Monday, April 30, 2007

Burritos and Amends

I enjoy myself a burrito from time to time. Some of the highlights of burrito-dom I can think of offhand are...

D'Leon's in Lincoln
Kind of a hole-in-the-wall joint, you might say, off of Highway 34 on the west end of town. Huge burritos, open all night long, and the drive-thru is always way backed up.

This Mexican place here in the Cities where burritos are well over a foot long, four inches wide, and rather thick too. I'm not order the "Wet Burrito" and you will have food for at least two days. We went there yesterday and finished up today.

Trite and trendy? Possibly. Delicious? Definitely (were I on my brother's podcast, I would have to take a drink or two of soda right now). Massive goodness delivered in a shiny foil wrapper. Most excellent.

Taco Bell
I'm not a fan of their burritos, but I do remember going to San Antonio with my church youth group, looking for some real Mexican food, and ending up running for PepsiCo's "border" instead of the real one. :)

Amigo's Meaty Burrito
When I was a kid I would drown them in mild sauce, thus beginning my lifelong relationship with Amigo's foods of all kinds.

Taco Inn
First introduced to them by Josh and Nick back in high school, these are always good for a midwest-Mex fix, especially if you're short on cash.

And I must say a big hearty Hey to Sarah, who also reads this blog. Thanks for chatting with us at your work the other day, dude! Sorry I didn't mention you in the other post. :(

My nose is a bit stuffy as of late, which is kind of a bummer, but I'm treating it with lots of water and Mountain Dew. Maybe not the best idea to get rid of a cold, but it's a bit tastier than others. :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Hot Cross Bunza?

Jon, I hope you're reading this.

Today I finally took the plunge: I had one of those weird log-looking things from Costco called a "Chicken Bake." It's kind of like a cross between a chicken pot pie and a Runza (or, if you went to LPS, a "Bunza"), but the big selling point is its price. For only $2.69 you can load up on two days' worth of chickeney goodness wrapped inside a golden brown, partially burnt, roll-type thing. To be honest, it's always sort of scared me, which is why every time I get a hankerin' for one of Costco's three menu items, I usually stick with the polish dog smothered in so many condiments that the bun withers in submission. But not today, my friends! Staring down the rack of oddly-shaped chicken apparati like Indiana Jones and a golden artifact, I resolved to hand over nearly three of my hard-earned dollars for what could be an entirely new concept in eating. Or heart disease.

It took a little bit of doing, but after 20 minutes and some breaks for rest, I finished off ye olde chicken bake. I could not testify as to the contents of said bake, but I can say that it was sort of like a large chickeney twinkey, if that means anything. Not a twinkie the size of the Ghostbusters' "Containment Unit," should it represent such an object, but a large one nonetheless. Am I full? Definitely. Was it worth it? We'll see, I think.

What will happen? Like most of these kind of episodes, I will likely forget everything I know and repeat the scenario several times (here's looking at you, Bill Murray) until my wife convinces me to just go back to the polish dog. If that doesn't work, she'll probably bribe me with the possibility of a churro for dessert. mmm...churro...

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Props To...

I just need to take a few minutes here and give a shout out to...

• Laser printers. They're WAY better than inkjets, and only a tad more expensive. Come on, how often do you need to print in color, anyway?

• My cousin Beth's iPod. It's a 20-gig 2nd Generation, and still going strong long after my 40-gig 4th Generation, and my wife's original iPod mini, both died. Thanks for letting me use it, Beth!

• Mountain Dew.

• 17th and Vine, and the end of Friday night.

• Robin Mark.

• The IGN Mac Boards, well worth the $20 yearly fee.

• Vonage.

• Cheap recordable media CDs and DVDs.

SilverKeeper, the free software that backs up my Mac every night whilst I sleeps.

• My wife, Jess, Beth, Chaviva, my mom, Andy, Nick, Charlotte, the Aca Dec team, and others who like reading this blog. Thanks, everyone!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

What's Next?

My wife and I have been watching The West Wing ever since I bought her Season 1 on DVD a few years ago when we were still dating. Well, she was actually watching it long before I bought her the DVD set, which is why I got it for her in the first place. At first I was a little wary of the show. It's Hollywood, after all, and I figured I could predict the show from the start: Republicans = bad, Democrats = Good.

Turns out I was pretty far off the mark.

We finished the final episode of the show two nights ago, and through all seven seasons I have been thoroughly impressed with the sheer quality of the writing, the intelligence of the characters, the focus on all kinds of issues, the lengthy plots revolving around little more than governmental procedures, and the relatively nice balance between liberal and conservative viewpoints (In the show, President Bartlet is a catholic and attends mass regularly, and often quotes scripture to his cabinet members). Sure, President Bartlet and his staff are Democrats, but both sides are treated with respect and the Republicans are shown to be intelligent, and no viewpoint is ever portrayed as wrong, just different. And both are flawed in many ways. In fact, the entire seventh season was about a presidential campaign involving a young Democrat against a seasoned Republican, and both were treated simply as humans, not as good or evil.

