Friday, December 30, 2011

Hi there, I believe we've met before

A few weeks ago I got an iPhone which means that I have actually taken some pictures lately.
This is going to be a little lop-sided in Addie's favor. She is just too dramatic and draws a lot of attention.
The kids

Addie helped Sarah make some Christmas treats.

Addie in time-out for sneaking Christmas treats to her room and eating them.

The kids making gingerbread houses on Christmas Eve.

Eating said gingerbread houses.

Christmas jammies. Yes, Adeline is using her toothbrush as a mascara brush.

Addie's vanity on Christmas morning.

Addie dressed for church on Christmas

We did Christmas at our house this year for the first time since we have had children. We usually make the annual trip to Texas to be with family but decided that we should allow the kids to wake up in their own beds on Christmas morning from time to time. We had a blast. It was a lot of fun to just not have an agenda. I'm not gonna lie, we save a lot of money by staying home too. In fact, we have paid off all debt except for our mortgage (and we owe our parents some money but they are much nicer creditors).

Work has been nuts. Ron Paul rules the earth whether you like it or not. I haven't been able to read nearly enough this year. Work, school and church have taken a lot of time throughout the year. The Mav's are looking shaky but no worries, we are setting up to make some big moves next year.

The first 30 seconds of this song are awesome.

We have always been big fans of music but have been mostly off the grid for hmm, about a decade. There are a few songs that we have found lately that we enjoy. Such as:

Here's a sign that we are getting old. I recently got a free Xbox and I returned it for grocery money. Yes, I would rather have money for groceries than play video games.

Winter set in about 2 months ago and we are beginning to get a bit stir crazy from a lack of outside activity.

I play basketball most Saturday mornings and feel every bit of it most Sunday afternoons. Creaks and cracks, pops and swelling are now commonplace on my crappy 30 year old body.

When Ellie snuggles with you and you are laying on the ground, she sits on your head.
This isn't the best representation of it but you get the idea.

Sarah was in our room the other day which is consequently also where my "office" is. Jack came in and sat in my chair and asked Sarah if he could be an appraiser one day. She said something along the lines of 'yeah sure, if you want to.' Jack said that he wanted to be an appraiser so we could be together all of the time. It made me cry. I cry far more than I probably should. I blame the kids again. I worry that I don't use time with the kids well enough. I worry that before I know it they are going to be screaming that they hate me and slamming the front door as they storm out. I realize that there is such a short window of time that kids, when they are still kids want to spend time with their parents and actually believe we can do no wrong. I hope we use that wisely.

The good news is that Jack is becoming helpful with 'man' tasks and when I'm splitting firewood or building a shelf his assistance is of benefit. I like how most of the time when I ask him to bring a tool or something he actually brings the right one.

Jack is addicted to my iPhone. Maybe more than I am. Angry Birds has got a hold on that one.

Sometimes I wish we lived in a place that had more cultural diversity. I want our kids to be able to have many friends with backgrounds from all over the world.

All 3 of em giving Grandma Great's recliner a workout.

How's that for random?

Monday, September 19, 2011

You can vote for any one of a dozen war mongers and statists, or you can vote for Ron Paul

Monday, July 18, 2011

Hot Pockets

Sarah and the kids return home tomorrow night. It would be impossible to overstate how excited I am for them to come home after their extended visit to Texas. There are a few things I have learned in their absence though. The first and perhaps the most important is: Don't mess this up! - that is my marriage. Getting a glimpse of how life would be for me without Sarah and the kids is so depressing. Another is, and some of you may be firsthand witnesses to this: after you're alone for a while, you start getting weird. You say things that may be pushing against the boundaries of acceptable social behavior, you have less tact, you care less about how people perceive you and if you are me, I am constantly talking and singing in opera voice to myself. (Last night I was outside watering the garden and I heard the oven timer go off inside the house and it isn't that loud. I realized I should probably be embarrassed for all of the music I've treated the neighborhood to lately). While there are myriad other reasons why I am happy to have my family back tomorrow, I would be lying if I said that a good meal wasn't one of them. Let's just say I've gone through a lot of toilet paper since they left. Below pretty much sums up my diet over the past few weeks.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The smelliest house of all time

Elaine: Can you die from an odor? I mean like if you were locked in a vomitorium for two weeks, could you actually die from the odor?
Jerry: An overdose of odor? Good question.
George: Do I smell?

I wish I could have found the video for that little bit of dialogue. The reason for this post? Well, I recently had the fine pleasure of inspecting the smelliest house I have ever stepped foot in. I have literally been in thousands of homes and seen the entire spectrum of living conditions and this one, at least as far as smell goes, takes the cake. 

