Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Opinion: Coke verses Pepsi

Lately I’ve been a blogging geek! I guess I have too much time on my hands – slow week in the Land of Schwab.

If you know me you know that I am an addict. I tried several 12 step programs to kick it. All have failed... Some people smoke, some people are hooked on crack and some people are hooked on internet gaming. I have been addicted to Diet Coke sense February of 1990. It’s not just Diet Coke it must be Diet Coke from a fountain not a can. The precise formula is as follows:
  • One 52 oz insulated refillable cup (my kids and wife refer to my 52oz cup as daddy’s sippy cup)
  • Fill the 52 oz “sippy cup” to the 1/3rd point with QT’s crushed ice.
  • Fill the cup up 9/10th of the way with Diet Coke.
  • Fill the remaining 1/10th with normal Coke.
So basically I’m addicted to a mixture of 9/10th diet and 1/10th real. There's nothing better than a nice long drag on a well made DC mix. It’s kind of sad really.

My DC addiction is a major stumbling block to my Sabbath Day observance – cans of DC just don’t cut it - only a fountain will due. Thanks to my loving wife I am doing better. I haven’t broke the Sabbath Day for a few months now. I just know if I do try to get a DC on Sunday some ward member will have a testimony crisis because the saw Brother Christiansen driving to Circle K (the closest QT is 17.3 miles away) to get his fix...

All of this brings me to my opinion piece: Coke verses Pepsi

The whole Coke verses Pepsi thing is almost like Republican verses Democrat or Mormons verses Baptists or even NL verses AL. It’s almost a religion. This whole Coke/Pepsi debate can create strong emotions on both sides... I am no exception.

Let me be frank – Pepsi tastes like used bath water to me. I would rather drink Buckeye tap water than to drink Pepsi. Simply put - Pepsi sucks.

Let me be even more frank – Diet Pepsi tastes like rust to me. That's right, you heard me, it tastes like rust. I would sooner go thirsty than drink Diet Pepsi.

Pepsi drinkers are sinning and they need to repent. Pepsi should be removed from all convenience stores and the shelves of supermarkets. Nothing irritates me more than going to some no-name convenience store in the middle of nowhere (Globe) only to find out they only serve Pepsi.

When I become Emperor of the World the second thing I am going to do as Emperor Kyle is to abolish Pepsi.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Opinion: The Best Pens

Believe it or not I kind of have a pen fetish. Every year or so I get a new pen. For that year I will use just that pen and, if I can help it, no others. I have had several Cross pens, a Sensa pen and a bunch of other no-name pens I thought were cool.

When it comes to a good pen I have a few things I’m looking for... it must have blue ball point ink, it must be a solid pen (no cheapo plastic) and it must fit in my fingers well.

I like blue ink because to me it denotes a true ink signature. Black ink can be photo copied. Some state laws specify that signatures need to be in black ink. In fact, in some states not signing an official document in black ink and result in a class C felony. I don’t get this but oh well. As my brother will often say “they can bite me...” As I say, “if they want my money, then they can deal with blue...”

I have to have a solid feeling pen. I’m hard on pens. I flip them, drop them, sit on them and even throw them... Cross pens seem to hold up for about a year and then the clip will break or the twist will get too loose.

For some reason I push really hard when I write. My middle finger has a callus on it because I push so hard. I like the pens with soft, but not too soft, grips. The pen must fit just right or I will toss it in my drawer with a hundred other pens that didn’t cut it...

Sense I’ve been in the bishopric I’ve had to fill out many temple recommends so I’ve need to use a very fine tipped pen to fill out the little fields on the rec. The hardest part of doing temple recommends is not going through the questions. The hardest part is writing legibly enough press through the 3 carbon copies. Actually, on second thought, the hardest part is not filling rec’s out it’s tearing out the two top copies out of the recommend book without ripping the other blank recommends. The bishopric has to account for all the rec’s in the book so you have to void any torn ones.

The pen I’ve settled on as of late is a Pilot G2 0.5mm with blue Gel ink. I’m using a Pilot Dr. Grip with the above mentioned Pilot G2 cartridge. So far it’s a great pen. It seems to go through ink quickly but it writes smoothly without smudging. The standard ink cartridge for the pen is the 0.7mm. I need a finer point – hence the 0.5...
I'm always on the look out for a good pen. If you have any favorites, let me know.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Opinion Piece: I like Toyota Trucks

In my life I have driven the following cars and trucks I turned 16 in September of 1983. The following is my vehicle history:

1983 to 1986 > 1967 Chevrolet C-10 with no paint and no AC.

