Wednesday, June 29, 2011

artless Art

I tried publishing this last night but Blogger had other plans.

These were my options for tonight: 1.) Go see Transformers 3; 2.) Stay at home and watch episodes of 30 Rock on Netflix; or 3.) Go see this movie:

Why do movie trailers have to be two and a half minute condensations of the movie being advertised? You have now just seen the entire movie.

I chose option #3, I saw The Art of Getting By. This movie got pretty terrible reviews -- 19% on Rotten Tomatoes. I knew that going in, so I wasn't expecting much. And while Rotten Tomatoes does a pretty good job of telling how good the movie is, it's not an indicator of whether or not I will like the movie.

That said, this movie was neither terrible nor great. About half an hour into the movie I leaned over to my friend Afton and whispered, referring to the dialog, "I feel like I could've written this movie." Which means that either I have a future career as a screenwriter, or the script was pretty bad. (But if Hollywood is making poorly scripted movies then it really does mean I have a career as a screenwriter.)

Beside the poor dialog (which does improve), my two biggest complaints about the movie were these:

One: Teenage drinking. Some teens drink. I get that. In movies, I don't have a problem with that. But these are teens, high school seniors, drinking at bars. On three separate occasions. The first time, I let it slide. But two other times, we see teenage characters at bars, drinking. How many mainstream bars in New York City serve teenagers?

Two: Why the predictable Hollywood ending? I mean, it's a Fox Searchlight picture, it's not gonna be a summer blockbuster, so why give it the artless romantic comedy ending? Without giving away too many details, George, the protag, didn't need to get the girl for the movie to have had a strong resolution. In fact, the film would've been so much stronger if their relationship had been left up in the air. The movie wasn't about them, it was about George finding himself and his passion.

Regardless, I still liked the movie. I could relate to George's anxiety, his struggle to express himself, and his dispassionate, objective way of viewing things. And while Emma Roberts' character, Sally, causes a fair amount of trouble for George (she is referred to as "hussy" on more than one occasion), you can't help but like her because Emma herself is pretty adorable.

So yeah. The Art Of Getting By. Not good, not bad. Whatever it was or wasn't, it apparently moved me enough to come home and blog about it. I doubt I'd be saying as much for Transformers 3.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

the grapes of math

"...and some of them worshiped the mathematics because it provided a refuge from thought and from feeling." -- John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

Should I be worried if that's one of the things that attracts me to accounting?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

it's a start

"Don't ask me about Facebook. There are books to read, songs to learn on my guitar, flowers to grow and a marriage I need to nurture." -- Nick Offerman

I'm not married, and growing two basil plants and some rosemary doesn't make me a gardener, but I sure do love reading and guitars.

Here are some of the productive uses of my time today:

(+) Read about 25 pages of The Grapes of Wrath
(+) Cooked a steak for lunch (it could've used more salt and/or a marinade)
(+) Went to church
(+) Had dinner with my family
(+) Revised some calculations for my Jupiter project
(+) Found a possible hotel to stay at in Montreal next month
(+) Learned Phil Collins' "Against All Odds" on guitar
(+) Played with my cat

Some less productive aspects of my day:

(-) Re-watched an episode of Parks and Rec that I've seen twice already
(-) Played this dumb game on my phone at church
(-) Didn't really extend myself beyond my comfort zone at a church activity tonight

Few days (if any) are ever lived perfectly. So when pluses (+) have an almost three-to-one advantage on the minuses (+), I think that's a day I can be proud of. For me, that's progress.

Friday, June 24, 2011

a bitter form of refuge

Sometimes my favorite (and unfortunate) way of dealing with a problem is to ignore it or, if possible, to remove myself from whatever physical aspects that I deem to be part of the problem. While I admit I sometimes ignore and avoid solvable problems, if a problem becomes debilitating or serious enough that I have to be physically somewhere else, I'm usually willing to solve that problem. But sometimes I don't know how to solve those types of problems -- the ones that shut me down, the ones that make me wanna just get up and leave.

I love the strain on his voice when he sings, "But we still fear what we don't know."

I guess I'm sort of lying to myself when I say I don't know how to solve these types of problems. I usually have some kind of idea of what to do. But usually that idea seems so indirect and maybe even useless, or it involves stepping outside a major comfort zone -- something that I'm not known for doing. But I've got to make those small steps, and hope that something or someone will reach out and pull me up along the way.

