Anika Video

I let Anika use my little Cube camera during Thanksgiving at Brian’s house. She got it real quick, two clicks to start, one to stop, and there’s a magnet on the bottom. The girl had a great time with it, doing facials and sticking it on any metal she could find. The adults probably wanted to attach a magnet on her back and stick her up on a wall.

The biggest problem with having a kid running around with a video Cube is you don’t want your conversations recorded while you’re chatting with family on Thanksgiving. I get that, and I am the master of my universe, so I dragged all ten videos she recorded into my editor, dropped all sound, and cut sections out to make one video.

YouTube has a great online editor that lets you plug in public domain audio to your video, so I grabbed some symphony. Here’s the result:

Categorized as Family

Old Family

The family name on my dad’s side is Riza and we’ve been in this country for a long time. My cousin Pat just sent me four photos of my great grandparents and grandparents It also appears that the stories I’ve heard about having Indian blood (Mattie), appear to be true. Click the photo below for the rest of the story…

Categorized as Family

Dinner At Brians

My nephew Brian recently bought the house next door and invited Steph and I to Thanksgiving dinner yesterday. I can’t remember the last time I walked to somebody’s house for a tryptophan feast but we did, carrying two plates of deviled eggs. In attendance was: Brian’s lady Andrea, her daughter Anika, Brian’s twin sister Catherine, friends Drew and Katie, and of course the matriarch, my sister Lorelle. Cat’s husband Dave is recovering from surgery and couldn’t make it. We missed you bro…

Brian bought one of those great free-range organic turkeys from Victor Valley Market and Andrea cooked it perfectly. She’s from the Czech Republic, and it was her first.

It was a great family dinner! Click on the photo below to view the event:

I loaned Anika my Cube and she shot some fun videos, which I’m sorting through now. One in particular stood out and I present it to you below. Careful, her song could get stuck in your head :-)

Categorized as Family


Another Thanksgiving is upon us. This is my 68th and it’s caused me to reflect on what I’m really thankful for. I know the answer to that question as it’s been swirling around my brain for some time now. I even had a dream the other night that summed it up.

The normal response from people when asked this is to site family, friends, health and possessions. At my current state in life, I have those things, which begets the point: I would not have this if I had made, The Big Mistake.

This “Big Mistake” is metaphorical, it’s not something specific. It’s an event that could happen to any of us humans at any point in our lives. An event so horrific it would alter our lives forever. We all make mistakes, and fortunately they’re all moderate enough that we can survive them. But sometimes they’re not…

For example: You get drunk, go driving and kill someone. A few years spent in prison corrupting your mindset, and no future after. Game over. I could create a bunch of examples here, but you get the point. The big mistake

I’m very fortunate to have been assigned a guardian angel who has turned possible big mistakes on my part into minor incidents. So here I am in the comfort of my warm office, surrounded by high-tech, sharing my somewhat warped take on life with anyone who drops by my blog. I’m very thankful for that!

As to that dream: I was hanging out with a couple of guys that were getting ready to rob a convenience store when I turned my back on them and walked off. Next I was strolling down a tall office corridor as a slightly pudgy CEO in a suit and people were hanging out of their cubbyholes smiling and saying good morning…

Happy Thanksgiving!

Categorized as Various

Stephs Gift

Steph has one of those milestone birthdays coming up a week from today: she’s turning the big eight-oh! We’re taking her out to dinner that night, and her present from me arrives today on the old UPS truck.

People her age have certain physical issues that inhibit functions we take for granted, like using a traditional computer for reading stupid crap on Facebook. Add to that a failing cognitive health and the poor old broad really has problems in front of a monitor.

So, as her main boy-toy, I’ve stepped up to the plate and bought her an Acer C720P 11.6-inch touchscreen Chromebook. This thing is sweet and should provide every computer function she needs for, you know, Facebook…

Having an older girlfriend has been interesting. When I was born she was starting her period and growing nubbins. I have become a wiser man from her knowledge and experience. Unfortunately, she barely remembers my name these days so I hope this new computer will help. I’m setting up the screensaver to say “His name is Jim“!

I’ll put some un-boxing photos up here after the Chromebook arrives this afternoon.

Update: Here’s the package:

And here she is getting to know her big daddy:

Categorized as Steph

My Gift

My sister is organizing the family Christmas gift giving experience again this year. I’m not sure I understand all of the intricate complexities involved but it’s something about everyone indicating a $50 dollar gift that they want and then we draw a name out of a hat, and, you know… Anyway, I’ve come up with a gift, $50 donated to our local animal shelter in the name of Bus Driver Jim.