What has also struck me about The West Wing is the things it is not and does not do. It is not a show about sex or sexual relationships. In fact, it is one of the cleanest shows I have ever seen, moreso than even Star Trek (no form-fitting onesies here, folks, just lots of pantsuits). The show focuses on politics and the political process, with some of the most unique and compelling characters ever written. Certainly the characters have personal lives, which are also explored, but the show never panders to the lowest common denominator of entertainment such as can easily be found on any number of other programs.

Anyway, if you seriously want some excellent entertainment, go watch it.

In other news, I ordered Final Cut Express last night, and it should be here by the end of next week. I'm anxious to start working on some video projects as well as our wedding video, which currently exists as several gigabytes of unedited DV footage on my external drive. It's also going to be in the mid-70's today, so you can count on a walk through the park, fo sho. Schwing!

ps. right after i published this post, i thought of a much better title for it, so i changed it. why? because i can.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

T to the B

My friend Nick once remarked that Taco Bell most likely uses Grade F meat, and though I find no basis on which I could plausibly disagree with him, I cannot deny that their food is fairly delicious. We went there after church and even though the food is not what you could classify as anything close to gourmet midwestern Mexican fast-food, the nachos and tacos were still pretty tasty, especially when washed down by copious amounts of what my friend Dylan would call Nectar of Liberal. Or was it Dr Pepper that carried that moniker? Dylan, if you remember, tell me.

It's super nice outside, and after lunch we went on a walk around a small lake near our place. Lemme tell you, when it gets to be nice outside, Minnesotans come out of the woodwork, man. The park was swarming with people long cooped up inside for several months of bitter cold and snow, and eager to get out and make the most of the fair weather. Carpe springtime!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

War of the Casinos

Last night I watched the Martin Scorcese movie Casino, which features everyone's favorite short guy, Joe Pesci (quick: two points to whoever knows the Full House reference involving Joe Pesci, Dave Coulier, and a potato) along with Robert DeNiro, whose mole was ten feet wide when shown on Frank's 2000-inch TV, and...uh...Sharon Stone. Can anyone think of anything noteworthy she has done? Me neither. Anyway, the movie was, as most of my two-word reviews say, pretty cool. It was a Shakespearian tale of a guy's (DeNiro's) rise to power as a casino owner in Vegas, and subsequent falling out with his longtime friend (Pesci) who has also found power in Vegas as sort of a man in charge of underground muscle. Toss in a broken marriage, some trouble with the FBI, and an Italian restaurant in Kansas City, and you've got the makings of one mighty interesting movie. The first Scorcese movie I can remember seeing is Cape Fear, which was decidedly unimpressive, and ever since then I have been searching for a reason as to why he is so revered (though often snubbed by the Oscars until recently) as a movie director. Casino finally gave me a bit of understanding. Anyone who wants to see a fine director as the top of his game should check it out.

And then this afternoon I watched Spielberg's War of the Worlds. It was like slipping on a pair of old shoes long relegated to under-the-bed or closet status, and remembering why you liked them so much in the first place. Spielberg is right at home in his natural element here: regular dude, broken family, aliens, explosions, and a keen eye for the precise mix of action and suspense that summer moviegoers like to wash down with a jug of Sprite and tub of popcorn. I could do without Tom Cruise (if only Harrison Ford were a bit younger!), but Dakota Fanning was doing what she does best, and doing it well: playing a wide-eyed, scared, emotional girl with more depth than anything Lindsay Lohan or Hillary Duff could ever pull off. Tim Robbins didn't bother me at all, and anytime Morgan Freeman narrates anything, you can probably count on getting your money's worth. Sure, Independence Day had more explosions and straight-up action, as well as any given piece of Michael Bay schlock, but Spielberg never forgets that movies are, first and foremost, about the characters, and War of the Worlds is, while not perfect or even especially great, a nice reminder of why Spielberg is so good at what he does.


Our apartment just installed these new keyless entry thingies that they call Fobs, and I still get a kick out of waving this black plastic square in front of a panel, hearing a beep, and pulling the door open as it is unlocked electronically. I also grabbed a box of extra-fresh Dots at the store today (you can tell by squeezing the box and feeling for squishiness).

Hey, sometimes it's the little things in life that make things fun. :)

Sunday, April 08, 2007

That Onion Smell

My wife and I made an awesome seven-layer nacho dip this morning to bring to my family's Easter Pot Luck up in Saint Cloud. My job was to make the guacamole, dice the tomatoes, and chop the onions. I used the kitchen fan and one of those "As Seen On TV" chopper-dealies that you put on top of whatever food need chopping, and pound down on the top lever, which looks suspiciously like a contestant buzzer from any 1980's-era game show, which chops the food into tiny bits, in hopes that my eyes would be spared the punishing effects of the onions. I was, like Obi-Wan Kenobi, wrong. Within a matter of seconds my eyes were leaking fluid much in the way a pair of Oops I Crapped My Pants does not, and it was several minutes before I was able to locate the kitchen countertop with my sense of touch alone and dump the onions into their proper place in the aforementioned seven-layer dip.

