Motor Trend Auto Show

On Monday I stopped by Motor Trend’s Auto Show in Sandy. My sons Paul and Jake wanted to see it so I went along. In the time I was there, I wasn’t approached once by any salespeople (a positive) and I was able to check out a lot of new autos. I was interested in Jeeps and any alternative fuel vehicles.

The Nissan Leaf was interesting but with a 100 mile range it didn’t work for me. I already own a natural gas vehicle with a 200 mile range which is the minimum for me. The Ford Focus Electric was on display and looks to be similar in performance to the Leaf.

Jeep Wrangler

Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

Jeep Wrangler

Jeep Wrangler on obstacle course

Nissan Leaf

Nissan Leaf charging port

Nissan Leaf dashboard

Ford Focus Electric
Rickety signature

Then And Now

Rick and Jill marriage certificate

Rick and Jill 1980


Paul and Megan marriage certificate

Paul and Megan 2011


Rickety signature

Davis County Windstorm Cleanup

Davis County windstorm cleanup

Working on the roof Saturday with my four sons

 
Yesterday we only had two hours before dark on Steven’s roof. After helping pull out two tree stumps at our neighbor’s homes, we headed back to Layton to finish the repairs to the roof. We nailed the last shingle by 4pm.
 
Davis County windstorm cleanup

Steven with his roof, good as new. The new shingles don't quite match but they will keep the rain out

 
Earlier in the day it seemed like the whole of Davis County was on the move. While driving to Layton we saw truck after truck filled with broken tree limbs. The line to the landfill, or rather the Green Waste Recycling Facility, was quite long.
 
Davis County windstorm cleanup

A common sight all day along Highway 89

Davis County windstorm cleanup

Notice the truck on the left carrying what looks like power cables, no doubt needed for repairs

Davis County windstorm cleanup

Several trucks headed for the Green Waste Recycling Facility

Davis County windstorm cleanup

As we headed towards the landfill there was a convoy of vehicles leaving, having shed their loads

Davis County windstorm cleanup

A long line at the landfill entrance

Mark Reporting from Bountiful

Our power was out from 8am until 2am the next morning. Luckily the temperature was in the low 30s during the day and low 20s at night. We have experienced other East winds when it was below zero. I spent much of the day [Thursday] on my ham radio with emergency responders in the area, sharing information and keeping up to date on what was happening.

It was a good opportunity to test out emergency preparedness plans / equipment. Serious enough to warrant their use, but not life threatening. The Davis County Amateur Radio Emergency Service was the main communication system for cities, police departments, hospitals and other emergency responders. These are hobbyists volunteering their equipment and skills and they did a fantastic job. At one point one of the Centerville Emergency Communications Center responders was heard on the radio saying:

A big spruce fell on a neighbor’s house about 20 minutes ago. The whole neighborhood is there cutting it up right now. I love this community. In some places in this country, we would still be waiting for FEMA!

Davis County windstorm cleanup

Connie surveying the damage in Bountiful

Davis County windstorm cleanup

A dead tree in the cemetery

Davis County windstorm cleanup

This tree was snapped off at the truck


Rickety signature

Simple Water Heater Emergency Heat

This year’s Halloween nor’easter has started me thinking about how to heat my apartment if the power goes out for an extended period of time.

If the water and gas are still on, one possibility is to make a simple hydronic heating system using the water heater. The basic idea is to hook a hose to the hot water faucet, run it around a room, then to a drain.

As a proof of concept I picked up a faucet to garden hose adapter and some extra hose from Home Depot. After setting up the system I turned off the furnace and went to sleep.

Table of Results

Time Room °F Flow Rate GPM °F in °F out BTUs Notes
10:00 pm 70.1 0.5 150 100 12,500 Max. flow water heater can sustain
10:23 pm 76.8 0.2 150 100 5,000 Reduced flow
10:27 pm 77.4 0.2 150 95 5,500
10:57 pm 79.3 0.2 150 95 5,500 Too hot, opened window and door
11:19 pm 77.5 0.1 150 90 3,000 Reduced flow, closed window and door
04:30 am 75.9 0.1 145 85 3,000

 
The system worked extremely well. I suspect it could easily heat two rooms.

Setup Details

Procure a dual thread for 3/4 inch hose or male 55/64 inch adapter, model number 37.0109.98, $5.95. Alternatively the hose could be attached directly to the washing machine faucet.

