Wednesday, June 18, 2008


We took these photos of Jake after he played in the pool the other day.

Rub-A-Dub from Doug Roper on Vimeo.">

Father's Day Splendor

Father's Day was a blast. Jake enjoyed his very first romp in a swimming pool and seemed to enjoy it. Brad kept pouring cold water on Jake's shoulder and back so he could watch him gasp. The square foot garden is doing well and we enjoyed spinach, radishes and a variety of gourmet lettuce greens freshly picked that morning. Brad and Heidi frolic in the hammock while the adults converse and enjoy Jake's amusing adventures. Dad enjoys 20 seconds of shut-eye. All in all it was a very fine day.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Smart Driving / Smart Money

Often we get so addicted to convenience that we sometimes forget that our habits have enormous impact on our pocket books. Becky often packs me a delicious and nutritious lunch that includes tasty tidbits from all the major food groups. Not only are her lunches yummy, but they always come included with a special love note written on the napkin. I keep a special supply of napkins in my credenza which I actually use to wipe morsels from my cranium. This allows me to archive the love-note-napkins for future reference. I've got a tidy stack of them about a foot and a half high now.

Not only do these lunches provide sufficient blood sugar to my brain, but they also save me hundreds of dollars in expensive lunches when looked at over a period of time. On average lunch out costs between 6 or 7 dollars. If I eat the brown bag lunch I save 100 bucks in just three business weeks. That number has a substantial comma in it when computed annually.

Frankly these days money is tight for all of us. We work hard for the money. (I know you are humming the tune in your mind right now.) I thought it would be a good thing for all of us to do two things. 1. Evaluate our spending habits and 2. Modify our spending habits.
Someone once said happiness is learning to delay getting what we want now for what we want most. This applies to to many things in life including our moral choices. It also applies to using our money wisely.
The first 10% of our money we should give to the Lord. The second 10%-20% is ours to keep. I.e., we should save it and let our money work for us and to use for a raining day (and when the radiator on the car blows). A big chunk goes to Uncle Sam and there's not much left. Inflation is skyrocketing and is not likely going to ease soon. So we need to use the remainder wisely.
So I offer some patriarchal suggestions. Take time, now, pronto, today to assess you spending habits, and then make some changes. Consider your convenience store purchases and stop making them. I refill water bottles at work. Make a list before going to the store. Grow vegetables in your garden. Get up 15 minutes earlier and take the bus. Use the time to blog, read and ponder. When you drive, list all of the errands you have to make and then route your course. If you owned a taxi company you'd do this.
The family economy depends on everyone doing their part, so go green (I can't believe I just said that). We are all stewards of God's blessings and need to be wise in our stewardship's. So if saving money motivates you to change, hooray. If you are more convicted to save the world and is saves money, then hoorah.
One man's logo may be another man's plasma. Yippee. Mom and I appreciate every contribution. Remember, often in life our biggest sacrifices often become our most cherished memories.
As Petrol costs are outrageous and only getting worse, I built a handy little calculator to help you see how much gasoline really costs. It also illustrates the real costs of driving. I encourage you to click the link below and plug in your numbers. Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I feel so secure

I went to today for understanding.

"Control-Alt-Delete" it says", "(often abbreviated to Ctrl-Alt-Del) is a computer keyboard command on PC compatible systems that can be used to reboot the computer, and summon the task manager or provide Windows Security in more recent versions of the Microsoft Windows operating system.

It is invoked by pressing the Delete key while holding the Control and Alt keys. These keys are sometimes referred to in computer manuals as interrupt keys, since they are often used to interrupt the operation of a malfunctioning program. (Hmmm. I think I’ll just avoid any commentary regarding a malfunctioning Windows program here. It’s just too easy.)

This keyboard combination was implemented by David Bradley, a designer of the original IBM PC. Bradley designed Control-Alt-Escape to trigger a soft reboot, but he found it was too easy to bump the left side of the keyboard and reboot the computer accidentally. (Really…are you kidding me?)

He switched the key combination to Control-Alt-Delete, because it was a combination that was virtually impossible to press with just one hand. Regarding his brilliant innovation Bradley is quoted as saying. 'I may have invented Control-Alt-Delete, but Bill Gates made it famous'. "

Every morning and several times during the day I enjoy the pleasure of hunting for these three random keys. I then have the wonderful opportunity to regularly execute an arthritis defying maneuver.

