Happy Thanksgiving!!

Daddy and BRynn playing Patty-Cake

Daddy and Brynn playing Patty-Cake

I love this holiday!  It gives us all cause to stop, reflect, acknowledge and then express gratitude for our blessings.  I have so many blessings in my life.  Too many to name here.  But a few of them are a wonderful, supportive, loving husband who is my best friend and soul mate.  3 beautiful children who are my light and joy.  An awesome mother who is my guiding light, my example and my other best friend!  I have a great family!  Even though most of us are separated by large distances, I know they are there for me and I hope that they all know I am there for them for anything!  I love them all dearly!  I am surrounded by friends on all sides.  I am so grateful for my girlfriends.  We laugh, cry, commiserate, and party together as mothers, women, wives and friends.  I have a roof over my head, food in my pantry, clothes on my back and good health.  I have the gospel of Jesus Christ, without which, I would be lost.  I am so grateful for my Savior!  I know He lives!  I know he knows me by name and he loves me!

Okay, it is not like me to be so publicly sentimental.  But there you go.  I am grateful for my life!

We usually wait until after Thanksgiving to put up our Christmas tree.  It seems like every year, these two holidays

Jason and Garion with the new tree.

Jason and Garion with the new tree.

get more and more mixed up. 😉  But we decided to buy a new, Pre-lit, tree this year instead of putting up the ratty 6 year old one we have stuffed up in the garage.  On Monday night we went to Cost Co and let the kids pick it out. It has been sitting in the entry way since.  There was no reason to put it away when we were just going to get it back out this weekend.  So, last night while I was cooking dinner, the kids were a little restless.  So we decided to put the tree up a little early.  The kids loved it!  They all helped and after it was up and the lights were on, all three of them ran around the tree, jumping and dancing and shouting!  Even Brynn kept pointing to the tree and yelling and laughing!  It was the cutest thing I have ever seen!  Not long after, we ate dinner and Kayla decided it would be a great idea to eat dinner by Christmas Tree light.  So she proceeded to go around the house and turn off every light she could find!  Soon it was really dark, except for the tree lights.  Not quite enough to eat by, so Jason got out one of our oil lamps and we put on some Christmas music in the background and soon we had a very nostalgic atmosphere.  Kayla loved that we could see the tree lights reflecting in all the windows.  And Garion said “If you make your eyes blurry on purpose, the lights on the tree look like a bunch of fireworks!”  All in all it was a VERY fun evening.  Kayla was pretty upset that we didn’t do the ornaments last night too, but since they are hiding in the garage and we need to find them, it wasn’t happening.  Now that the tree is up there is a sense of anticipation and excitement for the next month.

This Friday, tomorrow :), is Black Friday.  I love this day.  I know it is weird, but I love the crowds, the good deals and the opportunity to shop all day!  Thanks to my sister-in-law, Heather, and her super kind heart, we are able to go without the kids.  They are so excited to spend the night at their cousins house so Jason and I can get an early start tomorrow morning.  Brynn will be staying with us, but Jason is going to drop her off when he goes n the morning.  Since he will be leaving a little later than me.  I am hopefully going to be going about 4:30am with my friend Michelle.  Gotta beat the crowds!  I have a list of stores to go to and items to buy.  SO FUN!!

This last week has been a really fun one.  Last Thursday night, I went to the midnight release of Twilight.  As most

Twilight Group!

Twilight Group!

of you know, I am completely obsessed with this story.  The night was awesome!  There was a group of 15 of us in the end.  My friend Jana and her friend and I went to dinner at Applebees and waited there for the rest of the group to arrive.  They met us for dessert and it was a party from then on!  We made our way to the theater and it was a MADHOUSE!!  There were 20 screens in the theater we went to, and all 20 had sold out midnight showings.  We figured there were over 3000 people there.  Some even dressed up for a prom promotion they had going on.  (At least I am not THAT obsessed.:))  Anyway, the movie was FABULOUS!!  I loved it.  They followed the story line really well.  I was a little worried.  They had to change or cut out a few of the details to make it flow better on the big screen, but it didn’t take away from the story.  So it was good.  It was a little low budget, and you could tell in the special effects, but I still really liked it.  And now that they know they have made enough to make New Moon, we can look forward to better effects and such.  Can you believe they made 70 MILLION on midnight showings alone!  Crazy!

