Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Product Pick, the New Benz

This is a picture of the Mercedes Benz scl600, the smartest car on the road.
Except it's not actually on the road.
Please note the features:
-A very sleek look
-stylish new hubcaps

-gull wing doors -funky trunk

-tail lights that are virtually invisible until they light up

-Built in navigation system

-Voice controlled stereo and blue tooth cell phone operation, (that's not that new is it?).

-Video screen in place of rear view mirror.

This video screen utilizes 5 cameras strategically placed around the vehicle to show every possible angle. No more blind spots! That is new.

-No steering wheel.

-No pedals.

-Sidesticks for the drive-by-wire steering.

Further explanation:

This model was shown at the 1996 Paris Motor Show as a concept car. Basically to demonstrate some of the features that were possible and might be making their way into cars soon.

So in 1996, a built in navigation system was way ahead of it's time. But now they are standard features in many cars.

So here's my favorite feature: Smart driving, using drive-by-wire sidesticks.

In your car the steering wheel is actually mechanically connected to the wheels, and if your battery is dead you can still steer.

Not the case here. The drive-by-wire term means that the steering is completely electronically controlled. Not unlike playing Need For Speed on your xbox.

Notice the second sidestick on the drivers side door, so the driver can use either hand to drive.

The steering is pretty simple. Push left or right to turn, forward to accelerate, pull back to brake, and after stopping, reverse if desired.

Oh, and if the driver needs both hands to do something, (though I don't know what since he doesn't need hands for the radio, phone, to adjust the mirrors or read the map), the passenger can take over the steering. Cool!

It does take a little practice to get used to the new steering sytem, but 20 minutes in the Lavell Edwards Stadium Parking lot would do it. (Isn't that where you learned to drive?)

The extra cool part of the steering, besides being able to drive with a joystick, is that there is a smart drive system.

This is basically the brain in your car's computer that evaluates the road you are on, the road conditions, your speed, and adjusts the headlights and mirrors to suit. Then also evaluates your controls and decides how to make the car respond in the best and safest way.

Other comfort features: Since there are no pedals and steering wheel the driver has more room and comfort.

The sun roof is designed to allow a lot of light in to the car, but the liquid crystals in the glass can be darkened by the push of a button -or by a verbal command.

It really won't be long before the cars are driving for us.

Since this car isn't actually out on the market yet there is no price. You can expect these features, like all new features, to be very expensive when they first come out, and get more affordable over time.

Super cool car with super cool features. Now if it could just run on tap water....

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tornados!! (We're okay)

3 tornados hit Virginia yesterday.
The closest one to us hit Suffolk, which is about 20 miles away from us.
We didn't see, hear, or feel it.
The kids wanted to ride their bikes around outside. But I had them stay in.

About 200 people were injured, and 6000 didn't have power overnight.

At least one major road is still closed due to the damage.

Many were displaced and had to stay with friends or at shelters. I am very, very grateful that we were not harmed or even affected much.

But pray for those that were.

Monday, April 28, 2008

CJ's Talk

CJ gave a talk in primary yesterday about following the prophet.
When he and I were planning his talk we found a poem in The Friend that he could read.
It was a good short poem about doing what the prophet said to do.
He wanted to just get up and read that and be done.
I told him he needed to plan something longer because the poem would not be long enough.
He said "What if I read it reeaalllly slooowww?"
He found a scripture too and read that. He did a good job.
I tried to get him to talk about last month when Thomas S. Monson stopped to talk to the Jazz players at a Utah Jazz game, (see Utah Jazz labels for further post on that), but he didn't want to look silly.
How am I ever going to teach him the important things in life?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sunday Post

Fort this Sunday's post we are going patriotic.
A guy named Sam Bierstock realized that our american veterans who served in WWII and The Korean War are passing away now at a rate of about 2000 a day.
He wanted to make sure they got one last thank you for their service for our country and peace and freedom in the world.
So he and another guy named John Melnick and their group the "Managed Care Band", (they are doctors), wrote a song to say thank you.
Both of my grandpas served in WWII. They both came home, but my Grandpa Hugo left his legs on the island of Sebu in the South Pacific.
I could go on about how much freedom and this country mean to me, but I will leave it to this song and slideshow to convey how I feel.
Click here to watch it.
To all the veterans of every war, including those fighting now,
Thank you for keeping us free.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Fun Food, part 2

More interesting food.
That's a little more literal definition of "head of cabbage" than I've seen before.
Personally I think the watermelon is a little creepy.
Great pics though.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Fun Food, part 1

And your Mother told you not to play with your food.
Look what you were missing out on.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Happy Anniversary!!

