Crazy Uncle Ryan's favorite quotes

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."— Arthur C. Clarke

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Pumpkins are Here!

So, here we have it. Ryan's record breaking 2011 Pumpkin Patch. In spite of the fact that this year there were only ten pumpkins I broke my own personal weight record, grew my first white pumpkins and produced my first truly successful Big Max Pumpkins. So without further ado, here they are: From Left to Right - On the Stove: Super-Sonic Sucker Punch (12.0 lbs), Megatron [This Year's "Big Mutha" and new personal best] (36.4 lbs.), My DHARMA Lady (10.6 lbs.) - On Chair: Starscream (26.8 lbs.) - On Shelf {Top Shelf}: Fighting Whitey (4.0 lbs.), Cookies (11.0 lbs), They Might Be Pumpkins! (5.4 lbs.) - On Shelf {2nd from Top Shelf}: Wannabe Softball (2.4 lbs.) - On Shelf {3rd from Top Shelf}: You Will Be Assimilated (5.2 lbs.) - On Shelf {2nd from Bottom Shelf}: Goobermeister Meistergoober (9.0 lbs.)

Monday, October 3, 2011

And We're Back

I suppose that most, if not all of you out there are aware of the fact that I am once again unemployed. A little after 4pm on September 20, 2011 my manager came into my office and let me know that they were going to have to lay me off. I was in a state of shock for a few seconds in which time though I didn't really think it was joke I did kind of hope it was. My manager was very upset about it as well and the next day she actually called me up with a job lead. Lisa, if you are reading this; thank-you.

So, for the past 2 weeks I have been working on trying to find employment. I don't really want to spend to much time on this but I do want to say that even though I didn't expect to be in this situation again so soon I am much more optimistic than I was back in 2008 when I got laid off before. I know a lot more about how to effectively job search so I won't waste nearly as much time as I did before.

So, in order to help myself not to get too stressed out I have prepared a list entitled: The Top 5 Ways that this Unemployment is different than the Last One:

5. Last time I was out of work I referred to that period as "The Dark Time," borrowing a phrase from Star Wars. This period of unemployment shall be known as "The Second Darkness." A phrase borrowed from The Lord of The Rings.

4. While I search for jobs I get to listen to the same annoying, noise-making toys as I did last time. This time however, they are being played with by a different kid.

3. Alisa is not working this time. This is a down side in that we don't have her income but it is a plus since this means I can devote more time to job searching and networking and less time chasing babies.

2. I have two more years experience in shipping now than I did then.

1. There is no way in $&#@ that I will allow this unemployment to last 14 and a half months!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

White Pumpkins

I have picked my first two white pumpkins. The one on the left weighed in at 10.6 pounds and is called My DHARMA Lady. I picked that one last Saturday. The one on the right weighed in at 2.4 pounds and has been dubbed Wannabe Softball. I picked that one this morning. There's still one more white pumpkin out there. I'll probably pick that one pretty soon.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years Later - Where are we now?

I remember that day like it was yesterday. I was at BYU and I woke up the same as I did every other day, got ready for class and headed to campus. I got to my Hebrew class and heard people talking. Something about some plane crashing in New York. My teacher got there a little later and gave us a bit more information. However, I don't think anything could really have prepared me for the shock that came when I found a TV on campus, surrounded by my fellow students where I first saw the footage of the attack that none of us will likely forget.

We all learned a lot that day. We learned that in spite of what we may have long thought, our country was not invulnerable. I think that we realized that maybe we needed to look a bit more at our priorities and spend a little less time focusing on the trivial and more time concentrating on what is most important.

Now, 10 years have past and I have to ask the question: Have we forgotten those lessons we learned that day? The Washington Post printed a series of articles written by religions leaders of numerous faiths about the effect that the 9/11 attacks have had on the nation. One of those articles was written by Thomas S. Monson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He spoke of the "remarkable surge of faith following the tragedy." But, after that he wrote something that I think we would all do well to think about:

Sadly, it seems that much of that renewal of faith has waned in the years that have followed. Healing has come with time, but so has indifference. We forget how vulnerable and sorrowful we felt. Our sorrow moved us to remember the deep purposes of our lives. The darkness of our despair brought us a moment of enlightenment. But we are forgetful. When the depth of grief has passed, its lessons often pass from our minds and hearts as well.

