When Nature Attacks

I was just checking the weather before I went to bed tonight and the forecast read as follows:



Another Sunny Nevada Day


This Nevada Day I'd like to post some information on the Nevada Constitution.

Our Preamble:

We the people of the State of Nevada Grateful to Almighty God for our freedom in order to secure its blessings, insure domestic tranquility, and form a more perfect Government, do establish this Constitution.

In order to have the constitution approved by congress prior to the presidential election the entire constitution was telegraphed to Washington D.C.

At the time it was the longest telegraph ever sent and cost $4,303.27. It took the telegraph operators 12 hours to send the document.

The first constitutional convention was actually held in 1863, with most of the delegates actually coming from California. Despite voters having been overwhelmingly in support of statehood, the voters soundly rejected the constitution submitted by this convention. The second convention was held during the month of July in 1864. After approval by election the constitution was sent to Washington D.C. and President Lincoln signed the State of Nevada into the Union on October 31, 1864.


Croissants and Pay Toilets (Part 3)

Sooner or later I was bound to get back around to this. So, after we left the most magical place on earth (the VW Factory in Wolfsburg, incase you needed a refresher) we headed to central Germany for our over night stop. As we approached the town we were staying at that night the woods got think and foggy and honestly I felt like a witch living in a candy house was going to be popping out at any minute.
We got to our hotel really late, but luckily our host was awake and came to the door (after we woke up everyone on the street). The town was a small medieval town with cobble stone streets and the whole bit. My friends had secured a nice little apartment for the night. After we woke up everyone else in the building having packed ourselves and our bags all the way up to the top floor of the creaky staircase we got a great nights rest. After repeating our morning bakery routine were off through the Germany countryside.

......Ok...... I'm bored of telling this story and I'm sure you're all bored of hearing it..... so..... here are some pictures of the rest of the trip.
Dachau Concentration Camp. Glad I went but very depressing. Ask me about it sometime.
Some gay guy's really fancy house. The surrounding area is AMAZING and he really does have the best views in the neighborhood; however, the only things this "castle" kept out was restraint and some good sense. Neat place to visit though. We ate the best German food of the trip out in the valley here with some cows.

Then we went to Venice! I was much happier after I kicked a couple pigeons in the egg door and had a panini. According to my bank account I ate A LOT of gelato in Italy. Can you blame me?
That's us center  frame eating pizza in a venetian square.
I can't remember at what point in the trip this was, but we were somewhat lost in the Italian Alps and I happened to wake up and look down this canyon and saw this obscure hermitage. It's actually pictured in my first VW book in a black and white frame with a bug down by it (of course). What are the odds?! (I know no one cares but me.)
Then we went to Rome. It was great. We went to the Vatican and saw all the Pope's stuff and then we wandered around Rome that evening eating things and throwing coins in fountains. The Italian night life is a lot of fun. Rome was hot and had too many Harley Davidsons, but it was one of my favorite cities. 

The Colosseum was VERY old and it was all very hot. You had to wear pants to the Vatican. Apparently shorts are not church attire. 
On our way out of Italy we stopped in Pisa and saw the leaning tower and bought some additional tchotckes (as if we didn't have enough by this point) and then went on to our little town in the Alps where we had a delicious meal and stayed at a vineyard. 
 Our waitress was a peach and didn't speak any english, but she was so helpful
After this it was onto Switzerland. 
 We road a tram to the top of the mountains.
And did a hike. It is beautiful-just like the sound of music, but it was very humid.  (and please no comments on how the sound of music was set in Austria, I know)
This was view from the last hotel we stayed at in northern Switzerland. Very nice. 
In summation, we drove A LOT, we saw MANY things, and ate MUCH all in 10 days. I was glad I went. Thanks for inviting me along guys!

That's me, on the boat going to the VW factory (just one more picture). This was really too cool.


