Thursday, March 31, 2005

It's Not Worth it!!

So last night after we watched Lost on Timmy's TiVo, we watched a show on DiscoveryHD about the Praying Mantis. It was unbelievable! It really felt like they were in the living room with us. Quite an addictive feeling, to be sure!!

So the problem with the Mantis is that the female eats its mate after sex. It is so happy to now be fertilized that it then needs a meal for its young ones. Well, the only meal around is the Man-Tis, so it eats him!! How gross is that? It makes no sense. The female is essentially telling the male, "You're mine. You will not have any other lovers but me." So romantic like. Then the next season, she gets another guy. Unbelievable.

The real sick part is that they will have Mantis sex, then she will eat the male's head off, then they will have more sex. So he has no brain left, and he's still getting the job done!! That was the strangest sight to see, all this taking place in Tim's living room. He's a sick, sick man!

So, in conclusion, I will tell the male mantis:

"It's not worth it. You will get one great night with your female, to be sure, but for what? To be dead? To extend your mantis family. Well, guess what- your kids won't have a grandpa, and they sure won't have a dad!! Why would you want to subject them to this life?

And besides, your female looks like a freakin' leaf!! Is that attractive? Why don't you mate with a tree or something? Isn't that the same thing, but safer? Dude, run, she has her claws up!"

Oh, snap, he's gone.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Utah Jazz...

Many of you know I am a huge basketball freak, but not many know this: I love watching international players. My favorite players in the game are Dirk and AK-47. That's Andrei Kirilenko, for those of you not in the know. Maybe it is a race thing- my whole life I've been told to just concentrate on football, since I'm not black. That's why it thrills me to see guys whiter than I am out there blocking shots and throwing down rim rockers. But these guys just know how to play the game the way it was meant to be played. Just look at AK-47's spacing on defense, the way he can get his freakin' long arms up to block just about anything that comes his way, can get the board, run the ball the length of the court, and dunk it in from a step inside the free throw line. It doesn't get any better than this!

So I was way, way excited when my boss offered me 2 tickets to go see the Mavericks/Jazz play on April 9th (Melissa's birthday is April 15th, so we can go out this night as well). He has season tickets he splits with some friends, about 18 rows up. Some incredible seats honestly. In fact, a colleague of ours had a client coming in that weekend, and he wanted to switch with me. He offered me Rockets tickets (to watch the overrated TMac and Yao- don't think so), and Nets tickets (to see Jefferson and Vinsanity nursing their wounds- no way), but I turned him down. I wanted to see my 2 favorite players go at it, and see Raja Bell (one of my top 10 favorite players) play as well. I miss Raja on the Mavericks. Of course, Josh Howard is everything he was and more, but still... The Jazz also have Boozer and Mehmet Okur, so I was looking forward to it. Big time. (As was Melissa)

Then the Jazz hire Brandon Carter. Think it's just a coincedence? Hardly. Last year the Jazz were one game from the playoffs. This year they have a much better team, and will be lucky to win 27 games. I don't know what he's done, but I don't like it.

Ok, so it has nothing to do with BC. But that shouldn't matter for April 9th, right? Nope- AK-47, done for the season. Boozer? Done for the season. Raul Lopez? Done for the season. I think BC will have to suit up!

So, yes, the Jazz are trying to take the fun out of our game. It gets me a little down every time I think about it. What's happened, BC?

At least I can still root for my Mavericks!! Best team in basketball these days.

If you come to the game April 9th, you should be able to recognize Melissa and myself. We'll be in the matching Dirk/Josh Howard jerseys.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Walking Octopi


Check out this story and 2 videos. So apparently the Octopus can now walk. What's next?

If it learns how to type with the 6 other tenticles, we might all be out of jobs! Just think, they can work 3 times faster than us, and get paid less money. The US has no minimum wage laws for Octopi. We'll be priced out of the market for sure!!

We should attack them preemptively, and destroy 4 of the 6 extra tenticles- to even the playing field again. Who's with me??

Friday, March 25, 2005

Random Postings

So I've been pretty busy this past week and haven't gotten to finish my Mexico stories. Sorry. My wife has been sick with perhaps a virus, perhaps mono. Either way, sick. That and I've started hitting the books hard again for my 5th Actuarial Exam, the EA-2B. Should be a joyous ride into the world of ERISA and the PBGC!

Last night we had our 2-monthly football game up at Church- and I was on! I realized how to run routes, but I can't share this information with you, just in case we meet on a football field somewhere. I gotta keep my advantage!!

I did catch 3 of the 4 interceptions, so that was good, even though the rest of my defense stunk it up. It was bad! But my route-running made up for it on the offensive end. I lost track of how many TDs I may have gotten. A lot.

So as some of you know, we usually play basketball every Thursday night. I should post on here every week how I did, so I can look back in a few years and see how I progressed. Right now I am kind of in a hot streak. The last 6 weeks at basketball I have played rather well- now I just need to look for consistency. More on this later!!

Tonight is LTC (Leadership Training for Christ) at the Wyndham Anatole towards downtown Dallas. This is for kids grades 3-12. Kind of like a Church Olympics. We have been teaching the Jr. High Bible Quiz, which starts tonight at 7. If any of you are headed out that way, look for me! I have a bit of facial hair from Mexico, but I'm not hard to miss!!

And now I shall leave you with a random quote as I will from now on. This one is from Socrates:

"By all means marry. If you get a good wife you will become happy, and if you get a bad one you will become a philosopher."
--Socrates (470-399 B.C.)

Friday, March 18, 2005

Interesting Physics/Space Article

For the nerd in all of us, here is an article discussing 13 things that don't make sense (yet), such as Dark Matter and other physics conundrums.

I will get back to the Mexico stories soon enough. My parents are in town this weekend, and there's some basketball to watch, so I'll see when I can get to it.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

My Epic TND Last Night

Note: This is a departure from the Mexico stories.

Last night I think I outdid myself. It was the grand reopening of our apartment, as Melissa and I had cleaned feverishly before and after Mexico. Whenever we had new people over before, we just closed our bedroom door so noone could see inside. But not last night!! Dare I say it was looking good!! Then there were 8 of us there last night. The usuals (Adam, Josue, Debbie, and Timmy) and our 2 new friends from the mission trip, Kristin and Taylor (which should be obvious as most of my Mexico stories have one of these 2 in them at some point). Taylor's fiancee couldn't make it, but that's okay. She might have been on Debbie's hall (probably not, but who knows?) at ACU in Nelson. How weird would that have been?

So I had to make a meal that would fit the circumstance. I knew it would involve mashed potatoes, as that's about all Melissa could eat after getting her wisdom teeth removed Monday (She looks great, BTW). So I made Pork Chops with homemade Apple Sauce to pour on top of them. It was awesome!! Then for sides we had mashed potatoes, homemade creamed corn, and broccoli. The corn was fantastic. I made rolls as well, but then for desert we had homemade peach cobbler with blue bell vanilla bean ice cream! It was the bomb. I thought I had burned the cobbler, but it turned out fine. Whew! It was a long day, but it sure was fun to do.

The email I sent to Taylor about coming to TND said that it's our one chance during the week to make a homemade meal for people, so I took that to heart and tried to make everything from scratch. The rolls were frozen, and I didn't make the ice cream, but that's about it. It was truly epic. We even missed Scrubs cause we were talking and enjoying each other's company. That doesn't happen all that often anymore. Then again, we don't usually talk about naked slip n slides in Mabee Hall all that much anymore! Taylor actually brought that up. Seeing as 7 of the 8 of us went to ACU at one point, Kristin got some unique stories from our alma mater. I'm still waiting for some Tech stories to live up to those!

You should try to make apple sauce sometime. It's alot of fun!

Was it my best meal ever? Maybe, but I hope I can outdo it sometime in the near future!

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Tuesday, Part 1

We never knew where we were going. I got in the back of the van, along with Kristin I believe, for what we thought would be a 15-20 minute trip out of Juarez. We were going to the people in countryside!! 4 of our vans pushed off with a van in the lead.

The van stops at the first small town and sends the last van on its way. This leaves 3 groups. Fast forward, an hour later, we are the only van left, traveling on the only Mexican highway left (which is soon about to end), and we have no idea where we're going. We were following a new van, a Mexican preacher perhaps, and he is taking us to some obscure village.

