Monday, September 28, 2009

Obsessive Compulsive Disorders

A while back, Melissa wrote a post about her OCD's. I really enjoyed it and decided it was essential to share some of mine. Technically, most of these are not actually OCD but wierd quirks or preferences. Also, a couple of them are ones that I have that Melissa's post reminded me that I have. So, feel free to compare and contrast mine versus hers.

Optimal Sleeping Conditions: For most of my life I've been an insomniac. This is only because I had not yet discovered the proper way to sleep. I get to sleep pretty quick if the conditions are ideal, but can't sleep at all if they are not.
1. I cannot be touched. Robyn and I like to cuddle until sleep time and then strict rules of staying on our own side of the bed are enforced.
2. I need a blanket to snuggle with. This is very important. Another important part of this requirement is that the environment needs to be cold enough that having a blanket wrapped around me is comfortable.
3. My legs cannot touch each other under any circumstances. If possible, I will keep my blanket between my legs, but if it's too hot, I will put a pillow between the legs.
4. My arm gets its own pillow. This is also important. I usually hug the pillow with one arm but sometimes my arm just rests on the pillow. Either way my arm needs a soft cushioney place to lie down.
5. My back must be scratched before I lay down. I have a back scratcher that is right next to the bed for this purpose.

DVDs must be put away I'm not a neat freak or anything in most areas, but I get really cranky if people leave DVDs out of the case. I have this incredible fear of them getting scratched or lost.

Number divisibility This one started from countless hours of sitting in Sacrament meeting as a child. I would stare at the numbers for the hymns and start doing random computations on them. The most common computation is figuring out what numbers they are divisible by. For some reason being divisible by 9 become very pleasing to me. So, I will first figure out what needs to be added to the number to make it divisible by 9. But, I also really like palindromes, so then I figure out what needs to be added to make it a palindrome that is divisible by 9. After doing this in sacrament meeting so many times, my brain just automatically starts running the calculations. It's to the point now where every morning when I get in the shower I notice that the UPC on the shampoo would be divisible by 9 if they would just add 1. It kind of gets frustrating sometimes.

Puzzles must be solved When I come upon a puzzle that intrigues me, I will not rest until it has been solved. Just this past week I read Natalie's blog about her freecell addiction and it occurred to me that I should figure out how to hack the scores on freecell. I'm not sure why this was important, but I had to stop the work I was doing and figure it out. Not that I'll ever use this again, but I solved it and took a picture of my new high score.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I know Regular Expressions

I know the majority of you won't get this comic. So I'll understand if this particular post is void of comments. But I just had to share this because something very similar happened this morning. I was at work and I hadn't even made it to my desk yet. One of my coworkers came in and said, "I need you, we have a serious problem that can only be solved with regular expressions." I wanted to be like, "Everybody stand back! I know regular expressions!"

For those of you who don't know what a regular expressions is, it is a language that allows pattern matching, but anyone who doesn't understand it sees a string of indecipherable characters. A well known example of a place I used regular expressions was when I was on the project for the LDS church where we were putting all the church magazines online. I used regular expressions to match anything that looked like a scripture reference and inserted an actual link to the scripture. So if you are ever reading a talk in the Ensign online and you click a link to a scripture, you can thank a regular expression.

Monday, September 21, 2009

World's Greatest Burger

With In-N-Out coming to town there has been some talk about what the greatest burger might be. Many people have strong feelings about the In-N-Out burger and are very excited that we will soon have access to them here in Utah. Others really love Five Guys. A staple that I have loved for a long time is Fuddruckers. But I'm here to tell you right now that none of those make the best burgers. It has become quite clear to me that the World's Greatest Burger is made on my barbecue using ground beef that my wife mixes with delicious sauces, spices and magic before barbecuing.

The following is an actual picture of the world's greatest burger. I have diagrammed the various parts of it so that you too can know the true joy of the world's greatest burger. (Click to enlarge photo.)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Where No One Has Gone Before

Space – The Final Frontier; These are the voyages of Jeff and Robyn. Our continuing mission to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where….. wait, sometimes I forget I’m not in Star Trek. It’s an understandable misunderstanding considering our amazing mission this past week.

