Traffic for 2005 June

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[Comments] (8) When enough is enough: Saw a sign on campus today for "Junetoberfest." Come on. Really. Give it a rest.

I finally have been approved by the California State Board of Accountancy to sit for the CPA exam. Now they have to send my stuff to NASBA to have them approve my stuff, then I have to pay $300 more, and then have Prometric contact me to schedule. I am slowly but surely getting there. I hate bureacracy. But I also hate disorganized nonconformists. Why can't the world be more like me?

We got our moving company. We're going with Mayflower. What a racket. They give you an estimate, then they charge you 110% just in case, then they refund the balance (if any, which in our case there will be) 3-5 weeks after they move you. I'm seeing a whole new career path I may not have considered before...NOT.

I still cannot believe June has arrived; where did March go?

[Comments] (4) I Saw The Sign: Does anyone have any clue what the theme song to Frasier is supposed to mean? I have a feeling Sumana may.

Lately Susie and I have had moving on the brain. We have donated half of what we possess to either DI or various friends' yard sales. It truly is a cathartic feeling to de-junk and de-bunk.

My mom is making me consolidate my stuff at her house as well. My old room is now scrapbook central/Franko's room, so my stuff had to go. I boxed it all and put it in the storage room months ago, but I am now consolidating the boxes in storage. I think I can get it down to three boxes: one with all my brand new Winnie-the-Pooh stuffed animals, one with mission stuff (mostly letters to re-read when I'm 70), and one with yearbooks, Chinese language books, etc.

I got a Winnie-the-Pooh doll every time we went to Disneyland as a kid. I have all of them but Piglet and Pooh. I never played with them as a kid; getting a new toy was a rare ocassion, so everything was kept in mint condition. Except for Tigger. I used to sleep with him with my arm wrapped tight around his neck, and his head's falling off. We're saving them for our future baby room (2007).

My mom's been a Nazi about my stuff left there, even though my sister still has stuff in at least three rooms there. A parent's love and relationship with children is something I'll never understand until I arrive there.

We're going to the cabin this weekend, so let's all please petition the weather God to leave Utah alone for one weekend. It rained this morning and the weather is still unusually cool for this time of year. I'm excited to hike the Ridge Trail up there. After seeing Susie in action in Moab, I know she can hike well and I'm not going to let her wimp out. She's tough!

Susie and I had a fun time at Kristen and Aaron's last night. We got to see Lily walk along the coffee table and sit up on her own. And I finally got to meet David. I'm very happy that we've taken advantage of family while we were in Utah, and hosted get togethers frequently. I especially feel that way about my Grandma June. If/When she passes on, I'll have no regrets because we frequented her home and IHOP much. Hopefully we'll have the time and $$ to see Susie's family frequently as well, as they won't be as close, since California is a big state. I've heard rumors from Susie that Leonard secretly (or not so secretly) wants to relocate back to SoCal.

Time to go to the scrapbook store so Susie can use the last of her credit before we move.

[Comments] (2) Look who's laughing now: I remember sitting in school about a year ago listening to my colleagues and teacher talk about how warranties are a complete waste of money. I told the kid next to me (a loudmouth snot from Bristol, but my friend nonetheless) that I got a 3-year warranty on my laptop. He laughed me to scorn.

Ha! The service expires in 43 days from today, and I believe I have gotten my money's worth. For example, last April I got a virus that would not let me access the Internet, hence I couldn't go to Symantec and download the update. I spent about 10 hours on the phone with Dell, basically rebooting and reformatting my entire computer. Do you know how much that call would have cost otherwise?

Then yesterday. My motherboard decided it no longer wanted to charge my batteries, meaning I was always running on AC power, meaning what's the point of having a laptop? Well. I called Dell. Today a man came to my home, put in a new motherboard that now works, and voila, here I am with a free new motherboard and free service call. Compliments of a so-called useless warranty.

I paid for the CPA exam, meaning there are three steps left in the process: (1) schedule my test dates; (2) take the test; (3) pass the test. Obviously, the third part gives me the most sleepless nights.

Going to the cabin tonight. Joe and Louise are coming up tomorrow. I want to give Joe a memorable enough experience to encourage him to update his blog. Maybe we'll hike Timp Cave....

Just one more week until the Nordstrom sale!!

