Monday, August 29, 2005

The Biggest Hole on Earth!

Note: Click on any photo to see a larger version.

Related Links:
- See all the Bingham Canyon photos here.
- Read the Companion Post from Code Red Mama here.

You've probably heard of "The Greatest Show On Earth!", which is the tag line for the Wringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Well, here in Utah, we have the "Biggest Hole On Earth". The big hole is the open pit copper mine, located in Bingham Canyon. To give you an idea of the size, it is 2 1/2 miles across at the rim, and nearly 1500 feet deep! It is one of the two man-made features on the surface of the earth that can be seen by the naked eye from the space shuttle (the other being the Great Wall of China.)

My kids have been to the Bingham Canyon Mine Vistor's Center a couple of times over the past few years. Once as part of a homeschool field trip, and another time as part of a cub scout activity. I, however, had to work on both occasions. We call that a "No Fair" activity. Meaning that mama and the kids get to go, but dad has to stay home -- so its "No Fair" to dad!. I usually make a big fuss over these occasions, in a good natured way. Usually, the kids will graciously invite me to come along, which I am often times, but not always, unable to do. I like to make a big fuss over it, because it sends them the message that the places they are going, and the things they are learning are really a big deal, and that they are lucky to be able to go.

Anyway, I hadn't been to the copper mine for at least 35 years! Its a shame too, because the mine is probably about 10 miles away from my home.

Let's go back to the start of Saturday morning. Dawn Ann's sister, husband, and their four boys were here for the weekend. They drove up from Santa Clara, Utah on Friday night. Their plans Saturday were to go up to Snowbird to take advantage of the Summer resort activities available there. Our kids wanted to go with their cousins to Snowbird, but for a number of reasons, that just wasn't going to work out.

Meanwhile, Dawn Ann had been fighting a headache for a couple of days, and it was coming back again late Saturday morning. I decided to scoop up the kids, and go visit the copper mine. This would give mama some quiet time to herself, where she could take a nap, and get some rest. Hopefully, the headache would go away (which it did).

We arrived at the visitor's center just a little after noon on Saturday. As luck would have it, we got there just in time to witness some blasting in the pit (which they do 2-3 times a day).

We watched as we heard the noise, like a rolling thunder, as the blast occurred. Slowly, clouds of dust would rise over the next few minutes. We watched some of the trucks as they hauled ore to the rock crusher. They are about the size of a house, and can hold up to 350 tons of ore each. The large electric scoops that load the trucks weigh 2.5 million pounds, and can scoop up 98 tons of ore in a single bite!

As you can see, the size of a tire alone from one of these trucks is huge. One of these tires new costs upwards of $100,000.

We went inside the visitor's center and found a lot of interesting things.

One of the cool things in the visitor's center was this cool picture, made entirely of metal. The metals are of different types, all of which comes from the mine. They also had samples of the many products that are made from the minerals that come from Bingham Canyon. Copper is by far the largest commodity, however there are significant amounts of other metals:
" . . . the Bingham Canyon Mine has produced more copper than any other mine in history--about 14.5 million tons of the metal. Bingham Canyon is primarily a copper mine, but it has also yielded a bonanza in byproduct metals. These include 18.5 million troy ounces (about 620 tons) of gold, 157 million troy ounces (nearly 5,000 tons) of silver, 610 million pounds of molybdenum and significant amounts of platinum and palladium. The cumulative value of Bingham Canyon metals far exceeds the total worth of the Comstock Lode and the California and Klondike gold rushes combined. With production statistics like that, it's no wonder that the Bingham Canyon Mine has been nicknamed "the Richest Hole on Earth." (From

This display shows how over the last 100 years, much of a mountain has been excavated away.

Next we went over to the little gift shop, where they have all kinds of trinkets made of things from copper, and other materials from the mine. We each found something to our liking at the gift shop. After spending a couple of hours at the visitor's center and gift shop, Amy was getting a little tired and grumpy. We had originally planned on going up Butterfield Canyon to a mountain top overview of the mine. (As it turns out, the visitor's center is only about 3/4 the up the side of the copper pit!) Rather than having an unwilling (and grumpy - did I mention grumpy?) participant on what we hoped would be a pleasant afternoon, we decided to take Amy back home, with the idea that Bryan and I would go back to the mountain top.

When we arrived home, I told the kids to go in quietly, in case mama was still sleeping. Well, despite my good intentions, as soon as we walked in, the dog started barking, and mama woke up. The kids had to show her their new treasures, and tell their stories. Bryan bought a geode, with 3 compartments, and Amy bought a necklace made of magnetized hematite. (I'll talk about what I got at the gift shop in another post, later.) They told her about seeing the blasting and what we saw and did.