How do you obtain such an odor? I can hear you all asking. Take 4 large dogs, let's say Akita's or German Shepherds, something along those lines, lock them in your house with you and let them urinate and defecate on every surface of your home. Do not remove the doge feces, just pile it up next to the front door (inside still). Allow all shed hair to remain on the floor to provide a nice, absorbent, mat like covering that will really hold on to all urine and feces particles. Smoke, heavily for years on end. Preferably have 3-5 heavy smokers in the house, yes, you teenagers need to pull your weight too, spark up there junior. Now live like this for, say 8 years without ever cleaning your home and you will have achieved the total destruction of your home by dog. I won't give you too much but here is one picture, apparently this was one of the dog's favorite spots to unload. What looks like dirt on the newel post is actually some kind of urine, fur, smoke residue. Pretty awesome. 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Thursday, June 9, 2011


I have lived and breathed the NBA playoffs this year. This is due in large part to the Mav's slicing through round after round and getting to the finals leaving piles of mangled corpses along the way behind the dead eye gun of a 7 foot German man. The way the storyline has played out for the entire NBA this year I believe that the only fans left for the Miami Heat are either those two-bit strumpet, near-the-airport stripclub, bandwagon fans who wear LeBron James' jersey to the mall....and of course those South Beach fans. Everyone seems to be on pins and needles waiting for the Heat to do something stupid, or should I say something else stupid. You know, besides guaranteeing multiple championships in the pre-preseason before any of their team had even suited up. 

Then you have this, this, what's his name? Dirk Nowitzki from Wurzburg Germania who is carrying the entire world on his shoulders. Seriously, the atlas is on this man's back and he has quietly shouldered this burden for years and especially in these Finals. Games when they have been down 15 midway through the 4th and no one is there to help, he pulls out a W on a sweet lefty that the Heat scouting report vehemently warns against. Playing with a fever of 101+ degrees in game 4 down 9 early in the 4th he does it again. This time going right, coughing and wheezing right past Haslem for the game winning points. Keep in mind that the 2nd best player for the Mav's would be lucky to be in the Heat's normal rotation. Seriously the Mav's former center, Erick Dampier, the same Dampier who was the Mav's starting center in the 2006 Finals is now with the Miami Heat and has not played a solitary millisecond in these Finals and very little if any significant time in the entire playoffs. That is how much is on Dirk. 

There are plenty of alluring analogies to make for Dirk but it is what it is. He is a humble guy who instead of selling out his franchise and fans in the offseason went to the gym and got better. There are plenty of those intangible words like will, grit and toughness to describe what he and the Mav's have accomplished this year. You could even go so far as to say this whole scenario is like Rocky V when Tommy "the machine" Gunn who is younger, stronger and more athletic, still can't take Rocky out in a back alley street fight, because after all, Rocky and Dirk just won't stay down. 

Game 5 is tonight and it more or less a must win situation for the Mav's. The media has been trashing LeBron for the past 2 days so I am sure that he will come out slinging and firing. Dirk still has a lingering fever, that pesky torn tendon in his left hand, no consistent help from anyone and he will face 3 dudes all carrying $14,000.000 contracts tonight. Hopefully those home court rims are a little softer than they have been the last 2 games and some help shows up. We sure could use Jet to pull a Gandalf and show up with a raging army of team mates,  ready to destroy the Orks. Let's go Mav's!!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Season of Faith's Perfection

Yeah, I know....I ripped the title off from Fining Forester, relax. If you know me well, you know that I have been a Dallas Mavericks fan forever. I remember when Dad would score a set of tickets when I was pretty little to go and watch Rolondo Blackman, Brad Davis, Mark Aguirre and Derek Harper. I remember well the disappointments of Jim Jackson, Roy Tarpley, Popeye Jones and that infamous 11-71 season back in the early 90's. I remember going to games on "dollar dog nights" when the parking pass was more than the game ticket back in middle school and high school. I have always been a Mav's fan and at no time have I ever thought about switching up who I cheered for.

The 2000's haven't exactly been a walk in the park either. With several early playoff exits in the first part of the decade hope began to grow with the burgeoning of a certain 7' German.

Going in to the playoffs in 2006 things were good for the Mav's and for me. I had recently put school on the back burner again and had a job I was really excited about and making good money at. Sarah and I had moved in to a house we loved in Salt Lake and were fixing up. Brett was staying with us at the time and Ryan Sparks was over often and we made no qualms about cheering hard for the Mav's during that playoff run and the entire neighborhood knew it. When Dirty was able to finish the Spurs off in the Wester Conference Finals with the drive and the clutchest of all clutch free throws, the Mavericks were headed to the finals for the first time ever.

I don't need to go in to too much detail about the finals implosion but just to recap the Mav's jumped out to a solid 2-0 series lead and looked fantastic late in the 3rd quarter when the Heat came alive and won 4 straight starting with game 3. Of course there were some very dubious whistles, the phantom time out which Josh Howard never called and a very lop-sided free throw tally in games 5-6 which led the now former Laker's coach Phil Jackson to say that the league was retaliating against the Mav's owner Mark Cuban's criticism of the leauge via the free throw line.

Needless to say it was a tough one to swallow and 2007 wasn't any better with a strangle hold on the #1 seed overall riding a 67 win game season and facing a Golden State team that if Avery Johnson had played starters against in the end of the regular season and gave them one more loss, wouldn't have even made the playoff's. The Mav's lost the series being on a very short list of #1's to be beat by #8's. 2008, 2009 and 2010 were all largely forgettable advancing to the second round just once in those years but otherwise taking a first round ouster every season.