1985 > my dad bought a 1976 GMC Jimmy 4x4 – 400 cubic inch engine that got about 5 mpg – I had a job at McDonalds so I could afford gas. I would drive this truck off and on my senior year.

1987 to 1988 > 1985 Baby Blue Ford Tempo – I drove this car for 9 months on my mission. Yes, an ’86 Ford Tempo can reach in excess of 100 miles per hour and will actually catch air in a Dukes of Hazard manor on State Route 700 between Hiram and Kirtland Ohio.

1989 to 1990 > 1989 Toyota 4x4 Truck. This was the first vehicle I have owned and paid for myself. It got wrecked at the intersection of Rural and Baseline. I was very glad I had my seatbelts on.

1990 to 1995 > 1983 Honda Prelude which would overheat when I ran the AC.

1995 to 1998 > 1989 Honda Accord

1998 to 2002 > 1998 Toyota Tacoma regular cab 4x4

2002 > 2001 Nissan Altima. I drove this for about a year and then I gave it to my wife to drive.

2002 to 2006 > 1998 Toyota Tacoma extended cab 4x4 – I got this truck right after I realized you aren’t a man if you don’t have a truck.

2006 to present > 2006 Toyota Tacoma Pre-Runner long-bed double-cab – This is the first truck I have ever owned that was brand new. Thanks to Discount Tire It has cool wheels and big tires. This is my family’s GeoCaching mobile and my wife thinks I look “damn sexy” driving it.

My wife is currently driving a 2000 Nissan Xterra.

In my opinion of all the cars and trucks I have driven, Toyotas are the best. You will rarely have any mechanical problems. If you do, they are very easy to work on yourself. They drive nice and nothing can beat them off road.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Opinion Piece: Gas Stations / Convenience Stores

If anyone knows me they know I am very opinionated. I have what I think are well thought out opinions on just about any subject from politics to what gas stations I use. I think for the next few blogs I will talk about some of my favorite things: gas stations, computer stuff, restaurants, foods and businesses I like. Hopefully, I will be able to explain why I like them over their competition.

For my first opinion piece I will discuss gas stations and convenience stores.

When I have a choice I will only get my gas at two places Quick Trip or Costco - that’s it. For this blog I’m going to focus on QT...

I will drive miles out of my way to get my gas at a QT. QT’s are clean and usually have a good price on gas. If you haven’t noticed, most QT’s have the same design. If you walk into the QT on 32nd and Indian School you may has well be walking into the QT on
Dysart and the I-10.

The people working at your local QT seem to be smarter than the average convenience store employee. Some Circle-K employees look like their most recent job was sitting on the side of the road with a “I work for food” sign. Some 7-Eleven employees look like their prior job was Dell Technical Support out of Bangor India.

I have stood in lines at Circle-K while the cashier is trying to figure out the lottery machine or how to calculate change. It seems like Circle-K will get a homeless person, reasonably sober them up and put them behind a cash register to fend for themselves. This doesn’t happen at QT. Every QT employee knows how to work the register, find cigarettes, run the lottery machine, print money orders or count change before they ever face a customer.

This brings me to another thing I like about QT... they always have more the one person working. I have never been in a store when there was just one person there. If there are more than 3 people in line the other employees will drop whatever they are doing and get customers through the line and on their way. There ain’t no way this would happen at the Loves down the street from my house. If it’s someone’s smoking break... well, the people in line are just going to have to wait...

Finally, the main reason I like QT is their Diet Coke is the best (I will discuss my soda preferences in a future blog). There is nothing worst than going into some miscellaneous convenience store and getting a crappy soda. I have never gotten a bad soda from QT.

Quick Trip management, I’m calling you out!! We don’t have a QT out in the Forsaken Land of Buckeye. You need to build a QT on the corner of Watson and Yuma. I will help you dig the foundation with my own hands and my own shovel!! There are no good gas stations that far west valley. You will make so much money that you will thank me later.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

This would be me...

Fort Collins, Colorado 1968. I was a one year old.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Cherry Hills 1976

My best guess is this is 1976. Maren was born in 1975. In the picture below she would have been 1 and a half.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

My Home Network

In case you care...

I have an extensive bunch of computer stuff in my home network. Believe it or not I kind of get a kick about all the stuff I have. So, let me tell you what I have for hardware and software...

