Sunday, April 29, 2007

Happy Birthday Nate

"A special day calls for a special place."

That's what our friend Ben said when he heard that Nate's 25th birthday was on Saturday, April 28th. Ben was referring to the worlds largest restaurant (under one roof ) where Nate and 3 of his friends...and his wife...would be celebrating his birthday. CASA BONITA!!!
For those of you who watch South Park (all of you I'm sure) you may be familiar with the episode where Kyle gets to take 3 of his friends to Casa Bonita for his birthday. Nate had seen this episode of South Park before but being a non-Denverite, he had no idea that the place actually existed. He didn't know that Cartman's crazy rampage at the end of the episode where he ran scared through Black Bart's cave, cheered for the cliff jumpers, and demanded more sopapias, was ALL BASED ON FACT! And here is the magical place in real life...Just a 4 minute drive down Colfax from our house.
It's difficult to describe the Casa Bonita experience. I suppose first of all, it is a Mexican restaurant. It is swimming with kids...the way school lunch rooms are swimming with kids. There is a line to order your food that resembles Disneyland where you snake around and around, getting close to the front only to make another turn. You pick up your order in what is basically a cafeteria line where they have many of the pre-assembled entrees that you may have ordered. (This, for some reason sent me into fits of laughter.) There's a mariachi band that plays Happy Birthday every minute and a half. It's muggy because of the pool where ripped high schoolers do impressive dives off of the "cliffs." There are arcades where the air doesn't move, haunted caves, and abandoned mines. The place goes on forever. And the food...the food is terrible. Worse in retrospect. And it's all you can eat. Fantastic. all of our young cousins...the Payton girls, Tess, the Black boys, the Davis boys, the Hill boys, Joellen and...Spencer. Come to Denver and we'll take you to Casa Bonita (though we won't be eating anything) you'll have the time of your life.

Why We Need Renter's Insurance

Denver has had some crazy weather over the last week. Tuesday and Wednesday were filled with pouring rain and snow in Littleton where Miranda works; and Saturday and Sunday were beautiful and sunny, getting up into the 80s. On Wednesday morning we had the good fortune to wake up to this...

This is a picture of our basement slowly welcoming in water during the rainstorm.

This is actually the second time this has happened. The first time it happened was when 3 months worth of snow decided to melt in one weekend. Basically our window well fills up with water because our rain gutter directs all of the water into a huge swamp outside our back door. The yard is nicely slanted enough to keep the water from running off anywhere else. Once the water gets inside, the drain that is convex to the rest of the floor can't seem to suck any of the water down into it (hmmm...) so we get to
1. Bail water out of the window well until it is low enough to stop leaking
2. push water out of the corners and up a slope toward the drain.

Luckily both times this has happened we've caught it before any damage was done. I think we'll go check out some insurance quotes now.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Edward Scissorhands

Last night Nate and I went with our friends to see a theatrical adaptation of Tim Burton's movie Edward Scissorhands. This was our first time venturing out to the Denver Center for Performing Arts and the 16th Street Mall area. I thought the show was Fantastic. Terrific. Beautiful. To put it simply anyway. Here's a picture of Sam Archer who plays Edward.

The show was adapted, directed and choreographed by Matthew Bourne who is most commonly known for his adaptation of the traditional ballet Swan Lake (not that I knew anything about him before this show....Rachel taught me all I know up to this point). The only complaint I had about the show was that the cast was so big and the dancing/characterization was so awesome that my eyes couldn't decide where to settle. I got so set on watching Edward that I think I missed a lot of other great storyline that was happening elsewhere on the stage.

(By the way I didn't take any of these pictures. I'd credit the photographer but I can't find their name...I got these pics from Flickr)

I should note that this wasn't a traditional ballet. More of a contemporary without words. So for those of you who have only seen the Nutcracker and think that you would be bored to death at a ballet I'd say that this show would keep you entertained. Their tour is almost over looks like Seattle is their last stop so Bill and Gail you should check it out.

