Archives for October 2010

A Simple Preparedness Plan

All Is Safely Gathered InCome, ye thankful people, come;
Raise the song of harvest home.
All is safely gathered in
Ere the winter storms begin.

This preparedness plan is really simple:

  • Three-month supply
    Build a small supply of food that is part of your normal, daily diet.
  • Drinking water
    Store water in sturdy, leak-proof, breakage-resistant containers. Consider using plastic bottles commonly used for juices and soda.
  • Financial reserve
    Save a little money each week, gradually increasing it to a reasonable amount.
  • Longer-term supply
    Where permitted, gradually build a supply of food that will last a long time and that you can use to stay alive, such as wheat, white rice, and beans.

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will recognize that this plan was detailed in the pamphlet All Is Safely Gather In: Family Home Storage. The plan can be simplified even further, at least for those beginning their family home storage, by focusing on the first three items.

The First Presidency wrote:

We encourage Church members worldwide to prepare for adversity in life by having a basic supply of food and water and some money in savings. We ask that you be wise as you store food and water and build your savings. Do not go to extremes; it is not prudent, for example, to go into debt to establish your food storage all at once. With careful planning, you can, over time, establish a home storage supply and a financial reserve.

This preparedness plan is simple and realistic. Newly married couples can easily follow this plan and build a decent food storage over time. Young Single Adults can too. When I was single I had 350 pounds of wheat, among other food supplies, that I sold to help pay for my travel to the United States when I emigrated.

Today I hope I have given you something to chew on.

God, our Maker, doth provide
For our wants to be supplied.
Come to God’s own temple, come;
Raise the song of harvest home.

Rickety signature.

Missionary Dan Email #29 from Vancouver, Washington

Daniel by a woodThanks for all the great emails. I am glad that everything is working out good. We had a great week again. It always gets better and better.

Raberta (the 73 year old investigator) came to church again. She is not shy at all and has lots of energy. She loves Relief Society and calls them her sisters. She absolutely loves church. She tells everyone how many churches she has stopped going to because she wasn’t comfortable. She feels comfortable around us and she told Relief Society how she was going to be baptized. They told her to then learn the lessons and make sure she understands things. It is quite the experience. Raberta is really excited for the Halloween party or trunk or treat. She is going to be a witch and she gave us a preview of her witch laugh. It was so real it freaked us out. It’ll be lots of fun.

Daniel fixed his bikeWe experienced a little bit of the rainy season on Sunday and yesterday. It poured buckets of rain and then rained some more. We were tracking for part of it and got really wet. Lucky we had a dinner appointment soon and the members helped us dry off.It looks like I’ll be using my winter Mongolian clothes that I kept in my suitcase, so that works out well too. The wool socks have been a great investment. Steven’s rain coat he never used works really well.

I fixed up some broken bike fenders that were here in the apartment. I adapted a coat hanger and attached it to the bike. It wasn’t quite long enough so I cut some plastic off of a cinnamon roll case and it works just like a normal fender. I was very pleased with it so I sent a picture.

The scholarship looks great. I had no idea it was four semesters. That is even better! Sounds like everything will be taken care of for me.

Thanks for all the sacrifices you have all done to allow me to serve my mission. I know the Lord has blessed me as I have served and continue to serve.

Love, Elder Willoughby

Elder Daniel Willoughby is serving in the Washington Kennewick Mission. If you want to communicate with Daniel, write in the comments or use one of these addresses.

Rickety signature.

Kaysville City Police Station Bond

Kaysville City Police StationOn the Kaysville November ballot is a Special Bond Election for authorization to issue $4.5 million in general obligation bonds. The cost is estimated to be a yearly $32.97, or $2.75 a month, on a $258,000 residence. Currently Kaysville has no general obligation bond debt though there are long term liabilities.

The police, as I understand it, are empowered to enforce the law, protect property and reduce civil disorder. Kaysville has 20 full-time police officers. However, the current police station does not meet acceptable seismic standards and has no emergency operations center or secure IT area for the city.

At build-out the city will have grown from 26,000 residents to 42,000. There is no space at the police station to accommodate city and department growth. Problems also arise in evidence, records, and firearms storage; prisoner processing; secure parking; decontamination; training space; and other areas.

Although opposed to debt I also believe that the police and associated facilities are a most important part of any city. I therefore voted for the bond in early voting.

Consider that for $32.97 I get a shiny new police station compared with curbside recycling that would have cost me $46.20. If I had opted in, I would have had the same amount of garbage collected, but for more money. When one also considers that your garbage is already recycled into steam for Hill Air Force Base, which do you suppose is the better deal?

