Sunday, June 13, 2010

3 Years

You are still missed uncle Howard, you are still missed.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Sweat Pants?

I sat outside the court room this week waiting for a clerk to finish up some work for me. As I sat there I engaged in some people watching. What I noticed was disturbing. As the sheriff came to the court room door and called individuals and families to go in to the court room I studied what they were wearing. This day was a family day at the court house. This means that the cases heard dealt with custody, access, and visitation of children as well as child support, spousal support and the division of property. Now you might think that people appearing at the court in front of a judge would you know dress for the occasion. They. Did. Not. Scruffy jeans, tank tops, t-shirts, baseball caps, sweat pants, yes sweat pants. The judge today decides if you are going to have regular access to your children and you are wearing sweat pants?!?

Obviously these people care about the outcome of their court appearance or they would not be here in the first place. So why are they not dressed in a manner that says, "I am taking this seriously"? It is a puzzle to me. There lawyers are wearing suits (the men) and pant suits (the women), the judge is wearing robes, so is the clerk. For most of these people this is not there first time here. I even recognized a couple from previous trips to the court house (hello guy who had a drunk and disorderly and was asking the clerk about his assault charge).

So as a public service to anyone who reads this blog if you are going to court dress up, in fact funeral dress up. If you do not own a suit or a skirt or a pant suit, go down to your local thrift shop and buy one. There are usually like twenty of them on the rack that you can buy for less than fifteen dollars. Make sure it is clean and does not smell weird and buy it. While you are at it buy a nice shirt or blouse these can also be purchased at your local thrift shop for a nominal price. Of course if you want to splurge and go to Mens Wearhouse that is your business but for goodness sake look good. This matters. If you are at court it is becuase something has gone drastically wrong. If you look like a person who the judge would not mind having over for dinner it can only help. If you look like someone the judge would not let mow his lawn you are probably going to have a very long day.

Monday, September 7, 2009


I loved university. The exchange of ideas, being exposed to new ways of looking at the world, absolutely loved it. Since I left I have missed university a good deal. But I have found the solution!!!! (yes that many exclamation points!) It is called Open Course Ware. A number of universities including, MIT, Tufts, Carnegie Mellon, Michigan State University and several others have put course materials along with downloadable notes, exam questions, quizes, and youtube videos of lectures for a number of their classes. When I heard about this I was almost giddy. Could it be real? Was this another one of those cruel internet hoaxes?(unlikely) Then I went to the site.

I read in the book Cryptonomicon that the word nirvana could more accurately be pronounced Nerdvana. That is what this is. Nirvana for nerds. Any class or topic that you can imagine. Everything there are classes on Anthropology, Economics, Biological Engineering, Foreign Languages and everything in between. For the past two days I have just been sampling going from one course to another looking at at the online information, reviewing the course notes, checking out the 0nline lectures. It. Is. Amazing. Whoever thought of this should get a Nobel Prize or at least a really nice lapel pin.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Travellin Man

So thursday afternoon I am sitting in my office and I call uhaul. We are loading up our house on friday and I want to make sure that we have a truck to load. Yes of course you have a truck they say, it is located in Slave Lake. For those of you unfamiliar with the geography of northern Alberta Slave Lake is about 2 1/2 hours north of Whitecourt. I became somewhat irate with the woman from uhaul but I got the sense that I was not the first angry customer she had dealt with that day or even in the last 10 minutes, the truck was in Slave Lake did I want it? Of course I did.

Early friday morning Jen and I set out for Slave Lake. Anyone who is reading this blog know that Jen is smoking hot. What you may not be aware of is that she is also an amazing conversationalist so the trip at least on the way to Slave Lake flew by. We got to Slave Lake we picked up the truck and started driving. Now all of you assume that I drove the truck right? I consider myself a fairly evolved guy. I used to own a pink dress shirt, I try to say firefighter and police officer and I don't call it babysitting when I watch my own kids, so you would think that there would at least be a discussion about who drove the truck but no I just hopped up in to the cab and started driving. Maybe Jenie wanted to drive that 26 foot behemoth down that foul road between Slave Lake and Swan Hills, we will never know because I am the man and apparently that means I drive the gigantic moving truck.

