Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Today Megan, Adrien, and I went to lunch at a place called Sammy's in downtown Provo. It's a tiny little cafe less than a block north of Center Street on 100 West.
I expected it to be just OK but the food was amazing. I could tell even before I'd ordered. The atmosphere was fun and casual, but on the artsy side. The smells of cooking food traveled the short distance from the kitchen across the tiny dining area and reached my nose with no trouble. I was in heaven. All this, and we'd only been inside a few minutes.
I ended up not being very brave in my selection and ordering a grilled cheese sandwich, seasoned fries, and a chocolate shake. Lucky for me, though, Megan and Adrien were braver. I sampled Adrien's sweet potato fries and Megan's blackberry cheesecake shake. Both were very, very good. And the cheese in the grilled cheese sandwich was cheddar. As Megan pointed out, "This is so awesome, we haven't had cheddar since we were kids!" (She meant in grilled sandwiches. I guess "American" cheese is more prevalent nowadays than I'd realized).
The walls were all decorated in an artistic style. One wall was completely covered in polaroids taken of customers over the ages. The wall opposite sported a large silver tree on a navy blue background with the playful letters of "Sammy's" sitting in the leaves. The other two walls had quirky drawings and paintings, some framed, some not. I'd have pictures of this, along with the bar and blue spinning bar stools, but I was too chicken to ask the owner if I could take pictures.
Lucky for me, though, a local blogger has done a review too, complete with a couple more pictures. You can see it here. Sammy himself has a blog, too, where they mention where to find more work of the artist they so wisely employed.
Another plus, all the food is made with love.

Chouquettes or Sugar "Flats"

Okay, so these things were supposed to puff up and be the next best thing to cream puffs. For some reason mine did the exact opposite. However, I read that it's trendy in Paris to have flat chouquettes. Anyway, they're a bit tasty, though I wish they were puffed, I bet they'd be tastier.
The batter was super runny, although that couldn't have been the problem entirely, since my muse had no trouble at all with runny batter (though I admit, mine was much runnier)...
First batch burnt to oblivion.
Second batch, better.
I enlisted Adrien as guinea pig. Prognosis: delish.

Monday, January 26, 2009

She's Out of Our Class

Do you like the new layout? I rather do, since I finally had the bright idea to use a picture I actually took for the header. The title...not as creative. I've kind of fallen into the rut of picking an interesting song title. But I'll have you know the working title was "Sandwich".
Anyway, it's been a while since I posted about books, but I think I'm really overdue for a post about a movie. In fact, I don't think I've ever done one about a movie! Well, there're lots of movies I really enjoy, being a movie buff, but since I haven't seen any recently besides Twilight for the third time (not that I'm obsessed like some people, it's just that I happen to get dragged into that sort of thing), I think I'll just blog about one of my favorite movies of all time, Master and Commander.
Okay, so I know all of you who have met me more than a few times have heard me talk about this movie, but I just want to put it up here and with pictures!
So what do I find so amazing about this movie? First of all, it's a great story about friendship. Mostly it focuses on the difficult relationship between Jack Aubrey, the ship's captain (played by Russel Crowe) and Stephen Maturin, the surgeon (played by Paul Bettany). Let me just say I think it's great that Bettany and Crowe work so well together. My other favorite movie of all time also stars those two-- A Beautiful Mind.
Stephen is sort of a sort-of-pacifist/naturalist aside from being a doctor, and his views on war, power, and corruption in authority bring a great amount of difference at times between he and Jack. Jack is sort of an anything-for-the-Crown type of guy. Anyway, their relationship brings woes to the ship and themselves, but with a couple of dramatic moments, it all works out. Movies always do.
Here, the crew watches "Hold Fast" Guy get a steel plate put in his head.
The movie also shows other friendships, though none turn out quite so well as Jack and Stephen's. For instance, Hollom (played by the guy who was Stan Shunpike in the third HP movie), was unfortunately not succesful in making any friends and ended killing himself. Also, the friendship between Blakeney and Calamy (two of the boys on the ship) didn't end well-- Calamy ended up being killed in the final battle. But there were tender moments between the two. Probably one of the more depressing relationships in the movie is that between Nagle (the annoying drunk guy who gets 12 lashes) and Warley (the one who's wife's second cousin saw the Acheron being built). Warley gets tossed overboard and Nagle has to help send him to his death.
*Sigh* well I promise you the movie is neither boring nor depressing as both I make it sound. There are some rather humorous parts. "The lesser of two weevils" for instance.
One can certainly find flaws in the movie, as one can in any film. One is that there is a scene where a man says something very brief in Spanish and is translated as having said something to the effect of, "A French ship, large, stopped for supplies two weeks ago then headed north," or something. I know I don't speak Spanish, but the man who did literally said only a few words, and I didn't hear the words for "French," "two weeks," or "north" among them.
Also, if you are a feminist-type, you might find this movie boring, since there are no female characters to speak of, aside from a brief glimpse at a South American woman twirling an umbrella and smiling at Captain Jack.
There are obvious merits in the film aside from the nice depictions of various types of friendships, such as the excellent cinematography and special effects, as well some of the most epic (to use a hackneyed term) naval battles on film.
There is also an interesting use of classical music even in warring moments (such as the last few minutes of the film). My favorites are some of the duets "played" by the two main characters.
In any case, give the movie a shot if you haven't seen it. I know I make it sound awfully dull, but I promise you it's very good and very nautical and the acting is superb in nearly everyone's case. At the very least, you can see Billy Boyd (LOTR's Pippin) with bad teeth.
If you see it enough times you may find yourself calling to your friends "Killick! Killick there!"
Here's a pretty decent trailer for the film:

Sunday, January 25, 2009

What A Wonderful Smell You've Discovered!

