Previous month:
July 2004
Next month:
September 2004

108 entries from August 2004

Deseret Morning News: Hundreds celebrate Lori's life

OREM—On the day she went home with her adoptive family, Lori Kay Soares wore a little pink dress, a white-lace bonnet and clutched a pink-and-white stuffed rabbit. She was 3 months old and her constant companion was a pacifier.

Thelma Soares, center, walks with nieces Jane, left, and Kathy Black at a service for Lori Hacking at an LDS stake center in Orem Saturday. (Michael Brandy, Deseret Morning News)
Thelma Soares, center, walks with nieces Jane, left, and Kathy Black at a service for Lori Hacking at an LDS stake center in Orem Saturday.
Michael Brandy, Deseret Morning News
At age 4, as a church receipt shows, Lori tithed a penny for each year of her life and gave it faithfully.

As she grew she played on baseball teams, went to school dances and traveled the country, sometimes spontaneously, like the night she took a red-eye flight to New York City just to spend her New Year's Eve birthday in Times Square. In college, she served as a congressional intern in Washington, D.C., before graduating with honors from the University of Utah. Then she married her high school sweetheart, Mark, and became Lori Hacking.

Saturday, those moments from Lori Hacking's life were celebrated and memorialized in pictures, words and music by friends and family at the Windsor LDS Stake Center in Orem.

Lori Hacking was apparently killed sometime the morning of July 19, shot while she slept in her Salt Lake apartment. She was 27.

Her husband, Mark Hacking, 28, is accused of the crime and his been charged with first-degree felony murder for allegedly shooting his wife and then leaving her body in a Dumpster near the U. Her body has not been found.

Mark Hacking is in the Salt Lake County Jail being held on $1 million bail and was not at the service. The rest of his family, however, did attend, with his father, Douglas Hacking, offering the invocation.

"We've all been touched by her in some way, and we appreciate the time she has been here on this earth," Douglas Hacking said during the prayer, momentarily looking down from the podium at Thelma and Eraldo Soares, Lori's parents, who were sitting side by side in the first pew.

Tiffany Carpenter with brother Lance Hacking and his wife, Stephanie. (Michael Brandy, Deseret Morning News)
Tiffany Carpenter with brother Lance Hacking and his wife, Stephanie.
Michael Brandy, Deseret Morning News
"I knew Lori after she lost the pacifier and put on the spark," said Jack Christianson, whose daughter, Rebecca, was one of Lori's closest high school friends. "She really outgrew the pacifier—she was a little spitfire. She was so funny. She'd let you know how she felt. And as some have said today, I don't think she'd want to be deified.

"She wasn't perfect, but she was working on it, just like the rest of us."

Lori would indeed have been uncomfortable with the fuss made over her life Saturday, her brother Paul Soares said. The thousands who searched for her in the days after she was reported missing and the hundreds who packed the LDS meetinghouse to pay their respects would have puzzled her as well.

"She was very private. She was one who kept everything inside of her, but she was very conscious of others' feelings," Paul Soares said. "She was someone who cared about others."

Recounting a day they spent together in Washington, D.C., Soares relished his sister's zest for life, her love of travel and adventure, her dedication to school, her kindness and compassion.

"I had such pride and joy in knowing she was my little sister," he said.

Saturday's service was incomplete only in that police have yet to recover Lori's remains. Thus a "memorial service," as her family is as yet unable to hold a funeral and burial.

Police searched a Salt Lake landfill a dozen times—including overnight Friday and Saturday—but have yet to locate Lori's body or the .22-caliber rifle they believe was used in the killing.

Searches by police using search dogs will "continue until it's finished," Salt Lake City police detective Dwayne Baird said outside the chapel on Saturday.

"We have lots of material to go through out there at the landfill, and we're just doing it as best as we can, making sure that we don't leave anything unturned."

Baird said he attended the service because he had come to know both the Soares and Hacking families well over the past month. "We don't have any schedule where we say that it's over in any given time frame. It will be a situation where we continue ... until we find her."

Police remain confident they are searching in the right location, Baird added. About 4,200 tons of garbage was dumped at the landfill on July 19 and, as of several days ago, police had sorted through only a fraction of that. He said he was not at liberty to discuss possible contingency plans.

If Mark Hacking indeed killed his wife, as prosecutors say and as Mark himself has allegedly confessed to his brothers Lance and Scott, then it might seem strange that his family has remained so closely tied to Lori's family or that Douglas Hacking would be asked to pray at his daughter-in-law's memorial.

But there is no blaming or bitterness between the Soares and the Hacking families, Christianson said after the service.

"Both families have a deep religious conviction that they share," he said making reference to the fact that both families are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. "We teach forgiveness and we teach love."

Douglas and Janet Hacking attend services for Lori Hacking Saturday. (Michael Brandy, Deseret Morning News)
Douglas and Janet Hacking attend services for Lori Hacking Saturday.
Michael Brandy, Deseret Morning News
Both Christianson and Windsor LDS Stake President Scott Dunaway touched on the idea of forgiveness in their memorial service remarks.

"The world has been in awe of the love and compassion you have shown for one another," said Dunaway, who served as a spokesman for both families during the past few weeks. "What an example of living the gospel of Jesus Christ."

In the days since Lori was reported missing, the nation has watched and wept along with the families, Dunaway noted.

"I think for all of us Lori has become a daughter, a sister, a daughter-in-law, a granddaughter, a niece," he said. "We feel something of the hurt that these families feel in her loss."

Also during the service, a letter expressing condolences from the LDS Church First Presidency was read to the families. Elder W. Grant Bangerter, an emeritus member of the Quorum of the Seventy, also spoke.

Deseret Morning News: Grief, anger, love fill mother's heart

Copyright 2004 Deseret Morning News

OREM—It was the Thursday after Lori Hacking was reported missing and Thelma Soares, Lori's mother, had gone to the hospital to see her son-in-law, Mark.

At the time it seemed that Mark Hacking had collapsed with grief over the disappearance of his newly pregnant wife. He was undergoing psychological testing at the University of Utah Medical Center and had been incoherent when Soares first visited two days before.

Miles away, volunteers were combing the hillsides above City Creek Canyon and nearby neighborhoods looking for any trace of Lori, the girl with the wide smile and the cascade of curly brown hair.

But a day earlier, police had revealed that Mark Hacking had lied about his plans to attend medical school in North Carolina, and there was growing suspicion about whether his pretty wife would be found.

Mark was standing with a blanket wrapped around his shoulders when Soares entered the room.

"I hugged him and said, 'Marky, didn't you know my love was not conditional on your becoming a doctor? It was because of you, Mark, and how you treated Lori,'" Soares said in an interview with the Deseret Morning News. "And he kind of sobbed ... and he looked me straight in the eye and said, "I promise, I promise I had nothing to do with it.'

"I desperately wanted to believe him," Soares goes on. "But I didn't. I had this uneasy feeling. I did desperately want to, because I love him ... , but I just knew he wasn't telling the truth."

'A sweet baby'
Lori became Soares' adoptive daughter on April 21, 1977. The wait for Lori was at least two years. Soares can't remember exactly but said that she and her then-husband, Eraldo Soares, had first inquired about the adoption when their first child, Paul, who is also adopted, was about 4. Paul was 7 when Lori came home.

"I can't remember who picked her up first; it was probably me," Soares said. "She was such a sweet baby. She had this hair from the beginning. It was dark and curly and grew really fast. When we'd walk in the mall with her everyone would say they had to stop and look at the baby with all the hair. Finally I had to cut it because it was too thick and too curly, even to part it, and she cried."

Soares still has remnants of that first haircut, a long brown braid in an envelope that bears Lori's name.

In fact, Soares has safeguarded many keepsakes from her daughter's life. Lori's pictures, awards, dolls and other mementos were on display Saturday at the memorial service for the former stockbroker's assistant, held at the Windsor LDS Stake Center in Orem. In one corner were her tiny brown rocking chair, stuffed animals and childhood books, in the other her beaded wedding dress.

Lori Hacking is believed to have been killed July 19 while asleep in the Salt Lake apartment she shared with her husband.

Prosecutors have charged Mark Hacking with first-degree murder in connection with his wife's death. In an alleged confession to his older brothers, Mark Hacking said he shot his wife with a .22-caliber rifle and then abandoned her body in a Dumpster, the contents of which were taken to the Salt Lake County landfill. Her body has not been found.

"She's on the cover. She's on the latest edition of People magazine, sister," Thelma Soares is saying to the woman on the other end of the telephone as she shakes her head and breaks into tears. "Lori's picture is on the cover."

The words sound like both a statement and a question.

'The Mark I know'
At the moment, Soares says, she has many questions.

"The best news I could get is that (Mark) has a brain tumor or brain injury or something that would make him do this. I'm just really speechless; I have no way to explain it," she said: "Unless he's this evil guy. ... He was helpful. A generous spirit. He seemed to care about people. He came and put all of my Christmas lights up every year. This is the Mark that I know, not this Mark who killed her and did this horrible thing."

The Mark Hacking who started buzzing around Lori Soares in high school was always a big teddy bear of a guy. He'd bang on the front door each time he'd call for Lori. On her birthday one year, Mark and another friend filled Lori's bedroom with balloons and silly string.

