Friday, March 21, 2003

Calculators with subwoofers

At The Hive we have 17 awesome, top-of-the-line PCs. They all have 19 inch NEC Monitors (Flat CRT), 2000+ AMD Athlon XP Processors, GeForce4 TI4200 128MB DDR Video Cards, ASUS Motherboards, and subwoofers and satellites with each PC. So the other day Lori (Laser Assault owner, Jim's wife) was using one of our PCs to take care of some accounting and billing for her business. She came up to us at the front desk and asked if we had a calculator.

The response was simply - we don't have any hand calculators. But we do have 17 very nice calculators. Each one has a 19 inch flat screen and comes with a subwoofer.

Every time you make a calculation it goes KABOOOOOM!!! Now that's what I call math.

Jason drove up to Provo and is staying at my place to work on eRentPayer with me. We have a few more features that need to be added (e.g. a reporting module) and there were a few bugs to fix. (Ok, a lot of bugs that needed to be fixed) We've already resolved most of them. We'll have this beast up and running code-complete by the end of the weekend, I think.

Last night Rachel took me to see the BYU Women's Choir perform at the De Jong Theatre in the HFAC. That was nice of her to get me tickets. I love going to formal events like that every now and then. The choir sounded great. I prefer a fuller choir, like a choir with bass, but I have to admit - they sounded like angels. It was kind of funny because literally every single member of the choir, which is at least 100 girls, was fair-skinned and blonde. A few had slightly darker hair, but they were all white as snow. If they have an ethnically diverse person join the choir, she is going to stick out like a sore thumb during performances.

Afterwards, we met up with Jason and Katie at Denny's for dinner and then Rachel and I went to Wal-Mart because I had to buy sheets, pillows, towels, silverware, food, etc for my house. So far, I've been living with one plate, one bowl, a cup, a fork, a knife, and a spoon. People were always making fun of me because I have such a nice place, but then I have nothing in it!

Thursday, March 20, 2003

WAR

Today we are at war with Iraq. Airstrikes on Baghdad continued late Thursday as U.S. forces from the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force moved into Iraq from the southeastern border with Kuwait, Pentagon sources said.

Going to war is definitely blog-worthy. I support my country and the values and morals it fights for. My prayers go out to the men and women that are stationed in the Middle East and are fighting for the cause. Hopefully, the conflict will be settled efficiently and a settlement may be expedited.

At this time I am especially concerned about my younger brother, Jared Rowell. His unit was activated about a month ago and he is currently stationed in Colorado. His mission is deployment, in other words he helps other units load and pack as they are shipping out. If his group does get sent to Iraq, I pray for his safety. This war has suddenly become personal and a bit too close for comfort. Jared, I'm proud of you!

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Sacrament Blues Part II

Last night Rich, Dave, Adam, and I had a Hive meeting and for a moment we started talking about the sacrament blues. Dave had no idea what we were talking about, but Adam and Rich completely agreed with me and even mentioned a few blues that I had forgotten about.

The funniest, I think, is the fake-sit-down after the Priests finish putting the sheet over the water after they are all done with the sacrament. In a regular ward, this isn't an issue because those deacons have the routine down pat. In a singles ward, however, it's a different bunch every week doing the blessing and passing, so the routine changes on a weekly basis.

After they return the trays and they are all done, everyone has the inclination that they are supposed to sit down and wait for a bishopric member to "dismiss" them to go sit with their friends. This only works if everyone sits down together and patiently waits. If even one guy makes the move like he's going to go sit with his friends again right away and not wait for the dismissal, then everyone has to go back as well. It would be too awkward for one guy to go back and sit down and everyone else just to sit there and wait. So what usually ends up happening is everyone sort of does a fake-sit-down. They kind of back towards their seats and bend over a little bit as if they're looking to see if they forgot their scriptures or something. They bend over and look under the chair as if they're perplexed as to where all of their stuff may have gone (meanwhile, knowing perfectly that's it's in the chair next to their friends) For some reason, passers of the sacrament have fallen into a pattern of having to do a slight bend over, a halfway sit-down, or at least a look under the seat before they go back to their normal seating. Just watch next Sunday, you'll see what I mean.

