Friday, May 30, 2008

School's Out

It's official. Teachers are more excited than the students when school gets out.
Think about much work did you actually do in high school? (If you were like me, not much). How much did your teachers have to do?
Yesterday I turned in my keys and my parking pass. I am now a free man. It was sad to realize that I wouldn't ever see most of the students and the other science teachers again, but it was very nice telling a problem student who's failing the class and asking if he can bring stuff in tomorrow to raise his grade, "I'm not going to be here. You'll just have to take the class again next year."
In a week we travel to SLC to get on a plane to Cincinnati...we'll visit there for a week, visit the school, find an apartment. April already has one job interview set up.
We move there in mid-July.
In other news, my laptop came in a week ago. Very nice, very quick computer. It starts up about 10 times faster than my desktop.

Friday, May 23, 2008


So I'm not usually a big fan of politicians. They tend to be more concerned with themselves than with the long-term success of the people they're supposed to serve. And I find that many of them do stupid things...(like the gas tax break that Clinton and McCain want to give the American people this summer--really stupid pandering to the public, instead of real long-term solutions).
So I'd like to write about a politician that I actually have respect for.
Governor Huntsman is not very outspoken. I've heard him speak once, and although it was a good speech, it was clear that his strength is not public speaking. He seemed very humble.
I also watched a debate between him and Matheson as both ran for governor. I was impressed by how civil the two were to one another.
He dropped out of high school to play keyboards in a band. More recently he played keyboards at a Styx concert and attended a Dream Theater concert (a progressive metal band that has a grand total of one hit single...) Clearly, by embracing artsy, intellectual rock and metal, he is not pandering to the people of Utah. He's an individual, with his own (not to mention incredible) taste in music.
He realizes that education is important, and has actually made that one of his biggest goals.
He knows how to make deals...when he first came into office, construction on Legacy Highway had stopped. An environmental group was suing because the highway would disrupt and destroy important wetlands, and the state of Utah was losing a lot of money because they refused to negotiate with the environmental group. Governor Huntsman very quickly took control of the situation, worked out a deal that (almost) everyone could live with, and building resumed.
He threatened to veto a bill that would've directly affected me as a science teacher...a bill that would've corrupted science education in Utah. He's smart enough to realize that the scientists and science educators should determine what's taught in Utah schools...and not a bunch of backwards state legislators and special interest groups.
I don't necessarily agree with every decision he makes, but I'm glad Huntsman's governor.

Monday, May 19, 2008


Aren't coincidences strange?
My parents happen to be friends with Caron's (my dad and her mom served in the same mission).
I guess that one's a little more likely, seeing that everyone involved is LDS, but this next one...
Unless something drastic happens and the University of Utah decides that they need me at their school (which is very unlikely) it looks like I'm heading to the University of Cincinnati. Even of U of U accepts me, I still might decide to attend UC.
A cousin I'm close to in Provo is heading to Indiana, less than two hours from UC, so her husband can go to grad school (which is nice, because it means we'll probably be able to share a moving truck and cut our costs in half, saving some serious dough).
Brent, of course, is less than two hours away in Kentucky, doing grad school.
Even more amazing, a cousin I grew up with (we're the same age) is also moving to Cincinnati. Her husband is starting a grad program at the exact same university the exact same year I am.
All of this is, of course, totally unplanned. I had no clue this cousin was going to UC until after I had made my plans.
Now, if it was U of U or BYU or something else not on the other side of the country, it wouldn't have been much of a coincidence, but this...
This I'm still trying to get over.
By the way, if anyone who read this is thinking of grad school in the's the time.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Laptop bought

So I bought a laptop today from
They were having a two-day deal--a free upgraded video card on their Vostros. The exact model I wanted, but $75 cheaper due to the free upgrade.
I also decided to splurge and go for a much faster processor...I upgraded from 1.4 GHz to 2.0 GHz ($175 is a lot of money, and I'm not sure if I made the right decision, but I'll cross my fingers and hope I did). And of course this brand new laptop includes XP instead of Vista (I talked to half-a-dozen people, and Brent was the only one who didn't have issues with Vista, so I feel I made a good choice there).
It's a bit on the larger size (15 in. screen, etc.) but then again, so am I.
It'll be a couple of weeks before it arrives, but I'm already very much excited.
Cost: under $700 (before taxes).

