cc: file, Andrea, Tony Hafen, Sara and Des Penny, & Maxine Shirts
"Matt was at EFY, and Andrea was visiting her Mom and helping her. I was only in Houston on Monday. That day was spent working on the Casey Ranch project. There was an interesting e-mail from someone I met at the University of Utah Alumni Dinner a couple of weeks ago (0328.html). He has ownership in a structural prospect he is attempting to sell in Portugal. It would be nice to make an on-site visit.
Tuesday morning I drove to IAH (Bush Intercontinental Airport Houston). I ate breakfast burritos at McDonalds after the security stuff. I had stayed up late working, and so I slept on the plane to Salt Lake, and I got off to rent a car and to meet with Bob Stanton at the Church Office Building. I got there just as he was going downstairs to eat lunch. So I bought my own lunch, and was introduced to others, who said `So are you interviewing for a job?' Bob is a geologist and is responsible for church owned mineral rights. I had put together an example of how the Infinite Grid(SM) could help keep track of assets and requirements. Bob got very excited about it, and brought in another man, responsible for $2-3 billion worth of water rights, who got even more excited. I was very pleased, and felt like I had hit a home run. Since I'm so far behind on the Thoughtlets, I'll just go to the bottom line. They are not interested. I'm not sure what I said, or why the decision. I think his boss believed I was trying to sell something to the church, and I offered to give it to them. Oh well!
From my first and probably only visit to the Church Office Building, I went up by Hogle Zoo and spent an hour with Bob Ehrlich. Showed him the work we have been doing on the pinnacle reefs on the Casey Ranch. He was suitably impressed. He showed me the work he has been doing on reefs in Illinois. I was suitably impressed. We are a mutual admiration society. It is fun whenever we get together. However, his language has become fairly course. Oh well! Then I drove down the hill to Parker Gay's office and spent an hour with him. It was fun also. I had put together some images of the reefs on the web for John Benard the night before. Here I was in Salt Lake accessing the images I put together the night before on the computer in my house behind a password. Isn't technology fun! At least when it works.
Parker showed me around the triplets office space, and I met the two boys. One of them set us up with a wireless mouse and a projection system for me to show the web pages to Parker. It was a lot of fun. Someday all of the relationships and work I have done is going to come together. To collect air mag data over Shackelford County it would cost $20/line mile, and would be a 100 mile x 100 mile survey with 1/2 mile line spacing. I was tired, from staying up too late, so I drank a coke, which Parker loved, and then I drove to Cedar City via Delta and Milford. I like the back way. However, it is not any faster. I ate a triple hamburger, greasy onion rings, and a thick black raspberry malt in Delta. Maybe because I was so tired I hit both a rabbit and a porcupine by accident between Delta and Milford. Actually had to get some wrenches out and fix some of the plastic under the car the next morning. Matt loved it when I told him.
Wednesday morning Andrea and I took on some weeds in Grandma Shirts' back yard and won. It was fun to work with her. We maybe cut them back a little too much. She kept telling folks how we went to the Morris Shirts school of pruning. Oh well! They have already grown back some. I was definitely tired by the end of the day. This was the day the U.S. forces in Iraq killed Uday and Qusai Hussein in a fierce firefight in Baghdad. I thought this was very good news. Grandma Shirts had some Shakespeare tickets and Andrea and I went to see `Much Ado About Nothing'. We were early enough to listen to Fred Adam's introduction. We saw him outside too. He had just been featured in the Church News, and the reporter had talked about his long white flowing hair. We gave him a bad time about not telling her it was a toupee. He had very nice things to say about Mom and about Grandma Shirts.
Thursday was Pioneer Day, July 24th, a state holiday in remembrance of the pioneers arriving in the Salt Lake Valley. We got up early and went to the old Rock Church for a Pioneer Day Town Meeting. It was very emotional. Especially the stories the children had written about their ancestors and the stories Janet Seegmiller told about her ancestors. It will not carry the same spirit, and yet here is the agenda:
Aunt Sara and I cried. Andrea said it was an emotional meeting for her too. I wish each of you could have been there, could know those I know who were there, and could have experienced the joy in our ancestors contributions to Cedar City which I felt this Thursday morning. As we walked outside, there was a demonstration of the wagon used to haul gravel in Cedar at the turn of the century. It was put on by Clemont Adams, my 6th grade teacher. He remembered me, and reminded me we took him to Grandpa's Farm in St. George to hunt for arrowheads. In many ways I feel like I have let you kids down, not tieing you in better to our wonderful heritage.
