Archive for December, 2006

Krissy and Shawn’s Belated Christmas Festivities

Thursday, December 28th, 2006

Tonight we had our little Christmas at home. My Grandparents couldn’t be with us when we opened the gifts we got from them, so they asked that we video tape it to get Krissy’s reaction. Please excuse the poor production values in the following presentation, as they were all 100% intentional and are all a part of my artistic genius.

The Truth about Net Neutrality

Sunday, December 17th, 2006

Unfortunately, it seems that political ads don’t have to actually tell the truth or use pesky facts to convince people of who and what to vote for. Most political topics can’t be accurately explained in 30 seconds or less. I wish the following video were possible to get on television during commercial breaks. If you don’t know what Net Neutrality is or why you should want laws in place to guarantee it then please take the two and a half minutes to watch the video below. The cable and telephone companies, who constitute the majority of high-speed internet service providers (ISPs), want to make more money at your expense. You will probably see commercials that try to convince you that Net Neutrality is bad, but they won’t talk about why, except by trying to scare you by threatening to raise cable and internet bills. These ads against Net Neutrality are nothing more or less than that; they are threats. The user oepapel on a discussion about Net Neutrality at summed it up best.

The ISPs (the gatekeepers) are basically saying “We want more money. If we can’t charge Google extra because of some Net Neutrality law then we are going to charge you, the customer. So don’t vote for the law and we won’t charge you more. Deal?”

It’s not that they lied, it’s that they skipped right to the end of their thinly veiled threat to raise prices if they don’t get their way. It’s a giant temper tantrum. They see the internet and their customers as an asset to be sold to the highest bidder, only nobody is bidding. None of the content producers are taking the bait. God help us if one of them does because then they ALL will have to in order to stay competitive. Sure, your internet [access] might be cheaper (and that’s a big assumption) but you traded your freedom away to get it. Hope you kept the receipt…

The ISPs are threatening to raise your bills unless they can force other companies with popular websites to pay the ISP just to grant you access to the popular websites. This idea just makes me so angry! And this is only one of the possible misuses if Net Neutrality is not passed into law.

Missionary Style Treats

Monday, December 11th, 2006

When I got home from work today there was a surprise waiting for me that had come in the mail. I almost felt like Elder Dowler again! It was a box from my wife. She had sent me a whole bunch of my most very favorite chocolate chip cookies that she makes from scratch! They were still soft and chewy (which is one of my favorite things about them).

Thanks Krissy!

“The Nativity” with “Breath of Heaven”

Sunday, December 10th, 2006

The first time I ever about this was when my sister-in-law, Sandy, showed this to the family two or three years ago. Amy Grant wrote and sings a song called “Breath of Heaven (Mary’s Song)” talking about the feelings that Mary had while carrying the Savior of the World. It turns out that a short film put out by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints called “The Nativity,” and “Breath of Heaven” are almost exactly the same length. Many of the scene changes match the changes in the music and many of the images match the lyrics. When I first saw this it was difficult to get going because it was a VHS tape with the video and a seperate CD player that had to be started together at just the right moment for the effect to be really noticeable. I took the video from the DVD and combined it with the audio from the CD, and this is the result. The Amy Grant music has a much greater impact than the original audio in my opinion. Enjoy!

DOWNLOAD: MPEG2 Nativity with Breath of Heaven 314MB

UPDATE: A few Evangelical Christians have decided that this video doesn’t make any sense since Mormons aren’t Christians.”

Automated Coin Dispensers

Saturday, December 9th, 2006

I have never really been a fan of the automated coin dispenser. You know, the machine that has a little cup where the coin part of your change appears when you pay with cash at the grocery store. It doesn’t save much time. I’ve worked cash registers at a retail store before, and it doesn’t take very long to get change for people one coin at a time. I don’t like them because I often forget to take my change. The cashier hands me the bills and it often doesn’t occur to me that half of my change is just sitting somewhere else waiting for me to take it.

Today I bought a couple of things at the grocery store and the coin machine gave me what seemed to be a lot of coins as change. Here’s the breakdown

  • 1 Quarter
  • 5 Dimes
  • 1 Nickel
  • 5 Pennies

I don’t know about you, but that don’t make a lick o’ sense to me. I suppose that it’s possible that the machine only had one quarter and one nickel in it when I got there. That’s the only explanation I could come up with. What happens to the next person, then? Isn’t the cashier alerted when coin levels in the machine are low? It just seems like one more thing to go wrong.

A Little Piece of Office Culture

Friday, December 8th, 2006

Alex has a penchant for taking the faces of his coworkers and putting them on pop culture icons like Shrek, or Princess Leia. Well, he and I have turned it into a competition to see who can make the best one. This was his idea after he noticed that I seemed a little bored. I rushed out here so quickly that I gave little to no thought to entertainment or hobbies. Anyway, here is one that he “rushed.” I must admit that he has had quite a head-start at this stuff. I can do some things with the Gimp, but he really knows what he’s doing in Photoshop when it comes to blending images together.

Shawn Dowler as Chicken Little

Arizona Oddities

Friday, December 8th, 2006

I wish that I had had a camera on me when we were driving around the other night. We drove past a McDonalds that had a small marquee attached to their sign out front that advertised a special: 2 bags of ice for just $1.29. I wondered aloud why McDonalds would sell bags of ice let alone advertise it as a special of some sort. Alex, who was driving, said that Arizonans really like ice. I thought he was just joking. I still thought it was weird.

Tonight at dinner Alex made some green Kool Aid. When I poured some into my ice-filled plastic tumbler and tasted it I think I made a face. It was so sweet I couldn’t drink it. Cassie said that Alex’s family always made it that way and let the ice melting in your glass water it down to the right concentration. Then she said that Arizonans really love ice! I guess Alex wasn’t joking after all.

Arizona: My New Home

Wednesday, December 6th, 2006

I touched down in Arizona this afternoon after a quick flight from San Diego. Tomorrow I start my new job as a Technical Writer for Apollo Group. I didn’t want to say anything about it until it was for sure, and I think now is as sure as it can get without me having arrived for my first day. I have been informed that tomorrow is the most glorious day of the week: Nacho Thursday. I have also been informed that if it is my team’s turn to make the nachos then I will be expected to clean the machine afterwards.

I leave many friends behind in California, which makes me a little sad and homesick. I think the homesickness is mostly because my wife is still back in California finishing out the year at her job and getting everything in order to move our stuff and take care of all the odds and ends that go along with a move.

We are in the process of trying to get ourselves into a townhouse since we plan to spend a good long while in Arizona. I haven’t had an employer in the last two and a half years because I’ve been going to school full time. Hopefully that won’t be a problem. I think there might be some special services we may qualify for as first-time home buyers, but I really am not sure. I don’t know anything about Arizona and the way their state government works.

Bean-filled Passenger Brings Plane Down

Monday, December 4th, 2006

According to Samuel Shu of The Tennessean, recipe flatulence forced a plane to land! This is unbelievable! Almost anything can bring an airplane trip to a screeching halt nowadays, it seems.