Monday, September 29, 2008

To Pass the Time

So here's the deal: Owen is on his way. Contractions three minutes apart and all that good stuff. Which means we'll be away from the blog for a little while (not too long, don't worry). In the meantime I don't want to leave you high and dry. So I've saved this little gem for just this occasion. I found this in one of my old coloring books that my parents brought up for Zoe when we first moved into the house.


As soon as I found it I knew it was blogworthy. So here's what's going to happen - I'm posting this amazing drawing and I want YOU to come up with a title or caption for it. Come up with as many as you like. Basically this will keep us all busy - you coming up with witty and hilarious comments and us reading them. Comment often with any thoughts or impressions that this masterpiece (found in a children's coloring book) provokes in you. I can't wait to see what you come up with! You wouldn't let a lady in labor down now, would you?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Got Tomatoes?

We are literally busting at the seams with tomatoes. I love it.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

My Hooptie!


James here. This is gonna be another long post...

So let me just get right to the point...


I need a "new" car!

I have had my 1988 prelude since 1999 when I was just home from my mission in New Zealand. It has served me well ever since and has rarely let me down. I have no ill feelings toward it. But like all good things, this too however, must pass.

I've wanted to replace it for years but it was always a case of, "If it ain't broke..." Well now it IS broke...in a few dozen ways. The problem is, none of the issues it has are fatal flaws...just annoyances. But there are many and they are very annoying...


So let's explore all of the things that are wrong with this otherwise beautiful machine...

EXTERIOR - The paint that used to be black is now badly oxidized and white or gray in many areas. In many places the paint is cracking and falling off. The hood was spray painted by myself after I had to replace it many years ago. Not long after I replaced it, it was damaged again (as seen in the image below). I didn't feel like buying yet another new hood (I already had to repair the radiator as a result of that collision) and so it still has a nice dent in the front.

One of the front turn signals is slightly loose. You can see where I used a zip tie to keep it from falling completely out.


Here is the keyhole on the passenger side where someone used a screwdriver to try to break in. I'm not sure what they thought they would find inside but they were unsuccessful.


This side-view mirror looks fine enough until you get up to freeway speeds and it vibrates so much that you can't see anything out of it anyway.


INTERIOR - Just a little wear and tear.


Apparently my left arm is really heavy or something because this is what it looks like on the door where I rest it. Honestly, is that a bit ridiculous?


This is a fun one. Right above the rear-view mirror there is a small alarm that warns you when you start the car that your seat belt is not fastened. Now originally there was a cover over this noise-maker to bring it down to a reasonable volume level. That cover was gone long before I bought the car. As a result I have to hear obnoxiously loud beeps every time I get in the car, every time a passenger has trouble getting their seat-belt on (frequently), every time someone undoes their seat belt, and sometimes it will just decide to go off for no apparent reason while I am driving down the road. I have turn the ignition off and start the car again for it to stop. It's a great feature. The noise doesn't bother me that much because after 9 years of driving this thing I guess I've tuned it out. But anytime someone is in the car with me they act like a bomb is about to go off or something. I used to try to explain what the noise was...I don't even bother anymore.

WINTER DRIVING - Any of our readers spent a winter in Utah? I have a feeling some of you have. Imagine this if you will. No heat/defrost and no wipers. When I say "no heat" it does produce heat, but the fan that gets that heat from the engine to the inside of the vehicle is kaput. It used to be that only settings 3 and 4 of the fan worked, until last winter when they all died. It really wasn't too bad when I had to drive 2 miles on small roads to get to work. I could stick my head out the window and pretty much see whatever I needed to see. Now that I am 25 minutes from work it is really going to be a different story once the weather turns this year. And yes I said the wipers don't work. The wiper motor is fine but the arms that control them busted apart. I "rain-x"ed the windshield so that is not too big of a deal until you get a nice snowfall. There were a couple of times last year when I had to pull over a few times and wipe the snow off. It was a long 2 miles on those days.


Oh yeah, did I mention that the power steering leaks? I used to just re-fill it every couple of weeks but now it needs it far more often than that so I don't even bother anymore. Did you know that the power steering has to work to pass a Utah safety inspection? Did you also know that it's about a $600 repair to get that particular item fixed on my car? Could I even get $600 if I sold this thing? Surely not (in good conscience).

Also, during the summer months, this car has about a 90% start rate. That sounds pretty high until you realize that if you try to start it twice a day, it's not going to start at least once a week or so. Sometimes if you wait 15 minutes and try again it will start right up as if nothing was ever wrong...sometimes you have to wait hours for it to do that. But rest assured it will always start back up again. Ive never had it to wait more than 24 hours.

During the winter, one of the battery cables has a frayed end doesn't like the cold weather and will decide not to conduct electricity thus leaving me stranded until I find some one to give me a jump. I've cleaned the cable and stripped it back several times to the point where it now barely reaches the battery. That always works for a while but now I am literally at the end of my rope (or cable I guess).

Perhaps all of this ca be explained by the following image. This car has a lot of miles on it. I didn't know how many until I did a check on the Vin # a few years ago and found that the odometer had been rolled back at some point before I ever owned it. It probably has at least 250k miles on it now. I suppose it makes sense that it is falling apart.


If you are still reading this, let me just say thanks. But you are probably wondering to yourself, "why is he still driving that car?" or perhaps, "why doesn't he just fix some of those problems?"

