Annika in the News

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Last Saturday, June 26, 2004 the Salt Lake Tribune printed some of the submissions they had received for their competition, “What Does the Bear Lake Monster Look Like.”

While not a competition, it seems that Annika’s picture was considere the best one because it not only appears on the Tribune website, but also appeared on the front page of the printed version on June 26, 2004 and the thumbnail icon representing the full story.

I can’t believe that Annika beat me into the news paper (I was 10 when I made it into the Tribune, and I wasn’t on the front page either).

click here to see her drawing of the Bear Lake Monster

A Dream Come True

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For a couple of years now I have been dreaming of the day where I could sit (or lie) in bed and read Slashdot and write in my blog. That day has arrived.

I came into posession of a used, broken notebook computer of the very old variety. After $30 in parts (which includes a new power supply and network card) I have an AMD K6-2, 200 MHz notebook running at a stunning 800 x 600 maximum resolution. The built-in touchpad doesn’t work. Despite the great inconvenience of having no pointing device, I’m still able to do web surfing (thank you Firefox and type-ahead) and even a little MUDing.

So here I sit, with screaming kids (they are fighting, too) a baby that is eating, watching TV and the whole time I’m relaxing in bed.

This is in stark contrast to a couple of hours ago when I was driving home from my parenents house where the kids and I had dinner. As I was driving up Wilson Ave., there were two men in their early twenties who started to cross the road. You know the type, they think they own the world and purpously slowed their pace so I had to swerve at the last second to avoid hitting one of them.

As I was unloading the kids from the van, these two ruffians pulled into the intersection and started yelling obsceneties at me. My temper got the best of me and I yelled back “Maybe you should cross the street at the cross-walk” which is a stupid thing to say because there are no cross-walks in the rural area I live.

Not one minute later their car appears in front of my driveway and one of them is screaming obseneties at me and “calling me out.” So I calmly walked toward him as he gestured and flexed, saying how he was going to ” &$*@! me up. ” I really thought he was going to hit me. He yelled that I had no business driving that fast up a residential street (which, all who know me is absurd because I never drive over the speed limit which is, I’ll just mention, 25). He said I was endangering the lives of children and how he wanted me to “step up” and fight. I told him that I was wrong to have yelled about crossing at a crosswalk as there are none and apologized. This was aparently not the reaction that he wanted. He swore again and got back in his car saying “You’re lucky that I didn’t mess you up.” to which I replied “you are probably right.”

The irony of the whole thing is that these two yokles then tore off in their car swerving into the normal traffic flow in a dangerous fassion and accelerated their car far above the speed limit — all in an effort to show how cool they are.

So I’ve had quite a day. If any of you have a used (or new) touchpad for a Compaq Presario 1640, let me know!

A Mud of Our Own

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I started playing MUDs back in college around 1993 or so. MUD stands for Multi User Dungeon and is basically a real-time multi-player adventure game. While not as puzzle oriented as the text-based games of the 80s, like Zork and other Infocom masterpieces, thy are very fun.

I always loved to explore the less visited areas of the virtual world and always wanted to make my own areas and quests for the enjoyment of my friends. But at the time I lacked several key resources and skills to implement my own game. But that has all changed now!

Last week I put up a HavokMUD but found it to be too complicated and overwhelming to introduce this type of game to newbies. Shawn, of the famed Heiseys, was wise enough to bring up an easier MUD named CircleMUD.

One of the great things about a MUD is that it utilizes telnet as the client. Every operating system and every hand-held supports telnet. So you can basically play anywhere. Also, since it is text-based, you can have a telnet screen open at work and play all day long and no one will know you are playing a game!

So point your favorite telnet client to:

elyograg.net port 4000

See you there!

Funny Tank Story

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As I was saying in my last post about soft drinks, I was introduced to Iron Brew by a British military tank-driver. I believe his name was Alan.

Alan told us many stories about interacting with Germans while being stationed there. Alan was a tank driver and would sometimes tell us amazing stories about manuvering tanks down very narrow streets inbetween houses and such. One such story has stuck in my mind — and it’s pretty funny so I’ll share it with you.

