Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Let's Talk About It... in Stanley

Went to Stanley Idaho yesterday to facilitate a "Let's Talk About It" session for the Idaho Commission for Libraries. Had a wonderful time eating soup and talking about Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony

Saw some snow on the way 

On the way home, we nearly hit a deer and we DID hit an elk.

Miraculously, the elk just sort of rolled up on the hood and rolled off. Then it scrambled up and bounded away-- apparently unhurt. The van has a couple of very small dents, but no real damage. Amazing!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Update to Conference for Kindle files

Cliff, the fine fellow who made the Conference for Kindle files this fall, reported that he found a small glitch in them. He's repaired that glitch and kindly made the updated files available for us. I've updated the links both in this posting and in the one from the other day. Any of the links will download the corrected files.

Happy conference reading.

Conference for Kindle (mobi)
Conference for Kindle (azw)

Thanks again, Cliff.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Conference for Kindle

Conference time again. I didn't get around to making a Kindle file for October conference, but a new friend was kind enough to offer the use of the file he made. I offer it to you here with his permission.

I transferred it to my Kindle Fire and it works beautifully so far. Excellent work, Cliff. Thank you.

It was kind of fun to see where folks were downloading from last time. Post a comment if you wish. Tell us where you are.  :-)

The mobi file that Cliff made worked fine for me, but I've converted it to AZW in case anyone prefers that. Find that one at this link. This one's not yet tested. If you use the AZW file, perhaps you'd be so kind as to provide feedback about how it works. 

Gospel Library users will have noticed that the conference talks are available for that app (both iOS and Android) now. Update your library to see it.

Happy conference reading, my dear friends!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Prophetic priorities

A year or two ago, my Church's magazine for adults published an article in which one of the leaders suggested that if we profess to believe that the Church is led by prophets we should know something of what those prophets have said of late. In that spirit, I offer some of my personal notes about what prophets, as I see them, have said in the last two days. These notes are my own recollections about what was said, and constitute, no doubt, my own interpretation of what was said. Writing them down, however, has been useful for me in deciding how I might better live my faith and love my neighbor.

Elder Quentin L. Cook 
  • "And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?" (Alma 5:26)
  • The foundation of kindness and civility is built in our homes. 
  • Inadvertent exposure to pornography is very prevalent. Despite social outcry about drugs and other ills, there is not corresponding societal outcry about pornography. 
  • Parents must have the courage to filter media access for their children. Parents must have the courage to say "no."

Sis Ann Dibb 
(This one will be on t-shirts by the end of the day, no doubt, and with good reason; it's a good one.)
  • "I'm a Mormon. I know it. I live it. I love it."
  • With so many distractions, do we have the strength to focus on what matter most?

Pres Deiter F. Uchtdorf 
  • What might our regrets at the end of life?
  • We often wear our busyness as a badge of honor. Is it a sign of a superior life? Probably not.
  • With the click of a mouse, we can connect with thousands of friends, without every having to face a single one of them. 
  • How much time are we will to spend on trivial online things? If we fail to give our best selves to those who are most important to us, we will live to regret it.

