Archive for August, 2006

The other side of the sign

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

At long last, here’s the other side of that trail marker sign from Wyoming. Now wasn’t that worth waiting for? I thought so. Just remember, you asked for it.

I’m delighted to report that we have a new Loyal Reader! Please join me in a Very Special Morrowlife Welcome to Carl, my new Loyal Reader Number Fourteen. Carl’s an old friend from San Diego days, although he actually lived in the Cleveland area all that time. We saw each other frequently back in those days and I’m really glad we’ve gotten back in touch. Welcome, LRN14! Email me a picture of yourself if you like, and it will be featured prominently in this location on your own Very Special Morrowlife Day. What a thing that will be.

Another flawlessly beautiful day in both the bay area and the Secret Undisclosed Location. It was a little bit warmer today, but still nothing approaching uncomfortable. Heaven forfend.

I’m still trying to figure out how my Wednesday evening meeting schedule works. I showed up last night at the Court of Honor ready to stay afterwards for the 8:30 meeting, only to find out it was cancelled because yesterday was a fifth Wednesday. No complaints, of course, and I didn’t make a special trip over there. I guess the drill is that we have PEC on the first through third weeks and home visits the fourth week. Fifth weeks are Special Bonus Free Days. Cool.

Loyal Readers One, Two, and Four went to a railroad museum and Jelly Belly factory tour today. They were with a homeschooling group of some description. LRN4 told me the railroad museum was small but interesting. They took a short, bumpy ride on a little electric train. The Museum People were a little embarrassed by the bumpiness of the trip and expressed their hopes that it won’t shade their passengers’ attitude toward train travel. That must have been quite the bumpy ride. The jellybean factory was kind of a canned event, but they at least got some free candy out of it. All in all, they don’t regret going.

I forgot to mention earlier – America held hostage, day I-don’t-know-how-many. That’s right, there’s still no WiFi on the train. Maybe next week. My train-riding colleague tells me he spoke with a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy who works for the railroad. He heard that the guy who was supposed to install the system in the train quit, and his replacement knows what the word “WiFi” means and not much more, so the system is pretty much indefinitely delayed (link warning: very slow to load and not really all that interesting either). Maybe Loyal Readers One, Two and I really should bid on that contract.

On the other hand, it’s nice to be back on the train after four consecutive workdays of driving. Sure, I’m getting there a little bit later, but I’m a whole lot more relaxed. Interestingly, I concentrate a lot more on the podcasts when I’m in the car than when I’m on the train. I suppose there’s nothing much else to concentrate on (other than the traffic, of course, but who needs to pay attention to that?). I learn more in the car, but I do more on the train.

There’s certainly some beautiful scenery along the tracks. There are also some pretty pathetic-looking houses. I’ll have to bring a camera along one day soon and snap some Blog Fodder. One of the more interesting things about the ride is that there are a couple of tunnels – a long one and a short one. The long one lasts a minute or so (maybe I’ll time it today) and the train sways back and forth like a rowboat in the ocean practically the whole way through. I guess it’s too dark in there for the Railroad People to work on the tracks. Strange coincidence – we just went through the long tunnel! It took almost exactly two minutes. That’s a function of our speed, of course, which varies widely from day to day. I’ll have to start keeping track of the Tunnel Time. Sounds like fascinating research.

It’s the last day of August! My, how this month flew by. I’m hoping to finally get another home teaching assignment during September. I miss having somebody to visit.

Well, that’s about it for today. See you tomorrow for the Exciting Week-Wrapup Post.


Wednesday, August 30th, 2006

Here’s the attic of the oldest largest house in Ogallala, Nebraska. We enjoyed our tour there. They acted like they were glad to see us, and they let us look at, touch, and play with just about everything there. Quite an interesting and unusual museum. I had to do a little more retouching on this picture than normal (which is none). Hopefully, my Loyal Readers will enjoy it.

Finished the Special Management Training class today. The quality of the training was just about as good as it was yesterday. I’ll be glad to get back to work tomorrow. I drove again today and am looking forward to riding the train tomorrow. I certainly get the chance to listen to a lot of podcasts when I drive, but I’m looking forward to working on my current Gadget program, reading a little in my book (started a new one today, but more of that a little later), and maybe taking a quick nap here and there. I’m still toying with the idea of getting a cheap car to park at the station in Santa Clara, but I hate to spend that much money to save a little more than an hour every day. Maybe I just need to get more efficient during my shuttle bus time.

There was a court of honor at Young Men this evening. Unfortunately, we’re too new here for the boys to have won any awards, although Loyal Reader Number One was supposed to receive his first Eagle Palm. Need to figure out what went wrong there. Loyal Reader Number Two wasn’t able to attend summer camp this year, so he really missed out on a lot of merit badges, not to mention fun. Don’t worry, LRN2 – you’ll definitely get to go next year.

Loyal Reader Number Four has been working very hard on one room at a time to get the remaining things put away. So far, I know she’s attacked the family room and loft, and they both look great. She was also going to work on our bedroom. For all I know, she may have had brilliant success, but I haven’t been in there to find out yet. I’ll know shortly – I’m just about ready for bed.