[Comments] (8) Coupon Capers: We got to the cabin Friday night at 7 pm. After dinner and turning on the cabin heaters, we went for a sunset walk at the lake. Then we snuggled in bed while watching X-Men on the laptop.

Saturday morning we met Joe and Louise at the gate and hiked the ridge trail. Well. Utah truly is blossoming as the rose this year. Thanks to all the rain/snow we are still having, many parts of the trail were completely submerged in mud and water. So the hike required a lot of trailblazing around the muckety-muck. We balanced across many a log, the only casualty being a muddy sneaker from when Louise fell in the mud once.

Toward the top there was still lots of snow, which was hard enough we could walk on it. I felt like Legoals in Fellowship. Joe, Louise, and Susie all fell in the snow at one point or another, I believe. On the way back down we saw a moose! It was neat. I ran ahead of everyone to take a picture, and, well, Mr. Moose didn't like that. He stared me down and eventually left, leaving me in one piece. Meese are very agressive, you know. I did get my picture at least.

Back at the cabin, to my surprise, was my mom and dad. I was surprised to see them there, and didn't get a chance to prep Joe and Louise for the ocassion (my father's a bit loopy). He loved Louise's accent.

It started pouring when we got back to the cabin. We made it home just in the nick of time. Susie reminded me that I had prayed the night before we'd have good weather for our hike; I suppose praying in specifics is far better than praying in generalities if you want your wishes granted (ie, praying for world peace).

Driving Joe and Louise back to the gate, we saw some deer. It was a good weekend for sightseeing. We had fun talking with Joe and Louise, and learning all about them. I even discovered Louise's weakness--Twizzlers. Every time we took a break on the trail she didn't need water, just Twizzlers. Back at the cabin I surprised them with the chocolate flavored ones, and now the bag is empty.

Last night Susie and I got home and discovered that we were too pooped to poop. We are still so sore from hiking yesterday. So we went out for dindin. Susie got a free coupon book at work, as it is for the calendar year 2005, which is now halfway over. What a gimmick. I remember being little and having my parents tell me that toys just weren't made like they were in their day. Well, I am here to tell you that coupons are no longer what they were when I was a lad. Every single coupon is just a ruse to make you spend more money. For example: buy 1 entree and six drinks, get the seventh free; come in for a free suprise; buy two entrees get free banana pudding. Yikes. We finally found a true buy one entree get one free to Thai Chili Garden, so the decision was made for us. I love their peanut curry.

Next weekend we are going to go to the SLC temple since Susie's never been, and then do the cabin thing again for Father's Day. Then the fun ends, as the next weekend we must pack and move. The summer of John is coming to an end.

[Comments] (10) The Heat is On: We went on a date to see Hitch at ye olde $1 theatre last night. I really enjoyed it, except the wine-toast line, which was pure cheese. There is a lot of truth in what that movie presented: guys just need a boost of self-confidence to get themselves in the door. The rest is history.

I'm glad I wasn't on like a third date watching that movie. Otherwise the good night scene would have been akward. That is, unless you have an inhaler. Overall, I liked this movie enough I'd watch it again!

[Comments] (3) Manic Monday: It was another whirlwind of a weekend. Friday night we perused the Nordstrom sale, and said corporation's free-ride, interest-free loan came to an end, as Sumana would say. I got new sneakers for $15! I also finally found my black dress shirt on sale, but it was still $80+ so I passed. I found another one at Dillards for $50. Susie must have felt badly about watching me spend my gift cards, so we got her a little sumpin at The Gap. Happy Father's Day Susie!

Saturday morning we went to the SL temple, as Susie had never done a live endowment session before. My sister and her husband hadn't either, so they came too. It's a lot easier to stay awake in a live session. We saw the sealing room where my parents were married; it's the little one up the stairs in the Celestial Room.

Lunch was celebrated at the soup nazi, as we won't be able to go there anymore. Then we went and saw Madagascar with the kids. They liked it, and I laughed quite a bit, but it was still no Pixar. I've decided I'm a movie snob; I'm hard to please. But usually when people ask me if I liked a movie, I just say yes, so as not to offend everyone else who loved the movie. I'm just not into the Shrek-ness of the Dreamworks world. If it's gonna be a cartoon, then be a cartoon. Please don't be a cartoon/sex innuendo movie to please kids and adults alike. Dreamworks, in my opinion, blows their budget on famous voice actors and skimps on story line. Oh well. It was good, and I'd see it again in a few years, but I'll never buy it.