Fortunately, mama was feeling better. Her headache had pretty much subsided. I told her that we still wanted to go up Butterfield Canyon to the mountain top overview and see the copper mine. I mentioned that we could load the kids bikes into the back of the truck, and they could do a little mountain biking up top as well. Suddenly, Amy's grumpiness went away! Riding her bike on the mountain top seemed like something she didn't want to miss out on. We invited mama to come with us and get some fresh mountain air, and we were pleased when she agreed!

So we loaded everyone in the truck, and almost as an afterthough, we decided to take the dog (Strider) along with us too. We made the short drive up to the entrance to Butterfield Canyon, and started climbing the mountain. By the time we reached the top, it was some 15 degrees cooler outside.

On the way up, we were treated to some beautiful mountain views

Finally we got up to the top, and were able to see the copper mine from above.

The visitor's center can be seen in the distance in the upper-left portion of the photo.

Just below the center of the photo, is the where the ore hauling trucks dump their loads. The ore goes into a rock crusher, that grinds the raw ore down to pieces no larger than a soccer ball.

Once crushed, the ore is moved onto a conveyor system, that moves the ore through a 3-mile tunnel through the mountain. Once the ore exits the mountain, it travels another 2 miles above ground to the concentrator plant.

Once at the concentrator plant, the ore is further crushed to a fine powder for smelting.

Amy wasn't too sure about getting out of the truck and looking over the edge. Finally, she too, got out to have a look.

Meanwhile, the dog was able to get out and sniff around as well.

It was shortly after this, that our adventure going downhill took a plunge -- and we hadn't even started our descent down the road yet!

This is our terrier/poodle mutt named strider. He is a fun dog, and makes a great family pet. Here he is shown sniffing around. Later he would "mark his territory" all about. Finally, he decided to acquire a few scents of his own from this place. If you want to read about the dog's adventures, and why we almost wanted to leave him here on the mountain go visit Dawn Ann's Blog (In the Hot Seat) site to read the whole nasty story. Its really quite funny -- and most of what she writes is even true! (Warning! Her story has, shall we say, an Eewwww factor!)

Later the kids got to ride their mountain bikes down off the mountain (Amy for about 200 feet before she had had enough. And Bryan for about 3 miles -- and he still wanted more!) We followed along behind them with the truck to protect them from any vehicles coming down the mountain. They stayed well to the right side of the road to avoid oncoming traffic as well (except when they were near the stinging nettle bushes).

Finally, because of conditions with the dog, we had to scoop up kids and bikes and head home. The dog was suddenly in urgent need of a bath.

It was fun day being together. It didn't cost too much, and everybody but the dog had a good time! After the dog got his much needed bath, we BBQ'd some steaks that Dawn Ann had been marinating for 3 days. Nothing like a good barbecue to end a nice (mostly) day!

Friday, August 26, 2005

High Dive Dare-Devil

Diving Platform
Originally uploaded by David B..
Last night our son, Bryan attended a church youth group activity at the Kearns Oquirrh Fitness Center. There are 5 swimming pools there, and naturally the one he was drawn to was the dive pool. The water is some 20 feet deep!

He jumped off the regular 3 meter springboard. But was that good enough for him? OH No! He went for the 5 meter platform (with red flags).

He was so psyched about jumping off the platform, that he could hardly get himself to sleep last night. First thing this morning, it was still all he could talk about.

I suspect that Bryan will give a full report on his blog in the next day or two.

Meanwhile, the Utah Olympic Oval is adjacent immediately to the west of the Dive Platforms, so I decided to snap a few photos of this unique structure as well.

Utah Olympic Oval Architecture

This view of the Utah Olympic Oval shows the elaborate exterior support structure that was designed to give unobstructed views of the ice surface inside. There are no columns or pillars inside to obstruct the view. It may look kind of gangly (or like an exoskeleton) but it is really quite striking, especially when it is lit up at night. There is a series of cables anchored to the ground and then run up and over the roof, and are anchored to the ground once more on the opposite side of the building. These cable structures are what holds up the roof of the building.

This building is the 3rd iteration of the ice surface at this location. First, before Salt Lake was awarded the 2002 Olympic Games, an outdoor ice sheet was constructed. Original plans called for an outdoor pavilion-like cover over the ice sheet, with some bleacher seats to view the events.

After the Olympic Games were awarded, then they decided on building this building. But the first concrete slab for the ice sheet had to be jack-hammered out because of the unevenness of the cement (bad, freezing weather conditions during the pour).