Spontaneous Overeating

I was going to be in Reno anyway for some work stuff and then my schedule changed suddenly so that I would be in Reno with nothing to do for the better part of a day. I was due for a sudden road trip plus I had yet to visit my friends who married and moved to the Bay Area last year so I gave them a heads up and headed out. Due to the fires near Yosemite, Reno to almost Sacramento was think smoke but it was clear after that. The Oakland Bay Bridge was closed for construction over the weekend so I had to take the long way around the top of the bay and come into the city over the Golden Gate Bridge but that wasn't bad. I love the 101 highway North of San Francisco. I got into SF that night and meant my friend at the restaurant where her husband is a chef. I ate and ate and ate and it was all FANTASTIC!!! This is the restaurant, and sure there may have been more gays than I'm normally use to but the food was totally worth it! They even sent some off-menu stuff out from the kitchen for us to try. I crashed on their floor that night and then we got up and ate some MORE! About noon I rolled myself back into the car and headed back to Reno. There are things I do miss about living in the Bay Area: the food is a big one and the weather. I just cannot get enough of that sunshine with the cool breeze off of the Pacific. Not to mention the magic what happens to internal combustion engines at sea level. (now if I could just get rid of the traffic and the people I'd be set)


Summer Updates

So to start, I few weeks ago I hiked Mount Timpanogos. It was hard and I smelled bad afterwards but it was totally worth it.

I went with a friend of mine and a group from his ward there in Provo. We hiked up from the Aspen Grove side. The weather was looking rather unfavorable but as soon as it cleared we headed up leaving the trail head parking lot about 7pm. We hiked about 6 miles that evening and camped at a glacial lake that night arriving there about 10:30pm as I recall. After a very cold and rocky night we got up early to be on the summit before sunrise. We were back at the car by 11am.

It was a great experience.

In other news scorpion season is apparently open. The other day I came down stairs to find this on top of my washer.

I'm not sure how he got up there, but if these things start dropping from the ceiling I will be freaking out. Yes, this one is quite small, but I'm sure his crusty compadres are lurking around somewhere.

By now you may or may not have heard that I am the Reserve Grand Champion of the White Pine County Fair.

Myself, my cousin who teaches culinary arts at the high school, and my grandmother entered some baked goods in the county fair and we did quite well if I do say so. The lemon poppy seed cake on the far left is the one I made and received the reserve grand champion ribbon.  The chocolate chip cookies I also made and they received a 1st place ribbon. The chocolate bunt cake my cousin made and it also received a 1st place ribbon (we all think it actually should have one, I mean it's chocolate after all). The loaf of wheat bread on the right my grandma put in and she received the grand champion ribbon. When confronted regarding the win my grandmother's response was, "well, how could it not have won." We're already gearing up for next year!

Now to some car updates:

I'm not sure if this has been brought up yet, but most of you have probably seen it.

This ended up in my garage this last spring and it has been a blast this summer. It was purchased from the original owner, and had been sitting for a number of years unused. I did the minimum amount of work to get it back on the road for the summer, but this winter it will get a more thorough going through.

I don't know how many of you knew that I purchased this 1980 Chevy LUV about a year ago. It was a great idea when I purchased it, but after several months of just not being able to get excited about working on it I decided to donate it to the high school auto shop. Hopefully it will serve better as a tax write-off.

You may remember the silver bug. Yesterday I got the bug out of its barn. (I actually had to remove a good deal of foliage from in front of the door to get it open). With the help of my car commiserator and his son we got the engine removed last night in only about 2 hours start to finish. It was a productive Saturday.  


Croissants and Pay Toilets (Part 2)

So where did we leave off? The Arc de Triomphe and going to church in Paris.

After church we hit the road for the Netherlands. I had no feelings one way or the other on the Netherlands and I had no preconceived ideas about what we would see there. That being the case though, let me say that it was awesome! Our first stop traveling that day was in Rotterdam.

Rotterdam was pretty much leveled by Allied bombers during WWII and so the city looks very modern. The food was amazing the people were great. We walked around enjoying the street scene and cool architecture. Then we got back in the car and headed to our hotel outside of Amsterdam.

The hotel was great and it was situated in the probably the quaintest little dutch suburb that you'd ever see. In the morning we got up and stopped by a bakery next to our hotel where I absentmindedly, but fortunately, grabbed a croissant. I began eating as we were walking to the train station to go into Amsterdam and it suddenly dawned on me that this was, in fact, the most amazing croissant that I had ever put between my lips. So I went back and got another one. In hind sight I should have bought them all.

We walked through the neighbor hood to the train station with all of the parents taking their kids to school on bikes. Arriving in Amsterdam was quite impressive as you come into their gigantic and impressive train station.

We wandered around, ate food, took a canal ride (where we mostly napped), and

we also went to the Anne Frank house. I initially had no feelings one way or the other on going to that, but it was a really well set-up museum and a very marking experience. I was glad we went. The flower market was selling a fair amount of pot (in truth the city smelled of marijuana quite heavily in places). The cheese shops were delicious and the cool air was nice. After the Netherlands it was on to WOLFSBURG, GERMANY!!!!!

