Friday, December 07, 2007

Rise and Shout, the Cougars are Out

Not to bring up any sore subjects - but here's the latest email from my Dad. OK, actually I am trying to bring up a sore subject. Hee, hee, hee......

There is always a lot of talk around Utah about the "holy war," also known as the annual BYU vs. Utah football game. For the last two years BYU has won in the last few seconds with amazing plays--this year a long pass completion on 4th down and 18 yards to go with seconds left. Some folks here in Happy Valley believe BYU's victories are a sign of Divine intervention. I personally think it is just luck on the field and see no indication of religious significance. Take for instance, this picture of this year's long pass reception by recently returned missionary, Austin Collie. I see no indication of anything but good football. Dad

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Lime Away

I'm stinky and sweaty right now because I just expended a ton of elbow grease cleaning hardwater stains off my shower walls. My parents come into town tomorrow so, of course, I'm madly trying to do away with 4 months worth of buildup from no deep cleaning. I'm not known for my housekeeping skills. (Anyone in my family or anyone who has lived with me just gaffawed and yelled, "d'ya think?!") It's not that I'm a total pig. I do the dishes (although I sleep very soundly with dirty dishes in the sink. They'll still be there in the morning, or the next evening after work) and I vacuum and clean bathrooms. But I don't really deep clean. But I actually enjoyed it tonight! And the whole time I was doing it, I was thinking of ways to motivate myself to do it more. Because my house would look awesome! And then I found myself actually aspiring to being obsessed with cleaning, because then I would do it all the time. I'm obsessed with cooking, so Sammie and I eat very well. And I'm obsessed enough with reading, crossword puzzles, and other word games that I think I'll ward off Alzheimers until I'm 270. And I'm obsessed with knitting, crocheting, and cross stitch, so we have cute Christmas stockings (that Phoebe ate, did I blog about that?), some afghans, a lot of scarves and I even now have a beautiful sweater that I made! Wouldn't it be nice if I also had a clean house?

Tonight I also kept thinking of my sister Carrie's favorite quote by Erma Bombeck (a woman who really understands what it's all about): "Housework, if you do it right, will kill you."

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Cost Accounting is truly fascinating. To me, at least.

School is going well. My apologies to everyone who I completely ignore – I’m just too busy with school to talk to any of you. ‘You’ in this case is pretty much everyone besides Melba – who actually doesn’t get near as much of my time as she would like. And even then, it’s usually me explaining something to her that I think is really cool and she thinks is really nerdy.

This weekend I was slammed with homework to the point that I gave away my football tickets because I needed THE ENTIRE weekend to work on homework. Don’t worry, I still watched the game on TV – while I did homework. Friday night was all about the homework too, as was most of the day today, except for dinner because we had friends over. Here is the conversation Melba and I had (verbatim) after dinner:

Sammie: Melba, thank you SOOOO much for doing the dishes. You are so wonderful.

Melba: You’re welcome.

Sammie: Seriously, Melba. I have been struggling with this accounting homework since Friday night. Thank you so much for making the meals and doing the dishes. Just for that I owe you thanks. But especially because it gave me time to finish this assignment.

Melba: You’re welcome. (And then she walked over and kissed me.)

Sammie: The good news is that I’ve figured it out and I must say – this is absolutely fascinating stuff.

Melba: (With a really sly look on her face) Well, since I’m so wonderful for doing all of the dishes all weekend – can I get out of hearing about what you’re learning?

She laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed and I think you get the idea………

PS – Don’t think I only did Accounting homework this weekend – I also finished my Risk Analysis and Decisions, Economics, and Communications homework, too.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Sammie's claim to not-so-fame

Sammie loves to tell people that he played a gig with the former drummer of the P-funk. The who? Exactly.

Friday night, we were sitting in the PSU Creamery eating ice cream with our friends, the Kidds. They've been our partners in crime for many adventures and we were thrilled that they came to visit us in State College. Ever since we met Jeremy Kidd, he has been going to finish his doctoral dissertation in economics in the next couple of months. That was two and a half years ago. It's not like he's been idle, he just graduated from law school with honors and passed the Utah Bar. And he and his wonderful wife, Heather, are very involved in church service, playing games, buying dvds, and buying bookshelves to store their dvds and books. Sammie loves to tease Jeremy about the dissertation and the subject came up at the creamery. The conversation went something like this:

Sammie: How old are you?
Jeremy: 33
Sammie: Law school's only three years. How come you're only just graduating? Oh wait, you spent 7 years NOT getting a PhD in Economics.

(Laughter and guffaws from the spectators - me and Heather)

Jeremy: Well business school is only 2 years. How come you're just starting when I'm finishing law school?

(More laughter, oohs and aahs, from spectators)

Sammie: Well, while you weren't getting your PhD in Economics, I was out playing a gig with the former drummer of the P-funk.

And this is where I stepped in. As we stood up to throw out our ice cream bowls (which were licked very clean), I stopped at a nearby table, excused myself, and asked if anyone there had heard of the P-funk. From their blank stares, it was obvious they hadn't. Sammie tried to help them out: "Parliament Funkadelic? Parliament? George Clinton?" Nothing. It was hopeless.