After a beautiful Easter church service, we got into the car and noticed the rather pungent stank of onions, no doubt emanating from the red Pyrex keep'm'cold storage container in which our dip was secured. We quickly loaded it into the trunk and hightailed it to my aunt and uncle's house for a super fun afternoon of comestibles, cards, computers, and crosswords. It was a great time, as usual, and not even the ever-present I-94 traffic jam near Albertville on the way home could dampen our spirits.

But as we got home, we were hit by an overpowering scent of, what else? Onions. Despite my efforts to cleanse the kitchen before we left, the smell lingered. Even as I type this, I can taste the onions from the four helpings of chips and dip I had this afternoon.

And yes, the dip was awesome. :)

Hallelujah, Christ is Risen. He is risen indeed, folks. The tomb is empty, the veil is torn, and our sins are forgiven.

Hallelujah, Happy Easter, and God bless us, everyone!

Saturday, April 07, 2007


I have been online, so to speak for quite a long time. I also know that "quite" is one of my older brother's favorite descriptive words, so I am probably channeling him here, as he was instrumental in igniting my interest in computers in the first place. My email address is the same one I have had since early 1995 (save for a precious three- to four-month span after I graduated high school) and I can remember seeing a demonstration of a strange new program called "Netscape" at a Macintosh user's group meeting many years ago. I also remember when my older brother introduced me to Instant Messaging. At the time, IMing was labeled as such because it was the first time a message could be sent, and received, almost instantly. It was sort of like sending an email (which few people knew how to do anyway) only, well, instantly. Never mind you that emails typically go from sender to receiver in a matter of seconds anyway...IMing was a whole new way to look at communicating with people over vast distances. It was pretty cool, you might say.

I don't fire up my IM client much anymore, mostly because I have a whole bunch (not just part of a bunch, but a whole bunch) of other things to do on a daily basis. But yesterday I had a really nice couple of chats (I use iChat instead of AIM, but it's all the same thing, really) with Nick, Ben, and my brother Tom as well as my cousin Rochelle. There's really no point to this paragraph, and its predecessor, other than to say it was nice to chat with you guys. Virtually, that is. Nick, thanks for the lesson in tuneage. Ben, I'm glad the new job is working out. Tom, I hope you can get the pictures situation working. And Rochelle, I'm glad to hear that your life is as enjoyably chaotic as ever. :)

Tomorrow is Easter, and after going to church with some friends we're going to head to St. Cloud to spend the afternoon hanging out with family. It's gonna be a good time, I'm sure, and many games of cards will likely be played. Last night we had a super tasty Lasagne dinner with the same folks with whom we are going to church tomorrow, and afterwards we played some Wii Billiards and Wii Bowling. Mind you, the Wii is far from being technologically advanced like a PS3 or 360, but gol darn it, the thing sure is a lot of fun to play.

Time to finish my Mountain Dew and wrap up this post. Oh, and as of about an hour ago we are only a few episodes away from completing the entire West Wing series. The final disc should arrive early next week, and I actually find it a bit sad to see the Bartlett administration go. Not that I think he was a good president per se, but it was just a really cool show to watch.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Carpe Sunshine

It's been raining here for about a week straight, and even though I like rain much in the same way Anakin Skywalker does not like sand, I did appreciate the short respite brought on by yesterday's sunshine. It was downright sunny out, in fact, and my wife and I took a nice walk around the neighborhood--one of my favorite pastimes when the weather permits such activities. Today it's back to more rain, but such showers are to be expected in this month of April so that such flowers might arise during the month of May. Most of all, though, such things are a harbinger of winter's end, and that's always a good thing. :)

I know I'm not a fantastic web designer, or even a very good one, but I do like tinkering on web sites and learning more coding tricks and such. So whenever I design a web site, I like to fiddle with it for days after creating it, and often the end result does turn out to be much better than my original, though sometimes I end up throwing it all out and going back to the start. George Lucas once said that films are never finished--just abandoned. The same anecdote probably applies to most creations, and even Michaelangelo would probably nitpick the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and continue to find imperfections in need of repair were he given an eternity to do so. And such is the case with my new web site. It's certainly not a high mark of web design or creativity, but it's something, and more than that, it's functional, a trait which often seems to be lost in a sea of CSS, AJAX, and Java applets.

So I keep messing with it, and for now I'm much more satisfied with the color scheme of the whole thing, though a week from now it will probably change again. And if you know anyone in the Twin Cities area who needs a wedding recorded, send 'em on to the site. :)

Sunday, April 01, 2007

It's Alive!

After spending a day writing some code, and about $14 for a domain name, my new web site is up:

Like I say on the site, editing videos is a fun hobby, so why not make some money making videos for other people too?