I believe the above picture pretty much sums up my joy of visiting the capital of the Volkswagen universe. This is me crawling out from under the first 4x4 bus prototype. At the VW museum I touched EVERYTHING! It was early in the morning and we pretty much had the place to ourselves. It was fantastic. After that we went to wandered around Autostadt (VW's car theme park dedicated to all of its brands) and then we got to take the factory tour. Touring VW's first factory was really great. They build their Tiguan model there now, but being able to experience some of that history was very cool.

 Stay tuned for part 3!


Croissants and Pay Toilets

A Word on Travel in Europe

A few months ago a friend contacted me and the following conversation ensued:

Friend: Hey, a few of us are getting and trip to Europe together and we'd like you to come.

Me: Hmmm. I don't think so. Everything I'd want to look at would bore everyone to-death.


Another few weeks later:

Friend: How boring are we talking here?

Me: Like a three hour factory tour in a language none of us speaks. 

Friend: I think we can deal with that.

Me: Are you sure?

I still maintain that they had no idea what kind of mania they were in for on my part, but long story short is that I went.

I had contemplated taking a trip to Europe before, but I could never figure out exactly what I would do after having spent all that money on the plane ticket. That sounds ridiculous now that I've actually gone, but nonetheless that was my thought. So when my friends put this trip together it seemed like the perfect opportunity. They really did all the planning and scheming and reserving and they did a great job. I just had to send them money and show up. They only part I insisted on was, of course, some time at Volkswagen headquarters in Wolfsburg Germany. 

I think the best way to post about this trip is to break it up a bit so we'll start,...uh...at the start.

Because I live in the most isolated place in the lower 48 I had to start my trip with a 4 hour drive to Salt Lake, followed by a 3+ hour flight Seattle. In Seattle I met up the other three members of my travel group (we'd all been in the same ward our Freshman year of college at BYU). After a short layover in Seattle we began our 10 and half hour flight to Frankfurt Germany. Because of the flightpath the sun never went down during the flight and I got to see Greenland, Iceland, and Scotland (albeit from the air). Jet lag on the way over didn't bother me too much which was great. We got to Frankfurt and then began our 10 days of not understanding anyone. We picked up our rental car (a nice car, but a profound disappointment as I was finally in Germany and we were drive a Ford).

The car was more specifically a Ford Kuga, which is a small SUV with a diesel engine and manual transmission. At speed it sounded like a sick coffee grinder and on the Autobahn it struggled to hit 120 mph. (a tragedy, I know). We managed to get out of Frankfurt without getting a parking ticket and pointed in the direction of Paris France. We got to Paris that night and went straight to our hotel and crashed.

For me the trip really began the next morning when we road the metro into downtown Paris, stopped for breakfast at a street cafe outside of the Louvre, and ordered omelets where the waiter happily brought our plates with a pleasant "voila" and a sincere "bon appetit". I guess I just wasn't expecting that and honestly it made my morning.

From there it was on the Louvre where we saw the Mona Lisa and some Asian tourist get yelled at for standing on the statue Winged Victory to mug for a picture. I believe the exact words said by the guard were, "GET OFF, this is not Disneyland!"

Then we saw some cathedrals, walked some, ate some more buttery french food and then went and saw a bunch of dead people at the Catacombs. I was more uneasy about being that far under the ground with that many dead people than I had planned on being. It was interesting and creepy and I was glad I went.

Of course we did the Eiffel Tower clear to the top. Afterwards we had crepes and then walked around seeing things like the Arc de Triomphe, and some other stuff. I was usually concerned with eating. We stayed in Paris and then went to Church the next morning before leaving.

To be Continued......


A Word on Family Pictures

And a little late for Mother's Day, but it was just too funny.


Winking Eye, Alcohol Suggestion

A word on surgery and narcotics.