We laughed all the way to the car. And laughed as we got in the car. And were still laughing when we stopped at the kiosk to pay the parking attendant. As Sammie handed her the parking ticket, he made one last attempt to salvage his dignity: "Excuse me, have you heard of the P-funk?"

We held our breath. Sammie's ego hung in the balance. Had he actually brushed greatness during his rock star career in LA? Did he achieve enough status that he is now a "has-been"? or is he simply a "never was"?

"The P-funk? No. Should I have?"

We laughed the rest of the way home and, well, pretty much all weekend.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Juniata College

I love the campus of Juniata College, where I am teaching freshman composition. It's in Huntingdon, which is about 45 minutes south of State College. It's a beautiful drive, although the combination of a 2-lane road and slow PA drivers sometimes makes me crazy.

Here's my office

And this is an outside view of Quinter House, where my office is. A few weeks ago, I held student conferences in the rockers on the porch.

My classroom is in Good Hall, which faces the main quad of the campus.

And this is looking up the sleepy little street that runs right through campus.

And, finally, I convinced one of my classes to pose for a picture. This is my "11:00" class. They're my favorites. :)

ps - sorry about the weird formatting. Blogger is making me crazy...

Monday, October 01, 2007

Oh how I love my Melba. Let me count the ways...

What am I doing right now? Well, duh – homework. Let me catch you up quickly on my wife… What is she doing now? Here’s what she is saying – and she’s not being funny here – she is REALLY mad. ”Oh my gosh, I’m going to hit somebody! This isn’t X-Men – this is commercials. Why are there so many commercials? I want X-Men! This channel is supposed to be showing X-Men – they’re just showing commercials! It’s like 20 minutes of commercials for every seven minutes of X-Men.”

This reminds me of what she said last week as I sat on the couch doing homework while football was on. This is a direct quote from Melba after I incorrectly stated the conference Penn State is in. “Sammie, Penn State is in the Big Ten, not the Pac-10. (Loud burp) When are you going to cook me steak?”

X-Men is now back on. I just asked her, "Melba, do you want to know what I'm posting on the blog right now?" Her response, "Can you tell me during the next commercial?"

I'm not kidding here.

Our New Home
We've been promising to post pictures of our new house in State College. Last Saturday I had a Relief Society birthday brunch here and, since the house was somewhat clean, I took pictures. The first is the front of the house. Nobody lives next door yet, so we take advantage of the extra driveway.

I didn't take any pictures of the front entryway cuz it's all still boxes (Mom's project when she comes next month is to help me decorate it). Here are pictures of the living room, kitchen and dining rooms. Complete with "Happy Birthday" sign (a Christmas present from my sister Lindsay) and orange rolls waiting to go in the oven.

The upstairs has three bedrooms. First, the master bedroom

And then the Master Bath, complete with full jacuzzi tub (one of our big reasons for buying the place)

The second bedroom is Phoebe's room (although we hope to someday displace her with another occupant) and the third bedroom is our study/studio/mess. I gave up waiting for this room to be clean to take a picture of it. Studies just aren't meant to be tidy. Especially when they're associated with me.

These are pictures taken from outside. The first is the cornfield at the end of the street. The second is Beaver Stadium as seen from just outside our subdivision. The view's a little different from the one we had in Northern Virginia...

It looks like we live out in the middle of nowhere, but we actually only live on the edge of nowhere. We're also very close to Walmart, Sam's Club, Nitanny Mall, Bed Bath and Beyond, and, most significantly, Barnes and Noble.

Finally, a picture of the lampposts. We first looked at this house at the end of a long day of househunting. We already pretty much knew which place we wanted to buy, but, of course, wanted to see the rest of the options. We drove into the subdivision and I immediately noticed the lampposts. Then I saw the red shutters and the stone facing on the house. Then the kitchen and the large master bedroom. Finally, I saw the jacuzzi tub. That clenched it and here we are!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

They warned us about this. Some people just don’t listen.

In one of the career workshops we had during orientation I clearly recall the strict instruction that we are to watch how much we drink when recruiters are around and no matter what you do – DON’T TALK TO RECRUITERS IF YOU’VE HAD TOO MUCH. Don’t get the wrong idea – people here don’t need to drink to get ready for an interview. This is in reference to the socializing events that are set up – dinners, bowling, tailgating, etc – either by corporate recruiters or by the business school when the recruiters are here. I didn’t pay much more attention than that because I don’t drink – but I understand now why this needed to be said.

The tailgate before Saturday’s game was sponsored by Dell who happens to be one of the biggest recruiters on campus. It is the target company for many and a lot of students showed up to the tailgate to talk to these recruiters and/or drink a bunch of free alcohol. Anyways, I walked up to introduce myself to the main recruiter there and just before I got up to him, someone else introduced himself to the recruiter. I don’t know the guy too well because he is a 2nd year and I don’t know his name so I’ll just call him ‘Stupid’.

After a brief ‘Hi, my name is ____”, this is what Stupid had to say. I’m paraphrasing here because in his drunken stupor he went on for a while and used a whole bunch of profanity that I won’t repeat here.