Finally they got it right, and the project was completed. They lured away the ice-manager from the Calgary Sadledome (who worked on the Calgary Olympic Games) to come and manage the ice at the Utah Olympic oval. At the time of the Salt Lake 2002 Olympics, the ice here was the fastest in the world.

Utah Olympic Oval

As elaborate as this building is, it is completely paid for. The Olympic Games in Salt Lake resulted in a $100+ million surplus after all the other bills were paid. The Utah Olympic Oval was then ceded over to the Kearns Oquirrh Park Fitness Center. Some of that residual money from the Olympic Games has been set aside as an endowment to maintain this facility, and to provide for community skating and fitness programs.

(That beats the Olympic Speedskating Palace that was constructed in Nagano Japan for the 1998 Olympics. That one cost over $500 million -- the people of Japan are still paying off the debt to this day!)

The oval itself is so large, that they have two full-sized hockey rinks inside the oval. They can cover the hocky rinks, and then they can play indoor soccer here as well - two games at a time. There is also an indoor track for runners and walkers, which is especially nice around here during the winter time.

Derek Parra Gold

Perhaps one of the most memorable Olympic moments from the Utah Olympic Oval during the 2002 games was when Derek Parra one the Gold Meadal in the 1500 Meter Longtrack speedskating competition.

Its hard to believe that only 6 months from now, the Winter Olympics will be convened again. This time in Torino, Italy.

As for me, one of these days, I am going to take a Curling class at the Oval -- Just to keep in touch with my Canadian Heritage.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Its Hard to Watch

Its hard to watch.
The past few days, I have been watching the forced evacuations of Israelis from their homes in Gaza and the West Bank. Its hard to watch them being carried out, a soldier on each arm and leg. Some of the evacuees are literally kicking and screaming. Oh, the cries of a disenfranchised people. And to be turned out by their own people too!

Carried Away Kicking and Screaming

The government that had encouraged them to settle in these areas. The places where they built their homes. Dreamed their dreams. Drilled wells, cleared and plowed fields -- literally making the desert bloom! Their Synagogues, and sanctuaries. The places they had made holy. All demolished by Israeli bulldozers. Nothing left, but a pile of rubble.

Gaza Demolition

Their children were born here. Many of them knew no other home. Their parents died here. Their bodies are buried here. What will become of their dead. Will they be left where they are, to be desecrated by the Palestinians? Will they be exhumed and returned to Israel, like Jacob's bones?

Its Hard to Watch.

Soldiers Crying

And what of the soldiers. These are not heartless Nazis. These are real human beings, forced to carry out their orders, upon their own people, and hating every minute of it! Honoring their sworn duty, but relishing none of it. Many of them devastated by what they were called upon to do.

Its Hard to Watch.

And to what end? The Palestinians are already rejoicing! Hamas, a Palestinian Terrorist group are declaring victory! They claim that the Intifada has worked! Their violence, and terror against innocent men, women and children has worked! -- so they claim. Is rewarding them with land by withdrawing really going to end Palestinian Terror? Or will it serve to encourage it by allowing Hamas, and other similar organizations to further recruit, and further indoctrinate their people? Their goal: First to drive the Jews Gaza, and then from the West Bank, Followed by Jerusalem, and then the Jews driven into the Sea! Nothing short of the utter destruction of Israel will satisfy them.

What of the land ceded to the Palestinians? Will it ever bloom again? Is their any hope that it will ever approach the beauty that it once had? Or will it lie fallow, and the fields return to the desert from whence they came?

Its hard to watch.

When you think of pogroms past. Jews being driven from their homes. Visions of the holocaust. Injustices suffered at the hands of their own government.

Its hard to watch.

When I think of our own ancestors, who were driven from their homes in Missouri and Illinois, at the hands of the government sworn to protect their rights. I cannot help but feel for the losses sustained by these people. The feeling of betrayal by their government. My heart goes out to them.

Its hard to watch.
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Monday, August 22, 2005

We're A Whole Family of Bloggers!

Million Dollar Smile!
Originally uploaded by David B..
Well, last Thursday Dawn Ann finally broke down, and asked me to help her start her own blog! Good for her! I helped her get it set up, and she has already written 4 posts. She has named her blog: "In The Hot Seat". Go check it out! Now all four of us have our own personal blog. In addition, we have the Gospel Study Page, and the Family History Blog, for a total of 6 blogs between us.

Dawn Ann has already started networking with other LDS Homeschooling families, which is part of the reason she wanted to start the blog. See the Blogroll on her blog for more info.

