Saturday, January 26, 2013

Rocky Point, Mexico 2012

It was a Bates Family Vacation to be remembered, that's for sure.  Everyone was able to come and we had a lot of fun.  Since it was over 6 months ago, I don't remember too many details (except that Lexie and I got really sunburned!!) but here are some pictures.

We got caught in a monsoon after crossing the border on our way there - I've never seen it rain so much!! We could hardly see 15 feet in front of the car!

The Olympics were going on so we watched those quite a bit whenever we were in the condo.
 I got to practice my Spanish a bit with the people at the hotel and around town.  We went out to eat one night and it was delicious!
 We rented some jet skis and everybody got a turn or two - plus there were a number or pools to enjoy.
 We got some ice-cream at the "Thrifty" ice-cream store.
 Like I said, Lexie and I got sunburned pretty badly - even after we applied sunscreen!
 We ate really well!!  Thank goodness for women who know how to cook delicious food!
 Mom introduced us to Mexican Train (a group game with dominoes), which was a lot of fun - although in this picture, they are playing Five Crowns.
 My beautiful wife against a beautiful backdrop - oh, vacation.
 I got some nice sunglasses for $6 - although Caleb is sporting the ones I found on the beach for free!
 Overall, it was a great trip and we're glad that we were able to go.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Something Inspirational

I recently heard a quote from an old friend of mine that I really enjoyed.  I thought it would be worth sharing so I threw this little image together.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Top 10 Things to Do with a Tennis Ball

Photo Credit: Horia Varlan
This may seem like an odd thing to talk about ... and I guess it is. My rationale is that, since we are moving soon, I need to find a purpose for everything that we are loading into the U-Haul - or there's no reason to keep it.  

Note: we have 3 tennis balls from our wedding that we have yet to use.

Thus, without further ado, I give you ...

The Top 10 Things to Do with a Tennis Ball

  1. Throw it in the Dryer 
    • It keeps clothes from getting tied up so that they dry properly.
  2. Play Fetch with the Dog
    • Hopefully, your dog doesn't have O.C.D. or it may never stop retrieving it.
  3. Hang it from a String in the Garage
    • Once it bumps against your windshield, you'll know that you've pulled in far enough.
  4. Play Catch with a Friend
  5. Sneak One into a Dodge Ball Game 
    • Those rubber balls don't even compare.
  6. Help the Young and the Elderly
    • Believe it or not, there are companies, such as Tennis Ball Cutter, that put them on the bottom of chairs at schools to reduce noise and keep the floors cleaner.  Not to mention, the elderly, who use them with their walkers quite regularly.
  7. Low-Cost Entertainment
    • Cut a small hole, fill the ball with peanut butter and watch your dog go crazy trying to get it out.
  8. Miniature Flotation Device
    • It could save your life ... could be used in a swimming pool, lake or bath tub.
  9. Baby Toy
    • Hopefully this doesn't rule me out as a future father, but a baby could suck on/play with one of these, right?
  10. Hit it Back at the Ball Boy
    • So that he can make an amazing catch (see video).

Oh ... and I guess you could Play Tennis.

What do you think?  How else would you use a tennis ball?  Please, leave your comments below.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Disneyland Trip 2012

"The Happiest Place on Earth" never ceases to impress.  At the end of June, Alexis and I hopped in the suburban with the Long family and drove to none other than Disneyland.

Our first stop was to Uncle Jim and Aunt Leigh's house for about a day to hang out, catch up and kill some time (since the house that we rented wouldn't be available until the next day).


 The kids had a lot of fun playing the Wii.

Then it was off to the rental home which came complete with a pool, pool table, ping-pong table, bundles of bedrooms, a Wii and enough beds for Everyone ... except Alexis and I, that is.  

We didn't mind though since by the time we laid down on our air mattress, we were usually so exhausted that we could just as easily have slept on the floor.  

Lionel and April showed up with their kids that afternoon.  It was fun to surprise the kids because they didn't know that they were going to Disneyland or that we were going to be there!  It was a lot of fun to have everyone there.

Bright and early the next day, we were off to Disneyland itself.  It is surprising how short the lines are when you show up at 8am.

We spent some of our time with the Hamiltons (though they spent most of their time on the kiddie rides), much of it with the Longs and a few hours one day doing our own thing.  

We had to wait in line twice to get on the Materhorn because it broke down the first time.  It was fun but not my favorite ride in the world - too bumpy and it jerks you around.  Don't get me wrong, I love roller coasters but this one is from an older generation and not quite as smooth.

We spent most of our time riding the "big kid" rides such as Space Mountain (3-4 times), California Screamin' (4-5 times), and the Tower of Terror (5-6 times) over and over again.

Another reason that I love my wife - she loves roller coasters just as much as I do!

Since we had a 3-day pass, we were able to see both of the evening shows: Fantasmic and World of Color. They were pretty sweet!  I'd definitely recommend it to anyone that makes a trip to Disneyland.

Reliving "Star Tours" again was pretty awesome - since that was my favorite ride when I came as a 6 year old.

At one point, Lexie accidentally dropped her mom's sunglasses (that she was borrowing) in the public toilet! Yuck!  If it weren't Disneyland, I'd be a bit disgusted.

We found out that there is a 'secret' passageway through the castle that explores the story of Sleeping Beauty.  It was pretty cool.

Splash Mountain was fun - especially when it broke down while we were still on it!  They turned on all the lights, helped us out of the boats and escorted us downstairs.