I seem to be announcing things a day late around here.
I'm a dollar short too, so I guess I'm right on track.
Anyways, yesterday was the eleventh anniversary of the day that Chris and I made the legal and lawful commitment, as well as sealed the eternal commitment, to be husband and wife for all of this life, the rest of time beyond that, and all of eternity.

Do you think that 19 was too young to make a commitment like that?

For most people I would say absolutely. But for me, I have never once doubted that decision. Not even once. And the last eleven years have been better than I ever thought they could be.

This picture is us with our sealer, Robert P. Manookin. He was a friend of my grandpas, and did our sealing as a favor. He typically didn't do sealings any more by that time. He passed away about a year later, and we may have been the last couple he sealed.

If the name sounds familiar, check your hymnbook. Several hymns that he wrote are in the standard LDS hymnbook today.

I don't know how to say with words how I feel about my marriage.

There are times when I think some people wouldn't believe that it can actually be this good, and they would think I was lying about it to compensate for how bad it really was.

But the truth is, my marriage is awesome. Chris is my best friend. If there is such a thing as a soul mate, he is mine.

Since we work together and work at home we literally spend about 23 hours a day together. And I wouldn't want it any other way.

I am so grateful that God guided us together and has He has blessed us so much since then.

It just keeps getting better.

Happy Anniversary, Chris. I love you.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Birthday J!

Yesterday was J's birthday!
It was kind of a busy day, like they all are around here, but J got a few things to help the day feel special.
He got woken up at 6:00 in the morning by a phone call from Mike in Iraq to tell him happy birthday.
Then two of his workers picked him up early from school to take him to lunch.
Everyone told him happy birthday several times.
R even bought him a toy and some candy with his own reward money.
I think he ended up with 3 happy birthday balloons from various people.
I took him to Dick's Sporting Goods where he picked out some weights for his present.
We stopped at Game Stop to spend the gift card he got from his workers.
And we went by Sonic to pick up dinner and ice cream.
(Nobody can say we don't support the economy).
After dinner I gave him the present that Nana sent from Utah.
It was a great quilt.
J loves blankets and will often sleep with 3 or 4 even when it is not cold, so he was excited about it.
Plus it was handmade with love by Nana, and it doesn't get better than that.
It had some cool stitching too.
So in the end I think it was a pretty good birthday and he felt special. At the end of the day that's what really matters.
And I think he still has more presents coming from other family members that will be visiting soon.
Happy Birthday J! We love you!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Toby Update

Toby got to come home from the pet hospital this morning.
They wanted him to eat and poop before he came home, but they settled for just eating.
I think part of that decision was based on the fact that he was feeling good enough to bite a tech. It wasn't a bad bite, but they figured he would be less tense at home.
I agree.
He is still on 3 different meds and special food for a few days.
The total bill came to about $770.
Phew, it's a good thing I love him.
We paid $450 dollars to buy him 3 1/2 years ago, so the vet bill didn't quite cost twice his original price.
I can tell he is feeling much better now than he was when I took him in on Saturday, but he is still not 100% back to his normal self.
His day was a little worse today when we had a thunder storm since he is terrified of thunder.
So anyway, next time you are wondering "Is it okay to give my dog a pork bone?" ask yourself if you have an extra $800 to spend at the vet.
If the answer is no, then the answer is no.
Even if you have the money don't do it. It's not worth it.

PLAYOFFS!!!! One Team, One Dream

The Utah Jazz are playing the Houston Rockets in the first round of the playoffs.
The Rockets had home court advantage but lost it when the Jazz beat them in their own house on Saturday 93-82.
(I didn't see the game, I was at the vet with Toby).
Now, even if the Jazz lose every game in Houston, but win every one at home in the Energy Solutions Arena, they will win the series.
They play again tonight at 7:30 Utah time.
Tune in. Cheer. Get into it.
I love my Jazz.
If you need a little motivation to get into the game, or just want to see as much Jazz Jazz as you can, click >>>here<<< for a short but great Jazz promo. Go Jazz!!!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Don't give your dog pork bones!