Bryan has been making new posts to his blog as well. As part of our homeschool curriculum, Bryan is required to write a story, or journal entry each week, and post it on his blog. He has already made a couple of new posts. He has been able to dictate to the computer, using some voice recognition software called Dragon Speaking Naturally. This software transcribes his spoken word into virtually any windows based software. We are using MS Word for that purpose. Once the voice transcription takes place, he can then edit the text within MS Word. So keep checking Bryan's blog, because he should be making at least one entry, toward the end of each week.

I spoke in church today on prayer. I have posted my talk on the Gospel Study Page. Last time I spoke at a ward, I had a gentleman ask for a copy of my talk. I was able to direct him to the Gospel Study page. He even knew what a blog was!

I find that besides a repository of my church talks, that the links on the gospel study page are handy too. I have links to all of the lesson manuals for this year, as well as the on-line scriptures.

Perhaps the best resource of all are the links that go directly to the Church's web site. You can look up an Ensign article directly, if you know the month and year of the Ensign issue. Also, you can perform a search of the entire church magazine index (over 35 years worth of church magazines) based on key-word, or topical searches. I used this in preparing for my last talk. I found numerous articles (many of them General Conference Talks) on the topic of prayer. It has been really handy for me to use as a study aid. (Note: If you want to use the topical search, be sure to us Internet Explorer. I have found that it doesn't work properly with Firefox, or Netscape.)

Anyhow, just wanted to let you know about the status of our family blogs, and to welcome Dawn Ann to the Blogosphere. Happy Blogging everyone!

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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Moonset Over the Marsh

Moonset Timed Exposure 2:35
Originally uploaded by David B..
Did I mention that we spent a little time at the Marsh the other day? Oh yeah, I did!

Well, after escaping our confinement at the Waterfoul Refuge, we noticed that the moon was just about to set. The atomosphere was somewhate hazy, which caused the moon to have a reddish-yellow glow. We also discovered a pond that the moonlight was being reflected in as well.

I did several timed exposures. This one was for 2 minutes and 35 seconds. Click here for larger image.

The first picture I took that night was of the Big Dipper. It also happened to catch the North Star as well.

The Big Dipper
Click here for larger image.

This one was exposed for 10 minutes. When you view the larger image, you can see the North Star, and how it appears to be stationary. The stars appear to streak accross the sky more and more as you get further out from the North Star. The streaking, of course, is from the earth's rotation.

Finally I pointed the camera up to the azimuth of the sky, zoomed it in as far as it would go, and set the camera for a 10 minute exposure. This is the result I got:

Star Streaks
Click here for larger image.

If I had to do it again, I would have gone for a wider angle, and opened the aperature up a little more so that it wouldn't be such a long exposure. If you are trying to capture the Milky Way, you don't want a lot of streaking going on. I was kind of hoping, also that a meteorite would pass through the photo during the 10 minutes, but no such luck. It must just be a matter of chance to capture a meteorite. You would have to have the camera lens already open and pointing in the general direction of where the meteorites are coming from. Here is a picture of what I was hoping to capture.

We didn't have much time, for more photos. I would need to do a few more experiments to see what works best for time exposures at night. We'll have to plan on some nighttime photography on an upcoming camping trip. Moab sounds good to me!

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Sunday, August 14, 2005


Last night, we decided to go out to the Bear River Waterfowl Refuge to view the Perseid Meteor Shower. The Waterfowl refuge is about 15 miles to the West of Brigham City, and is far enough away from the major metropolitan area to be relatively free of light pollution. We arrived there at about 9:45 pm, and passed through the gate into the Waterfowl refuge. From the gate, there was a 12 mile loop road to view wildlife, that would have been nice in the daytime, but we decided to stay near the entrance, where there was a large turn-around place for trucks with boats and trailers.

When we arrived, it was still dusk outside, so we stayed in the truck for a little while to finish listening to a book on tape. Finally, a few minutes after 10:00, we got out of the truck. The first thing we noticed was the mosquitoes! Everyone (except me) slathered up in insect repellent. While they were doing that, I was setting up my new camera and tripod to take some pictures of the night sky, and perhaps get lucky, and capture a meteorite in a photograph.


You can read some Interesting
Mosquito facts here.

As I was working on the camera, the kids came running back to me: "DADDY, DADDY, THE GATE HAS CLOSED! WE ARE LOCKED IN!!! (I take a deep breath – don’t panic now!) I knew the gate was there, we were parked only about 50 feet away from it. I had figured that if the gate was to be locked, that some park ranger would come along and lock it. SILLY ME! The gate was automated, and probably was on a timer. My guess is that it clanked shut at 10:00 pm. while our attention was focused on the cute story we were listening to. After I got the tripod set up, I went over to investigate. The gate was on rollers, not unlike a chain link gate someone might have at the end of their driveway. It was connected to a motor drive, like a garage door opener. I walked up to the gate, hoping there was some kind of motion sensor that would open it from the back side. Nothing happened. I climbed over the rail fence next to the gate, and found a keypad, that if you know the combination, you could open the gate! I actually dialed a few random numbers and pressed enter to see if it would open. No luck there, either.