He was a polite boy from a good family who once wrote Soares a note that read: "If I didn't have my own mother, I'd choose you to be my mother."

"Maybe he was schmoozing because he wanted Lori," Soares ponders. "But maybe not."

The coffee table in the living room of Soares' Orem home is covered with sympathy cards and vases of flowers. Outside, the tan siding is dotted with yellow ribbons tied in bows. On the front door, a polite note reads, "Thelma is resting," and begs the visitor to respect the 66-year-old woman's privacy.

Soares is grieving but somehow seems calm as she pads around house in her bare feet, her toenails painted bright pink.

When she speaks of Lori, she glows.

"We kept an orthodontist in business for several years. She was beautiful," Soares says and then begins to tick off the list of Lori's accomplishments.

An award from a kindergarten teacher for best bookmark. In sixth grade, Lori's first full school year in Utah after her parents divorced and she and Thelma moved here from Fullerton, Calif., she was a finalist for the Hope of America award. She was also elected president of her ninth-grade class.

Lori excelled in other arenas as well. She played piano and took ballet lessons. She loved to swim and Rollerblade. She took up running later after marrying Mark, Soares said.

From an early age, Lori had plenty of determination and specific goals. For a while, she even set her sights on attending Stanford University.

"She couldn't understand why anybody wouldn't want to go to college. That was always part of her plan," Soares said. "She said, 'I want to be independent like you are so that if anything happens I'll be able to take care of myself.'"

Weber State University was Lori's first collegiate destination, but after a year, she transferred to the University of Utah, Soares said.

'Web of lies'
There were plenty of young men to choose from, but Lori seemed to have her heart set on Mark, whom she had met on a high school trip to Lake Powell. From the first she said she was comfortable with Mark. They could talk about anything.

Married on Aug. 7, 1999, Lori and Mark seemed like the happiest of couples, Soares said. They supported each other's interests, alternately going to the Broadway-type theater productions Lori enjoyed and taking camping trips in Utah's wilderness, which was Mark's love.

"They did that in their marriage," Soares said, adding that Mark was the more demonstrative of the two, but that the couple was affectionate. "It wasn't perfect, you know, and maybe sometimes she would be the one to raise her voice, but she loved him. If ever there was anything that I would wonder about Mark, she would defend him."

If Lori had ever learned about Mark's now well-known deceptions or failures—like his LDS mission that was cut short, or the lies about his college graduation and medical school acceptance—she never let on, Soares said. She believes her daughter would have been devastated by such lies.

"I don't think Lori ever told a lie in her life," Soares said.

But it seems Mark Hacking told more than a few, the extent of which might not yet be known. Court documents released Friday show police are looking at cell phone, computer and bank records in trying to establish a case, all of which could lead to new information and insights.

"This elaborate web of lies, that takes a lot of thinking to do that. It wasn't that he lacked the intellect, he was always very smart," Soares said, adding that she wonders if Mark's actions might be traced to a fall he took from a roof about eight years ago while working a construction job. Mark, she said, apparently hit his head on a cement floor during the fall.

"As I sit here trying to make some semblance of sense of this, it's the only thing I could come up with," Soares said. "It's hard for me to believe that he's this evil because the Mark I know is just the opposite of that. All of my interaction and experience with him says it's not so. He's this sweet, gentle, quiet, funny guy."

'I do want justice'
Still, Thelma Soares is angry.

"I am angry at what he did to her, and that he left her to rot in this terrible place," she said. "And you know, there are moments when I just want to tear his heart out with my bare hands, but what good would it do?"

That prosecutors didn't charge Mark with a capital crime is all right with Soares.

"I don't want to be the person that sends him to the death chamber," she said. "I do want justice. He needs to pay for what he did to Lori. If that means a life sentence, that's fine with me."

No one should ever think that Mark's actions have divided Soares and any other member of the Hacking family, she is quick to add. The families have remained close in the weeks since Lori disappeared, and Mark's father, Douglas Hacking, said the opening prayer at Lori's memorial service Saturday.

With Mark's future in the hands of the judicial system—a court hearing is scheduled for Monday—Soares is filled with compassion for his parents, Douglas and Janet.

"As anguished and heartbroken as I am about Lori, I think they are facing a more difficult future than I am, because he's their son. You can't turn your love off and on like a faucet," Soares said. "I'm sure the Hackings would give their life for Mark. He's their child, and they still love him."

Soares is finding comfort in her religious convictions and says she is certain that Lori is at peace. She also hopes that time in prison might give Mark time to repent his crimes.

"In my way of belief, what he did was about as bad as it gets. He took two lives, and if he doesn't repent of this then his eternal future looks pretty bleak," said Soares. "I hope that isn't the case because there is good in Mark. Somewhere down in there, there's this person that I knew and and have known and loved like a son.

"There's man's law and there's God's law, and those are quite often two different things," she adds. "I have no doubt in my mind and in my heart that he will receive the judgment from God that he deserves."

I'm past the point of offering any commentary on the articles related to this case. My main purpose is to have an archive of the content separate from its original source; many of the newspapers' archives require paid access for anything older than 30 days, so this site will function as a free-access archive for at least excerpts of the stories.

Pardon me while I twitch a lot

Just got home from an afternoon of errands and such. Grabbed the post on the way into my apartment, sorted through a few envelopes addressed to the previous occupant, to "our friend at" my address (instant trash!), and finally saw my new natural-gas bill from Questar.

Ripped it open, pleasantly remembering last month's bill of $20 and change.

This month's bill is $702.29.

Apart from my water heater, everything in this apartment is electric. I don't have water leaking endlessly from the heater—if I did, I'd have to swim out of bed every morning. I haven't changed my personal-hygiene or housecleaning habits: 10- to 15-minute shower daily; dishes washed by hand in the kitchen sink every day or two, mainly rinsed in cool water anyway; other cleaning with water sufficient to the task, not running endlessly as I work.

The bill shows an "estimated reading" for July 6 and an "actual reading" for August 6, for a usage charge roughly equivalent to a full month's usage per day based on last month's bill.

Of course their call center is only open Mon-Fri, so I have to wait until Mon to deal with this. I could submit a "customer reading" on their web site, but that would only help if they'd left me a post card indicating they'd had trouble reading the meter and wanted me to provide them with a reading to prepare the bill.

Utility companies drive me up the damned wall.

Faith, with a side of movies

The Salt Lake Tribune's a silly newspaper, as further evidenced by their odd placement of movie listings (entertainment info in general, in fact) in the Saturday editions. Sat 08/14/04 Faith headlines summaryEach day on the home page, they include a summary of the headlines under each major section. Today's list, under the Faith heading:

Intrigued, I followed the link to the Faith page itself, where there are several more religion-related article links, a photograph of an Israeli family that takes advantage of Israel's government-subsidized fertility treatments as a social and political imperative, and oh yes, immediately below the photo and caption:

Movies This Week, with star ratings!

Bob and Katie, shut the hell up!

ATHENS 2004 logoI set my TiVo up with a Season Pass to record Athens Olympic Games coverage on NBC, figuring all the high-profile events would be covered on their flagship broadcast station and knowing I'm not that interested in shooting, water polo, wrestling, and boxing, which seem to be the mainstays of coverage blocks on USA, MSNBC, CNBC, etc.

Anyone else have the impression we were seeing something from one of those Marvin the Martian "Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator" cartoons as the torch assembly bent down for the athlete to apply the flame?It picked up last night's opening ceremonies just fine, but I'd already caught the last hour or so at my friend Derek's house. We flipped it on in time to catch the end of the parade of athletes and a little later the lighting of the Olympic flame.

All the while we were subjected to the occasionally inane and most often simply unneeded commentary by Bob Costas and Katie Couric, two of the most irritating talking heads in television today.

Costas, who's a baseball god by nearly any standard—Derek believes Costas should be baseball commissioner, so great is his love for the game, and I'm willing to accept that argument—seems incapable of shutting up for more than a few seconds, almost as if he has a game of oneupmanship going on with his cohost. headerCouric's voice annoys me, sounds like she's always trying to play the role of Submissive Female Who Could Destroy You In An Interview—if she were given the right cue by the director.

They both read off scripted bits about various nations' athletes and later the last several torchholders as though these were the most important words spoken by anyone anywhere in the history of time, but they simply sounded overwrought and distracted from the spectacle.

Bob and Katie, here's a heads-up for you:

Many times, the event speaks for itself. So shut up and let the event go on without your daft prattle!

I was dumb

and finally crawled into bed around 04:30 and woke up at 10:00, right on track with the 5-to-6-hours thing. I was surprised I didn't wake up earlier with the neighborhood lawn-care brigade's usual Saturday-morning frenzy of activity, but so far today I've yet to hear a single mower or weed-whacker.

Wait, wait—there's a chainsaw or something similar, sounds like it's a couple blocks away. And they waited for little ol' me to wake up on my own.

Deseret Morning News: 'We love him no matter what'

Family visits Hacking in jail; more court documents released

SOUTH SALT LAKE—It's been nearly two weeks since Lance Hacking last saw his brother Mark. It was Aug. 2, the day Mark Hacking was arrested for allegedly killing his wife—a crime his family says Mark confessed to his brothers, who then took that information to police.