“Dude, I’m probably going to forget you but don’t be upset at me. I’m on this experimental medication that’s really screwing with my mind and the doctors just can’t get the right dosage for me. I’ve been on it for a while and my GPA has really started slide for it – I’m down to like a 2.57 which really stinks and I want to get it higher, but my brain just doesn’t work. I just can’t remember anything. That’s why I’m telling you now that I’m not going to remember you. Like, I’ll go to party on a Saturday and meet somebody and then I’ll be hanging out with my friends a few days later and see the person and not remember them at all and my friends are like, ‘Dude, you are such a jerk! How can you not remember this person?’ And it’s not like I’m trying to forget them, my brain is just really messed up because of this medication.”

After about 3-4 minutes the recruiter, out of sympathy, I think, stopped Stupid from speaking and said to him, “Buddy, you really need to work what you tell people like me. We just met a couple of minutes ago and all I know about you is that your GPA stinks, you’re not going to remember anything about me, and all of your friends think you’re a jerk.”

I had to bite my tongue, no kidding, while Stupid stood there processing what he’d just been told. He tried to talk his way out of what he had just said – but c’mon, is it really possible?

Now I know what some of you are thinking. Sammie, if you had of gone to BYU you wouldn’t be having to deal with people like this. My response? All the more reason to be glad I’m at Penn State. I like having people like Stupid talking to recruiters right before I do. I can only imagine how good it makes me look.

OK, time for the Statistics Review Session.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Long time no blog...

It was so fun to see so many of you this past month in Utah or California or both. We had a great trip! It was fun to come home to our own place and to be mostly moved in. We'll take some pictures of our new house soon and post them. It's looking good!
Sammie's painting the bedroom right now. I was "excused" from painting because it goes faster without me (kinda makes me feel like a small child...). Phoebe wasn't much help either. I spilled some paint on the drop cloth we were using (probably another reason I was excused from painting.) Both Sammie and I stepped in it but were careful to cover our feet before walking on the carpet. Phoebe wasn't quite so careful. We found little red paw prints leaving the bedroom and going all the way down the stairs.

Fortunately, the paint came up quickly with water. I already think it's funny but it may take Sammie a little more time to laugh.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

We Made It

So, for those of you who have been wondering, we made it to PA on Saturday. No, I'm not turning this into a journal entry -- but here is the quick story. We packed like crazy all last week. I blew my knee out Thursday night from a REALLY hard hit in ultimate frisbee and that put me out of commission all day Friday. Good thing for us that our friends Jon and Becca Brodegard were able to come by and help us pack. I use the term 'help' rather loosely here -- Jon pretty much busted his butt all day and finished the packing for us. I could pack boxes, but I couldn't use the stairs (let alone, walk) or move anything. So we relied heavily on Jon's strong work ethic and good nature to finish everything for us. We took them to PF Chang's for lunch to say thanks -- I know they weren't expecting anything in return, but for the help they gave it was really the least we could have done.

The movers came Saturday morning and Phoebe almost got sent back to the shelter. She barked at every mover, every time they came in or out of the house. Melissa's friend Julie came by (thank goodness) and was a big help with watching Phoebe and keeping Melba from stressing out too much. The move went well and we were all unloaded Saturday night around 8:30. The guys who came were all really friendly and took extra care to make sure nothing got damaged. (It's now Wednesday afternoon and we haven't found any damage.)

With no food or fridge in which to store food, we said our prayers Saturday night that we would get a dinner invite at Church so we wouldn't have to break the Sabbath and go out to eat -- we got 2 dinner invites at Church. The ward is pretty small compared to the Falls Church Ward. The Bishop is a High School friend of Melba's and he had told several people we were coming -- there was a warm welcome when we got there. It's nice to know that two strangers can show up to Church on Sunday and have all of our needs taken care of.

Now we have a fridge, washer, dryer, Internet and cable TV. I've reassembled all of our furniture and hung up blinds on all but 2 windows. Melba has got the kitchen in order and is batting 1.000 on meals cooked so far. That's not too surprising though considering that we've been married for 2 years and so far she has only cooked one meal that I didn't think was absolutely delicious. I'm really glad that she has such a nice kitchen now with so much space -- she loves to cook and now she doesn't have to worry about where to find counter space :) Each day we seem to find a couple of small things that need to be repaired and the builder has been really good about getting someone out here within a couple hours of us calling to complete the job. (In Virginia we were lucky if a contractor came within a couple of days of requesting service.)

The closing on the Dover Park condo went fine on Monday -- so we're officially out of Virginia. But I can't really say that we're official Pennsylvanians yet because we haven't gone to the DMV to get new licenses or plates...

With any luck we'll have the house in order by the time we leave on vacation. I'll post pictures once we're done.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

What good is marriage if not to raise one's self esteem? I uploaded some videos of our gig on Saturday to YouTube. (click here and here for the videos) My wife looked at my YouTube profile (you have to have one to upload stuff) this morning and made it a point to show me what YouTube has to say about me. Apparently, I have no favorites, no suscribers, no freinds -- and YouTube has no comment on the matter.

