Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Power to the people...who pay their power bills

I have a very cool little device in my office called a sensor phone. It is cool because it can call me if someone walks into my office, it detects water in the server room, the air conditioner has gone out or the is a power loss. The device is cool because it can do these things, but I have started to loath the device as it has been keeping me from getting a good night sleep on Sunday nights. 3 of the past 6 Sunday nights, I have received a call from this device in the middle of the night about a problem. This week of was due to a power outage.

Sunday night we had a pretty strong wind storm. Because our company gets its power feed from hanging power lines, it was affected by the wind storm and we lost power at 11pm Sunday night. Apparently we were not the only ones affected as the power company did not get out to see us until 1130am, conveniently the same time we had our generator finally hooked up and going. At noon, we finally had the power restored. That was when my life got busy.

Since I am in charge of all the servers for the company, I then spent the remainder of the day bringing the servers back up and testing to ensure that everything worked. We had also performed some upgrades to our delivery system over the weekend so not only was I trying to fix the problems caused by the power outage, but also the bugs that are showing up from the upgrade. This kept life pretty busy for me. Although there are advantages to being busy. Time flies and your day does not seem to be long drawn out moment of boredom.

I like my job and am very thankful for the means it gives me to provide for my family. But an example given by my boss correctly describes how life in the IT world works. "IT is like a plane ride. For most of the time, things are running extremely smooth. But at the end there is usually 2 minutes of hell."

Monday, July 28, 2008

Families are forever...visiting each other

This weekend we had the Henry Nelson family reunion. My grandfather on my mother's side had 2 brothers. Each served in WWII and survived to have families of their own. Every year we all have a reunion to get together. It is really fun and a good chance to visit with distance cousins.

This year, my mother was put in charge of the reunion. She asked her kids if they had any ideas for the reunion and any events we could do together. Since I have a problem with keeping my mouth closed, I gave her some ideas on what could be done. Since no one else gave any ideas, my mother asked me to be in charge of the main event for the reunion. We decided to identify one of our pioneer ancestors and profile him to the family. We discovered that my great-great-great grandfather Jeppa Nelson was one of the early settlers of the Pleasant Grove area of Utah and that a Daughters of Utah Pioneers museum had one of the griannery that he built on display. So we planned to have the reunion at a nearby park and I put together a full presentation on Jeppa Nelson that included a tour of the museum that had Jeppa's griannery.

I must admit that I had a lot of fun learning about my 3x great grandfather. He grew up in Sweden and was converted to the LDS church and immigrated to America. He grew up poor but was very blessed to never be in want in his adult life and was very generous to others. He allowed anyone to enter into his unlocked griannery and take whatever food they needed. He was truly a generous and Christ like man and I was proud to teach my family more about him.

In the past I did not enjoy family reunions very much, as they were just excuses to get together and have a meal. But this time, everyone seemed to enjoy each other and many of them were thankful to learn about an ancestor and said they wanted to do this with future family reunions.

I am just thankful that we will not have to plan one again for at least 3 years.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Home for sale

Well, we offered to buy someone else's home and they accepted, as long as they can keep their home on the market as they feel they can sell it for more to someone else. They probably could, but in today's market, it is hard to find a buyer for your home. Which is where we find ourselves. Wanting to move into the home we can stay in for 20 more years, but needing to find a buyer for our current home first.

I always knew that this would be the hardest part of the home buying/selling process. Our current home only has 1 bathroom and a yard that was put in by me, which means it looks like it was done by a guy who spends more time indoors than out. We do live in a great neighborhood and in a very lightly traveled cul de sac. So I'm sure there are people out there who find our house to be a nice home. Someone who can do better yard work than me and could finish the basement to get that 2nd bathroom and more living space. As soon as we find this needle in the small haystack of buyers, we can move to our new home and enjoy the benefits of a higher mortgage and another unfinished basement to complete. But it will be a a lovely home with a walk in closet in the master bathroom. What I've always dreamed about. :)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Vivia Las Vegas

I am the IT specialist for my entire company. That includes all the branches that we have in Ogden, Orem, St. George and Las Vegas. So I occasionally need to go to these branches to provide on site IT services. This last Monday I flew down to Las Vegas to set up the phones and Internet connection for our new office in Las Vegas.
As many have found out, it was hot in Vegas. I found myself sweating a lot while I progressed with my work. When I has done, my local co-workers commented that I was lucky to be in town while it was cool. I thought it was hot and so was glad to not be there when it was truly hot.