Attach adapter to hot water faucet

Attach adapter to hot water faucet. Connect hose to adapter


Spread hose around the room

Spread hose around the room


Ensure there are no kinks

Ensure there are no kinks


Drain waste water into tub

Drain waste water into tub


 Questions?

Megan and Paul: Engagement Photos

Megan and Paul engagement

Megan moved into the Davis Park YSA Ward in September 2010. She attended the newcomer’s gospel doctrine class that Paul taught. On the day that Megan went Paul was not teaching but he went each week. On 14th October 2010 the ward sponsored a pizza making activity that Paul and Megan attended. Paul made a baked bean, spam, and cheese pizza that Megan wouldn’t try. Megan made a pepperoni pizza.

Paul talked to Megan at the pizza activity and he asked her what she was studying, among other things. Megan told Paul she was studying to be a dental hygienist and Paul asked in puzzlement, “What would you want to do that for?”

Megan and Paul engagement

The next day Paul organized a bonfire to burn the branches cut from my tree. At least twenty people showed up but the truck to haul the branches was delayed so most of them left. But Megan didn’t leave. Sean, Celeste, Tyler, Mandy, Eric, and Megan’s friend Andrea also stayed.

Paul thought that Megan must like him because she came to the bonfire. But Megan says that she liked him after the bonfire. On the way home from the bonfire, and still in the mountains, the tire on the Jeep burst at 3 am in the morning. Andrea, Eric, Megan and Paul were in the Jeep. Megan says that at that moment she realized that she liked Paul because he was calm in dealing with the tire. She thought it was funny that he was not panicking.

Megan and Paul engagement

Megan next saw Paul when she was working at the airport. Paul happened to get off a plane from Texas and waved to her. Megan waved back. Paul said that he waved first. Later that evening at the ward pumpkin carving activity Megan spoke first to Paul.

Megan and Paul engagement

At church for the next two weeks Paul acted disinterested in Megan. But when her car window would not wind up she asked Paul to take a look at it. He replaced the window regulator with one from the junk yard, at the expense of a cut hand. The trip to the junk yard turned out to be their first date.

Megan and Paul engagement
Rickety signature

Megan and Paul

Megan and Paul

Congratulations Paul and Megan!

We were sitting in the living room when Dan came in and asked Paul if he wanted to go hike to get an old shovel they had found months ago. Paul said that was a good idea and I reluctantly went along, giving them reasons why I didn’t think it was a good idea. We got in the Jeep and Dan got a phone call from a friend asking him to go country dancing, so then Dan backed out of the trip to search for the shovel. Later of course I found out that the call was fake and Dan was in on the plan to get me into the Jeep.

Rings

Pencil grip and cubic zirconium rings

So Paul and I headed up Farmington Canyon and he turned up a road that we had been on before instead of going to the old shovel road. I didn’t think much of it because I thought that all of my reasons the hike was a bad idea had finally sunk in and we were just going somewhere else. We ended up at a big rock that we had been to a few times before, where you can overlook all the lights of the cities.

As we were sitting up there paul grabbed my hands and somehow got down on one knee on the giant slanted rock and pulled out a ring box. He opened it up to reveal a collection of brightly colored pencil grips! (The week before I had a dream that Paul had proposed to me and when he opened the box it was a bunch of pencil grips.)

I started laughing when I saw what was in the box and then he took one of them that he had fashioned into a ring and put it on my finger and asked me to marry him. I of course said yes! Then he pulled out a cubic zirconium ring he had gotten and put that on my finger. We will be going to pick out a real ring together in the next little while.

Megan with rings

Who cares what the ring is made of?

After Paul had done all of this he told me to stay put and he jumped off the rock and went and grabbed two bags out of the back of his Jeep and brought them up to me. From the first bag he pulled out a KFC mashed potato bowl. I really like them and they are what we ate on Valentines Day. They were even still warm somehow. The second bag contained a variety of sodas that Paul had picked up in California.

He pulled out a cucumber flavored one and we sat on the rock together, eating mashed potatoes and drinking cucumber soda.

We called my parents first and then came and told Paul’s parents. Paul woke them up at 1 am to tell them. Paul’s mom was really excited and got out of bed to talk to us but Paul’s dad rolled over and went back to sleep.

I suspected that Paul would be asking me sometime soon but he surprised me and really threw me off by getting Dan involved and having him in on it with the fake phone call and everything.

