The McNuggwich

That’s right ladies and gentlemen, at the ripe old age of 24 years, 10 months, and 19 days, my cash cow has finally come in, and I can retire when I turn 25. How is this possible, you ask yourself? Well, I am clearly a culinary genius and have invented McDonald’s newest gimmicky “limited time” sandwich. Move over McRib sandwich and make some room for the mighty McNuggwich! What exactly is a McNuggwich, you say? Just take a gander at the ingredients and let your mind do the rest . . . because I was too excited after I made mine and ate it

1 slice bread + 4 chicken nuggets + mozzarella cheese + honey mustard + ketchup + J-Dawgs special sauce = McNuggwich

You must be thinking by now, how is this going to make you millions, Sir Alford? Simple. I’ve enlisted Rachel’s help to make a sweet marketing brochure to send off to McDonald’s headquarters. Once they see the glory that is the McNuggwich, and after they taste it themselves (we’ll of course include a complimentary sandwich in the package with the marketing brochure), they’ll come begging for me to sell them the rights. That’s right, don’t get any quick ideas about stealing this beauty. In the 5 short hours since its inception, I have managed to procure a patent number (5623325465545634232456677) for it, so hands off, unless you want to pay a handsome royalty for it to touch your taste buds.

You read it here first. The McNuggwich. Make sure to read the menu carefully next time you grace a McDonald’s . . .

Cerealsplosion!! (Noticing a trend yet?)

If you haven’t noticed yet, we like to spill things around the Alford household. This morning’s specialty was Rachel’s bowl full of cinnamon toast crunch and milk…in our bedroom. As usual on Sunday mornings, I got Rachel’s breakfast for her while she was getting ready for church. In typical Rachel style, she took her breakfast into the bedroom to eat while going through dozens of potential outfits. Okay, maybe now it’s only half a dozen potential outfits because the pregnant belly rules out some potential candidates, but I digress. From the bathroom I heard Rachel scream, and based on the tone/pitch of the scream I instantly knew that her cereal spilled (I can’t imagine why, considering how secure her cereal bowl was on top of our dresser).

Teetering Cereal Bowl

Looking at the expression on her face confirmed my suspicion, as well as the exploded cereal all over the floor. This picture was after over half of it had been cleaned up!

IMG_0579

Good thing I remembered to capture this beauty before all of it was cleaned up.

Thankfully most of the milk ended up on our bags or the top of that container, which spared the rug. I think Rachel is secretly getting me ready for children and the messes they will make. Unfortunately I didn’t have the best reaction to Rachel’s accident this morning, so I know that events like this are good training for how to handle kids’ messiness in the future :)

Milksplosion!!

Rachel thought I’d never write this post. Well, she was almost right. The events that this post is based on may or may not have taken place almost two months ago, but that’s besides the point! With all the silly things Rachel posts about me on our blog it’s only fair that I take my turn and share one of her silly moments…

It all began when Rachel poured too much milk for her morning bowl of cereal (a common occurrence in the Alford household) and finished off the milk. We talked about buying more milk and went on with our day. The next morning I woke up to make breakfast and there wasn’t any milk. I thought to myself, “hmm, guess Rachel forgot to buy the milk,” and didn’t think anything of it. That evening when we were both home Rachel wanted some cereal and I told her there wasn’t any milk. She emphatically told me that yes, there was milk in the fridge, because she had bought some last night. I assured her that there wasn’t any milk and upon opening the fridge she let out an “oh no.”

Backing up a little, the night before Rachel ran to the BYU creamery to get some milk. Only milk. And fyi, the creamery is about 5 blocks from our house. Somehow during the “long” drive home, Rachel managed to forget that she had purchased two gallons of milk and left them in the car. Returning to no milk in the fridge…Rachel ran out to the car and brought the milk in. She asked if it would be okay if we just put it in the fridge. Considering that our car had probably been 90 ish degrees that day I said no way. Inspecting the jugs of milk confirmed my decision since they were bulging at the sides.

Since that day was trash day, and our garbage cans were still out on the curb, we just put the jugs on counter and went to bed. Bad move.

The next day I got a phone call from Rachel saying that our kitchen smelled really bad. Why you ask? Because one of the jugs of rancid milk exploded its top off and exploded all over our kitchen. Rachel had been on the phone with her friend Stacy, hung up, and then heard a loud “BANG!” a few seconds later. She thought that a gun had gone off somewhere close by. Thankfully it was just rancid, curdled, smelly milk that got on the ceiling, and conveniently over most of our dishes in the cupboard since it was open just a crack.

The pictures don’t begin to do it justice. The curdled chunks were thicker than cottage cheese, and thanks to my pregnant wife, I got to clean it all up since the smell was too much for her to handle :)

We promptly put the milk on the back porch. Not wanting the other jug to explode inside of our hot trash can during the day, we left the jugs there until trash day the following week.

Hopefully next time Rachel really wants cereal she remembers this experience and brings in the milk from the car :)

Ken’s Internship

Warning: Ken is writing this post so it probably won’t be nearly as witty and entertaining as one of Rachel’s posts…

Rachel’s been bugging me since my internship started to write a post about it. She very politely just told me, “you could write a blog post about your internship, since it ended yesterday,” (hint hint).

Anyway, for the past twelve weeks I’ve been working at IM Flash Technologies in Lehi, UT. IM Flash is a joint venture of Intel and Micron and has been around since 2006. They manufacture NAND flash memory on silicon wafers, which end up in things like iPhones, iPads, iPods, (insert future apple product name here), and so forth. If you can’t tell, Apple is one of the biggest customers of our products.