Lance Hacking leaves the Salt Lake County Jail with his wife, Stephanie, and Wyatt, their baby (Tom Smart, Deseret Morning News)
Lance Hacking leaves the Salt Lake County Jail with his wife, Stephanie, and Wyatt, their baby
Tom Smart, Deseret Morning News
Friday night, Lance Hacking went to the Salt Lake County Jail for a visit with Mark, one day after their parents, Janet and Douglas Hacking, had visited.

He wanted, Lance Hacking said, to let Mark know that he is still loved and that the shared decision he and brother Scott Hacking had made to reveal Mark's confession was intended as an act of love.

"He understood that we acted out of choosing what we felt was the right thing to do and he understands that we felt that our actions were also guided toward helping him heal," Lance Hacking said after a 30-minute visit with Mark. "Scott and I still believe that and our family still believes that, and I think that Mark also believes that we acted out of love."

Meanwhile, court documents released Friday offer a glimpse into how prosecutors are building their case against Mark Hacking. The documents show that through subpoenas police obtained computer, cell phone, bank and credit card records for the couple, in particular for activity during the time period after July 19, when Lori was reported missing.

Mark Hacking is charged with first-degree criminal homicide and three counts of obstruction of justice in 3rd District Court. Bail is set at $1 million. Under jail guidelines, he is allowed two 30-minute visits each week, the first of which was Thursday with his parents.

Mark Hacking is accused of shooting his wife, Lori, in the head with a .22-caliber rifle as she slept during the early morning hours of July 19. He then allegedly put her body in a Dumpster near the University of Utah.

Salt Lake City police were back at the Salt Lake landfill for the 11th time Friday night looking for Lori's body. So far, nothing of consequence has been found, police detective Kevin Joiner said Friday.

A memorial service for Lori Soares Hacking is planned for 11 a.m. today in Orem.

"I think it will help with a little bit of closure to help us feel we can really honor Lori," said Stephanie Hacking, Lance's wife, who came to the jail with her husband and 9-month-old son Wyatt.

Visiting the jail was a somber experience, Stephanie Hacking said, but the couple tried to keep the conversation focused on family and not on the criminal charges or court actions ahead.

"Our main goal is to let him know that our family is still here and that we absolutely love him and we are doing every thing we can to support him," Lance Hacking said. "As far as the case and everything go, we are content and happy to leave that with the judicial system and let that run its course. In the meantime, we will stand by him as a brother, and we will love him no matter what."

Lance Hacking said that the days since July 19 have been some of the most difficult his family has experienced, and those feelings are complicated by what the family feels is the double loss of Mark and Lori.

What Mark Hacking is now going through, "weighs heavy on our hearts as well," Lance Hacking said.

"There are certainly things that he has lied about which we didn't know about, but in terms of who Mark actually is on the inside, I still feel like we know him and love him," Lance Hacking said.

The family didn't pray together during their short visit, but Mark did express to his brother and sister-in-law that he had been engaged in prayer.

"I imagine he has a lot to pray about," Lance Hacking said.

Court records released Friday offered new insights into the investigation:
  • They indicate that police are investigating a Dallas-based phone number, which is somehow linked to the arrests of three Dallas residents who allegedly called that number and then used a stolen credit card to purchase airline tickets. Mark Hacking apparently called that same telephone number, but court documents do not establish any link between Hacking and the three people.

    The number, which the Deseret Morning News dialed Friday, is now disconnected, but was last registered to a Dallas woman.

  • Court records also confirm for the first time that police found a blood-stained mattress in the Dumpster at a church meetinghouse about one block from the Hacking's apartment, 127 S. Lincoln St. (945 East). Credit card records have already indicated that Mark Hacking purchased a new mattress from a South Salt Lake store 30 minutes after he first reported his wife missing to police.

  • Also confirmed by the affidavits is seizure of digitally recorded surveillance tapes from the University Neuropsychiatric Unit that apparently show Mark Hacking dumping an object into a trash bin behind the facility. Police are looking specifically at recordings made between midnight and noon on July 19.

  • Similarly, video images have also been obtained from a local convenience store, where both Mark and Lori were seen the Sunday night prior to her death, and where Mark returned about 1 a.m. for a pack of cigarettes. Additional surveillance tape was sought from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where cameras near Temple Square point toward roads that access Memory Grove, the location Mark had originally told police Lori had gone for a morning run.

If I were smart,

I'd go to bed right now, a little after midnight.

I'd probably toss'n'turn a bit, but eventually I'd drop off, and I might even manage 7 or 8 hours of sleep instead of my usual 5 or 6.

If I were smart, I'd do that.

But I'm astoundingly stupid re: sleep schedules, so I'll probably be up another hour or two anyway, and still wake up at 07:30 or 08:00 and wonder what the hell.


Weekend Wonderings: Fri 08/13/04

And yet another first participation for me.

  1. What do you do when you're riding in a car with someone and they're playing music that you can't stand?
    There's very little music I dislike enough that I won't simply listen along, but if I really can't abide it, I'll ask if we can change the station or CD. I hate it when passengers stab at the stereo in my car without asking first, so I never do that in anyone else's car.

  2. What do you do when someone is riding in the car with you and tells you they can't stand your music?
    If it's radio, switch the station or let passengers fiddle with it if they ask. If it's CDs, switch songs. If they don't ask before they go for the stereo, I turn it off entirely.

  3. How important is music to you?
    It's my single greatest pleasure—I can always find something to match my mood or physical state.
Weekend Wonderings
Link via The Daily Meme

Deseret Morning News: Hundreds 'sign' Lori's guest book

Hundreds and hundreds of people from around the world have posted messages to the electronic guest book for Lori Hacking on the Deseret Morning News Web site. By Thursday, the postings already had filled 75 pages.

Below are some of the messages. To view all of them, or to post your own message, view the guest book for Lori Kay Soares Hacking.

  • My heart goes out to the Soares family. I am deeply moved by your tragic circumstances. I understand the loss and wish you Godspeed. I know that Lori will watch over you and keep you moving forward. I remember the saying "There, but for the grace of God, go I."—Patricia Middleton (Marysville, Wash.)

  • I just want to say that your story has touched me. I am so sorry to hear of your loss of a daughter and I want you to know that you are all in our prayers and thoughts. My 7-year-old has seen what has happened and drew a picture for her and said a prayer for her as well.—Cher Atkinson (Forest Grove, Ore.)

  • Lor, I miss you so much. I'm so glad we got to see each other one last time. As always, you're on to bigger and better things.—Holly (Orem)

  • Tennessee is praying for your entire family. God bless each of you.—Ginger Wyatt (Knoxville, Tenn.)

  • I lost my daughter 11 months ago. I really know what you are going through. The days will be hard, but the memories do help. Just remember the good times and fun times.—Marcia (Antioch, Calif.)

  • I am so sorry for the loss of Lori Hacking. Though my husband and I never knew her, we have been following this case since it began and we feel like she was family as we mourn her loss as well. Our heartfelt sympathies to all and may God bless your family.—Carrie Steadman (Taylorsville)

  • To the Lori Hacking Family: I know that no words can comfort you at this extremely difficult time. However, please know that you have been in the thoughts and prayers of people throughout the world. Without even knowing Lori, you can tell by her beauty and her smile what a special person she is. God bless you and your family.—Tiffanie Northrup (Henefer, Morgan County)

  • Please know that this lovely young woman has touched people all over the country. I hope that the gift of Lori will sustain you with strength and courage. We all mourn with you.—Lisa M. (Minnesota)

  • Dear Soareses and Hackings, if any good can come from this tragedy, maybe it's that so many people have been impressed with the support and unity you two families have displayed. Others facing difficult situations will remember your example. Your message is one of peace and grace. Thank you. Our hearts are with you.—Jennie Hurlbut (Orem)

  • Lori has become every mother's child. Your nightmare has become our nightmare. We honor your strength and dedication. May God bless your family and hold Lori close until you are able to do so once again.—Cindy (Mississippi)

  • Although I understand the loss of someone too soon, I cannot imagine what it would be like to lose that person in such a tragic way. Both families are in my prayers daily. I appreciate the depths of the faith shown by the entire Soares and Hacking families.—Robin Burns (Fayetteville, Tenn.)

  • May God bless you all. I am so sorry about the loss of Lori. I pray that you can be comforted by the spirit at this time.—Donna Watson (Hobart, Australia)

  • When my only daughter was 16 years old, she was so very sick we were afraid we would lose her. It was Dr. Hacking who saved her life through his diagnosis and medical care. Thelma, I can't imagine your pain at the loss of your beautiful Lori. I only wish I could take away your pain if for only a day. You all have been an inspiration to millions of people you have touched through your courage and strength.—Anonymous (Utah)

Deseret Morning News: Hacking saga stirs memories for Idaho pair

Their daughter was slain by man hired by spouse

ABERDEEN, Idaho—Andrea and Gary Myler know the searing pain of betrayal upon having a son-in-law accused of murdering his wife. They have been there.