We had the opportunity to attend the Christa Mcauliffe Space Center this past weekend. If you don’t know what that is, it is a program started by Victor Williamson in 1990. In the beginning, he just wanted to do something creative to help his students learn astronomy. He would turn off the lights in his classroom and use a projector as a view screen and they would pretend they were travelling through space. He later was able to get some grants to help build the Space Center itself. It is a simulator where you can climb aboard a Starship and join Starfleet. The stories are all based in the Star Trek universe. Since 1990 they have created several new simulators, so now there are 4 “ships” and a “space station” as well.

We got to be aboard the DSS Magellan. It is a space station that is equipped with a trans-warp drive. This means that it can actually jump to hyperspace and travel through the folds of space. Our mission took us into the heart of Romulan space. I was the communications officer. The bridge had no communications except for one phone. There were several projects going on on the bridge where we were updating various technologies. I got to contact the doctor about 14,000 times to let them know that we were experimenting on things and that it could cause people to get hurt and have to come to sick bay. I also got to receive subspace transmissions and I was in charge of decoding them and giving them to the admiral.Robyn was in charge of ship’s repairs. She was also the first person to get shot when bad guys came on the bridge because of the location of her seat.

Of course, a few of the best moments were:

1)The space station blew up because of improper use of the trans-warp drive (it wasn’t entirely Megan’s fault, only partly) and we had to start the mission over.

2)The Romulans had boarded our ship and were trying to to get onto the bridge but Kenny stuck his arm around the corner and continually sprayed the hallway with phaser fire. The Romulans kept screaming, “Come out here and fight you pansy.” And Kenny would scream, “No!”

3)We were working on generating a weapon that could destroy planets, and it was called the THX-1138. I don’t know how many people appreciated the name of that weapon but in case you’re wondering that is the name of George Lucas’ first movie. In honor of that movie he named his sound company THX and he has embedded the number 1138 in many of his later movies. But don’t ever see THX-1138, it’s a horrible movie.

All in all, it was a fabulous experience. I enjoyed it thoroughly. I recommend that everyone give it a try. I also think it would be an excellent place for a Wright family reunion in the future.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Eleventh Moniversary

Well, today is our Golden Moniversary. (We've been married 11 months on the 11th.) The last few weeks we've gotten a little bit boring because Robyn has been focusing most of her energy on starting a new year of school. Nevertheless, we've still had a few adventures this month. There were such fun things as Our family bear lake trip, rediscovering some items from my past and acquiring an item I've been forever searching for. A few of the other adventures I haven't yet written about are below.

Our Bedroom Goes High Tech
I don't know why we didn't think of this sooner, but we took my projector and put it on top of Robyn's dresser. We hooked a portable DVD player to it as well as some old computer speakers I have. It projects across the room and creates an image on the opposite wall that is a good 5 foot diagonal. So we can lay in bed and watch any DVD we have. We've been watching Star Trek episodes every night. We started with season 1 which is fun because I haven't seen many of them.

Robyn takes snoring to a new level
Normally Robyn's snoring is quite dainty. It's just a really quiet snore that you can barely hear. But one night, I woke up and I heard a high pitched whining sound. I thought she was crying. I asked her if she was okay and then realized she was quite asleep. I've never heard that sound before or since but it was truly amazing.

Robyn forgets I'm awesome
Robyn and I teach the sunbeam class in primary. (The 3 and 4 year old children in our church) Recently the lessons was on being thankful for clothes. We decided to bring clothes for the kids to dress up in. Robyn asked me if I had anything that would be fun for the kids to wear. I replied, "Did you forget I'm awesome?" Over the years I have made many cool costumes for Halloween and other important occasions. I grabbed various hats, ties, shirts, and all sorts of great stuff. Robyn made me leave the coolest stuff home like the mullet wig and the Viking hat. But the kids sure loved the Jedi Robe.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Set a Date Program

When I was a missionary there were times when we would step out on faith and set a date to hold a baptism even though we didn't know who was being baptized on that day. We would pray about the date, and then after setting it we would pray that the Lord would provide the person to be baptized, and of course we would work our hardest to find that person.