Overall, the internship has been a great experience. I never thought I would work for a semiconductor manufacturing company, but I’m glad I’ve had this short glimpse into this industry. There are a lot of different departments at IM Flash, called “areas,” and I worked with the wet process area. The link below is to a Wikipedia article about etching processes, in case you have a hankering to be nerded out by chemistry stuff.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Etching_(microfabrication)

Some of my favorite parts about working there have been

  • The people. Everyone that works there is really helpful and they were all very patient with my constant questions.
  • The culture. IM Flash has a great set of values (Integrity, Commitment, Execution, Teamwork) that aren’t just words posted on a wall in conference rooms. Everyone that works there strives for excellence by living those values.
  • My carpool. I rode with some other BYU Chem Eng students and it was a lot of fun to get to know them better and have some good times talking about the most random things to/from work.
  • Free stuff. They treated us like kings. We went to Lagoon, out for dinner/lunch, and were given gifts. Living the life as a college student trying to bum as many free meals as possible.
  • The cleanroom. I got to work inside of the cleanroom for a few weeks and got to wear these bad boys everyday.

Above is a picture of Conan O’Brien when he visited Intel. Here’s a link to the Youtube video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMT9Obytq2I. It is very funny.

Not sure if I’ll end up working here full-time after graduation, but I’m very grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to be a part of the worldwide leader in flash memory manufacturing (did I mention that IM Flash won the Semiconductor of the year award this year, and also has the smallest transistor size in the entire world right now? It’s 20 nanometers!).

Dream time, internship style!

“Revelation can also be given in a dream when there is an almost imperceptible transition from sleep to wakefulness.” Elder Richard G. Scott – April 2012 General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

As you can imagine, this quote stuck out to me while listening to General Conference a few weeks ago because I often have peculiar experiences when I sleep. Most of the time I wouldn’t consider them revelatory – dinosaurs chasing me, being shot at by terrorists and taking refuge in the bathtub, swatting at imaginary spiders above Rachel’s head with my pillow, and the list goes on. To quote Elder Scott again, “If you strive to capture the content immediately [from your dreams], you can record great detail, but otherwise it fades rapidly.” A few nights after conference I had a dream about my upcoming internship and took the chance to write down what I dreamed about when I woke up and the following story is from those notes. Enjoy

We were having an orientation at IM Flash and I was given the wonderful task of observing many of the departments and processes that occur there. How would I travel you ask? By foot, Segway, pogo stick, other? No my friends, I got to travel by a hand-held helicopter. Think of something with two handles attached to helicopter blades. I would hold on and zoom around the production floor, narrowly dodging pipes and other obstructions, as I went around talking with the full-time employees. After some time of flying around I saw a long hallway with a light in the distance and asked one of the full timers what was down the hallway. He said, “That’s the hallway to intern land.” It seemed to invite and call out to me, but unfortunately I awoke before visiting intern land.

Am I excited for my internship? Of course! Do I think it’ll be cool to work in the production facility of the leading manufacturer and innovator of NAND flash? Oh yeah. But am I disappointed that there won’t be any hand-held helicopters? Big time. Hopefully there will still be a sweet “intern land.”

Internship!

Thanks to Rachel’s frequent pleadings, I’m finally writing this post…two and a half months after the fact. I’m not the best about writing blog posts, in case you couldn’t tell. Anyway, I have an internship offer with IM Flash Technologies in Lehi, UT!!

The internship will start the 21st of May and will go about half way through August. IM Flash is a joint venture company between Intel and Micron that manufactures Nand flash (semi-conductors). The semi-conductor wafers that they manufacture are used in lots of things like thumb drives, iPod/iPads, and SSD drives. I don’t know exactly what I’ll be doing for the 12 weeks, but I know that I’ll be working with the Wet Etch process department. There are hundreds of processes involved in the manufacturing of semi-conductor wafers. A typical production time from Silicon wafer to finished product is a few weeks. If you’re actually interested in wet etch processes I recommend this Wikipedia article.

I’m very grateful for the BYU career fair that made it possible for me to meet HR reps and engineers from IM Flash, the interview that I had back in November, and the internship offer I received in December.

Rachel and I are really excited to be staying in Utah for the summer for a number of reasons. Mainly so that we don’t have to pack up all our junk and move somewhere for 3 months, but also to enjoy family close by, the great ward we’re a part of now, so Rachel can take some classes during spring term and keep her job, and to enjoy the many outdoor adventures that Utah has to offer. We plan on going camping once or twice a month, so if anyone wants to join us just let us know!

Sweet Dreams

I am a sleep talker, walker, and spider killer. A few weeks ago I was half in and out of a dream and woke up, convinced that there was a spider above Rachel’s head. Since Rachel hates spiders (big understatement), and since I am such a loving husband, I did the dutiful thing that any husband would do, I went after the spider. Frantically swinging at the wall I heard a faint question come from Rachel ask what I was doing. Not wanting to scare her I told her that I wasn’t doing anything, even though I pretty much saved her life from the invisible spiders. By that time I was fully awake, and feeling really stupid for swinging my pillow at invisible spiders, I laid back down for the rest of the night.

Fast forward a week or two. Similar half dosed mental state. I can’t remember what I was dreaming about, but there was some urgent need to get out of bed, and even the house. Thinking that something was going to fall and crush me, I leaped to my feet, heart racing fast. I told Rachel, “Come on! We have to go now!” Thankfully she paid me no heed and by that time I was fully alert. Once again feeling stupid, I did the most sensible thing anyone would do when they wake up from a strange dream…I went to the kitchen, ate some chocolate chips, laid down on the couch and fell asleep. Man, I’m really weird at night.