Friday night we went to Tyler’s birthday party.  Garion’s best friend.  They ate pizza and played Kung Fu Panda.  That is a great movie.  I love that the cartoon movies are geared toward adult humor as well as kids entertainment.  It makes watching them a really enjoyable experience for all involved. 🙂

Last Thursday Kayla and I both got injured. 🙂  It is worth mentioning because they were not just little injuries.  Kayla and her friend McKenna decided to play in McKenna’s basement even though it is off limits and under construction.  I am not sure what they were doing, but a piece of framing fell on Kayla’s foot.  It landed on the top of the foot right above the big toe.  There as a nice inch long cut and a pretty purple bruise to follow.  She was, understandable, so upset that she wouldn’t let Michelle near her.  So I had to make the trek across the back yard to get her.  For those of you who don’t know, we are back yard neighbors and we have a gate that connects us.  When I got there, I picked her up and started to walk home.  But I was wearing my red ballet slipper shoes and they have no traction.  So, as I was about to walk down the 3 stairs out of the back of Michelle’s house, I fell.  With Kayla in my arms.  Man, that hurt.  As I lifted my right foot to step off the stair, my left foot sipped off the edge of the landing I was standing on.  So both of my feet were in the air and I landed on my rear end on the edge of the landing and then bounced down a stair, hitting the edge of that stair too before I came to rest on the second stair down.  All this while I have Kayla in my arms so I can’t even try to break my fall with my hands.  She added a nice 35 pounds to the weight that hit the edge of the landing.  I had to sit there for a good 3-4 minutes before I could even breath.  Kayla was screaming “Don’t put me down!”  and I was trying not cry in front of my friend Michelle who saw everything.  I finally managed to get up and carry Kayla home, bandage her foot and then try to asses my own damage.  I had no idea that my body could turn the color of eggplant.  I have a nice bruise that is about 4 inches long and 2 inches wide and the color of egg plant.  I still can’t sit straight and I can’t run or walk fast or do anything will make the muscles back there move.  Ouch.

Well, that about sums up this last week.  My friend Krissy and her boys came over yesterday to play for the morning.  We had a great visit!  And today is Thansgiving.  We are going to Jeremy and Heathers house for dinner and games.  Tomorow I go shopping and Saturday we will hopefully sleep and recover. 🙂

Leatherman Skeletool

leatherman-skeletool.jpgOoh, and as we move towards the “Gimmie” season, I always love seeing the new products companies come out with to vie for my attention.  Well Leatherman has a very interesting new tool that looks quite cool.  The Leatherman Skeletool.  I currently love the Leatherman Wave that I carry, but this one has some spiffiness that cannot be denied.  I really like the look, the increased blade width, and the dual purpose carabiner/bottle opener.  It doesn’t offer quite as many  “tools” as my wave, but covers the important parts, in a sexy new look, and especially in the CF body, a very nice weight.

GPS Recommendations

So my old GPS is finally beyond hope.  It has fallen into a state that can only be deemed useless, and I need a new one.  I’m hoping to get some recommendations from folks about what GPS models features you like the most.  Some of my requirements include:

  • Screen – not just tracking
  • Topographical Maps
  • Mac Connectivity – Preferably bluetooth

Basic Usage for me:

  • Plot waypoints before a hike
  • Use During a hike to verify location/path
  • Little geocaching
  • Exporting hike details to Google Earth, etc..

So, what models do you prefer, and why?

Extoling my Ego

This year has been a bit of a banner year for my paintball habits.  While a devoted player (it’s my main exercise and stress relief), I’m a bit of a cheapskate.  Through hours of play I’ve often proven that you dont’ have to have the best equipment or dump the most paint in order to do well.

As part of Team DesertEdge though, I’ve been forced into times that I have to “put out” a little more than your average player.  When people are depending on you, in a tournament situation, you need to really do your part.  That dedication from all of our team has led to a good progression in equipment, and play quality.  This year, we reaped some of our first material rewards, a sponsorship from Planet Eclipse.  PE is a quite respected manufacturer of higher end paintball equipment, based in the UK.  For the last several years, their flagship marker has been the ‘Ego’ line, which was originally based on an autococker style pneumatic system.  A couple of years ago PE decided to branch out with a newer style of marker, and quickly grew a fanbase with the ’05 and ’06 models.

Starting with the 2007 model, PE re-engineered this system once again, creating a lighter, faster, more compact marker than ever before.  So when we were approached with the opportunity to use this new marker, we were quick to sign on.  Heck, high end electronics, that shoot, who wouldn’t?

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More Than Meets the Eye

Yes, the classic Transformers statement.  I just got back from the preview showing, and man was that worthtransformers-20060827114907930-000.jpg it.  I will say that I went into the movie giddy about finally seeing the darned thing, but with a heavy fear that it was going to be royally screwed up.

Man that was a good movie!  A great balance for the non-transformer geek, as well as us geeks.  I was also very afraid that the violence would be way overdone, and my son wouldn’t be able to watch it. While it is big on action, the gore and others is not there to where I would feel bad for my son to attend (but better watch it without them first to make sure about yours).

Definately a winner.  And man which is sexier, Jazz (Pontiac solstice) or Bublebee (with the new camaro look)?

