Monday, January 26, 2009

5 Things You Never Knew Your Cell Phone Could Do...

I tried most of these and they totally work... Pretty cool! They won't always work, depending on your cell phone provider and your car...

FIRST: Emergency

The Emergency Number worldwide for Mobile is 112. If you find yourself out of the coverage area of your mobile network and there is an emergency, dial 112 and the mobile will search any existing network to establish the emergency number for you. You can even dial 112 if your keypad is locked!

Have you locked your keys in your car?

Does your car have remote keyless entry? If you lock your keys in the car and the spare keys are at home, call someone at home on their cell phone from your cell phone. Hold your cell phone about a foot from your car door and have the person at your home press the unlock button, holding it near the mobile phone on their end. Your car will unlock! Saves someone from having to drive your keys to you. Distance is no object. You could be hundreds of miles away and if you can reach someone who has the other "remote" to your car, you can unlock the doors!

THIRD: Hidden Battery Power

If your cell battery is very low, press the keys *3370# and your phone will restart with 50% increase in the battery. The reserve recharges every time you recharge your battery.

FOURTH: Disable a Stolen Phone

To check your mobile phone's serial number, key in *#06# and a 15-digit code will appear on the screen. This number is unique to your handset. Write it down and in the event that your phone is stolen, call your mobile provider and give them this code. They will then be able to block your handset so even if the thief changes the sim card, your phone will be totally useless. You probably won't get your phone back, but at least you know that whoever stole it can't use/sell it either.
And  Finally.
FIFTH: Free Directory Service for Cells

Cell phone companies are charging a ridiculous amount for 411 information calls. Use (800)FREE411 / (800)373-3411 or (800)GOOG411 / (800)466-4411 without incurring any 411 charges.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Christmas Cat Crazies & More

Once upon a time, Kimmy came up with this amazingly brilliant idea that we would get Mom a cat for Christmas. What we didn't know is that Dad had already found one that looks so much like Mom's old cat... Perfect! we thought. The fact that she lived up at our aunt and uncles' farm in Idaho was only a minor setback. Heh... minor.

So Kimmy and I made our various preparations for giving Mom a Christmas Cat. We bought all the necessaries (food, box, litter, collar, and a really cute cloth carrier...) and made preparations for our new arrival. I called our aunt to make sure that things were set; we met in Malad, Idaho (a half-way point for both of us) to make the transfer on the Sunday before Christmas. She was about 3-4 months old and slightly crankie, as she'd been traveling in a box. She cried off and on all the way back to my apartment, but in general was a fine traveler. I kept thinking - GREAT! This is going to be SO easy flying to California with her. I took a few pictures with my phone, and after talking to Kimmy for a bit, named our new little calico bundle Calypso.

Calypso grew up on a farm, so living in my apartment bathroom for a few days was quite the new adventure. She had not previously been litter box trained, so her quick acceptance of "the box" impressed me. I gave her a bath the night after she moved into her bathroom and she did just fine with that too... No problems.

We went to the veterinarian on Tuesday morning to get her rabies shot and health certificate so that she was legal to fly to California. She did so well at the vet - she even started purring after she had the rabies vaccination shot into her butt!

She had a little minor accident in her carrier on the way home from the vet, so I took her inside (letting my car air out), put her carrier in the washer, gave Calypso her second bath in 12 hours, and headed off to work. I left work early as we were flying out that night and I had some stuff I still needed to take care of... Calypso was clean and smelling wonderfully. We were completely ready to go when my home teacher came to pick us up.

And then the crazies started...

We hadn't been gone from my apartment more than five minutes when a strange aroma (again) starting wafting from the back seat. My home teacher grew up in eastern Utah on a farm; he caught a wiff of the new smell and said, "Seriously, did it just duke in my truck?!?!" I was mortified. She'd done so well all the way from Idaho! Calypso was not pleased with the fact that she was stuck in her carrier with her own personal gift. We were dropped off at the airport (after many "Thanks" and "Sorry"s) and went to wait in line for 20 minutes to pay for Calypso's airfare. (Ironically, they didn't even look at the health certificate...) $150.00 later, we headed for security...