It makes me think about the Nephites spoken of in The Book of Mormon. Throughout their history we see cases in which they boast of their own strength and take it for granted that they cannot be hurt by their enemies. They are than attacked and lives are lost and the people turn back to their God with renewed fervor. But, without exception, within a few years after the initial shock of the tragedy has worn off they forget God and go right back to their lives as they had been before and forget all the lessons they learned.

Are we really much different from them? I sincerely hope that the answer is yes.

On this tenth anniversary of the worst terrorist attack in our country's history I hope and pray that we will not just remember those who lost their lives but that we will really remember all of the lessons we learned. I pray that we will never let our devotion to God, our families and all those around us waver. We should not need a tragedy like this one in order to remember what is really important in this life. When we say that we will never forget, for heaven sake, let's mean it!

May God bless us all.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

First Pumpkin of The Year 2011

So, back on Monday September 5th Collin and I went out and picked the first of this year's pumpkins. This pumpkin had actually been ripe and ready to pick for weeks but I didn't really see any good reason to pick it in the middle of August. However, on Labor Day I just couldn't resist any more and we went out and picked it. This is actually a really nice looking pumpkin that weighed in at 12 pounds. Considering our less than stellar crop of pumpkins last year I should note that this pumpkin, which is by no means the biggest one out there, is almost 2 pounds heavier than the biggest one I got last year. So, after picking this and weighing it the next task was to decide on a name for it. Since I picked it about a week earlier that I picked the first one last year I contemplated calling it something along the lines of Early Bird or some such other descriptive name. But, in the end, my good old Hobbit sense kicked in and I picked a much simpler name. I therefore dubbed this pumpkin Super-Sonic Sucker-Punch. OK, there's no real practical reasoning behind the name but hey; it's pretty cool!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Pumpkin Patch Update

As you can see from these pictures, all our "pumpkins" are growing well. The pumpkin patch has been doing remarkably better than last year. In the pictures above and below you can see that the big max pumpkins have actually been a success this year. The one that Liam is sitting next to will most likely turn out to be the biggest one I've ever grown. The one in the picture below should also be pretty huge.
One of the best improvements this year is the fact that, for the first time, I have not had problems with the dreaded powdery mildew. This has come about mainly because of a combination of changing the watering schedule and some homemade fungicide spray.
The above is currently the biggest of my jack-o-lantern pumpkins. We have several more but this is the one that is the furthest along.
I tried my hand at growing white pumpkins this year as well. The above is the biggest one we have. Anyway, if all goes well we should have between eleven to fourteen pumpkins of various sizes and colors this year.

Friday, June 24, 2011

LOST: Still Awesome

Back at the end of February I made a purchase. An Epically Awesome purchase! I bought LOST: The Complete Collection on Blu-ray disc. So, over the last nearly four months I watched through all six seasons of my favorite show as well as a whole bunch of special features. I just finished a couple days ago. And yes, I did find the hidden bonus disk that was cleverly concealed inside the box lid. You see, you shine the DHARMA black-light on the map of the island on the underside of the lid to reveal a picture of the donkey-wheel. Than you turn the island to get to the disk. Isn't that such a LOST thing!? Anyway, watching it all through again just reconfirmed for me that LOST is still the greatest show in the history of television. Now, I just need to learn to play senet and I'll be all set. Namaste.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Father's Day

As you all know, yesterday was Father's Day. First thing in the morning I got a very nice gift from Collin & Liam. They gave me a new set of cuff-links. Our camera is broken but fortunately, I had no problem finding the above picture of them online. I wore them to church and I was so pleased with them I showed them off to everyone who would listen to me. All and all, yesterday was a very nice Father's Day. Alisa (who I suspect helped Collin & Liam get the cuff-links) gave me a nice card and cooked one of my favorite meals for dinner. I am very fortunate to have the wonderful family that I have.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Farewell to THE EV∃NT