They took us to the Disney back lot, which is, surprisingly, not that magical.  It's just got some trailers, parking area and dumpsters.  They did give us a free "Fast Pass" for the inconvenience though.

The parade was pretty fun - although the ground was flaming hot to sit on for any length of time.

In short, Disneyland was awesome - just like always.  I may gripe about the price but you do get your money's worth.

FYI: Keep your eye open for discounts offered through AAA and other companies with which you may be affiliated - they can provide pretty good deals.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

3 Tips to Succeeding from Day One

You know what I like about tips?  They're free and, hopefully, worth more than you paid for them!  Here we go:
Chart Out Your Semester
Generally speaking, professors spend the first day of class going over the syllabus and talking about what textbooks you need.   The exception to this rule is Eddie Davila - awesome Supply Chain professor - who intentionally dives into course material on the first day to reward those who attend the first class (or to punish those who don't, however you want to look at it).
Use the first few days to review the course schedule and write down all of the assignments (at least the major ones) and their due dates into either your planner or smartphone.  If you are really bright, you'll give yourself automated reminders that sound at least 1 week in advance; that way, you'll never end up doing things at the last minute.
I can tell you, from experience, that this has been an invaluable tool in helping me stay on track - especially once the semester gets rolling and it feels like you have something due every other day!
Sit in the Front Row
Why?  Here a few reasons:
  1. Helps Develop Rewarding Professor/Student Relationships - Professors notice/get to know the students in the first row (unlike those who sit in the middle or back of a class of 300).  If they know you and vice-versa, it is easier to ask for help and/or future recommendation letters.
  2. Motivates Consistent Attendance - When you don't show up, the professor often notices and comments.
  3. Encourages Punctuality - It is a long walk to the front of a classroom if you are 15 minutes late.
  4. Helps You Focus - Most of the kids in your classes will have laptops and at least 3/4 of those will be on Facebook, YouTube, ESPN or some other website.  Sitting in the front will help you to focus on the material, rather than on the YouTube video the guy in front of you is watching.
  5. Less Time Studying Later - If you sit in the front row, you'll likely pay attention and take good notes.  Do you know what that means?  You'll spend that much less time studying outside of class because you already learned it in class.
Start Studying at Least 1 Week Before the Test
Question: What is more effective?
  • Studying for 20 minutes every day for a week or...
  • Studying for  3 Hours right before the exam?
If you have taken MAT 210, you might have noticed that 3 hours is more total time than 20 minutes each day for a week (140 minutes or 2.33 hours).  Nevertheless, I can promise you that 20 minutes effectively spent reviewing for an exam each day for a week will help you to internalize/understand the material better than if you were to try 'cramming' 6 weeks worth of material into your head in 3 hours.
Studying in short bursts:
  1. Encourages productivity (because you only have 20 minutes).
  2. Prevents drowsiness (so long as you don't study in bed).
  3. Is easier to talk yourself into doing!  It is much easier for me to tell myself that I will study for 20 minutes and then go eat some ice-cream than it is to condemn myself to 3 hours of cramming followed by a 1 hour mid-term!
If you will spend the first week charting out your semester, consistently sit in the front row and start studying at least 1 week before each test, I promise you that, at least by comparison, your grades will soar and you'll feel a lot less stressed!
I'd love to hear any "Tips for Success: that you may have.  Please, comment below!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Cell Phone Jerk

Please don't be a cell phone jerk.  

Cell phones allow us to be constantly available but it is important to know when to 'hang up' the phone.  It seems that most people recognize the importance of "netiquette" in the digital realm--such as using respectful language, NOT WRITING WITH CAPS LOCK ON and not writing anything that you would not be willing to say to someone face to face--but I've noticed that many are failing to understand the importance of cell phone etiquette with respect to those around you.

The following video will explain more thoroughly:   

What can we learn from this video: 
  1. Bluetooth is fine, just make sure that those around you don't think that you are talking to them.
  2. Business meetings, bathrooms (awkward), and restaurants are not appropriate places to carry on cell phone conversations.
  3. Do not text, check your email, or play Angry Birds while driving--beating level 25 is not worth killing someone or crashing your car.
  4. Learn to unplug (every once in a while)
  5. Those who drive while talking have the reflexes of a senior citizen (no offense Grandma).
  6. Lastly, try not to let your phone take priority over / annoy the person right next to you!
  7. In fact, the National Safety Council reported that phone conversations cause drivers to become "more emotionally engaged" and "less attentive to safety signals" ("Unsafe Driving in,").  Furthermore, according to Nationwide, "distractions from cell phones" reduce reaction time to that of a person driving with a "blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent" (Nationwide).  In short, be smart and don't goof around with your phone while driving.
Remember, children mimic their parents--so be careful!
Note: this was an assignment for class--thanks for reading!
Nationwide. (n.d.). Driving while distracted: Statistics to know. Retrieved from
Unsafe driving in the cell phone era. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Friday, February 3, 2012

So You Think You Know Chocolate?

Here is a fun little game for anyone who's interested.  The following are four popular chocolate treats (all of them name brand chocolates).  Can you name them all?  Be Specific!

Are you ready for the answers?
Are you sure?
Okay, from left to right they are:

  1. Snickers
  2. Hershey's Dark Chocolate (we had to turn it over to hide the logo)
  3. Andes Mints
  4. Milky Way Dark Chocolate!
How many did you get right?  
If you liked this, try out this other candy quiz at: