Saturday, May 31, 2003

Adam has had his car broken into like 10 times

My friend, Adam, has had his car broken into like 10 times. It's amazing how often it happens. I used to live at Somerst with him and his car was parked right across the way from mine - both of them in an underground garage. Mine was never touched, and his was always violated.

I remember one time when he came out into his car and found the door slightly open and, upon further inspection, found a pack of cigarettes in the back seat. (Note: Adam does not smoke and doesn't have any friends that smoke)

This was absolutely hilarious because the man was busting into Adam's car trying to steal whatever loose change or valuable items he may have, and then he lost his own cigarettes. I guess you could say that, in effect, Adam robbed him!

The man can't even hang on to his own stuff!

Thursday, May 29, 2003

My life has changed a great deal in the last few months

Yesterday as I was walking into work at Banta I looked down at myself and saw that I was carrying a briefcase. How long has this been going on? Actually using a briefcase on a daily basis is one of the largest changing points in a man's life. Almost as big as graduating from college, getting married, and having your first child.

I remember about a year or two ago I tried to use a briefcase. I couldn't do it. I felt stupid. It just didn't feel right. At the time I was still going to BYU and still had a student-status. Students use backpacks, not briefcases. Well, I'm done with the education phase of my life and have moved into working a normal job and leading a somewhat normal life.

I didn't consciously choose to carry a briefcase - It just happened.

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

3 reasons why it's good to have Alzheimers' Disease

Speaking of dementia and Alzheimer's - I spent some time working at the State Hospital (crazy house) two years ago. It was for a church calling. Essentially, I would go to the hospital and then walk with the crazy people to church, and then take them home again. Those are some good memories. Something funny always happened and someone always tried to run away.

Very randomly, I thought of a three reasons why it's really good to have Alzheimers' Disease.

1. You get to meet new people every day
2. You get to hide your own Easter Eggs
3. I can't remember the third one ...

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

I'd rather be fired from my job than miss a tee time

Yesterday as Mousley and I were driving up Spanish Fork's canyon to go to Spanish Oaks Golf Course, we were running short on time. Our tee time was scheduled for 5:40 and we we're just getting off the freeway at 5:30. It seems like there would have been plenty of time, but as we were rounding the last corner to the entrance of the course we were shocked to see the bridge had been torn up from construction and we were going to have to take a detour.

Glancing down at the clock I realized it was now 5:37 and we were out of time. We pulled onto the detour thinking that it was just going to take us around the block ... little did we know that 5 minutes from then we would be out in the middle of a farm field driving on a gravel road with the evening sun glaring right into our eyes.

At about 5:39 we both began to panic. There are few things in this life more stressful than missing a tee time to a golfer. I think that I would rather be fired from my job than miss a tee time. As we were driving along we just kept saying - "Is this really the right way?" We were driving for 4 miles straight out into the country before we saw another detour sign. YES!!!!

Glancing at the clock one more time, I could see that we had about 30 more seconds to get to the clubhouse before they were going to give our tee time away. My stomach began to ache and I broke out into a cold sweat. Oh the humanity! Honestly, I'm not sure how to explain it. But you just start to panic ... "OH NO! THEY'RE GOING TO GIVE IT AWAY!!!"

I tried to take a few deep breaths to calm myself, but to no avail. A few minutes later we entered civilization again and we saw a sign for the golf course. We pulled in about 10 minutes later. Both of us looked and felt like heck. I felt like I had been up sick all night and could hardly walk.

I walked into the clubhouse with a frown on my face and a tear in my eye. I approached the desk with a knot in my stomach. "Are we too late? Did you give it away?"

I looked at her reservation sheet on the counter and saw that there were no reservations after us for that evening. We did it! We were late for a tee time and it didn't even matter. We beat the system! I felt like doing a Toyota-jump right there in the club house, but held myself back. A new energy of life flowed through my blood. The air held a new hope for a good evening of golf.

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Nice suit. Thanks

Did you ever notice the spelling of Men's Wearhouse? It's a name that we see a lot. In Provo, every time we drive up University Parkway to get onto the freeway we drive by it. Also, they have a ton of TV commercials. I've known about them ever since I was a kid, but I never noticed their spelling.

Wearhouse, not warehouse. You can even go to www.menswarehouse.com and it forwards you to www.menswearhouse.com. I guess there were enough people out there who thought that it was some sort of warehouse or something.

I went there yesterday to buy a suit. An old friend, Jason Titze, is getting married this Saturday at the Nauvoo temple and I figured that was a good excuse to go out and spend a few bucks on a suit. After all, I've been wearing the same one since my mission (until recently when I gave it away to my uncle to take and give to a missionary in Brasil that needed it)

I was very pleased with my experience there. I walked in the door and I was king for 30 minutes - until I had to pay. The sales representatives there are very knowledgeable about their products. My suit looks great! I can't wait to WARE it.

Monday, May 19, 2003

20 million people show up for laser tag

Last weekend was awesome. Friday night I went on a huge group date with Rachel. We set up Ruth with an old roommate of mine, Mark Feriante - who happens to be the executive secretary of the new ward that I recently moved into at Belmont. It was good to see him again. I lived with him for about 6-7 weeks and I know him to be a quality guy, so I set him up with Ruth.

Friday was my Dad's birthday and I had my family over to my place and we ordered KFC. Everyone had kids so they all had to leave at like 8:00, so after that we had a group over and we played charades and made sundaes. Rachel picked out this ice cream from the Creamery on 9th called Earnestly Chocolate. Very good.

We went to play laser tag at Laser Assault after that ... which brings up a funny story. I wanted to get a small group (about 10 couples) together to have a good game of laser tag, so I told Rachel to invite her roommates and a few other couples. Somehow, in the process, her roommate took this invitation to mean "invite everyone that you have ever known, know now, and will one-day know ... especially your ENTIRE WARD."

So as I walked in with my group at about 10:55, for our 11:00 game, I looked around and saw a huge group that filled the entire place. I panicked. Stuart Bevard, the Laser Assault manager, was all pissed. He said that this huge group was here and that they were all saying that they were going to play for free since they "know the twins."

I was very, very embarrassed. Here I was, trying to get a small group of friends in for free, and before you know it, an entire ward shows up trying to ride off of my generousity. To make a long story short, Stuart still made them pay only $2.50/person instead of the usual $8.00/person. That was incredibly nice of him to do that.

Yesterday my cousin, Amy Waasdorp, just got back from her mission to Brazil Porto Alegre South (same mission as me!) and had her "homecoming." It was neat to see her. She speaks some awesome portuguese - I was impressed.

My sister, Lisa, gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby boy - Dayton Hugh Fowler - on Saturday and we got to go visit her yesterday. He is SO small. He has skinny, little legs and his face looks just like his older brother, Brandon.

Friday, May 16, 2003

Shirk Ethic: How to Fake A Hard Day at the Office

On Thursday the Wall Street Journal published an article about making it look like your work long hours when you actually are a slacker. It was showing how to fake like you're working when you're actually not. And it did note that one of the people they were doing a case study was eventually fired for habitual lateness, so let's learn from his mistakes and do it right.

First of all, there is no replacement for being in the office. Showing up really late all the time is dangerous. I'm no perfect example of being on time, but I'm usually not much later than 9am - I should be to work by 8, so I'm already pushing it. If I come late, I also leave late. Last in, last out.

The secret to faking a hard day at work does not include shirking the work and making it look like you did it because you will get caught eventually. The secret is working smart and not letting anyone know how long things actually take to do.

A general rule of thumb when giving a timeframe estimate and setting deadlines is to increase the unit of time by one unit. If a task will take one minute, say it will take an hour. If it will take an hour, one day. If one day, say one week, etc. Get it? That way, you're working exponentially less than what you're getting paid for, but still producing quality, on-time work.

This method will provide plenty of extra time to work on other things - e.g. write in your blog, work on other projects, run your own businesses, manage properties, etc.

Note: If you do go to work late, never go in at 10 or 11am unless you're going to sneak in, turn the computer on, and then sneak back out to lunch. If you're already late, just go in at 12:30 or 1:00 so it looks like you're just getting back from lunch and everyone will think they just missed you in the morning.

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Holders and Goers

The other day I almost ran into a co-worker in my mad dash to the bathroom. I was working on something and I didn't want to stop and risk losing my train of thought. As a programmer, sometimes you get in a groove and you can't stop regardless of what else is going on.

Except for one thing. Everyone has to go to the bathroom eventually.

That's right, I'm a holder. I wait until the LAST POSSIBLE MILLESECOND before I throw down the headphones and RUN for my life. My office is towards the far corner, so I always have to go past people, so I really need to do something about this.

There are normal people called Goers in the world that go just to go - in case they are somewhere later where they won't be able to. But for me, using the bathroom is the last thing that ever crosses my mind until it's too late.

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Emergency-make-your-car-smell-funny-lever

Today I was recalling one time when I pulled out of the driveway and drove all the way to school with the emergency brake on unknowingly. At the time, I had a Ford Escort. The car felt a little sluggish and I could tell something was wrong, but I had to get to school and so I just figured I'd live with it and then figure out what was wrong afterwards. As I pulled into the lot to park, I noticed that the parking brake lever was still up and instantly knew what the problem was.

What does that say about the emergency brake? Usually people are going 75 mph on the freeway before they even realize it's still on. But how is that the car even goes with the brake on?

Yesterday I tried to back out of my parking spot with my Acura and the car would even budge. I looked down and saw the the lever was up. I gasped in disbelief. Acura makes parking brakes that work! Once again I'm thoroughly pleased with Acura's automobiles.

For other makes of cars, they might as well call it the emergency-make-your-car-smell-funny-lever, because that's all it does.

Monday, May 12, 2003

He's talented. Oh, he plays piano?

I was noticing the other day that over the last month or so my blog has turned into an o-log, rather than a b-log. O for observations. It's pretty much just a list of things in life that I find interesting or funny. Over the next while I'll try and mingle in more personal things to get back to the purpose of the blog.

I was talking the other day with Rachel about talents. I noticed that the first thing that comes to mind (a Mormon mind) when you mention that someone has a talent is piano. For some reason, the entire world of collective talents has all boiled down to the ability to play piano.

By the way, Rach's twin, Ruth, was just called to be the Relief Society's pianist, so she is obviously very talented.

I just think it's funny that there are millions and millions of talents out there, and when someone mentions the word - everyone thinks piano first.

Sunday, May 11, 2003

The great n-man tent scandal

I was talking about camping today with Bob and the subject of tents came up. He's about to go on a 3 day hiking and camping trip with two other guys. He mentioned that they have a 3 man tent and was concerned about how much space they might have.

As a young man I'd go camping a lot with the Scouts and I clearly recall that those tent ratings are completely inaccurate. There is no way that 3 men could fit into a 3 man tent. 3-man, in all actuality, means 2-men-and-their-gear.

So, for Bobby going on this trip, I hope his friends are actually bringing a 4 man, which would then accomodate the 3 men and their gear. If not - poor guy.

I'm not really sure how the manufacturers can get away with such a scam. I guess that most people who use their tents can probably just leave all of their gear in the car, which is about 5 feet from the tent, anyway. So it's no big deal. But some of us really like to go camping and that rating is entirely misleading.

So if by 3-man, they mean a father and two sons, then I'll give them that. Or maybe 3 kids, or they mean a man and his girl, and her twin, then yes - I'll agree. But not three men!

Friday, May 09, 2003

If you cut grilled cheese wrong, it's gross

Have you ever noticed that the cut of the grilled cheese sandwich actually makes it taste different? I have. Thinking back to my childhood, I remember that I wouldn't even eat the thing if it was cut square. I wanted to make sure that this was real and I wasn't actually just making this up, so I asked around and people almost always agreed and even started naming the several types of cuts.

gato (2:19 PM) : you mean the triangle cut vs the square cut vs the half-square-rectangle cut?

And may I add the partial-diagonal and the no-cut (also known as a whole). The whole is definitely gross. No kid would ever eat a whole. The square cut (two halves) is also next to disgusting. However, if you take those two square halves and then cut them each in half to make the half-square-rectangle cut then you have something that we can work with.

Hands down, the diagonal cuts are the best. I think that the triangle, or straight-diagonal, is the most popular because it's the most obvious cut. But I also know there is a better cut that the majority of the world has never been exposed to.

Welcome to the partial-diagonal. Cut the sandwich diagonally, but in a few centimeters from the corner. This yummy cut allows for maximum tastiness and still has the stability of the square cut (e.g. the thing won't fall apart or have weak corners)

Next time you have grilled cheese try this out. I'm not sure how it's possible, but the cut does change the taste!

Thursday, May 08, 2003

We will welcome them with bullets and shoes

Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, the Iraqi Minister of Information, is one of the funniest people I know. Even days after American forces penetrated the perimeter of Baghdad, he still denied that troops were even in the country. Every time he was questioned he would deny the presence of troops and say that it was a big publicity stunt - that the entire war was just a lie.

This was always very funny because the news would show the footage of the troops driving right past the "Now entering Baghdad" sign and then show his comment right afterwards. I just think it is incredible how willing Iraq's leaders are to lie to the world. Even with undeniable proof, they still stand by their lies and deny all evidence, claiming that the western world is sinful and deceitful.

Here are just a few of my favorite Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf quotes. I've been collecting these for a while now. You will clearly see what an idiot this guy is and laugh at a few of these:

- "No American infidels in Baghdad. Never!"
- "My feelings, as usual, we will slaughter them all"
- "No I am not scared. And neither should you be!"
- "God will roast their stomachs in hell at the hands of Iraqis!"
- "I now inform you that you are too far from reality"
- "The American press is all about lies! All they tell is lies, lies, lies!"
- "Our initial assessment is that they will all die"
- "They're coming to surrender or be burned in their tanks."
- "Be assured. Baghdad is safe, protected"
- "Who are in control, they are not in control of anything - they don't even control themselves!"
- "We are not afraid of the Americans. Allah has condemned them. They are stupid. They are stupid" (dramatic pause) "and they are condemned."
- "We have destroyed 2 tanks, fighter planes, 2 helicopters and their shovels - We have driven them back."
- "I have detailed information about the situation...which completely proves that what they allege are illusions . . . They lie every day."
- "Lying is forbidden in Iraq. President Saddam Hussein will tolerate nothing but truthfulness as he is a man of great honor and integrity. Everyone is encouraged to speak freely of the truths evidenced in their eyes and hearts."
- "Washington has thrown their soldiers on the fire"
- "We will welcome them with bullets and shoes."
- "We are in control. They are in a state of hysteria. Losers, they think that by killing civilians and trying to distort the feelings of the people they will win. I think they will not win, those bastards."
- "They're not even [within] 100 miles [of Baghdad]. They are not in any place. They hold no place in Iraq. This is an illusion ... they are trying to sell to the others an illusion."
- "They are nowhere near the airport ..they are lost in the desert...they can not read a compass...they are retarded."
- "They are not in Baghdad. They are not in control of any airport. I tell you this. It is all a lie. They lie. It is a hollywood movie. You do not believe them."
- "You can go and visit those places. Nothing there, nothing at all. There are Iraqi checkpoints. Everything is okay."

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

He's a double checker

There are three types of people in this world. Those who can count, and those who can't.

Haha. I was thinking about this today and it led me to categorize people a bit more. I truly belive that there are three types of people in this world. Namely:

1. No Checkers
2. Checkers
3. Double Checkers

Please note - When I say checker, I don't mean the girls at the grocery store.

No checkers are the type of people who really just don't care. They are very laid back, relaxed, love to enjoy life (or hate life), and don't really care about the consequences of possibly making a decision that may cause more work or trouble for someone else. Essentially, you assign them a task or make a request, and they just go do whatever they think might be right.

No checkers are also people who don't want to do any work for themselves. If a question pops into their head they immediately pick up the phone and call someone else to ask them, when they are perfectly capable of thinking about it themselves for a few seconds or popping open a window on the computer to lookup the info. All in all, no checkers are very annoying and we could all do without them.

Checkers are what I tag as normal people. I believe that the majority of the United States Citizens are checkers. If they understand, they don't ask. If they don't understand, then they'll proceed to find out more or clarify their uncertainty.

Double checkers are people who need confirmation of everything. Even if they know it's right, they still need to ask you just to make sure. e.g. "Hello. Please fill out this form and then give it back to me." -- "So, you just want me to fill out this form and give it back to you?" -- "Yes, please fill it out and then give it back to me." -- "Ok, I'll just fill it out and then I'll give it back to you, is that ok?" Double Checkers are also people who talk in circles. You can talk to a Double Checker for 30 minutes and only talk about three things, because they keep talking about the same thing and reiterating their feelings about the issue.

The worst is when people are combo No Checkers and Double Checkers. It's as if they have bipolarus checkus. I know several people in each category. It's actually quite a sensitive thing, you can't just approach someone and tell them they are a Double Checker. You have to go about it in a polite manner. Otherwise it turns in to "Oh hey, you're entire personality and way of life is wrong and stupid." One of these days I'll figure out how to help the less fortunate checkers.

Monday, May 05, 2003

Hive T-shirts are a hit

The Hive's popularity is spreading in Utah Valley, even all the way up to Lehi. When we opened The Hive in December we were extremely optimistic. Our pro forma looked outstanding and it seemed impossible to not make money. January, February, and March kicked our butts, though. It was very depressing for all four of the owners.

Then came along April and now May. Things have picked up a lot. It seems that spring break and summer time are the answer to our business' dilemma.

One good form of advertising we've found is T-Shirts. A lot of businesses don't have the coolness factor that its clientele would go around wearing a shirt bearing its logo. For example, I wouldn't go around wearing a Macey's or Wal-mart shirt. However, The Hive seems to have a niche. Apparently, it's very cool to have a Hive shirt at the high schools.

Adam received this message from a student in Lehi: "[SOB]Weevil: (11:43 AM) kids wearing HIVE T Shirts all over the place man, haha" He went on to say that kids are seen wearing Hive shirts at the schools, the malls, all the way up in Lehi, in Provo, etc.

"Your logo was pure genius...people love to wear the shirts" - WolfmanNevers

One thing that Adam and I think is pretty funny is how people put on their T-Shirt to come to The Hive. It has almost become a status symbol. Some of our regular customers wear them every time they come in!

Saturday, May 03, 2003

I have the only bathroom fan in existence that works

This morning my roommate, Bob, was taking a shower and noted something very interesting. After he was done there was no sign of fogginess on the mirror. How could this be? Was he taking a cold shower? He went on to explain that the shower was very hot and that the bathroom fan must have somehow sucked up all steam from the shower.

Because of my past experience with bathroom fans my initial reaction was to laugh at his comment. Bathroom fans don't actually "work," they just make noise so your roommates and friends can't hear what you're doing while you're in the bathroom.

But this special fan, installed by the builders of Belmont only three years ago, is very different. This fan has the sucking power of - well, I don't know ... It just does a great job.

After Bob left I decided to do a little test of my own. I closed the bathroom door and closed the window next to the shower to eliminate all outside factors and turned the water temperature way up. Sure enough, upon completion of the shower, the mirror had zero fog. Kudos to the makers of the Belmont bathroom fans.

Thursday, May 01, 2003

People are hungry, give them a logo they want to eat

An interesting side-note, following up from the eulogy in the last blog: I didn't know exactly how to write a eulogy, so I started looking online for some examples that I could mimic. I was extremely shocked to see that there are businesses out there that will write your eulogies for you for only $29.95. Which goes to prove the saying that you can buy anything online - even a eulogy!!!

I have spent a lot of time over the last several months creating logos and helping others do the same. Throughout all of my work, a few patterns have been brought to my attention that I would like to share.

Logos can't have a lot of words - I noticed that people try and cram whole sentances into their glyph. This is very bad! Nobody can read that stuff once you make it a certain size. Or, it just looks plain stupid when you blow it up to a sign/banner size. Instead, focus on a bold, crisp image that brands your entity.

A logo needs to be scalable - It should be just as effective if it is 100 pixels wide or 100 feet wide. I ran into thie problem with The Hive's logo when trying to make signs. I found myself re-creating the logo every day for each media. It would have been so much better if I had just created a vector based graphic from the very beginning.

People are hungry, give them a logo they want to eat - I know this sounds weird, but it's true. A good logo should look edible. It draws you in because you just want to grab it and eat it. For example, in the graphic you can see a honeycomb and a wafer. Both of them look like candy!