Elder L. Tom Perry
  • Some core values are in danger of being lost, including the idea that marriage and family protect other virtues and values. 
  • The examples of parents are very powerful.
  • Parents must resolve that teaching in the home is the most sacred and solemn responsibility.
  • 5 things parents can do:
    • Pray for love and understanding of their children
    • Do many devotional things together: family time, scriptures, prayer, dinner
    • Communicate with those in the Church who have been called and set apart to work with our children.
    • Share testimony with children. Tell them and show them what we believe
    • Organize the family on clear, simple family rules. 
Elder M. Russell Ballard
  • Honey bees' magnificent obsession creates honey.
  • Each bee's lifetime contribution of a mere 1/12 of a teaspoon is vital tot he health of the hive.
  • What about our everyday activities? What would be the cumulative effect of small daily acts of human kindness?
  • There is one simply daily practice that can make a difference in the Church: in your morning prayer, ask Father to help you recognize and have the courage to act upon an opportunity to help someone. He answers others' prayers through you and me. 
Elder Neal A. Anderson
  • Our faith in Jesus Christ is often tested.
  • Our trials need not be spiritually fatal. They need not take us from our covenants or from God's church.
  • (There's much more to this talk. I was taking care of some minor domestic emergency during this talk.)
Elder Dallin H. Oaks
  • Children are highly vulnerable. They need others to speak for them. Adults must put children's needs ahead of their own selfish adult interests.
  • When children are denied birth, and when the birth rate is below replacement levels, cultures and nations are hollowed out and disappear. 
  • For children, the relative advantages of marriage matter!
Elder D. Todd Christofferson
  • Men & boys get conflicting and demeaning signals about what it means to be a man. Media portrayals of men constitute cultural emasculation. 
  • Men, be worthy models and help the rising generation become men. Teach them social skills, how to serve, how to be active, and how to pursue hobbies without becoming addicted.
  • "Rise up, O men of God"
Bishop Gary E. Stevenson
  • Young men: There will be times when you will have to demonstrate your courage in plain view of your peers. Other battles will be found on a silent, solitary battlefield in front of a screen. 
  • Digital peer pressure moves into our homes and into a child's bedroom via the internet. 
  • "To click, or not to click."
[That takes us mid-way through the priesthood session. More tomorrow, perhaps.]

Friday, September 14, 2012

My Teaching Philosophy - 2012

A few years ago, not long after I got my first full-time teaching job, a couple of college friends found the teaching philosophy I had composed in grad school and had posted on my faculty page. They rightly observed that it was so heady and pretentious that they could hardly make sense of it. In fact, they made fun of it (in that kind-hearted, stab-you-in-heart kind of way that college chums have ;-)  ).

I spent about thirty seconds feeling miffed that they mocked my well-intentioned effort to spell out what I was doing professionally. Then, realizing (with no small degree of chagrin) that they were right, I re-wrote my teaching philosophy from the ground up. I posted it to that faculty page and hoped that my friends might stumble across the new version. I'm not sure if they ever did (and it probably doesn't matter). 

Earlier today I was searching for the email address of a dear friend/teacher from college days and my web search led to me my teaching philosophy (in which I mentioned her name). Re-reading it today (some three or four years later), I realize that I still believe what I (re) wrote. 

Yesterday, I had a brief facebook exchange about teaching with a good friend from grad school days (though he wasn't in grad school with me per se-- though he gave me a different, just-as-needed education during that time of my life, for which I thank him). Wanting to present a defense of my life's chosen work, and hoping to honor my friends & teachers, I offer to them and to you, that teaching philosophy.

I teach because I was well taught.

Barbara Oberhansley showed me that school is about people and then about ideas.  Steve Evans told me to stop whining and do my best. Betty Griffin and Nancy Percival treated me as a peer. Wilfred Samuels invited me to join him in a dialogue about ideas outside of the classroom. Trix Dahl showed me that I spoke the language of the love of texts. Steve Adkison said “Your idea is better than my idea. Let’s go with yours.”

These names likely won’t mean much to you (though I’m sure you can name important, influential teachers of your own). Teachers don’t often get that kind of wide recognition or fame. They aren’t known beyond the classroom or the school. They matter, though. They matter a great deal. They matter to weak-kneed, self-conscious introverts who don’t yet know who they are or what they can be. They matter to arrogant, self-righteous know-it-alls who are coasting. They matter to eager, optimistic over-achievers who have no balance in their approach to ideas or to living. They give confidence, reality checks, and mentoring. They give lectures, both of the classroom kind and of the I’m-not-buying-your-baloney-excuses kind.

What they taught, I strive to teach.

I teach because everyone needs an advocate.

David Rose (not his real name) has been in four of my courses at CSI. When he settled in to his seat in English 102 I think I wrote him off. I should have known, of course, that dress, deportment, and grooming are poor indicators for performance, intent, or drive. David didn’t surprise me in any sudden or startling ways; he simply steadily and surely made his way into the course material and eventually into my confidence. Though he demonstrated top-tier ability and contributed tremendously to the classes in which he participated, he didn’t turn in every assignment, and he didn’t even finish the last of my courses he started. He wrote me recently, however, and said (I’m paraphrasing), “Don’t give up on me. I’m coming back and I’ll finish what I started. Thank you for believing in me and pushing me.”