I spend a lot of time on the roads around here and I encounter a number of lost dogs. Usually they stand in the middle of the road and make eye contact with you. They’re not being dumb, they’re crying out for some human to stop and rescue them from the elements. I would love to throw open my door and let them climb on board, but I can’t obviously. I couldn’t take them home either because I have the queen of the house, cat.

Fortunately, the people around here are dog lovers and I see them pull over to rescue these animals all the time, and take them out to the animal shelter. So, because I can’t stop, and others do, the least I can do is support our shelter.

Categorized as Family

Victor Holiday

You’ve got to love small towns in Idaho. Our neighboring city Victor knows how to have a good family centered holiday. Frozen turkey bowling, yeah!

Categorized as The Valley


I’ve been developing a photography website for my daughter-in-law Jessica. It’s a WordPress install based on a theme called Core. The project is coming along quite nicely and now I need to add some e-commerce code so she can sell her work.

We’ve had the domain name for a while and she’s been experimenting with various photography themes. When I sent her the Core demo she lit up and said that’s the one! So, I cleaned off every single file in her site directory and installed a fresh new WordPress 4.0.1. I laughed at the number of themes she had tried out :-)

It’s obviously under development, but you can check it out here!

Categorized as Site Stuff

House Hostage

This is why we don’t use our front door in winter…

Categorized as House

SnoBud Update

SnoBud is in good shape, barring new ski resort scraping issues. Here’s what it does:

  • Provides current snow level data for our local ski resorts:
    • Recent snow fall.
    • Base level.
    • Total snow.
  • Shows the distance from your location, to each resort, in miles.
  • Links:
    • Each resorts conditions page. (click the resort name)
    • A Google map for each resort.
    • Directions from your location, to each resort.
  • Columns are sortable.

Click the image below to try it out, if you like.

Categorized as Site Stuff

Fire TV Stick

I ordered the Fire TV Stick on the day it was announced about a month ago. Amazon offered it at half price ($19 vs $39) for Prime Members so I snatched it up and it arrived yesterday. This thing does the same thing as my Fire TV box, which I love, but it’s just a stick that plugs into an HDMI, with a remote.

The goal is to replace the big old standard TV out in the family room, with a flat screen, and then plug this stick in so Steph can watch Amazon content along with Roku.

You know, I really do try to buy local around here but trust me, there is no Stick for sale in Teton Valley. In fact, I was in ACE Hardware the other day trying to find a female HDMI to RCA converter so I could plug it in to the old box, and was staring blankly at the electronics section, not finding one. A clerk came up and asked me if she could help me find something and I said I’m looking for a female and then paused…

Five seconds later, without missing a beat, she smiled and said maybe you should try the internet. I think that moment made both of our days :-)

Categorized as Android

Ramp Installed

I’ve been driving the bus around for the last hour with a big smile on my face! I was already feeling pretty good that I’d managed to lay the lift down perfectly through a pile of snow and aligned it up with the edge of the sidewalk, when my scooter bound client came around the corner. As she’s riding up into the bus I said well?

She said there’s a ramp! It turns out my vote for the Mayor was totally vindicated. At some point since this ADA issue came to light via last weeks post, the Mayor paid the proprietor of the business a visit. Thank you Hyrum, you got the job done!

So I said to my client no more waiting in the bathroom? Nope, she got to hang out in the waiting room, as it should be.

It also turns out that the proprietor apparently read the blog post that started this process and she’s not happy with me, saying she’s going to contact my employer. Well, a couple of things about that, my employer is very aware of my blog and I violated no rules. Not a single name was mentioned, business or otherwise. The only person I told was the Mayor. :-) I’ll let you know if I get any heat in that regard, but I really doubt it.

Categorized as The Bus


It was -15° when I left the house this morning and had warmed up to a balmy -7° when I took these shots later. I always wondered how domestic animals survived temperatures like this and it wasn’t until I moved here to the valley that I found out. The ranchers just give them more food than normal, which turns into calories, thus heat.

I still say, if I had a horse. I’d build him a barn… btw, the Driggs Mayor got back to me on that ADA issue. I’m hopeful that with his help it can be resolved in a small town local manner.

Categorized as The Valley


My new app SnoBud is coming right along. It’s purpose in life is to provide a quick update of the snow levels at our local ski resorts:

  • Grand Targhee
  • Snow King
  • Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
  • Kelly Canyon

So far, the only data I’ve gathered is Targhee, and I did this by scraping their website.

I’ll continue to scrape the other websites until this becomes a viable tool. Scraping a site to extract specific data is an art, and it has responsibilities. By giving credit to, and providing a direct link to the source, I feel like I’m playing in fair territory.

Here’s the results:

Categorized as Site Stuff

Thank You

The Joshua Smith gang made me a thank you card last Friday. I’ve been driving these gentlemen for nine years now, and we know and like each other a bunch. Very much appreciated guys!

Categorized as The Bus