Finished another Wodehouse book this afternoon during a break in the SMT. The Coming of BIll was anything but a rollicking comedy, but it was always entertaining and kept me very engaged. It had something to do with Upper Class Twits, of course. Look for it in the Recently Completed list. I’ve added my new current Morrowlife Book Club book over there on the right. Have a look! The Scientific American Boy is old. It’s real, real old. Amazon tells me it was published in 1905 and is “a collection of science and nature activities for boys told in a fictional story.” It’s available on, of course. It ought to be a lot of fun. I’ll let you know.

Hasta manana.


Tuesday, August 29th, 2006

Not much to say about this one except that I want to go camping. Soon.

Short shrift today. I have other things to do and need to get to bed at a human hour tonight.

The house people were in again today. They hooked up the ethernet line for the loft, which had been an irritant since we had to run a line across the hallway to connect in there. Loyal Readers One, Two, and Four went to Modesto to interview a possible piano teacher this afternoon. After visiting one they definitely don’t want to use the other day, they were relieved to discover that this one appears to be outstanding, and the price is right too. They have an appointment with one more teacher, but they’re wavering on whether it’s even worth keeping that appointment. LRN2 is even wavering on whether to continue organ lessons or switch back to the piano – this teacher is that good. He’s still going to talk with an organ teacher or two, though.

I went to the first day of a two-day Special Management Training class today. It’s supposed to change my life. I’m withholding judgment on that. I’ve been through so many management fads that I have a real hard time taking any of these things seriously anymore. They had a Motivational Speaker all afternoon. He was entertaining and did all the Motivational Speaker things – had us stand up, sit down, fight fight fight; paced back and forth in an excited way all afternoon, told Heartwarming True Stories, etc. They gave us a copy of his book. At the end of the day, he passed out boards and had us all break them with a karate chop. Hi-yaaa!

No more today. See you on Wednesday.

Mormon trail

Monday, August 28th, 2006

This was in our campground in Wyoming. I’ll put up the other side of the sign tomorrow. You’ll just have to wonder until then what other trails passed through that particular KOA.

I drove to work again today. Took two hours to get there and an hour and forty minutes to get home. That’s compared with a minimum of two and a half hours each way on the train. Of course, we have to temper that difference with the fact that there’s at least something to be gained by working on the train, riding the train costs less than the gas, and the twice-daily walk across campus is good exercise. On the other hand, I’d rather spend that hour or so of working time at the office in the morning and at home in the evening. Decision, decisions.

That’s about all that’s on my mind these days. Pretty simple life, huh? Worked like a sled dog on Saturday. We got all the rest of the blinds installed and a bunch of stuff moved around and organized. The house is gradually starting to look pretty good, although there’s still lots of stuff to find a home for. And don’t even get me started on my chances of getting the truck into the garage. Grim.

The Pool People are coming tomorrow to pour the deck. We’re getting closer. I’ll have to take a picture or two – should have been doing it all along, shouldn’t I? I think the only thing they have left after tomorrow is to put in the plaster. Oh, and install the pumps and heater and hook up all the electric stuff and gas and get the plumbing hooked up to inlets and outlets inside the pool and fill it up with water. Otherwise, we’re practically ready to swim.

The house people came today (finally) and fixed our laundry room sink and the bathtub faucet and promised to come back and fix the rest of our problems Real Soon Now. Nice to have them back on track after they fired the nice guy who was helping us before.

Time for dinner and Home Evening. Gotta run (link warning – it’s gross).


Friday, August 25th, 2006

Here’s a pretty little stream in a Pennsylvania state park somewhere. They sure have some pretty state parks there. I’ll be featuring some more pictures I took on camping trips there Real Soon Now.

It was my off Friday today, so I only worked five hours. Drove the car today because I couldn’t live by the train’s schedule, and I was very pleased to discover that it took only about an hour and a half to get there, as opposed to two and a half hours from door to door on the train. Now I have a quandry – it appears to be quicker to drive, but I can’t put too many miles on my car. Maybe I’ll train it twice or three times a week and drive the other days. Or maybe something else.

Loyal Readers One, Two, and Four and I worked on the garage this afternoon and evening. There’s still a TON more to do, but it’s improving greatly. In spite of the fact that they brought the rest of our stuff today, we still have the two cars in the garage. I have a dream that one day my Suburban will be in the garage too, but I think that’s a little ways off yet.

They broke the music stand on the piano. We’re very sad, but assume an expert can repair it. In the meantime, the piano effectively can’t be played, and we can’t do anything to get it fixed until we finish our claim with the movers. Sadness reigns.

They also lost our RC cars. Or stole them. And they managed to slip them into the truck without tags, so they’re not on an inventory sheet. The bunch of thieves. We’re going to claim them, but I’m sure they’ll try to weasel out of paying. I may have to call on the corporate power of Lockheed Martin on this one.

On a happier note, LRN4 spoke on the phone with LRN3 this evening, and he and his family are doing fine. We’re looking forward to seeing them at Christmastime.

It’s late, I’m exhausted, and I’m going to bed. See you on Monday.