Monday, October 29, 2007

Cunning *

Innocence **


*From an '80's Dance
**Prize-Winning Costume--"Most Festive"

Sunday, October 21, 2007

This is another pic from Fontenelle Forest. I believe we were the only Mormons in Mormon's Hallow at the time.

Speaking of Bugs

This picture contains two of the 12 ladybugs that decided to settle me yesterday as I was walking through Fontenelle Forest, 25 minutes south of Omaha. I hear that ladybugs are attracted to good character or something I would like to believe like that.

I have a safety lesson to give this week: What To Do When You Find An Unknown Drunk Man On Your Living-Room Floor.

1. Do not panic.
2. He may snore louder if you make sudden movements, but it doesn't mean he's awake. It's sort of like in the movies.
3. Call your roommate. It might be his friend.
4. Do number 3 especially if your cell phone is dead because your roommate probably left a message about it, you just haven't gotten it yet.

It may happen to you or it may not--A lesson for those of us who are still alive.
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Sunday, October 14, 2007

No More Eency Weency Spiders

Part of the reason I didn't post to my blog at ALL was because there weren't ANY spiders in the shower last week. Ever. There used to be spiders every time I took a shower. I would make efforts to spare them on occasion so that they could go back and warn the others that the shower is a trap. Of course I would consider this a blog worthy subject, because shower time is my most lucid time of day.

Needless to say, I've been thinking a lot about the Eency Weency Spider. Is this a song about persistence or learning from your mistakes? I would like to talk to Mr. Weency and see what he has to say. "Mr. Weency, why do you commit this near insanity? Why don't you give up your spout climbing? Is there a message you want the world to hear?" Of course, the spider would say nothing. "I see. Resolve forbids you to speak, or even hint at a response."

I know that I've already mentionned programming, and I probably will several more times, but programming feels like near insanity to me.

Eency Weency Aaron worked the program out.
Down came the bugs and stressed poor Aaron out.
Out came the nap time to rest poor Aaron's brain,
So the Eency Weency Aaron programmed once again.
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Sunday, September 30, 2007

This is me at the Conagra Foods Heartland of America park in Downtown Omaha. Conagra makes lots of foods that you know about like Peter Pan Peanut Butter and Swiss Miss Chocolate. They have also been providing my lunches--both Marie Calendar and Healthy Choice brands. All of my foreign student friends have been exhorting me NOT to eat frozen dinners. Perhaps they think to themselves... no wonder he is so short for an American, he eats like that. No, it wasn't the frozen dinners. I'm short because when we chose body sizes, they told me that I wouldn't have to bend down as far to tie my shoes.

This park is about 20 minutes from my apartment, just like everything else is. Church is 20 minutes away, the Winter Quarters Temple is 20 minutes away, Rosenblatt Stadium (home of the College World Series), Henry Dorrley Zoo, the Lauritzen Gardens, Mahoney State Park, as well as the North AND South Poles are all 20 minutes away. However, if you try to get anywhere by bus, even if it is ten minutes away, everything takes two hours. Perhaps they should start showing movies on the bus.
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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Another Bearded Wonder

Last week I probably spent close to 20 hours working on programming. This is a picture tells what happens when you program too much... you lose track of all grooming habits and you get a daised look on your face. This picture is actually from the week before last week. I shaved off my beard so that I could stick my Gandalf beard on with spirit gum. Spirit gum works really well by the way.

Part of the reason I spent so much time programming was because I had to learn to Program in C++. When someone is programming in C++, they are actually saying that he or she wants to progam in a way that will earn a better grade than a C+ on a programming assignment. C++ is an artisitic approach to programming. You actually make arrows out of text to "point" from one part of data in your program to another. Behold the specimen:


Just imagine what it would be like to think about what the implications of one of those arrows pointing at something would mean for hours and you'll have a little bit of an idea of what my week was like last week.

I've also done some amazingly silly things under this stress. Ever tried closing one of those automatically closing umbrellas over your head? You will get a surprise. I also thought I was zipping closed my scripture case when I was actually zipping it open today when I got out of the car in the church parking lot.

This week should be a lot better. There are approximately 7 working days (Saturdays included) until my next programming assignment is due. Programming is something you cannot procrastinate-your mind can only handle so much. Be grateful for the times when your mind can function normally
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Sunday, September 16, 2007

Gandalf as a PhD Student

Gandalf gave a presentation on facilitation of meetings today. Facilitation comes from the french word facile which means "easy." So he gave a presentation on making meetings easy. Just use your imagination. Gandalf has retired from being Gandalf the White, and is now Gandalf the Brown. He was tired of trying to keep his robes white.

Two of my neighbors got arrested last week. Things are a lot quieter around her now. Correlation or causation? You be the judge. No one has yet to arrest the cicadas for disturbing the peace all summer long or the squirrels for repeated jaywalking.

I'm reevaluating the innocent image I have of squirrels. A good friend of mind told me about how a squirrel insisted on using her bicycle seat as a storage space for food. Repeated duct-tapings of the squirrel's excavation didn't deter him. In fact, the squirrel left something besides food.

This blog would have been longer, but I had to write it twice due to technical difficulties. But this means that I only remembered the good jokes I had. Bad jokes take longer to write actually. So... if I ever write a bad joke, just think of the effort that went into it.
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Tuesday, September 11, 2007


This picture is looking at flags representing everyone who died in the 09-11 attacks. There is a name on each of the flags on a color-coded tag representing where they died--in which tower, or airplane, or if they were rescue workers. This is Memorial Park, which I still don't know a whole lot about. I go running there a lot. It's right north of campus.