P.S. I'm entitled to a vague emo post every now and then and I haven't had one in a while. Don't pretend like you've never done it.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

science is happening!

Last Christmas my friends and I had a white elephant gift exchange, and I have to say, it was the best white elephant I've ever been a part of. Sure, people gave away joke gifts and stuff they didn't want anymore, but most of it was pretty covetable, like a giant stuffed fish or a Barack Obama lava lamp (which Matt ended up with). Not everything was great, though, because I'm pretty sure someone went home with a copy of Twilight.

I was quite pleased to have ended the night with this:

Who doesn't love a good globe? Thanks, Angie.

Right after bringing this lovely globe home I got the fantastic idea of sanding down the surface and painting it to look like Jupiter. Now, it's pretty common knowledge that my favorite non-habitable planet in our solar system is the mighty Jupiter. Its mass is greater than that of all the other planets in the solar system combined and it has 63 moons (now don't you feel cheated knowing that Earth only has one moon?), three of which are suitable for extraterrestrial microbial life! (Why are we not exploring these moons?!)

Being one of the world's best procrastinators, I finally got going on this project last night. To my surprise and delight, it turns out sanding to remove the map on the globe was unnecessary, as the map peeled right off after I picked at it a bit with a knife:

Map scraps. Kinda rhymes.

The newly naked globe bears its full glory:

Reminds me a bit of the Parachutes album cover. It'd be great to have that version of Coldplay back.

As great as a light-up globe of Jupiter would be, I decided I will take things a step further by making an orrery of Jupiter and its four largest moons, the Galilean satellites: Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. What's an orrery, you ask? Great question. An orrery is a model, usually of the solar system, that is used to display how the planets orbit the sun relative to their actual orbits. See the video below for an example (fast forward a bit to see it in action):

Great music, fitting for a demonstration of planetary revolution, right?

So our orrery (try saying that outloud. I say "our" because Fatcat (né David) will be joining me in its construction) will consist of a slowly rotating Jupiter and four revolving moons.

For inspiration/experimentation it made sense to take apart my out-of-service record player. A broken box fan suffered the same fate.

We had a pretty good brainstorming/experimenting sesh last night and we have a basic plan of how to make it work. The challenge will be finding the parts we need. Wish us luck!

Monday, June 20, 2011

coming home to a place he'd never been

I spent the weekend in the transcendental Rocky Mountains of Southern Colorado at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. I'm not really much of a bluegrass guy, or rather, it's not something I've taken the time to fully appreciate and grasp, so when I bought my festival pass earlier this year, it was an on-a-whim type thing. That, and another chance to see Mumford and Sons.

My friend Jeremy was the one who spearheaded this thing. To give you an idea of Jeremy's enthusiasm for this event, I'd say that the Telluride Bluegrass Festival is to Jeremy as John Steinbeck is to me. He drove up Wednesday morning, Brian, Laura and Kiana got there on Thursday, and I made my way up on Friday.

Waiting for the festival to begin.

I had such a great time. Hanging in the Rocky Mountains is an experience in itself, but being with friends and having so much to do with the festival made it that much better. Here are some highlights from the weekend:

I'm pretty indifferent when it comes to the Decemberists -- try as I might, I just can't really get into them (that said, I don't hate them either). But I really dug their set on Saturday. I enjoyed Colin Meloy's banter and overall the band sounded pretty tight. The highlight of the set, though, was when Meloy engaged in a self-deprecating pick-off with banjo virtuoso Béla Fleck and dobro master Jerry Douglas.

Saturday morning I went to meet Jeremy at the Nugget Theater for a Punch Brothers documentary (whose set on Sunday was pretty phenomenal) when I was stopped by two folks from Porchlight Sessions. They asked me to do an interview for an upcoming documentary they're filming about the burgeoning bluegrass movement. As a bluegrass newbie I was worried that I wouldn't have much to say on the subject, but it turns out that my newcomer perspective was part of what they were looking for. Anyway, I look forward to seeing the film regardless of whether my interview makes the cut.

On our way to the festival Sunday we shared a gondola with Victor Wooten (if you're unfamiliar with Wooten's unparalleled bass prowess, educate yourself here). We didn't say much to him, out of timidity (with the exception of Laura), and out of not wanting come across as over-zealous fans. But by the end of the gondola trip, he had recommended a good hike for us.