Kaysville City Police Station Floor Plan

Kaysville City Police Station Floor Plan


November 2, 2010 General Election Results:

For the Police Station Bond: 3,171 (43.1%)
Against the Police Station Bond: 4,186 (56.9%)
Rickety signature.

No Bears At The Zoo

Rocky Shores at Hogle Zoo

Rocky Shores will open Spring of 2012

We discovered at our last visit to Hogle Zoo that Tuff, Cubby, and Dale had been moved to the Oregon Zoo. Construction is proceeding on the Rocky Shores Exhibit, an extensive multi-animal habitat featuring polar bears, sea lions, seals and possibly other bears. According to Hogle Zoo:

Guests will experience unprecedented environmental immersion through realistic, cutting-edge habitat design. Educational information about the animals what they eat, their behaviors and instincts, and their future survival will be presented through interactive technology and innovative educational programs, adaptable for Zoo and classroom use.

Rocky Shores will be the largest exhibit ever created at Utah’s Hogle Zoo, and is a major step in its transformation to a 21st century zoo. (Hogle Zoo)

Rocky Shores construction

On our visit to the zoo on Wednesday Aurora and Bryson also saw the animals, rode the train, and clambered in the playground.

Zuri with mother

Zuri the baby elephant

Aurora encounters the Aldabra Tortoise

The shells of the Aldabra Tortoise are not very hard. Giant tortoises are slow moving, non-aggressive animals. Most of their time is spent foraging. Although the tortoises are primarily vegetarians, they will eat decaying animal matter. Paths to and from their favorite feeding and drinking areas are scraped into the soil by the massive shells. These tortoises can weigh up to 550 lbs. and shells up to 55 inches long. They live up to 200 years.



Splashing water

Train ride

Watch the video and see how intent Bryson is as he rides the train.

Rickety signature.

Missionary Dan Email #28 from Vancouver, Washington

Daniel by mailbox

Elder Powell and I have been doing great. We have continued to work to find those prepared for the message we have. With that we have increased our finding efforts and are seeking people who are ready to make commitments and leaving some behind that haven’t progressed for a long time. It has slowed the work up a bit, but in the long run will help the area the most.

We have one investigator that is 73. She always asks us when we come over that she feels something different about us and that she is comfortable around us. She is quite the crazy lady, but has a very sweet spirit. She came to church with us and loved church. She was a little more outspoken we heard in relief society, but nothing to worry about. :) I hope the best for her.

As a good brother would do, I knew that Jake was planning to get engaged for about a month now. With that it made me really think about extending for quite some time and made the decision rather tough. I think I said before, I really enjoy being a missionary so any extra time here would be great. So I went ahead and made a decision and found out last week when the actual wedding was.

As it turns out, I’ll be coming home December 14, my flight leaving around 1:15 pm (with some special arrangements from President). It seems it’ll be quite exciting having so many big events so close together. I don’t think I’ll have any jet lag from the flight for the wedding so that will be a bonus. Just think about it Mom, having one son get married and one come home from a mission is a great Christmas present that happens to be 10 days later.

I think I’ll count Rachel lucky. Usually there is a series of tests I do in order to see if I’d be willing to have a new sister-in-law. Adelaide did fairly well on the tests… ha ha.

Anyway I was thinking it would be a good idea to get my college figured out before then. What do I have to do? What information do you need from me? I think I can get permission from my President to arrange some things online here if I have to. I’d like to start as soon as possible to clear things out of the way. Especially since it is a week by week communication going on.

Thanks for everything you do family!

Love, Elder Willoughby

Elder Daniel Willoughby is serving in the Washington Kennewick Mission. If you want to communicate with Daniel, write in the comments or use one of these addresses.

Rickety signature.

Utah Early Voting

Early Voting

I left work around 4pm and stopped at the Davis County Library in Layton to vote early. I waited 25 minutes in line to get my electronic ballot and then another 4 minutes to cast my vote. There were 8 voting machines. Voters were taking a fair amount of time because there was a lot to vote on.

I figured out who and what to vote for beforehand so that I wouldn’t have to decide at the polling station. There are four constitutional amendments on the ballot. I voted for conservative candidates that I hope will cut spending and possibly raise taxes to achieve a balanced budget.

For information on voting I recommend the excellent website Vote.Utah.Gov. For the 2010 election results there is Utah Election Results.
Rickety signature.

Jake Executes A Flawless Inverse Proposal

Rachel and Jake

The short version: The wedding is on Wednesday 15th December 2010.

