Tuesday, July 29, 2008


On July 26 a few friends and I hiked Englestead Canyon, dropped into Orderville Canyon, and finally dropped in the Narrows in Zion's National park.

Englestead was fun because of a giant 300-foot (91 meter) drop at the very beginning. You don't quite realize how high 300 feet is until you're hanging over the edge, and it takes well over four seconds for a falling rock (or body) to hit the ground...

Below is a picture at the head of the canyon. It's amazing how abruptly it starts, going from a slight slope to a sudden, 300-foot drop.

Below is us gearing up for the drop. Putting on harnesses, unpacking ropes, packing up everything else. We had a 300-foot rope for the rappelling side, and a 100- and 200-foot rope for the pull cord.

Here's our first person going down. The descent took probably 3 or 4 minutes, depending on how quickly you went.

Looking down the Big Wall from the top. I'm not even sure if you can see the bottom in this picture.

Once in the canyon, we were met by BOUSs (Bugs Of Unusual Size).

We had quite a few more rappels as well, but none close to the first rappel.

Once we dropped into Orderville canyon, water started appearing and things started getting a little greener.

Watch your head.

In the lower part of Orderville, we ran into a lot of tourists that hiked up the Narrows, and once we reached the Narrows themselves it was postively crowded.

Friday, July 18, 2008


A couple weeks ago, I realized that I had a really hard time following through on things. There's a lot of things I want to do, but I'm terrible at sticking to a schedule and meeting goals. Here's just a sampling of things I'd like to do:
  • Exercise regularly
  • Write regularly
  • Regular morning prayers
  • Wash dishes regularly instead of letting them build up
  • Learn Spanish
  • Learn guitar
  • ...and several other things I can't think of at the moment.
My current goal is to become better at keeping goals.

I decided to start with something easy: a regular exercise program. Coincidentally, Lifehacker just featured a website completely devoted to helping people get into a push-up routine. Theoretically, if you follow the program, you'll end up doing 100 consecutive push-ups after six weeks.

That's my first step. Other goals will follow.


I didn't win the Writers of the Future contest, despite being a finalist.

Ah, well. On to the next story.

Recover Deleted Ubuntu File

While working on a Firefox extension, Firefox deleted a file I was using, "overlay.js". It was gone, but fortunately, a few minutes previous, I had manually deleted a temporary backup file that my text editor was using, "overlay.js~".

Since I had manually deleted it, it should have been in my Trash Can, but it wasn't, probably due to the "~" at the end of the filename which indicated that it was a temporary file. Even "Show Hidden Files" didn't make it appear.

However, by going to a command prompt and viewing my trash folder there, it appeared:

ls: ~/.local/share/Trash/files

So I'm not sure why the Trash Bin didn't show it, but it was there.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Massage Chair!

For the last month or so, Child's store has been participating in a contest sponsored by one of their suppliers. Every time one of their dealers' sales associates sat a person down in a massage chair for a test drive, the customer could fill out an entry form and their name would be entered in a drawing for a free chair. If their name was drawn, both the customer and the sales associate would win a massage chair.

Last week, right before we left for our vacation to Texas (more on that later), Child received a call from her boss. "You won!"

Child screamed. We were in the car, stopped at a stoplight with the windows down, and got some curious looks from nearby cars. I rolled the windows up. Child was still screaming.

In short, Child had won a $4,000 massage chair.

Child's boss called up the customer who had won the chair, an older gentleman, but had a hard time getting the idea across.

"Sir, you won a free massage chair!"
"What are you selling?"
"Nothing! You won a free massage chair!"
"Yeah yeah, but what's the catch? I have to pay 'shipping' and 'warranty costs,' don't I."
"No, it's totally free!"
"Look, just tell me what you're selling."

Keylogger Firefox Extension

This is my latest Firefox extension I'm working on. There's been too many times when I've lost a post on a message board, or an email, or something similar because my browser crashed. This Firefox keylogger will record that, so I can retrieve the lost text. I added the "Minimum string size to log" so it won't save really short text--like passwords.

Official Firefox add-On page: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/8261

Quick-link to download: http://stormhorse.com/keylogger-1.1-fx.xpi


It's kind of curious how the more stuff that happens, the less regular I am about updating.

First things first, I can't even remember if I already posted about this or not, but I have a full-time job now. It's doing web programming with a real-estate company in SLC. I go into work on Mondays, and work from home the rest of the time. That's fortunate, because the office is 45 minutes of nasty interstate away, and I wouldn't have taken the job otherwise.