While I was on the the road I had the pleasure of listening to several rural radio stations. Those of you who have not had this pleasure are probably unaware of the sheer variety played on these stations. In an urban setting you have your top 40, rock, classic rock, dance etc. In Slave Lake you have all of those in one. As an example they played Neil Young and then the new one by Miley Cyrus. No. Joke. It was like they sat around at the station with everyone in the break room and said okay what is the most unlikely combination of songs that we can play next to each other. One guy says the beattles and britney spears ( a couple of laughs) the next dude says Nirvana and In Sync (booing mostly for In Sync) then the intern at the back with the faux hawk and the soul tip says Neil Young and Miley Cyrus (everyone leaves the room because it is perfect and seriously a faux hawk?).

Then we loaded the truck up at this point I have to stop and say Jason, Renee, Pierre thanks so much for the lifting and the working and thank you Monique for sitting on the front stoop and directing traffic with that gigantic belly. Without you Gary and I would have been loading that truck for hours. Leaving Whitecourt was much harder than I thought it would be. I mean its Whitecourt I never wanted to go there in the first place. But now I am leaving and I realize that I made some really good friends. That is not something I do a lot. I don't have a tonne (metric) of friends mostly becuase I have a pretty high standard for what I consider friendship. As an example, If I was being held in a Mexican prison on trumped up heroin smuggling charges who would I call? Could I call you? If you are my friend I could. You would come down see if you could bribe a guard, break open a window or at least get me a good lawyer and some decent american food, they are killing me with all these tacos, just killing me. That my friend is friendship and I made some real friends in Whitecourt, I am sad to leave them.

Also thanks to my mom she spent 12 hours on a bus to help pack up my house and clean it. If it was not for her I would be going back to the pig sty I deserve rather than the vision of cleanliness that she has created. You are the best mom. and Dawn you took three of my kids for the past week (the loudest and whiniest three at that) and are letting me live in your house, thank you. I take back all of the terrible things I said to you as teenagers and also the things I just thought and didn't say, you are none of the things that I said or thought, you are a great sister and possibly a saint (but only if you go Catholic, we don't do that.)

Finally to Gary. You are the rain man of packing moving vans, If you had told me we would have fit all of that crap (ya most of its crap but its our crap and its mostly paid for) into that van I would not have believed you. Then you kept me company all the way down south from about 30 feet behind my truck, helped me unload it and now I am currently living in your house. Above and beyond man, above and beyond.

So here we are in Raymond living in my sisters basement. This should be interesting. I probably will not keep you posted.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Belated Blog Post

When Terina was baptized she asked me to give a talk on baptism. I gave the talk and afterwards my mom asked me to write it out for her and for my grandma and grandpa Bowlby. Well mom better, late than never. Please be aware mom that I don't write out my talks before I give them. This is not word for word what I said. It is simply the closest that I can remember.

Also my mom asked me how I came up with the idea for the talk. When I was considering what I was going to say I was thinking about this scripture in Mosiah. It is one of my favorite descriptions of the covenant we make when we are baptised. I love the idea of standing together and helping each other. When I was thinking of that I started to think of how that would apply to a child of eight. That is when the idea for the talk started to take shape.

In Mosiah chapter 18 verses 8-10 it reads:

8 And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;

9 Yea, and are a willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—

10 Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?

You might ask Terina, How can a small girl like me do these things how can I comfort those that stand in need of comfort. That seems like a very big responsibility for a small child. Well Terina you should know that in a town not far from here lived a little girl right about your age. She had brothers and sisters and every sunday she would go to church. One sunday when she went to church there was a new girl there. The new girl was not dressed in the nicest of clothes and she was a little bit shy but the little girl did not worry about any of that. The two little girls became friends.The new girl would sit with her and her family in church, The new girl would come over to her house, she would play with her brothers and sisters. As the two little girls became better friends it became easier for both of them to make good choices. The new girls family did not come to church. The new girl was the only one in her family who ever came. But she kept coming to church because she had a friend. She had a family that supported and loved her.

You should know Terina that because of that little girl you are here today, because of that little girl many of the people in this room are here today. The little girl who was the friend was your aunt Wendy. The new girl was your Grandma Char. The friendship of your aunt Wendy made it easier for your grandma to come to church. The influence of your aunt Wendy and the rest of the Bowlby's made it easier for your grandma to make good decisions.

Because of the kindness and friendship of that one little girl there have been temple marriages, children born in the covenant and children baptised. There have been missionaries out on missions and people taught and baptised all over the world. All because of the friendship of one little girl.

