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Friday Night Lights

I went to a football game tonight. Pleasant Grove High School’s homecoming game. My son is on the football team and nine of my thirteen kids attended or attend Pleasant Grove High School.

But tonight my son didn’t play and none of the PGHS graduates came back for Homecoming. I attended every high school football game when I was in high school. I was a member of the band, and we played at most of them.

Our high school football team wasn’t very good. Our football program was so neglected we didnt’ even have our own stadium. We had to play our home games at our cross town rivals stadium.

While our team may not have been great, we did have a great player. Ron Holmes played fullback for Timberline High School. He went on to play at University of Washington and later played in the NFL for the Tampa Bay Buchaneers. Sadly, Ron passed away a few years ago.

I hadn’t really been back to watch a high school game until my son started playing last year. WE now try to attend as many games as we can. Last year my son played on the sophomore team. This year he’s playing mostly JV, but is good enough to be considered for the varsity.

Unlike my AAA high school, PGHS is a 6A school. And their football program is really good. For the past two years they have been runner-up in the state playoffs to their crosstown rival, Lone Peak.

But, my son wasn’t playing tonight. We took a family vacation last week to Arizona. We had arranged for my son to stay with friends. But, at the last minute he decided it was important for him to go. The cost was high for a boy that loves football.

By missing a game, he was required to sit out last night’s game. He wasn’t even allowed on the sidelines. He misses the chance to play and he misses the chance to help his team. Fortunately, the team won.

Last night was the last “pre-season” game. PGHS played against non-regional teams. Next week they start playing regional teams, including Lone Peak.

Tonight was a perfect night for football. Beautiful sunset. Warm temperatures, but not too hot. A stadium full of screaming teenagers. And the teams dressed in red and black on a sea of green.

A great Friday night.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2019 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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Rise And Fall And Rise Of Technology

Everything old is new again

I’ve been in computers a long time. My first computer was a TI99. We got it around 1980. It had a whopping 256 bytes of RAM memory. Not GIGAbytes, or MEGAbytes or even KILObytes. Just bytes.

The computer didn’t have a hard drive. It also didn’t have a network connection. There was no network. There was no internet. The computer used a tape cassette drive to store programs on.

Our first computer with a hard drive was a Zenith Z100. It had a 5MB hard drive. And it cost $5,000. The Zenith Z100 used a system called CP/M to allow the computer to make it’s various hardware components talk to each other. After the Z100, Zenith switched their IO system to IBM BIOS. This meant that all previous CP/M compatible devices were no longer able to be used on future versions of Zenith computers. That included our $5,000 hard drive. My dad was so angry he vowed to never again buy an IBM computer.

IBM has an interesting history in computers. They were one of the original Big Iron computer companies. The original computers were large central processing units. Hooked up to these central storage and processing units were dumb terminals. Without the central unit the terminal was unusable.

Around 1980, IBM launched the PC industry. There were lots of computer companies, Apple and IBM, but also Zenith, Texas Instruments, and many others.

PCs represented a shift from central processing to distributed processing. PC’s were a remarkable achievement. They had their own memory, their own storage and they could operate independent of any central computer.

The internet started as a DARPA, or Defense agency project. Eventually, Netscape created and sold a browser named Mozilla. And the commercial portion of the internet was born. Porn was the industry that really taught people how to make money on the internet.

And of course, eventually Google came along with the “answers to everything.” And then smartphones and the internet of everything. And suddenly we were back where we started.

Computers no longer are really all that useful if they aren’t connected online; email, maps, social networks.

Computers, like life, have cycles. We think we are creating something new, but we’re mostly just rediscovering the old stuff.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

Follow him on
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or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2019 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

Blog Post 9/11/2019

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss)
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2019 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

They Don’t Make (Or Repair) Them Like They Used To

This is Jack Kelly. Jack is an 86 year old Arizona rancher. Jack lives in an old ranch house. You get to Jack’s place by go four miles past where the pavement ends.

If directions to your house involves the phrase, “Turn off the paved road.” . . .you might be a redneck.
– Jeff Foxworthy

Redneck is an interesting word. To people who aren’t one it’s an insult. To people who are, it’s a complement.