What "David" needs, I strive to give.

I teach because ideas matter.

On a poem I wrote as an undergraduate, a graduate teaching assistant jotted, “I wish I’d written that.” On a brief critical essay I prepared about Cather and reader-response theory, Professor Brown penned, “This is a beautiful little piece of writing.” While I was deeply motivated by the praise these instructors gave my writing, I was just as interested in the ideas that prompted the writing. When Kant and Heidegger and Saussure and Barthes began to make sense to me, a part of me I had not known about came alive. Reading Faulkner or Stegner or Heaney and seeing the ways in which their predecessors influenced their writing and created a fabric of ideas—some in alignment, others in conflict with each other—helped me know that ideas and conversation matters. In talking (or writing) to one another we figure out what we think, what we know, and what we must do.

What people in diverse places and times have said and written, I strive to know and to teach.


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

My favorite birthday(s)

When I was 10, I got a cap pistol and holster set for my birthday. I think my Mom might have a picture. I can see myself in an old Polaroid, with a silly, delighted grin on my face. More than any birthday present from my youth, that pistol set was exactly what I wanted. I was very excited and I remember it with fondness.

(Not a flying toy... and not my  pistol set. I found this picture online.)

In 2008, when I was 41, Thomas Monson came to Twin Falls to dedicate the Twin Falls temple on my birthday. We moved to Twin Falls in August 2004 and Pres. Hinckley announced the construction of the Twin Falls temple in October of that year. We watched the property go from small golf course to temple grounds. From steel girders to white stone cladding to Angel Moroni to final landscaping, we watched with keen anticipation for the dedication day. We even got to be in the temple for the dedication. What a thrilling experience. It was a spiritual high. Pres. Monson stopped to talk to our boys very briefly on his way out of the temple that day.

Do birthdays matter? I think so. Perhaps we make too much of them, in some ways, but a moment once a year to remember the day a friend was born... that's worthwhile.

For a guy like me, who in spite of all other pretensions and proclamations, is pretty materialistic and vain, they have mattered quite a bit over the years. These days, I'm trying to "turn the circle outward" a bit more. When we focus on ourselves, we are like an inward turning spiral which pretty soon disappears down it's own vain...uh, drain. Turn the spiral the other way... focus on others... and your circle gets bigger and bigger. Which way do you want to live?

So... which was your favorite birthday? One of yours or an instance where you did something for someone else?

Friday, June 29, 2012

Building a bathroom

I don't recall if I've chronicled any part of the bathroom saga at our house. It's been a long and winding road to becoming a two-bathroom house, with frenzied bursts of work interspersed with long periods of complete sloth. I could trot out all the usual excuses about being busy, etc., but the truth is that sometimes I was just stymied by the project and needed to not think about it sometimes.

Finally, finally--after almost a year-- the project is complete. Take a look:

(a photomerge... the disjointed lines are not a result of poor carpentry, but slight misalignment in PhotoShop ;-) )

And here's a little video of the project from start (ish) to finish:

I can't tell you how nice it is to have a space of our own... and to be able to bypass the busy first bathroom (which, with seven of us in this house, it very often is) and go to the shiny new one. Sometimes I take two showers a day... just because I can... just to enjoy the space. 

This space was a covered porch when the house was build (or perhaps somewhat after). I met a lady who lived in this house in 1952 (it was built in 1925 or 1928, depending upon which records you believe). She said it was a porch then and they played there on cool summer evenings.

When we bought the house it was a small bedroom, but retained its sloped floor (though why a covered porch would need a sloped floor, I'm not sure). You might be able to see in the video what I did to true up the floor joists.