As they watch the unfolding story of Mark Hacking and the alleged murder of his wife, Lori, the Mylers find themselves taken back eight years to another Utah case of a husband who wanted his wife dead.

On Aug. 28, 1996, 24-year-old Jill Allen was murdered in her North Salt Lake apartment by one of two construction workers who later testified that they were offered up to $40,000 by her husband, Paul Allen, to have her killed. More than three years after her death, a jury found Paul Allen guilty of murder and sentenced him to life in prison with the possibility of parole, sparing him punishment for capital murder.

Sitting under an apple tree outside their rural Idaho home, a tree that provided shade to Jill and others during family get-togethers, Gary and Andrea Myler offer some advice to the parents of Lori Hacking: Turn to your faith to pull you through, find support in your family and never let the "What-ifs?" take over.

Stepfather Gary Myler, who raised Jill, said Lori Hacking's parents should be prepared to make this murder case a constant part of their lives for at least the next decade. After eight years the Mylers still are involved in Paul Allen's appeal for a new trial.

Paul Allen has maintained his innocence, and his family has stood by him. Attorneys for Paul Allen recently filed briefs with the Utah Supreme Court asking for a new trial.

"It's definitely going to be a roller coaster for them as they go through the trial. I see them watching this boy try to prove that he's insane some way with the defense," Gary Myler said.

"One thing they need to realize is that it's going to take a long time. Our justice system is very slow, and they seem to give the accused every opportunity to get away with it. Our justice system bends over backwards to see that their rights are not infringed upon, and that's going to irritate them," Andrea Myler said.

Construction worker Joseph Wright testified that Paul Allen approached him to find someone to kill his wife. Wright then recruited his friend George Anthony Taylor to do the job. The two testified that Paul Allen had supplied them a key to his North Salt Lake apartment with instructions that the murder was to look like a robbery.

Davis County prosecutors claimed Paul Allen hoped to collect on a $250,000 life insurance policy he had on his wife.

In tearful testimony, Taylor described how he waited inside the dark apartment for his victim to come home from work. After breaking his gun while pistol-whipping her, Taylor said he resorted to beating her in the head with a baseball bat. But Jill kept fighting, he said. Finally he strangled her with a belt.

Returning from a boat trip, Paul Allen found his wife beaten beyond recognition.

Andrea Myler said she still remembers offering her shoulder to her son-in-law to cry on at her daughter's funeral.

She also felt that something was not right. Andrea Myler said she spent a lot of time time comforting Paul Allen but got no sympathy or support in return.

"I'd call and talk to him and I said, 'How are you doing?' and he said, 'You know, every day gets a little better,' and I said, 'You're kidding, for me every day is worse.' "

By the time police arrested Allen for his wife's murder a year later, Andrea Myler said her family wasn't surprised but remained in a state of disbelief.

"To our family, Paul appeared to be such a good guy, and people would say, 'Didn't you see any of this coming?' . . . No, they are so deceitful and are so good at covering it up; so good at making themselves appear good that you don't see it coming," she said. "It's the last thing in the world that you think that they would murder. You think that the marriage is just going to break up."

Gary Myler said he has been haunted by "What-ifs?": What if they had called earlier; what if they missed early signs. "It goes on in your mind, over and over again. You need to think about something else, you need to talk to people about it. Because if you don't, it'll cave the sides of your head in," he said.

Ultimately, it was their faith that saw them through all the threats of a mistrial to delays in the case.

"Through all these little mazes traveled by attorneys, it finally gets down to your own heart and mind. The Lord is still over this," Gary Myler said.

Andrea said Lori Hacking's mother should never let up in pushing detectives and prosecutors about advances in the case. And she warned that the press and the public are going to judge Lori's character by the actions of her family members.

Forgiveness will also come into play in the Hacking case.

"In a way you have to come to a certain level of forgiveness, or understanding," Gary Myler said. "If you let it destroy you from the inside out, your hatred and everything you build up toward them, it will destroy you."

Meteors everywhere

Just back from a trek to Strawberry Reservoir, about 70 miles southeast of Salt Lake City, to view the Perseid meteor shower. Probably could've stopped before I got to Strawberry—even just outside Heber City it was dark enough, but I wanted the least amount of city light possible, and near Strawberry all I had to deal with was the occasional passing car or truck and the idiocy of the "chip-seal" paving method, which UDOT in its inestimable wisdom has inflicted upon the last 15 or so miles of US 40 before Strawberry.

Perseid meteor over South Dakota in 2000 (
Perseid meteor over South Dakota in 2000
So I was driving slowly, around 40mph, to avoid smashing deer with my car and to avoid smashing my windshield as opposing traffic screamed past and flung gravel and dust toward me.

I hate that paving method.

Anyway, the shower was pretty cool. One large meteor visible almost directly overhead about every two or three minutes, and several smaller ones toward the western horizon about every 30 or 40 seconds. I was wishing I'd had my camera repaired and I had a tripod so I could've fiddled around with some time exposures, but that'll wait for another day.

I don't own a chaise lounge, but the place I pulled over afforded an angled shoulder. I lay on that with my head resting on my hands on the edge of the pavement so I wouldn't have to crane my neck and possibly fall over backward as I stared straight up into the sky.

Apart from a couple of gravel-against-the-windshield incidents and one idiot who didn't turn off his high-beams as he drove toward me, 'twas a most pleasant experience. Been a while since I saw the full glory of the night sky that way. Circuits: All Thumbs, Without the Stigma

(Link is to archival single-page copy of the article.)

Published: August 12, 2004
SINCE the beginning, humans have made big use of their thumbs—for grasping sticks, hitching rides, rating movies and so on. Now, for millions of people, the thumb has evolved into a preferred mode of 21st-century communication.

You can glimpse them in malls or school hallways, or even on the road, pumping a thumb (if not both) with speed and aplomb. They are text messagers, a rapidly growing breed who use the cellphone to tap out and send short electronic missives. Cradling the phone in the palm, they make a mockery of the notion that a keyboard must be sizable—or that it takes a handful of fingers to hunt and peck.

Thumbs get heavy use in cell-phone-based text messaging
Thumbs get heavy use in cell-phone-based text messaging
Having initially boomed in Europe and Asia, text messaging has now invaded the United States with full force. In the first quarter of 2004, 2.6 billion text messages were sent on cellphones in the United States, an increase from 1.2 billion in the comparable period a year earlier, according to the Yankee Group, a market research firm.

In the process, reliance on the thumb to type has re-established its place in the hierarchy of the hand. "The thumb is the new power digit," said Edward Tenner, a science historian for the Smithsonian Institution who has spent time thinking about the interaction between hand and machine.

Dr. Tenner, in "Our Own Devices: The Past and Future of Body Technology" (Knopf, 2003), said that the thumb's role in operating keyboards became prominent 250 years ago with the advent of the musical keyboard, but then was diminished in stature by banishment to the space bar of the typewriter. Now, he said, it is "enjoying a second renaissance."

To be sure, Dr. Tenner notes that research shows the thumb does half the overall work of the hand. But its typing prowess has emerged only with text messaging.

As cellphones evolved into devices that fit in a palm, the thumb wound up in an opportune position for both dialing and text messaging. Many people use a single thumb to punch the keys while grasping the phone with the same hand. Others prefer a double-thumb method, while some—yes, it's true—resort to pecking away with the index finger of the hand not holding the phone.

Whatever the method, text messaging can still involve a workout, given that it typically takes multiple taps on a phone's number key to produce a desired letter.

Second Nature: Moy Emrick says he sends text messages even while driving (Alan Decker for NYTimes)
Second Nature: Moy Emrick says he sends text messages even while driving (Alan Decker for NYTimes)
Unsurprisingly, those who have taken most readily to the new medium have the fewest habits to unlearn: teenagers and young adults. About 50 percent of cellphone users in those age groups in the United States said they use text messaging regularly, twice the rate among all adults, according to the Yankee Group. The medium is also finding a foothold—er, thumbhold—among business people who find it an unobtrusive way to keep up with e-mail in meetings or on the go.

The typical posture of a text messager is head bent slightly down toward the gadget, but the users are not always easily detected. They can send messages from any place with cellular coverage, and often do so without looking at the phone, which may even be in a pants pocket.

"I do it while I'm driving," said Moy Emrick, 23, a San Diego resident who works in the billing department of a shipping company. "My left hand is on the steering wheel. The right hand is on the phone." The thumb is doing the work—and his eyes, he insists, are on the road.

So important has the thumb become on gadgets in Japan, where text messaging caught on earlier, that a certain demographic group is referred to as oyayubi sedai, "the thumb generation." Dr. Tenner pointed to findings that young Japanese, accustomed to using their thumbs to send messages, are now using them to do other tasks—like pointing and ringing door bells—traditionally the realm of the index finger.

Ashley Tan placed second in a text-messaging speed contest (Alan Decker for NYTimes)
Ashley Tan placed second in a text-messaging speed contest (Alan Decker for NYTimes)
Elsewhere, adroitness of thumb has even manifested itself in contests of opposable dexterity. In June, text typing got a new world champion when SingTel, a Singapore telecommunications company, sponsored a contest to break the Guinness Book of World Records mark for text messaging—a distinction first recorded in 2001.

