Over the past couple of weeks I have been able to spend some time trying to get some new functionality out of the web application our company offers. To save the non programmers the really technical. I am just trying to solve a problem to make one particular part of the site easier for people to use. While Microsoft has made it easier to build many things it’s harder to get into the inner workings of what is going on and customize things. I will continue to work on the situation until I figure it out. Luckily with this job they are giving me the ability to explore some of these things.
It’s been a week since I changed the spark plugs on the van. The van was running pretty rough and the check engine light had come on. It was about a quart low on Oil so I thought that may have been the problem. I needed to get it inspected so I can get it licensed in TX. So I took it in to get the oil changed and get it inspected. I failed the inspection because my front two tires were bald and the check engine sensors indicated that piston 3 was miss firing. There is about 122,000 miles on the van so I was probably time to change the spark plugs.
The first thing I did was check some stuff on the internet and see what other people were doing with vans like mine, a 2000 chevy venture . A couple said it could take up to 4-4.5 hours to change the plugs. One guy said he did it in 2.5 and didn’t rotate the engine. So I got the Haynes manual just in case. I tried it the way the 2.5 hour guy suggested for about a couple of hours. I believe it can be done this way. But the guy had longer skinnier arms than me and was way stronger. I finally got the Haynes manual out and started to do it that way. I had been too the Home depot twice, and Wal-mart once to get tools. Then about the time I was getting ready to rotate the engine Charles, my brother-in-law showed up. He help read the manual, and get the engine rotated properly. we took all the electrical stuff off and the coil pack. Then I started to try to pull the wires off the spark plugs. it was almost impossible. Charles said there was a tool for that and so we were off to the store to get one of those. The tool help and I was able to finish the job. Over all it took me more than 6 hours to get the project finished. I still don’t consider myself much of a mechanic.
The move overall went very well. I am so grateful to all the people in St. George and Austin that helped me move all my stuff.
It’s great to have my family in Austin and to be back at my job. All went pretty well with the move. I don’t really have anything to complain about.
One comment about being prepared, even with the best preparation something is going to be missed. We rented a Penske Truck. We got a pretty great deal. The Truck had a CD player, This was a complete surprise. That is the first Rental Truck I’ve use that had a CD player. I was not prepare and I had not made or brought any CD’s for the trip. Roman had 6 or 7 CD’s a few were compilations I had made in the past. Needless to say we listened to some of the songs a lot. I really need to be more careful when I make these compilations.
Looking forward to the new adventure.
SouthWest Secrets Club 7-9
Most Airlines have some sort of frequent flyer program. Once you have done enought flying(suffering) they start to feel for you and let you get on in the first group and sometimes upgrade you to first class. Plus the benefit of getting a better opportunity to choose seats. Even though they are little perks, it is a real bummer losing those features.
Southwest doesn’t have first class, but does give the savy traveller an edge up. Most of this information is public knowlege, but is hidden pretty deep. But there are a couple of secrets. My brother-in-law Charles has to be given all credit for discovering the secrets. He will probably be a little upset for me sharing his secrets but not many people will ever read this blog so I am not going to worry.
The First critical step is checking in 24 hours in advance. Even if you are checking a bag. This can be done at southwest.com and can also be done from your phone. Don’t worry about being able to print the boarding pass. If you are checking a bag they will print you one at the airport. I even had a skycap print me a boarding pass when I forgot the one I printed at home, even though I wasn’t checking a bag.
Checking in early is critical because it gives you the number in which you can board. Checking in 24 hours early will usually get you an “A” status between 30 to 40. So if you are A 32 you are the 32nd person to get on the plane. All Southwest planes are exactly the same and have 134 seats. Getting on first gives us the opportunity to choose the seat we want. Most people guess what the best seats are. After flying for over 10 years and over 200,000 miles. I preffer an isle seat close to the front with no one sitting next to me. I love to talk to people,an empty seat between us never stopped a good conversation.
So to get the seat you have to have a plan and you have to know what other people are going to do. Charles, my brother-in-law flew southwest everyweek for over a year and started to see a pattern in Human behavior when it comes to the South west experience.