Dye I3 Pro

Ahh it’s a new year, and it’s time to get some paintball on. After a couple of crazy weeks at work, consisting of large roll outs, excructiating QA sessions _of course any QA with “a certain geek we all know”:http://blog.josephhall.com is excrutiating_ I was ready for some serious action. And thus we came to “Desert Edge’s”:http://www.teamdesertedge.com first woodsball practice of the season.

Now, One of the *most* important pieces of equipment a person has in paintball is their mask. The mask keeps your eyes safe, and you must keep it on at all times on the field. Paintball masks are a special kind of goggle, made to handle high-velocity impacts, and many of them.
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Armchair Commandos

One of the sponsors of my paintball team is the local store “Special Ops”:http://www.specialopspaintball.com . This is a great company up in North Salt Lake that creates some amazing equipment, as well as sponsors the excellent “SPPL League”:http://www.scenariochallenge.com .

Well, they’ve gotten into the TV world with a new show they are filming, mostly here in Utah, “Armchair Commandos”:http://www.armchaircommandos.com . Check it out. It’s a reality-tv style show that pits two diametrically opposed groups of people (in the preview, Rednecks vs. Punk Rockers) in various scenario style paintball games, for a cash prize towards charity.

The players are new to paintball, showing that anybody can play, and have a lot of fun. I you have an idea for a group, go ahead and suggest away to them. Check “the video link”:http://www.armchaircommandos.com/video.asp?landing=video for some teaser footage. And who knows, maybe someday you or I will be in the show (right now, our team just gets to ‘assist’)

Refreshing Customer Service

What is it about tires that makes them seem to reach out and grab on to any available road hazard? In my case this week it was some nice screws in the road. This is something that seems to be a somewhat regular occurrence for me, if somebody drops a screw/bolt/nail/sharp pointy anything in the road, one of my tires will find it. So yesterday morning I had to stop by the tire store to see if they could repair my tire.

Problem is, my tires are really bald. End of Life. But I need them to last another month or two so I can afford to fix my stupid brakes that are also toast first.

So I drop off the tire, well expecting that they aren’t going to be able to fix it, and I’m going to have to shell out money I don’t really have right now to get new tires. The serviceman tells me it’ll be 25 minutes, and goes to work on my vehicle.

Once they tell me it’s done (20 minutes, w00t!) they inform me that my tire couldn’t be repaired, holes were too close, and had split between them. So I was moderately confused, since he said they had fixed my tire.

“Oh, we had a used tire of the exact same style we took off a car recently, so I put that on.” Ok, so a _new_ tire, just used. So I asked how much the new tire was, grateful that it would cost less, and only needed the one. “Oh, no charge, just come back when you do replace your tires.”

Yes, this is why I shop at “Discount Tires Co.”:http://www.tires.com

Utah Bloggers

Last week I noticed an actual real comment in my blog, that alone got my attention, and then I read it. It mentioned an upcoming “Utah bloggers convention”:http://www.utahbloggers.com/ . Previously I hadn’t heard about it at all, and then a few other geeks began to mention it on “openclue”:http://openclue.org/ut . I decided I might as well try and check it out.

I’ll have to admit, I wasn’t expecting too much. Having not heard about it until the last minute, I wasn’t expecting much more than an informal meetup. What turned out was actually a nice event. Food, t-shirts, and a panel discussion greeted a surprisingly large number of attendees representing very distinct blog realms. The signage and logo’s really gave a professional edge to the event that I wasn’t expecting.

This first blogger event (as they plan on using this to do more) was a short event, hosting just a single panel discussion. While the discussion was useful, I think having it be the entirety of the event was a slight disservice to the attendees. I think if they instead had focused on the social networks present, and promoted themselves as a service for linking these groups, it would have had a much more practical application for the night. Many of the bloggers present would benefit most from the associations possible at a meeting of this nature. Instead the panel’s focus seemed to be blogs in business. This in itself is a great topic, that many present wanted, but many were more interested in either just meeting the bloggers they read, or connecting in their networks. I for example found several new geeks that hadn’t heard of the openclue planet Utah, but are now looking at it.

All in all, a fun event, and a good way to get attention to start a series of conferences, but next time it would be beneficial to focus a bit on the promotion, as well as having keynotes and breakouts across a slightly larger time.

X-ed up

Well, just got back from X3. Very fun movie. Lots of good action. The only problem is the main things to talk about in the movie give away a lot, so I can’t discuss them yet.

One thing to remember when you go see it, stay through the credits…

In retrospect, one thing that I really liked about the movie is that they did a very good job with the teasers of misguided fans into what was coming. Sure certain major things were known, but a lot of detail would specifically make you think different things were to occur.

In the way of nitpicking (that which I can do without giving stuff away). Angel, yes he’s in, but he plays such a minor bit that it’s kind of disappointing. I would really have liked to see him with a much larger part. Also, where was Nightcrawler??

Definitely worth watching, they do set up for sequels, but there are major character *elements* that will need to be resolved for one, several are hinted at or shown, but a couple will need help.

Overall, I loved it.