The champion, Kimberly Yeo, a 23-year-old student, won the contest by typing "The razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality they seldom attack a human" in 43.66 seconds, shattering the mark of 67 seconds set in September 2003.

"She has small thumbs," said the runner-up, Ashley Tan, 18, speculating on the secret to Ms. Yeo's prowess. For his part, Mr. Tan said the key to his dexterity is practice; he estimated that he sends 1,300 to 1,500 text messages each month.

It was not supposed to be this way, though. As its design reflects, the mobile phone—with a keypad like a conventional phone—was not initially envisioned as a device for text messaging, said James E. Katz, director for the Center for Mobile Communication Studies at Rutgers University. "The mobile phone was never designed originally to be something people would peck at," Professor Katz said. "It was an unintended consequence."

A similarly unforeseen development, he said, is that "the thumb has become a very important tool for social and commercial relationships."

An overstatement, perhaps. But the thumb is at least vital to the marriage of Dalani and Ahmed Tanahy.

Last year Ms. Tanahy, 43, a resident of Makaha, Hawaii, who works in a frame shop, married her husband, who lives in Egypt. To keep in close touch and save money on long-distance calls, they often exchange 50 text messages a day.

"Whatever I'm doing—eating, working, driving—I'm able to whip out a text message," Ms. Tanahy said. "These are trained thumbs." There is one snag, though. She said her husband sometimes complained when she could not type fast enough to keep up with the text banter. "He's always saying, 'Where's my message?' " she said. "My husband's 25 years old. I've got to become technologically quick."

Of course, there is some worry, even among users, that speed typing with one thumb could create repetitive strain injuries, like joystick wrist. But the early evidence is inconclusive, according to people who follow the field.

Professor Katz said the thumb was unlikely to face as many problems as, for instance, the wrist. The reason, he said, is that the wrists have lots of tendons and have not adapted well to the unexpected use of the forearm for typing.

The thumb, by contrast, is opposable and flexible, and has been designed for manifold uses, he said.

Still, some users do complain of the occasional problem.

"I did get a small callus," said Mr. Emrick, the San Diego resident, explaining that it appeared on the tip of his thumb last October when he started sending text messages with regularity. "I didn't ice it," he added. "I toughed it out."

43.66 seconds to type out a sentence from hell? That's crazy!

When I first got a phone with text messaging, I went through a period of sending several hundred messages a month to my sister Katharine and my friend Sonya. We rarely talked on our cell phones—usually we sent messages. What would have been a 20- or 30-second phone call turned into a several-minutes message exchange.

We peaked a year or so ago and now I rarely send messages except as replies to messages I receive, or in cases where I want to be unobtrusive (restaurants, theaters, etc.). I think this was mainly because I didn't like having to hit a key several times to get the letter I wanted, and I didn't understand how Nokia's T9 text-entry system worked. Now I use it all the time and swear by it; on my Sony Ericsson T616, which uses the same T9 system, I can tap out a quick message in a short time, but nowhere near the pace those record-setters manage.

(As an aside... today is August 11, right? I'm not looking at the wrong date on my calendar, am I? I know I don't keep very close track of specific dates lately, but damn....)

Link via AskBug

Mac OS X "Panther" 10.3.5 update notes

I have my PowerBook G4 12" set to check for software updates from Apple every day, but I'd forgotten about that setting until Tuesday afternoon when it popped up with three updates:

That prompted me to check at MacInTouch, which indeed had late-day notices indicating the release of these updates. There was no word from readers who'd installed any of the updates, however, so I quit Software Update without installing, to try another time.

Decided to do it when Software Update once more popped up around 21:00 Tuesday, this time indicating the three previous updates along with a fourth: Java Update 1.4.2 Update 1. Since I back up all files on my PowerBook quite regularly, I wasn't worried about losing any data, so I figured I'd install all four updates and see how it went.

I'm posting from that machine now—the updates proceeded smoothly, no problems. I'm in the habit of repairing permissions after any package-based software installation and every part of the updates went just fine.

Now that I've been using the machine for an hour or so with the updates installed, I can tell you there are no outwardly visible changes for me, apart from the Mac OS X build number and the version and build numbers reported for Java and iSync. I wasn't having any trouble with third-party apps before 10.3.5, Bluetooth worked just fine for me, and Java was okay too. I'd never run into any problems with PNG-based graphics, at least that I was aware of. So my installation of the updates was first and foremost a way to get rid of the Software Update dialog without setting the updates to be ignored, and secondarily a way to make sure the updates wouldn't eat my desktop Mac when I apply them to that machine in the next few days.

I rarely have problems with my Macs during software updates, and when I do they're most often minor problems related to changes in the way third-party applications behave. Tonight's update was perfect in every respect. Apart from standard precautions (regular backups, Disk Utility to repair permissions, etc.), I heartily recommend the updates. Bush nominates Goss to head CIA

Gee, the first line of this story surprises me not at all.

Democrats raise objections to pick

WASHINGTON (CNN)—President Bush on Tuesday nominated U.S. Rep. Porter Goss to lead the CIA, an intelligence agency that has been under fire and under the microscope since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

"He knows the CIA inside and out," Bush said of Goss, an eight-term Republican congressman from Florida, a former CIA officer, and until Tuesday, the House intelligence chief. "He is the right man to lead this important agency at this critical moment in our nation's history."

Goss's nomination was praised by Republicans, but key Democrats objected to Bush's choice, questioning whether any lawmaker could bring non-partisan objectivity to the post.

And some questioned whether Goss was too close to the CIA to shake things up at the agency, which was the focus of some critical comments in a recent report by the independent 9/11 commission. The agency has also been faulted for its pre-war intelligence on Iraq.

Goss' nomination is subject to Senate confirmation.

My political views are on the left and I've been registered as a Democrat in the past, but I'm beyond sick of Democrats' knee-jerk objections to any nomination (or nearly any other action) by Republicans. It's so reflexive nowadays, always couched in the language that will guarantee a sound-bite or a subhead. These objections may even be real, for all I know. I'm so accustomed to immediate cries of foul, however, that I don't pay much attention once I've heard the news teasers.

That's unfortunate, because in this case I think the objections may have something to them. Not because Goss is a Republican, however. I don't think anyone who's been chairman of the improbably named House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence for seven years is the best choice to head the intelligence agency that's most under scrutiny following the September 11, 2001, attacks. I simply don't think any politician is the right person for the job.

Ditto for anyone seeking promotion from within CIA's ranks; those people are already steeped in the institutional arrogance that prevents CIA from sharing its information with other agencies. (Such institutional arrogance is widespread in government, by no means solely a problem at CIA.) It's difficult to imagine anyone who's been at CIA for a long time managing to buck the system and remain connected and visible enough to be selected for the head-honcho post. Usually such people are identified and drummed out of such organizations long before they reach positions of real power.

I haven't even decided my position on the proposed national intelligence director spot recommended by the 9/11 commission. I need to do more reading about Goss and finish the 9/11 report first, so this post is just going to dribble off to nowhere for right now, since I'm done venting about the silly reflexive objections to the nomination.

Salt Lake Tribune: Breaking: Hacking arraigned on murder, obstruction charges

Updated: 08/10/04 15:03:46
Wearing a yellow jail jumpsuit and staring straight ahead without expression, Mark Douglas Hacking was arraigned this morning on charges he killed his wife and disposed of her body in a Dumpster.

Hacking—who is being held on $1 million cash bail—appeared before 3rd District Judge L.A. Dever via a closed-circuit television link with the Salt Lake County Jail.

Dever asked Hacking to verify his name, then read the charges and set a scheduling hearing for Aug. 16 before another judge.

Following the two-minute hearing, defense attorney D. Gilbert Athay declined to answer any questions.

"Nothing today," Athay said, flashing a tight smile as he strode briskly past a horde of news reporters.

Hacking, 28, is charged with first-degree felony murder for the June 19 slaying of his sleeping wife, 27-year-old Lori Hacking, at their Salt Lake City apartment.

Hacking is also charged with three second-degree felony counts of obstructing justice for allegedly using three different Dumpsters to dispose of the woman's body, a .22-caliber rifle and the mattress on which she was sleeping when killed.

Speaking of Cingular (formerly AT&T Wireless)....

Last week I griped about Cingular (formerly AT&T Wireless) ads on

Just now, in my sleepless state, I fired up the Cingular site to check my plan usage—I used a sizable chunk of my monthly data allotment in the last day or so, wanted to see exactly how much of it—and saw the fourth major redesign in the last five or six times I’ve visited the site.

I typically pay my wireless bill through the Cingular site, so I log in at least once per month. This month I also logged in to clear out the "posted successfully" messages from TypePad’s remote-posting feature (that’s how I post photos to my site from my camera phone), and again to verify a billing cancellation had taken for an mMode-based web service I’d attempted to cancel during its trial period.

Each time, the Cingular site’s design was wildly different. Usually it’s nothing more than a “buy a new phone! and/or add a line of service!” sales pitch, but tonight’s was mainly text, a simple layout that highlighted the login function and got me going where I wanted quickly and easily.

