I Am Bismark

2009-07

my new project is writing a tool that could potentially fry prototype silicon worth millions of dollars.. sweet.

netnewswire now syncs with google reader!!!! woooooooooooooo!!!!!!

why in the world are we talking about 10 year old political scandals in the daily universe? there was plenty to be upset about since then…

crap. i just got my google voice invite and i have no idea what phone number to choose.

Ulli’s Roy Orbison In Clingfilm Website

i’m pretty sure this is the weirdest thing i saved… my sister sent it to me for some reason, and it is just… wow. aside from being rather disturbing, the stories are quite hilarious. here is a quote from story one:

I am in the garden airing my terrapin Jetta when he walks past my gate, that mysterious man in black. ‘Hello Roy,’ I say. ‘What are you doing in Dusseldorf?’ ‘Attending to certain matters,’ he replies. ‘Ah,’ I say. He apprises Jetta’s lines with a keen eye. ‘That is a well-groomed terrapin,’ he says.

so weird, so funny.

i saved this on 2007.08.25.

another fun weekend w/ mariam

mariam flew out for the 4th of july weekend and we had a really good time. she got in late thursday evening, so we went straight back to my grandparent’s house to sleep (after a bit of a search trying to find somewhere open that was selling contact lens solution.. forgetful me..). friday morning we set out early down the coast to monterey. i didn’t tell her we were going to the aquarium, and she acted like a six year old on christmas morning when we pulled up. and of course, she had too much fun:

sea lions

apparently sea lions are the most amazing thing in the world if you are a 21 year old girl.

mariam amongst a school of fish

mariam as giddy as a school girl.. surrounded by a school of fish.

little mermaid

mariam’s little mermaid impression.

mariam the penguin

mariam’s penguin chick impression.

mariam under the sea

mariam’s sitting underneath an aquarium impression.

mariam getting too friendly with the sea horses

like i said, she had too much fun. this is right before she got kicked out.

the watt a waste skit, best part of the whole place

for some reason we thought that going to the “watt a waste” musical skit was good idea. seriously, the highlight of the day……….

not supposed to have been taken

me being somewhat annoyed at mariam for stealing my phone.

kelp forest and me

ok, the kelp forest was pretty sweet.

funky sea horses

as were the sea horses.

something not appropriate going on here

i think this blog post just suddenly got very adult themed… after the aquarium, we decided to get out of the tourist trap area for lunch. we got some sandwiches at compagno’s market, and they ended up being quite delicious. we ate them at a park alongside the bay, and then mariam decided she wanted to go play.

mariam bothering nature

after all the talk about protecting nature at the aquarium, there mariam goes bothering the poor crab..

mariam having too much fun...

monterey bay is pretty. after playing, we drove down through pebble beach on the 17 mile drive, which had some pretty awesome scenery. after that, we decided to head back north. we made a quick stop in santa cruz to get some cookies at the pacific cookie company. so tasty.. many thanks to amy jo and charlie for introducing it to me. by the time we got back to my grandparent’s house, we were both pretty worn out, so we hit the hay. on 4th of july morning we went to a pancake breakfast at my grandparent’s church. mariam handled the overly dramatic patriotic ceremony at the beginning quite well. we decided to pass on the concord 4th of july parade (mostly because of the memorial day incident), so we went and watch the movie up instead. it was quite cute. in early evening, we drove down to the oakland temple. they had a patriotic symphony and choir concert, which actually turned out quite fun. we got a few pictures in before it got too dark.

testing the light

mariam at the temple.

finally a self taken shot that looks ok

mariam wanted a new facebook profile picture. of course now that i am tagged in it, i get an email every time one of her friends comes on to say “ZOMG soooo cute”… meh. we were able to see the oakland city fireworks pretty decently from temple hill, though sadly the san francisco ones were mostly blocked by fog. we finished off the evening with greasy in-n-out burgers and fries. sunday was quite low key. we watched the movie 1776, which is a family tradition to watch around the 4th of july. it’s actually pretty good, as far as musicals go. watching it reminded me of a comment my american history professor once made: given the relatively small population of the american colonies, it really is amazing how large a group of some of the greatest political thinkers in the history of the world (adams, franklin, jefferson, madison…) were all together in one place and time. church with the grandparents was nice (mariam got up and shared her testimony in front of the congregation of strangers, so that was cool), and then we headed back home for a bbq with my aunt wendy and uncle carl. we had a lot of fun for the whole afternoon. grandma took pictures of us in the back yard.