I walked back along the rail fence, maybe we could do and end run around the end of the fence! No luck there either. The fence was solid, and went right down into the water on both sides of the gate. Even our mighty 4x4 truck would not make a good amphibian.

As the kids and I walked back to the truck, we found that mama had already gotten back into the truck, and was furiously smashing mosquitoes. It was clear that she wasn’t game to be out with those mini vampires tonight! We all climbed back inside the truck (while brining in a bunch more mosquitoes with us). Mama and the kids had discovered that the mosquitoes were attracted to the interior lights, so they turned them on, to attract the mosquitoes to the lights, and away from us! Poor critters. Attracted to the light, only to be dashed or smeared into to pieces. Finally after the mosquito massacre was complete, the kids asked: “DADDY, ARE WE GOING TO BE HERE ALL NIGHT!” What do you answer at a time like this? The truth was, maybe we would be here all night. If the gate closes automatically, it surly must open again automatically in the morning as well. That is, except, what if its closed on Sundays? – It could happen, especially in Utah!

The next alternative would be to call for help. We did think to bring our cell phone. But who would you call. There were signs attached to the gate, but none of them included a phone number to contact incase of an emergency. I check my cell phone to make sure we had service, and sure enough we did! The only place I could think of to call was 911.

You have no idea how foolish I felt. I used to be a 911 dispatcher. I have heard all kinds of calls, from the sublime, to the ridiculous, to the horrific. Our call would be in the ridiculous category. (I can hear the dispatchers now getting a good laugh, or being annoyed at us, depending how busy they were.) Nonetheless, I had a family to think of, and not to mention my 7:00 am church leadership meeting to attend in the morning. If we didn’t get out of here tonight, I would never make the meeting. I could just see myself now calling the Stake President in the morning.

Me: “Hi President. Uh, I’m not going to make our council meeting this morning.
Pres: “Oh, why not?”
Me: “Well, I’m sort of stuck here just outside of Brigham City.”
Pres: “Can we send someone to give you some help?”
Me: “Well, no . . . I’m locked inside the Waterfowl Refuge. We’ve been here all night!”
Pres: “(Stifling a chuckle) “I see, well be safe, and get back as soon as you can.”

Later on at the Stake Welfare Meeting . . .

Pres: “And we’d like to excuse David B., he’s rather indisposed at the moment”

No, I couldn’t imagine having that conversation. It was a matter of embarrassing yourself before someone you don’t know, and will never see – or to embarrass yourself before someone who will razz you about it for the rest of your born days! I chose anonymous embarrassment, thank you very much! So I made the 911 call.

I explained to the patient 911 operator our situation. He didn’t laugh, and he wasn’t sounding annoyed either. What a professional. Anyhow, He told us that either someone would call us to tell us how to get ourselves out, or they would send someone over to let us out. The time was about 10:30 pm.

Meanwhile, it had gotten pretty dark out by now. I decided, well, if I’m going to be here, I may as well try taking a few photos while we wait. So I went outside and pointed the camera at the big dipper, and set the camera to take a time-released photo. The mosquitoes were all over me. I had to keep swatting at my arms and face. I got the camera going on a 10 minute exposure, and hopped back in the truck for shelter. Of course I brought more mosquitoes back into the truck with me. They turned on the interior lights, and started smashing, thumping and smearing mosquitoes.

Suddenly Dawn Ann hauls off and whacks me right in the middle of my forehead! Then she pulls her hand away, showing the bloody mosquito smear that was left over. Gee, thanks honey, I guess….

The mosquitoes were so thick, that no one wanted to sit outside in the lawn chairs we brought with us. (Note to me: next year when we want to observe the meteor shower – how about we go somewhere OTHER than a MARSH!) We all stayed in the truck and listened to some more books on tape. It got to be past 11:30 pm, and we had not received any word by phone, nor had anyone shown up to let us out.

Pearly Gates

We began to feel like we were in a prison camp, or like being locked out of the Pearly Gates! I decided to make another call to the 911 operator, to see any progress was being made on getting us out of here. I explained to him that no one had contacted us, and that we were still here waiting for help. He said he would check up on the status, and let us know.