I don't feel right about making this a funny blog, so maybe I'll talk about some serious things. Not being the cultural norm for once has given me a lot more to think and a lot more interactions than I would have ever planned on. People still appreciate other friendly people... imagine that! People still want someone to listen to them, people still like it when you're generous and want to be generous back.

I have had the opportunity to share my beliefs with my neighbors (not the nuns--we aren't sure they can have men over). It seems like you just have to tell people who you are and the ones that are interested will start asking you questions. That's what happened with our neighbor Rob. He told Dan that all three of us were welcome to come over and have some drinks and Dan told him that we didn't drink because we were Mormon.

School is still school here too. I have more to do, but I feel like I have more time to do it as long as I work on a little bit of everything I have to do every day.
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Sunday, September 9, 2007


Check back Tuesday Evening.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

... with Welcome Week

UNO Welcomes You... For an Entire WEEK!

For the frightened and soon-to-be weary masses of those students new to college, not so new, or in 18th grade and from Utah, UNO lit that ever-so-tried-and-trusted beacon of love--FREE food. And they had it lit ALL week long! The feasting began Monday with pancakes produced by what must have been an Ex-NASA pancake... placer--deftly squirting four blobs of batter on to the griddle at a time. Subway sandwiches, hot dogs, pizza, and doughnuts followed each day of the week. I unfortunately experienced UNO's ever-so-tried-and-trusted beacon of woe... parking tickets. I got a parking ticket because my all powerful grad student parking pass failed to tell me it was not powerful enough to protect me from citations in student lots.

So I saved a lot of money on groceries this week, something I am always irrationally excited about. I also get excited about all the friendly little beasts that roam Omaha. They have BLACK squirrels here! And we have a jack rabbit who stays in one corner of our back yard. He probably learned how to do this from the fake rabbits found in other yards. Our landlord said we live next to Nuns! We should have known by the wirless broadcast ID: "Sisters of Mercy." I'm not sure what they are supposed to think of ours: "Marmot." It was inspired by the marmot Jordan and I saw on the way home from church.

I started work and school last week, but I didn't get officially stressed until Thursday at 4:00 pm. I'm going to be doing some interesting work with STRATCOM-- the military base not far from here. Apparently the user interface for the system to communicate remotely with and scold the naughty aliens locked up in Area 51 needs an upgrade and I will be involved in research to understand the implementation of system development principles of that project. I'm also on a top-secret project to find... a conference table and matching chairs. Small task you say? Well, it would be, except this conference table is being commissioned by Emperor Palpatine and needs a built-in-holographic projection unit so that he can mysteriously appear during meetings to command his nefarious deeds. Where do you find equipment like that? It's going to be in the North Wing of the business building. You are really lucky to be hearing about such top-secret projects, since they must be true :-P.

I'm in the thick of things now. Get back to you next week!
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Monday, August 27, 2007

Welcome to Omaha

The "Good Life, and More" begins

Hello everyone. This is my blog. Nebraska's state moto is "The Good Life, and More." They put "and More" for all the things one might not expect in "The Good Life," like tornadoes and humidity. The Good Life certainly deals with more than corn husking, as one may suspect, especially at UNO where the mascot is a Maverick (a tough bull with attitude), not a corn husker.

My good life starts each day in the red duplex above. There is a 1/2 in my address because house numbers 14 and 15 were already taken. It's sort of like number 12 Grimold Place, the residence of the Order of the Phoenix (from Harry Potter). Unless you know where to look, you won't find us. I hope non-junk mail can find us though. I finally have my own room! the smallest of the three, but it's the only one with a masculine color of paint.

I then drive the 91 Subaru Legacy (not visible in the photo) 2 miles to school from my neighborhood of Dundee. Warren Buffet lives (at least has a house) in Dundee, but Crocodile Dundee does not. I cross Dodge Street, which is aptly named for the dodging you will have to do if outsiders from Utah don't understand that the middle lane is NOT a turning lane, but an extra lane which can have traffic heading towards or away from downtown depending on the time of day. There are lots of caveats like this in Omaha. Be grateful for all those right turns on red you can make.

I get to use my mighty grad assistant parking pass to park in either student or faculty parking right next to the Peter Kewiet Institute Building (where all the technical colleges reside) where my office is and all my classes. There is a big O! (exclamation included) in front of the PKI. This does not celebrate zero deaths on the job (or in the classroom) as one may suspect, but has something to do with the college world series. The O!'s are everywhere. I share an office space with 12 or so other PhD students, new and not so new. There are six new PhD students.

On the way home, I realize once again that I have forgotten how humid it is here when I step out of the AC and into my car. The cicadas also greet me once again with a buzz that sounds like the buzzing of powerlines. I think they have evolved to make any other threatening species to believe that they have a headache so that they want go home and leave the trees where the cicadas reside alone.

The rest of the evening I spend chatting with my roommates Dan and Jordan. I seem to be a Dan magnet because there is also a female Dan in my PhD program (it's her American name--her Chinese name is too hard to say). Somehow (thanks mom), Dan found out that I had llamas, so my plans to try to find out if I could be known for something other than llamas are likely thwarted. And of course the first thing everyone seems to do is ask if they make noises and if I can make them. No surprises here. I made everyone promise not to tell anyone else that I owned llamas. Perhaps they will. Perhaps we will be the Order of the Llama instead of the Order of the Phoenix.

Life really has been good here so far. I'll keep posting every week.