The detailed version: The proposal was kept top secret. No-one knew. Steven helped to figure the ring size from photographs by counting pixels. So he knew that a proposal was coming but he didn’t know when.

Jake explained to me in an exclusive interview for Rickety blog that he wanted to execute an inverse proposal. It works by asking for her hand in marriage at the beginning of the evening, and then the rest of the evening can be enjoyed as an engaged couple. It also contributes to being a complete surprise. I added that if she says no then you can cut your losses and cancel the rest of the evening.

Rachel, ring, and Jake

Once Steven had figured the ring size from pixels, Jake bought a cubic zirconium, to preserve the surprise, on Friday 8th October. On Sunday 10th October Jake knew he was going to ask Rachel that day but didn’t know exactly when. In Testimony Meeting at the Davis Park YSA Ward, Bishop Visser gave a strong testimony about not delaying important decisions. With that, Jake decided the proposal was to be done as soon as possible.

Jake drove Rachel towards her home but turned off and drove to their favorite hill nearby. Rachel noticed but didn’t think anything of it. Jake suddenly stopped the car and immediately got on one knee, showed the ring, and asked the question. Rachel was so shocked that she did not say anything for a long time. Jake eventually said, “You haven’t said ‘Yes’ yet.” Rachel responded, “Yes.”

The following day, Monday 11th October 2010, Jake took two of my home-made candles and arranged an Olive Garden-to-go candle-light dinner.

On Monday 17th October Jake and Rachel will pick up a ring (with a real diamond this time) that Rachel has chosen.

Thus was executed a flawless inverse proposal. Jake, you should work for the military.

Rachel and ring

Rachel by picture of Sarah

Rachel by a wedding picture of her soon to be sister-in-law Sarah

Rickety signature.

Work On The Jeep Is Winding Down

Jeep instrument panelsPaul wanted to have gauges instead of idiot lights on the instrument panel of his Jeep. The upgrade was supplied by A Howell’s Auto Wrecking in Ogden. In the photograph above you can see that the odometer is missing — and for good reason. Paul has to rollback the miles to match the odometer that is being replaced.

Stepper motorWhy not just switch the odometers? Because the replacement has a trip meter. The odometer has to be rolled back 108,866 miles (256,673.9 minus 147,807.9) and Paul explains how it is to be done.

The odometer is driven by a small unipolar stepper motor. The motor is so small it can be driven directly by the Arduino using the example code found here at Arduino. The four pins on the motor were wired to the Arduino and swapped until the motor started turning.

Unfortunately the odometer’s maximum speed appears to be only 600 mph (10 miles a minute) and so it will take about seven and a half days to rollback to the original mileage.

The trip meter has to be disabled as it will eventually halt all backwards progress.

Odometer connected to Arduino

At the equivalent of driving in reverse at 600 mph it will take 7.5 days to rewind back 108,866 miles.

This video is a little out of focus but you can see the general idea.

Everything is under control, typical of one of Paul’s projects. But he’s forgotten one important event to watch for. What is it?


Paul put together this live odometer streaming video which will rollback to the required mileage (147,807.9) some time on Sunday 24th October 2010. See if you can estimate the time, assuming it is running continuously.

Since last week additional mileage has been driven to bring the mileage to 147,950. The time this was reached was 10:48am on Sunday. Live stream discontinued.
Rickety signature.

Jeep Cherokee

Jeep CherokeePaul decided it was time he took up four wheeling so he bought a 1993 Jeep Cherokee. There was one problem — there always is: when Paul tried to shift into 4-wheel drive there was “a grinding and crunching noise,” as Paul described it, coming from the transfer case. This newly acquired 4-wheel drive vehicle would not go into 4-wheel drive.

Jeep Cherokee drive chain

Jeep Cherokee drive chain

Paul inspected the transfer case and found that the drive chain was loose. If you click on the photograph of the chains side by side, you will see that the old chain has stretched a good 3/8 inch longer than the new chain. Once the replacement chain was installed Paul had a 4-wheel drive Jeep that could actually drive four wheels.

There were a few minor issues like replacing the 90% water antifreeze with a 30% water mix, fixing the blower motor, and two new window winder handles.

Of course a quick test was in order so we headed to the mountains to check Paul’s repair work. It looks like he is good to go, judging from this superb video I filmed. Click here if you cannot see the video.

I took several photographs with the sun low in the sky which gave the Cherokee a definitely uncool pinkish color look.

Jeep Cherokee at sunset
Rickety signature.