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  1. Continue Learning

    September 1, 2017 by Ryan

    I do not care what you want to be as long as it is honorable. A car mechanic, a brick layer, a plumber, an electrician, a doctor, a lawyer, a merchant, but not a thief. But whatever you are, take the opportunity to train for it and make the best of that opportunity. Society will reward you according to your worth as it perceives that worth. Now is the great day of preparation for each of you. If it means sacrifice, then sacrifice. That sacrifice will become the best investment you have ever made, for you will reap returns from it all the days of your lives.

    Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley (1997), 171–72.

    Picture of Gordon B. Hinckley

    Gordon B. Hinckley (1910-2008)


  2. Five Dollar Date

    January 14, 2017 by Ryan

    What exactly is the big deal?

    In Adult Roles and Financial Literacy class at Highland High School in Salt Lake City, the teacher handed out an assignment. The boys received a blue paper, while the girls received a pink paper.

    Maybe the color of the paper offended people?

    The instructions began, “Your assignment is to go on a date! But, the catch is you can only spend $5.00, this does not include gas.” Perhaps the point of offensive was taken here, as a run-on sentence beginning with “But!” should make every English student cringe!

    “Below is a list of suggestions from the girls.” From what group of girls? Where they polled from a previous class? As I read the suggestions, it would seem that they were taken from a survey of other students, though I’d like clarity on this source.

    The instructions encourage that the assignment may completed as a group date, pooling money for the activity.

    I’ve taken up the blue subtitled “Boys Paper” (which I feel link should contain an apostrophe) to analyze:


    • Make plans for the date and let the girl know what they are doing
    • Have creative ideas for dates.
    • Use good manners:
      • table manners
      • chew with mouth closed
      • open doors for her
      • introduce her to your friends
      • no gross noises
    • Don’t gripe about the money you’re spending or don’t have.
    • Don’t spend too much time talking about things she isn’t interested in or about yourself.
    • Don’t exaggerate to your friends about what happened on the date.
    • Dress for the occasion, like you care about her:
      • appropriate clothes
      • clean
      • a little nice cologne
      • nice breath
    • Be prepared for the date (car gassed and ready to go)
    • Be on time (or call if you can’t be on time)
    • Give compliments when they are sincere.
    • Don’t feel entitled to a kiss (or more).
    • At a restaurant, say what you’re going to order so she will have a guide in ordering.
    • Don’t comment or be concerned with how much she is or isn’t eating.
    • Be honest.
    • Don’t use vulgar language or swear.
    • It’s okay to show your feelings.
    • Look out for her well being on a date, be considerate.
    • Don’t talk about, flirt with, text or check out other girls when on a date.
    • Have a sense of humor, have a good time.
    • Keep up your end of the conversation, listen and respond.
    • Girls like flowers and little gifts.
    • Be respectful to her parents.
    • Have her home on time.
    • Don’t drive recklessly.
    • Show respect to her.

    The bottom of the page gives three blank lines where the student was to summarize the “date activities,” and concluded with a signature line for the “Date’s Signature.”

    Parents are upset with this?

    The overwhelming complaint I see online is that the suggestions are “from the 1960s,” “sexist,” or “inappropriate.”

    What is the name of that class again? Adult Roles. Then this, in context with a lesson about social norms, is a fantastic assignment. Go out into the world, and practice interaction with another human being in a social setting. Show interest in her; show courtesy towards her, and show attentiveness toward her needs.

    The word that comes to mind is “Chivalry.”

    It is an assignment that might last for a couple of hours. They are skills that will serve the individual well in all aspects of life.

    Or would they rather that their boys be encouraged to take a girl out, stare at his phone, swear, thoughtlessly speak about people or topics, and make the girl uncomfortable?

    The page could have been rewritten for grammatical and clarity issues. Other than that, I have no problem with the premise of the assignment. I would encourage this assignment!


  3. My Observations While Voting

    November 10, 2016 by Ryan

    While waiting in line to vote yesterday, I made some observations.

    I had plenty of time to observe.

    You see, the process took a full hour. I measured it from the time I walked into the school to the time I exited the school.

    My first observation… There were plenty of machines.

    In fact, from my vantage point at the back of the line, this confused me. I observed that almost always, at least half of the machines were not being used. There was even one moment when all machines were empty. Not a single voter touching a single screen. Yet the line was not moving.

    As I rounded the last switch-back of the line, I finally saw the sign telling me what the rules were. It told me what to bring to identify myself. It instructed me that I could not electioneer within 150 feet of the premises. I had to wonder why such a sign was not posted prominently at the front of the queue, instead of at the end? It wasn’t a problem for me, but I wondered how some would feel if they waited their turn for 50 minutes, only to find this poster and learn that they were not prepared with the right identification?

    The excitement built as I could see the judges table ahead. I finally took my turn at the table. It was then that I confirmed the real bottle neck to the operation.

    One judge verified my driver’s license very quickly.

    One judge waited anxiously, ready to hand me my electronic voting card.

    The judge in the middle fumbled with a giant book of voter registration. He was an older man with a shaky hand. He had trouble reading the print, and even some difficulty turning individual pages. Yet every voter needed to pass through this judge, assigned to handle the book.

    It was clear why many machines were always empty.

    I do not profess to know all of the rules of election judging, but it instantly occurred to me that if they could split this book in half – one containing names A-M and the other containing names N-Z – and if the other two judges could have handled the books, the entire operation would have been much more efficient.

    Yet there was nothing I – or any of us – could do but suffer through the process until our turn arrived.

    My final observation was that those with handicaps – older persons with difficulty walking, standing, or changing from sitting to standing positions – could really have used some kind of handicap pass to hold their place in line. Hand the person at the back of the line a card. Allow the disabled voter to come to the front and wait comfortably. When their position in line reaches the front (as indicated by the card’s arrival), call them up and allow them to vote. But do not make the elderly suffer through the hour wait, slowly shuffling through switchbacks.

    These were my observations while voting. I hope that maybe someone in charge will see them and be better prepared for the next time.


  4. My Thoughts About Donald Trump’s Behavior

    October 10, 2016 by Ryan

     

    I am not a supporter of Donald Trump. I never have been. I do not plan to become one.

    As it became clear that he would be the party nominee, higher-up Republican-party leaders in Utah – including the governor and some congressmen – took the party line and advocated that we must all stand with them and support Mr. Trump because he is the best chance at passing conservative legislation and appointing supreme court justices … bla bla bla … party line … unity … whatever.

    Then a “secret” audio tape was released. The contents are morally repulsive. He was heard to make comments and plan advances toward women with intent to engage in lewd sexual behavior.

    Now those higher-up Utah Republican-party leaders are making an about-face. They are shocked and dismayed at his behavior and pulling their support for Mr. Trump.

    But didn’t anyone recognize this before now?

    Even without the “secret” tapes (and let’s not kid ourselves about this: I’m certain a lot of people knew it was out there and waited until the eve of the election to release it), I could tell that his character was undesirable. It really wasn’t hard to see. The things he said, the way he treated others, the arrogance he portrayed – it was clear to me that he was a morally unstable individual.

    Apparently none of it bothered anyone else until now? We went through all of the vetting. Primary voting. Convention nominating. And nobody noticed? Now we have one audiotape, and people are changing their minds?

    Are you kidding me?

    I am most bothered by the Republican Party leaders who held his hand and expressed “kumbaya” and pretended he was okay and hunky-dory. Now they feign shock and horror when they learn that he is morally corrupt?

    What did they see in him or expect out of him all that time?

    I want to believe that my governor and my congressman (both of whom I’ve been supportive of) are not so blind that they just didn’t know. It looks to me as if they were willing to toss aside their convictions until they had a good, solid excuse of a public opinion change to show their true feelings. It makes me wonder how easily they can be swayed to causes that may not be right?

    I don’t expect a perfect man to be the president. Or congress. Or governor. But I do want someone of true conviction and moral integrity. Maybe that is just too much to ask of any politician.

    I’m still not a supporter of Donald Trump, and I don’t plan to vote for him. I can at least say that I admire that he is true to himself and doesn’t deny who he is. At least he has that going for him.


  5. It’s All Greek to Me: Changing the language setting on iOS 6

    July 30, 2016 by Ryan

    We have an old iPod Touch that the kids like to use. When the youngest gets hold of it, you never know what might happen.

    Most recently, we found the language setting had been changed from English to Chinese. Being unable to speak Chinese, we struggled to navigate the menus to change it back to our more familial native tongue.

    If you have the same difficulty, here are the screenshots in English so that you can find your way:

    First, locate the Settings app icon:

    IMG_1585

     

    Next, locate the third group box and tap the General option (counting down from the top, this is the sixth option overall and has an icon similar to the settings icon you just tapped):

    IMG_1580

     

    In General settings, scroll to the bottom. In the group box with four options, tap International (the third option within this group box, or the third option overall counting up from the bottom).

    IMG_1582

     

    Language will be next, the very first option on this screen.

    IMG_1583

     

    Select your language, and choose “Done” in the top right corner.

    IMG_1584

     

    Now you are back in familiar territory!

     

    Screenshots are from iOS 6.1.6, on an iPod Touch Model MC544LL/A

    August 26 – Post was edited to correct a missing graphic.


  6. Reset your Disney Electronic Melody Maker game to “Demo” mode

    February 15, 2016 by Ryan

    Once upon a time, I was given an extra copy of the Disney Wonderful World of Music Electronic Melody Maker game. With this extra copy, an ingenious family member helped us to rewire our doorbell into the demo button, so that every time the doorbell is pushed, a different Disney song plays.

