Friday, December 12, 2008

And Now We Come to the End

I'm moving to Utah next week. It's only just starting to sink in, how much I'm going to miss California. I know I'll like Utah, but I've lived in southern California my whole 19 years, and it's a part of me. How could it not be? Anyway, I've been very busy lately working on papers, tests, and packing, and the only time I've really had to think about my future is at night when I'm trying to sleep, when my imagination goes wild. But I'm trying not to sound sad, so I'll talk about something else.
This is my favorite Regina Spektor song. I like to think about what it means, and though I'm sure I've got it figured out by now, I still want to know what you think of it. Meanings? Overall feelings?


You are my sweetest downfall
I loved you first, I loved you first
Beneath the sheets of paper lies my truth
I have to go, I have to go
Your hair was long when we first met

Samson went back to bed
Not much hair left on his head
He ate a slice of wonder bread and went right back to bed
And history books forgot about us and the bible didn't mention us
The bible didn't mention us, not even once

You are my sweetest downfall
I loved you first , I loved you first
Beneath the stars came falling on our heads
But there just soft light, there just soft light
Your hair was long when we first met

Samson came to my bed
Told me that my hair was red
He told me i was beautiful and came into my bed
Oh I cut his hair myself one night
A pair of dull scissors and the yellow light
And he told me that I'd done alright
and kissed me till the morning light, the morning light
and he kissed me till the morning light

Samson came back to bed
not much hair left on his head
Ate a slice of wonderbread and went right back to bed
Oh, we couldn't bring the columns down
Yeah we couldn't destroy a single one
And history books forgot about us
And the bible didn't mention us, not even once

You are my sweetest downfall
I loved you first

By the way, if you have time to kill (like, days) you might be interested in reading my paper on the cult of Nike in Ancient Greece. I'm rather proud of myself.
Oh, and if you were wondering, I'm not going to BYU, I'll be working for about 6 months earning residency then I plan on going to the culinary school in Sandy. That's the plan, anyway.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Salmon Patties Like Mom Used to Make

What do you do when you have a can of salmon?And just spent a long time drooling over this recipe for potatoes au gratin?
You call Mom up to ask her for the recipe to those salmon patties she made all those years ago and microwave up some Hungry Jack Au Gratin Potatoes because you're starving and have no time to lose!!!
Worth the 20 minute wait (for the potatoes-- the fish takes but a moment).
Make them.

a small (my can was 7.5 oz) can of salmon (boneless, skinless)
1/3 cp crumbs* (cracker or bread)
1 egg
1 T onion flakes
1 T parsley
1 T lemon juice (funny-- all I had was lemon extract, so I used a little of that mixed with water and it made it sort of lemony sweet, but did not detract from the overall experience even though it's totally not the same as lemon juice.)
salt and pepper to taste (I forgot to put this in and it still tasted great)

mix all ingredients in a bowl and shape into patties of desired size (I made about 4 of the size you see)

in shallow frying pan heat a bit of oil and fry patties until evenly browned on both sides

drain on paper towel

eat with lemon juice or tartar sauce (or plain like I did!)

*some people like it crunchier. If you do, put crumbs on the outside of the patty too so it’s like its breaded

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Black & White Cookies

Yes, I know it's a little odd, but nearly everyone that tried one insisted on calling this type of cookie biracial. But it does bring together two kinds of frosting, creating the New Yorker's Black and White Cookie.
I decided to take pictures to show you how I did it and to make the blog more interesting. I wish I'd done it for the cheesecake (from This Little Piggy-- sans caramel) I made; which, by the way, was very tasty and I don't even LIKE cheesecake. Anyway, the recipe I used was from Smitten Kitchen's website (which is a really sweet website, in more ways than one), and you can find it here.
So, first I mixed the wet stuff together...

Then the dry stuff...

Then all of it together...