My Hardware:

Dell XPS 410
• 2.4 Core 2 Duo - I’m thinking about upgrading the CPU to a quad core.
• 4 GB of RAM
• 512 Nvidia Graphics card
• Two 500 GB Western Digital Caviar drives mapped as c: and d: – My c: drive is for my OS, applications, general data and pictures. My d: drive is solely for my iTunes library and my Windows swap file.
• Two DVD/CD RW drives. I can rip two DVDs at the same time!
• Samsung 2234GW 22inch monitor
• Firewire and a bunch of USB ports
• Wireless Microsoft Intellitouch 5000 keyboard
• Wireless Logitech LX8 Cordless Laser Mouse – I had a MS Intellipoint mouse but the scroll wheel wouldn’t work with iTunes so I got the Logitech.

ScanSnap S510 – my scanner is my file cabinet. I hate paper.

Canon i950 – the best photo printer for the money

Canon 4200 flatbed scanner with backlit slide and negative scanning

Brother HL-2170W network attached laser printer. My HP1020 laser didn’t play nice on my network – I gave it to my parents

500 GB Western Digital network attached storage – main backup for all my computers. I really need to get a DROBO with a couple of terabytes (Mela?).

250 GB Western Digital My Passport USB drive – quick backup of my pictures

D-Link DIR-628 N router – my wife’s laptop is only using G. I got the draft N router in preparation for getting an AppleTV. With draft N wifi hopefully you can stream video.

My old Dell Dimension 4400. Ubuntu Linux machine. This is Andrew’s computer. He can play games, watch videos and surf the web.

Dell Latitude D520. This is Mela’s laptop. I upgraded it to 4 GB of RAM.

My Software:

Vista Home Premium on my computer. XP Professional on my wife’s laptop. Ubuntu on Andrew’s computer.

iTunes – 200+ gigabytes of music, podcast, audio books and videos

Quicken 2008 Deluxe – I reconcile every day. I scan my receipts, statements and invoices to PDF files. Quicken Deluxe allows me to attach PDFs to the actual transactions and to the accounts. I have my finances tracked back to 1/1/1999.

ACDSee 10 – tracks my entire photo library going back to 1999. I have a folder for each year. Inside that folder I have a folder for each month. Every picture I take during a given month is put in that month’s folder. At the end of the month I burn it all to a DVD. I use SyncToy to backup all my pictures on a nightly basis to my USB drive and my NAS.

Adobe Acrobat Standard 8 – like I said, I scan everything to PDF. I’m able to print directly to PDF files

Office 2007 – Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Access and Publisher

SyncToy 2.0 Beta from Microsoft – this is the best backup software and it’s free. SyncToy basically synchronizes folders. You pick a folder on your main system (the left) and match it to a folder on a backup drive (the right). On the leftI have my documents folder matched to a backup documents folder on the right. SyncToy will echo all the files on the left to the right. I have this running nightly on my network will all my computers. I highly recommend backing up data this way!!

Adobe Photoshop Elements 6 – I have a cracked copy of Photoshop CS2 (the full version of Photoshop) but I don’t have it installed.

Adobe Premier Elements 4 – this makes videos. I really don’t know how to use it. I need to learn. They say it’s pretty fun.

Slysoft – the best DVD ripping software in the world. This software alone is the main reason I haven’t switched to a Mac. They don’t have a Mac version. There are three Slysoft programs I use:
• AnyDVD – this is a program that lives in your system tray. When you put a DVD in your drive it detects it and decrypts it automatically.
• AnyDVDMobile – this program will take the decrypted DVD and rip it to a MPEG 4 files that can be imported into iTunes. This program can rip to many different formats: mpeg, wma, avi, divx or whatever.
• AnyDVDClone – this will clone a DVD to another DVD.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Monday, August 11, 2008

Sunday, August 10, 2008


My mom & dad gave me a bunch of slides. I've scanned in a lot of them.

I'm not sure if this is Kirk or myself. This does give you a good view of our back yard at the Hazelton house.

I am on the left and Kirk is on the right. I'm guessing these pictures were taken sometime in July of 1972 - I would be 4 and Kirk would be 3.

Nice 70's outfits.

The old Hazelton house. This was the first house I remember. I remember it was hugh - bigger than our current house. It had shag carpets that you had to rake regularly and mirror tiles on the walls. I really miss this house. Unfortunately, US60 was built right behind us.

This looks like Easter 1972. Gotta love the candy.

Our kitchen had a bar with gold chairs.

Kirk and I are playing the water in the side yard. I'm guessing this was a broken water pipe and we were "helping" dad. I wish the picture was brighter.

Back in '72 you gave your kids guns. On the left side of the bed you will see my Charlie Brown lunch box. I still have this prominently on display in my office.

Now I think Kirk would kick my butt.