One day Alan was driving a tank down a two-lane road through the rural area of Germany. As a matter of practice, when there was no-one else on the road, the tank drivers would drive down the middle of the road as it afforded a bit more breathing room while driving.

So imagine Alan driving a tank down the middle of the road and about half a mile ahead a car comes around the bend and starts heading for him. Alan did the sensible thing and pulled into his lane — but instinctively this was the left lane (remember he is British). The on coming car suddenly slows way down. Alan realizes what he has done and swerves back into the right-hand lane and continues to approach the oncoming car. Alan now decides to have a little fun and he turns the auto-target-tracking feature on the turret and has the main cannon start to track the oncoming car.

Now at a distance, the turret didn’t turn much, but as the car got closer and closer it was obvious to the driver that the turret continued to point directly at them. As the car passes the turret swings quickly around and continues to point directly at the car. The car, now completely freaked out starts to swerve wildy across both lanes of the road and winds up driving full-speed into a field and just keeps going.

Now, I’m sure the poor German was probably crapping in their pants, and the British soldiers in the tank were laughing so hard they probably peed in their pants. I can just imagine what I would have thought if I had been the driver of that car. Odly, as I write this, I am laughing to myself because, excepting your are the actual target, is pretty funny.

This reminds me of another experience I had on my mission. This one took place in Schwartzenbeck, a tiny town east of Hamburg and just 12 km from the border to the former East Germany. (As a side note, Elder Charlsworth and I would sometimes ride out bikes to the border and throw rocks into the mine field trying to blow things up. Years later, it was revealed that although the East German government claimed there were mine fields, snipers and the such that would prevent people from escaping into West Germany, it was all a scam. No wonder we never blew anything up.)

So Elder Charlsworth and I were riding out bikes out into the countryside to meet farmers (the town having already been tracted out — this town was so small we had an ariel photo of the whole city and actually marked off individual houses we visited until we had talked to every single one of them). So we are looking at the map and we see a little dirt road that connects these two towns together and would save us quite a bit of bike riding over taking the long route on the paved roads. So we set out.

The road went into a forest and before long we were having to lift our bikes over fallen trees and such and really wondering if we should turn back. The forest, however, was lovely and it was a beautiful day, so we decided to just carry our bikes on our shoulders and go at a liesurely pace.

After about a quarter-mile the road suddenly hits a clearing and we see some very well-groomed dirt roads extending out over some fields that lay before us. They were odd because they were quite wide but the non-road areas where also not growing anything as one would expect on farmland. Nevertheless, the road headed out direction and was deserted and would allow us to ride out bikes again.

So we shrugged out shoulders, put down the bikes, and prepared to move on. About his time a strange, bearded man in his fifties or sixties appears from nowhere behind us — and he has his bicycle. He says he is just out for a recreational ride, saw this shortcut on a map and decided to take it (sound familiar?). So all three of us mounted the bikes and off we went.

I remember looking down at the dirt road as we went along — I was pedalling hard to keep up with Elder Charlsworth who had done bicycle racing before his mission and who seemed to be in an unspoken competition with the elderly gentelman — and as I stared at the road as it rolled under my tires I just couldn’t recognize the tire tracks in the road. This perplexed me greatly until I relized they weren’t tire tracks at all. They were the tracks left by tank treads.

The realization hit me like I had just ridden into a wall, and I remember suddenly swerving dangerously trying to regain my balance. It was then that I looked up and realized we were on a tank training-gound for the German military. I think the elderly gentelman figured it out about the same time I did because he said “Just keep riding and don’t stop. Don’t talk to anyone either.” And so we continued on. This explained why we didn’t see it on the map — no military bases are on any maps for obvious reasons.