Finally we arrive at the small town of Porvenir. The preacher said the population was 1,000 but it looked pretty barren to me. We get to the Church, where they are setting up a new orphanage, so the classrooms now have beds in them. Perfect for a warzone, but I don't think we saw any patients requiring a mattress.

The pharmacy was set up in the back room, a nice room compared to what other groups get, while triage is in the main "fellowship hall" type of room at the front. There were 3 rooms of beds in between for the 12 new orphans coming there this Summer. We set up all 3 rooms for the doctors to operate.

Joanna, the main contact from the Baptist Student Ministries, was with us today so she helped me play with the kids and do the pharmacy. Once I realized the pharmacy wasn't so bad, I tried to memorize the drugs and feel useful.

I was actually going to work triage that day and take patients' names, etc. but when we got there we found 2 white ladies from the states had already taken everyone's names and made a list for us. There names were Amy and Julie, from Chicago and NY respectively, and they were missionaries from the Texas border town of Fabens. They felt this was their "home Church" (in Porvenir) and wanted to help us in any way they could this week. They met 7 years ago at language school and now do mission work like this all the time.

So while we were traveling the hour and a half to get to Porvenir, Kristin asked me what direction I thought we were going. I told her Southeast, since we can't see the moss on the trees (no I didn't say that, but that would have been awesome), and it really felt like we were going into the heart of Mexico, maybe even close to Monterrey!

Of course, we were almost out of gas by then, but we were in the heart of Mexico. We asked the Mexican contact there (who had actually preached in Dallas) what we should do, and he said he would take us up to Fort Hancock. I immediately thought it would be at least a 45 minute drive up another dirt road, but he said it was only 5 miles away! I looked outside, and sure enough, you could see I-10 from there! So we had been going SE, but Texas had as well. Turns out every group could see I-10 that day.

So the Mexican Preacher, Joanna, and myself travel up to Ft. Hancock to get some gas. We had time that day, since it was 3 and our group was already done. We get to the border, I tell them I am doing Mission work, and they let us through!! We fill up, cross the Rio Grande again (which at this point is neither a Rio or grand), and get back to the Church. I go to park, put it in reverse, and BAM! I can just feel the rear bumper crumble. I get out of the car to find out that I have hit a jeep wrangler or something like that. Luckily, they had a spare tire on the back of their SUV, which took the entire blow! Whew. Our rear bumper has a pretty nice dent (wish I had gotten a picture). So yes, I've been in more wrecks in Mexico than in the US, and I would like to keep it that way!!

Okay, more Tuesday later.

Monday, March 14, 2005


Monday was a lot of fun, but we really didn't know what we were doing!!

The ride there was awesome. We only had seats for 8, and we always had at least 9 and another person, so 2 of us had to sit in the back on the coolers. It was the closest thing to riding a broncho. (Yes, I did spell bronco the OHS way.)

We went to the clinic that day, and saw a few patients (Our 2nd least probably), and I had no clue what to do. I was playing outside with the kids alot, playing with a beach ball, balloons or this kid's micro machines. They were all pretty cool. This 12 year old girl named Rocio (I think) tried to have a conversation with me for about 20 minutes, that was cool but pretty tough. I got some points across I think. I recognized the word "deportes" from ESPN deportes (which I assumed meant sports), so we were talking about sports and stuff. Kinda sweet, considering I had to use hand gestures for just about everything else.

I also worked a bit in the pharmacy that day, as I had nothing else to do. Ashley was in there as well, so she was doing everything while I kinda twidled my thumbs (figuratively speaking, of course).

We were the first group to get done, which seemed to be a theme for the week, and Taylor and I found the hot showers outside. It was oh so nice. That night we had mexican food and played a huge game of phase 10. Yeah, phase 10 with over 12 people is ridiculous!!

You'll get Tuesday soon enough.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Start of the Journey

We're back from Juarez!!

This is the beginning blog about our Medical Mission Trip, and there should be many more to follow. I hope this is a proper account of all we did.

Last Saturday morning we went up to Southwestern to pick up the vans and divide the medicinas for each group. It was there that we found out who was on our team. We then counted pills for 3-4 hours! After this was all over, we went home, went to bed early, and got up even earlier to begin our trip!!

We had 9 people in our group: 1 doctor (Laura), 1 nurse (Rose), 4 2nd years (David, Sarah, Ashley, and Melissa), 2 1st years (Kristin and Taylor) and me. I'll talk about each of them later on. I put their names so you can know who is who on the following pictures:


We were supposed to leave at 5 a.m. Sunday morning (which is ironic since a "christian" mission trip made us miss Church), but the vans had low tire pressure. This took about an hour to fix. Then at 6 a.m. we were ready to go, I believe 43 or so of us total.

Seeing as almost my entire life has been lived on I-20, it was quite a familar road to take. We even stopped in Odessa for lunch, at the best chain restaurant in the world, Rosa's. Christy and Kristin are both also from Odessa, so we had quite a bit of family frequenting the establishment. My parents even got Melissa a spanish dictionary, as well as a couple of new sweaters! Very nice.

I drove the Medicine van down. Chris May was my driving partner, and we both thought it was cool to be the "drug traffickers". Of course, we never told the border patrol this, as we wanted to actually get to Juarez.

We played "smartest van alive" on the way down with walkie talkies, and I have to say, there are some smart people in Medical school. I know I don't read as much as I should, and so I don't know many authors, classic literary works, etc. so it was tough to get most of the answers. However, Chris asked a couple of space questions that no one else knew but me. It helps to read Popular Science I guess!!

We got in around 8:30 pm mountain time. It took us a while in El Paso, mainly because of the drugs. We couldn't take them over the border that evening, so we left them and Chris on the other side. That evening we had a great meal made by the ladies at the ophanage. They had some amazing cooks! We were fed well all week. As soon as we ate, got situated, and received our marching orders for the next day, we headed off to bed, ready to go for the following day.

Basketball Fouls

Okay, so I'm watching Tech play OU in the Big 12 semifinal game, and I have to say, I can't stand the call where a defender stands there with his arms up, the offense draws contact and knocks over the defender, only to have a foul called on the defense. You know what I mean? There either wasn't a foul or it should be on the offense. The defense just stood there. Since when is that a foul?!?!? This gets me riled up during Mavs games as well, but I hadn't written about it.

We're back from Juarez! I am in the process of writing the world's longest blog about the trip, so bear with me. It will be up sometime this weekend.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Soy el Doctor...

I get to say this phrase a lot this next week!!

Ok, so I'm not the doctor. But the Mexicans in Juarez don't know! That's right, we're going on a Medical Mission trip to Juarez (El Paso border town) tomorrow morning at 5:00 am. We even get to drive through Abilene and Odessa, my old stomping grounds. We get to see my parents in Odessa for lunch I think, so it'll be a fun drive down.

We're staying at an orphanage in Juarez and we will go around to different small churches and set up clinics there for the week. There are 45 of us going on trip, including 2 others from Odessa, so that was pretty cool. 5 groups going around, doing medical stuff, in the Lord's name, it doesn't get any better than that!!

Not sure what I'll do, but I'll still have fun I think. There won't be any internet there, so I probably won't be able to update this during the trip. I'll take lots of pictures, though. I could be the team picture taker- I've done that on 2/3s of my Spring Break Campaigns, so I could handle that.

Melissa was pointing out this morning that this is the first Mission trip we have taken together. Nice. That's why I married her, to go to crazy places and watch her help others. And I'll help a bit as well in the process!

If you want to, pray for us this week, and pray that I can find something to do!!!

God bless.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Google me, baby!!

I thought this was funny, from Grubbs' blog. He talked about Googling himself, and I thought I would post my comment here for posterity's sake:

Apparently me or my doppleganger:

- Gave money for ACU's senior gift.
- Own an Epson PhotoPC 750Z, and take desktop pictures.
- Have a personal website with pictures I have taken
- Have gone to Hillcrest in Abilene and graduated from ACU.
- Have run in a 5k when I was 10 years old in California.

So what have we learned? It pays to be the absolute first Zach Nieland in the world. I feel sorry for this 10 year old Zach, for if he googles his name, he will see me. Not him, but me. I feel I have put too much pressure on him, and it doesn't help that I have tried to get every znieland or zachnieland@yahoo, gmail, etc. just to rain on his little parade!! :D

Google me for yourself! But only with Melissa's permission.

Have a great weekend!