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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