Another sacrament blue is the loud-chew which leads to the single-swallow. This goes along well with my comments made yesterday about the extreme quietness during the passing of the sacrament. Adam and Rich both said that the chewing noises made while taking the bread was a bit embarrassing to them. With that note, people have adapted to this situation by doing the single-swallow. The single-swallow is taking the bread and pretty much just swallowing it whole. This avoids the chew completely.

My last comment isn't really a "blue" per-se, rather it's a question I've always had about the sacrament. Obviously, a deacon is the first rank in the priesthood under which a young man is given the authority to pass the sacrament. But why is it so important for someone to have the authority to pass the sacrament if he just gives the tray to the person on the end of the row and then women and children pass the tray to the person next to them. Does the woman or child, both void of priesthood authority, somehow work under the keys of the Bishop through the administering deacon and suddenly have authority for that instance to serve the bread and water to the person next to them??? Is this just a subject that we all have ignored because it would be impractical for the passer to climb over everyone down the aisle?

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

I have the sacrament blues, do you?

The term "Sacrament Blues" originated about 6 months ago from the burden of having to carry the tray down the aisle when the next person is really far away, but it entails a much wider scope of sacrament mishaps, embarrasments, and blunders.

First, and foremost, is the tray-carry. This is not so applicable at "normal" ward buildings, but at BYU the sacrament meetings are held in large classrooms, movie theatres, and auditoriums. The rows of chairs can be quite long. If you are sitting with a group of two or three friends in a row, the next person may be anywhere from 10 to 20 chairs away in your row. If you are the person who happened to be stuck on the end of your group, then you have to get up and carry the tray down the row to the next group of people. This may happen anywhere from 1-3 times per row. It has always been funny to watch how people do the long-tray-pass. Some people take their drink and then get up to go pass it. I've also seen people get up with the tray immediately and try to take their share while they are walking. It takes incredible talent to pull this maneuver, though. Most rows of chairs are curved and have small desk tops protruding out at BYU. To be able to walk down the uneven aisle, holding a tray in one hand, and cocking your head back to take a drink with the other all at the same time without running into anyone/anything is no easy task.

Another form of the blues is the loud-water-swallow. In any normal situation, a swallow is just a swallow and it goes completely unnoticed. In the midst of a sacrament passing, however, this is not the case. Sacrament meetings have been known to be so quiet that a swallow can be heard across the room (not much unlike the Sprint "Pin Drop"). For some of us who happen to be loud swallowers, this can be very embarrassing. I've found that the best way to mask the swallow is the adjust-in-your-chair-as-you-swallow technique. The creak of the chair and the re-crossing of your legs emit just the right amount of sound to cut the edge of the swallow in the silent room. Other methods may be employed, but the chair shift has proven to be the most effective for me. Some other forms of the noise-blues in the silent sacrament room include someone who has a cough, a crying baby, an embarrassing talking neighbor, and spilling the entire tray all over the ground.

Then, of course, there is the deacon-water-spill. People get so offended by this! It's not like he purposely is dumping water all over your lap. It's not his fault the teachers who prepared the trays filled the tray with extra water that it is slowly dripping out of the bottom onto everyone's legs as they pass it down the aisle. Another form the the water spill is bumping the tray against the edge of a pew or into someone's shoulder. Both have been known to be very loud and embarrassing for the deacon.

The point is, sacrament meetings have fallen into such a pattern that anyone who has ever been to a Mormon church would notice the sacrament blues. The quietness required during the sacrament is comforting for some, but unnerving for others. I have the sacrament blues, do you?

Saturday, March 15, 2003

Something sexy about a chick that can kick your trash

Rachel took me snowboarding today. Note to self, go snowboarding with hot women more often. I had only been one other time last year and totally sucked it up. I was doing everything completely wrong. I was trying to turn by swinging my body and back foot around - totally wrong. It's all in the lead foot! Which, to me, is counter intuitive. I was unstable enough, as is, without leaning down the mountain even more. But Rachel finally convinced me to give it a try (she's been boarding for years, so I had to trust her becauses she knows better) and it worked. By the 4th or 5th time down I was doing pretty dang good. I was still a little sick, so I got tired really quick. Next time I go I'm sure I'll do better. At the end of the day we were riding up the ski lift to go down one last time and it started raining! You would think it would snow, but not at Sundance. We got soaking-wet and the snow was so grabby on that last run. I kept falling down like crazy. Rachel is a really good athlete. I've been impressed again and again with her. There's something sexy about a chick that can kick your trash on a snowboard.