In that time I experienced what was to me an earth shattering awakening with regard to the political scene which you all know something about....If you don't just scroll down some. I think that this has made me very skeptical and even cynical at times regarding the government and their ineptitude. Economically things have been in the Sir John Crapper and this has for me and my business been devastating and changed the face of the industry in which I work. During this time we moved to Evanston Wyoming in a temporary house, in which we still reside which is also bursting at it's ever-loving seams. The primary purpose of moving to Evanston rather than say Rock Springs Wyoming was to be close to my Grandmother who passed away just over a year ago. Government regulation has kept business slow for us and taken most of our clients and forced them to use appraisers whom would normally be their 3rd or 4th choice. Thank you Chris Dodd and Barney Frank for punching my personal finances in the gut.

I have added 3 beautiful children to my life since 2006 and there have definitely been some wonderful experiences and spectacular high notes. But overall stress has been ratcheted up a few notches, the future seems for me to be more uncertain than ever and there are of course those 3 little mouths to feed.

When the Mavericks were heading in to the playoffs this year I was bracing myself for disappointment but hoping for the best knowing in my heart of hearts that this year would be different. The Mav's beat Portland in 6, swept the Lakers in epic fashion and promptly dismissed the Thunder who will be a great team for at least the next 5 years as long as the roster doesn't blow up. All the while the Miami Heat were making their way through the East and finally the stage was set last week and the Mav's and Heat would get to reset the 2006 finals.

I know this is stupid and part of me is slightly embarrassed to even record and publicize this but this year I am cheering for the Mav's harder than I ever have. Not just so they can exorcise their playoff demons but it seems that my life has been a parallel to theirs over a similar time frame. So their playoff destiny is something of a chance at personal redemption for me. If they can win and do it against the very team who has caused them so much mental anguish over the past 5 years maybe there is still some justice in the world. Perhaps there is a reason to allow me to get my hopes up about something instead of just absorbing sucker punch after blind sucker punch.

By the way my truck just broke down.

Let's go Mav's!!

Friday, April 1, 2011


John 4:10
Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.

Scientists are discovering that you can change the shape water crystals take depending on how you treat them, what words you speak or show to them or even what you think toward them. Dr. Masaru Emoto has written several books on the topic and has done extensive research on water. 

This idea has been blowing my mind today thinking about the above scripture. I was also thinking about when you feel the influence of the Holy Ghost, there is likely an actual physiological change in the water content of your body. How you interact with other people and the mood you carry may actually change the physical nature of the water in your body. Here is a video that shows some of the crystals and how they took form depending on how they were treated. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hermann Goering quote

Image from here

"Why, of course the people don't want war," Goering shrugged. "Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship."

"There is one difference," I pointed out. "In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only the Congress can declare wars."

"Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

Gilbert, G.M. Nuremburg Diary.
              New York: Farrar, Straus and Company, 1947 (pp. 278-279).

Saturday, January 29, 2011

When people lose everything and they have nothing left to lose, they lose it. -- Gerald Celente

Tunisia, Yemen, Algeria, Albania, Jordan, Bolivia and Egypt are all verging on complete revolution.

This story explains most of what is going on.

Most of this is driven by our belligerent foreign policy in those regions and propping up corrupt regimes. Which is why you aren't hearing anything about it in the news.

In other news, we don't take care of our own soldiers (big surprise right). Especially those suffering from PTSD or other mental difficulties. For the second year in a row more soldiers took their own lives than those that were killed in combat.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


So I'm back in school....and it is very similar to the show Community. The primary difference is that on television it's a lot funnier. I am surrounded by recent graduates of high school (some of them I think are current students) and 50 year old moms taking another crack at it. I kind of feel stuck in the middle. I had some curve balls thrown at me over the last 3 months that have really left me no choice. Taking 4 community college classes that have absolutely nothing to do with my career choice are essentially the difference in me doubling my income over the next 2 years or I could do nothing and stay on this same plateau. Shenanigans I tell you. So through the hoops I jump. I really enjoy learning but I hate, hate, hate with the fire of 1,000 suns being compelled to learn useless crap. Make no bones about it - and our high school teachers were lying, there is plenty of stuff you will never use in the real world. A lot of the time making a good grade in the class has little or nothing to do with your knowledge of the material but how well you can predict what your teacher wants to hear. The silver lining is that I have to take a political science class where I am able and even given assignments to rant and rave about the government. All we need is a Jeff Winger and a witty Abed type to keep it light.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Happy 30th Birthday Sarah!!

Happy Birthday Sarah!

I love my little wife so much. She does so incredibly much for our family that it is impossible to give full credit to her here. She works tirelessly to teach and entertain our kids. Sarah is so kind, compassionate and caring and does everything to make our family work. Her love for us is felt all of the time. She is my best friend in all the world and deals with me quite well. I have been incredibly blessed to have such a wonderful spouse. Happy 30th Sas!!