Here is what the screen showed:

Boo-hoo :(

ps -- there are two more videos (much better than the first two I uploaded) but I have have to figure out a way to shrink them down before I can upload them.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

My Bio

I've been going through my work computer and cleaning out all of my personal files before I give it back to SAIC. It's funny how stuff I had completely forgotten ever having suddenly becomes too important to get rid of... Anyways, I digress. I found a word file called 'Sammie's Bio' and I couldn't remember what it was. I opened it and found a bio I wrote for my band, Barefoot, for our myspace site which never ended up working that well. BUT, the bio is still pretty funny. Here it is:

Possessing arguably the largest ego in Barefoot, bassist Sammie Markham brings to the band years of experience including performances for crowds numbering in the tens, an award from some free paper homeless people use for blankets, and a whole slew of lip service that makes him sound really important.

Sammie’s first attempt at professional music was auditioning for cruise ships in the Pacific. It was a complete success, except for the part about performing on an actual cruise ship. He ended up playing with The Whaling Humpbacks on a fleet of Alaskan fishing boats. Since money was tight, all labor for the band (except the actual playing) was outsourced to India. The Whaling Humpbacks abruptly ended their tour when Sammie broke a string on stage and the band learned from the roadie (who lived in Calcutta) that the repair would take at least 6-8 weeks. Sammie thought his career was over until he discovered that his brother’s college roommate once worked for a guy whose uncle lives in the same neighborhood of the former manager of a band whose back-up singer once saw Clive Davis’ valet in a coffee shop. The connection, albeit distant, would prove to be the turning point of an otherwise doomed career.

Putting The Whaling Humpbacks into his past, Sammie donned the performing name Vernon P. Funkweiler. He formed his new band, Funkweiler’s Funkadelic Funktones from Funkytown, and was signed instantly. After 5 albums and 3 World Tours Sammie was at the top of his game, until the drummer’s roadie leaked a well-guarded secret to the tabloids. The world would soon see the now famous Enquirer headline Vernon ‘Pee’ Funkweiler and Sammie’s bed-wetting problem would become water-cooler talk from Patagonia to Tahiti.

The record company left him, the band left him, the money left him and all was lost until an endorsement offer came from Johnson & Johnson for Sammie’s personalized line of custom-made bed pans. Sammie invested his money well and moved to the city where personal failures and shortcomings are quickly forgotten and never exploited – Washington DC. A weekend trip with Jesse Coleman to see a free Twisted Sister concert led to the creation of a mosh-pit, which led to Jesse losing his flip-flops, which led to the creation of a search party for said flip-flops, which led to the frustration of wondering why Jesse would lose his stupid flip-flops in the first place, which led to trying to be an optimist, which led to finding something good that could come from this, which led to the decision to call the name of their band 'Barefoot'.

Sammie currently spends his free time cross-stitching, trying new recipes and scrapbooking old memories. Wait – that’s actually what his wife does. He spends his free time doing the dishes, trying to get his wife interested in the 4-5-1 soccer line-up and helping his wife understand why buying new bass guitars is really an unselfish act done purely in the best interests of their future children.

Editorial Comment (from wife): I don’t scrapbook. Sammie never complains when I try out new recipes on him. And does anyone know where I could buy some waterproof (or pee-proof) pajamas?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Phoebe Delilah

We got a dog! We've been searching for the past few weeks, trying to find a corgi. After a few disappointments and near misses, we finally found a pembroke welsh corgi from West Virginia. She was being transported to a rescue in Sterling, VA. We called the rescue every day last week to make sure she was still coming, and then Sammie called three times on Saturday until she finally arrived and they said we could go pick her up. She's beautiful! And very sweet and playful. We're going on lots of walks and playing lots of catch.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Those of you who were on the Israel trip with me will remember that on June 7th (our second day in Galilee) I was exceptionally stressed out about something. I finally opened up to Melissa about it after making her first promise that she wouldn't get mad at me when I told her what it was. I was stressed out because that was the day Penn State Football tickets went on sale. I had given my good friend, Steve, my log in and credit card info so he could get tickets for me while I was gone. I was stressed out about whether or not Steve would be able to get them for me -- I knew he would try his darndest and if anyone could get them, it would be Steve, but still, this is PSU Football and isn't therefore easily put into the back of one's mind even if you're in Israel. Well, Steve came through like a champ and got the tickets. Thank you, Steve.

Now that I'm back in the States I've been going over some PSU MBA message boards and a few people have posted that they didn't get tickets. Then I found this. I really owe Steve big time. I mean talk about your all-time bottom of the ninth, two out, bases loaded grand-slams. I don't know if I've ever sought after something with such high demand...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Have We Met??

Since Sammie and I are still getting over jetlag, we have been going to bed before 9 and sleeping deeply until about 5. In the middle of the night, I had a horrible cramp in my leg and sat up in bed. As I tried to put pressure on it to relieve the pain, I cried out a little bit. Sammie sat up, concerned, and said, "What's wrong Sarah? I mean what's wrong, Elizabeth?"
Even through the pain of the cramp and the grogginess of the rude awakening, I knew something was wrong.
"My name's not Sarah or Elizabeth."
"What's wrong...(pause) Melba?"
The next morning, after jumping on me to wake me up (you may have read about that from a previous post. It has now become a tradition), I asked him about the middle-of-the-night incident. He said, "Oh yeah! I remember forgetting your name!"
I'm not sure which side effect of traveling is worse: "Pharaoh's Revenge" on our digestive tracks or forgetting a spouse's name...