Then I baked them...(and switched to my phone camera because the battery on my digital died...these are the duds that I forgot to flatten out but were equally as tasty)

Then I frosted the white side...

Then I frosted the "black" side...

And here is the sort of finished product (I like Smitten Kitchen's photos A LOT better, and hers look so heavenly and perfect!)

Anyway, I made a bunch of them, then the home teachers came over and ate about 5 each, then I took the rest to a party that night and not a single one was left! I only even got to try one, and I thought it was a bit dry, but everybody else loved them. Everyone, that is, except for Justina and Kevin, who felt very cheated at not being able to try a single one and who I made sure had plenty of the next kind of cookie I made (World Peace Cookies-- also from Smitten Kitchen and a thousand times tastier and more should definitely make them.)
But the Black and White Cookies were a big hit too. They just took about 5 million years to make.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Beware of the Man of One Book

I have commitment issues. I can't just read one book at a time. And I don't mean that I have to have a "normal" book to read as the same time as, say, my scriptures, which I read all the time anyway.
Right now I have a bookmark in:

1. As God Is, We May Become by Steven Colwell
~I haven't actually picked it up since the first chapter, which I read back in April, but the fact that I've made it that far qualifies it for the list.

2. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
~I made it to chapter seven in this one, but I needed a break from it. I was watching a lot of Law and Order: SVU at the same time and all the crime got a little overwhelming. I guess I should have retreated to As God Is, but instead I picked up...

3. Bella Tuscany by Frances Mayes
~The sequel to Under the Tuscan Sun, which, although is nothing like the movie I simply adore, is a very good book, one that makes me want to own an ancient Tuscan villa. Bella Tuscany is just as good so far. The chapters are rather long, so I'm only on the third or fourth. It's my feel-good book, so I probably won't race through it.

4. All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot
~Did you know James' real last name is Wight? I like Herriot much better. I've read this 5-book series only once, but re-read parts of it a number of times. Since I like it so much and it's so easy to read, I figured this afternoon I'd read the series again. I have yet to start it, but it's open to page one on the couch for me to read right after (or during-- though that would make my mother cringe) dinner.

5. Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle
~I really despise this book. We're reading it in my Greek Lit class right now. It's so painfully boring I got sleepy just reading the table of contents.

By the way, Peter Jackson is making a film version of The Lovely Bones, due out this coming January. It's rated R, but it has Rachel Weisz as the girl's mother. Mark Wahlberg plays the dad. It should be interesting. I'll watch it on TV a few years from now when I finish the book.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What I Want To Be For Halloween

This is scarier than anything:
If you know that you will have all kinds of time for the next two days, read that article so you might better understand the following post.
Or, just read a snippet, or nothing at all.
We had to read and review the 24 page literary equivalent to a scab and write our response.

The article entitled “Nature and Control of Minoan Foreign Trade,” by Malcolm Weiner, is an attempt to show that the Minoan Palaces, centers of political and economic power in Minoan times, controlled foreign trade on their home island of Crete, instead of the separate settlements on the island having to get by on their own. The Minoans lived on an island with limited resources, and therefore had need of the resources it lacked, and, being an island, it already had at least basic seafaring vessels that could be perfected for long distance trade. The reason the palaces were in charge of long distance trade, instead of private seamen, was probably because “the palaces provided the critical incentive, investment, and infrastructure required.” However, the way Weiner presents his case is not as straightforward as just stated. Both Weiner’s writing style and his reasoning lead to confusion for the reader . Weiner’s structure and presentation of facts, connections between facts, and conclusions are not entirely sound. He does support his conclusion, but with scattered facts that are difficult to point out at first glance. Weiner’s conclusions are stated in a persuasive manner, but might be more so with more convincing evidence, or simply by being more boldly stated. There are many other shortcomings in the article, including, but not limited to, the lack of interconnecting evidence of palaces being in control not only just of foreign trade, but of domestic trade as well. It is an informative article, but definitely not one that is easy to read for these and other reasons.