Like I said before, none of these problems have been enough to actually keep the car from working (for very long at least). Up until now I never had to drive it more than a few miles at a time. I could never bring myself to put money into a car that was on it's last legs when I could just put that same money toward an actual fully working car. I've really just been waiting for this thing to die, secretly hoping that some catastrophic problem would arise and I would be forced to get a different car. After years of waiting for that, it just keeps on running. Even with all of these annoying problems, it still gets me where I need to go (most of the time).

But I think it might be time to take the old dog behind the shed metaphorically speaking and put it out of it's misery. Especially with safety and emissions coming due next month which I know I can't pass without dumping money into this thing that could better be used in purchasing a new one.

So the search is one for a replacement. I'm really not asking for much; a heater, wipers that move,( is AC too much to ask for?), power steering, you know, just the basics.

So wish me luck! And speaking of "good luck"...as I was taking pictures for this post I came across this Sai Baba pin (in the ash tray) that was given to me in New Zealand by a Hindu man turned Mormon. He said it was believed to be good luck and he wanted me to have it. How could I refuse?

Maybe that is what has been keeping this thing running all these years.


Friday, September 19, 2008

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Happy Birthday James!

Look who's 32! Though we don't have any big plans for the day I didn't want to let it pass without commemorating the (somewhat) original James Owen's birth. I know you wanted numero tres to share your big day, but there's just not much I can do about that, sorry. But maybe this year you won't have to clean up puke after the celebration. Then again, it might be a new tradition - we'll have to wait and see! In the meantime, here are a few pictures of him whose namesake I am carrying. Happy Birthday James!





Monday, September 15, 2008

I'm Thankful For...

HALLWAYS!


Have you ever tried to piece and pin a crib bumper just shy of 5 yards long without at least 5 yards of space? I have, and let me tell you - this way is SO much easier.

(This post also serves as a sneak peak for the sewing project I have found myself immersed in lately. Pictures will come when everything is presentable.)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

A Day In the Life...of James

James here. I thought I would hi-jack the blog back for a post or two. Desta fans please be patient, she will be back soon and I'm sure she has plenty of good stuff for you. In the meantime please enjoy this post which is sure to be way too long and full of pictures that are absolutely meaningless to you. But for those out there who may have an academic interest in what I do from day to day and hour to hour even (I'm sure there are many of you out there), this post will serve as an invaluable resource.

OK, so are you ready? Let's get started!

The alarm begins to go off at about 5:45, but this is when I rolled on out of bed. (To be fair, it did take a minute or so to find the camera and get this shot.)
I them brush my teeth and other wise get ready for the day, at this sink...
Throw on some clothes (sorry, no photos), run downstairs and eat this nutritious breakfast...
Grab my things and run out the door to see this view...
Climb into this vehicle (no, not the Pilot...Desta gets that one), my trusty '88 Prelude with it's myriad of issues (I'll save the details for another post)...
And drive down this road...
To this Park and Ride/UTA Bus Stop...
Where I catch the 808 to UVU...
The cool kids always sit in the back...
Here is one of the many scenic vistas along the way. Notice the sleepy town of Salem off in the distance...
40 minutes later, upon arriving at UVU, I walk about 30 yards across a parking lot to where this sweet machine is parked...
I drive it across campus to the new library...
And park in back at the "secret" entrance...
Going inside I come to this elevator...
Go up to the 3rd floor...
Walk down this hallway...
Come to this office...
Which contains this office (it's kind of a mess and in need of some decorating...any ideas?)...
I log onto this computer...
Go to a 2 hour meeting in this office...
Where I get this list of upcoming projects to work on (each item representing hours or days of work)...
I then went to this room on the first floor...
To work on this little mess...
At 1:00pm I drive the cart up the hill to this building...
And take this elevator to the 6th level...
To attend my Digital Audio Restoration/Audio Forensics class (taught by "Wiz": Is he insane? Probably. A genious? Possibly. Entertaining? Always.)...
We look at an old school record player that "Wiz" brought in...
Now that it's 2:30 I'm hungry, so I go to this little cafe on the first floor of the new Library...
And purchase this beautiful thing...
Later in the afternoon, along with other things, I help set up for a conference in the Timpanogos room on the 4th floor (the glass room at the far end in this photo)...
Then at 5:00pm it's time to drive the cart back to the bus stop on the other side of campus...
The bus arrives and we're off!...
It's a bit of a gloomy day but nothing that some good tunes won't help to fix...
Here's the lovely view looking South on I-15...
40 minutes later I walk through the door to see this little monster (She really was excited to see me but I didn't get a picture of that)...
I'm just in time for dinner...
Then it's time to load this bad boy...
We play with Zoe for a while before Bath/Bedtime...
Daddy does bath time every night now since Desta is a little too "with child" to be bending over that much...
Then it's pajama time...
Then Mommy reads Zoe some "stories" before we say prayers and go to sleep...
Then Desta goes to work on a sewing project while I mix and record music and play internets...
Then at some unholy hour of the night, we meet back up and head to bed so I can do it all over again.

So, that's it! Hopefully this has been an enlightening experience for some of you. If you are still with me at this point, congratulations, you win a prize*!


Thanks for reading!


*"Prize" may not actually be a prize of any sort.