I had arrived with a list of tasks to accomplish and was disappointed that one could not be completed. I could not get the new office to securely connect to our main office, via a VPN tunnel. By the time I left town, the issue was out of my hands, but I was still disappointed as this was the first trip I had taken like this where I did not complete all of my goals. We got the connection corrected by the next day, so I guess it was OK. But the perfectionist in me was mad that it was not done before I flew back home.

Thanks to the help of my friend Shane (or as I call him, Doctor Cox, because he is like a mentor.) I had some entertainment while I was waiting in the airport or on my flight. He had loaned me the movie "Hot Fuzz." The movie was absolutely hilarious. A super cop from London is sent to the most boring country town in England, but uncovers a underground local conspiracy to murder. The movie had some language and graphic murder scenes. But even those were trying to be funny when they were used. I found myself extremely entertained and it helped me pass the time during the travel.

Hopefully my next post will be about our current housing situation. When we have any official word, we will be happy to share it.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Dr Who-Best TV Show Ever

Friday nights are special for me. My favorite TV show is on each Friday on the Sci Fi channel thanks to our friends from across the pond in Great Britain. Doctor Who continues the adventures of a 900 year old time lord from the planet Galifrey. With the help of his Tardis, he can move through time and space, combating evil in all its forms and providing protection and justice to the innocent. If the Doctor gets fatally hurt, or the actor playing him wishes to leave the role, the Doctor can regenerate into a different looking person and his adventures then continue. The series had been going, off and on, since the sixties. Currently the Doctor is in his 10th generation and with the BBCs use of modern visual graphics and superior writers. The show has been phenomially entertaining and in my opinion the best thing on TV.

One of the reasons why I enjoy the show is the history I have with it. I got introduced to it by my brother, Carl. Back in the 80s, Doctor Who was shown in Utah exclusively on KUED's channel 7. Since it was PBS, they were always having "begathons" to raise money for the shows they purchased, like Doctor Who. Carl was able to go up to the UofU and answer phone calls during a begathon that showed a marathon of Doctor Who episodes. Carl called home to ask someone to record the marathon, so he could watch them later. I happened to be the only one home and agreed to record it. But instead of just hitting the record button and then doing something else, I stayed and watch the entire marathon. Since then I was hooked. Watching the Doctor battle Cybermen, Sontarians, the Master and of course Dialeks provided hours of entertainment.

So if anyone out there is feeling that TV has gone down hill since reality shows started (and you are right.) I recommend that you tune into channel 7 at 11pm on Saturday nights or for the most current episodes, the Sci Fi channel at 7pm Friday nights. The perfect balance of a greatly written story, splendid acting and great visual effects. It compares to great entertainment like Batman Begins and the first Matrix movie.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Batman movie is enthralling! (Spoiler free)

Wow. I had the chance to see an advance showing of the new Batman movie "The Dark Knight" tonight. I had to endure a sales pitch for some IT products, but it was totally worth it. I had very much enjoyed the last Batman movie and this one improved from the first. From the very beginning we see how this joker character works, and keeping with the theme of the movie, he is dark. He truly portrays how a dark, insane criminal master mind would think and act. It is too bad that Heath Ledger passed away and could not reprise the role in any future works.

All the other actors also performed very well in an extremely well written movie full of great visual effects. There were times in the movie when I was wowed by the well done graphics and computer images. I think what happened to each character was appropriate and look forward to seeing what happens in the next installment.

If you enjoy suspenseful movies, with great effects and are not turned off by scenes of extremely dramatic and adult themes. Then you must see this movie. I predict that it will be one of the top movies of the year, if not the top.

Have fun at the movies

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I hate home selling/buying

We currently have our house up for sale. It has been on the market for 2 weeks. No bites yet, but with the market as poor as it is, I should not be surprised. We have also been looking for our next home. Last night we found a really good one that we both like. It has 90% of what we are looking for and would be a wonderful place to live for the next 20 years.

Now comes the part that I hate. We are going to put a bid on the new house and assuming they accept it or counter with an offer we can accept, and assuming that someone comes along in time to buy our house and assuming they can pay enough for our old house so we can afford the new house. We will then have our new home. There is an awful lot of assuming that now goes on with this process and I sure hate it. I have always worked to prepare for all possible events so that I would not have to assume what the outcome could be. I was always ready for the outcome and did not have many unknown results that would surprise me. But with home buying there are to many variables to prepare for and so there is always unknowns. I hate the unknown. That is one of the reasons why I try to learn so much, so that there is less unknowns to me.

Well our offer will most likely be given on Friday and so next week we will do the offer, counter offer dance. Then if we can agree on a price then we wait to see if our home sells in time. We could certianly have a busy and exciting month ahead of us if this works out. The thing that keeps me going during all this is looking forward to the end of the entire process. Once we are done with this, I will not have to do it again for a long time.