Calypso by this point was really mad, as she was now covered in her own stuff (you'd be mad too!). I asked the security attendant how I was supposed to take Calypso through, and he told me to, "Just carry her through like a passenger... but you'll need to send the bag through the scanner." Luckily I had the forethought (or maybe a helpful nudge from heaven) to bring a towel with me on the plane. I wrapped a very lovely smelling kitten in the towel and managed to get her through security with only one set of scratches. We then proceeded directly to the women's bathroom...

...where Calypso had her third bath in 24 hours. Many of the women in the bathroom were terribly excited to see "Such a cute little dear" meowing her head off in one of the bathroom sinks. After a lot of hand soap and some paper towels (I'd put the hand towel in the bottom of her carrier), Calypso went back into the carrier and we went out to wait for the plane.

The plane ride was a special experience. Anyone who has ever taken a cat on a car ride can only imagine the adventure of controlling a cat that looked out the window and realized it was not only moving, but no longer on the ground... We'll leave it at that.

We were both exceptionally glad to be on the ground in Oakland... and even happier when Kimmy was there waiting for us. We left the airport and Calypso spent the next 24 hours at one of Kimmy's friend's house. After we said our goodnights to Mom and Dad on Christmas Eve, Kimmy snuck out her bedroom window and ran over to her friend's house to pick up the now much happier Calypso. She kept Kimmy and I up most of the night being adventurous and playful... while we were trying to sleep.

At 6:30am I couldn't sleep anymore. So I woke up Kimmy and we took Calypso, now clad in a black bow, to Mom and Dad's room. We set her down on Mom, who woke with a, "Oh my lans, what is this?!?!"... something that I don't think I've ever hear Mom say when she's awake.

Calypso was our big Christmas present... She really kinda trumped everything else that was given and gotten, in all good ways. She was also the epitome of a Christmas Cat. This picture is our Christmas tree, and if you look closely, you can see some black and orange fur near the top...

I think everyone adapted really quickly to having a new little one around (except Dad's cat O'Malley, who is rumored to still be having issues with the little fur ball that chases him around the house). I think Calypso finally got over her "I've traveled too much" laryngitis right before we left to come back to Utah... (Mom said, "Oh she does talk!" :0) When I got back home and my home teacher asked me with a chagrin how the rest of the trip went, I simply replied, "It was worth it."

Christmas was otherwise amazing as well. I got lots of fun things, the highlights being a stove-top popcorn popper, a microwave, a marbles board, and a wind-up sushi roll (I'll update the sushi roll after I go buy something at Kohls... ;0). I also had fun making things for everyone (except Mom - but I think she was okay with what she got). Julie and Kimmy got new hand bags, Dad and Spencer got tool kits in a towel for their trucks, and Caylee got this fun new out fit! (I admit that I'm getting addicted to sewing!)

For the rest of Christmas and up until New Years', we played lots of games and just in general had some awesome family time.

Our New Years' highlight was spending some quality time with my Mac Book...

I think, as is normally the case, the best Christmas gift was simply the time I got to spend with my family... almost two weeks and I think I could have fought for more! I'm so grateful for the special times we share as a family to celebrate the birth of our Savior and for all the fun memories that we create each year. I'm so looking forward to next year when our entire family will be together for Christmas!

I've enjoyed hearing about all of your fun holiday adventures and am glad that the New Year seems to have come in with a lot of good! Here's to an amazing 2009!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Soarin' Over California

Okay, so I'll admit it. I'm spoiled. All my friends keep telling me that, so I'm not going to deny it anymore.

On my last business trip (December 8-11, 2008), we chartered a private jet because there was so many of us going from place to place. We flew from Salt Lake City to Denver to Phoenix to Irvine to Sacramento and back to Salt Lake City again... all in the course of those four days. And this is the plane we flew on...

