temple. We both love the Provo temple very much. We've been there together so it holds sentimental value to us. Rachel grew up next to it, also. She only lives a few blocks behind it. It is also my "favorite" temple because it is the one that I've gone to the most. I've had countless special and sacred experiences there. When we talked about places to get married, Provo stuck out in both of our minds. We also both agree that the recent exterior changes they have done to the temple are good. The new white spire with a Moroni is excellent.

We chose August 23 because, quite frankly, it's the only time that works - not because it is my birthday, but you got to admit, that is kind of cool. I will never forget my wedding anniversary for the rest of my life. And even if I do, it's okay because she can't get mad at me because it's my birthday! haha. If we did it any later people would be in school and it would be hard for people to travel. If we did it any earlier that would just be insanely fast and wouldn't be enough time to plan things.

We will most likely be having our reception that night at 7pm at the Art Museum on BYU Campus. More details to come on that. My bride-to-be (B2B - I don't like the word fiancee very much - it's French) is taking care of getting that place scheduled for sure today or tomorrow. As of yesterday, when they closed, it was still available. So I think we will be able to get it.

I think we found a place to stay over close to our friends Larry and Krista. There is a small townhouse community over there and we looked at a few yesterday and found one that we love. I just figure it'd be better to buy a home and live frugally for a month or two than to throw money down the drain renting for a year or two. Rachel loves the place and is very excited. More to come on that, later.

Wedding planning is a lot of work. I will most likely be very busy for the next few weeks. Any recommendations on photographers, reception ideas, honeymoons, etc are more than welcome...

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Jimmy Rowell's great police chase

Jason is going on a huge, week-long backpacking trip this week, so I took him to the airport very early this morning. I don't think I've gotten up that early since I was a kid. I've felt like I am going to puke all day long.

As I was pulling off of the freeway and entering into airport property there was a white SUV pulled over to the side of the road. I was following three cars and going the same speed as all of them so I thought nothing of it. Jason said it was a cop, and I was like "no way."

After about 15 seconds I saw the lights in my rear-view mirror. Oh crap. He pulled us over and asked for license and registration. He informed me that I was doing 63 in a 55. I told him I was just going with the flow. I hear that you're never supposed to say that to a cop, but for some reason when you are put on the spot it just comes out. I couldn't help it.

He ran my plates and was checking the VIN number of my car. Apparently, there was more to this stoppage than a speeding violation. But what was the problem? After a few minutes he came back and thanked me for the time. He kept saying "man" over and over. I think that when he saw that I was young it helped him to relax and he started talking like a surfer. "Here's your license, man. Thanks for you time, man. Sorry, man. There was a car stolen just like this one earlier, man."

So that was it. They thought that I had a stolen car - lucky for me. The whole time I was just upset because my insurance rates drop when I turn 25 (in one month) and I didn't want another ticket to ruin my rates! I've been pulled over three times in the last two years. I was speeding all three times but only got a ticket once. On that one instance, I was going really fast on the freeway and really deserved it. The other two times they thought that I had assaulted someone and had stolen my vehicle. There must be a lot of kids out there driving red Hondas and Acuras that commit crime.

Anyway, thank you Salt Lake City Airport Police for not giving me a ticket! I'll never speed in your airport again!!!