Sunday, May 30, 2010

Wee Vee Wonder

Just now, V was sitting on the couch and I asked her, "can I have a hug?"

She just kinda looked at me blankly, so I went up to her and gave her a hug. I then said, "I'm always in favor of wee-Vee hugs."

At this V, the cute little five-month-old, sat up so she was right against me, and clumsily moved her arm around until it rested on the back of my shoulder, and then nuzzled me with her face. What a wonderful baby!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Room 2 Done!

We've finished our bedroom. It took two coats of paint, new carpet, and a complete re-do of all the closets, but we got it done. In case anyone is interested: There were 3 coaxial cable-TV jacks in this room--and Dani and I have agreed that we will never have cable-TV. After a lot of putty and paint, this room looks good.
This is Todd's closet in the background--as organized by Dani. This shot is taken from the master-bathroom doorway.
Here we have our scripture study area on the left of this picture, with all our scriptures and study aides on a bookshelf. This, I'm happy to say, gets used daily :D

For those of you who know Dani really well, this next picture is a dream come true! I bought her closet-maid organizing shelfing and she went to town on it.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Room 1 Done! (Almost)

Here are pictures of the Living room almost 100% completed. I still need to paint the accent wall (I'll do that with my mom when she's here) and I have pictures to hang still. We'll get blinds hung once we replace the windows later this summer and then it will be done. It's a MAJOR improvement from what we started with and are loving the space!

Here is the link to the blog post that has pictures of the house before the previous owner moved out. After she moved and we cleaned up major amounts of dog hair, we replaced the carpet and painted the walls. What do you think?

And special thanks to my Father-in-law who gave us the idea on how we should set up the entertainment center.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Illegal Immigration

I'm making this post so that people know that, somewhere out there, there's a solution to a political problem that we face in the U.S. every day. I hope someone in power gets a chance to consider this--because I really feel like this could be an economically viable solution, and result in peaceful and long-lasting change.

I'm talking about Illegal Immigration.

Honestly, I don't care about Illegal Immigration either way--some are a boon and some are a tax to our society. I really just don't know enough to make a judgement call either way, and I'm not sure we, collectively, have the information needed to make a distinct decision that would be in the universal interest of everyone involved with this issue. We could argue about it for years and still probably never gain decisive and unbiased data.

One thing that I do know for sure--we should really revamp our foreign policy regarding Mexico. Studies have effectively demonstrated that the most lasting changes on foreign soil are those that were perpetuated and endorsed by the general population. Most people in Mexico agree that they need to do something about corruption in their government, and about general working conditions across the board, but feel powerless to do so. I gained this information from interviewing and talking with a number of my friends who were born in Mexico. If we looked beyond our own borders and discovered ways to empower the citizens of Mexico to peacefully bring about those changes, then the problems involved with illegal immigration would be greatly alleviated.

The first step would be "de-throning" Carlos Slim and breaking up his monopoly on the telecom industry in Mexico. He was granted that monopoly because he was friends with the President of Mexico, and has utilized it to become the wealthiest man in the world (yes, he has surpassed Bill Gates in net-worth). He overcharges for his services, and anyone who wants to use the internet south of Arizona (this includes nations south of Mexico), have to pay him a premium to do so.

The next would be helping them implement labor unions so that the individual worker can start standing up and saying that they will not work in life-threatening and continuously miserable conditions with absolutely no hope of ever getting a raise or an increase in benefits.

We have the economic power to enforce these changes in their government. We can--much to the temporary dismay of a vast majority of people--firewall off Mexico from doing any kind of e-commerce with the US until Carlos' monopoly is broken up into individual companies. The foreign pressure outside of the US alone would ensure that this is done swiftly. We can ban imports from Mexico (yes, this would hurt us a bit, but we're retooling our economy now anyway, so why not just add another item on the to-do list?) from any non-unionized company, or rather, any company that doesn't clearly demonstrate competent working conditions.

These are simple things for us that would cost the US a few hundred million to implement. I'd wager it'd be about as hiring 10,000 employees and funding anti-immigration projects for a year. In the end, items from Mexico cost a little bit more, but we pay for that when we choose to buy pens, and dice, and little plastic toys--rather than when we need medical care, or adequate facilities to educate our children.

I know it's a complicated issue--and I don't think it can be solved overnight, but I do know that if we make Mexico better for Mexicans, then the US will be a better place for all US Citizens. We can't lift our neighbors, without lifting ourselves.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tired 2

So, yeah, we're still exhausted trying to get this house up and running the way we're expecting. Here's the list of stuff we've done since the previous one:

  • Took out all the drywall anchors in the bedrooms (there were about 20 of them)
  • Fixed all the holes in the walls and closets upstairs
  • Fixed most of the damaged corners on the walls
  • Prepared half of all the upstairs walls for painting by scraping off deformities, sanding down uneven parts, and removing old curtain hardware
  • Painted the living room
  • Took out a stump with my bare hands -- yeah, it was tough, only 4 more to go
  • Bought playground equipment (that stuff weighs about 800lbs, and was fun to haul all by myself)
  • Tore out all the carpet in the lower living room (major props to Richard Low for helping me there)
  • Finished chipping down the concrete, and put the door in
  • Hauled the carpet to the dump (that was an adventure)
  • I joined a research group analyzing magnetic domains in ferromagnetic materials (in lay-mans terms, I'm trying to find a way to retrieve data off a hard drive that's been wiped by a magnet)
  • Finished the first stage of a project at work--only two more to go
  • Unpacked everything for the kitchen and cleaned it--putting it in a fully functional order
  • Hosted a LAN party with about 9 guys in the unfinished lower basement (we played games from about 7:30PM to about 5:00 AM, it was a blast)
  • Discovered "Dominion," a really awesome card game, and became instantly addicted to it (again, major props to Richard and Kristine Low, they're simply amazing people all the way around)
In short, Dani and I are having a lot of fun, and go to bed exhausted every night. The house has its first living area nearly completed, and it looks beautiful. All we have left is to replace the windows in the upper living room and it will be exactly the way we want it.

Next up: Entry room, hallway, and kitchen -- ought to be fun ^.^

Monday, May 3, 2010

Internet, Dani, and LAN

Dani wants to apologize to everyone. She has been without internet access for about two weeks now. In her own words, "This is the longest I've been without internet since I first had internet access, ya know, the sixth grade."

She will get caught up with everyone as soon as it is installed.

I am particularly perturbed by our lack of internet access myself, since this new house is wired with cat5E cables already! I was told it would take a day or two, last week, and they're just sending a technician out today. I would've fixed it myself by now--but I can't find the fiber optic gateway at my house.

Their tardiness led to extreme embarrassment and inconvenience for me. I had a LAN party (computer gaming party) on Friday night, and it was very embarrassing to tell the people coming that there wasn't any internet access. It led to multiple problems--but we had a fun time anyway.

So, veracity networks customer service continues to disappoint me--as it always has. If it weren't for the fact that they provide internet speeds up to 20x faster than what comcast is capable of doing (on a good day), I wouldn't mess with them at all.

Dani should be online today or tomorrow, and she'll get caught up with all of you then. To those who want pictures of our new house--we really can't provide them yet, as much of it is still torn apart with a bunch of boxes sitting in random places. We probably won't want to sport pictures of this place for another month.

Why I'm (still) a Mormon

I don't expect much more to ever be posted on this blog, and I'm largely just posting this to share it with some particular friends....