29 April 2008

Bollywood bonanza

So last night some of my friends threw a Bollywood night. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, Bollywood is India's equivalent to Hollywood. Despite being homeless at the time, and being engaged in a semi-casual search of a place to live, I couldn't in good conscience turn down an opportunity to eat some amazing home-cooked Indian food and watch a film with a dozen of my friends. It was a blast!

The best part of Bollywood night was that we watched a Bollywood film. Allison did some fantastic recon and found four or five different filsm we had to choose from. The one we finally settled on was Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (The Brave-hearted will take the Bride) starring one of the demi-gods of Indian pop film, Shahrukh Khan. Let me break it down for you:

I know of no good Bollywood films that have running times of less than 3 hours. This film was no exception. Melanie put it best when she commented after the movie, "I can't remember what life was like before we started watching that movie!" It was long, but it was power packed.

You see, in addition to being many hours long, each blessed Bollywood movie combines at least like 5 differnt genres. You gotta have the romance, you always have some of the kung-fu fighting (in all its obviously fake punching glory), you get musicals complete with the best choreography your eyes will ever witness, you are never at a loss for the comedy element, and always the good Indian culture/moral instruction throughout every film. Believe you me, any self-respecting Bollywood film has got the plot twists and turns to weave all these elements together like this was going to be the last movie ever produced. It's pretty crazy.

Another cool thing about Bollywood is that you always get the subtitles going off and on during the film. This happens because there is a good amount of English phrases that are scattered in the conversation. You will hear some over protecting father rail his son in Hindi, and then a few seconds later you hear "I'm sorry Pops." Quite the mix, let me tell you.

All in all, it was the best 4 hours I have spent yet in my spring/summer Monday nights. Not only did it get me psyched for cooking some mad Indian cuisine (in the kitchen of the new house I called about, looked at, and got a contract all in the course of the middle of the film) this next few months, but I now know a little better the meaning of the phrase "enduring to the end."

12 April 2008

bad drivers

I debated a long time about whether or not to actually tackle this topic. It's a sensitive one with the locals, and odds are I might be in Utah for a couple more years. So know this blog reader: I put my reputation, good name, and livelihood at stake with this post. You may ask then, why am I taking this issue on? All things considered, it all comes down to the fact that I just don't like coming two feet from death or injury every time I go out on the open highway here in Utah.

Something needs to be said. Something needs to be done.

Let me begin by building up my credibility in the matter. I've seen all sorts of drivers. I learned to drive on the I-5 freeway in southern California. I wasn't behind the wheel for more than a few minutes before my pop ordered me to go northbound (at the peril of both my life and his) and taste freeway smog before my first bout with driving was complete.

Later in life I served my LDS mission in New England. There are two types of drivers there: crazy slow ones, and just plain crazy ones. The great thing about drivers from Massachusetts is that they use their horn almost as much as they use their brakes. I learned the "Boston crawl" and how one can muscle their way into any line of traffic. I learned the true essence of "slow riding" in Maine where the "freeway" (there's tolls all over the place) speed limit is 55 at its best (and I'm bound by solemn oath not to drive the church cars even 1 mile over the limit) with snow and slush aplenty. Then of course there's the dirt roads in Vermont where you discover how 4 foot potholes can form overnight (and how to properly employ NASCAR swerving technique to avoid them).

I've lived in Seattle where I swear has lowest amount freeway space per capita on the planet. Lets just say that it is no coincidence in my mind that Pearl Jam and 'traffic jam' have more than one common denominator.

Nuff said...I've seen lots of different drivers with a large range of driving ability. It all apexes into one point. When I am driving outside Utah, I fear for my fender. When I drive in Utah (particularly Utah Valley), I fear for my life.

As I have now lived in Utah for a cumulative 5 years now, I think I have finally narrowed it down to a few things that makes me the most anxious about Utah-bred vehicle operators: they consistently run red lights, and they don't use their blinkers...ever.

I can't count on less than two feet the number of times I see people run red lights in the city of Provo on any given week. To them, the yellow light doesn't direct you to slow down. Rather, a yellow light gives a Utah driver license to increase their forward speed by 2-3x. More often than not, this increase of speed is still ineffective to get them past the light before it turns red. People, learn this simple mantra my driver's ed teacher from the inner city taught me: when the yellow shows, you just gotta slow.

