Saturday, April 30, 2011

The King's Speech

We have been slacking when it comes to keeping up to date with movies, and last night we finally saw, "The King's Speech."  By now everyone has probably read multiple reviews and knows the plot, so I won't ramble.  It is about King George VI and his ascension to the throne.  As the figurehead of the British government the King (Colin Firth) can not declare war, levy taxes, or anything of much government importance, but he is expected to give speeches that rally the people.  Sounds like a simple job, unless you have a debilitating stutter.  The movie follows King George VI on his journey to find his voice with an unlikely speech pathologist.  The movie will make you laugh, cry, and ends up leaving you feeling triumphant (the movie cleaned up at The Academy Awards). Seriously, hurry up and rent it if you haven't watched it, or do what we did, and visit Cinemark Sandy Movies 9 Theater.  Tickets for evening shows are $2.00, and if you want to smuggle in snacks, there is a great dollar store right next door.

We went on a date after a hard workout at the gym, and with snacks from the store, a movie popcorn ($6.75!), and the tickets, we spent well under $20.  Next up, we're going to see "The Adjustment Bureau" at the same theater!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Spaghetti Puttanesca

I have been watching Jamie Oliver's show, "Oliver Twist" lately, and last night on my way home from the gym I was inspired to try one of his simple pasta dishes.  I love to cook, and the flavors that he uses just seem so perfect.  I had to give his quick spaghetti puttanesca a try:

Ingredients (slightly modified to my taste):
  • 1 pound (455 grams) dried spaghetti, the best you can get
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped (I used three)
  • 1 handful capers, drained
  • 2 handfuls big black olives, pitted
  • 12 anchovy fillets
  • Crushed red pepper flake, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cans of whole tomatoes
  • 2 good handfuls of fresh basil
  • Freshly ground black pepper

(These are the instructions that I have written for the sake of clarity.)  To start let the garlic brown just a tad in some extra virgin olive oil, but be careful, if you let garlic burn it turns horribly bitter.  Drain your olives, capers, and anchovies-then toss them in the pan.  Next comes the oregano, chilies, and pepper.  Let that cook on medium heat for just a few minutes, and then add both cans of tomatoes, give it a stir, and let it simmer on low-medium heat for about ten minutes.  You shouldn't need to add salt, the ingredients used in the dish are salty enough.  The anchovies are beautiful, they melt in the pan and create a beautiful sticky feel to all of the ingredients.  Mmmmmm!

To cook the spaghetti, make sure you have a big pot, and add a healthy pinch or two of salt to the water.  Let your pasta cook until it is "al dente," which means "to the teeth" (roughly).  Pasta cooks after you pull it off the heat, and if your spaghetti still has a little bite to it when you test it, it will be perfect on the plate.  Make sure you don't rinse your pasta, and leave just a bit of water in the pot.  Drizzle some good extra virgin olive oil in the spaghetti (not the stuff you cook with), and add the two handfuls of basil (give it a tear before you add it).   Toss the spaghetti and the sauce, then serve.

This dish took about fifteen minutes, and it was a huge hit in our house.  My only complaint was that it didn't have any meat in it!  I'm thinking of cooking up some Italian sausage on the side next time, I'll have to let you know how that goes!

According to Jamie Oliver, don't use parmesan, but the contributors to "Olive Juice" did.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Light at the End of the Tunnel

The semester has been great (I only have two more papers and one final), but things get a little hectic at the end.  I had one of the best study groups that I can recall on Saturday.  We didn't get a damn thing done, but we drank some margaritas, ate bread, and completely decompressed.  Sometimes you need to just say, "screw it!" and take a day off.
This is my study partner and friend, Jessica, and those are margaritas.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

My Monkeysphere

A few months ago I read an article about how people comprehend relationships, it referred to our social circle as a "monkeysphere," and it was hilarious. Although the article is hilarious, it is based upon facts, and is definitely worth a read.  The main premise is: as human beings we can only conceptualize up to 150 homosapiens as actual people, and the closer those people are to you in your monkeysphere, the more you would care if they died.  David Wong refers to the sanitation worker in your neighborhood- he/she isn't a person, but "the thing that makes the trash go away."  Particularly hilarious are references to our interaction in large groups versus intimate situations:

"Think about this the next time you get really pissed off in traffic, when you start throwing finger gestures and wedging your head out of the window to scream, 'LEARN TO FUCKING DRIVE, FUCKER!!' Try to imagine acting like that in a smaller group. Like if you're standing in an elevator with two friends and a coworker, and the friend goes to hit a button and accidentally punches the wrong one. Would you lean over, your mouth two inches from her ear, and scream 'LEARN TO OPERATE THE FUCKING ELEVATOR BUTTONS, SHITCAMEL!!'
They'd think you'd gone insane. We all go a little insane, though, when we get in a group larger than the Monkeysphere. That's why you get that weird feeling of anonymous invincibility when you're sitting in a large crowd, screaming curses at a football player you'd never dare say to his face."

The combination of the monkeysphere article and the earthquake in Japan (odd combo, I know), have led me to evaluate the people that I really care about in my life.  
I have come to the conclusion that if there is an earthquake in Utah, you know, the one everyone talks about- I only need four people to live: Ben, Braeden (my little brother), my mom, and my dad.  Do I care if other people that I love survive an earthquake? Yes.  Do I need my best friend to survive a natural disaster? Well, yeah...but if I am going to be honest (and you probably feel the same), the number of survivors that I need is small relative to the amount of people that I love.  I cherish my friends, family, even my ridiculous co-workers, and fellow students, but I really only feel like I NEED those four people.
    I might be a callous human-being, but I suspect that I'm not, and everyone has similar feelings on the issue.  All of these musings were recently exacerbated when Ben confessed that he has a lump in his ribs that has been hurting.  He then confessed that he has a lump in his elbow, and I found one in his pectoral (breast self-examinations aren't just for women), and it was in those discoveries that I realized how fragile my heart, and my monkeysphere truly are.  I cried when he showed me the lump in his elbow.  Three lumps must be cancer.  I am so happy, and now Ben is going to die.  My mind is a crazy place to live, and those were the conclusions that I jumped to.
I made an appointment for a dermatologist, and Ben just went in today.  The lumps are absolutely harmless, and he's getting the one on his ribs removed on Friday.  No big deal, the appointment lasted ten minutes, but when he called me on my way from school to work, and told me that he was fine, I cried.  It turns out, I love one monkey waaaay more than all of the rest.

I hope "the big one" hits Utah after I'm dead, because I can't imagine losing one of my precious monkeys.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


 Saturday (the 2nd) was Camrann's birthday, and his fabulous wife planned a surprise paintball party in Morgan, UT, at Action Center Paintball. I must admit, I was afraid to go.  I have heard horror stories about the pain associated with paintballing, and was terrified to get hit.  The first game, I stayed behind a bunker and screamed, "this is stupid," and didn't fire my gun once!  I was shot in the knee the second game, and I'm still sporting a bruise from the impact.  I'm not sure that the amount of fun was worth the anxiety and pain, but I think I need to give it another go before I make a fair assessment.
Thankfully, I had the courage to move by the third game, and I even shot and "killed" Pedro (my badass black belt bjj instructor).  I only shot one person, but that was all I needed to feel satisfied with my participation.
If you get a chance to go to Action Center, I highly recommend it!  The shooting areas were well set up, and it was a lot of fun to be outside and play around for hours.  The employee that was running the place for the day played with us, and was gracious enough to let us play for two hours beyond what we paid for.  The only downside to paintballing is the cost of paintballs- the group purchased five cases of paint at $64 per do the math.  It can be a tad pricey, but it was worth every penny, just don't be lured in by the low cost to rent the field. 
We ate sandwiches and Vanessa The Scientist baked a delicious carrot cake, it was a fantastic birthday party for one of the best guys that I know!  Happy Birthday, Cam!
Pedro, Cam, Tseitel, and Ben loading their guns.