Monday, June 18, 2007

Home Again

We're home from our trip to Paris, Israel, and Egypt. We had a great time!! Sammie woke me up this morning with this poem (referring to our night train ride to Luxor):
Rock-a-bye Melba
On the night train
When the bumps come
Your butt feels the pain

When the food comes
You can't eat a bite
Or you'll be up pooping
For all of the night
While we're very glad to not be in Egypt anymore, we are already homesick for Israel. The following picture expresses our feelings about not being in Israel anymore...

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Hey! We're in the Holy Land. Check out the Boyer Family Israel blog at See you when we get home!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Keep Buying Gas From Exxon

Melba got the below email a while ago. If you've already read it, which you probably have, just skip over it. I changed the color so you'll know what is email and what is me.

GAS WAR - an idea that WILL work This was originally sent by a retired Coca Cola executive. It came from one of his engineer buddies who retired from Halliburton. It ' s worth your consideration.Join the resistance!!!! I hear we are going to hit close to $4.00 a gallon by next summer and it might go higher!! Want gasoline prices to come down? We need to take some intelligent, united action. Phillip Hollsworth offered this good idea. This makes MUCH MORE SENSE than the "don't buy gas on a certain day" campaign that was going around last April or May! The oil companies just laughed at that because they knew we wouldn't continue to "hurt" ourselves by refusing to buy gas. It was more of an inconvenience to us than it was a problem for them. BUT, whoever thought of this idea, has come up with a plan that can really work. Please read on and join wi th us! By now you're probably thinking gasolinepriced at about $1.50 is super cheap. Me too! It is currently $2.79 for regular unleaded in my town. Now that the oil companies and the OPEC nations have conditioned us to think that the cost of a gallon of gas is CHEAP at $1.50 - $1.75, we need to take aggressive action to teach them that BUYERS control the marketplace..... not sellers. With the price of gasoline going up more each day, we consumers need to take action. The only way we are going to see the price of gas come down is if we hit someone in the pocketbook by not purchasing their gas! And, we can do that WITHOUT hurting ourselves. How? Since we all rely on our cars, we can't just stop buying gas. But we CAN have an impact on gas prices if we all act together to force a price war. Here's the idea:For the rest of this year, DON'T purchase ANY gasoline from the two biggest companies (which now are one), EXXON and MOBIL. If they are not selling anygas, they will be inclined to reduce their prices. If they reduce their prices, the other companies will have to follow suit. But to have an impact, we need to reach literally millions of Exxon and Mobil gas buyers. It's really simple to do! Now, don't wimp out at this point.... keep reading and I'll explain how simple it is to reach millions of people. I am sending this note to 30 people. If each of us sends it to at least ten more (30 x 10 =3D 300) ... and those 300 send it to at least ten more (300 x 10 =3D 3,000)...and so on, by the time the message reaches the sixth group of people, we will have reached over THREE MILLION consumers. If those three million get excited and pass this on to ten friends each, then 30 million people will have been contacted! If it goes one level further, you guessed it..... THREE >>>>HUNDRED MILLION >>>>PEOPLE!!!Again, all you have to do is send this to 10 people. That's all. (If you don't understand how we can reach 300 million and all you have to do is send this to 10 people.... Well, let's face it, you just aren't a mathematician. But I am, so trust me on this one.) How long would all that take? If each of us sends this e-mail out to ten more people within one day of receipt, all 300 MILLION people could conceivably be contacted within the next 8 days!!!I'll bet you didn't think you and I had that much potential, did you?Acting together we can make a difference. If this makes sense to you, please pass this message on. I suggest that we not buy from EXXON/MOBIL UNTIL THEY LOWER THEIR PRICES TO THE $1.30 RANGE AND KEEP THEM DOWN.

If the fact that this is an email forward does not immediately make you realize it is false, well, listen up... Whatever you do, don't forward stuff like this to others. You just might end up accidentally forwarding it to someone who knows what they are talking about who then sends everyone a witty 'Reply To All' like this (which I wrote and had Melba send out as a Reply To All).

It’s funny to me how the laws of supply and demand hold true in situations like this, yet they seem to frequently be either disregarded or misunderstood. Here’s a quick refresher of Econ 101. The price of a product is always directly correlated with the level of demand – as demand goes up or down, so will the price. Price is also inversely correlated with supply – as supply goes up, price will go down and vice versa.

This email suggests that price will be reduced by reducing demand to one provider of a given product, ExxonMobil. (There is an insinuation that ExxonMobil currently posses a large market share by saying, “they are the two biggest gasoline companies,” however, combined they only have about 15% of the market.) The email also states, “If they [ExxonMobil] reduce their prices, the other companies will have to follow suit.” This is the claim’s major fallacy. Price is only reduced when there is a reduction in the overall demand – the action taken by followers of the email will only create a shift in demand.