Monday, July 14, 2008

I got booted out by my wife.

So my wife is really excited to have a blog website and set it up for both of us. I have always wanted to have a blog website, but could never find the time to find one and create it. So when my wife announced that she made one for us, I was really excited and began to share my thoughts and ideas on the unsuspecting public. My wife was probably the first to see my blogs and after reading them, she very quickly suggested that we have separate blog sites.

I guess I'm not surprised and I am certainly not mad. I can go off on controversial or unpopular topics, which one of my blogs very well could have been. So if you are interested in hearing more about the world according to Phil. You will need to go to the website to read my blogs. A reminder that I don't always go off on rants, but can also discuss the latest movies and TV. So this will not be like a political talk show all the time. Just when that is on my mind.

So, if you stuck with me this far, I guess you will stick around for more.
Here's to the next week of blogs.

What's next? Kissing the cattle?

Last weekend, Jen & I worked in our basement. Going through large amounts of boxes to identify items we will try to sell at our yard sell this Saturday . We had the radio going while we labored and a song was played by Katy Perry. It was called "I kissed a girl." I normally don't listen to the lyrics of music, but this one just could not be ignored.
I found myself shocked and baffled. The girl singing described how she kissed another girl, just to experiment, and found that she liked it. She describes the pleasures of it and how there is nothing wrong with it and its it completely innocent.

Whether she was trying to create the theme songs for lesbians or just trying to sell CDs, I don't know. But I was very disappointed in the portrayal that there is is nothing wrong with this and that experimenting is perfectly fine. If I took that logic, then could people begin experimenting with anything? Are children, animals and inanimate objects in danger of experimentation? Where is the line drawn? Has it already been crossed? I think it has.

I looked up the lyrics to this song to make sure I did not hear incorrectly and on the website that hosted the lyrics, they allowed people to post their comments. Numerous comments were on how it is OK for same gender couples to experiment. One even said that she knew it was a sin, but it was OK because she could be forgiven for it and so felt no reason to stop.

I think it is clear that when you compromise on what you accept as right and find fewer things as wrong, you distance yourself from the religious or societal principles that keep our community safe and secure. If I now find the restrictions against same gender interaction incorrect then will I next find the restrictions on theft, dishonesty and even murder to be too restrictive and just an outdated tradition that no longer applies to my day and age?

I guess my point is that songs that glamorize actions that distance us from our values make me sorry for the direction our society is heading.

Friday, July 11, 2008

My Rants & Ramblings

Modern wonders are exciting. Such as the modern wonder of being able to document my feelings, ideas and experiences in a medium that is available to the whole world through the Internet. I have always enjoyed viewing the blogs of others and have felt closer to the authors and edified by them. One person's blog I have always enjoyed reading was my oldest brother's blog. He has been doing it for years now and checking his blog quickly became a daily ritual for me. My brother has always encouraged me to start my own blog, but laziness and constant distractions have always prevented me from doing so. But, thanks to the efforts of my wife, I now have a blog set up and waiting for all my rants and ramblings. So here it goes, my first blog...First off, I should give some back ground about myself and advance notification on what you can expect to hear me ramble about in future blogs.

I am a 33 year old husband and father of 2 toddlers. I keep myself extremely busy with trying to provide for my family, physically, emotionally, spiritually & as many humorist moments as possible. When I have time to myself, I like to spend it reading books (history or sci fi) playing games, watching TV (Dr. Who, American Gladiators, American Experience) swimming or any playtime I can get with my children. I keep myself aloof on local and national events and try to remain politically active so I can do my part to improve the world for my children.

What can you expect to hear me blog about. My head is full of random and sometimes useless ideas. Many of which you will hear on this blog. You can also expect to hear me talk about politics. I consider myself a moderate conservative who has an open mind to all ideas and strongly respects every one's right to believe whatever they want to believe. (Even if it is misguided, bias or completely and totally wrong.) I enjoy history and will frequently mention historical events in my blogs. I very much enjoy sci fi in the form of movies, television and books and so will discuss the upcoming Star Trek movie, the Dune novels, Dr. Who, Battle Star Galactic and of course, Star Wars. And finally you may hear me discuss the most insignificant topic you could think of. Whatever happens to be on my mind when I lay in bed at night trying to sleep could end up in a blog.

So there you have it. Should you agree to endure my future blogs, you can now say that you have been warned. If you find my blogs to contentious, thought provoking or just plain poor english. Than you can always skip over my blogs and just read Jen's. Which I'm sure will always be an uplifting and a pleasant experience.

Thanks for sticking around. Let the blogging begin.