Afterwards she came over and we wound up just chillin' at my place. Or maybe I should say I was illin' at my place. I was already sick, so going snowboarding and getting all wet out in the cold wasn't the smartest thing to do. It was fun, though, so it was worth it. I'm sure I'll be better in a day or two.

Adam and Holly have denied all allegations of a fake break-up today. The fake break-up theory was derived by Rachel and I late this evening and we confronted both of them individually. They both swore up and down that is was "over." However, they are still spending a lot of time together. I'm going to trust them for now, but we'll keep our eyes open. Honestly, it seems like a good idea to me. They faked their hooking-up a month after they had been going out secretly, and once brought into the public eye, the negative ward gossip flourished and they faced humiliation. So why not fake a break-up and go back to how things were before? If they are faking it, I give them my congratualtions for a well done performance. If not, then I apologize for accusing them of such.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

The irony of war with Iraq

Our main excuse to attack Iraq is because it does not respect United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441 on disarmament. In a nutshell, one can say that force is now required to enforce the UN's will on the Middle East. However, the United States does not feel that it needs UN support in order to invade Iraq. So, essentially the US Military Forces are going to go into Iraq, against the UN's will, in order to make Iraq obey the UN. Does anybody else see the irony in this?

I was really sick yesterday, and I still haven't gotten over it today. My brother just built a new home (which is absolutely beautiful) in north Orem up in the foothills, and he needed help moving all of his stuff in. So, there I was, hefting boxes left and right with a fever, sore throat, and runny nose. It was a nightmare. I suppose I could have just told him I was sick, but I had offered my help on Sunday and I didn't want to back out at the last second when he was counting on my help. I went home and tried sleeping for the evening but people kept calling who wanted to move in to my condo at La Jolla (I just listed it yesterday afternoon). I literally got a call every 15 minutes. It was out of control. Finally, at about 11:00 pm I called Rachel because I was feeling like total crap and I needed someone to talk to. She decided to come over and bring me chicken noodle soup and medicine! What a sweetheart!!!

Monday, March 10, 2003

Catching the girl-who-always-has-a-boyfriend

On Saturday evening the semi-finalists for the BYU Business Plan Competition were announced. eRentPayer made it! Now we are semi-finalists in both the Utah entrepreneur challenge and the BYU competition. We will be giving a 10 minute presentation to a panel of judges on March 27 and then they will choose a few finalists that will present before a large group. I think we have a really good chance at winning this thing. I'm not exactly sure what our competitors make/do, but we really have a good product.

Saturday was a really good day for me. I went and got Rachel and we hung out with Dave, Brittany, Larry, and Krista. Brittany is one of those girls that moved into the ward with a boyfriend. Then, for the rest of the year, nobody asked her out because they all thought she had a boyfriend. Anytime any guy even mentions her name, there is an immediate response: "Oh, forget about her. She has a boyfriend." Even though nobody is really sure if she actually does or not. So I called a friend of mine and asked her to go find out for me. She went over and talked to all the neighbors and the consensus was that she broke up with her boyfriend and was currently single. It was a miracle! This was Dave's chance. Catching the girl-who-always-has-a-boyfriend on her break up cycle is sheer euphoria for a guy at BYU. He waited two weeks so that the original scout-call couldn't be traced to him, then he called, asked her out, and the rest is history. The point is I'm proud of Dave for getting a date (and probably a second date) with a highly wanted chick.

Speaking of relationships, Adam broke up with Holly :-( It's for the best, but it was hard for the both of them. This comes as a shock, of course, since they had a planned break up at the end of April. Yes, that's right, a planned break up. I guess it just didn't feel right anymore - which usually happens after about three weeks, so I'm proud of them for even making it this far.

Saturday, March 08, 2003

He violated the booth etiquette

I was at a restaurant called Berry's Drive-In yesterday in downtown Spanish Fork. That place, by the way, is great! You can get anything from a steak dinner, to halibut, to grilled-cheese, to a cup of soup. They make everything! You know how on TV and in the movies they always have a cool local diner that they hang out at? I've always wanted a place like that. Like in Seinfeld, for example, they always go to that cafe and hang out. Wendy's and McDonalds will never be as personable. So Berry's is my place to go (it's on 100 S and Main St)

On the far wall of the diner, along the windows, there's a row of booths. Not the ones with high-backs or anything, just your standard, open booths. Anyway, I go to lunch by myself since I work in Spanish Fork and don't really have friends out this way. So I get a sandwich and a drink and sit down at the end booth facing down the row. No one else was sitting along the wall in any other booth at this point, just me on the very end.