I learned a new term when I moved up to Utah: t-bone. Never heard of that one in California...just fender bender and 48-car pileup.

Then there's the issue of the blinkers (or lack thereof). I can't even count on one hand the amount of times today that I a car merged right into my lane, right in front of me mind you, and didn't use their blinkers. And I only drove a grand total of about 5.7 miles. Seriously folks, it is ridiculous. Somethings gotta give, or I'm sure one day my prized 97' Geo Prism is going to get sideswiped by some no-brained, no-blinker...er.

It's not that Utah drivers aren't aware of the cars around them, no I think they are plenty aware of the people they choose to cut-off. Its more of a matter of what they aren't aware of: the basic rules of safety. ie. don't cut across two lanes at a time in the middle of rush hour traffic, and know what blind spots are.

Granted, California drivers aren't the easiest to get along with. I admit, we like to go fast, and we have the well founded reputation for not ever completely stopping at stop signs. But hey, at least we are safe. When we merge in 95 mph traffic, we always use our blinkers.

Lastly, I'm not one to just complain and not suggest a remedy. Here is my simple solution: we install in every intersection in Provo one of those cameras that monitors/takes pictures of the cars that run red lights and then instead of giving people tickets, we require them to swim in Utah lake for at least 15 seconds. I'm pretty sure that kind of consequence would scare everyone into a little more road safety.

11 April 2008

Haha #3

"Source analysis...it happens."
-Ray Pickett

Declared over the pulpit 24 Feb 2008 according my personal notes from that Sunday.

02 April 2008

secret of a good microwave

PREFACE: this post will be more of an opinionated rant than an informed declaration. Though many of you may think these two types of posts seem congruent in most blogs, I usually try to lean towards the former while keeping the appearance of the latter. This post however, will not pull any punches. That being said, on with the rant!!

Guess what we got last week in the kitchenette where I work....a new microwave!!

I am a strong proponent of a regular upgrading of key office supplies, especially the microwave since I bring my lunch most days of the week. This new appliance is a nice one by most standards: shiny white, Emerson 700W, model MW9710W, with a little turntable that spins around at a brisker speed than any other unit I've used in the past. I was pleased that the directors at our office cared that much about my personal lunchtime satisfaction , that they felt it important to provide all us employees with a brand new microwave.

Ah, but the dream didn't last long. You see, there's one huge problem with the new microwave: it is missing the most important feature that any good microwave must have...the 1 Min plus button!

You all know which button I'm talking about don't you? The single best button ever placed on a microwave is the 1 Min plus button. This button automatically starts cooking whatever you got in the microwave for 1 min instantly after you push it. No other action needed. You push, it cooks. Oooooh, and another key function of the button...if you push it again while your delicious food is still cooking, it just adds another minute to the cooking time. In short, this button is the most easy and effective feature ever designed by mankind in terms of modern kitchen appliances.

This little button makes cooking things in the microwave super-easy. Lets look at the facts: I think I went all of last summer cooking things in the microwave everday, while only using two buttons: the 1 Min plus button and the stop/clear button. I never had to worry about the whole long Cook-> mulitple # buttons->Start button pushing process...the 1 Min plus was all I needed.

Don't be fooled by the fancy footed marketing that some of the appliances tote these days, I would assert that any microwave that doesn't have this single feature is simply not worth the investment. In reality, I wouldn't even care if the microwave was missing the clock feature and/or the "8" button (I mean, who uses their microwave to keep time anyway?? and since when does a cooking time really require the number 8? C'mon! If you are using the number 8 when setting the cooking time for a microwave, you are either a real stickler for exactly how long your quesadillas are being cooked (i.e. 48 seconds), or you probably should be cooking whatever you got in a REAL oven).

Going back to my situation. Old work microwave: a little beat up, not quite as powerful, but had the 1-Min plus button. New work microwave: nice and shiny with 18 different buttons, but not the one that counts. I gotta to say that this single feature changes everything, and I can't honestly give my approval to any appliance that falls short in this matter.

Thanks for listening to my rant. And if per chance you hear a story in the news in a few weeks about some deranged grad student rewiring the office microwave into a time bomb...

No. Naw. Nope. No sir, don't point any fingers at me. I am going to the next building over for lunch, where they use a proper microwave. One that only requires me to press 1 button.