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Monthly Archives: May 2008

Happy “Blogoversary” to Me!

One year ago today, I decided to take my first foray into the blogosphere (or as some call it in the Mormon world, the “bloggernacle”). I was unsure about posting my random thoughts on the Internet for the world to see (what’s the point of that?), but then I thought, why not. So I took the plunge. Now 366 days later (leap year), I have a large collection of posts on a wide variety of topics. This also happens to be my 100th post, giving me an average of about two posts per week.

I have enjoyed the ride and expect to continue my internet musings for my benefit, if nothing else. You see, I haven’t been a really good journal keeper over the past few years and this blog has helped me to actually write down some of my thoughts. And instead of making a record of what I did, where I went and what I ate (which has been the defining characteristic of most of my journals over the years), this blog has been a place where I pick a topic of interest to me and write about it. It’s a great way to record my thoughts, although perhaps they don’t reflect my true self completely since I do have to edit my ramblings for a general audience.

I don’t know who reads this apart from a few family members and friends. I’m sure a number of random people come across it when searching for stuff (my top search terms are purple crayon, running and beard — go figure. I have written on a variety of subjects from weight loss (and gain) to technology to popular culture. I’ve written a few posts about politics and religion, although I don’t intend this blog to be a place to persuade people to accept my views — it’s just a creative outlet for a wannabe writer who has recently become a banker…

Anyway, I intend to keep up the blog and make my posts more interesting, insightful and humorous. After all, I want my children and my children’s children to be proud to say that they know the author of “Andrew’s Amazing Blog!”

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2008 in Random Thoughts

 

200,000 and Counting

Almost nine years ago, I bought dark green 1995 Toyota Camry. As I drove it around during those first few “honeymoon” weeks, I thought I was in heaven. It was SO much nicer than the electric blue Ford Escort that we had been driving which Robin brought to the marriage. That Escort had a manual transmission which I didn’t know how to drive when we got engaged and it also had pink rancing stripes and swirls on the side. Talk about two ways of emasulating me during the first two years of our marriage — making me feel foolish that I hadn’t learned how to drive a stick and driving around in an obviously “girly” car!

Anyway, I had always viewed Camrys as almost a luxury car, and so I was thrilled to find a used one at Mark Miller Toyota in Salt Lake for $10,000. At the time it had just about 70,000 miles and it felt like new. It looked so great and had such a smooth, comfortable ride. I loved it.

Well now it’s not so new. In fact, just today the odometer passed 200,000 miles. It was such an exciting moment had to take a picture of it with my cell phone. Do you realize that 200,000 miles is like driving the car eight times around the circumference of the earth at the equator (which is approxmiatley 25,000 around)? Pretty insane, eh?

I have really been blessed with this car. Besides regular maintenance expenses like tires and oil changes, I have probably only spent $1,000 on this car over the past nine years — that’s it.  Toyota makes awesome cars, as does Honda.

I probably won’t keep driving it to 300,000 miles since it would be nice to get a new car at some point in the future. This Toyota is getting a bit old. The interior is getting dingy, the paint job is fading and it doesn’t have much “get-up-and-go.” A few years ago I had to rip some of the carpet out after a gallon of paint spilled on the floor of the back seat (that was an aweful experience). And it has long since lost it’s new car smell. 🙂 But it sure is nice not to have to make a car payment, and so I’ll probably keep driving it until it starts costing too much to maintain.

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2008 in Random Thoughts

 

Shoes Make the Man?

So today I attended a training with a bunch of branch managers from the bank on various deposit products for businesses (checking and savings accounts) and somehow the trainer got on the subject of dressing for success. One veteran branch manager discussed that while many people think it’s okay to go “business casual,” bankers really ought to wear a coat and tie all the time to project professionalism. I supposed I agree that clothing does have an impact on the way that people perceive you. I have been wearing a tie every day for the past six weeks and it’s been an interesting adjustment for me. No more golf shirts or casual Fridays… 😦

Anyway, during the training class, another person spoke up and said they think a person’s shoes make a real impression since people often look down at your shoes when you shake their hand. It was suggested that shoes were the foundation one’s personal appearance and that they say a lot about one’s character. Suddenly I was keenly aware that my shoes were scuffed up and somewhat shabby looking that day. Yikes!

The trainer was a very fun and entertaining black lady from Missouri who confessed to us that she owns 270 pairs of shoes! Now, perhaps she was exaggerating, but still, I believe she must have A LOT of shoes! Amazing. I can’t imagine having that many shoes. I have thee pair at any given time: black, brown and gym, along with some sandals. But since I don’t want to be viewed as having a scuffed up, shabby character, I had better invest in one or two more pair. And I really need to resist the temptation to buy from Payless Shoes. Is it possible that I can spend $50 on a pair of shoes?

