Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Deseret Industries, affordability for the 2nd hand

Now is the best time to throw out your old, unused items and pick up someone else’s old and unused items.

Deseret Industries or DI, as it’s more commonly known, might be considered Utah’s prime thrift store. With 46 stores in seven western states, DI has provided thousands of people a place to recycle their old clothes, toys and other items. It also provides a store to “purchase inexpensive, quality merchandise in a clean, safe retail environment,” said the newsroom website for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The church established DI in 1938 as a nonprofit, vocational rehabilitation facility and a thrift store.

While shopping around the retail floor you might find a myriad of interesting products and smart shoppers. Last Friday, George Strong could be seen meandering around the old electronics, testing the boom boxes and filing through the videos and CDs. He had already picked up a couple of folding chairs.

“It used to better years ago,” Strong said. “Now if something doesn’t sell, they’ll throw it away.”

Strong, who shops at the store nearly once a month, said that DI used to mark down prices when items weren’t selling.

Susan Ruiz and her husband, Edgar, were shopping the aisle of odds and ends—containing such things as silverware, glassware, multi-colored plates, picture frames, and wooden decorative items.

“You just can’t beat the deals,” Susan said. “I don’t have to buy everything brand new again.”

Susan, who shops at DI a couple of times a week, is proud of the great deals she has frequently found. Last week she purchased a pitcher with a 22 karat gold rim for only 50 cents. She was going to sell it for much more than she paid for it.

Her husband, Edgar, from Latin America, was carrying what looked like a heavy, tall, pink lamp.

“She found this lamp,” Edgar said, pointing to his wife, Susan. “I’m carrying it all over the place.”

Saturday, September 27, 2008





Monday, September 22, 2008

The full package

What can you do with a pot, an apple, and a knife? Many folks might say apple cobbler, but BYU junior Benjamin Thompson has frequently used those items to juggle.

Claiming Idaho as home, Thompson recalls growing up with juggling balls. While his mother sat visiting with her neighbors, 12-year-old Thompson rushed into the house and exclaimed that he had just juggled fire. With a family of five boys and Thompson being the youngest, his mother wasn’t surprised when he shared his new achievement.

“My mom’s friends were dumbstruck,” Thompson said.

His dad was a professional juggler and he quickly picked up the skill. In high school his senior all-night party was the sixth all-night party he’d attended. He had attended five parties before that, performing juggling acts with his father.

Though he is skilled in juggling, another passion seriously took over early on in his life: Film.

Leaning back in a chair at the rear of BYU library’s media computer lab, a place he frequents often to train students in video editing, Thompson related how a TV commercial sparked his interest at age 9.

Watching TV, he had just seen Utah Jazz basketball player Carl Malone playing on the court. Then during a break, Carl Malone appeared in a commercial.

“I was like, ‘what the crap?’” Thompson said.

He was astounded at how quickly Carl Malone had changed clothes and gone from the basketball court to the TV studio. He didn’t realize that the commercial was a prerecording.

“I was interested in how they did things,” he said.

That statement now drives his continuous efforts to produce high-quality motion-graphics and moving film productions. He currently works for BYU Broadcasting, doing video editing for many of the station’s commercials.

With a successful record of hard work, a passion for film--which includes a dream to get a film in the Sundance Film Festival--and a hidden juggling skill, Thompson is a “jack” of some interesting trades.

“I’m the full package,” he said.

Monday, September 15, 2008

H2go woos customers with fuel-efficiency

For an English essay, BYU student Tyler Camp wrote about fuel-efficient cars. That essay turned itself into a business venture. Camp now produces fuel-efficient units for vehicles in nearly half of the states.

His company, H2GO Enterprises, creates and installs units in cars capable of providing better fuel efficiency, even 10 added miles per gallon in some cars. It works by producing a gas from the separation of hydrogen and oxygen in water.

“This gas serves as a supplement to a vehicle's normal fuel source,” the company’s Web site said.

Although the technology isn’t completely innovative, Camp has made each unit affordable and easy to install.

“We decided to make it a company and make advancements to the product and make it more user-friendly for the population base,” Camp said.

The national average for the price of a gallon of gas is now at $3.95 and continues to rise. H2GO’s new system will help students save money on the increasing gas prices, Camp said.

“My Nissan Xterra sucks gas,” said Kristen Kmetzsch, a Utah Valley resident. “If it honestly will save gas money, then it’s always nice to try something new.”

Camp and his business partners, Anthony Johnson and Trevor Slade, who are also BYU students, want to make the system fit any student’s budget. Johnson also makes a lot of headway by selling the product on Ebay.

Despite its claim to better fuel-efficiency and lower emissions, the system still gives some concern to students.

“I wouldn’t want my horsepower or torque to be affected,” UVU student Gabe Thayn said.

Thayn was interested in the idea but also said he was somewhat indifferent in actually adding one to his car.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Local Pangea Day - May 10, 2008

On Saturday Utahns gathered in Park City to watch 24 short films created by international filmmakers and hear speeches by celebrities and world leaders broadcasted from Los Angeles during a film festival about bridging cultural boundaries.

“Stories are powerful, and if we are to understand one another … in our increasingly small world, we must listen to and learn from each other’s stories,” said Queen Noor of Jordan.