Anyway. This rant’s pretty dippy, so off it goes to public scrutiny.

That's the POINT of a suitcase, idiot!

cheryl, dear, don't bother to comment on this.

Everyone else, take a look at cheryl's previous comments: one, two, three.
My TiVo picked up a couple episodes of A&E's show Airline, which chronicles Southwest Airlines employees and passengers in many of the cities where they have a large presence (Chicago-Midway, LAX, SLC, etc.).

This woman's freaking out because her expensive suitcase was damaged during a trip, and she's demanding compensation.

My take on it: Why pay hundreds of dollars for an item that's designed to protect its contents? The thing's MADE to be dinged and scratched and smacked around!

Hello dipshit! Shut the fuck up!

Twitching arm

One of the small muscles near my left wrist on the underside of my forearm has been twitching at random for about 15 minutes now. It makes my index and ring fingers jerk sideways too, which is causing problems as I try to type while I work on these contract projects.


Statement of charges and probable cause's news story about the charges against Mark Hacking includes scans of the six-page charging document released today. I've grabbed those images and linked them on my own site below because KSL's site URLs aren't always static; stories change locations fairly often there.

Pages are in numerical order left to right, top row to bottom. Click thumbnails for a full-size image in a pop-up window. You'll have to close the pop-up windows manually to return to this window.

Mark Hacking charging document: Page 01 Mark Hacking charging document: Page 02 Mark Hacking charging document: Page 03
Mark Hacking charging document: Page 04 Mark Hacking charging document: Page 05 Mark Hacking charging document: Page 06

Afternoon sleepies

I hate it when I sleep poorly (or practically not at all, as happened last night) and then the next afternoon it catches up to me like a truck running me down.

In the last 10 minutes this wave of exhaustion has swept over me. I'd really like to take a quick nap, but when I sleep in the afternoon it wonks up my schedule for the rest of the day, makes it incredibly difficult to get to sleep at night. I'd rather stay awake now and possibly crash early than slip into a near-coma for the rest of the day and be wide awake at 23:30.


Salt Lake Tribune: Breaking: Mark Hacking shot his wife, charges say

Updated 08/09/04 16:07:50
Mark Hacking shot his wife in the head with a .22-caliber rifle as she lay sleeping, rolled her body up in garbage bags then disposed of her in a Dumpster at the University of Utah, according to a criminal complaint filed this afternoon in Salt Lake City.

Hacking, 28, was charged with one count of first-degree felony murder and three counts of obstructing justice, a second-degree felony, in a complaint filed in 3rd District Court.

The charges based on a confession Hacking made to his brothers and corroborated with physical evidence at the crime scene allege that Mark Hacking killed Lori Hacking, 27, after they argued over his lie about being accepted at medical school in North Carolina.

"Lori's dead and I killed her," Mark Hacking told his brothers.

Now in the Salt Lake County Jail in lieu of $1 million bail, Mark Hacking, is scheduled to make a brief court appearance Tuesday to hear the charges formally read to him.

In a news conference Monday, Salt Lake County District Attorney David Yocom discussed new details about the case, which has attracted national attention.

Yocom said blood found in the Hackings' apartment and her car was matched through DNA testing to Lori Hacking.

The couple argued Sunday night about Mark Hacking's lies regarding his medical-school plans at the University of North Carolina, according to the story Mark Hacking told his brothers.

Lori later went to bed and Mark stayed up, playing Nintendo for about an hour. He then "came across" his .22-caliber rifle and shot her in the head, according to the charges.

Mark Hacking used a knife to cut the pillowtop of their mattress off, then wrapped the body up in garbage bags, put her body into her car and transported to the University of Utah about 2 a.m., Yocom said.

He told his brothers he disposed of the gun and mattress piece in two other Dumpsters. Police recovered the mattress from a Dumpster in a nearby church parking lot. They have not recovered the murder weapon.

Although Lori Hacking was reportedly pregnant, police do not have her body and were unable to confirm it. As a result, prosecutors do not have evidence to charge Mark Hacking with capital murder, which carries a possible death penalty.

Yocom said it is unlikely that finding the body after three weeks time will yield sufficient evidence to prove whether Lori was pregnant.

Although police say they will search for Lori's body indefinitely at the Salt Lake County Landfill, Yocom said it is not absolutely necessary.

"We have an excellent case," he said.

If convicted, Mark Hacking faces five years to life in prison on the murder charge, and one to 15 years on each of the obstruction charges.

Monday Madness: Sun 08/08/04

Another first-time go for one of these.

  1. What's "it" all about, anyway?
    Hell if I know. I'm still trying to figure out what I want to do with my immediate day-to-day life.

  2. What radical political ideas do you have, if any?
    I'm against the death penalty because I think it's too easy. Make 'em suffer the same way as the victim(s), I say. If only it were possible to kill someone more than once....

  3. Do you believe that you 'fit' the profile of your astrological star sign?
    I'm a Sagittarius and I don't know the profile well enough, but I imagine I fit at least some of the points. Or I did when I was a kid and checked my horoscope now and then, anyway.

  4. Will blogging survive 2005 or is it a fad?
    It'll survive but won't be talked about as much as it has been the last year or so. The media will do it to death and then stop covering it because they'll know their audience doesn't care anymore, having been supersaturated this year.

  5. Do you eBay? If so, what and how often? Is it a full-time job, part-time hobby, or just to clear the junk from your house?
    I've sold a few things in the 7 or so years I've had an eBay account. Bought a few things too, usually hard-to-find items for Christmas gifts. But I haven't used eBay for a couple years now.

  6. True or False: When I vote, I am all for one party.
    False. I vote for the candidate whose views most closely match my own, regardless of party affiliation.

  7. Meat or veggie sauce on your spaghetti?

  8. Would you ever be on a TV Reality Show?
    Not likely. I don't like to watch them; I can't imagine being on one.

  9. What is one thing (or place) that you would like to do (or see) that you have not yet done (or seen?)
    London. Most of Europe, in fact.

  10. Do you answer memes honestly?
    Yep. If I don't want to answer one honestly, I don't answer it at all.
Monday Madness

Utah Power drives me crazy

Utah Power ‘Making it happen’ logo
Utah Power’s feel-good (and vastly incorrect, as it turns out) slogan
Utah Power offers a refrigerator-recycling program called See ya later, refrigerator, in which they’ve contracted with appliance recycling firm JACO Environmental to haul away up to two functioning, but old and inefficient, refrigerators per address. Utah Power then mails a check for $40 for each unit to the homeowner.

My mom has an old fridge in her basement that fit this program’s requirements to a T.

Or so we thought.

Continue reading "Utah Power drives me crazy" »

Salt Lake Tribune: Hacking to be charged today

Hacking to be charged today
Crews aided by cadaver dogs continue searching landfill for Lori

Three weeks to the day since Mark Hacking called police to report his wife's disappearance, the 28-year-old Salt Lake City man awaits a murder charge—expected to be filed by 5 p.m. today—from his cell at the Salt Lake County Jail.

Hacking was arrested and booked into the jail's mental health unit on Aug. 2 based on evidence gathered in the disappearance and presumed death of his wife, Lori Hacking. On Sunday, he was moved from the unit, where he had been placed on suicide watch, to a maximum security pod.

He also was given visiting privileges, which officials said are scheduled to begin Thursday. Hacking remains held on $500,000 cash bail.

Third District Judge Anthony Quinn last Thursday granted prosecutors an extension of the deadline to file formal charges, after they said they needed more time to review evidence.

A murder charge could earn Mark Hacking a sentence of up to life in prison.

Capital murder charges could be filed if prosecutors can prove Lori Hacking was pregnant—or can prove other factors that would aggravate a murder charge—but that prospect is clouded by the failure so far to find a body.

Search crews aided by cadaver dogs finished a grueling five-day stint at the Salt Lake County landfill Sunday night after sifting through more than 3,000 tons of garbage where Lori Hacking is thought to be buried. The dogs will be allowed a few days rest before returning to the site, according to Salt Lake City police Detective Dwayne Baird.

Sunday marked the ninth day police have searched the landfill since shortly after learning of Lori Hacking's disappearance. She was last seen late Sunday night, July 18, with her husband at a Maverick gas station near the couple's Salt Lake City apartment.

Mark Hacking reported his wife missing around 10 a.m. the next morning, saying he had already begun searching for her. Witnesses and a credit card purchase receipt later placed him shopping for a new mattress at that time at a South Salt Lake furniture store.

Police and thousands of volunteers canvassed areas of the Salt Lake Valley and surrounding foothills in hope of finding Lori Hacking alive.

A probable cause statement filed by Salt Lake City police in connection with Mark Hacking's detention alleged that blood and a knife were found in the Hackings' apartment and that other blood evidence was found in the woman's car. The same document also alleged Hacking had confessed to a "citizen witness," to whom he admitted killing his wife in her sleep and disposing of her body in a Dumpster.

Mark Hacking's brother Scott told The Salt Lake Tribune that Mark admitted to the crime in statements to him and brother Lance on July 24.