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

Sign of the Times

So I’ve been with the bank for just over a month now, and I have to say that I am loving it. Each day presents a new challenge. I am learning so much about banking and business. I feel like I am stretching myself in new ways and that I am using my talents and developing new skills. It’s wonderful. My goal is to spend 10 hours per week with the other business banking officers (about 2 hours per day) learning from them as they go on sales calls, analyze financial documents and submit applications. I have also committed to 10 hours per week of personal prospecting to new clients, either on the phone or in person, as well as five hours per week doing visits to existing bank customers. The remainder of my time is spent in various activities from on-line product training and conference call classes to team meetings and coaching with my manager. Every day is different. I’m in two or three different bank branches every day, not to mention a myriad of other locations around the valley with prospects, clients, bank branch managers and other business banking officers. So different from the 8 hours each day I would spend in front of my computer in the same cubicle at my last job!

Anyway, yesterday I stopped in to visit a customer by myself and afterwards I decided to canvass the area to introduce myself and find some new business. I was in an area of South Salt Lake that was somewhat ghetto and I came across an auto repair shop that had a big sign in front which was written on a detached truck hood. I had to snap a picture of it…

Yes, that’s my new job — to see if companies like this one would like to get a loan or move their savings accounts to us. I imagine my manager would suggest that this is not the profile of business that we are looking to establish a relationship with! I am simply posting this picture here to demonstrate the wide variety of places that I visit in any given day with my new job. So interesting!

 
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Posted by on May 16, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

New Brazilian Temple

When I was a young LDS missionary serving in Sao Paulo, Brazil, we got word that a new temple would be constructed in Recife. After nearly 15 years, the Sao Paulo temple would no longer be the only LDS temple in Brazil. It was electrifying news for all of us who were serving in Brazil in the early 1990s because the construction of temples is a good indicator of growth and the strengthening of the church in a particular area. It wasn’t until a few years after I arrived home that the Recife temple was actually dedicated. Now there are temples in Sao Paulo, Recife, Campinas and Porto Alegre. This morning I read about the completion of the Curitiba, Brazil temple and plans to construct a temple in Manaus. This is fantastic news for the Brazilian Latter-day Saints since it brings these special houses of worship closer to them. Here’s a photo of the new temple:

Click here for more information on the Curitiba, Brazil temple.

Last week, my brother Matt and I attended a temple session at the Jordan River Temple in Portuguese. It was a treat to be able to listen to the endowment in the language of my mission, the language where my testimony of the restoration of the gospel flourished.

What a blessing it is to have temples so close to us! The Jordan River Temple is literally five minutes away from my home in Riverton. And in the next few months, two more temples (Draper and Oquirrh Mountain) will be dedicated within just a few minutes of my house. Another five temples (Salt Lake, Bountiful, Mt. Timpanogos, Ogden and Provo) are within an hour’s drive, with two others (Logan and Manti) within a two-hour drive. And yet, it’s not always easy to make the time to go to the temple. I am sometimes ashamed that because of the “easiness of the way,” religious devotion is sometimes neglected. I remind myself of stories of Brazilian saints who traveled for days on boats and buses to attend the temple. And I have a five minute car ride? Wow, that makes you think!

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2008 in Spirituality

 

Self Check-Out

As people who know me can attest, I love technology and how it has the potential of making our lives better and easier. I love cell phones, the Internet, digital cameras, computers, DVD players, iPods, etc. However, some inventions DO NOT seem to accomplish that desired result. Take for example the self checkout stations at grocery stores. Don’t get me wrong, I love the technology behind this little kiosks, but in practical terms, the self checkout stations just don’t work very well, especially if you have multiple items and/or produce. They are great if you have just one item and you want to get in and get out quickly.

However, it seems that whenever I try to use these kiosks, I get stuck behind some moron who can’t figure out how to scan things or to pay for their stuff. Then, sometimes, I AM that moron! When that happens, it’s embarrassing and frustrating. (i.e. “Please place your item in the bagging area…” and “Please insert cash or select payment type…”) I often feel that I can get my stuff paid for more quickly if I go to a live checker. But that isn’t always an option. At Albertson’s earlier today, there was one live checker and FOUR self-service kiosks. That didn’t seem right to me…

The silly thing is that while the stations seem to be intended to replace humans, but they end up using just as many people since they need at least one person to hand-hold people through the process since people are often confused about and can’t figure out how to make those systems work.

According to a recent article in the local paper, the new Wal-mart that is opening up in Riverton in two weeks WILL NOT have the self-service kiosks. The store manager said that people just didn’t like them that much in other stores and so they were opting to hire more checkers. Interesting. I once worked as a checker at Macey’s grocery store in Sandy, and I think the service checkers can provide is essential. It can never be replaced by a machine, no matter how sophisticated.

One technology that I think would be really cool is RFID technology, where small radio frequency identification tags would be embedded into all your grocery items. Then you could take your cart to a scanning station and it would detect ALL the items in your cart and instantaneously and get you on your way. Of course, you’d still need to bag it and I’m not sure how it would work with produce since I wouldn’t want electronic chips embedded in my celery…

“Pay at the pump,” however, is the greatest invention ever! (Well, that may be a bit of an overstatement, but it is pretty sweet.) I love not having to go into the convenience store. Pay at the pump is almost like buying your gas from a vending machine. I’ll never buy gas again with cash or check!

 
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Posted by on May 3, 2008 in Uncategorized