I went out to retrieve my camera and tripod, and while I was out the 911 operator called back. He had finally made contact with the caretaker of the Waterfowl refuge. The key to getting past the gate, was to simply drive up to it! It had a sensor that could detect a vehicle present, and would then open. AUTOMATCIALLY! We had been sitting there feeling like jailbirds for a hour and a half, and all we had to do was drive up to the silly gate!

We had stayed in the truck, at our viewpoint just 50 feet away. We hadn’t bothered to drive over to the gate, but just stayed there so close to the goal, but not making it through. (I had walked over to the gate and tried to set off a sensor, but that was not the correct way. The sensor was smart enough to only open if vehicles approached it from the back side. I suppose that is to keep people from having someone walk around to the back side of the gate, trip the sensor, and drive on through, even when they were not supposed to.)

How many times to do we sell ourselves short of our goals. How often would we succeed if we would just keep trying that last little bit of distance. We could have left our confinement at anytime, if we would have just driven up to the gate!

I am reminded of the scripture, “Straight is the gate, and narrow the way” (Matt 7:14), which I think fits pretty well in this instance. We have to do more than just want things to happen. We can’t expect others to do things for us, which only we can do for ourselves. We have to take the initiative ourselves, and make things happen. But they must be done in the right way – the way the Lord has prescribed. Then we will find the way to freedom. Then the gate will be opened before us. And we will be able to pass on through, and make our way to our final destination.

In the end, we got home just before 3:00 am. I would have to function on about 3 hours of sleep. Oh well, at least it beats having that conversation with the President! As it turned the only birds we saw at the waterfowl refuge were us. Just us Jailbirds, that is!

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Saturday, August 13, 2005

Lovely and Amazing

Happy Girl!
Originally uploaded by Emily Elizabeth_.

In my blog reading last night, I found a new (to me) blog called Lovely And Amazing. The blog is written by the mother of a Downs Syndrome Child, Named Emma Jayne. Emma's mother, Emily Elizabeth, is a wonderful writer. I couldn't help but be moved by her loving thoughts and feelings about her precious child. I left a comment at her site, and I would encourage you to visit. Especially if you have, or know of, children that suffer from disabilities.

One post in particular, call The Dance, was particularly moving. Go ahead and read it, and see what I mean.

I felt compelled to comment on this post. In part, here is what I said:

. . . I must compliment you on being a very gifted writer. I especially found this post on "The Dance" to be particularly moving. Your use of language has a wonderful flow to it, and presents a vivid picture to the reader. I have a love of language, and your writing is almost lyrical.

I am also sensitive to the situation facing you and your family. Although we don't have a child with T21 (Downs Syndrome), we do have a son with several learning disabilities, combined with ADHD. We have had some struggles of our own, particularly with the educational system. Currently we have chosen to home school him -- thanks to the sacrifice my wife is willing to make of her time and effort.

Like you, we have come to appreciate and love our son for who he is, although we are still very concerned about what the future may hold for him. We are trying help him in any way we can.

I would suppose that is much how God feels about each of us too -- He loves us for who we are, knowing full well our weaknesses and shortcomings. He is concerned about our futures as well, and wants to help us through the challenges we face.

. . . My thoughts are with you, stay strong. Your undying and determined love for Emma Jayne really shines through. . .

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Thursday, August 11, 2005

What Would You Do?

I saw this question posed on a blog called Shades of Pink today:

If you had to choose between a million bucks or to be able to go back in time and fix all your mistakes which would you choose?

That's a really tough question. On the one hand, a million bucks would be really nice! I would pay my tithing first of all. I could pay off all our debts. Put Bryan in Private School. Buy a new house. Help my extended family. Maybe do a little (or a lot!) of traveling. I would also find some other worthy charitable organizations to donate to as well. Then I would try to save and invest a good chunk of it for long term savings. I would keep working though. I would not want it to disrupt my family life. Nor would I want the money to change me into a lazy do-nothing either. I might consider going back to school for awhile, and study some of the things I always wanted to study, and then working in a field, just for the sheer fun of it.

On the other hand, we can each thing of several things in our lives that we really wish would have turned out differently. We can look back on the pivotal moments of our lives, revisit them, and make the changes that would profoundly change the direction of our lives. I have made my share of mistakes and errors along the way. I guess we all have.

The only problem is, that if I were to rush in, and fix all of my mistakes, my life would be quite different than it is now. The things that bring my great joy now (my family) would probably not be the same. I might have ended up in a different profession. I might have married someone else. My children would not have been the children I have now.

I LOVE my family -- as it is now! I wouldn't change them for the world!