The methodology of Weiner’s article is not entirely sound. Weiner separates the article into sections according to time period: Pre-, Old, and New Palace Trade. He focuses mainly on the evidence collected in the Old and New Palace time periods. It is also from these time periods that he draws his conclusions. However, a few of his thoughts appear to be somewhat incomplete, scattered, or redundantly stated. For example, Weiner discusses the importance of “ships suitable for long voyage…ships’ crews and provisions, plus shipyards and shipwrights; goods for exchange… establishment of relations with foreign courts and ports; and…a chain of safe harbors” to foreign sea trade. The remainder of the paragraph, however, does not discuss any evidence that the Minoans put these assets into use for foreign trade, but instead talks about pirates and how Minoan foreign trade was probably the reason for piracy arising in that area. Pirates are very interesting, yes, but why begin to build up a foundation for what could be extensive proof that Minoans did most of their long distance trade by sea if you’re later going to abandon that thought and switch over to a discussion of piracy? This list of seafaring assets with its diversion into piracy appears to be nothing more than a sidetrack leading nowhere since he later declares that “long-distance overland trade is likely to have been more extensive than sea trade between Crete and the Near East,” immediately cutting down what he’d set up earlier. He builds up a platform for explaining trade by sea as what the Minoans did and then declares it would be more practical that they traded by land.

Another problem with Weiner’s methodology is that he jumps around in presenting his evidence so that the reader has a very difficult time knowing exactly what is being said, let alone concluded. It is true that the evidence for the things that Weiner is declaring is sometimes merely conjecture owing to lack of concrete evidence of Minoans centuries ago, but if he really wanted to sound believable and convincing to the reader, he would not refute his own conclusions in the same phrase. He refutes his own evidence, for instance, with the statement about the pirates that dealt most specifically with “single private merchantmen carrying goods of high value” when he said just before that long distance overseas trade was provided for by the palaces. The private merchants mentioned that were attacked by pirates have nothing to do with state-procured boats carrying goods to or from foreign lands, and thus the statement on piracy was irrelevant to everything else stated in the paragraph.

The basic idea that Weiner tries to convey is that the Minoans did indeed engage in long-distance or foreign trade and that the palaces were in charge of this action. His evidences support the theory that the Egyptians and other civilizations in the Ancient Near East were perhaps the peoples that the Minoans conducted the most trade with, a conclusion drawn mostly from the fact that Weiner only gives examples from trade with these peoples. He also discusses instances when trade occurred between Anatolian peoples and the Minoans. But Weiner does not always believe his own evidence, or is simply uncomfortable drawing bold conclusions from what he cites. For instance, Wiener discusses the fragment of a statue depicting an Egyptian official named User found at the palace of Knossos. He says that it would be unwise to disregard a broken bit of a statue of foreign material said to be of an Egyptian ambassador, but then says in the same sentence that the “incomplete User statue can hardly be considered persuasive evidence of the presence of an Egyptian ambassador or resident agent at Knossos.” He undermines his own reliability by making statements like this one.

Weiner’s objectives at times are rather unclear, but towards the end of the article—as though he knew he would have to rein in his thoughts in order to end the article with a clear conclusion, and after he has scattered his evidence in statements that vary in their persuasive ability—Weiner wraps up his theories in a way that make them appear fairly well-grounded, understandable, and even convincing. One clearly stated conclusion is also supported by convincing evidence—that “the existence of an interpreter suggests regular contact, trade beyond the scope of sign language or a tourist shopping vocabulary.” Weiner precedes this comment with evidence of a man from Crete living in a Near Eastern city called Ugarit, where he worked as an interpreter and was paid in tin. It is a true statement even today that one would not need a resident interpreter in one’s land if only the occasional speaker of a particular foreign language ever came by.