Including the captain and first officer, the plane has seats for eleven people. The main cabin, probably 5 to 6 feet wide, comfortably seats 9 people, but there's technically seats for 10. This is Taylor and a few of our corporate executives on one of the flights. My back is against the wall at the back of the main cabin. A door behind me goes into the really fancy bathroom and then into the cargo hold.

This is the cockpit, seating the captain (left) and first officer (right). Talk about a sweet retirement job! Though, I'm not really sure how these guys found all the gadgets they needed... the number of buttons, switches, controls, meters, and levers needed was mind boggling!

On one of our flights we kind of maxed out our capacity. We had 10 people in the main cabin, while Taylor rode in the very fancy bathroom, and I flew in the jump seat, right at the back of the cockpit! It was seriously cool!

The jump seat was this little chair that slid out like a drawer into the middle of the aisle in the cockpit. We flew from Irvine to Sacramento, and I was there the whole flight! Flying is a whole new experience when you're watching two little old men go through a huge-long check list both at the beginning and end of the flight... I decided that I'm going to add "Learn to fly a plane" to my list of "Want to Accomplish"s in my life.

This is a picture of Santa Catalina Island off the coast of southern California. We had to fly over the ocean in order to gain enough altitude to fly over LAX airport.

When we were landing, Sacramento was foggy and cold. Remember that part about flying being a whole new experience when... Well, it's downright freaky when the two little old men are looking out the window asking each other if they can see the runway! It kinda makes you wonder what we miss by riding coach all the time...

Okay, so I'm admitting that I'm spoiled. I'm seriously so blessed to have the kind of adventures that I've been taking these last few months. I'm not complaining about free trips to really nice restaurants, amazing big cities, and private jets... I will also admit, however, that I really missed the peanuts and privacy my commercial flights provide me. :0)

New York, New York

December 3, 2008 - I flew from Salt Lake City to New York City with the executive team from my company and another person on the events staff. It was my first trip to the Big Apple, and we were only in town for not quite 48 hours. We stayed at the Park Central Hotel which is just off of Broadway between Central Park and Time Square, and right across the street from Carnegie Hall. It took us almost three hours to get to our hotel from the time we landed. After dinner at Rosy O'Grady's - a fish and steak house - several of us decided to wander through the city that was just beginning its night life. Our first stop... Time Square.

Time Square is everything that it appears to be in the movies and at New Years... I'm reasonably sure that my brain actually stopped functioning a few minutes after we got to Time Square - I think it was suffering from sensory overload. There are literally thousands of moving lights and ads... It was kinda funny to feel like I was having trouble keeping up! My hotel room faced out towards Time Square, so it was kind of cool wandering around the part of the city that would be my night light for the next two nights. This is the Time Square tower that has the infamous disco ball that drops on New Years...

One of the things that I didn't get to do was to see an actual play or musical in the Broadway theater district... But I'm sure I'll be going back, if only to add "Saw Broadway play on Broadway" to my list of personal adventures. I was surprised at how many different theaters there were... The musical and play ads greatly contributed to the brilliance of Time Square.

The Tree Lighting Ceremony at Rockefeller Center was happening the night we arrived. We originally attempted to get to the Ceremony, but it was SO crowded that you couldn't even access many of the blocks around the Center. We wandered past Trump Tower, Tiffany's, the biggest Build-a-Bear Workshop I've ever seen, the Apple store (which was made out of glass and ridiculously cool), and the south end of Central Park. It started getting really cold, and the sidewalks were getting really crowded (and stinky) as people put out their day's garbage bags... so we called it a night.

I woke up early the next morning and met Taylor (the other events staff member) for breakfast. We wandered past Good Morning America, Bryant Park, the Empire State Building, and several street vendors before we found a Europa Cafe. After breakfast, we headed over to the Rockefeller Center again where we could see the tree, the Pond (skating rink), and Prometheus (statue of the Greek Titan that brought fire to man).