My advisor isn't too pleased--I know he's afraid I'm going to stick with web programming instead of getting into robotics, which would be a waste of my M.S. degree. However, my brother-in-law is working on starting up a robotics company, and I'm hoping he'll need an employee soon. If that's the case, I don't want to be committed to a more permanent job.

I think I'll put each chunk of update into it's own post. No one likes reading longs posts.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Give It An Hour...

I went to the shelter this morning. There were only two workers there, and they had been the only two working yesterday (the Fourth) as well. Apparently everyone else had taken a long weekend.

Experienced Employee had been warning New Employee that the Fourth was a crazy-busy time, what with all the pets getting scared by the fireworks and running off. When they had arrived at the shelter that morning, however, they had been surprised to find a single cat in Intake.

"Give it a few minutes," I said. "Animal Control is just starting their day."

A few minutes later, Spanish Fork pulled up with a dog. Then Provo. Then Springville. Then County. Two hours later, we had a packed Intake room and were processing dogs left and right, looking up microchips, and calling owners.

One guy had been watching his friend's dog, and it had escaped. Not only did this guy have to pay the impound fee, but the dog wasn't licensed, so he had to pay for a rabies shot and license as well. I wonder what his friend would think when he got home and found out his dog had been licensed in his absence?

I called another owner, and he informed me the dog belonged to his son. "Oh. Can I talk with your son then?" I asked.

"He's a minor," he said. Okay. Does SOMEONE want to come get the dog?

The man mentioned that his son was planning on breeding the dog, a female German Shepherd, while I was looking at the computer screen. Apparently the dog had been picked up by Animal Control in March, April, and now July. Three impounds meant the release fee was now $70, but it irked me that someone as irresponsible as this son obviously was, was planning to bring a whole new crop of dogs into the world. Take care of the one dog you already have, yeah?

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Speed Racer

This evening, Child and I saw Speed Racer. (Tiny spoiler alert.)

Let me stop here and say that sometimes, Child and I have very different taste in movies. She likes things like "depth" and "plot," while I go more for things like fat men spinning ninjas around over their heads. It was funny, because while he was doing it, throwing stars started flying out of the ninja's clothes, then his car keys flew out and impaled themselves in the wall! Ha ha!

So, yeah. I liked the movie, while Child thought the only thing funny about it was me thinking it was funny. :)

Line of Fire

Child and I live in a four-plex. This morning, we were walking to our car when our neighbor, who was also the landlords' daughter, walked by.

"Laying low? Out of the line of fire?" she asked.

I stared at her. "Is something going on?" I asked.

"Oh, if you haven't heard, I probably shouldn't say," she said, and kept walking.

Aaiiiee!! What?! What's going on? Do we need to worry? Is it something to do with our apartment? Will we be living on the streets tomorrow?!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


In today's digital age, knowing how to program is a great ability.

In the past couple months, I've built Google gadgets to show Child and I how much money we have left in our bank account, and how many minutes we have left on our phone plan (see below).

(Most of the content [text/images] is grabbed directly from our account at tmobile.com. The black and white bar across the gauge is a custom addition, however. It marks where we should be for the time in our billing cycle--currently we have minutes to spare.)

I've also built custom RSS feeds for some forums and sites I frequent. This has a downside, however. In the past, whenever I'd get bored, I'd browse my collection of sites. Now, however, any updates to the sites are delivered right to my door, so it takes me 10 minutes to scan all new content, and I'm bored again.

My most recent project has been learning how to build Firefox 3 extensions. As my first example, I built a word-replacement extension. It can run automatically, or you can run it per-page from a right-click menu item. It replaces a list of words with replacement words on all webpages you view. Good for cleaning up forums with a lot of bad language, replacing common misspellings or abbreviations, etc. Something maybe parents might be interested in.

The first comment someone posted after I submitted the extension to the extension-directory was as follows:
First- I find this hysterical... not because it exists, but because I have a list of friends that I could get to transfer from IE to Firefox just for this extension. (I live in Utah- and all my friends are Mormons- turns out the stereotypes are true)
This person doesn't know that I'm also a Mormon living in Utah. :)

I found the comment amusing, but I'm really not sure why people are so (egotistical? self-centered? close-minded?) that they think everyone else in the world shares their exact same moral standards.

I don't laugh at, look down on, or denigrate your use of language on your (website, blog, whatever). You didn't ask me to read it, and I accept you for who you are. So why do I get laughed at or looked down on for holding to my own moral standard?