Jack wasn’t a redneck in the classic sense. But, he was as country as they come. He gave us a tour around his place. It used to be tens of thousands of acres. Now, he and his sweetheart live on a 20 acre piece that will be protected by the county after they pass away.

Jack showed us a lot of different things on his place. He showed us the pond he’d cleared when he first bought the place fifty years prior.

He showed us a seeder that was originally designed for use by horses that he’d rigged to use a behind a tractor. The equipment must have been at least 75 years old and looked like it hadn’t been used in decades.

My brother-in-law stands next to the seeder he and Jack used a couple years ago, as some of my kids listen

But, my brother-in-law explained that he’d help Jack plant a corn field with it just two years prior. That meant that Jack was driving the tractor at 84. He showed us equipment that was now fit for a museum.

And then Jack showed us something really impressive.

I work on cars. I’m not a great mechanic. But, I’m good enough to know what is hard and what’s possible. Jack showed me this.

That’s a patch. It’s iron? steel? But, it’s a metal patch.

See, what happened was that one day this tractor threw a rod. You know what throwing a rod is, right?

Yeah. It knocks a hole in the engine block. Pretty serious problem.

Yep. Well that’s where she knocked the hole. So, I drilled the hole, tapped em and stuck that patch on there. Filled ‘er back up with oil and she was good as new.

The tractor looked like it has finished it’s last job, but I wouldn’t place any bets on how long Jack will still be working that 20 acres in Arizona.

They don’t make them (or repair them) like that any more.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss)
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2019 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

Halfway Home

It’s about 1400 miles from the Mexico border to the Canada border. Of course, it depends on where you start and end, of course. But, if you take I-5 from San Diego California on the Southern border North to Blain Washington on the Canadian border, it’s 1,371.9 miles. (Not sure where Google got that .9, but it’s probably accurate.)

Today, I travelled half that distance. I started the day at my brother-in-law’s ranch in Benson, Arizon. We headed North. We drove around the East end of the Grand Canyon and crossed the Colorado at Glen Canyon Dam.

We drove for hours and hours. We started out in a desert populated with sagura, barrel and pear cactus. The temperatures ranged from hot, 100+, to. . .also hot of 80 degrees. We left at 8:00 AM and arrived around 11:30pm.

We had two cars. Well, Yukon SUV and a Toyota Camery. It wasn’t supposed to be a trip with two cars. We originally were only going to take one car, five kids and two adults. “Kids” is a bit of a misnomer. The kids range in age from 16 to 19. At the last minute, another kid decided he wanted to go too.

That was last week. We took a trip to grandma’s (their’s not mine) in Phoenix. And then off to a brother-in-law’s farther South in Benson, Arizona.

Today was the return. According to Google, it’s 786.2 miles from Benson Arizona to our home in Pleasant Grove Utah. That’s more than half way across the United States. It used to take weeks, or months to make that distance. We did it in slightly more than the 12 hours, 6 minutes that Google said it would take.

So, we literally went halfway and made it home.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

Follow him on
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LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2019 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

The Old Man And His Stick

We used to take the boy scouts on this hike. It was the hardest hike we did every year. It’s called “The Baldy Hike.” We hike up to Grove Creek Canyon to Indian Springs. Then, we hike across and camp in the meadow.

When we used to take the boy scouts, we would then attempt to summit Baldy. The hike started at about 4500 feet. The hike to Indian Springs is six miles and about 2500 feet in elevation. Baldy was another 1000 feet.

About half the time weather prevented us making the ascent. We would do the hike in May. Sometimes it would snow. Sometimes it would rain. Sometimes it was beautiful. That’s what made the hike so much fun.

I don’t work with the scouts anymore. It’s a volunteer position, but it’s more of a volun-told position. And they volun-told someone else to do it. We were, they still are, a very active troop, camping 11 months out of the year.

I decided that I needed to start taking my own kids on the hikes. So, we did the Baldy Hike. But, where in May there’s a chance of sleet or snow, in August there’s only one kind of weather. . .hot. At least during the day. At night it’s chilly at 7,000 feet.