He noticed that many people want to get off quickly and will sit in the first 6 rows, even taking the dreaded middle seat to be able to get off the plane quickly. Once people see the first six rows are taken they head to the back of the plane to find a better seat. So the back fills up forward. This means that the last row to fill their middle seats are rows 7-9, hence the 7-9 club.
A couple of times I have forgotten to check in right at the 24 hour mark and check in a couple of hours late. I was A 57 once and A 65 once. both times I was able to get an isle seat in 7-9.
But that is not it; Once you sit down, and as quickly as possible, you get your MP3 player out. Stick in your headphones and close your eyes, act like you are sleeping and imagine no one sitting next to you. And act as big as possible.
I have been on 10 flights in the last six months. 2 times there were 132 people on the plane and one of the two empty seats was next to me. Three times the plane was completely full and twice the last person to sit sat next to me. Once a lady invited a girl to sit next to her before eveyone sat down. They were nice. the other 5 times there were more than 3 seats empty and one of the empty seats was next to me.
While it’s not a guarentee it gives you an edge to making your Southwest Experience lots better. If you fly let me know how it works out. Both Charles and I would rather fly Southwest now.
Yesterday I read one of my friends blogs. His name is Shayne Scott. It was entertaining to read. I think I need to make this more entertaining. Mostly so my posterity won’t think I am just a boring idiot. This is my first attempt at entertaining. I have to start somewhere. Anyway. It is almost getting comical the way the news is talking about the “End of the World”, “Armageddon” and “The Depression” . The government is creating a “Stimulus Package” that is trying to help and grease a few pockets, enough on that.
A Proposal that the Republicans and Democrats can’t take credit for!
Every one should pray twice a day, morning and night, for the economy to get better. I am talking to the people that believe there is a God. For those that don’t believe in a God. Stop reading here and skip to my post about saving water. For those of you who believe there may be a God and are not sure how to pray. Here are some basically instructions. First Address respectfully: “Dear God”. Second thank him for a couple of good things in your life. “Thanks for my job,” if you don’t have a job “Thanks for food stamps, Unemployement benefits ” or if your really bad off “Thanks for my life.” If you can think of some other cool stuff that makes your life better thank him for that. Then ask him “Please help the economy” if you are out of a job you can ask for that too, “Please help me find a job” or “Help my brother find a job so he’ll stop hanging out here”. If everyone in the world would do that twice a day the economy. I mean everyone but the atheists, they aren’t reading anymore so I can rip on them and say they aren’t really making a difference anyway. If you are an atheist and just read that, I hope you are offended :). I was inspired to write this post today because an article I read from President Thomas S. Monson. President Monson’s Article on Prayer.
If you’ve made it this far I am amazed. please leave a message and let me know.
On election day I was working as a rover for the Washington County Clerks office in Southern Utah. I had to be up at 5AM to be at the first polling location to make sure the polling machines were up and working. On the way back from the I was listening to Morning Edition on NPR and I heard about a guy in San Fransico that had started a company called Myfarm. MY Farm SF website It was a cool story about a guy that is helping people to grow gardens in their yards in San Francisco. He had a done a little studying about it and then put up a inquiry on craigslist and got about 600 inquires within a couple of hours. I told my brother about it and he thought it was a cool idea and wanted to get something going similar in St. George Utah. Mike my brother is a film producer and thought it would be a fun project to document some of his farming adventures on camera. He was talking to one of our friends, Dr. Phillip Lee, a professor of business at Dixie State College, about the Idea. Mike discovered that Dr. Lee had been growing produce in southern utah for over 20 years. He has some really great insights into gardening and farming produce in Southern Utah. Dr. Lee has won several awards at the County Fair for some pretty outstanding produce.
One of the problems with gardening in Sothern Utah is that if you are using water out of the tap it doesn’t make economic sense because of the cost of the water. Tonight I was talk Verl Adams, a freind of mine who is an architech, He is designing a house southern California that is catching the rain water from its roof storing it in a cistern that will use the water for the landscaping. I thought that could potentially solve the problem for people that do not have access to irrigation water.