The fact that Mr. Bradley felt compelled to design a device of such contortional (yes, I made this word up) significance is frankly awe inspiring. I mean after all, if bumping the side of the computer usually resulted in an accidental reboot then hey, logic and intuition would dictate that the problem must reside with the user. Heaven forbid that any consideration should be made to re-engineer the hardware or the operating system. Rather, (picture a light bulb to the side of his head) doesn’t it make more sense to create some kind of random keystroke pattern for the user to execute, that requires advanced simultaneous visual and digital acuity?

Well the answer is obvious. In fact it is so obvious the one of the smartest men in the world, Bill gates decided to take it a step further. “Let’s write our Windows OS systems to require the user to perform this little gem of a maneuver every time the user tries to log on and every time the screen saver kicks in” He said. (I’m pretty sure I read that on the internet somewhere.)

It took me a while to figure this out, but once again I realize the brilliance is in the complexity. For a long time I was actually frustrated and judgmental about the control-alt-delete requirement, but now I feel liberated by it. I'm mean after all Microsoft made billions by apply complexity to solve relatively simple problems. Liberal socialists use the same kind of thinking all the time to solve our problems.
For more on this see:

You may think I’m being sarcastic, but I’m not, I tell you. Now that I’m firmly entrenched in my fifties, I realize this actually simple-yet-oh-so-beautifully-complex keystroke helps keep the joints of my fingers limber. If I could just figure out how to design a mouse that would require the same kind of arduous physical requirement, I’m confident that age related incapacitation could be effectively avoided. I was looking around my office today pondering this. Think of the possibilities; this could lead to a whole industry of reverse ergonomics.

I should really give up my Mac. I may be contributing to my own demise.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

What's in a name?

When I was a kid my then kid brother Trevor thought it would be clever to call me Dog. The great thing about being a kid is that we were all one at some point. Since Trevor thought it was clever to call me Dog, he thought he would be constantly clever if he called me Dog incessantly. So that is what he did. I of course didn't want Trevor to have a corner on being clever so I decided it would be even more clever to call him Retriever. So from then on when he would call me Dog I would call him Retriever. I'm sure you'll agree that this was even more clever than him calling me Dog.

Well the net result of all this cleverness was a cleverness impasse, a sort of detente if you will.

As kids, most of us were tagged with various nicknames. I learned very young a sort of nickname paradox. It goes something like this: The probability that a nickname will stick is directly proportionate to the degree that you dislike it or the degree to which you protest it. If you really, really detest a nickname you should at the moment of inception embrace it, and passionately; convincingly declare how much you like it. I've been tagged with some really good nicknames over the years, most of which didn't stick for very long. The one's I hated the most didn't stick because I loved them the most. Don't ask me which one's I really hate because I will likely tell you I love them. You'll never really know for sure because I'll say I love some nicknames that I really do love and vice versa.

Have you ever noticed that when you go to restaurants they will usually ask something like, "May I have a name?". I don't think anyone has ever asked me "What is your name?". Ok, I get it, they just want a name. They don't really care if your name is an alias or not. One time Amy, Brad and I were at a hamburger joint in Orem called Fuddruckers, and the girl asked "May I have a name". I said, "Sure...Diego". My kids immediately started giggling like I had just said the funniest thing they had ever heard. Their laughter reached a crescendo after the burgers were cooked and "Diego" was called out over the intercom. I thought they were going to blow chunks, but I realized all they had to eat so far were their milkshakes and there weren't any chunks in them.

A few years ago I went to another restaurant and the cashier ask me, "May I have a name". I told them "Doug". The cashier took my money, made a note on my reciept and handed it back to me. I was amused to see the person had spelled my name "Dug". This really cracked me up. Of course I shared this story as seemed appropriate, but imagine my surprise when it happened again at another restaurant. I love it when illiterate restaurant employees have a sense of humor.

Recently we decided to order some chinese food for take-out. Becky and I negotiated that Heidi and I would drive to pick up the food if she would order it. So Becky called Ming Gardens, placed the order and soon Heidi and I were off to pick it up. As we walked into the restaurant no one was at the counter, but there was a box of food sitting there with a handwritten receipt. I glanced at it and told Heidi it was our order. She asked, "How do you know". I replied, "simple the name on the receipt is Dough".