Weiner could have improved his article if he had discussed the inter-palace and inter-settlement trade on Crete itself in relation to the control the Minoan palaces had over foreign trade, instead of assuming this relationship would be understood by the reader. Also, some statements with potential for interesting discussion get forgotten, as in the instance cited above when Weiner started out naming what would be necessary for long distance sea travel and ended up elaborating on pirates. Another weakness on Weiner’s part is that he distracts the reader from the purpose of the article with excessive amounts of personal acknowledgements placed with frequency throughout the article. These declarations of great gratitude to some colleague or other for their “comments and assistance, given generously notwithstanding our differing views on the quest at issue” stray too far from the normal citation mark. This gratitude is something better stated on one of the five pages of dedications, acknowledgements, and thank-you’s put in again at the end of the article.

Weiner’s conclusion is that palaces were in control of long distance trade, specifically during the Old and New Palace periods. It shouldn’t take sixteen pages (not including the acknowledgements or citations) to say that. The evidence isn’t even that overwhelming. He just keeps making the same statements over and over, occasionally pausing to throw in specific examples.

Anyway, I'm glad I'm not Malcom Weiner so I don't have to deal with the ridicule I'm sure college students are giving him all over the world, and I'm glad I wasn't a Minoan. I'd have to dress like this:
Personally, I don't see the advantages to wearing a cat on your head. And the idea behind the open bodice is that it was hot...well maybe they ought to have shortened their skirts a little, or thinned them out.
But men weren't much better off:
Of course, Minoans let women participate in cool activities like this:

Lights Will Guide You Home

After Justina told me how much she loved the last painting I made, I told her that if she found me a picture she really liked I'd paint a version of it. I took step-by-step (ish) photos of it this time so you could see the process...
The original:
The steps:

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Signal Hill

Last Thursday I kidnapped Kevin and we went to eat lunch up at Signal Hill Park. It was sunny and windy.
I just realized that most pictures I post of Kevin are of him eating. Yum.
Signal Hill is called that because the local Indians of many hundred years ago made a fire on the top to send messages to their cohorts on Catalina Island. When the Spaniards came and took over, they continued the tradition. Today there is a little tower thing that spews out mist every hour on the hour. Not quite the same.
Another great thing about Signal Hill is the panoramic view. Ignore the grossness of my face and watch the video for explanation on that:

The sad thing is that Friday night there were like 90 mph winds that blew out all the smog and fog and cloudiness so we should've gone on Saturday.

Cucina Especiale

Kevin invited me to dinner at...
there was a nice atmosphere
but service was a little weird. I had to make the dinner myself.
But the food was really good! And finally service began to...serve...
There was tiramisu also, but we ate it so fast there was no time for a picture.

Paint Me Surprised?

There was a canvas hiding under my bed that I bought in July whilst I was in Utah. It finally got used today.
Not as bright or spectacular as the original photo by some old man with mad photoshopping skillz, but I think it's pretty good and Justina wants it as a present.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Rage of Achilles

...I found this in the Classics Department while I was volleying for signatures on a form yesterday. I thought it was hilarious. It's a picture from my phone of a wrinkly old cartoon, so pardon the terrible quality.

Monday, September 22, 2008

2 Saturdays Ago

Listen up, you. This is the my Saturday Story.I went to the beach at noon and walked all the way down to the channel and then back. It took around 4 and a half hours.
I learned some things. I guess you don't have to leave the city to find real magic.

I wish you could have been there. It was so quiet, just the crashing and receding of a thousand waves muffled by sand. It was just me and the sea.


Saturday we went to Disneyland. Be jealous, unless you were there too. Anyway, here are some pictures to narrate the day.
(Waiting just inside the park for Mom and Kevin to buy their tickets)(Waiting in line for Splash Mountain)
(Splash Mountain--Ian cracks me up regularly.)
(The Aftermath)
(Space Mountain--see if you can zoom in on Kevin...)
It was a day full of fun, screams, and fermented children.
P.S. the title of the post is irrelevant.