grandparents yard

i seem to have had a tie malfunction.

i'm an angel?

toby the dog, who recently got a haircut and acted quite bashful all naked, was snuffling in the background. mariam had to catch her flight in the early evening, so i drove her down to the oakland airport. we had a really awesome weekend, and i’m excited to spend some time with my girlfriend as i pass through utah on my way to wisconsin.

blech, midnight granola bars or something gave me a gut ache.

doing little things

i want to be a more charitable person. i’ve been blessed with so much, what little i give back is pretty shameful. in all my reading about frugality and living within my means, i came to the realization that when i am using my money correctly, that gives me a better opportunity to help other people out (which certainly includes my current and future family). anyway, i am sharing this not to toot my horn, but just in case anyone else is interested in helping too: i made my first donation to kiva.org. its a micro-lending site where you can give out loans to help people in third world countries start businesses and improve their lives. here is who i donated to: Baltazari Ngowi i didn’t really search for anyone too particular, i just grabbed one of the people off of the front page and made a small donation. i will get my portion of the loan back within a year, after which i can then lend the money to someone else. its a cool concept, and i really like how personal it is. i hope this is just the start for me of being a more charitable person.

good luck to my friend amy doing the lake placed iron man today. she finished the swim 6th place in her div, now at 56th mile on bike.

added chopped up broccoli to my creamy broccoli tuna helper. yeah. i got cooking skillz!

ok… finally have remote desktop, webcam, AND flash working on mariam’s laptop… the joys of linux tinkering :)

I think it’s time to use my free kfc coupon :D

mmm, $199 for a dell mini 910… so tempting to get myself a hackintosh…

as expected everyone just wants to play Texas hold’em. bunch of wimps.

interns card night.. let’s see if any other of the midwesterners can match my euchre skills.

hsbc direct has been good for me.. but i am having a hard time figuring out why i should not switch my banking over to alliant credit union.

obstructionists on the right, reckless idiots on the left. i just wish we could fix this whole charlie foxtrot health care system correctly.

just got an email forward. can’t believe people still think the number of email forwards can be tracked. it’s 2009!!

walked Mariam through getting eeebuntu set up on her laptop. newer kernel = built in webcam support. also freed up 1gb on the 4gb ssd.

i need to stop listening to NPR news on my way to work. i yell at the radio too much.

got a cool new project… get to work on some of the tools in moblin to get them running correctly on moorestown.

in hindsight, 34 inch is pretty dang short. I’m gonna try the 1 inch adaptor next time. my run was nice and breezy though.

Today, I looked at the weather report to discover that the over 100 degree days are going to continue this week also. FML.

i’ve decided to use my amazon gift certificates to buy textbooks. boring, i know, but i am saving my money to buy a road bicycle.

i wish new tabs in safari would open up adjacent to the current tab like in chrome..

i have $325 in amazon gift certificates.. any suggestions?

is anyone else confused by the front page daily unifarce headline? provo has 47% obesity and its low for utah, which has 22%. huh?!

oh gold bond medicated powder, how could i survive hot sacramento days without you? like a million fairy kisses..

BYU Alternative Commencement Speech 2007

whether or not you agree with the things ashley said in this speech, its hard to not place this as one of the defining moments of the most interesting thing that happened at byu at least while i was there. the furor over the dick cheney visit died down quickly, and sadly so did much of the discussion and debate. i remember spending hours a day sitting on facebook discussion boards going back and forth over doctrinal and political topics. it was actually a pretty exciting time to be at byu, it made me feel like we were on a college campus.

cheney protest

this is the original dick cheney protest that got all of the media attention. (picture taken by unknown)

peace protest

this was the peace rally that we held on campus the day of dick cheney’s visit. (picture taken by austin smith)

ralph nader and me

ralph and me. yes, i am wearing the exact same shirt in all three pics.

i saved this on 2007.08.17.

well it ended up being one of the weird mutant eeepcs that doesn’t have a webcam… this could be interesting getting hers to work.

got my girlfriend a eee pc running linux… time to brush up on my long distance tech support skills.

big brown spiders, you are not welcome in my bed.

going to the gym now to see if i can’t loosen up my still extremely sore leg muscles. could get interesting.

congrats to my mom and the baraboo library cart drill team for taking 4th place in the nation over the weekend.