Yesterday my new ward had a soup and chili cook-off. I decided to sign up to bring soup because it would be a way to get to know the ward better and I'd never made soup before. It would be a fun experience.
The soup-making experience, although a bit fun, did not turn out well. Even before I'd begun, something in the stove burned its way into oblivion, leaving its horrific smelly bi-product behind, a mere shadow of what was to come.
First the potatoes, broccoli, onion, and garlic (that exploded on me when I opened the jar) stewed in the chicken broth.
Then the stuff was pureed to a nice, foamy paste.
And then poured back into the pot and the cheese (er...vomit?) was added.
Finally, the taste test. I have to say, I really didn't look forward to the taste test, as the kitchen by this point reeked of something most foul and the soup looked nothing like any cheddar broccoli soup I'd ever seen.
Lo and behold, it was vomit after all! Actually, I found the whole process quite funny. In the end, I was 45 minutes late to the activity and nobody asked where the soup was.

(Okay, okay, I manipulated the lighting in some of the pictures to make it look as nasty as I possibly could. But I promise you it was disgusting. If you don't believe me, I saved some in a jar, mostly so I could put something in the jar, but there it is.)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Boob Tube

The next few posts I have lined up have to do with food, so in an effort to keep this from becoming a food blog, I'm posting something more normal.
I follow quite a few TV shows. This isn't necessarily because I like all the shows I follow, but because once I start watching a show I feel like a traitor if I ever stop.
Such is the case with Smallville. My first interest in the show was that it was about Superman-- one of my favorite comic book superheroes. Alas, now in it's 8th season, it's time for the show to retire so Clark Kent can get some training and go on to actually become Superman. The show is border-lining on a soap opera. I mean really, how many times do Clark and Lana have to get together and break up? Seriously. Where the show is at right now is almost at an opposite in certain aspects of where the real Superman should be. Check this out:
-Martha Kent is a United States Senator. WHAT??!? Yeah. Far from the mild farm lady she's supposed to be. At least Jonathan is dead.
-Clark can't fly. He's supposed to have been able to fly since he was a kid, right? I mean, I've never read the comics, but from what I can gather, this is supposed to be the case.
-Chloe (someone who doesn't exist outside of Smallville) is married to Jimmy Olsen, the irritating photographer who is supposed to be like...a kid so far as I know.
-Lois likes Clark but Clark does not like Lois. This is very irritating, since it's kind of the opposite of what it should be.
Clark has never worn glasses. How is he going to explain having to wear them after he becomes Superman? If you ask me, the writers should have figured that out. Maybe he'll have an "accident" or some other unbelievable thing.
Another thing that really bothers me about the show is that it exploits nearly all the women except Chloe (who shouldn't be there) as being the super-sexy and super-martial-arts-knowing type. It's very irritating. Lana didn't used to be this way until she became slightly evil (after marrying Lex and divorcing him by faking her death and moving to China for a while...wha?).
On the topic of other shows I watch, Scrubs (so far) has been a little disappointing. I admit I haven't seen anything from the new half of the season, but where they left off before was a little weird. JD has a baby? ...and yet acts more and more gay with every episode. The humor is still...humorous but I hope this new season takes a better turn, or I might have to force myself to stop watching it.
House has been a pretty good show. I just picked up on it a few months ago, and quickly caught up to the middle of the 5th season, where they are now. I like a little mystery, and I sure like humor, but the premise is beginning to tire. Yes, Dr. House is a jerk. Yes, he's a drug addict in continuous pain so nobody cares. But so far the 5th season hasn't really had a good story line. Each season before (well, the 4th season is debatable) has had some kind of conflict that made it pretty interesting. But this season's conflict has either yet to surface or the writers haven't decided yet what it is. They started off with a possibility-- Drs House and Cuddy looking at what might be a relationship-- but they blew that. Then Dr Cuddy adopted a baby, which was interesting, but it looks like she might be leaving the show because of it. Maybe, I can't quite tell. But what? That has been an interesting continuing conflict at least with them never getting along, but to replace her with a chick who, in my opinion, was only interesting before she quit House's team and dyed her hair blonde, seems really silly. Cuddy is much more likeable.
The new hype for right now is LOST (why is that all capitalized?), which has been off the air so long, nobody remembers what was going on, which is bad, since the show is already confusing. I still really, really like the show. I think it's entertaining and humorous ("I like shitzus..." "Apparently you heart them") but I think they need to quickly clear up at least one or two questions viewers already have before bringing up hundreds of new ones. With a definite deadline, they're going to have quite a job tying up all the loose ends. I'm hoping they do it well and don't end up leaving viewers confused and frustrated like they did when they ended X-Files.

Well, that's my rant on what's going on with TV right now (at least what I watch). I won't even bother watching CSI anymore since they killed Warrick and Grissom and Sara left. Hm.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Great And Powerful Puz

Utah has been interesting so far. The times when we're doing stuff have been pretty fun, but I think overall I miss California and pretty much want to go back. But I've only been here a few weeks, so I'll give it more time.
So, these fun happenings. Let's see...
We built a tiny snowman near Costco that Nathan wanted to keep knocking over (he succeeded in the end)...
We did quite possibly the largest and most difficult puzzle I've ever helped to put together...
"How now puz?""Donde esta el piggy-piggy?""Zelpuz..."It snowed...
It snowed on some cows...
Utah's pretty at least. I kind of like that.