Paul and Megan

Happiness is a new engagement ring

Spiral Jetty

Spiral Jetty from shore

Spiral Jetty seen from the shore

Last November Paul and I visited Spiral Jetty at Rozel Point. Then the Jetty was several hundred feet away from the waters of the Great Salt Lake. Yesterday Paul revisited Spiral Jetty, accompanied by Megan, with Julie and Dan. They found the Jetty almost submerged. Compare the photographs of the Jetty from November of last year with the ones that are published here.

Spiral Jetty outer arm

Daniel standing on the outer spiral of the Jetty

The graph below shows a year of daily readings up until Paul’s visit yesterday. The water level has risen over a foot from the same day last year and nearly three feet from our last visit in November. NGVD 29 is the National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929 and is a hybrid model closely representing the mean sea level. Note that the equipment malfunctioned near the low readings and appears to have taken at least two weeks to repair.

Great Salt Lake daily mean elevation

Readings from 14 May 2010 to 14 May 2011

The historical average level of Great Salt Lake is 4,200 feet. Spiral Jetty is only visible when the level of Great Salt Lake drops below 4,197.8 feet. The maximum elevation of the lake was 4,211.6 feet, seen in 1986 and 1987. The minimum elevation was in 1963 at 4,191.35 feet.

Spiral Jetty center

Megan stands at the center of Spiral Jetty

Great Salt Lake is the largest U.S. lake west of the Mississippi River and the 4th largest terminal lake (no outlet) in the world. It is about 75 miles long and 28 miles wide, and covers 1,700 square miles with a maximum depth of about 35 feet. A remnant of Lake Bonneville, a prehistoric freshwater lake that was 10 times larger than Great Salt Lake. It is typically three to five times saltier than the ocean.

Spiral Jetty almost submerged

Spiral Jetty is almost submerged

Paul reports that the rough trail to Spiral Jetty has been graded and resurfaced and is now a smooth drive. A parking lot has been built near the Jetty. I suspect that those who do not visit the Spiral Jetty soon will have nothing to see for perhaps another three decades.

Spiral Jetty overcast

This may be the last you will see of Spiral Jetty for a time

Credits

Rickety signature

Family Home Evening Treacle Toffee

 
 
One of the main ingredients for Family Home Evening must surely be the treat. On Sunday, I spied an old can of Lyle’s Black Treacle (by appointment to Her Majesty) on the pantry shelf and prised open the lid, which had printed upon it, “BEST BEFORE OCT 2001” and “DISPOSE OF ON EXPIRY.” The contents still looked quite serviceable to me so I searched the web for a treacle toffee recipe.

Melt 4 ounces of butter in a pan and then add 1 pound of dark brown sugar, 4 dessert spoonfuls of treacle, 4 tablespoons of milk, and 2 tablespoons of water. Stir until the sugar dissolves, turn the heat low and boil for 30 minutes. Pour into butter-greased pan and place in refrigerator to harden.

I only had 0.8 pounds of light brown sugar but when you are using treacle 10 years past its expiry, who cares? Another google gave me the insight that a dessert spoon is of a size between a teaspoon and a tablespoon (but closer to a tablespoon). So I merely dug out 4 tablespoons of treacle with an extra scoop to empty the can — after all, it was past its expiry.

The 30 minutes of boiling wasn’t working for me so Megan put a candy thermometer in the pan and we waited until the temperature reached 270 degrees Fahrenheit. That fixed it and I poured most of the gooey mess into a large flat baking dish and saved the rest to fix the leak in the roof.

On Monday, after hardening, I broke the toffee in pieces, ready for family home evening. Paul had some of his tasty cookies as backup, in case I burned the treacle.

Treacle toffee
Rickety signature

Paul Tackles Old Age

Jumbo remotePaul seems to think my eyes aren’t able to see quite as well as when I was his age. So for his latest project he programmed a jumbo universal remote that Megan bought from Deseret Industries. It cost $1.50 because the battery cover was missing. But there is nothing that Paul can’t fix with a little duct tape.

At the moment the remote will control the television and the VCR. It also controls the family room and stair lights because Paul thinks my legs aren’t getting any younger either.

Paul figured if he gave me the remote directly I would be offended and wouldn’t use it so he left it laying on the couch. Right on cue I picked it up and started trying the buttons. Tonight I looked on the remote hoping to find a jumbo “PP” button — the one that will turn off Paul’s Projects, at least for a little while.
Rickety signature