A little over a week ago I watched the finale of Season 1 of The Event. Unfortunately, it was also the series finale. The Event has been canceled after only one season. Do you know what it feels like to watch the first season finale of a show you really, really love when you already know that the show has been axed? I think it might be a bit like the way you would feel if you watched the dinosaurs go extinct. Or maybe, if you stood at the Grey Havens and watched the last ship sail into the West knowing the elves were gone from Middle Earth and they were never, ever, EVER coming back. OK, the analogies aren't perfect. I mean, both the dinosaurs and the elves were around for more than one year. As sad as it is, I have to admit that I can understand why NBC chose to cancel it considering the below chart showing the shows ratings. Can you say nosedive?
However, in spite of all of this sadness there is one very slight ray of hope. According to this article, the creators of the show are looking for a way to possibly keep the show going on a cable network or through a service like Netflix. I really have no idea what kind of chances something like that has so, though I will keep my eyes open I shan't be holding my breath.
Anyway, this show was good. I really think it could have even been great had it been given a chance. The show reminded me a lot of LOST in terms of the story telling and level of complexity. I guess that's probably why I liked it so much. Interestingly enough, the season finale turned series finale of The Event occurred on the one year anniversary of the LOST series finale. I know; I'm a nerd for knowing that. So, I must bid farewell to The Event. Hopefully, the efforts to keep it going will succeed. If they do you can bet I will be watching.
Oh yeah, and ABC canceled V as well. Grrr!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Oh the Nerdity! - The Big Bang Theory Season 4

How can you not love this show?! I discovered this little gem last season and I've hardly stopped laughing since. I love the idea of a show where the socially awkward Star Trek, Star Wars, Lord of The Rings geek getting the hot blond? I can appreciate that; it happened to me too. Granted, Leonard and Penny are currently broken up but lets be honest; we all know they're gonna end up back together eventually. And, since the show has already been renewed for 3 more seasons it looks like there will be plenty of time to do it and have lots of fun getting there. Of course, Sheldon makes the show. And now the addition of the almost as awkward Amy makes it even better. With the season finale they had the next season should be great.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Office Season 7

Not a whole lot to say about last week's Season Finale of The Office. With most seasons of this show the finale is a bit of a letdown. However, this one actually felt more like a finale than usual. There are actually a few things that I'm wondering about for next season. Who will end up as the new manager, will Andy and Erin get back together? Than there's the mystery surrounding "The State Senator." So, there is more to look forward to for next season than there usually is. The show has been renewed for another season but I think that, now that Steve Carell has left the show, there's a good chance that the eighth season may be the show's last. I guess we'll see.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Chuck Season IV - Awesomeness

Last week another great season of Chuck ended. Fortunately, I already know that it has been renewed for another season. It has also been announced that this fifth season will be the last for the show. That is sad in a way for me because I'm such a big fan but at the same time, it's nice to have that decision made ahead of time so that the shows writers can give it a proper ending.
In all honesty, I still don't understand why this show has struggled so much over the years. Most every season it has come close to being canceled. Yet, in spite of all that they still manage to get some incredible guest stars: Brandon Routh, Linda Hamilton, Scott Bakula, Timothy Dalton, Chevy Chase, Gary Cole, Stacy Keibler, Steve Austin, Morgan Fairchild, The guy from the Old Spice Commercials. There's a lot more but I think you get the idea.
Anyway, on to the awesomeness of this season. Well, the season was awesome. Not much else I can say. I thought it was great that Chuck and Sarah finally got married. I loved the way it ended with Chuck and Sarah purchacing the Buy More and going into business for themselves to figure out the big conspiracy that is the Intersect Project. Oh, and the great twist at the end . . . Morgan is now the Intersect! Season Five can't come soon enough for me!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Pumpkin Patch Is In!

