Monday, August 27, 2007


I am, according to my custom, I am behind all my friends on the blog meme. Ah well. All things in their time.

Jobs I've Held
Dishwasher at a local pizza place (before my mission)

Cashier at said pizza place (after my mission)

Cook at the Cannon Center

Window-washer and general custodian at Deseret Towers

Research assistant

Teaching assistant

Short order cook at the same pizza place.

Movies I Can Watch Over and Over

The Big Sleep

Star Wars (the Real Trilogy)

The Mark of Zorro

The Great Race


Places I have lived
Quantico, Virginia

Oceanside, California

29 Palms, California

Monterey, California

Goldvein, Virginia

Battle Ground, Washington

Goldendale, Washington

Prineville, Oregon

Beaverton, Oregon

Vancouver, Washington

Provo, Utah

Goldvein, Virginia (redux)

Shows I enjoy

Star Trek (especially TOS)

Fraggle Rock


Places I've Been On Vacation

Arizona (for an SCA event)

Favorite Food
Pizza (has been for many years)

Websites I Visit With Some Regularity
Various blogs
Gaming Report
Steve Jackson Games Daily Illuminator
Giant in the Playground (specifically for Order of the Stick, although it hasn't been bringing the funny as often recently)

Body Parts I Have Injured
Toe (broken)

Finger (broken)



Thursday, August 02, 2007


Have you ever done something totally new before, and discovered that you are completely and utterly incompetent at it? I had an experience of this type just yesterday.

In my current ward I am serving as a Sunday School teacher, teaching the 17 year olds. They are good kids, and it isn't as bad as it could be. I am however, often in their minds. So it was no surprise when one of the Young Men in my class called me up with a dilemma. Apparently they had planned a Priest/Laurel activity, but needed a Melchizedek Priesthood holder to make the activity properly legal in the eyes of the Church. Having heard (I don't where) that I do not work on Tuesdays (the pizza place where I work being closed on Tuesdays), this Young Man wanted to know if I would go with the Priests and Laurels in their activity. Of course I said yes. I was, at least initially, flattered to be asked, and the kids needed me to have their activity.

The activity was tubing down the Potomac. Tubing is activity where you take the inner tube of a tire, inflate it, and sit in the center of the resultant device, using it to float gently down the river. This is an activity which seems very common in many Young Men/Young Women organizations throughout the Church, but it was one which I had never experienced. That may be because of my disdain for water, and its attendant sports. It may be because I was terminally uncool as a teenager (a disposition I probably haven't changed, but which is less important now. After all, my daughter likes me). Regardless of the reasons, I had never been tubing before. I have been white-water rafting before, on numerous occasions, and I figured that tubing couldn't be too much more difficult than rafting. The parts of the river they let you tube on are certainly less dangerous, especially as dry as things have been this year (Safety tip from our bus driver: If you fall in the river and think you are drowning—stand up!), so I figured I had it covered.

It was an interesting drive up to the place where we were renting the tubes. My father and I were in the front, and my sister was in the back with two of her cronies. All I can say is that I am glad that my daughter is not yet a teenager. The conversation centered almost exclusively on boys, which is somewhat cliché, but apparently, like most clichés has some basis in life. My father sat in the front and we had interesting conversations about cryptoanalysis, and whether or not ancient languages could be used to up the security of a given code or cipher (the jury is still out—while anytime you use a language someone doesn't know you've essentially moved it out of their code, there is no indication that it would up the complexity of decipherment, except for that point. Thus a code written in Hieroglyphic would be as accessible to someone who read Hieroglyphics, as an English code is to someone who speaks English. Still, the possibilities are intriguing. This conversation was partially inspired by The Da Vinci Code since the codes in there are puerile. I was thinking on how I would step it up a bit, if I were in charge of Grail security, and my father is currently doing some work in cryptoanalysis, and the conversation just went from there.). Mostly we just ignored the conversation in the background.

Finally we got there, signed our lives away, received our life-vests and tubes (the high-tech kind with handles) and were driven to the water's edge. We got in the water, where I immediately got stuck in an eddy next to the shore. Eventually, I broke out of it, but by this time, the group, except my father, was many yards ahead of me. I spent the entire time, behind, trying my hardest to catch up. Apparently, these youth did believe that tubing was a quiet relaxing activity, to be enjoyed on the leisure of the river. No, these youth fought the river, going down as fast as they possibly could, i.e. much faster than I could. And, this is where I learned of my own latent incompetence at tubing. I never found the current, and if there was any eddy in the river, I found it. There was one spot where I was caught in a dead zone and spent twenty minutes trying to get out of it. All the while, the youth were playing African Queen, or at least I assume so. Other than at either end of the trip, I never saw them. Who knows what they were doing.

I eventually did make it to the end of the river successfully (ironically before rest of the group, since they had overshot our take-out point and were stuck on the other bank of the river) and proceeded back to my house. I was bruised, sunburned, sore in my muscles and a little bit cranky. I had spent the day trying to catch up with the Youth, never doing so, and I payed $23.00 for the privelage. However, I learned that I am terrible at tubing, and I never expect to do it again. Such are the lessons of life.