I like my job too. It has been a source of stability in my life for the last 22 years! Sure, I might be able to make more money somewhere else. But I love the people I work with! I enjoy my work. I have a great retirement plan and benefits. In another 8 years, I could retire with full benefits (at age 55!)

The hard times in my life, which largely came from my own mistakes, have been the things that have had a great deal to shape me into the person I am today. I have been humbled many times, and have risen from the ashes a time or two. I have learned to rely on God's help to get me through the hard times. I have learned to be grateful to the Lord for the good times. I wouldn't necessarily want to re-live the hard times, but I value and treasure the lessons learned.

Going back and undoing all of my mistakes, would also undo all the lessons learned. I'm afraid that I would be destined to repeat them again one day. There are certain things that God wants me to learn in this life. I believe that he has a path he wants me to follow. And even though I may have strayed from that path from time to time, he has gently guided me back. As I have repented, I have obtained forgiveness.

So even though it might be fun to dream how life would be different if we never made any mistakes, we would have failed to learn the things we needed to learn. We would not have had the experiences that help us to treasure the good, and despise the evil. Our character development would be far more shallow and incomplete.

Fortunately for me, my mistakes have not been what would be considered Cardinal, or Mortal sins. If, for example I found myself in Jail for murder, or some other grievous crime, I would immediately opt to be able to go back and fix my mistakes. The same would be true if a person had committed some great evil that had the effect of ruining someone else's life.

But for me, I would not necessarily want to go back and change every last turn of my life. Instead, I will press forward from where I am at. Realizing that I have been schooled by my experiences. Knowing I have made mistakes, but also knowing I have found Redemption as well in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Besides, who wouldn't want a million bucks!

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Fire and Explosion in Spanish Fork Canyon

This is a KSL TV Photo
A truck carrying 35,000 pounds of explosives rolled over while negotiating a turn in Spanish Fork Canyon (US Highway 6). After the rollover, a fire started on the hillside next to the truck. It only took 3 minutes for the fire to set off the explosives within the truck.

The Crater
The Crater

Deseret Morning News Photo

What was left in the wake of the blast, was a crater in the highway. Seventy feet wide and up to 35 feet deep! Also truck parts were blown up to 1/4 mile away.

There were several injuries, 5 people were evacuated by medical helicopters to local hospitals. Many others drove themselves to hospitals for treatment. Fortunately there were no deaths, and no life-threatening injuries. In fact most, if not all of those hospitalized have been released from the hospital (12 hours after the blast).

Needless to say, the highway is closed. They are working on it 24-7, and hope to have it open in a day or two.

Location of Explosion
(Click Here for Larger Image)
Area Map

Deseret Morning News image

Needless to say, you'll need to find an alternate route to Price, Utah, from Spanish Fork.

The Damages
(Click Here for Larger Image)
The Damages

Image from Deseret Morning News

In addition to the damages highlighted here, the concussion from the blast leveled many of the trees on either side of the canyon. a Motorcyclist who was riding close behind the explosives truck described the eerie feeling he felt as the concussion from the passed through body.

The 35,000 pounds of explosives originated from an explosives plant located some 25 miles away at the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon. Authorities indicate that they will be presented with a (rather hefty, I'm sure) bill for all of the damages, emergency crews, medical bills, and repair costs associated with the blast.

The cause of all this -- apparently the driver was going too fast around the corner, and rolled his truck. Brilliant!

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The Way it Was

The Way it Was
The Way it Was
(Click here for Large Image)

The photo above was originally taken by one of my brothers, either Mark or Doug. It had just one glaring problem. The "new" house (actually probably 25+ years old now!) that blemished the hillside.

So, I took the original photo, and got out my Photoshop tools (which is basically a digital darkroom!), and blotted out the house, and replaced it with similar vegetation found nearby.

Below is the original photo, with that nasty eyesore!

The Way It Is
The Way It Is
(Click Here for Large Size)

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Merit Badges From Bear Lake

Merit Badges From Bear Lake
Originally uploaded by David B..
Bryan was able to earn 6 merit badges while at the Scout Camp. We're really proud of his accomplishments there. Good job Bryan!

These are the merit badges that Bryan earned at the Bear Lake Scout Camp last week: Basketry, First Aid, Indian Lore, Leatherwork, Weather, and Wood Carving.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Bear Lake Camp Photos

Mosaic - Bear Lake Scout Camp

Here are some of the photos I took while I was at Bryan's Scout camp this week. You can see the set of Bear Lake camp photos here.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Big Bird

Big Bird
Originally uploaded by David B..
Our daughter, (and her mama for that matter) have fallen in love with a cockatiel named "Big Bird".