Here are some scenes from our Victor Wooten-recommended hike. OK, so Jeremy recommended this hike long before he did but having Wooten's stamp of approval certainly didn't hurt things.

Mumford and Sons. I saw these guys in April on the Railroad Revival Tour but I seemed to enjoy them so much more this time around (I think the crowd had a lot do with that; at the RRT show there was so much cajoling and arguing within the crowd for a place to stand that it really ruined the spirit of the show).

Please excuse the cell phone quality photo, it was far too rainy to use anything else.

When I see bands I love, I'm not always excited about hearing new material, at least not at the expense of songs I'm already familiar with. But it's the opposite with Mumford and Sons. They played four new jams -- "Beneath My Feet," "Hopeless Wanderer," "Lover of the Night," and "Lovers Eyes," all tentatively titled (although "Lovers Eyes" has existed as a demo/bootleg for some time so I don't know if I'd call it new) -- I enjoyed the tracks as much or more than the rest of the songs I already know and love.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

massaman curry

For the past two months or so I've been consuming Thai food on weekly basis (except for that one week I skipped but then made up for it by getting it twice the next week). The best place that's relatively close to my place is Thai Food Corner on Higley and Brown.

A few months ago I came across this recipe for Massaman curry. I've been wanting to try it for quite some time but I haven't because some of the ingredients would only be attainable at an Asian market (and the closest one is about 15 minutes away; I know, lazy me). But after actually going to Mekong Plaza (Dobson and Main) last night, a trip to an Asian market will be motivation enough to make this curry, that place is so awesome and probably deserves of a post of its own.

There were a few ingredients I've never used before -- Massaman curry paste, cardamom, star anise, tamarind paste, and fish sauce (this stuff smells as bad as it sounds). The recipe also called for Thai basil, but knowing I would make this recipe sooner or later (and hopefully other Thai dishes), I planted some at home.

My home grown herbs (well, until last week they were Home Depot grown herbs). Thai basil is the smaller leafed plant hanging over the side. Side note: Do not grow rosemary outside during the summer in Arizona. It will die very, very quickly and you will be sad because it is one of your favorite herbs and you'll have to season your red potatoes with oregano instead. You've been warned.

There was one point in the recipe where you stir-fry the cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, and star anise, and it smells like the best thing in the world. Can someone make a scented candle with that combo or do I have fry that that shiz every time I want the house to smell good? (Normally I'd just bake cookies, but the diet keeps that from happening.)

Little Scout kept me company the entire time. And she only jumped onto the counter once, quite a feat for a cat who can't keep still to save all of her nine lives.

Here's the finished product. The star anise and cinnamon sticks look pretty gnarly. If you do any kind of cooking, I highly recommend investing in a Lodge Dutch oven (the receptacle in which this dish was prepared) (or something similar). It's super durable, very versatile (bakes a mean loaf of bread), and you just feel cool using it.

I'll be honest though, as much as I enjoyed making this, it turned out quite a bit less flavorful than I expected. Kind of bland, it wasn't spectacular. And I've never cooked with some of these ingredients/spices before so I don't know what to add/subtract at this point. It was plenty hearty though, and that's necessary for a good curry. So this recipe does have potential. Here's what I'll do different next time:

  • Use the full four ounce can of curry paste. The recipe only called for three tablespoons.

  • Marinate the chicken in the curry paste for a few hours. Flavor-wise the chicken was lacking.

  • Buy better chicken. Discounted chicken from Walmart? I should know better. (And I should know better than to shop at Walmart, period.)

  • Find a way to dial down the coconut milk and/or water. This will make it a little less diluted and lower in calories (who knew coconut milk was so high in saturated fat?).

  • Use a real onion instead of shallots. The shallots were so small and got lost once the curry was finished. Where'd they go? And they didn't make me cry when I cut them -- you can't expect much from an onion-type product that doesn't make you cry.

  • Monitor the potatoes. Don't throw the potatoes in, watch an episode of Family Guy, and then come back and expect your potatoes to not be overcooked. They were pretty mushy. (Maybe that's what happened to the shallots as well.) Actually, I read about someone substituting garbanzo beans for potatoes, so I might try that.