Taylor and I walked back to the hotel in time to meet the others from our team as they were heading down to lower Manhattan. We took the subway (which was dirtier, noisier, and creepier than the BART I grew up with) toward Battery Park where we were able to wave at Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty across the New York Harbor. We also walked around the artillery battery compound (where the park gets its name) where we saw some street performers from Brooklyn. The Sphere, once located in the Tobin Plaza at the World Trade Center, is temporarily serving as a memorial for 9/11 with an eternal flame. It will be moved back to its original location upon completion of the new towers, but will likely remain in its damaged form to serve as a further memory of the attacks.

From Battery Park we walked up Broadway toward Wall Street. I had heard of the Wall Street Bull before (a large bronze sculpture of a charging bull located in the middle of Broadway at the end of Wall Street), and I am familiar with the concepts of Bull and Bear markets. The Bull is a symbol of aggressive financial optimism and success, where the Bear is generally the opposite... What I didn't know was the tradition associated with the Wall Street Bull itself - if you call it tradition. Maybe superstition is more accurate. Imagine my surprise when I - unsuspecting - approach the Bull and find a crowd of people gathered around the rear haunches of the Bull. At first I kind of stood there like an idiot (most likely with my mouth hanging open and everything) when I realize that all of these people are taking turns rubbing their hands on the big, bronze Bull's testicles. Taylor, noticing that I'd stopped moving, turned to look at me and laughed, no doubt guessing all of the random thoughts and questions going through my brain. He took pity on me and explained that people believe it is good financial luck to rub the Bulls balls (a bit crass, I admit), and with the market in its current state of affairs, more and more people are jumping at the opportunity to increase their financial luck... even if it means a little public embarrassment. I'm guessing that the Bull wasn't quite that shiny in certain areas a few months ago...

And no... I'm not joking.

We continued north on Broadway and crossed over to Trinity in order to make our way up to Ground Zero, our next destination. It is powerful to imagine what the Twin Towers must have looked like... filling the giant void in the middle of a very tall city.

Walking past the focal point of the 9/11 attacks was, in a word, sobering. I had expected it to impact me, but not nearly as deep as it actually did. We stayed mostly on the south end of the World Trade Center area, where the fire station that was the first emergency response on site is still located, still manned, still serving, and (as the fire trucks now say) still standing.

Across from Ground Zero is the Trinity Church. I love the movie National Treasure and watching it was how I gleaned the only real information I had previously about the building. Upon entering, I realized very quickly how powerful a role it played as a sanctuary during the aftermath of 9/11.

Throughout the church were monuments and "artifacts" from the 9/11 attacks. There was an American Flag that had on it printed names of every individual that was lost in the attacks. There were uniforms with plaques telling about how the service men - firemen, police officers, and other volunteers - had taken breaks in the church, a relief from the relentless search for survivors across the street in the rubble of fallen skyscrapers. Perhaps the most powerful display at the Trinity Church, however, was a rack covering in strings of origami peace cranes, assembled by Japanese New Yorkers shortly after 9/11... The plaque on the display explained that many of the individuals that assembled the crane tapestry were survivors themselves of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki attacks during the end of World War II.

Outside the Trinity Church, facing the World Trade Center, is the Trinity Church Cemetery. Located within the Cemetery is the Bell of Hope, presented to the people of New York City by the Lord Mayor of London and the Archbishop of Canterbury on September 11, 2002. It is rung each year on the anniversary of the attacks and also at times that commemorate significant national and international events. It is a symbol of hope during hard times and an encouragement toward peace at all times.

After our visit to the Trinity Church, Taylor and I went back to our hotel where we set up for the meeting that was the purpose of our business trip. We went out to dinner later that night after the meeting was over, and flew back to Salt Lake City the next morning. It was a very short trip, but one that will be powerfully etched on my memory. It was fun, exciting, and touching... all at once.