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Stalking Santa and my German professor

So there's a very funny movie out...filmed mainly in Provo...called Stalking Santa. I realize it's May, but stay with me.
It's a mockumentary involving William Shatner (yes, that's right). It also stars (well, okay, it features) my German professor!
It does a great job of making fun of pseudoscience everywhere. You might also recognize some familiar faces from other "Mormon" movies.
By the way, it's not meant as a Mormon movie. There are no lame Mormon jokes (or funny ones, for that matter). The only way you know it's a Mormon movie is that it features Mormon actors and (clearly) is filmed in Provo.
Lots of laughs...definitely worth a look.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

My new laptop

So I haven't ordered it yet, but here's the what I'm planning on ordering from Dell:
Vostro 1500 (with some upgrades)
PROCESSOR: Intel Core 2 Duo T5470 (1.6GHz, 2MB L2 Cache, 800MHz FSB)
OPERATING SYSTEM: Genuine Windows® XP Home Edition
LCD PANEL: 15.4 inch Wide Screen XGA LCD Display with TrueLife
MEMORY 2GB Shared Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 667MHz, 2 DIMM
HARD DRIVE 120GB 5400RPM Hard Drive
WI-FI WIRELESS CARD Dell Wireless 1395 802.11g Wi-Fi Internal Card

I specifically sought out laptops that still have XP on them (I know Brent says it's nothing to be scared of, but he's also getting a doctorate in CS). It's marketed as a small business laptop, but there's not much difference between it and the one they market to consumers (Inspiron 1520). It's a little bit cheaper because it doesn't come with extras like Webcam (I figure I can buy a cheap one if I need it) or software that I wouldn't use anyway.
Once I start school, I can upgrade to XP Professional for very cheap (although I think that would wipe out everything I put on it before I start school).
I can also purchase the software I need very cheaply.

The two splurges (and I'm still not sure if I need them) are with the GHz (1.4 to 1.6, and it costs a whopping $75) and graphics card (Intel Integrated 3100 to Nvidia 8400, and also $75).
To those who know, are the splurge worth it?
Total cost (with splurges):$669.00

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

A funny phone call and a funny picture

First the picture:

(Thanks to Respectful Insolence for providing the picture)

Then the phone call:
Last night someone called asking for me. I didn't understand everything the lady was saying, but it sounded like a short opinion poll, so I stayed on the line.
And although it was dressed as an opinion poll, it was really pretty much straight propaganda. A two-minute recording told me why I need to fear for my life because my right to owning a gun would be taken away due to a possible Supreme Court decision...
Now, I'm not anti-gun. I went shooting every once in a while as a kid, and I don't have a problem with guns as long as they're locked up safely. But I do have a problem with the NRA, who, it turned out, were the ones calling me; I think it's stupid that if you want to run for president as a Republican you need their support (remember Romney?) and I think they usually go way overboard. Notice also that Hillary is now pandering for the support of the NRA crowd.
I also have big issues with fear-mongering.
So, after the recording, when the lady asked me if the government should have the right to take away our guns, I told her, "At certain times and in certain places." She thanked me for my time and immediately hung up.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


As I am attending law school this fall, I need a laptop. Problem is...what type?
Here are the requirements:
Major Vendors (e.g., Dell, Toshiba, Lenovo )
The College of Law is primarily a PC environment, but most newer Apple laptops running Mac OS X 10.4 or better will work with the UC Law network, networked resources, and exam software.
Hard Drive
80 GB
1 GB XP / 2GB Vista
Intel Core 2.Duo 1.66 GHz
Optical Drive
Video RAM
256MB for Vista Aero interfaces; less for XP
14.1 Inch
Operating System
Windows XP Professional or Vista Business or Ultimate
Wireless Network Card
802.11b/g (integrated or external) with 128 bit encryption.

I've heard some ugly things about Vista...
Anyway, if any of you have recommendations on what I should go for, that would be very much appreciated. Cost and reliability are the biggest factors.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Cincinnati it is (I think)

So April and I were leaning towards Cincinnati (over Portland)...and then we found out that if April finds full-time work before classes start I can get in-state tuition my first year...and then they offered me a bit of a scholarship on top of that. So Cincinnati wins out.
We're looking at homes already. And I've talked more with the bishop of the Norwood ward (which we'll probably be moving into) this past week than I've talked with my bishop here in Idaho Falls this last (almost) year.
Apparently there are at least two other LDS law students at the law school...which is actually surprising, considering the fact that there aren't many members in Cincinnati, and the law school is quite small (they admit around 120 each year).
Our grand plans could change...but the chances of that happening are getting smaller and smaller. There's still a (slight) chance that a university that has waitlisted me will change their mind and accept me...but if they want me, they'd better move quickly. We'll be buying a house in June or July, and once we've done that, we're committed.
Personally, I like the idea of moving away from the in-laws, doing our own thing, and joining a ward that has a weekly attendance of 100 to 120. I enjoy small wards much more.