In completing this project I've learned (or refined  my skill at):

  • demolition (hah!)
  • framing
  • foundation preparation (though I left the actual concrete pour to experts--- thank you again, Colby and friends)
  • duct work
  • glass blocks (the small vertical window used to be a full vinyl window, but the shower stall obviously covers a large part of that space)
  • electrical (I did it twice... once with 14 gauge and then with the required 12 gauge)
  • supply plumbing (pex is easy and awesome, though I also learned a few things NOT to do. Thank you to Sheldon who loaned me the tools and taught me what TO do.)
  • (I left the waste plumbing to an expert... thanks, Dustin)
  • insulation
  • drywall
  • drywall tape and mud
  • texturing
  • paint
  • trim
  • subfloor
  • vinyl flooring
  • light fixtures
  • sewing (I made the curtains, even)
We also have a nice, full closet space in that room. And full-length mirrors. And a window that opens for fresh air (insert your own potty joke here). And a pass-through door to the laundry room. And drawer space we don't have to share with kids. 

And a fine sense of satisfaction. I guess I also know where are the warts are, but I really tried not to cut corners. As much as we could, with the resources we had, we tried to do everything right. The day the certificate of occupancy arrived from the city was a good day. All inspections passed, etc. 

I think I'll go take a shower. Or something...

Thursday, June 28, 2012

I gots skills

Two years ago our family spent a week at the Philmont Scout Ranch in northern New Mexico. For the occasion, I had to have regulation BSA Scout uniform pants. Just so you know, they don't come hemmed.

So... I learned, painstakingly, how to hem pants by hand. We're talking 2-3 hours for this little project... and I don't think I did it very well anyway.

Jacob, our oldest, is starting his second year on the staff of Camp Bradley and, being the teenager that he is, he's grown several inches since last year. New regulation BSA scout uniform pants are in order for him again this year. Did I mention they don't come hemmed?

Because he needed two pair, I dreaded the whole hemming thing again, so I was on the hunt for a shortcut. I'm sure you'll be stunned to learn that I consulted the internet. I learned how to do a blind hem on our sewing machine. It took a little patience, and overall probably about the same amount of time as hemming them by hand would have, but now I know how to do a machine blind hem. Well worth the time, I'd say, because we have three more scouts coming up the ranks.

So... one productive (ish) day of summer. ;-)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

April 2012 General Conference for Kindle (e-ink primarily) and Nook (epub)

The 182nd Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints available for Kindle (azw)* and Nook (epub).

Image from Deseret News

My usual disclaimer applies: I made this for my own use, but I'm happy to share it with those who are interested in trying it out. I post it for download without any warranty or guarantee. Use it "as is."

I've made every effort to format the file in a useful, accessible way, but I'm sure there are still errors. If you have questions or problems, don't hesitate to post them in the comments section, but I don't promise I'll be able to help. This isn't my "day job." :-)

Here's to happy conference reading. I hope you grow spiritually and find peace and comfort in the words of living prophets.

Just for fun (and only if you want to), please post a comment about where you are downloading the file(s) from.

*As I posted yesterday, this file is primarily for e-ink Kindle users. It'll work just fine on the Kindle Fire (I have both, spoiled geek that I am), but for Fire users the text of the conference is available in the Kindle Fire Gospel Library app

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Conference for Kindle (e-ink) is coming

A couple of people posted here that they'd like conference for Kindle. I neglected to specify that it will be for the e-ink versions. It'll work on the Fire, but it's primarily for the e-ink Kindles because so far I haven't found that the Church is doing it for that specific format (someone enlighten me if I've missed it). 

(If you have the Gospel Library app for your Fire, you should update your library because the April 2012 conference is available already (pretty cool, huh!).)

In any case, if you are interested in the e-ink version, you might try downloading the October 2011 conference file for Kindle and see if you like the way it's formatted etc. 

I decided to go ahead and make the file. The October file has been accessed more than 350 times, so perhaps there's a demand for it. Look for it in a few days (or sooner if I can manage it).

Saturday, March 31, 2012

It's conference time again

Just finished the Saturday morning session of General Conference. Lots to think about. Keri and I spent the morning trying to help kids sit and listen. ;-)

image from Deseret News

I'm curious... with the many ways that the proceedings of conference are now available, I wonder how many people will be looking for the conference on Kindle again. Let me know, please, via the comments, if you would like me to format the conference proceedings for Kindle again. I'm happy to do it. Just wondering if there's a need.