A memorial service for Lori Hacking is planned for Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Windsor LDS Stake Center, 60 E. 1600 North in Orem. Lori Hacking's family asks that in lieu of flowers, mourners contribute to the Lori Hacking Memorial Fund at any Wells Fargo Bank or by mail to Thelma Soares, 1501 N. Canyon Road, Provo, UT, 84602.

Sunday Brunch: Another This and That

My first time participating in this one.

  1. How do you like your eggs?
    Fried over medium, or scrambled with a bit of garlic powder, pepper, and cheddar or American cheese.
  2. What do you collect?
    Logo pint glasses from the pubs/breweries I visit. I have a couple dozen so far.
  3. Do you carry a purse, backpack or briefcase on a regular basis? If yes, does it contain only the essentials or a whole lot of everything?
    A Brenthaven laptop backpack with essentials: PowerBook 12" (the backpack’s made specifically for this), Palm handheld, iPod, whatever books/papers/etc. I need on a given day.
  4. When is the last time you’ve read a book, put together a puzzle, built something or did something crafty?
    I read Angels & Demons by Dan Brown just last week. Haven’t done anything crafty in a while now.
  5. What was the highlight of your weekend?
    Not waking up with a hangover today.
Sunday Brunch

Lori Hacking stories for Sat 08/07/04 and Sun 08/08/04

Only the Deseret Morning News has had any worthwhile content related to the Lori Hacking case this weekend. I've included four stories, listed by the dates they appeared in the online edition.

This is a pretty lengthy post. Usually I excerpt longer stories, but in this case I've included the entire content (with many photos) from two stories. Please be patient while the page loads if you decide to continue reading.

Continue reading "Lori Hacking stories for Sat 08/07/04 and Sun 08/08/04" »

Am I actually so nerdly?

Karrysafe Phone Safe: Forearm cell-phone sheathVia a Boing Boing post from Fri 08/06, I saw the Karrysafe Phone Safe, a cell-phone carrying sheath you can wear on your forearm.

My first thought was how handy it would be in winter, when I'm typically wearing a bulky coat that blocks immediate access to my pants pockets or belt area. How easy it'd be to yank my sleeve back and grab the phone out of my arm.

I don't like carrying my phone in a holster on my belt, mainly because I haven't yet found an adequate holster for the Sony Ericsson T616 I've had for several months. I also don't like having to hike up a coat just to get at the phone on my belt. So I usually carry the phone in my hand, where I'm in danger of dropping it if I bobble my Palm case, or slip the phone into a pocket and then have to fight with my keys and currency for possession of the phone if it rings.

This Karrysafe thing strikes me as a good compromise, not only to prevent annoying coat-bungling, but to keep me from dropping the phone out of a holster or out of my pocket as I try to drag it out. I'm not sure I'm ready to appear this much a techno-slave, however. I'll have to keep an eye on it.

Salt Lake Tribune: Update: Lori's father lashes out against Mark Hacking

Updated 08/06/2004 15:40:53
With the gruesome facts surrounding Lori Hacking's death finally revealed, her father on Friday lashed out against prime suspect Mark Hacking, calling his son-in-law's alleged actions "disrespectful," "gutless" and "monstrous."

Eraldo Soares, of Fullerton, Calif., called on the criminal justice system to afford "appropriate justice" for Mark Hacking, who confessed to his brothers that he killed Lori in her sleep and disposed of her body in a Dumpster.

"As the facts about my little girl's death emerge, I am outraged," he said. "The innumerable lies she was told by her husband for years on end were selfish and shameful. The cowardly way in which she and her baby were brutally murdered in cold-blood while she slept is despicable. The gutless attempt at covering up this monstrous act is appalling. It is difficult to imagine a more disrespectful way of disposing of her remains."

Even as evidence became public indicating that Mark Hacking had lied about his whereabouts on July 19, the day his pregnant wife died, the Soares and Hacking families continued to publicly stand together.

In a statement made on July 24, Soares said he loved his son-in-law but questioned his honesty. That same evening, Hacking's brothers say, Mark Hacking confessed to them.

It is unclear when the Soares family learned of the confession, but the Hacking family said communication was made "quickly" and Soares had not spoken publicly since.

In other news Friday, a memorial service for Lori Hacking has been scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 14, at 11 a.m. at the LDS Windsor Stake Center, 60 E 1600 North, Orem.

A display honoring Lori's life will be in the Relief Society room of the church from 9:30 am until 11 am. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Lori Hacking Memorial Fund at any Wells Fargo Bank or by mail to Thelma Soares, 1501 N Canyon Road, Provo, UT 84602.

I figured it'd be Lori Hacking's father who would switch sides, as it were, and denounce Mark Hacking at some point. I'm surprised it took this long, in fact.

“The right thing to do”

A Salt Lake Tribune article for which I failed to grab the link; it’s since disappeared into their paid-access archive.

“The right thing to do”
Family says Mark Hacking is willing to help investigators even if his life is at stake

He told his family he killed his wife.

Now his family says Mark Hacking is ready to accept the consequences.

In a telephone conversation from jail Wednesday night, Hacking reportedly talked to his father about his willingness to help investigators, despite its possible effect on his upcoming court case.

“He is determined to do what is right,” Douglas Hacking told The Salt Lake Tribune on Thursday. “He started the process when he let the word out to where Lori was and he is determined to continue to do what is right—even if it costs him his life.”

Prosecutors could file capital-murder charges in the case if they can prove an aggravating circumstance, such as Lori Hacking’s reported pregnancy. They now have more time to make that determination, after 3rd District Judge Anthony Quinn granted an extension Thursday following a request from the Salt Lake District Attorney’s Office.

Prosecutors, who say they have not had enough time to review the evidence, were given until 5 p.m. Monday to file charges against Mark Hacking, or he could be released.

United by grief and a desire to uncover the truth about Lori’s disappearance, the Hacking and Soares families have formed an unusually stable bond. When Mark’s credibility came into question early in the search for Lori, the families were side by side at nearly every public appearance.

As information mounted about Mark Hacking’s actions on July 19, the morning Lori vanished, her father, Hareld Soares, revealed that he doubted his son-in-law’s story. Even then, Soares told him that his love would not diminish.

“I told him, ‘I have compassion and love for you,’“ Soares said at the time.

And Douglas Hacking called Lori’s mother, Thelma Soares, shortly after learning of his son’s confession to family members July 24.

“We have been upfront with them every step of the way. They have known everything we have known,” said Douglas Hacking, a pediatrician from Orem, adding that he spent part of Tuesday night at Thelma Soares’ home. “We are still grieving about Lori together.”

“She was our daughter, too. I have her picture right in front of my desk,” he said. “I just weep for her. I just feel so sorry for what happened.”

Mark Hacking’s brother, Scott, called the tragedy “a double loss.”

Scott and another brother, Lance, heard Mark Hacking’s confession during an 11 p.m. meeting on July 24 at University Hospital’s psychiatric ward.

During that meeting, Mark admitted that he killed Lori while she slept in their apartment and later threw her body into a nearby Dumpster.

The decision to tell police about the confession was excruciating for Scott and for his father, who watched his son wrestle with the choice.

“I don’t know if I have ever seen anybody experience that much anguish before,” Douglas Hacking said. “On the one hand, he felt like he might be betraying his brother and compromising his chances in the court. On the other hand, he felt that he may have some information that the police didn’t have.”

Initially, Scott and Lance Hacking informed their parents only that Mark had told them where Lori’s body had been placed. Douglas Hacking and his wife, Janet, drove Scott to the police station the following night so he could inform police.

“We as a family have decided from the outset that our motto was to do what was right and we have tried to do what was right the whole time,” Douglas said. “When it was all over, [Scott] said ‘I have never felt so bad and so good at the same time.’“

He said his sons’ decision to report on their brother was the right choice. Scott, in turn, credited his parents with providing the moral guidance that made the decision possible. “My parents are amazing parents. They’ve raised us with the foundation of Mormonism and that has gotten us to this point,” he said. “If Mark has done something outside of these principles, it’s certainly not because of any lack of guidance from his parents. He’s turned away from these principles.”

Now, Scott said, he wants to bring his brother back into the fold.

Douglas Hacking said that process started when Mark decided to confess, though he was pressured by Scott and Lance earlier in the day.

“One of the things that I think helped Mark make that decision was when he saw how many volunteers were out searching for her,” he said. “But I think the primary thing was that he came to the conclusion that the right thing to do was pass that information on to authorities.”

The family allowed the search to continue for a few days following the reported confession because they were concerned about the “reliability of Mark’s information,” Douglas Hacking said.

“He had lied before and he lied straight to me,” Douglas said, referring to an earlier conversation when he asked Mark if he had anything to do with Lori’s disappearance.

The family also expected police to call off the search on July 25, but 1,800 volunteers arrived.

The family eventually decided to call off the searches themselves, saying they would limit the search to all-terrain vehicles, horses and airplanes in rugged area. Those searches never materialized.

One question the family can’t answer is why Mark committed the alleged murder.

“We have talked about it and talked about it, and speculated. Five minutes ago we talked about it again,” Douglas Hacking said Thursday morning. “The only thing I can come up with is that he just snapped.”

Scott Hacking said he plans to seek no further information about the alleged murder from his brother, per instructions from Mark’s defense attorney, Gilbert Athay.

