How My Mom Taught Me to Program

If you don’t know me, my name is Ethan. I am Velda’s son, and I love to program. Really, my mom didn’t teach me how to program… she just helped me get interested, find tools, and figure out how to figure things out. Maybe these tips and tools will help you.

They say if you teach a kid more than one language when they’re little, it will always be easier for them to learn other languages. Same goes with programming: don’t let your kid settle into just Java, for example. Mix it up with some PHP, or even HTML and CSS. Mom even had us use different operating systems. Who runs Windows, OSX, and a few flavors of Linux all under one roof? We do.

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Keeping the Windows Warm…

I love my mountains, except when I can’t see them. Our lovely Utah topography — wide valleys with mountains on all sides and lakes in the middle — tends to trap gunky air in the wintertime. That lets in less light, which makes everything extremely cold. And the lack of normal convection means the air just gets gunkier and we get colder until a storm comes and knocks everything out. And then we start over again.

The single pane windows in my place are not standing up well to temps consistently below freezing, and sometimes below 0º F. So I’m sitting there near a window for the little light I can get — because it really is too cold and nasty to go outside — and seeing my breath fog the air. Not good. I called the landlord but got a “Sorry-Out-of-Luck” and our awesome maintenance person brought in more insulation, and a suggestion to hang up some room-darkening curtains or blankets. But I need LIGHT! So I whined a bit on Facebook last night, and my friend Ty gave us this idea: bubblewrap!


Ty suggested hanging it with water. I couldn’t get that to work until I tried hanging the stuff vertically, rather than horizontally (which I would have done in the first place were these side windows not such an awkward size). Once I did, that I had all of the stuff up and ready to go within about half an hour. We just measured sheets the height of each window, sprayed the window a bit, installed the sheets bubble-side-down, and then added more strips of bubblewrap til each window was thoroughly covered.

The heater is still running like mad. But, it’s actually starting to feel warm… and I’m liking that 🙂

Would you rather be… (by Ethan)

Would you rather be…

Stuck in an elevator with somebody who talks a lot?(A)
Stuck in an elevator with nobody at all?(B)

If you said (A) then you are probably extroverted like a dog.
If you said (B) then you are probably introverted like a cat.

Dogs usually like being with other people.
Cats usually like being alone.

My mom was scratching my head this morning and said, “Ethan, you are just like a puppy.” But I sort of think I am more like a cat.

Broken garbage disposal?

If your garbage disposal stops working, particularly if it’s been working fine and then one day simply dies, you just might be able to fix it yourself with the press of a little red button. Who knew?

Just like your hair dryer, garbage disposals have a GFCI: a circuit interrupter that shuts the device off if there’s a safety issue. If that safety issue was just a fluke, resetting the button will do the trick. You should be able to find the reset button just underneath the disposal. Just make sure the normal on-off switch is set to ‘off’ and that there aren’t any spoons in the sink, so you won’t have any surprises when the disposal starts running again.

Is this common knowledge? Well, my friend didn’t know, and had gone 3 weeks thinking her garbage disposal was broken before I fixed it tonight. I wouldn’t have known had my brother not told me. And he didn’t know before either: he figured it out when installing a replacement disposal for his mother-in-law, who’d gone without for ages.

So if you didn’t know, well, now you do, and knowing is half the battle. Maybe someday it’ll save you or a friend the cost of a new disposal or visit from a repairman. 🙂

Burning Calories

I just joined the Biggest Loser contest at UVU. The person who loses the highest percent of their initial body weight wins, with prizes each week as well a grand prize at the end. My problem? A woefully efficient metabolism. No matter how much I’ve exercised and dieted, the weight doesn’t drop. My body is very good not only at living within a very tiny caloric budget, but also at saving some of those calories for later. The net result over a few years of living off 900 calories per day? 5 more pounds and zero energy.

So my goal is not only to lose weight, but to figure out how to get myself a spendy metabolism. And the wise words of my friends mom are seeming to make more and more sense. Continue reading “Burning Calories”

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