Some other fun things that I learned in New York, New York.
  • East coast oysters are a ton better than west coast oysters.
  • Not all of the buildings are as tall as we think they are... In fact, in many ways Manhattan is just like many other cities across the United States.
  • Never buy Cashmere anywhere else except from a street vendor in New York City. It's the same thing and a TON cheaper.
  • New York City really isn't that much colder than Utah.
  • True "New Yorkers" must eat out everyday because you could never buy (nor afford) everything you need at one of their city markets.
  • So-called California drivers have NOTHING on New York cabbies. Yes, they really are as crazy as Hollywood portrays them.

Monday, January 5, 2009

44 Randomnesses

1. Do you like blue cheese? It doesn't like me. Makes my mouth blister...
2. Have you ever smoked? Nope, and don't ever plan on it either.
3. Do you own a gun? Nope.
4. What flavor kool-aid was your favorite? Purplesaurus Rex... I miss it.
5. Do you get nervous about doctor appointments? Not really... I actually LOVE going to the dentist. (Weird, I know.)
6. What do you think of hot dogs? I try to avoid them at all costs.
7. Favorite Christmas movie? White Christmas and It's a Wonderful Life - tied.
8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? Milk
9. Can you do push ups? Yes.
10. What's your favorite piece of jewelry? My Black Hills Gold CTR ring from my parents.
11. Favorite hobby? Reading. I've recently found a serious love for sewing...
12. Do you have A.D.D.? Only sometimes. ;0)
13. What's one trait you hate about yourself? I have a tendency to freak out in situations I can't control... but I'm getting better.
14. Middle initial? M
15. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment? I'm crazy-tired, and glad to be back to "life as usual". I kinda wish I was going on the Hawaii business trip, even though I don't want my first "Hawaii" experience to be "business". I got spoiled the last few months and am really missing my family right now.
16. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink? Milk, water, hot chocolate...
17. Current worry? Getting new tires on my car.
18. Current hate right now? Always money.
19. Favorite place to be? Curled up in front of a fire reading. (Lately my couch does just dandy since I don't have a fireplace...)
20. How did you bring in the new year? Drinking Martinelli's with Kimmy and calling Mom and Dad to yell "Happy New Year!"
21. Where would you like to go? Right now? Back to bed. In general... Travel is always good, where ever you go!
22. Name three people who will complete this? Probably Julie. Possibly Kimmy. Anyone else??
23. Do you own slippers? Yes, blue fuzzy ones with brown bows.
24. What shirt are you wearing? My new Mervyn's close-out shirt - the pale blue one with crazy fun sleeves.
25. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? Not really a fan.
26. Can you whistle? Yes, have been able to since I was really little.
27. Favorite color? Black. Blue. Brown. (I'm not color-picky, but those are the ones I wear most.)
28. Would you be a pirate? Depends on the cap'n.
29. What songs do you sing in the shower? I don't sing in the shower. But I sing a TON in my car...
30. Favorite girls name? Caylee (even before she was my niece)
31. Favorite boys name? Aiden.
32. What's in your pocket right now? Nothing.
33. Last thing that made you laugh? Watching
Saturday's Warrior last night with some friends for the first time in over 10 years...
34. What vehicle do you drive? 2006 Toyota Corolla - AKA - the Pearl!
35. Worst injury you've ever had? Sprained ACL.
36. Do you love where you live? For the most part.
37. How many t.v.'s do you have in your house? Two... but only one's hooked up.
38. Who is your loudest friend? Gretchen. But that is SO not a bad thing!
39. Do you have any pets? Pinky and the Brain (catfish), Othello (betta), and Puck (ivory snail) - Hamlet died. :0(
40. Does someone have a crush on you? I'm sure I would be the last to know. 
41. Your favorite book? I gave this some good thought... but I don't think I can pick just one. I really just love books!
42. Do you collect anything? Books, thimballs, magnets...
43. Favorite Sports team? BYU Cougar Football 2007
44. What song do you want played at your funeral? Jessica's Theme Song (from Man from Snowy River)