    The problem we faced came the first time we changed the batteries. The game came back in normal play mode. We needed it to be in “demo” mode to work for us.

    I am probably the only person who needs to know this information, but this post will teach you how to reset your game to “Demo” mode.

    1. Turn the unit off (there is a switch on the back).
    2. While holding down the “Sound” button (on the front), turn the unit on (again, using the switch on the back)

    I tried to come up with a third step, because these kind of steps usually sound better in threes. All I’ve got is:

    3. Don’t fall off of the ladder (only applicable if your game is hanging high on the wall as ours is).

    P.S. My smart family member friend would advise you to check the voltage running through your doorbell wires before trying this at home. He did something electrical to make sure we didn’t hurt ourselves, our game, or our home before wiring it the way he did. We advise you to check with someone smart too before duplicating this!

    Image of Disney The Wonderful World of Music Electronic Melody Maker Game in box.

    Disney The Wonderful World of Music Electronic Melody Maker Game


  7. Mascots

    January 31, 2016 by Ryan

    I was driving down the main business district of my city yesterday. It was noontime, and it was snowing softly. My eyes were drawn to the sidewalk, where standing outside of a tax preparer’s office was someone dressed as the Statue of Liberty. Ol’ Lady Liberty was holding a sign, promoting the tax preparation services and offering a discounted price if you stop in right away.

    This is not the first time I’ve encountered costumed characters promoting businesses. Sometimes the costume is simply a worker in employee uniform twirling a sign promoting pizza. Around community events where I live, it is very common to see an owl, a wolverine, a cougar, and/or a bear, there to promote a college or a professional sports team. They do flips, sign autographs, or give away swag to draw more attention to themselves.

    I started to wonder if maybe we should have a mascot for our church? A member of the congregation could be assigned to stand outside and wave down motorists, encouraging them to come inside and participate in the services. I just wasn’t sure what the costume should look like?

    Although it would be best recognized by the public, it would probably be sacrilege to make a costumed character of Jesus Christ. Once at a Latter-day Saint historical site I interacted with a man playing the part of Brigham Young – could this be duplicated for every congregation? What about the golden Angel Moroni?

    Or maybe the mascot should be more subtle, like the pizza store employee in uniform. Maybe the mascot for our church should look just like you and me. Jesus Christ once declared to His followers, “Ye are the light of the world. … Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16). To another congregation, he removed any ambiguity by clarifying, “Therefore, hold up your light that it may shine unto the world. Behold I am the light which ye shall hold up—that which ye have seen me do” (3 Nephi 18:24).

    Perhaps this is the best choice for a mascot – us. The best way to attract others to the faith is to show our example: our broken hearts, our contrite spirits, and how we manifest by our works that we have received of the Spirit of Christ (see Doctrine and Covenants 20:37).

    Twirling signs, gymnastics, or other gimmicks might not be necessary.


  8. And They Remembered His Words

    September 2, 2015 by Ryan

    I’d like to discuss a short piece of advice. Something that we all can learn from.

    St. Luke, chapter 24, verse 8, reads in its entirety: “And they remembered his words.”

    In the verses before this, “they” were described as “perplexed thereabout” and “afraid.” They were certainly grief-stricken too at the sudden change in their lives and overwhelmed by the events they had witnessed. Stress, chaos, and emptiness must have filled their souls.

    Two men in shining garments reminded them of the words Jesus had spoken, and the very events that He had foretold.

    And they remembered his words.

    All it took was a recollection of the words of the Master.

    And they remembered his words.

    They returned to where the saints had gathered, and told them these things.

    Remembering restored their courage and faith.

    Remembering renewed their confidence.

    As they talked, their words came across as idle tales to the others who had not yet remembered and connected the prophecy with what had transpired.

    Treasure up His words, whether spoken by His Own voice, or by the voice of His servants. Study His words, and remember!

    Then when the rain descend, and the floods come, and the winds blow, and beat upon your house; when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind; when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the sure foundation; the rock upon which ye are built! (see Matthew 7:24-27 and Helaman 5:12)

    Our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, was also described by another name. St. John introduced him as “The Word” (see John 1:1).

    And they remembered his words.


  9. Pet Peeve: Someone Should…

    July 27, 2015 by Ryan

    In my Facebook feed, I follow several restaurants and businesses. Almost always, when one posts something, comments follow saying, “You should open a Sticky Fingers in my city!” “You need another Wingers on the North / East / South / West side of such-a-town” “I really miss Target since I moved and wish there was one close to me.”