I always knew dogs shouldn't have chicken bones. But I didn't know how bad pork bones could be.
Until yesterday.
My poor Toby had a really bad day.
We had pork chops for dinner on Friday, and several of my well meaning children shared their bones with the dogs.
Sammy came out of it ok.
But poor Toby didn't.
I won't go into details, but I will say that I don't think I have ever seen a living thing have such a hard, painful, messy time trying to poop. And I mean, it was really, really bad.
I finally had to take him to the vet. After a series of medical treatments, (again, I won't go into details), and so far about $500, the vet still wants to keep him until... well, until he's better.
The bone fragments from the pork chops are basically cutting up his insides.
So, the point of this post, regardless of how strange and classless is seems, especially after yesterday's post, besides being somewhat therapeutic for me, is to warn you not to give pork bones to dogs.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

For the Record.....

Yes, I have already e-mailed almost all of my readers with this, but I thought it was worth posting anyway.
There are 1 or 2 of you not on my e-mail list that might enjoy this.
. For those of you who have been watching the news and may have wondered.... Some Mormon women sing...
Some Mormon women dance... Some Mormon women write scary stories... Some Mormon women have lots of money and really great hair... I know hundreds of Mormon women. They do all kinds of different things and live all different kinds of lives. This woman served as a leader in the Mormon church.
She recently spoke to teenage girls worldwide. She encouraged them to stand up to peer pressure, strengthen their families and serve others. (Click here for more.) None of the Mormon women I know look like this... None of them are marrying off their teenage daughters and-- although some may joke about wanting a sister-wife (preferably one who is really fat & ugly, does bathrooms and changes diapers)--none of them really want to share their husband with anyone.
Some Mormon guys can throw a ball...

Some Mormon guys yell at the ball... Some Mormon guys make scary movies... Some Mormon guys have a lot of money and really great hair... I know hundreds of Mormon guys. They do all kinds of different things and live all kinds of different lives. This is one of the leaders of the Mormon church.

Last Sunday he spoke about honoring women, especially mothers, and gave advice to husbands and children about how to treat the women in their lives. (For the whole story, click here.)

None of the Mormon men I know look like this...

The Mormon men I know are honest and hard-working. They don't cheat, smoke, drink or gamble. And TRUST ME....the last thing any of them want is another wife. __________________________________________________

Friday, April 18, 2008

Field Trip!

I got to go with Little Chris (the son formerly known as CJ) and his class from school on their field trip to Colonial Jamestown yesterday.
We went there last summer, but the day we went it was about 104 degrees with the humidity. I quickly learned a good lesson about what fabrics of underwear are not good on high humidity days.
Yesterday was about 65-70 degrees and beautiful.
Here are some of the pictures that Chris and I took.
Chris and the other kids got to scrape the hair off of a deer skin with a seashell, the way the Powatan Indians used to.
There are 3 ships (yes, real ships) on a dock that are the actual size of the first 3 that brought settlers over. The scary thing is that these ships are tiny, but this one (or the one that it is a replica of), carried over 100 passengers in the hold of the ship for the 4 month journey to Virginia. That doesn't count the sailors or the livestock.
The passengers were rarely even ever invited above decks.
All 100 of them were in very close quarters the whole time. I can't even imagine the smell.
We got to see how th Powatan Indians made their canoes by burning out logs and then scraping out the ashes with (can you guess?) sea shells.

Chris and the other kids got to try scraping the canoes.

It made all of their hands very black with the ash.

We learned about how the settlers and the indians traded with each other, and how several people got killed over bad trades.And we got to see a demonstration of a match lock musket.

They are very loud, and I would think pretty imprecise compared to the firepower that we have available for warfare today.

But they beat the heck out of bows and arrows, which is why, as the guide said, we all speak English today.

This is the monument that was built for the 350th anniverary of the landing at Jametown.