Happy Saturday all!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Courtesy is not dead

Our middle child made a friend in the neighborhood. With her grandparents' permission, she went with us to a Family Home Evening activity with some friends a week or so ago. She seemed to enjoy herself, and it was no trouble to have her with us.

The next day she dropped by with a little note:

Just in case you can't read it in the picture, it reads:

Thank you from all my heart.

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Drany,
Thank you for taking me to the barbque last night. I even enjoyed your company to.


Isn't it nice to know that common courtesy is not gone from the world? Although I'm sure it's possible that Jesika thought of the thank you note on her own, I think it's much more likely that her grandparents gave her a little nudge. And even if she did think of it on her own this time, she had to have been taught at some earlier time that a thank you note is an appropriate response to a kindness.

So... this is my public "thank you note" to Jesika's grandparents. Well done.

Friday, March 16, 2012

What time is it REALLY?

Don't get me wrong. I like Daylight Savings Time. Having more daylight hours in the evening is a great thing if you ask me. I've always liked coming out of an early movie and seeing sunlight in the western sky. My kids love to jump on our trampoline and play at the nearby schoolyard, and I'm more liable to take an evening walk if the sun hasn't gone down yet. Overall, in my book evening daylight is a good thing.

I have to say, though... this week has been H.. E.. double hockey sticks.

I'm trying to remember... is this the first year the time change has been so early? It sure seems like it. Last week I was taking my kiddos to the bus stop as the sun was peaking its corpuscular glory over the horizon. This week I was driving them over there a few minutes after midnight (it felt like). What a difference an hour makes.

I'm sure I'll be happy in a week or so when my body quits thinking it's getting up at freakin' 4:45am. I've just been a tired, grumpy, critical, curmudgeonly sourpuss all week.

And I blame Congress.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Recognize this story?

When I was a young adult, fresh home from a Mormon mission, I worked for most of a year at a saw mill earning some money to return to college. The first few days of that job were brutal. The foreman put me to work building pallets by hand... just me, a stack of boards, a box of nails, and a hammer. I could barely life my arms at the end of that first day, and I'm sure I was sore the next morning. Looking back, I suspect that he was testing me-- trying to see if this skinny kid could hack a "real" job.

This is the mill where I worked, Great Lakes Timber Co. in LaPoint, Utah. 

After those first two or three tough days, my Dad handed me a short story to read. It was about a young man going to work in a mill or a mine or something. The old codgers around the place were convinced that the "kid" wouldn't last-- that the job was too tough for him and he'd quit. Of course he didn't. He stuck it out.

That story was my Dad's way of encouraging me to stick out the mill job, and I did. I worked there for about 10 months, as I recall, and I even got promoted. (I learned, upon my promotion, by the way, that the mill had a air-driven nail gun for building pallets. Kinda confirmed my suspicion that the foreman was up to something.)

Now that I'm the dad, and have boys of my own to teach about work, I've been wanting to find that story. I don't recall the title, who wrote it, or much more about it than I told above. The detail that mattered at the time was that I could/should be a finisher.

Does anyone recognize the story based on these watery details? It's not much to go on, I know, but perhaps you can help me out.

Oh, and this last  is long overdue:

Thanks, Dad. 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

I hope he believes it...

As a result a bit of contrariness and disobedience, one of our children had to do a "good habit" card today. The card read: write ten self-affirmations and read them aloud.  Here are the qualities he wrote about himself:
  1. artistic
  2. imaginative
  3. curious
  4. playful
  5. tries best
  6. smart
  7. cooperative (hmmm-- see the reason for the card above)
  8. obedient (double hmmm)
  9. likes games
  10. likes sport
I hope he believes these things. And I hope I don't do things that cause him to believe otherwise.

He is smart and imaginative and all those other things. I'm glad he thinks of them when he thinks about who he is. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

Spam on blogs

Has anyone else noticed a sudden up-tick in SPAM postings on their Blooger sites? I've had two in the last day.