Big Bird belongs to a boy named Dallin. Dallin, and his 5 sisters and mom are visiting their dad who is in the Army Reserves. Their dad is currently working in New Hampshire for the Army full time, and he recently just returned from a stint in Iraq as well.

They needed a bird sitter, while they visited with dad for the Summer. The family will return in the fall and move to a new home about 20 miles to the West of us in Tooele. Dad will follow when his assignment is completed in NH.

Its going to be tough for the girls in our family to give up this bird. We have several parkeets, but the cockatiel is much more affectionate than the smaller birds. He snuggles up to them, and wants them to pet him on the back of his neck, and preen his feathers. He also likes to give them kisses. Sometimes if the girls are eating, the bird will reach over and take a bite of their food as it is en route to their mouths. And sometimes, the bird will try to share its food with them (which the girls graciously decline).

Its going to be tough for the the girls in a few weeks, when Dallin returns to reclaim his bird. Mama was heard uttering the other day, "I sure hope they forget about that bird -- so we can keep him!"

Bear Lake Snake Camp!

Great Basin Rattlesnake
Originally uploaded by David B..
My son Bryan, is camping this week at the Bear Lake Aquatics camp, on the East side of the Bear Lake in Northern Utah. I joined him for the first two days. He will be staying on until Saturday.

We saw two of these not too far from the camp site. Bryan spotted one that was cozying up to the privy, nearby. It was the same species as this, though it was smaller - it was about 2 1/2 feet long, and had only 2 or 3 rattles. Big or small, still a danger. The East side of Bear Lake is notorious for Rattlers, and we found out why! One of the first things the camp leaders did upon our arrival, was to review rattlesnake safety, and what to do if you see one.

I was glad to see Bryan follow the rules just as we were instructed. After hearing and seeing the rattler, he stopped, backed up slowly, and called for help. Good Boy! (Of course, the temptation for 12 and 13 year-olds, who are attending this camp would be to start throwing rocks at the snake, and chase it around, and get it really angry and far more dangerous.)

We called the camp staff, who sent out a crew to move/dispatch the snake. The one Bryan spotted went down a rodent hole in the to hide.

Shortly thereafter, another rattler was spotted at the campsite next to ours. The camp staff, who were still in the area, were summoned. This time they dispatched the snake (shot it), and hauled it away. Too bad I didn't get a photo of the remains.

It seems like wherever you go there are dangers out there. One of the BSA camps that our troop regularly attends, besides Bear Lake, is Camp Steiner, in the Uinta Mountains. The same day that we had our rattlesnake encounter, a scout was struck and killed by lightening at Camp Steiner, while sleeping in his sleeping bag under a shelter. From what I have heard, the scouts at camp Steiner were behaving appropriately, but the lightening still happened to strike in such a way that the scout was killed. Two other scouts were injured, but have since been released from the hospital and have gone home.

(Warning! Waxing philosophic now. Proceed at your own risk!.)

I would hate to have been one of those scout or church leaders (who sponsor the scout troop) that had to report to the parents that their child had been killed or injured. But what can you do? You can't just go to your room and hide! That's not living either! Thats not facing up to life and its challenges!

Take all prudent safety measures - YES!, Take no unnecessary risks - YES! But still live your life, and enjoy the great outdoors (and crossing the street, and driving your car, and going out in public, etc.). There are certain risks that we all take everyday of our lives. You never know when a truck (or disease, or illness, or fluke of nature) is headed toward you with your name on it! Really, any of us could meet an untimely demise at anytime. Each of us is given a certain amount of time in which to live on this earth. None of us knows how long our turn on earth will be.

The best we can do is to be wise and prudent in our actions. Make sure that we have given the best part of ourselves to our family and loved ones - let them never question our love and devotion to them. Make sure that each day is one that is lived to the fullest. And prepare ourselves for whatever God has planned for us after this life is over. If we have prepared ourselves wisely, then whenever the Good Lord decides to call us home, whether sooner or later, we will know we have done our best. We can depart with no regrets. If we are thusly prepared we have no need to fear that which is to come, but can look forward, with faith to the next great adventure.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

This Makes it All Worthwhile!

The Trophy
Originally uploaded by David B..
Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong clutched his new trophy for winning the Tour de France. With tears welling up in his eyes, he was heard to exclaim: "This makes it all Worthwhile!"

Lance was most apppreciative to receive this valuable handelbar accessory for his bike. Said Armstrong: "With a trophy like this I might just come back for number 8!"

It all makes one wonder, could handlebar streamers be on tap for next year?


(PS: You can see the real story here.)