Soon we could see that we were approaching the back end of a military complex and were en-route to the main road leading in and out of the camp. We rounded a small curve, jumped the bikes up onto the paved main street and just kept riding out bikes past military personell who all looked just as surprised as we were, but since we were obviously on our way out, we must have had clearance to get in so we must be OK. After a couple of minutes we rode right inbetween two armed guards at the main gate, who didn’t even see us until we passed them because the were diligently protecting the entrance from an external attack, never suspecting that 3 yahoos would ride their bikes right past them.

As we passed the guards I heard them yell “Hey! What the … Hey, come back!” but we didn’t, we just kept riding.

When we got to the main street we all stopped, looked at each other and smiled. The elderly gentleman nodded at each one of us with a smile, and said as he then continued on his way “It was a pleasure meeting you — I’m sure I’ll see you again someday.”

Pretty good story, eh? It’s absolutely true! Elder Charlsworth believed that the mysterious gentleman was one of the 3 Lamanites, but it makes more sense that it was John the Revelator because he didn’t look Lamanitish at all, and I always assumed that the 3 Lamanites traveled as a group. I don’t serriously think it was John, however, because I’m pretty sure I met him years later while working at the Church and there were definetly not the same guy. But that is a different story.

Drinking On Special Occasions

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Last night my family had dinner at my parent’s house and my mother, always wanting to try new things, had a couple of new drinks to try. The first, a Thomas Kemper Grape Soda, tasted just like a Grape Nehi. It was smooth and grapie. The second was a new Coca-Cola C2, which aparently has half the sugar of regular coke (or dare I say Coca-Cola Classic) and half the carbohydrates. I didn’t taste it.

But it got me thinking about all the other drinks I have associated with special memories — like hot chocolate on a cold winter day. I thought I would share some of them with you all.

Coca-Cola

The family Carson is sonomous with Coke. Legend has it that my grandfather started drinking it as a kid when there was actaully coca leaves in it or something. Perhaps it is just an urban legend, but it makes a good story. As far back as I can remember my Grandfather always had a case of Coke in his house. Everyone drank it for every occasion. On special occasions, even us kids would get to enjoy a cold one in the back yard.

My aunt, Kathryn Carson Haman, was a Coke collector and even has the Coca-Cola logo on her headstone! As a tribute to her, whenever I visit my ancestors at the Lehi City Cemetary, I try and leave a Diet Coke for her on her headstone. She should have had a cupholder built into it.

So I have lots of memories of Coke.

Iron Brew

I was first introduced to Iron Brew on my mission while serving in Celle, Germany. As you may or may not know, when Germany was defeated after WWII, it was divided up between the Allies to patrol. Russia, had the eastern portion and walled it off and decided to keep it. The Americans took the southern part, the British took the middle, and the French took the Northern part. Anyway, I was in Celle and became friends with a British tank driver who, in turn, introduced me to Iron Brew.

Iron Brew is a soft drink from Scotland and, I was told, was orange in color because it has so much caffiene. Either way, it is a good drink and available at British and Scottish import stores. But I have fond memories of it and tend to remenise about that time in my life when I drink it.

Almdudler

Almdudler is from Austria and is quite delicious. I have fond memories of this drink — expecially while traveling through Austria, Yugoslovia, Croatia, Hungary, etc. I even kept a can in my fridge for years here in the USA that I decided I would drink to celebrate the birth of my second child, Thomas. As a side note, by the time I drank that Almdudler, it had gone bad.

Fanta Mango

This was my favorite drink in Germany. I have no idea why they haven’t released it here in the USA, but they serriously should. Many wonderful memories associated with drinking Fanta Mango.

Vanilla Coke

Whenever I think of, or drink Vanilla Coke I think of Wingers and California C&R. California C&R was the first place I ever had buffalo wings — and learned to love them. Later, when California C&R was gone, I found that Wingers had the same taste and that’s where I first had a Vanilla Coke. In fact, for years I made my own vanilla Coke and I still have a bottle of vanilla drink syrup in my fridge at home right now for making my own.

Coca-Cola eventually wised up and released Vanilla Coke as an officaial product.

What Are Your Favorite Drinks?

So what are your favorite drinks and associated memories? Leave them in the comments!

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