Maybe if I posted more often than once every blue-freakin-moon things would be different. Whether that means more spam or less, I don't know.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Lamp lighting

The lights in my office at the college, like lights in work spaces all over the world, are fluorescent. When I moved in to this office more than seven years ago, the woman I shared the space with then proposed that we leave the fluorescent lights off and use warmer, less-flickery, incandescent lights (lamps of various kinds) instead. It seemed like a good idea, so we bought a couple of lamps, and brought some from home and made our space a little more livable.

I'm sharing the space with another person now, but I still can't bring myself to turn on the overhead lights. I like my lamps. They make the office a little like a cave to some people's view, but the lighting is much more restful and I can work here all day without getting that headache that seems to accompany time under the tubes.

1/30s, f/4.2, ISO 800, focal length 32

I got a couple of new lamps recently. The above is one of them, perched atop a stack of folders of student work and next to a pile of books I'm reviewing for course adoption. In this photograph I like the combination of light/dark, color progression, patterns, etc. I saw that stack of folders arranged like that as I was ending the semester last year and said to myself, "I've got to take a picture of that."

So I did.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A photo thingie again

You won't remember this, probably, but a couple of years ago I started the new year with a quasi pledge to take and post new photographs from time to time-- a way to keep the blog alive and give myself a creative jolt.

You might remember more about the Dektol Jitters blog that I joined a year or so ago (it was in Feb '11 that we started it up, I believe). I've neglected that project to a certain extent too.

Here's my quasi pledge to carry the camera, and even occasionally use it.

I love the new year. New beginnings and all that. Doing the photo thingie again will be a good way to avoid the doldrums that "they" say afflict us this time of year.

That's the plan, anyway.

Here, then, is a photo I took a few days ago at a 50th wedding anniversary party that I was hired to photograph. I like the energy in this little guy.

The month's theme for Dektol Jitters is "motivation." What's more motivational than kinetic kids?

1/15s, f/5.6, ISO 6400, focal length 105mm

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Something from last summer . . .

The following is a post I wrote last summer but never published. I came across it today while cleaning up my blog a little. I'm not sure why I never quite finished it for posting. For what it's worth, here it is...

I have to admit, when we pulled up to Myrtle Point at West Magic, I was thinking "THIS is where the Fathers & Sons outing is going to be?" To my cynical eye, it didn't look promising. Flat, featureless. No trees, no appealing place to stake a tent. I halfway considered turning around and heading home. If not for two boys who wanted to come, I probably would have. The only attractive part of the vista was the lake, and we didn't come prepared to do anything in the water.

You see, I'm not much of a sportsman. I don't hunt. I don't hike (much). I don't camp but only three or four times a year. Most of all (as it applies to this story), I don't fish. One of the superdads there had several poles set up and had caught half a dozen fish by the time we arrived. His darling son was toddling around, happy as could be, enjoying time with his Dad.

Me? I was dreading putting up the tent and enduring wind-blown sand in my shorts for the second time in three weeks.

But, we do these activities because we appreciate the camaraderie with other men who are trying to do right by their sons. Parenting is the most important job in the world, we tell ourselves, so we spend a full day preparing for a half day camping so we can spend another full day cleaning up from the excursion. Yeah!

One of my boys commandeered my little waterproof digital camera and spent most of his time taking pictures of a dead rattlesnake he and the other boys had found. (When we arrived, we were told by no less than three people that they'd killed eight or ten rattlesnakes in the previous five days, so we'd better be on the lookout.) When he gave me back the camera, I couldn't quite bring myself to delete the pictures and the videos he'd shot, even though they are mostly blurry, mostly of tilted horizons, and mostly him trying out the underwater video feature (lots of beautiful shots of murky water and floating things). While videoing, he keeps up a running commentary on his view of the world that perhaps he'll like to hear some day.

My other son, age 5, was content to screech back and forth between the campfire (such as it was) and the water's edge--- daring himself to get a little wet and finding all sorts of interesting rocks and driftwood. We had to select just those eight or nine thousand pieces that he prized most highly to bring back with us, otherwise the level of the lake would have dropped precipitously for all the gravel we'd have hauled away.

Me? I ate a couple of cold hot dogs and drank a couple of Shastas while we waited our turn on the coals to cook our hobo dinners. To get out of the wind, I huddled behind a strange concrete bomb shelter of a picnic canopy with a couple of other dads who hadn't brought fishing gear and we watched our boys to keep them from wandering off into rattlesnake territory.

