Category Archives: Out there

Let This Day Be Recorded In History

Well, yesterday. Something epic happened yesterday.

When we moved to our house a couple of years ago, we kept the 4 wheeler with a snow plow attachment because the driveway is just to big to want to do with a shovel.

The 4 wheeler is a lot of fun. I hadn’t been on one since I was about 14 (and that wasn’t a good experience). In the last couple of years we’ve gotten some great use out of it.

However…. a couple of weeks ago, when we had a massive storm, the cable from the winch broke. No cable = no plow. Not good for the supposedly 8 inches from that storm.

I thought I fixed it a couple of nights ago (new snow storm)… but putting little bracket thingies on a wire cable is a lot harder than it looks. I think I didn’t have the right tools, and I know I didn’t have the right strength… and so once again, the plow was unusable.

The right answer, instead of trying to use the old cable, was to get a new one. The old cable was frayed, and the end didn’t have an appropriate loop to failsafely secure the hook (that hooks on the plow, or anything else).

Fortunately, I found ONE replacement cable in the entire area. This was a rope (designed for ATV winches) instead of a metal cable… and then I spent about six hours replacing the cable.

Job 1 was to take the old winch out. Online there are plenty of videos showing how to replace the cable without removing the winch, but I didn’t know what model winch I had, and there are enough nuances that I felt I needed to see the whole thing. Turns out, there was no way I could have fit my hands where the winch was to remove the old cable even if I wanted to… it’s pretty tight in there.  This took… too long. But I got it out.

Job 2 was to remove the old cable, which is like a metal rope with slivers all over the place. Good thing I shot my arm with a nail gun a couple of years ago while building my chicken coop… which means I am up to date on my tetanus shots!  Then, I put the new rope on… not once, but three times! Once while the winch was out (shouldn’t have done that), then a second time after I put the winch back. But, I forgot to put one key fixture on, and had to take the cable out, put the key fixture on, then put it back on (for a third time). Now I know that I can replace the rope the next time without taking the whole thing apart.

Job 3 was to put everything back together and clean up the mess. This is the most harrowing of the three jobs. Back when I was a kid I took apart a watch and wasn’t able to put it back together. This scarred me and has made “putting it back together” a seemingly impossible task. But, amazingly, I was able to put it all together without having any left over hardware. This truly was epic.

Also to be noted was that I had and could find all of the tools I needed for this entire job. I did not take one single trip to Home Depot.

So yesterday, February 6th, 2019, man card was punched. And today my body is sore :p

Grandpa Alba and Me

Here’s a picture from many, many years ago.  My grandpa died while my family was were overseas – I must have been around 12 or 13 years old.  Before that I remember seeing him a couple of times, but that’s it.  We didn’t live close to where they were.

The stories of him and his family, though, are legendary.  He had an impact on a lot of people, and apparently had this smile all the time.

As for me, I think I look a bit mischevious.  Look at those cachetes!  Chale.  And that shirt.  Geesh… where can I find one of those now?


Dr. William Beaumont: The Stomach Expert

For over 20 years I’ve been intrigued by the story of Dr. William Beaumont.  I heard this story when I was in middle school and I’m sure I was on the edge of my seat when I watched the movie in class.  I think this was the beginning of my awe of the discovery of modern medicine… how did we figure this stuff out?

So I don’t spend another 20 years trying to remember the name or details, here are two resources:

The wikipedia page of William Beaumont (aka, the Father of Gastric Physiology)

A two minute video with the story in a nutshell (this is the best I could find):

Pretty cool story, huh?

Saving Diet Soda, One Study At A Time

Check out this ridiculous headline:

Diet soda helps weight loss, industry-funded study finds

Oh. My. Gosh.

The study was apparently funded by the American Beverage Association.  Shame on University of Colorado for entertaining this study and taking that money.

There are plenty of articles about the horrid  affects of the chemicals in diet sodas… is that worth losing a few pounds?  By the way, here’s the logo for this study:



Definition of Charity, from LDS Humanitarian Services

Charity is a funny word.

In the U.S. our culture has us define charity as giving something (money, clothes, food) to people in need.  No one wants to be a “charity case.”  People want to give charity, but only when it is safe.  For example, many people at church give money to people in need (usually considered to be giving charity), but when a person in need shows up, what do they do?  In this article you can see that giving charity in an envelope is easier than being kind, Christ-like, etc. when a person in need is in front of you: ‘The congregation was besides themselves’: Mormon bishop dresses as homeless man to teach flock a lesson

I’m not saying that people should have flocked to him, opened their wallets, or hugged him all day long… remember, this is the same area where Elizabeth Smart was abducted by a homeless person.  Coming from an FBI family I have been taught to be skeptical, etc.  What I’m saying is that “charity,” especially this worldly, traditional definition, is a lot more complex than it seems.  Especially with articles like this: Undercover video shows panhandler turn donations into drugs

Contrast all that skeptacism with the idea that we are supposed to be charitable… so what does that mean, and why?  How do we do it without being conned, or supporting things we don’t agree with (or can’t afford ourselves)?

In LDS scripture you can read what Mormons are taught about “charity” (reference):

45 And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

46 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—

47 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.

That’s pretty good stuff, huh?  How is this put into action?  Here’s a wonderful quote from someone who works in the humanitarian offices of the LDS church.  Aside from the definition from scriptures above, and the idea of charity as giving things to othesr, she goes to the heart of WHY (reference):

“Charity is more than aid,” said Sharon Eubank, director of Humanitarian Services and LDS Charities. Referring to a story about the church’s humanitarian efforts after World War II, she said, “It emphasizes dignity, human worth, cooperation, unity, sacrifice and the assurance that no one is too poor or too disabled or too marginalized to contribute something of value.”

I love the “it emphasizes…” part.  Charity is not just about a bite to eat or clothes to wear, although those can be lifesaving and critical.  Charity emphasizes:

  • dignity
  • human worth
  • cooperation
  • unity
  • sacrifice
  • and helping people “contribute something of value.”

This list of whys is really quite empowering to the human soul.  Empowering one human can touch so many lives.

I love what I’m learning about charity, both as a “pure love of Christ,” to the core of who I am, and as a “giving” to empower people.  What a great list of reasons to give.