Never underestimate the power of one little girl to change lives. When we keep our covenants and love those around us there is no limit to the good that we can do.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

My Favorite Apostle(s)

I am not completely sure that you are allowed to have a favorite apostle. It seems somewhat off, like wearing white after labor day or calling the bishop by his first name when he is sitting on the stand. But I have to be honest with you dear reader, I have a favorite apostle or three actually Jefferey R. Holland, David A. Bednar, Henry B. Eyring. I think the reason I like these three so much is because when they speak it is in a style that is understandable to me. I was talking to my dad a couple of years ago and he said that his favorite apostle (see so if its wrong at least I'm in good company) was Elder Monson because of the way that he used analogies and stories in his talks. For my Dad this really brought home the point that Elder Monson was trying to make in a way that made sense to him. (I really hope my dad saw priesthood session on Saturday. Elder Monson wiggling his ears to cap off his story about the young boy is a perfect example of using a story and humor to make a very effective point.)

When I look at the three apostles that I enjoy listening to what strikes me is that all three have an academic background. All of them taught at university, Elder Eyring Associate Professor of Business at Stanford, Elder Bednar Associate Professor of Management at the University of Arkansas, Elder Holland Dean of Religious Education at BYU. Interestingly both Elder Ering and Elder Bednar were presidents of Ricks College (now BYU Idaho) and Elder Holland was the president of BYU (Utah version). As has been noted in the past I love school particularly university thre is something about learning and discussing ideas that is deeply satisfying to me. Therefore it would stand to reason that the three apostles that have spent their lives in front of a classroom would be particularly enjoyable to me.

I actually just finished watching the last session of conference and listening to Elder Holland and Elder Bednar was deeply satisfying. Eler Holland lovingly and effectively answered critics who attack us for our use of the Book of Mormon as scripture and our clear stand that the canon is open. What he said was incredibly bold but at the same time he was clear and wise in the way he stated our position. His use of outside sources, particularly the words of protestant intellectuals and scholars was a masterstroke. It was a passionate and intelligent defense of our position and I thought it was marvelous.

Elder Bednar spoke on how to make prayer more effective through uniting faith, prayer and action. It was one of those talks that I am glad that I have on the internet. I can listen to it over and over again, stopping to think about what he has said and read the scriptures that he sites. It would be impossible to take it all in at once. It was a humbling and moving experience to listen to his counsel. The way that he approached prayer reminded me of many of his other conference addresses. It is a topic that you and I have both heard numerous sermons on but when Elder Bednar approaches the topic I realize that there is a whole level of meaning that I am only scratching the surface of.

Too sum up, very good conference. All of my favorites spoke and they were all powerful and articulate and they all had that particular something that apostles have. That assurance and knowledge that God lives and that Jesus is the Christ and that they are his apostles.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

About Me

1. What was I doing 10 years ago? Ten years ago I I was footloose and fancy free. A bachelor going to school at LCC attending institute and dating girls who had just graduated or in I think one case was just about to graduate from high school.

2. 5 things on my to do list.
Change the muffler on my car, figure out how the conference call feature on my phone at work works, finish, or at least start the articles of incorporation for Lorne's Blanket, teach the kids to roll over and play dead, clean out my storage room is is an absolute disaster in there.

3. What would you do if you were instantly a billionaire?
I would go back to university, someplace good with great scenery like Harvard or the University of Miami. I loved university the whole process of learning and discussing ideas is amazing, I would sell our crappy house here in Whitecourt and buy three or four really nice ones in places like the south of france, new zealand and malibu. I would help out my family get everyones debts paid off then set aside enough for my family to live off of for the rest of my life and for the kids to go to school and then the rest would go to the perpetual education fund. This fund is the most revolutionary idea and provides such amazing opportunities for people in difficult circumstances. I would love to know that because of me thousands of individuals and families would be able to become financially stable.

5. 3 bad Habits
Reading on the Toilet

6. 6 places I have lived.

Bangalore, India
Grande Prairie, Alberta
Las Vegas, Nevada
Whitecourt, Alberta
Magrath, Alberta

7. 5 Jobs I've had
Feed Lot Hand
menial labourer (cleaning out chicken barns)
Insurance Salesman
Gas Jockey

8. 5 things people don't know about me
-I need glasses, badly
-I love celebrity gossip
-As a teenager me and some friends developed plans (never used) for a hovercar
-I am a little OCD there are particular things that I need to do the same way every time (ie there is a desk I pass before I go in my office, I touch it every time I go by.)
-I am a compulsive reader of alernative history novels.

Have a great day