While he was writing his jailed son a letter, Douglas Hacking received a phone call from Mark late Wednesday. They had a 15-minute conversation that focused primarily on the conditions in the mental health unit, where Mark Hacking is on suicide watch, but also touched on his decision to assist investigators.

On Monday, Hacking sat in his cell naked with only a blanket. The next day he received a jumpsuit and on Wednesday his jailers gave him a pair of underwear.

Officials at the jail say those are the three stages suicidal inmates are placed in depending on a daily consultation with a psychiatrist. It also shows that Mark Hacking’s emotional state is settling.

Salt Lake County District Attorney David Yocom declined comment on the news that Mark Hacking may cooperate with prosecutors, other than to say, “That’s interesting.”

Athay on Thursday did not return a phone call requesting comment.

He will have to wait until police finish compiling the case against Hacking to hear what charges prosecutors will levy.

Thursday’s court motion by prosecutors to extend the deadline for filing charges states that Salt Lake City detectives “just returned” from Texas, where they were interviewing a witness—most likely Lance Hacking, who lives in Austin.

Police also are “in the process of compiling transcripts of witness interviews, and are awaiting test results from the crime lab,” states the motion.

Without the extension, prosecutors would have been forced to file charges by the end of business Thursday or release Hacking, who was booked into jail Aug. 2.

Mark Hacking is being held on a $500,000 cash-only bail.

Detectives, meanwhile, searched the Salt Lake County landfill for a sixth night Thursday, looking for Lori Hacking’s body. A backhoe being used in the effort was so deep into the 18-feet-tall pile of trash that it was barely visible from the road that runs alongside the dump.

The search of the 2-acre area may take weeks, but detectives say they are hopeful of finding her remains with the assistance of Duchesne County’s cadaver dogs.

CNN/Money: GM recalls 246,433 Saturn VUEs

Automaker says it will strengthen rear suspension of popular SUV after federal rollover tests.

DETROIT(Reuters)—General Motors Corp. said Thursday it is recalling 246,433 of its Saturn VUE sport utility vehicles to strengthen their rear suspension systems.

The recall was prompted by recent "dynamic stability," or rollover, tests conducted by U.S. federal safety regulators in which the rear suspension on the vehicles sustained damage, GM said.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the left rear wheel on two Saturn VUEs actually collapsed during the tests, when their suspensions failed during a sharp turn, known as a fishhook maneuver, at 45 miles per hour.

NHTSA said it had received one consumer complaint of a similar wheel collapse when the driver tried to recover after briefly veering off the road. The left rear wheel bent underneath the vehicle, resulting in a rollover, NHTSA said.

Until now, the VUE has been one of the few bright spots in the Saturn lineup this year, with sales up strongly.

GM (GM: down $0.36 to $42.77, Research, Estimates), whose shares fell about 0.75 percent in late trading, said the recalled vehicles, from model years 2002-2004, included 231,123 SUVs on the road in the United States and 15,310 in Canada.

I nearly bought a VUE before I saw them in person. When they were first announced, they looked pretty cool, or so I thought from their web site; but when the production models rolled out, they looked much more boxy and silly, so I stayed away from them and grabbed an L200 instead.

Glad I did that now. I love that car.

Thursday Threesome for Aug 05, 2004: Surprises in the Mail

I spaced this one for a couple weeks.

Onesome: Surprises—Hey, do you like surprises? ...and what kinds? Birthday parties, dinners out? ...or are you one of those people who absolutely has to know what's going on before it happens?
I can deal with surprises but I like knowing what's coming more. And of course I'd prefer pleasant surprises.

Twosome: in the—nick of time: How do you keep track of birthdays and anniversaries and events you need to remember but only occur once a year? ...and where is your bailout place for cards and such when you've cut things a little too close?
I keep them all in my trusty Palm handheld, which is backed up to my computers. The really important dates I remember anyway, so the calendars function as a backup to my brain.

Threesome: Mail—Mail Call! Did anything interesting show up lately besides the bills? ...and do letters and cards still make it to your place or have email and ecards taken it all over? Inquiring minds and all that...
I received an outdoor-gear catalog addressed to my apartment's previous occupant. Fascinating to see the way hunting's been made high-tech (does anyone really need a $500 laser rangefinder, and how does that make it sporting at all?).
The Thursday Threesome

Annoying checker

Went to Smith’s Marketplace for a few groceries this afternoon. I needed bread, bananas, lettuce, carrots, apples, blah blah blah.

I also happened to grab a quart of vanilla ice cream right before I headed to the checkouts.

I was in lane 15, the last checkout before the Washington Mutual branch, but that line was moving at a glacial pace. So I gave up and moved down to register 6. The line was moving well but the checker was a chatterbox from hell. I should’ve known to stay away, but I just . . . couldn’t.

So finally she was checking out my order and saw that I had ice cream and bananas. “Are you making banana splits?” she asked with an obviously insincere smile.

“No,” I answered.

“If you’re making banana splits,” she went on as if I hadn’t spoken at all, “you’ll need some sort of syrup!”

“I’m not making banana splits,” I said.

“I like chocolate and strawberry on my banana splits,” she prattled. “What kind of syrup do you like?”

“I’m not making banana splits,” I said again.

“The ice-cream toppings are right there,” she said, stabbing her arm in the direction of the rest of the store. “You could run right back and grab some syrup for your banana splits if you like.”

“I’m. Not. Making. Banana splits!” I said. “I don’t need any syrup.”

“I can pause the ringing up if you want,” she said. “Then you could go pick the syrup you want and any other toppings too!”

I just stared at her for several seconds and then I said, “What’s the total?” as I held out my debit card.

“No syrups then?” she asked.

Finally my icy stare got through to her and she finished the sale. But she wasn’t done yet—I was walking out the door, putting away my card and receipt, when I heard her sing out:

“Don’t forget the ice-cream syrups the next time you make banana splits!”

Circus notes

The circus is coming.

Ringling Bros logoI used to get excited for the circus. This was in the days before the now-ubiquitous lightstick-necklace things, and the little electronic spinning fiber-optic flashlights and whatnot. We got wired up on cotton candy (where did they get that horrid pink colour?) and peanuts and hot dogs and the insanity of the whole thing.

Shrine Circus logoThe last traditional circus I went to was the Shrine Circus in the late 1980s or early 1990s. My youth group volunteered as ushers and other general helpers, and the event was so poorly attended, it embarrassed me.

I can't remember the last time I saw the Ringling Bros. production. Every other circus I've seen in the last five years has been Cirque du Soleil—one in Las Vegas, one in Florida, and two in Seattle.

They put on a good, if surreal, show. Sometime I'll have to see one of their performances in an altered state—maybe it'll make sense in the Grand Scheme of Things.


Woke up at 06:15, my nose stuffed into next week. It was early enough that I figured I'd crawl out of bed, snork down a Claritin and one of the store-brand decongestants—I'm a big believer in drug cocktails, woo hoo—and climb back into bed, there to await somnolent bliss as the drugs did their thing.

Alas, it wasn't to be. At 06:55, after my third sneezing spell involving at least six sneezes (the second fit actually consisted of 13 sneezes, about 5 seconds apart... gah!), I figured to hell with it, time to get up. I had some forms design to work on for the lab anyway, could do some job searching, look into point-of-sale systems more, blah blah blah.

So I've been in this mildly loopy state because of these meds. Normally they don't bother me at all. It usually takes a dose of NyQuil or something with a little shot of alcohol in addition to the meds to make me get the drowsy/inattentive feeling I've had all day, and today all the meds I've taken have been listed as "non-drowsy." I've mixed them before and not experienced this, and I've been careful to take the recommended doses each time (so only one Claritin, in fact, as it's the 24-hour version), but it's knocked me down anyway.

Oh well. So long as I can breathe without going into sneeze fits every few minutes, the rest of it I can deal with. Mine are very mild too; I've never seen a doc for them, figured I'd stick to using OTC meds unless/until those stop working for me.

Reminds me, I should pick up another box of the store-brand stuff. I was down to only a few doses before this latest round of sneeziness struck a couple days ago, and I'll use it all up tomorrow at the recommended dosing rate.

Wednesday Whatevers: Aug 04, 2004

Well, it figures. I'm on the mailing list for this, got a notice about it each of the last few weeks, and spaced it until this week.

  1. In general, do you treat eating as a pleasure or a need?
    A need (it's obviously a biological drive), but as I've gotten older I've turned that more toward pleasure by eating the things I want when I feel the need to eat.

  2. What is your opinion on recent low-carb craze?
    I think it's fine as an idea, but the idiocy of all these companies introducing "low-carb this" and "carb-smart that" amazes me. Carb is just another buzzword now, it has little or no meaning anymore.

    And if you're watching your carbohydrate intake, don't scour the market for a low-carb beer or wine or candy bar. Just don't drink the damned beer or wine, and don't eat the silly candy bar.

  3. Do you wake up when you have to, or do you stall/snooze for longer?
    When I have to. The snooze function drives me nuts, mainly because even after years of using the same alarm clock, the alarm still scares me awake.
Wednesday Whatevers