That could have only been commissioned by a man. Can we say Freudian?

Here is the question that Little Chris has been asking people about that monument.

How many bricks did it take to finish that monument?

Answer: Just one. (Key word: finish). lol.

It has now been 401 years since the English first landed here.

Last year Queen Elizabeth came over to celebrate the 400th anniversary. That was kind of cool. They even shut down the entire southbound strip of I-64 from Richmond to Williamsburg to make way for her motorcade.

We happened to be driving North at the time and got to pass the motorcade going the other way.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

On raising boys

I have gotten this e-mail more than once and it is probably my favorite e-mail ever.
But I got it again the other day and decided to post it.
Don't worry, this is funny even if you don't have kids.
. Raising Boys - 24 key points to ponder
The following came from an anonymous Mother in Austin , Texas ...Things I've learned from my Boys (honest and not kidding):
1. A king size waterbed holds enough water to fill a 2000 sq. ft. house 4 inches deep.
2. If you spray hair spray on dust bunnies and run over them with roller blades, they can ignite.
3. A 3-year old Boy's voice is louder than 200 adults in a crowdedrestaurant.
4. If you hook a dog leash over a ceiling fan, the motor is not strongenough to rotate a 42-pound Boy wearing Batman underwear and a Superman cape. It is strong enough, however, if tied to a paint can, to spread paint on all four walls of a 20 x 20 ft. room.
5. You should not throw baseballs up when the ceiling fan is on. When using a ceiling fan as a bat, you have to throw the ball up a few times before you get a hit. A ceiling fan can hit a baseball a long way.
6. The glass in windows (even double-pane) doesn't stop a baseball hit by a ceiling fan.
7. When you hear the toilet flush and the words "uh oh", it's already too late.
8. Brake fluid mixed with Clorox makes smoke, and lots of it.
9. A six-year old Boy can start a fire with a flint rock even though a36-year old man says they can only do it in the movies.
10. Certain Lego's will pass through the digestive tract of a 4-year old Boy.
11. Play dough and microwave should not be used in the same sentence.
12. Super glue is forever.
13. No matter how much Jell-O you put in a swimming pool you still can't walk on water.
14. Pool filters do not like Jell-O.
15. VCR's do not eject "PB &J" sandwiches even though TV commercials show they do.
16. Garbage bags do not make good parachutes.
17. Marbles in gas tanks make lots of noise when driving.
18. You probably DO NOT want to know what that odor is.
19. Always look in the oven before you turn it on; plastic toys do not like ovens.
20. The fire department in Austin , TX has a 5-minute response time.
21. The spin cycle on the washing machine does not make earthworms dizzy.
22. It will, however, make cats dizzy. .
23. Cats throw up twice their body weight when dizzy.
24. 80% of Men who read this will try mixing the Clorox and brake fluid.
I sent this e-mail to a friend of mine who is a single father. I am pretty sure he and his sons actually experimented with the brake fluid and bleach.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Tired of the Election?

Okay, yes I know that this presidential election is making history.
Never before has a woman or an african american been a serious candidate for president, with actual prospects of receiving the nomination of a legitimate party. (Sorry Reverend Jackson, you don't count).
And I know that that is amazing and our political system is a wonder, but I am getting tired of candidates who make promises they have no intention of keeping, candidates who say one thing to one group and another thing to another, and the media who shows us only what they want us to see.
I am disenchanted by all of the canditates still in the race at this point, and discouraged by our prospects for the next 4 years.
So when I was walking tonight and this Monty Python sketch came up randomly on my ipod, it gave me cause to take a deep breath and laugh.
It's not a situation of "It's funny because it's true", but rather a situation of "it's funny because it was funny to begin with, but also because it's ironically close to reality".
So please enjoy Monty Python's Election Night Special.

Don't worry, I still love America, and always will. But at least I can rely on the British for a laugh now and then.

My favorite line: "Well this is largely as I predicted, except that the Silly party won. I think this is mainly due to the number of votes cast."

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Rare Parrot Flower

These pictures are of a rare flower from Thailand.
It is a protected species and is not allowed to leave the country.
But isn't it awesome?
Another testimony to me that God exists.