First off, if you happen to be female and have had a kid, I don't want to hear it. I'm sure it's awful and I'm sure I will never be able to relate. I had surgery last week. The doctor made it sound like it wasn't going to be anything serious, however in the end I still feel like I got stabbed in the gut and run over by a truck. In all fairness, this was my first time as a patient in a hospital so I'm not sure what I was expecting. Well, I take that back. What I was expecting was some time in a humiliating hospital gown, some pain, and a day or two of rest. I hadn't taken into account the hours of waiting, the general anesthesia, the myriad of nurses with different and often conflicting instructions, nor the narcotics (which I might add are pretty amazing). Post surgery I'm looking at a around a month of recovery. Recovery entails limping around and not lifting anything over five pounds. By the way, do you know what weighs more than five pounds, EVERYTHING! I had the singular joy of taking my bandages off today which I had built up in my head to being something akin to the terror of opening a tube of Pillsbury crescent rolls. I would just keep pulling on the packaging until I eventually popped. Luckily that didn't happen. IV's, suck. Hospital gowns suck. Operation rooms, really suck. It pretty much felt like I had been wheeled in to a morgue. I've actually been healing pretty quick and all in all modern medicine is pretty amazing. I might actually try driving tomorrow!



This may surprise everyone (that is, everyone not in my family), but the Easter holiday is something I just don't get. Growing up I remember hunting Easter eggs a couple of times and possibly having a family Easter dinner a couple of other times. I do remember doing Easter activities in elementary school, but I honestly felt more like a Jehovah's Witness on Christmas. This was mostly due to the remarks I recall from family members saying things about eggs and bunnies are not how you celebrate Easter. In fact, I remember thinking one year that Mormons don't celebrate Easter. This all was brought home again after watching my uncle's new family celebrating Easter like it's a second Christmas; new outfits, presents (big ones), candy out the yin-yang, big dinners, etc... In my adult years I've taken the stance that extravagant Easters are silly. (Mostly because I have to have something to say when people ask what I'm doing for Easter.) Why do you need presents, you don't have to go to hell, that's your present, Happy Easter! My married siblings all spend Easter with their in-laws and that leaves me eating some vaguely Mexican-themed dinner wondering what holiday it is that everybody keeps referencing.


A Sickness

I wish the first 7 minutes of this video didn't ring so true with me, but they do. I can't help myself.

There is no need for you to watch the rest of the video, but if you have time I recommend it.

A Word on Sequestration

Dear employees of the federal government,

       Really, this is nothing personal. We know you have families, and mortgages, bills, hopes, and aspirations for retirement just like the rest of us. However,  you had to have seen this coming. Your employer (good old Uncle Sam) has over spent. Wait... that doesn't seem quite accurate- your employer has GROSSLY  OVERSPENT! (still not adequate, but it will have to do) and he hasn't blown trillions on good things most of the time either. He has spent money on conflicts, bail-outs, hand-outs, studying and saving the endangered Moapa Dace, and a whole host of things most people would find upsetting. Trillions has been spent with little to show for it. I mean, I could understand the debt, to a point, if our infrastructure was up to date instead of crumbling, or if public eduction worked, or, or, or.... but that doesn't appear to be the case. It is unrealistic to assume that your employer can make the spending cuts he needs to and still keep employing all14 million + of you that he thinks there are (he's not real sure how many people he employs). So once again, please don't take this personally. We'd love to have you over here in the private sector. For those of you who went and got an education and training that is completely useless outside of government employment, you can always go get training or schooling more applicable to the world the rest of us all live in. Is it inconvenient? Yes. Will it be hard? I'm sure it will be. However, life is hard. You may not be handed a pension after working for a whole 20 years. You may not get benefits. You may not have the security of knowing you won't be fired no matter how bad you are at doing your job. The rest of us deal with all these issues and since we're the ones paying into the system we are sorry but you're fired.


A Couple Things To Discuss

First off, the Jeep is history. The only other employee of the engineering firm I work for had a Toyota Tacoma for a work vehicle and I asked him if wanted to trade. He asked why and I told him that I detested the thing. He responded with, "sure, I don't care what I drive." I spent at least 30 minutes trying to convince him that simply couldn't be the case, that he had to care what he drove to some extent. He was unmoved on this point so I gave up and we swapped keys.

While I'm no real fan of Toyota products I do enjoy this truck exponentially more than that clap-trap of a Chrysler product that I was driving before. It's a 4 cylinder with a manual transmission and 4WD. This is the first car I've used with Bluetooth and I must say it is quite handy.

In other news, this:

The Ely Stake YSA group had a temple trip to St. George last weekend and Megan and I (well just Megan) called Aunt Millie to come and join us. Yes, that is her waving at the camera. We had a fun visit. She is always a hoot.