Verl told me about a house that was built in the desert by University of Utah students in 2004 RosieJoe House Project that used the roof to catch water.
I lived for for 22 months in Micronesia, 14 of those months I lived on without electricity or running water. I lived in some pretty primitive houses and all of them collected water in tanks that ran off the roofs.
Even after the experience of living in Micronesia I had never thought about catching rain water to irrigate the landscaping. I am definately going to try to incorporate that into every house I live in the rest of my life.
Verl as an architect is trying to develop and build sustainability into the houses he builds. Everyone needs to think more Green and try to be innovative on how to conserve more and build a more sustainable future.
This week I had a great experience. It actually started on Tuesday. Tuesday I carried my laptop to work with me, like I do most days. I bring it with me because, if someone calls me and I have to fix something on a website it is much easier if I can use my own laptop instead of using my work computer, because my computer at work doesn’t have any editing software or webtools. Anyway, someone called me and I took out my laptop and attempted to turn it on. Nothing. I tried several different things. Took out the battery, held down the start button. I was quietly panicking. I finally called apple. I was very affraid to call Apple because I could not afford the extended warrenty when the initial warranty ran out. However, I was desperate and felt that my only option was to pay for support.
The apple guy on the phone was helpful, but indicated I needed to setup an appointment and take it into the local Apple store. The first appointment time was for Thursday right before lunch. I knew my sistuation was pretty grim. We don’t have a ton of money right now, but I believed it would be justified to spend a little money of our savings to get my laptop up and running again. I actually petitioned a higher power to help with this situation and fasted on Wednesday for help in dealing with the matter. I was asking for the resources to help fix the problem. I went into the Apple store and it took the Genius about 10 minutes to diagnose the problem, it was a video card problem and to my amazement, it was covered by the video card manufaturer nVidia. What a blessing. The Apple store guy told me it would take 7-10 days to get it fixed. But it only took two days. From now on I am going to have good news Thursdays. I am going to start a page on Facebook called Good News Thursdays.
What was your good news?
This is my favorite ad from the superbowl because it is creative, makes a cool statement and has good music. It’s one that makes you think and says at the end. Things change. but pepsi stays tasty, relevant and brings people a little pleasure no matter what the fad is. enjoy!
I was talking to my brother-in-law, Charles Talbot, today about dreams. He was saying that the last couple of years there had been lots of broken dreams. I think many many many people feel the same way. This got me to thinking of a time in my life when I thought one of my dreams had died.
I had always wanted to travel around Europe. And once I was put on a special task force with several other people at work: our mission was to go to France and set up sites for UPS. Two weeks of hard work and then 4 weeks of support. The support thing was they real sweet spot. We just had to be within a days travel of the 6 or 7 sites we were to setup. That basically means anywhere in France. We were going to have a 4 week all expenses paid vacation in France from the company. I had registered for school,but with this opportunity I dropped out. I think I was so excited that it got annoying to people at work. Because when it all fell apart and the trip got canceled, of course after the semester started. I had a bunch of my coworkers laughing at me. Sure I was bummed, but I had been exciting to think for a couple of weeks is was going to happen.
What was amazing is that within two years I had a chance to go to Europe again. I got 4 trips total out of the deal. Spain, Italy, Germany and England. For a total of 5 + weeks. All the trips were amazing. Some work but there was a lot of what you would consider vacationing. I visited, Museums, went to plays, ate exotic food and met some wonderful people. Looking back… these trips were better than the if I had gone to France.
It’s funny how sometimes our dreams turn out better than we thought.
Keep dreaming. Keep Working. Try to endure the storm and love life!
I have been involved with the Boy Scouts for almost 30 years. It is a great organization. In the past I would get information for meritbadges from www.meritbadge.com/org. I hadn’t been there in over a year and I see that they have moved into the web 2.0 arena. Check it out if you are into Cub Scouts or Boy Scouts they have some great resources on that site. I am going to add it as a link too.