It's that time of year again. One week ago, I planted my 2011 pumpkin patch. However, due to the difficulties I had with my pumpkins last year I actually started preparing the soil a couple of months ago. There's really only one place in our garden where I can realistically plant the pumpkins without them completely overtaking everything else. As a result, I got nothing but a crop of rather small pumpkins last year. So, not long after I harvested them last year I started researching ways to solve the problem. One of the results came to be known as "The Pumpkin Pit." I dug up a nice big area and, over time, I replaced the soil with a combination of soil from other parts of the yard, manure and compost. The result will hopefully be a much better yield of pumpkins this year. In addition to planting the traditional orange pumpkins I am, once again, going to try my hand at Big Max pumpkins this season. I have also planted white pumpkins.
Now, you may have noticed in these pictures that in addition to the cute little boy, there is already a pumpkin plant growing. Now, I don't want anyone thinking that I went out and traded our only cow for a pouch of magic pumpkin seeds. No, that was a Big Max starter brought to me by our dear friends and arch pumpkin growing rivals the Handys. They referred to this gift as "The Gauntlet." It would seem that the age old pumpkin growing contest betwixt our families has begun. I would like to say to the family Handy: IT'S ON LIKE DONKEY KONG!!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business

So, a few days ago I watched the season Finale of The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business. As always, this season was great. This season was unique in that it was all made up of returning teams so I was already familiar with almost all of them. Unlike The Amazing Race: Allstars (which was also made up of returning teams), none of these teams had won when they were on for the first time and most of them had been eliminated because of one particular big mistake or problem. Zev & Justin had been eliminated because they lost their passports, Gary & Mallory because of an incompetent cab driver, Flight Time & Big Easy because of a Road Block that they just couldn't finish, etc.
Just as I did a couple seasons ago, I was cheering for Jet & Cord to win and, just as before, I was disappointed. They got U-Turned and it was all over. Kisha & Jen ended up winning and I was happy to see that. So, as I say every time, great season and I look forward to September when it will come back for season 19.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Fringe Season 3

So, the season finale of Fringe aired back on Friday. I have made some pretty long blog posts regarding this show but I'm going to keep this one short. Overall, a really strong season. It ended with a really great cliffhanger which I had to rewind and watch a couple times just to make sure I got what was going on with the two Walters, two Olivias, no Peter and a whole pack of observers. One of the great things about this show (besides the show itself) is the fact that it has already been renewed for another season. So, I will look forward to September to see what happens.
Which Olivia is holding the gun? Do you know? I do!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

V Season II - Now We Wait

So, the second season of V just wrapped up about a week ago and it was great. All ten episodes of this short season were action packed and the show ended with about a million cliffhangers. This season introduced several new characters including two played by actors from the original 1980's V TV show. With the way this season ended it's clear that we are right on the verge of the truth about the Vs coming out and the real fighting to start. Hopefully, The Fifth Column (and now Project Ares) will be able to strike back against the Vs without so many of their plans backfiring.
Of course, all of this is dependent on V coming back for a third season. Unfortunately, there is a lot of speculation that this may very well not happen. Ratings for this season were lower than the first season. So, now all we can do is wait and hope that our buddies at ABC see the potential of this show and give it a chance. I think it would be a mistake for them to cancel it considering the somewhat militant online fan base this show has.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Liam Joseph O'Berry

Liam Joseph O'Berry was born today January 19, 2011 at 6:44pm at LDS Hospital. He was 6 pound 15 ounces and 20 inches long. He has ten little finger and ten little toes, two blue eyes and a little cute nose. Mommy and baby are doing just fine.

Friday, January 7, 2011

2010 in Review

Well, I have to say that 2010 was a MUCH better year than was 2009. Let's review some of the highlights shall we?
  • After approximately 14.5 months of being out of work I got a job. More importantly, I still have said job.
  • The LOST Series Finale lived up to all my expectations. You know, I even watched it while wearing my suit so I could be dressed like Jack was in the series pilot. Nerdy? yes.
  • Patrick Rothfuss announced the publication date for The Wise Man's Fear.
  • Alisa continued to become more beautiful.
  • Alisa and I found out that we would be having another little boy.
  • NBC premiered The Event.
  • Chuck began its best season so far.
  • I grew my first "Big Max" pumpkin.
  • My dad gave me a 42" plasma TV. BEST CHRISTMAS EVER!!
  • We purchased a new furnace just in time to get all the 2010 rebates.
  • On the last day of 2010 I made the switch to a Blu-ray Disc player.
So, that about sums it up. Happy 2011 to you all!