Well, when I was single I did something similar. It was similar because I set a date and I didn't have a person. It wasn't something I prayed about or anything, but I picked the date of my wedding even though I didn't have a person to marry me on that day. To be honest it was mostly so that I could have something to say to various prying individuals who thought that I was a vile sinner because I was still single. They would ask "When are you getting married?" and I would say "September 9, 2009." I figured it was a good day, it was far enough away that it gave me plenty of time to find someone, not to mention that the date is 9-9-09 which is particularly pleasing to me. (Sometime I'll write a blog about my OCD's and my thing with numbers to explain all that.)

There were many who doubted I would make it, even though I picked this date 3 or 4 years ago. I had one friend who wanted to bet me $1000 that I wouldn't make it. I told him I don't gamble, but looking back it might have been nice to have an extra $1000.

So here we are today, on the day that I originally set as my wedding date. I had created the date somewhat tongue in cheek, but at the same time I still took it somewhat seriously. When Robyn and I started dating I asked her, "We will be holding a sealing ceremony on September 9, 2009. Will you prepare yourself to be sealed on that date?" Her answer was an emphatic no. She told me we would either be married or broken up by then, there was no way she was waiting that long either way. Well, Robyn has spoken. We've been married almost a year and it's been amazing. I'm glad we didn't wait until today. But it's still somewhat strange that today finally arrived. Today has been the day of my wedding in my mind, longer than my wedding day has been the day.

To all those out there who are still single: You can do it. You can find that person. I had to talk to literally thousands of girls to find Robyn, and I even beat my goal by almost a year.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Some Important Flowcharts

I have recently discovered a few flowcharts that I feel will be helpful to all the world around me. The first is a flowchart I found on xkcd. I was very amused by it because of how true it is. I am often asked for help in software that I have never seen before and I follow this exact process and it almost always yields good results. Robyn is the tech guru at her school and she said that she sometimes uses this process as well. So, I thought I would share it with everyone so that you can all become local computer experts.

The other flowchart I have to share is from a recent episode of The Big Bang Theory. It has become a favorite show of Robyn and I. I often appreciate how difficult it is for engineer types to fit into normal society. The show is about physicists, but as a computer engineer I share some of the same geekiness as them so I enjoy it alot. Anyway, there was an episode where Sheldon was trying to make friends. He decided to distill the algorithm for generating friendships down into a flowchart. Robyn and I have noticed we don't hang out with people nearly as much as we used to. Maybe we'll use this flowchart and see if any other couples would like to join us for a meal, a hot beverage or the least objectionable recreational activity.

P.S. I can't take credit for making this flowchart. I googled it and found it on a blog here.

For your convenience I have included the clip. If you don't watch the show you should totally start.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Cave of Wonders

This past weekend my whole family took a trip to Bear Lake for the weekend. It was alot of fun. It was the first trip my whole family has been on together in years.

One of the things we did while there was we visited Minnetonka Cave. Since I wrote in my last post that I like to write about space, animals, monsters and caves I thought I should talk about a cave in this post. Minnetonka is the indian word for small toy truck. (Okay, I know that was a lame joke, but everyone there likes to say it over and over.) It is actually the indian word for falling waters, because of all the drippy action going on inside.

We had alot of fun. On the way there we were singing, "Minnetonka, Minnetonka the amazing chocolatier / Minnetonka, Minnetonka, everybody give a cheer." My mom expressed how we made other references to Willy Wonka when we visited the same cave as small children.

The cave was filled with neat formations, big columns, stalactites and stalagmites. It was really interesting to see everything inside.

At one point there was a bat and Robyn and Delta were both terrified of it. I was explaining to them that it made no sense to be scared of it because A)it didn't want to attack them and B)even if it did want to attack them it was so small that it could barely harm them. They retorted with all sorts of reasons why it was scary and I was able to refute all of them until they said that they were afraid it was actually a vampire and would take its true form and bite them. I realized there was nothing I could say to refute that because according to vampire lore, it would make sense for the vampire to hide in the cave during the day. And, of course, an eternity as a member of the undead would not be very pleasing so I had to concede that they were allowed to be afraid of it.

All in all, it was a great trip. We had fun at the cave. We had fun at the lake and we had tons of fun just being with family. Now I'm working on my family to do a bigger trip. I'm thinking Alaskan cruise.

P.S. I thought about saying something about looking up at the stars at night so I could have included all 4 subjects (Space: stars, animals: bat, monsters: vampire, cave: Minnetonka) but we really didn't do any stargazing while we were up there so it would have been a lie.

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