  • Actually roast the peanuts instead of buying roasted peanuts.

  • Check fork/spoonfuls of this stuff for cardamom pods/star anise/cinnamon sticks, because you don't wanna swallow any of them whole (although the cardamom pod I accidentally consumed wasn't bad).

  • Invite a friend or five over because this recipe makes a ton (but not literally).

I'm really looking forward to trying this recipe again. Can I have my own cooking show now?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

pound for pound

Some of my friends and I just started a biggest loser type challenge thing. Ben and I were running about a week and a half ago and he proposed the idea as a way to be more accountable for our weight loss goals.

To be honest, I'm pretty OK and comfortable with where my weight is at. I'm a little overweight, but not dangerously so. When I look in the mirror I feel good about myself. But I hate that I don't run as fast and as far as I used to.

So my plan is to drop 40 pounds. I don't know if I'll be able to lose that much by the time the contest is over on August 22. That's 10 weeks away (counting down the weeks will really make this summer fly by, which is both a good and bad thing), so that means a loss of four pounds a week. It also means serious dieting and daily exercise. It's going to be hard with 100 degree plus temperatures and two summer vacations (Telluride this weekend, NY/Canadia in July), but I think I'm up for it. If I can perfect my exercise habit during the scalding Arizona summer, I'll have such an advantage when running season starts in the fall.

In the end though, my goal with this challenge isn't so much to lose weight, but to establish healthy and sustainable fitness habits.

In the past, my running goals have only been for distance, rarely (if ever) for speed. My goal is to be able to run a 5K at a 8:45 mile pace, that clocks in at about 27 minutes (hey, that's fast for me). Working on speed is also advantageous because it gets rid of fat faster than distance running (which is probably why I didn't lose much when I was half-marathon training last winter).

I also plan on buying a bike for stuff like grocery shopping and going over to Ben's for our weekly CPPP (Cool People Pool Party; yes, you're invited) and other short trips (and for bike rides in general). I'm going to be cooking a lot more instead of eating out so much (I'm planning on making this tomorrow night; I won't eat it all so come hang if you're hungry).

Special note to friends participating in this challenge: This blog is a "happy place" for me so any crap-talking posts will be deleted. Thanks!

Monday, June 13, 2011

to a distant and unknowable friend

I think everyone feels awkward and out of place in junior high, but somehow, you make yourself believe that you're the only who feels that way. As a seventh grader I was shy; I had a hard time talking to new people, especially girls. A bit on the chubby side and self-conscious about my weight, I was the kid who was afraid to take showers after P.E. I dressed in baggy shirts and baggy shorts and even my glasses were baggy (to be fair, baggy was in during the mid 90s).

I remember the first time I heard Weezer's "My Name Is Jonas," almost 16 years ago as that frumpy, 13 year-old seventh grader. As a brand new teenager, the music I listened to consisted of the Star Wars Trilogy soundtrack and a small repertoire of Chicago and Peter Cetera songs I had heard incessantly as a kid (my dad being a huge fan of Chicago and Mr. Cetera). As great as those songs were and are, "My Name As Jonas" made me feel something different. It was a strange nostalgia -- nostalgia for what, I don't know, I was too young to be nostalgic -- I didn't understand the feeling (I still don't) but I was nevertheless hooked. Weezer became my favorite band, my first true love.

As my love grew, I learned more and more about the band, and in particular their singer and principal songwriter, Rivers Cuomo. To me, Rivers was a kindred spirit. He too was shy, and by his appearance, he seemed to not quite fit his niche, the world of rock and roll.

If I had to choose a favorite song of all time this might be it.

About a year after my first encounter with the band, Rivers and Weezer released their second album, Pinkerton. I didn't understand the album at first. It was so much more messy and raw than their debut album, the lyrics were intensely personal, and at the tender age of 14, I was too young relate to most of the subject matter. However, the album's first single, "El Scorcho," a song about about being too shy to talk to a girl despite having so much in common, struck a chord and kept me coming back to Pinkerton.

As I grew up and experienced life, this album began to mean more and more to me. The premise of the song "Pink Triangle" -- falling in love with a lesbian -- might seem laughable to a kid, but even a high schooler can know the pain of falling for that unattainable girl who barely knows you exist. Or the simple ache of loneliness found in "Across The Sea": "As if I could live on words and dreams and millions screams / Oh, how I need a hand in mine to feel". Or the simple joy of finally connecting with someone: "I'm shakin' at your touch / I like you way too much / My baby I'm afraid I'm falling for you."

Pinkerton felt like a glimpse into Rivers Cuomo's diary, but somewhere in my late teens it became my diary. Rivers became a distant and unknowable friend who nevertheless chose to share such private moments of his life with me. His music helped me be comfortable with the teenager I was: a chubby, shy kid who couldn't talk to girls.

Happy birthday, Rivers. Thank you for these 16 years of music, and thank you for the years to come. Keep being who you are.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


I'm thinking about absorbing my Steinbeck blog, Earthbound But Aspiring, into this one. Looking back at recent posts, somewhere around In Dubious Battle, I stepped away from the purpose of that blog: sharing my thoughts on Steinbeck's works in the context of my life. Somewhere along the line, my posts, few as they may be, became uninspired book reviews -- something I might write for an unimportant freshman-level college class.

John's boyhood home, Salinas, California, circa 2009.

This and this are examples of what I wanted my posts to be like. For whatever reason, recently I've lacked the enthusiasm and inspiration to create posts that do justice to the subject matter. Changing the venue and using the already established tone of this blog might help me to provide the personal context I've wanted my Steinbeck posts to have.

There are still some logistical things I have to think through and experiment with, like migrating posts and making sure they fit here chronologically (I'm pretty sure blogger lets you back-date posts). Right now I'm thinking consolidation is a pretty OK idea. Your thoughts? Will you stop reading/caring if one-three posts per month are about Steinbeck?

(My problem is I have so many (underdeveloped) hobbies and interests. The Steinbeck blog was a way of focusing and refining one of them. But it seems I might be incapable of doing that. Things are about to get super eclectic around here. In other words, welcome to my life.)

Monday, June 6, 2011

So not only does this thing exist, but now you have deprived everyone of cake!

It's no secret that I have a man-sized man-crush on Ron Swanson from NBC's Parks and Recreation. While I share many of his views on food ("You had me at meat tornado."), body grooming ("Only women shave beneath the neck."), and old wooden sailing ships ("They're beautiful."), it's his political ideologies that I'd like to highlight in this post. Take a look:

"Drop in a token, look at a duck."

Here is a Swanson-esque list of facts detailing an experience I had recently with a government agency, the United States Postal Service.

  • On May 17, I purchased a book, Eat Like A Man, from Amazon. The package was shipped via USPS.

  • The morning of May 19 I checked the tracking number. Its status read "Out for delivery." A day or two ahead of schedule -- I was delighted.

  • Later that morning, I rechecked the status and it had changed. Not to "Delivered" but to "Incorrect address." I was confused because I'd had many packages delivered from Amazon to that address.

  • I trusted USPS so I decided to play the waiting game. May 19 was a Friday so I would probably receive the package on Monday or Tuesday.

  • By Tuesday, May 24, I hadn't received anything and the package's status, which now read "Arrival Scan," told me nothing.

  • The same day I went to the local Post Office to get to the bottom of things. A supervisor took my name and address and told me I would likely receive the package in the next day or two.

  • Two days later I found myself back at the Post Office talking to a different supervisor. He took my number and told me he'd call me later with info on my package. He never called.

  • Tuesday, May 31, I called the Post Office and talked to yet another supervisor. She told me the same thing, that she'd look into it and call me back.

  • Thursday, June 2, I called again. I talked to the second supervisor. He remembered me. In a roundabout way, he told me that USPS had no idea where my package was. A package with a tracking number. That they were supposed to be tracking.

  • Having done more than my part to find my package with the help of USPS, I decided to call Amazon for a replacement.

  • Friday, June 3, 1:59pm, within less than 24 hours of my call to Amazon, the replacement package was successfully delivered via UPS. At no extra cost to me.

This experience helped me understand why Ron feels the way he does about government. There are some things the government should leave to the private sector, and delivering our mail might be one of them.

Note #1: A man-crush only means that the object of the crush is worthy of emulation. Or that you want to do something manly with him, like go camping or have a barbecue (it really behooves you to click that link).