So, we set out on a Friday in August. We hiked the six miles up Grove Creek Canyon. It was hot. We took plenty of water. Two of my children were available to make the hike.

I’m a slow hiker. I had hoped the hike up the canyon would take three hours or less. You can hike on level ground at about 3.5 MPH. Hiking up hill slows that, of course. I hoped to make 2 MPH. I’m slow. Turns out I was more at 1.5 MPH.

We arrived at Indian Springs about 8:30 pm. We decided it was too late to move on. We camped for the night at Indian Springs. In the morning, we had a decision to make. Battle Creek Canyon, our normal route back down out of the mountain was closed due to an overflowing Battle Creek.

Should we take a route around Baldy and make for Dry Canyon? (That was the route I’d left with my lovely wife. Ultimately we decided to make a day hike up to the meadow. It was a lot different than it looks in May. The grasses were waist or sometimes chest high.

Ultimately we headed back down the Grove Creek. Again, it was hot. Where we had averaged 1.5 MPH on the way up, we nearly tripled that rate headed down. We made it in 90 minutes. In fact, we were down an hour before our ride would have arrived at the trailhead to pick us up. So, we simply continued walking down hill to our house.

It’s amazing to live in a location where I can literally walk from the beautiful high mountain meadows and stark canyons to my front door.

Next month we’re going to the High Uintas. It’s a hike we took with the scouts every September.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

Follow him on
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LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2019 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

Is It Cold Or Are You Just In The Wrong State?

I attended Timberline high school in Lacey, Washington. Lacey is outside of the captial Olympia. If you don’t know where that is, don’t feel bad. Lots of people outside of Washington don’t. It’s about 40 miles south of Seattle. It’s at the Southern tip of the Puget Sound.

Even though Puget Sound is salt water, it’s not technically the ocean. That’s about a hundred miles away on the Washington coast. Washington coasts are not like the gentler beaches of California with it’s warm ocean currents. By the time the current gets to Washington it’s turned cold. Puget Sound’s water temperature ranges from a chilly 45 degrees in the winter to an only slightly less chilly 53 degrees in the summer. Water so cold that if you were to fall off one of the ubiquitous Washington State ferries, you’d be dead before you could swim to shore.

Cheery thought. I know.

But, the water is warm enough to keep the climate of Western Washington relatively balmy when compared with the frigid winter climate East of the Cascades. Growing up there, I remember it typically snowed once per year. Winters were a lot of gray clouds and rain. The record was set one year while I was in high school. One hundred and five days in a row with rain. The term Black Ice, the phenomenon where the road freezes, but you can’t see it, was coined in the Northwest.

It was a typical winter day in high school. Probably 1981. The temperature was around 55 degrees. Cold enough that we were bundled up in our jackets, boots and mittens.

There was a new kid at school that day. My high school had about 1500 students, so a new student wasn’t hard to spot. He was even easier to spot because he was wearing shorts and a light jacket.

Dude, aren’t you cold?

No, man, it’s not even below freezing.

Well, maybe not technically, but it certainly feels like it.

You guys are wimps.

Were we wimps? Or was he just some super hero with great resistance to cold?

Neither. He had just moved. . .from Alaska. He’d come from a place where his “warm” was still below our “cold.” When he moved to Washington, his body decided it was shorts-weather.

I live in Utah. Our winters are colder than Western Washington, but not as cold as Alaska. During the winter the temperature is regularly below freezing. We regularly don’t figure it’s “cold” until it gets below zero.

My kids regularly walk to church in the winter wearing only shirt sleeves. Is it cold or are they just in the wrong state?

We are going on vacation to visit my mother in Arizona. It’s hot here. And it’s hot there. But, is it? Yesterday it was 97 degrees in Utah. Summers are hot. But, we don’t worry about it too much unless it gets above 100. The dry heat. But, are the summers really hot or are we in the wrong state? Arizona is 105 degrees this week. That’s where we are going.

I enjoy summer. I enjoy Utah summer. I don’t mind the heat. But, I’m afraid I might be in the wrong state.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss)
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2019 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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