Then this other guy comes into the diner and orders. He looks around the restaurant for a seat and starts heading over towards the wall I was sitting on. He walks over and sits down in the very next booth from me, facing me!!! Of all the places he could sit, he sits like 8 feet away facing me! So now whenever he or I would look up at all, you look at the other person and it's really weird. What he did was wrong according the seating rules for booths in restaurants. He violated the booth etiquette!

I mean, if you're going to sit in the same row of booths and you are both sitting alone, you have to at least sit two booths down and it would be better to face the same direction so you aren't looking towards each other. And even if, for some odd reason, he really wanted to sit in the very next booth, he should have at least sat on the other side so we weren't staring into each other's eyes. What he did was almost as bad as peeing in the urinal right next to another guy.

From this whole experience, I was just amazed at how this wasn't even a factor to him. I thought that the booth etiquette was something that was engrained in all of us, as inalienable as our sense of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I guess I was wrong.

Friday, March 07, 2003

Pleasures await you by the seashore

Last night Rachel and I went out with Adam and Holly. We went to China freakin' Lily and then to The Zone (go karts). I love the cashew chicken at China Lily so much. I could go there everyday. I had a box of leftovers but, unfortunately, I forgot them. So a funny thing happened there. Adam is going to a job interview in a few weekends down in LA. He plans on going to Disneyland and stuff and wanted Holly to come along with him. Anyway, he opened up his fortune cookie and it said "PLEASURES AWAIT YOU BY THE SEASHORE." haha! I guess Holly has to come along now ... or else! The Zone was pretty cool. Their karts are really fast, so it was different than your average go kart place. Last night was great, I haven't had that much fun in a long time!

Thursday, March 06, 2003

Sleeping Damage

Last night I slept for 14 hours straight. I haven't done that for a long time. In fact, I didn't even know I was capable of that. I usually start to get restless after about 8 hours (I actually can't even remember the last time I got 8 hours of sleep in a row). I guess staying up all night, for two nights in a row, will do the trick. While I must admit it was incredibly refreshing and I feel like a new man today, I'm afraid of the damage that was done. I lead the kind of lifestyle where I can't just take a day off. There is no such thing as a day off unless previous arrangements have been made.

First item of damage was The Hive. And actually this could potentially have been a two fold hurt to everyone. I was supposed to run The Hive last night from 8-12. I set my alarm on full blast for 7:30pm. I'm not exactly sure what happened. A person needs to be really out to have a radio blaring in their ear and not even notice it. Once again, that hasn't happened to me for a long time. I'm not saying that I don't sleep in. I actually sleep in almost every day. But I am aware that the radio alarm is going off. I've been trying to get a hold of Adam all morning to see what happened. My best guess is that he just stayed and covered my shift. Secondly, we had a Hive management meeting last night. I suppose it's not a huge deal for me to miss that because I've been working on more long term projects, but I still need to set short term goals with my partners and show my support to them.

The second item of damage could possibly be a bit more hurtful than the first to myself. I was supposed to call Rachel last night! We're going out tonight with Adam and Holly and I was supposed to call and chat with her and let her know what was going on tonight. Which coincidently, I don't even know because I was supposed to call Holly and plan something out. Anyway, I hope Rachel doesn't completely hate me now. I really want to go out with her!

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

I am going to puke and die

Whenever I stay up really late, and thusly suffer from lack of sleep, I feel really, really sick for about 24-48 hours. Right now that's how I feel. I was up all night working on the eRentPayer and Hive business plans, and two nights ago we were up until 5 a.m. working on them as well. I haven't slept for a long time!

I think it's really funny when you're so tired that you start looking for anywhere to lie down. Right now, sitting here in my office, I'm looking at the hard cement floor with only a thin layer of carpet, and it looks SO comfortable. I could honestly just lie down on the hard floor and fall asleep right now. I've always wanted to just sleep under my desk. I wonder what someone would do if they walked by and saw me. Would they wake me up? I would think not. But then again, they would probably wake me up and ask if I was okay.