Then we went to the cabin for the night. Susie and I hiked the lake again. Then, while all the girls watched A Night's Tale (yuck) I studied for the CPA exam. Susie and I both slept in until 9 am on Father's Day, which made my day right there. That is the latest I've slept in since our cruise, if even then.

We hiked to mud springs that morning. It's finally heated up in Utah; all the mudholes we saw with Joe and Louise were mostly gone. I made a treasure hunt for the kids (kind of a tradition) and then I took them all on a walk. We found a zipline on one of our neighbor's cabins and we all went to town. I couldn't believe the two little girls were willing to go on it. I was also afraid they wouldn't be able to hold on the whole way, and would fall on the pointy rock at the bottom. But the net effect: no broken bones and some very happy kids and adults. It was good times.

We found a tick in my niece's hair, which has me all paranoid now. What purpose do ticks serve? Lousy bugs.

Now life is back to boxes. 10 days.

Mormon Mania: I can't believe it; they've only been offering open house tickets to the Newport Beach temple for a week now and every Saturday is booked solid. Luckily we got in for August 20 by the seat of our pants.

My father had an angioplasty today. While we were on our cruise, my uncle had a tumor on his brain, which initially they thought was a stroke. He's still trying to regain some of his memory. Kind of puts my moving woes into perspective.

[Comments] (10) Can't Buy Me Common Sense: Disclaimer: First of all, I am very happy that they found the missing Utah boy. But I can't help myself. His dad taught him two things in life: to stay on the trail if you're lost, and to never talk to strangers. So every time he was on the trail and he heard an ATV coming by, he would hide, because he thought they were going to kidnap him. He's 11, not 4.

I guess it's easy for me to be critical of other people's parenting skills because I'm not one. But that just seemed really odd to me.

I turn 25 in one month from today. A month. I'm nervous--25 seems like it should be a big deal to me. But really, it's not much different from 24 or 26. But numbers are a higharchy; a caste system even. For example, 0's and 5's think they are better than all other numbers. 9's are a niche market, which are loved by women and advertisers (I'm perpetually age 39; it's not $10, it's $9.99).

We had an early b-day party for me last weekend with my family. I got Hidalgo, and am very excited to watch it, since I am told that Viggo is a babe.

[Comments] (3) The government giveth, and the government taketh away: The update is that, after the angiogram, the doctors realized that my dad didn't need to have an angioplasty. Because his body is sick, his heart beats slower; incidentally, it has nothing to do with clogged arteries.

We returned the cabin key to my grandma today, and got to say good-bye to her as well. My Uncle David and Aunt Brigetta were there. My Uncle David had a brain tumor in May, which they thought was a stroke. He didn't seem to have any idea who I was, and looked uncomfortably at me when he left. When I asked my grandma how he was, she started to cry. He had some blood clots in his legs so they put him on medicine to thin the blood, which isn't really good for him after his tumor. I guess its time I remember that doctors don't always have all the answers. So if they aren't almighty, why do they make you wait in the lobby all day? Even if you get the first appointment of the day, they're running behind when you get there.

Speaking of waiting, apparently in Cal you can schedule DMV appointments online, so we are scheduled to get new driver's licenses and car registrations promptly at 8:30. Does the system work? I guess we'll find out. I think I'll play it safe and take some CPA study materials anyhow.

Apparently Cal requires relicensing your out-of-state vehicle within 10 days of moving. Luckily our car registration expires in July anyway, or I'd be mad. What about overlapping policies? What a jip.

I did my homework on the recent Supreme Court decision regarding eminent domain. Then I remembered when Lehi City required my uncles to sell our farm land in Alpine to Micron, because it was going to boost business. Well, we sold, Micron moved in, and life went on as normal. No "boom." Hmm. My uncles were livid. But my mom said the land was becoming arable and bad, so selling out at the price we got was a good thing. My uncles were just to hurt to admit it. As the silver fox used to say, "just because eminent domain is a travesty, doesn't mean it's a trajedy." The tax implications are major. Buyer's remorse will be different for everybody.

Last night we went out to eat with our neighbors. We are really hoping we'll have new neighbors that are as good. We went to Carrabas because everyone says it is so good. Well, I can cook chicken better than that for $25. But we did get to see Shelley at work, so the experience wasn't a total loss. It was a slow night for tips there. Poor Shelley.