When the time came, we inflated the air mattress to fit under the shell in the back of our pickup (I lied earlier about the tent thing), and discovered that it was too wide to fit between the wheel wells. We plopped it in there anyway and spent the night sleeping on top of each other, feeling rather like the innards of a taco. At least we were warm.

I hope that these experiences are memories we give to our children. Spending two days preparing for and cleaning up from an uncomfortable half day is an example of staying at our parental posts. We are were we should be when we get out of our personal comfort zones to do for and be with our children.

A wise and eloquent leader once said that a committed disciple of Christ "sees prevention, especially through good families, as a superior life-style. Parents, therefore, should stay at their posts. If those at the front lines are persuaded to leave their posts to help the reserves build “promising” fall-back fortifications, such parents simply guarantee that both the front lines, and all other lines of defense, will be savagely overrun. Parents, like a symphony conductor, lead those who actually produce the music; we would be dismayed, however, if an anxious conductor deserted his podium in mid-passage to become a flutist."

That last part sounds just a tad preachy to me now, but I believe that parents do have a unique role that they (and society) often underestimate. 
Anyway, there's a post for today--- something more than a post about what I had for lunch. 


This is a test. If this had been an actual posting, you would have been instructed where to tune in your area for further instructions.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Last lazy day

The kids are back in school today, so Keri and I are taking it REALLY easy. I have enough to do before classes start that I plan to go back to the college tomorrow, but today is a day for wearing PJs, reading the Steve Jobs biography (pretty engaging reading so far), watching old movies (does You've Got Mail count as old yet?), and making egg sandwiches (thank you David and Rachel for the amazing little device that makes 'em so nicely).

I've been reading some interesting   things about goal setting recently. A maxim you've heard, not doubt, is, "If it isn't written down then it isn't a goal." Perhaps one of my next posts will be the writing down part of goal setting. I'm thinking of lots of the usual suspects (the ones having to do with weight and fitness, and the ones having to do with patience and fatherly kindness). What else might I be thinking of? What are you resolving to do more (or less) of this year? How do you stick with it?

The new internet service is shaping up nicely. I'm wondering, though... any Netflix users out there on the CableOne 50GB data plan? If you watch Netflix to your hearts' content, how much data do you use in a month? Just curious what my bill is going to be.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Kindles for Christmas

So I got that Kindle I wrote about a few weeks ago. It was actually for our son for Christmas, but I justified opening it and "configuring" it for him because of Amazon's free app of the day. I was glad to be able to get a bunch of games and few other things on it for him in advance of Santa putting it under the tree. My friends laughed at me for how much time I spent "configuring" it.

Anyway... I also secretly got one for Keri. She played with our son's a few times and I could tell that she would like one, so I got one and secreted it at my office. Christmas secrets are fun.

Christmas morning... surprise, surprise... Keri got me one too. We both pulled out these "special" packages that weren't under the tree and handed them to each other. Fun! So now we have three Kindle Fires in the house. Fun, fun. All those apps and stuff now get used thrice. Fun, fun, fun!

Probably my favorite thing about the Fire is the Church's Gospel Library app (which is now available for the Fire natively--- no more need to sideload it). Scriptures, conferences, study manuals, lesson manuals, handbooks, etc. --- all in one place, cross-referenced and "clickable." With an LDS account, you can even sync your study notes and highlights with the online study notebook at lds.org. The ability to "play" with this app has lead me to spend more time in the scriptures and in conference addresses than I ever have. Hurray for technology, eh?

We also upgraded our internet from DSL to cable. All these wireless devices in the house competing for bandwidth, and the overall cost will be lower once we dropkick our land-line.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Starting the new year in a new ward

No... we didn't move. The boundary moved. We are now in the Twin Falls 5th ward. I have mixed feelings about the venture, to be sure, but on the whole it will be a good thing. We hate, hate, hate leaving our many, many good friends in the 1st ward, but we look forward to making many new friends in the 5th ward.

Time to stretch a little, eh?

Happy New Year all, wherever you find yourself!