My mom tells me that when I was a little kid I would always fall asleep in strange places. She found me sleeping on the stairs (with my chin up on a stair), on a storage shelf, and in the fire-log holder, to name a few. I think that I should carry on the tradition and sleep on my office floor right now, using only my phone as a pillow.

I also think it's odd that I feel sick right now. I remember in high school whenever I would stay up late, studying for a test or whatever, I would be fine the next day. But then the next would be awful. For about the last year or so it hasn't been like that anymore. Whenever I stay up late I always feel like I am going to puke and die immediately. I guess that when you turn 24 you lose your one-day grace period. And why is it that the longer your body stays awake, the more prone it is to throwing up? How is it that me staying awake induces that?

Monday, March 03, 2003

03/03/03

Today's date is 03/03/03. I think that's pretty cool. That won't happen again for 1000 years! It seems like we should have some kind of celebration or holiday. At least SOMETHING! Maybe I'll take the rest of the day off from work to recognize such a rare event. I mean, its a matter of respect to our calendar. Plus, I got to work late today so I should probably go home early. :-)

I looked around in the news but I couldn't find anyone making note of today's date. I remember last year on 02/02/02 there was all kinds of hype. What happened this year? I suppose there is plenty to report on with the capture of the 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, a possible war with Iraq, and the US 9th District Court ordering 9 states to stop saying the Pledge of Allegiance.

Sunday, March 02, 2003

Network Gaming Clubs: What's all the buzz about?

The following is an article about my business, The Hive, that was in the UVSC newspaper. I'm so impressed with it that I'm going to use it as my blog entry. Here it is.

The new buzz about town is that The Hive is open for business. This ain't your daddy's Nintendo. The Hive boasts what could be the best network gaming experience in Utah. "What's network gaming?" you ask. It's battling live opponents, from your computer, while your opponents, and or allies, do battle from theirs.

In visiting The Hive I was reminded of Doom, an early multi-player game. The nightly news showed a twelve or thirteen-year-old sitting transfixed by his computer screen, wielding his keyboard as though it were one of the weapons it controlled. The boy, in his feverish excitement, politely requested over and over again that his enemy, "please die." This demonstrates how these action packed games entertain while fostering good manners.

The Hive maximizes the excitement of these games. A hive brings up visions of a swarming community filled with individual cells. This is in contrast to the typical gaming experience you have at home. The games offered at The Hive can be played over the Internet. However, according to Adam Moore, one of the four founders of The Hive, playing from home lacks the "synergy of fun" you experience when your opponents and allies are in the room with you.

According to Moore, besides the "synergy of fun" there are other advantages in coming to The Hive. Namely: speed, speed and more speed.

The Hives' machines are custom built for multi-player gaming. Most PCs just don't have the umph to play today's multi-player games with stellar results. Speed advantage number two is the custom network that has been put together by these talented, techno-geek entrepreneurs. Speed advantage number three will make lovers of the Internet drool if they know what the heck it is. It's called a mega-bit fixed-point wireless connection. Like wow and stuff. That's faster than a T1 line folks! This connection comes in handy if you want to play a game that no one, currently buzzing about the hive, is interested in. The combination of this fast connection and custom gaming computers eliminates the lag you are used to seeing at home.

The forth advantage of playing at The Hive is that it saves you the expense of buying these games with your own cash.

Enough about The Hive; lets talk about the four guys who got it started a short month and a half ago. Like the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse: Richard Lindholm, Dave Brinkerhof, Adam Moore and James Rowell hope to ride their computers across the land laying waste to all competitors in the network gaming club industry. The three college students, and one recent alumni, claim their equipment is the best and that their prices can't be beat; and they're willing to put their money where their mouths are. The Hive is doing a special promotion for UVSC students. Show this article, or your student body card, at the door and get two people in for the price of one. This offer is good Monday through Thursday, for day passes only, and is only valid through March 31, 2003.

The Hive is located inside Laser Assault at 264 N 100 W Provo. Ph. #375-HIVE. WWW.playthehive.com. It's open Mon. - Fri. 3:30 pm - midnight, Sat. 10:00 am - midnight.