We spent time in the afternoon and Friday working in the yard. There was some really good butter pecan ice cream. There was an interesting e-mail which arrived on July 25th from Steve Joseph. It is about ultimate value and says:
This seems like a good introduction to Friday night and Andrea's 30th High School Class Reunion. What a hoot. Her class is a lot more laid back than mine (0327.html). There are a couple of very outgoing folks who acted as moderators. There were not as many attending, and there seemed to be a lot more interaction. I took photos, which are at www.walden3d.com/class73/images. I definitely enjoyed the evening. Didn't know any of the folks, except my cousin Annette and her husband, and they sent their apologies and didn't show up. Oh well!
The sad part was the drive to Brian Head. Two thirds of the pine trees on Cedar Mountain are dead from a bark beetle infestation. The locals blame it on the environmentalists, who stopped the forest service from getting rid of infested trees, and now won't let them have the dead trees logged. It is an environmental disaster waiting to happen. It needs to be burned, so like at Yellowstone, the heat will crack the seeds of some of the trees. This will also get rid of the bark beetles. I predict mother nature will take care of this via a lightening strike within the next 5 years. And it seems to me this will be the best way to make up for the negative unanticipated consequences of independent decisions, particularly by those who to some degree are attempting to do good, namely the environmentalists.
I did enjoy the evening. Andrea's friends are fun. It is really nice to see the depth of feeling and support she has available through her High School friends. I'm so glad I did not grow up in the time and place you kids did. For I feel that same support from the kids I grew up with and went to High School with. And I do not see any of you with this same depth of support and friendship. Sure you have friends, and some of them are very good friends, better than most of mine. It is something I do not know how to verbalize about growing up in a very close little Mormon community in the Rocky Mountains.
When we first got to Brian Head, Andrea was off talking to and catching up with long lost friends. I ended up spending 30 minutes talking to a male classmate who is a professor in a college in Provo. He specializes in water. He was positive about my comments about condensation. Did you know that back in the 1920's there was a Federal initiative to deepen Utah lake? By deepening it, the area of the lake would shrink by half, the moss would not be able to grow in the deep water, it would become a good fishing lake, the amount of evaporation from the surface of the lake would decrease enough to double the drinking water available to Provo, and it will never happen because of environmentalists striving to keep marsh lands from being developed. He liked my idea of pumping water across the south end of the mountains on the west side of Utah Lake into Cedar Fort Valley and turning it into a garden paradise and the basis of a new type of community. Especially with a TRAX extension into Cedar Fort, it could demonstrate a way to build cities around people instead of around automobiles.
My point is the whole evening was like this brief discussion. There were interesting people, with varied backgrounds, and we had some very nice discussions. A retired policeman from Promontory Point, a programmer responsible for computer infrastructure at BYU, a 2 foot by 3 foot by 6 inch scrapbook with everything which happened from 6th grade through High School Graduation, a nice meal, an entertainer with music from the 70's and questions for each table to compete on, and all in all a good time.
Saturday morning we picked up Matt from EFY, fed him some breakfast, and I drove him to American Fork. I made it to the airport in time to turn in the car without an extra day charge, and spent the afternoon reading. The plane finally left about 4:50, and it was only 45 minutes late landing in Houston. I believe this was the trip I finished Tom Clancy's `Op-Center Sea of Fire' and Davis A. Young's `Christianity & the Age of the Earth.' It was nice to be home, and I missed Andrea.
Sunday morning Rachel spoke in Sacrament Meeting at Nottingham Country Ward. Her topic was on Eternal Marriage. What a wonderful talk. I do not have and did not request an electronic copy, and so I can not share the talk. Rachel, if you want to share the talk, or your recent paper on what it takes to be a Texan just send me copies, and I will include them in this ongoing journal of little thoughts. Once I have a search engine tied to this library, I do hope it becomes a valuable reference library for kids and step-kids, spouses and grandkids, and others whom we decide to share the web address with. Who knows when it will be valuable to be able to refer to Andrea's 30 High School Class Reunion."