making money by… doing nothing

so my mom sent me a couple of books about personal finance, debt, budgeting, etc. it was part of my graduation gift to help me start being more financially responsible. actually i am pretty decently responsible now… i have no debt coming out of my undergrad, i pay off my credit card balance in full each month, and i have a bit of savings put aside. granted, its not as much as it should be (i like to eat out way way too much), but i’m working on it. anyway, since reading these books i’ve been thinking a lot more about how to make better use of my finances. one message i really enjoyed from the book i will teach you to be rich is to automate and simplify things. if i am doing it right, i can make my money work for me instead of just being something i give away to others.

so i’ve started automatically putting money into a liquid savings account and into a roth IRA investment account (sexy, i know, but sorry ladies, i’m taken). while i highly respect my friend tianna for being hardcore about finding bargains and couponing, i am not at a place in my life right now that i want to be investing that sort of time. the way i see it, since i am getting paid around $30 an hour at intel, my free time is worth almost double that to me. i would have to save at least $60 an hour by bargain hunting at various grocery stores for me to feel like it is worth it right now. and since i am not big into cooking at home or trying out new recipes, its just not my thing. so i found a different way to save myself some money, though now that that the initial research is done, it will take me all of 10 seconds a day. i’ve decided to optimize my use of credit cards! “now wait ryan,” you might say, “credit cards are bad!” and its true, in many cases credit cards can be bad bad things. but for someone who has always used credit cards responsibly, i’ve figured out a way to save a few hundred dollars a year just by using the right card. so how will i do it? well, i found a combination of three credit cards that earn me some pretty sweet rewards. i calculate i will average at least 3% cashback for all my purchases. of course this means i always have to pay the balance in full each month. just one card that accrues interest will wipe out a good hunk of those rewards. “but ryan, isn’t keeping track of three cards also using up a lot of your free time???” the thing is, i already keep meticulous financial records. i save every single receipt and i actually really enjoy marking off each one as i enter it into my budget program. since its almost like a hobby to me, i might as well make the most of it! so, here are the cards:

TrueEarnings American Express

my first card and what i plan to use for my main spending is the true earnings american express card from costco. i’ve been wanting a costco membership for awhile now (love the pizza!!) so this seemed like a good way to kill two birds with one stone. this card gives me 3% back on gas purchases at costco, which is pretty awesome. costco’s gas is usually about 7% cheaper than most gas stations, so that’s a good 10% savings! with gas hovering near $3 here in california, $.30 off of a gallon is pretty sweet. the card also gives me 3% back on restaurants (my vice), 2% back on travel, and 1% back everywhere else.

Associated Bank

my next card which i will use for “everyday purchases” is the associated bank cash rebates visa card (thats not actually it in the picture.. the card is kind of a secret!!). this card gives me 5% (!!) back on gas, groceries, and drugstores. niiiiice. associated bank is a small bank in northern wisconsin, but they put out this card through citi. this is what i will use to buy groceries with and pay for gas anytime i am not near a costco.

Citi MTVu

my final card is the citi mtvu visa card. i am going to keep this card for two reasons: 1) it gives me 5 points per dollar spent at restaurants, which is nice for places that don’t take american express. 2) it gives me 5 points per dollar spent at book and movie stores (including all amazon and itunes purchases!). the reason this card is not as great is because, as mentioned, it is a reward points card, not a cash back card like the other two. that means in order for me to get rebates, i need to earn a certain number of points and then exchange them for a check. and of course points dont have a 1:1 exchange rate. but if i use this card for just those 5x purchases, the card will yield around 3% cash back for both.

so there you have it, my trio of cards that are going to earn me a few hundred dollars in cash back savings just by me using them like i’ve been using my debit card this whole time (another bonus from this: i keep my money in my interest making savings account for the entire month until i pay off the card). and all i have to change from my current routine is to make a 1 second decision at the cash register of which card is the right one to use!

being passionate about an unpopular opinion rarely is endearing.

aaaand now i am paying the price for the hike. basically everything aches, especially my slightly twisted ankle.

enjoyed the hike, 4 hours up 2 hours down. pretty sore though. first and last 800 feet were the toughest.

off to hike pyramid peak. 10000 feet here we come.

“Make something intended not for your own use, but for use by dummies, and you’ll usually wind up creating something dumb.”

John Gruber

What are the top ten things every BYU freshman should do their 1st year at the Y?

i think i originally saved this as a link to send to my little bro before he came out to byu… not sure if i ever actually gave it to him or not. but it’s always good to give a shout out to the board, the fine group of people who supplied me with friends, dates, girlfriends, mortal enemies, roommates, free food, blog readers, and crocheting lessons over most of my byu career. my relationship with the board is mostly on personal levels with current and former writers, though bismark does still make an occasional appearance. a list of every single question i ever asked can be found here, ironically on a blog post where i announced i was cutting off ties with the website (as the astute reader will see, many of the questions linked were asked after that post was originally written… old habits die hard). anyway, somewhat humorous list of things freshman should do at byu. enjoy!

i saved this on 2007.08.13.

this is definitely still my best commentary on the harry potter series.

what the… i log in to the 100 hour board for the first time in who knows how long and i have a flashing question? huh.

good things

so if you hadn’t picked it up from previous posts or tweets or talking to me, yes, i am back with mariam again. the distance thing sucks as usual, but i’ve decided that she is definitely worth it. basically the most awesome, sweetest girl i’ve ever known (all of you who know her will probably agree). i want to write a full report about our july 4th weekend, but here are some pics from when she visited earlier in the summer.

muir woods

we decided to check out muir woods, one of my favorite places to go in the bay area. we got there pretty early in the morning so the crowds didn’t start showing up until we were leaving for our cars.

mariam and a log

for some reason mariam was really excited to take a picture by this log, though she freaked out right after this picture was taken when she thought something was moving inside.

us by the tree

the classic pic from inside the tree.

the line to stand by the tree

and this is everyone waiting in line to get that same pic.

mariam by the bridge

it was a typical foggy day in san fran, but the air was nice and fresh up on the marin headlands. mariam really like the views.

twin peaks

before mariam flew out, amy jo and charlie drove us up to twin peaks for a nice view of the city. it was freaking windy. but we also had dublin dr. pepper, which was freaking awesome.

flag waving at the memorial day event

this is kind of random, but i couldn’t help but throw this in. this is the antioch city memorial day event and there in the center is a gospel choir singing a church hymn. and that pink flag? that’s the choir’s flag waver. yes, a middle aged man who, quite enthusiastically, waved his flags along with the choir. my aunt wendy had to bury her head in her lap to stop from bursting out laughing.

i now have $150 in amazon gift cards from rewards at work.. halfway to an intel ssd for the laptop!

just got my link for the Mozy mac 1.4 beta. looking forward to trying it out tonight.

just applied for my TA assistantship… no idea what i will be teaching… scary to think i might be lecturing to freshman undergrads?!

the worst thing is when the conversation is about to end and the call drops. it sounds like i just hang up without saying goodbye. AT&T sucks.

anyone have any cheap netbook recommendations? linux is a plus, no need for big storage. looking at an asus 900 i found for $179.

linked list 3

1) Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Numbers

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Numbers

i think every since the hitchhiker’s movie came out, the 42 joke lost some of its thrill.. no longer has its geek value when everyone knows what you are talking about. still a clever little easter egg in apple iwork.

2) Joss Leaves Door Open a Crack for Serenity II

oh i’m so sad to see this article is almost two years old and there have been no updates since. if you haven’t watched firefly, go do it now. you have no excuse not to, its all free on hulu.com. its easily one of the best, if not the best, science fiction television series of all time. if only joss would bring it back. that would be real shiny.

3) Video of Rollerman Racing Against 600cc Sportbike (Spoiler: He Wins)

i have no idea why i saved this, but its pretty crazy if you have never seen it.

these links were saved on 2007.08.08.

mariam getting too friendly with the sea horses.

mariam decided to try out the ariel thing this weekend.

ok well getting out of bed this morning was quite a daunting task.

woke up at 5:30 with ants crawling all over me. moved out to the couch. Mariam came out and scratched my head though so it was all good.

key to not getting bored while shopping with the girlfriend: pick out hot dresses and have her put them on. does not get old.

at Oakland airport picking up Mariam. we have a fun weekend planned.

oil change.. i’m surprised that my car still runs given how ignorant i am about keeping it maintained..

ah the afternoon before a three day weekend. very little work has been done, though i am proud to be one of the few people still here..

Viewpoint: A call for compassion

a good read on a tough topic.

homosexuality and LDS theology is a sticky topic and just not one i feel like pulicly tackling ever on my blog. however i want to share this link to an editorial written by my acquaintance austin smith. we were partners for a technical writing project and we both participated in the byu peace rally in april 2007. anyway, i feel he gives an important perspective.

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