    I also follow my city’s Facebook page. Frequently, when they announce new developments, they get comments like “Cheesecake Factory should open in the city!” “Put a Starbucks location on the North / East / South / West side of town – with a drive through, because the morning traffic goes right by there and it would be an awesome location!”

    This just irks me every time.

    I get the thought they are trying to convey. But these posters are missing a fundamental point.

    What I hear them saying is, “Someone should do this for my convenience.”

    Why don’t you do it?!

    Yeah, I’m talking to you, poster of the comment!

    If this is such a great idea – a foolproof moneymaking operation – why don’t you get the capital together and make it happen?!

    These businesses and restaurants don’t just magically happen. It takes money. It takes management. It takes employees. It takes incentive. It takes guts. It takes risk. Someone stands behind it, and rises or falls with it.

    The city council doesn’t vote to open a new Taco Bell or Trader Joe’s or In-N-Out Burger and then – poof – construction machines show up and start moving earth.

    Real people decide that the venture is worth it, and they make it happen.

    Real people like you!

    If you don’t have the money to do it, pool together with your family or friends and invest in it. Or get a business loan. Find someone who has the money and pitch the idea; go in on it as a 5% or 10% investor.

    But don’t just complain on Facebook that someone else should make this thing happen for you. You do no market research. You assume no risk. You just want it to be there to suit you.

    That is downright cowardly to make such suggestions and not be willing to back them up.

    Yes, Facebook commenter, I just called you a coward.

    Understand that I know where I’m coming from. From 1998 to 2001 I owned and operated my own small business.

    In a small city, with my own money to invest, I signed a lease on some business space and I opened a computer store.

    I can say for certain that I didn’t make millions of dollars. I wasn’t exactly a failure either. I learned a lot of lessons, and I did well enough to get by during those years. It was very much a challenge. I wouldn’t trade what I learned from that experience for anything else.

    Especially what I learned about respect for a business owner. I take my hat off to anyone who makes that decision to invest themselves and their resources into making an honest enterprise happen.


  10. A Cause of Much Sorrow

    February 22, 2015 by Ryan

    This week in the news  President Obama has been participating in the “Summit on Countering Violent Extremism,” and the threat of terrorists extremist fighting in the name of Islam. He made a point that “if we are going to effectively isolate terrorists, if we’re going to address the challenge of their efforts to recruit our young people.” Using lies and deceptions, they are seeking out young people and persuading them to their unrighteous cause. If there is a void in their lives, they seek to offer fulfillment by joining their organization.

    As I listened to this thought, the Gadianton Robbers of The Book of Mormon came to mind. From The Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi 1:27-29:

    27 And it came to pass that the ninety and third year did also pass away in peace, save it were for the Gadianton robbers, who dwelt upon the mountains, who did infest the land; for so strong were their holds and their secret places that the people could not overpower them; therefore they did commit many murders, and did do much slaughter among the people.

    28 And it came to pass that in the ninety and fourth year they began to increase in a great degree, because there were many dissenters of the Nephites who did flee unto them, which did cause much sorrow unto those Nephites who did remain in the land.

    29 And there was also a cause of much sorrow among the Lamanites; for behold, they had many children who did grow up and began to wax strong in years, that they became for themselves, and were led away by some who were Zoramites, by their lyings and their flattering words, to join those Gadianton robbers.

    The characters, locations, and tools are different, but the story runs parallel. In the next chapter (3 Nephi 2:11-12), we see what happened:

    11 And it came to pass in the thirteenth year there began to be wars and contentions throughout all the land; for the Gadianton robbers had become so numerous, and did slay so many of the people, and did lay waste so many cities, and did spread so much death and carnage throughout the land, that it became expedient that all the people, both the Nephites and the Lamanites, should take up arms against them.

    12 Therefore, all the Lamanites who had become converted unto the Lord did unite with their brethren, the Nephites, and were compelled, for the safety of their lives and their women and their children, to take up arms against those Gadianton robbers, yea, and also to maintain their rights, and the privileges of their church and of their worship, and their freedom and their liberty.

    The war commenced, and after a couple of years, there was still no successful resolution. Mormon’s explanation was that “because of the wickedness of the people of Nephi, and their many contentions and dissensions, the Gadianton robbers did gain many advantages over them” (3 Nephi 2:18). They could not pull it together as a people and they struggle for quite some time.

    I’m not intending to prophesy or declare that this is exactly how history will repeat itself; but I do foresee that the struggle will go on far longer than it should. As a nation today, most people are not paying any attention to this problem while they push for a redefinition of marriage; make wink-and-nod jokes about drug use and pornography; and fill their minds with entertainment glamorizing violence and sexual messages. Like the Nephite people, our nation won’t be able to come to the unity and resolve necessary – and mostly to recognize the need for repentance, and to call upon God for support – to let it happen.

    I say that because I’ve read the book and seen how it turned out the first time around.