US refineries currently produce nearly all of the gasoline consumed in the US with the remainder imported. This ensures that the refineries will always maintain profitability by not overproducing. If the demand for gas shifts away from ExxonMobil to other providers, those providers will not only be forced to raise their prices (increase in demand yields a raise in price), but they will also need to buy gasoline from ExxonMobil so their supply can meet their demand. This latter action will keep ExxonMobil running at its regular demand and therefore not have the need to drop their gas prices as predicted by the email. The largest potential effect (which isn’t actually that large) of the suggested collective action would be reduced profitability to the individual owners of the gasoline stations – most of whom get the bulk of their profits from the goods in the convenience store, not the gasoline. But that’s a totally different issue.

Just for fun, let’s assume that ExxonMobil was forced to drop their prices. The effect would be an increase in demand as their gasoline is the lowest priced, not the predicted boycott continuance. For example, if every gasoline company priced their gas at $3 per gallon except for ExxonMobil who priced theirs around $2.50 per gallon, well, do I need to say where cars would line up to get their gas? And as stated previously, why would ExxonMobil keep the prices low if everyone was shopping at their store? They wouldn’t. They would increase their prices to the match the market level.

The email also neglects other demand factors like location and brand loyalty while presenting an ineffective approximation of the general public’s gasoline price-hunting indifference curve (as most people do not check multiple prices before making a purchase) but I won’t go into any of that here. This is really nothing more than a quintessential illustration of the inherent problems naturally intertwined with a planned economy; replete with moral hazards, proletariat disobedience, and an inability to effectively manage and control individual behavior. I hope this quick lesson in economics and the ‘unseen’ side of the gasoline supply chain has expanded your understanding on the topic.

Nothing like the free market, huh? :)

Even funnier is how people will put more faith into an email forward than the laws of supply and demand. Maybe this isn't very funny -- well, we haven't posted in a while and I had to put something up here. If you don't like it -- blame Jeremy. He was the one who said I should post this.

PS -- our condo sold. We're definitely moving now.

Saturday, April 21, 2007


OK, here's a funny picture for you. Before I tell you what happened, I want the record to state that we have no idea if the guy or the girl was driving.

Melba and I went hiking this afternoon (not a cloud in the sky) and upon returning to our condo we saw a police car in the parking lot. Hmm, that's not normal, but not unheard of. The cop was blocking a few open parking spaces. Again, not normal, but not unheard of. Then we saw a car that was in the planter of the main office to the apartments across the parking lot from us. Definitely not normal, but usually only seen in funny email forwards :)

I had to get a picture of this, but I could tell that both people were rather embarrassed by what had happened -- not to mention that this will most likely be a financial burden to them. So I got my telephoto lens and from our balcony I poked through the railing (I would feel bad if they saw me) I was able to snap a picture right as the cop pulled away and right before that tow truck pulled into his place -- had I not been there at that perfect moment, I never could have snapped this fascinating picture.

I just laughed and laughed and laughed -- but held it in until the people couldn't hear me. Again, I would feel bad if they witnessed my joy at their misery. (I know what you're thinking -- no snide comments about my exploitation of their misery by posting it on the web for everyone in the world to see.) So here's the picture. If you can't tell -- the car is in the planter, perpendicular to the parking spaces. Looks like the driver pulled into a space, but hit the gas instead of the brake and went up the steps, turned to the right, drove over the banister and into the planter. Fortunately, there weren't any ambulances which means nobody was hurt.

If you have a funny caption for this photo, please post it in the comments section. I don't know who reads this blog, but I know a lot of people do because after I wrote about my star meter on being down 43% or something, it went up like 431% the following week. So let's see those funny captions!!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Star Wars Opera

I went to an Opera at the Kennedy Center last night. It was Wagner's Die Walkure with Placido Domingo as tenor. It was FABULOUS! My friend, Anne, and I had a wonderful time!

I got home too late last night to tell Sammie about it, so this morning, we had the following conversation.

Sammie: (after rejecting my suggestion that we hold opera day and sing all of our conversations operatic style) How was the opera?

Melba: Oh it was fabulous! I totally loved it. The singing was...

S: Really? Compare it to Barefoot, so I have something to measure it by.

M: (Laughing.) That's like apples and... (As I searched for an appropriate comparison, I saw the Star Wars pillow that Sammie had thrown at me when I sang "good morning" to him.) storm troopers! It's like comparing apples and storm troopers!

S: Really? Barefoot is apples and Placido Domingo's a storm trooper?

M: (laughing)

S: Placido Domingo was in an opera about Star Wars and you didn't even invite me?

Some people just don't appreciate culture.

Friday, April 06, 2007

I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues...

Well, I think my 15 minutes has very little sand left in the hour glass. I got bored today and for no real reason went to and looked myself up. I think I was just curious to see if I was still there. (I still am.) I found out that they now have this new thing called a "Star Meter" which ranks how popular you are. My Star Meter is down 43% percent from last week.


Now I think my self-esteem is down about 86% after learning that. Don't worry -- it isn't. I guess there just aren't enough cyber geeks into films released straight to video in Europe to get my Star Meter up to a respectable level. Life goes on.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Coolest Website on the Internet

With the billions and billions of websites out there (OK, Steev, please correct me if there are trillions or quadrillions or whatever) who would've thought that the coolest one -- out of ALL of them -- would be the website for the US Postal Service? I'm not kidding.

And if you think I've re-routed you with this link, just type it into your browser. This is the actual, true, bona-fide webpage for the US Postal Service. I don't know how long the site will stay like this -- I hope for a long time...

I actually did not discover this, I owe a big thanks to my mom for pointing out :)

Monday, March 19, 2007

Home Sweet Home

Melba and I went up to State College on Saturday to look at homes. We mostly just wanted to walk through what we had looked at on the internet and narrow the search down to 2-3 places. We saw several units and none of them were what we were looking for -- until we got to the last one. It was perfect. Because it was a new development, we went and looked at some other ones that were available and decided on one. It was a good price and we were ready to take it. Then the listing agent showed up...

Melba and I were upstairs and we were listening in on her conversation with our agent, Ryan. He played his cards well and didn't let her know we had made our choice. Thank goodness. When Ryan said we had looked at several places in the city and we were 'thinking' about unit 103 -- the listing agent responded that they had just knocked off $10,000 from the price of that unit. That made it significantly less than any other one we had looked at all day! We're faxing/emailing/signing all of the documents today. We're excited. Here's a link to the homepage so you can see more about where we're going to live for the next two years.

Ours is an interior unit with some slight changes from what is shown on the webpage. We don't have the wall in the master bedroom that comes out from the closets -- I'm talking about the wall that makes you wonder why it would ever be installed in the first place. And we don't have an island in the kitchen or a raised celing in the master bedroom. We'll move up there in July -- you are all welcome to come visit.

Now if we can only have this much luck in selling our current place...

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Shameless Plug for My Best Friend

(Well, best friend up until I met Melba...) Anyways, here's the latest email from Travis.

Hey one and all,
I don’t want to take too much of your time, but I wanted to let you know about a short film I’ve been working on. A guy I work with, Matt Henderson, wrote it, I directed and many kind, wonderful friends helped out as well. It was made for entry into a reality show to find “the next big film director”. Anyway, check out this link.
You can vote for or rate it if you want, but at the very least take a look, and see what I’ve been up to the last few months.
Thanks, and have a swell day.

If any of you are wondering -- Travis is the one who spoke at our wedding and had people laughing so hard the boat nearly tipped over. He also has been known to say things like, "Sammie, there's something I need to tell you, but I mean it as an insult and I'm worried that you are going to take it as a compliment..." I took Travis with me when I first had dinner with the Boyers. I was left wondering what they thought of me -- especially since all I heard about after that dinner was how much they loved Travis and how great Travis is and how Travis can come over whenever he wants and whenever I come over I should bring Travis.

Anyways, shameless plugs usually say something like, "Watch my video and please vote for me -- if you think mine is the best. I mean, you can vote for whoever you want, you should really just vote. But I'd like for you to vote for mine." (And yes, I have heard that very line straight from the mouths of campaigners for our beloved politicians...) The point is -- I'm not saying that here. I'm saying go vote for Travis' film. And if you don't think his film is the best, well tough. Vote for it anyway. He's my best friend and his film is darn good and if you don't like it then you've got serious problems.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Give up?

It took me a long time. Well, at least two of them did. I got "Burp a gay sock" pretty quickly. It's "Pack your bag." For the other two, I had to get out Scrabble tiles with all the letters and rearrange them until I figured them out. After a while, I got the big one: "You can eat all the carbs you want." Wahoo! Since we've been doing the South Beach Diet, carbs are a rare and precious treat. I didn't get the third without Sammie's help. I would put letters together and he would tell me if they belonged together and if they made a whole word or only part of a word. Finally, though, I came up with "Wear something nice."

Of course, I promptly got mad at Sammie that the anagrams didn't have the answer. He rearranged some of the tiles for me to spell "Antrim." It's a bed and breakfast on the Pennsylvania/Maryland border (The Mason Dixon line) that we love! Sammie's so wonderful. How did I get so lucky?!?

By the way, it's now officially a year since we started this blog. I admit that I originally started it with other intentions. You see, it's also a year now since we started trying to have kids. I started a blog so we could easily give pregnancy/baby updates to family and friends. Instead, it's become a forum for what we do to make each other laugh. That's almost as fun...

Monday, February 26, 2007


I have two presents for your birthday on Wednesday. Here is the first:


The second will still remain a surprise, but I offer the following two pieces of advice for you to most fully enjoy the present when I give it to you, which will be tomorrow afternoon.





PS – This idea came to me a couple of weeks ago while we were watching The Da Vinci Code…

(Everyone else – if you figure out what the messages are, please don’t post them here until AFTER her birthday…)
18 Ways To Be A Good Liberal

As many of you are already aware, something that you'll never have to worry about is my band ever falling victim to liberalism the way so many other bands seem to do. Saturday, I was reading aloud to the band the book 'Conservative Comebacks to Liberal Lies'. Did you know that the phrase 'Separation of Church and State' doesn't show up anywhere in the Constitution or Declaration of Independence? I didn't. Anyway, we had a good laugh reading it and later that night the singer forwarded to me a list of '18 Ways To Be A Good Liberal'. Melba and I got a big kick out of reading it so I thought I would post it here for all enjoy and/or despise.

1. You have to be against capital punishment, but support abortion on demand.

2. You have to believe that businesses create oppression and governments create prosperity.

3. You have to believe that guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens are more of a threat than Nuclear weapons technology in the hands of Iran or Chinese and North Korean communists.

4. You have to believe that there was no art before federal funding

5. You have to believe that global temperatures are less affected by cyclical changes in the earth's climate and more affected by soccer moms driving SUV's.

6. You have to believe that gender roles are artificial, but being homosexual is natural.

7. You have to believe that the AIDS virus is spread by a lack of federal funding.

8. You have to believe that the same teacher who can't teach 4th-graders how to read is somehow qualified to teach those same kids about sex.

9. You have to believe that hunters don't care about nature, but PETA activists do.

10. You have to believe that self-esteem is more important than actually doing something to earn it.

11. You have to believe that Mel Gibson spent $25 million of his own money to make "The Passion of the Christ" for financial gain only.

12 You have to believe NRA is bad because it supports certain parts of the Constitution, while the ACLU is good because it supports certain parts of the Constitution.

13. You have to believe that taxes are too low, but ATM fees are too high.

14. You have to believe that Margaret Sanger and Gloria Steinem are more important to American history than Thomas Jefferson, Gen. Robert E. Lee, and Thomas Edison.

15. You have to believe that standardized tests are Racist, but racial quotas and set-asides are not.

16. You have to believe that the only reason socialism hasn't worked anywhere it's been tried is because the right people haven't been in charge.

17. You have to believe that homosexual parades displaying drag queens and transvestites should be constitutionally protected, and manger scenes at Christmas should be illegal.

18. You have to believe that this message is a part of a vast, right-wing conspiracy.

This now makes for a whopping 1 1/2 posts this month because posting an email forward only counts as only 1/2 of a post. Still, that's more than we've done in past months. Comments are welcomed. Please post them on the blog for all to read...

Friday, February 02, 2007

And the winner is...

Decision time has come for grad school. Before announcing the winners, let’s first do a recap of the contestants and why we applied to each:

University of Texas:
  • Ranked in the Top 20 MBA Schools by US News
  • Excellent Alumni Network
  • Close to two-fifths of the Markham Family
  • Most graduates stay in the west/Mid-West Area (where we want to live)
  • More job offers for Supply Chain students than there are Supply Chain students

Brigham Young University:

  • Ranked in the Top 50 MBA Schools by US News
  • Very low tuition rates
  • Close to the Boyer Family
  • Close to my parents
  • Most graduates stay in the west/Mid-West Area

Penn State:

  • I like their football team

So where are we going? C’mon – it should be obvious. My Dad didn’t raise a fool.


Seriously, that’s where we’re going. Penn State.

You can learn more about Penn State and their Supply Chain program here, here and here.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

As most of you know, this blog consists of funny things that Melba and I do. I promise you that while the first part of this post is cocky, the end is pretty funny - so stay with me on this. I just have to be cocky with some information so you can more fully appreciate the humor at the end. (That's assuming you are capable of appreciating humor, which some people are not, but I won't go into that here.)

Here's the deal:
  • I scored a 690 on the GMAT (that is the 91st percentile of the people who take the test). BYU's average score for incoming MBA students is 650 (85th percentile).
  • I graduated from BYU in 2000 with a 3.4 GPA (about the average for MBA students at BYU).
  • I got an Associates degree in Accounting from Ricks College -- that transcript was part of my application.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because I just got accepted to the BYU MBA Program, subject to certain provisions. Below is the email they sent me. Does it seem odd to you? (FYI - the scholarship they offer is full-tuition.)

Dear Sammie:

I am writing to let you know that the BYU MBA Admissions Committee has recommended you for admission to the MBA program for Fall 2007. Congratulations! In addition, I am happy to inform you of our decision to grant you a scholarship in the amount of $4,350 for Fall 2007 and
$4,350 for Winter 2008.

Your admission is provisional, based on the following:
* You are required to take a basic preparation course in Accounting and Statistics, and must pass the proficiency exams associated with them by July 1, 2007. The courses and exams are offered online through Harvard Business School; please see for registration instructions. You must contact the MBA office when you've completed the courses.
* You are required to complete your bachelor's degree prior to entering the MBA program.
* Because your undergraduate GPA is below 3.0 you are required to maintain a GPA of at least 3.0 while you are in the MBA program.
* You are required to retake the GMAT and submit your new unofficial score report to the MBA office by August 13, 2007. Although you are not required to achieve a specific score on the GMAT, it is the hope of the admissions committee that removing the pressure of
admission from the situation will help you to improve your score.
* You are required to attend the Marriott School International Student Orientation, to be held on BYU campus in mid-August 2007. Attendance at and participation in the entire orientation is mandatory. Details will be sent to you as they become available.

And then it just basically goes on about how to accept the invitation, etc.

Then I got another email which says they sent the wrong provisions, and I only need to take the online courses before I get accepted. Should I now be more or less impressed with this school? Comments are welcome. (And please, if you have something to say, especially if it scathingly cruel, at least be brave enough to post it on this blog in the comments section for all to read and comment on...)