The 4-hour film festival, named Pangea Day after the prehistoric supercontinent, was headquartered in Los Angeles and broadcast to apartments, theaters and venues across the world in seven languages. Other main locations including Cairo, London, and Rio de Janeiro also broadcasted music, interviews, and films.

The films showed a variety of genres and settings such as the conditions or ideas in the Middle East and Africa. They also covered interviews with people from many countries about subjects such as happiness, sadness, and laughter.

Many members of small audience in Park City’s Eccles Center showed interest in the event and said their understanding was benefited from watching.

"We are really basically all the same," said Utah resident Elise Lazar.

The event idea was initiated by filmmaker, Jehane Noujaim, who received the TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) prize which grants its winner $100,000 in an effort to fulfill “one wish to change the world.”

"How can films change the world?" said actress Cameron Diaz, "Well, they can't. But the people who watch them can."

A highlight of the event was a unison of beating drums from many different cultures, symbolizing the bridging of cultures into one heartbeat, said Mahtab Sohrevardi, who watched the event from the Park City theater.

Terri Orr, executive director of the Park City Performing Arts Festival planned the local broadcast after learning about Pangea Day during a TED Conference.

"It's time for us to start seeing possibilities instead of obstacles," said Orr.

Pangea Day was also a way to commemorate the Park City Eccles Center's 10th Year Anniversary, said Orr.

The Eccles Center was the only location in Utah that provided a public venue for the event.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Fables to digest

The Wildebeest and the Tiger

A curious young wildebeest was roaming the Savannah amongst a slew of Zebras.

"How nice are the zebras," he thought, "so gentle and loving."

The wildebeest watched them band together and rear their young.

Later that day, the wildebeest met a tiger. He was puzzled by this new creature but then noticed the tiger's stripes.

"You have stripes! You must be nice like the zebras," said the wildebeest.

"Yes I am," said the tiger.

Suddenly the tiger pounced on the vulnerable wildebeest. That night the tiger had wildebeest stew for supper.

Don't stereotype.

The Elephant goes to the Waterhole

Once upon an African year there was a great big elephant. Many of the other animals spoke to him because he was so great.

One day as he was making his way to a new water hole, a little mouse ran up beside him. The elephant walked while the mouse ran.

"Make sure you walk on the right side of the great canopy tree," the mouse cautioned.

"I will have the biggest gulp of water from the water hole," thought the elephant, not listening to the mouse.

The mouse ran off. As the elephant neared the canopy tree, he stopped for a moment. He thought he had heard someone tell him about the canopy tree. He dismissed the thought and continued on the easier path to the left.

On the left side was a hidden mud pit and the elephant plunged deep into the mud until only his head and trunk was visible. He was stuck.


The Poor Chameleon

"Why can't I be colorful and beautiful like the parakeet?" thought the chameleon.

"Why can't I have a great home like the ant hill? The ants have such a palace."

"Why don't I have the thick brown fur like the chimpanzee?" He continued to question.

Just then, black clouds rolled in and began dumping water on the forest. The chimpanzee's thick fur was soaked and he was miserable. Then a bear, wandering through the forest stepped all over the ant hill, crushing the ants' life work.
Finally a sneaky panther leaped from a low branch, caught the parakeet, and gobbled him up.

The chameleon was oblivious. While camouflaged from panther and with rain drops rolling off his lizard skin, he sulked his way up a tree twig. Sigh.

Accept who you are.

The Rope Bridge

Once there was a great rope bridge over a large crevice in the jungle. Day by day, the animals used the bridge to cross from one side of the crevice to the other.

One day the rhino began to cross the bridge.

"Stop, stop!" yelled a little finch. "A thread broke in the rope!"

"No matter," thought the Rhino, "it's just a thread."

The rhino crossed the bridge safely, but in so doing, another tiny thread in the rope broke.
Finch was the only one who noticed.

Later on, Giraffe came up to the bridge.

"Stop, stop!" yelled Finch. "Now two threads have torn in the rope!" yelled little Finch.

"What can two little threads do?" said Giraffe.

Giraffe crossed the bridge safely, but his weight snapped another thread.

Then Lion came roaring up to the bridge.

"Stop, stop!" yelled Finch. "Three threads in the rope have broken. It's too dangerous!"

"What can three threads do to such a strong bridge?" said Lion.

He walked speedily across the bridge but tripped. The momentum from his fall caused the left-side rope to snap--then the right-side rope snapped. Suddenly Lion was plunging down into the great river below the crevice. As he came bobbing to the top of the rapids, Finch came flying down. "Small broken threads mean a broken bridge," he said.

Small decisions can make a big difference

A Loafing Beetle

Once there was a beetle that was loafing along the bank of a stream.

He kindly asked a passing ant, "Will you fetch me some water?"

The ant, being overly generous, took a few steps to the stream, and scooped up some water for the beetle to drink. The beetle drank and the ant went on his way.

Then a gazelle strode up to the bank.

“Little beetle, will you bring me some water?” she asked.

“I am not your servant--get it yourself,” said the beetle.

The angered gazelle took one foot and squished the beetle.

Don't ask others to do something you will not do yourself.