Note #2: I don't have many "real" celebrity crushes, i.e., a crush on a female celebrity, but I've got a pretty big one for Aubrey Plaza, also on Parks & Rec.

Note #3: Over the years there have been talks of a government bailout for the USPS. Maybe it's time for privatization instead, like a buyout from UPS and/or FedEx.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

take a look at me now

There's this sort of dream that I have. It's a pretty simple dream. It goes something like this:

I meet a girl. We start dating. Things go well for quite some time and maybe we even fall in love. Whatever. Anyway, several months to a year go by and we start to take one another for granted; the relationship goes stale. As a result, I mess up and do something stupid. It doesn't matter what. But it's serious enough that she decides to leave.

It's at this point that I realize the only I way I can win her back is with a completely un-ironic performance of that Phil Collins heartbreaking classic, "Against All Odds."

Please treat yourself to this video if it's been a while since you've heard the song. I would define "a while" as "within the last ten minutes."

I don't know what the best venue for such a performance would be. Maybe on stage at a hotel bar where she's on a date with another guy, perhaps a former lover (apparently in this version of the dream I'm also a lounge singer). Or how about in a rainy inner city alleyway right after an argument? It just has to be at a public place, be there others present or not. It certainly wouldn't have the same effect if it were her and I alone in her apartment, for example. Also, the performance should be spontaneous, it can't have been planned too far ahead. And I'd have to sing it a key or two lower, a few of those notes are just too high for me.

So after an emotional performance (much like the one you just watched in that video), do I defy the odds, does she really come back to me? I don't know, and actually, whether she does or not is beside the point. Because my dream here, summed up in fewer words, is to be in a situation where I can sing sincerely and seriously Phil Collins' "Against All Odds" to a girl and mean every word of it.

But in the meantime, I wouldn't mind having a girlfriend I could sing it to as a joke.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


I can't believe it's June already. I'm not sure why 2011 is so important, but I seem to be reckoning my life from before and after the beginning of this year. And it feels like my post-2010 life is going by too fast.

I've been blogging a lot lately. In fact, April and May have been record months as far as number of posts go, twelve posts each month. In April I had five posts here, five on BUST3R, and two on my Steinbeck blog. May, I had seven here (a monthly record on this blog), two on BUST3R, and three on the Steinbeck blog. I know twelve in a month might not seem like a lot for other bloggers out there, but for me, with the fact-checking I do on some posts and the time it takes me to write something I don't hate, twelve is pretty darn good.

In May I also took a great deal of time editing a short story that I wrote at the end of March. I submitted it to a couple short story contests. (Most of you will probably never read it though, I just don't feel comfortable passing it around.)

Anyway, I guess I'm pretty proud of myself. This month I'm thinking about blogging a little less to work on another short fiction project but we'll see if that ends up happening.

The other day Buster and I were talking and we postulated that around 60% of users are Mormon wives/mothers. I know that's an exaggeration, but there are quite a few. There's nothing wrong with that -- I follow, read, and comment on several blogs that fit that niche -- it's just at the end of the day, as a single male, I'm finding fewer blogs out there I can relate to. But part of that is that some of the typical guy stuff I just don't do. For example, I'll read a hundred mom blogs before reading a single sports blog.

So fellas, where you at? Buster, you're my most consistent male blogging friend, so I thank you for that. Also, happy birthday. Jeremy, you're a close second. Keep it up. Clint, while your posts aren't as frequent, they are of a higher quality than most blogs I read. Trev, I thought you were poised to take over the world and then you disappeared. Come back. Quinn, your posts are always relevant and usually pretty hilarious -- please post more often. Speaking of hilarious, Thome, where did you go? Zach, I'm glad you're still blogging.

With all this attention on my guy-friend bloggers, I'm not trying to take away from the contribution of you female bloggers because many, if not most, of the blogs I read are written by you. I'm just striving for a more gender-equal representation in the blogs I read and enjoy, that's all.

P.S. I think people respond better to posts with pictures. I just haven't been taking any lately. Sorry.

P.P.S. I'm looking for more blogs to read -- male or female. Recommendations are welcome.

P.P.P.S. Speaking of Mormon blogging, this article is pretty interesting.

P.P.P.P.S. Update: I forgot to shout-out my buddy Whit's blog. Check it if you need inspiration for making your house look awesome. Check it even if you don't.