[Comments] (4) The government giveth, and the government taketh away: Part 2: My brother won a used 1999 Ford Contour at a Stingers baseball game last night! Well, he says that everyone they told at church today only had one thing to say: Ooooh, you'll owe taxes. Dumbies. No one knows what that means, they just know it's true.

So of course my brother calls me. My family (except my mom) only calls when they want something, so I always get nervous when they call that something is terribly amiss (that includes my in-laws as well). As a quick aside, it sure would be nice to have a call or email from someone just wanting to shoot the breeze, especially with free long distance these days. Anyway, back to the story.

My brother wanted to know what taxes he owed. Here's the scoop: YOU will have to pay to register the car in your name AND pay the taxes on it. YOU will also include the FMV of the car, date of prize, on your next year's tax return, as line 21 other income. But because my brother makes less than Susie does and has two kids (I still don't know how they make ends meet), I think they'll be ok. Now everyone knows. Go win something.

Actually, my old high school friend called me on Saturday to tell me that she is getting married. It was good to talk to her. Susie was ok that we talked because she was never my girlfriend. I liked her all of junior year but she never reciprocated; she liked me all of senior year but by then I had moved on.

I said good-bye to my grandma yesterday. My uncle that had the tumor was there but I am pretty sure he didn't recognize me, as he didn't say Hi or anything. When I asked my grandma about him, she just started crying. I'll miss Grandma June, but now we can visit Grandma Rosie more often. Life is about tradeoffs.

[Comments] (1) My life is in your hands: Waiting for the movers to come and collect my belongings, ie my life. I hardly doubt sticking a red "fragile" sticker on my stuff will amount to any preferential treatment to my boxes. But we'll see.

Last night was a lot of fun with the fam, up Big Cottonwood Canyon. Jon and Sharon always play host so well. I felt bad that they were the first to arrive and last to leave and got stuck with all the hard work. They threw an excellent party. I was hoping to meet Susie's aunt Sandy, cousin Bryan, and soon-to-be cousin-in-law, but that family forgot to show up. David shared with us some intimate moments of his last days with Melea, which was nice to hear as well. But mostly I talked with Sarah about how the world works if you're an eight year-old. Oh, and we also invited Jon and Sharon to our place for Christmas, since they want to go to Disneyland. Good times!

In reading Sumana's recent entry concerning the never-ending discussion of eminent domain, I can't help myself. The adage that this is a mere political party problem strikes me as trying to throw a band-aid and the blame on a real problem. The Supreme Court, in my revered opinion, has not represented my interests as an American citizen in the last twenty years. I have disagreed with their stance on multiple issues. Many of those judges see the world in a way I do not. To yet again blame this problem on the President seems incorrect to me. In fact, I read back in October that some polls estimated over 20% of the population who voted for Bush did so hoping that he would be given the opportunity in these next four years to instill some conservative values back into the judicial balance. Anyway, my point is, yes, the government now has more power than before to seize property. But for most of us, oh well. It will never affect of personally, though perhaps collectively. All we can do is move on and hope that, as we treat our fellow man with respect, others will follow suit, and this power will barely be used. After all, land is just land.

I probably feel the way I do about this issue because of my heritage. My ancestors were repeatedly kicked off of government land, normally receiving less than 10 cents on the dollar to do so. Many were lucky to still be alive to be kicked off the land. But they kept kicking, and so do I. I refuse to live my life in fear.

I am excited to start my new job next Wed. This year, unlike last year, they are putting me up in a hotel over night. So instead of battling the 405, I can lounge in a five-star hotel and study more for the CPA exam.

[Comments] (1) Allergens and Annoyances: I think I am allergic to deep cleaning. Either that or just retarted moving companies. I woke up yesterday with my typical allergic reaction--African American lips. The swelling finally subsided about 5 hours later.

Left the apartment in Utah today. I spent 3 hours checking out with our cleaning lady. 3 hours! 1 bedroom apartment! Geez! All I can say is that we are going to have a self-cleaning oven one day. She made me re-scrub the inside of the oven twice before she was convinced that one of those spots wasn't coming off. Then she made me take out the range coils and scrub the black stuff of the very tips of them. Luckily my neighbor Tasha came over and helped me with that part. Then she made me use steel wool to re-clean the whole house, more or less. Yikes! I suppose I did pick up some cleaning ideas from the whole experience. We had better get a nice chunk of change back on our deposit.

Farewell, fair Provo!

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