My final plug is for the movie Edward Scissorhands itself. If you're like us and haven't seen it since 1990 I would recommend Netflixing it. I love that the story is a classic plot about an outsider who falls into and out of popularity because he's different. Except he's ridiculously different because his hands are freaking scissors. Also, Tim Burton does fantastic things with colors and humor in the film. Plus it has Johnny Depp.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Happy Easter Everybody Everybody!

We're thinking of all of you and hope you had a great holiday. We were invited over for dinner with a family from our ward and we had a great time. The couple of inches of snow that was on the ground when we woke up is already starting to melt so that makes everything even better!

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Izzy Turns One

In lieu of children...we have Izzy. (That's just for the time being...we don't want anybody freaking out thinking we're never having kids.) And Izzy has just turned One. Since we adopted her, we're not sure of the exact date of her birthday...and we know we celebrated about a month late but I'm pretty sure she didn't mind. Here are some pictures of Izzy's birthday celebration.

Nate made cupcakes and Izzy was very impatient waiting for them to get done...
I have trouble thinking of a whole lot of things I like more than dogs in party hats...

Izzy refused to blow out the candle before she ate her cupcake. Plus she likes to lick the frosting off first.
And for those of you who don't remember. (including ourselves!)'s a picture of Izzy when we first got her...only 6 weeks old.

And no talking about how lame we are because we had a birthday party for our dog. I don't care if you're already thinking it.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

A Few Words on Research

So I'm not sure how interested you all will be about this stuff but I figured, hey, it's a blog, I'm supposed to write about what's going on in my life right now, so here it goes. For about 10 months now I've been searching for a research project for my Masters Thesis without any luck. I could have gone into research with the cutting edge technology of water treatment, but sewage and drinking water just don't turn me on. Anyway, starting yesterday I've started some hourly research looking into micriboially induced corrosion (MIC). The general idea is that microbes can eat metal (including stainless steel) under the certain conditions. Right now there is only $5000 of funding, not enough for a thesis, but it's enough to get started. Hopefully more funding will come through later. However, if funding doesn't come through what will probably happen is that I will do a non-thesis track. Originally I was dead set against this but the more I think about it the more I think that there are some advantages to this track. I would need to complete several independent study projects which would allow me more room to diversify. Instead of spending 9 months looking into MIC I could spend more time learning a programming language and writing a simple contaminant transport model. So, yeah, maybe a non-thesis won't be as bad as I thought.

Back to MIC (pronounced "Mike"). All life needs several things to live. Among them are water, a carbon source, an electron donor and an electron acceptor. For humans: water=water, carbon source=sugar, electron donor=sugar, electron acceptor=oxygen. Bacteria on the other hand are way more creative, especially in the electron acceptor category. So imagine that you're a microbe sitting in the bottom of an oil pipeline. There is probably some water that has made it in there and since oil floats on water if you're on the bottom of the pipe you're sitting in water. It's warm since crude oil comes out of the ground warm, and you like that. Also, you have all this oil flowing over your head, oil that is a cocktail hydrocarbons. So here water=water (because water always = water) carbon source=oil, energy source=oil, electron donor=oil, electron acceptor=a lot of things. Basically, sitting in the bottom of this oil pipeline is basically like Heaven. Only problem is that you tend to poop out acid and various oxidants. The acid eats away at the metal, causing pits and the oxidants ozidize (rust) the metal. Eventually you might even eat all the way through the pipeline, costing some oil guy a bunch of money.

Oh, and by the way, if you were a bacteria eating the inside of a pipe, you'd look like this:Or thisThis rod was placed in a bath of crude oil and stream water (source of microbes) at 40C for about a month. I can't say for sure what kind of metal this is, but I can tell you that it's what they make pipelines out of. Here is what the setup looked like (oil on top and water on bottom).
So yeah, that's what I'm up to now. Don't know about you but I think it's awesome.