New blog

| Saturday, July 23, 2011
This blog is officially being retired. The content and comments have been moved to my new blog at

You can subscribe to an RSS feed there if you'd like. The feed url:

Look forward to seeing you all over there.

Reading, reading, reading

| Thursday, April 7, 2011
As basically everyone knows, I read tons. People are usually pretty shocked to find out how much I read when they ask me. I've thought a lot about what has driven me to read so much. Probably 4 years ago now I may have read a total of 5 books all year so something lead/drove me to want to read. There are probably 3 major events that have driven me to where I am at now. One thing to note, I did read a bit when I was younger. Not a lot, but I grew up encouraged to read.

Reason #1 - Graduation
While I was studying at the University of Utah, I just didn't have a lot of time. I was studying full time and working in my spare time. Almost all reading that I did was purely for educational purposes. I did have one class where we read an incredible large amount (of Russian Literature from the USSR nonetheless) - at the time I felt overwhelmed but I think I would like that class a bit more now. Anyways, there just wasn't much time for outside reading. Once I graduated, I found I had a lot more spare/free time. Reading is definitely what fills it now.

Reason #2 - Kindle
My kindle was really what drove me to read the amount that I do now. I had already started visiting the library on a regular basis when I received my Kindle, but after that I began to read a ton. Probably the main reason is because I'm the type of person that likes to use the things that I have and find it hard to let things sit around unused. While I didn't purchase my Kindle, I wanted to put it to good use. Last year I read 130 books on my Kindle alone and I've read several already this year.

Reason #3 - Priority shift

This is the single biggest reason for reading so much. I used to be a huge sports fan. I would watch every sporting event (especially local teams) and get really into them. I was extremely competitive and got extremely emotionally involved. I noticed that this was effecting me and those around me in negative ways (my wife definitely helped bring this to my attention). It would be hard for me to get to sleep at night after a sporting event because I couldn't get over the win or loss. Also, I would have an extremely negative attitude after the team I was hoping would win, lost. I needed something that I could do to relax and not worry about sports as much. Reading was the big thing that took over for me.

Reading has really changed how I relate sports in general. I still cheer for teams, but I don't feel upset or mad when the team I'm cheering for loses. In fact, I can easily turn off the television if it's coming down to the last seconds of a game. I don't watch a lot of the big games because it doesn't matter as much to me anymore. A lot of times I don't just watch a sporting event on TV. I'll read during a game and only check the score every now and them. Reading has been something that has really calmed me as a person and helped me to relax from things that just really aren't that important...I still enjoy watching sports at times and enjoy going to games, but a lot of times I'd rather read.

For me, reading has been a good way to relax and also I've learned a lot of very interesting and fascinating facts as I've gotten into books about history. I definitely find reading far more interesting than tv series and it's a great way to increase my knowledge.

April Fool's Day - Favorites

| Friday, April 1, 2011
I love April Fool's Day. I especially love how some of the bigger companies really get into it. I had a great April Fool's joke a couple years ago that got a few people (even had my Mom in tears - sorry about that). All in all though, it's a good time to get a good laugh. Here are my 4 favorites this year:

4. Ad block glasses - Get real people. Just avoid looking at all those signs!

3. Motion Mail - Watch the video to get a really good laugh.

2. Comic Sans coming to Google - If this ever happened I might actually stop using Google!

1. HDMI cable deal - The best part about this is that it's not even a joke. The price and product are for real. The sarcastic comments in the thread are what make this great. I was in tears a couple of times because I was laughing so hard.

Feel free to share any good jokes/links that you enjoyed.

Happy April Fool's Day everyone!

Recipe #3: Chocolate cake cookies

| Saturday, March 26, 2011
The thing that I love about this recipe is how simple it is. I got this recipe off of a cake mix and was making it all the time. I haven't made it in a couple of months as we are trying to eat a bit healthier.

Prep Time: 5 minutes (50 minutes with baking time)
Makes: 3-4 dozen

  • 1 chocolate cake mix

  • 2 eggs

  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted

  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1 cup chocolate chips

  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional - I've never added them before)

- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Mix all ingredients together (except chocolate chips and nuts).
- Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.
- Drop about a tablespoon of dough onto baking sheets (greased if you want).

- Bake for about 12 minutes.
- Let cool and remove from pan.

- Enjoy!!

I was thinking as I put this together that you could probably try any cake mix you want and it would still be pretty good...not sure though. Give it a try if you're daring :)

Ratings and why they don't work

| Monday, March 7, 2011

If you haven't heard, this year's Academy Award winner for Best Picture has been reedited and will shortly be re-released to have a PG-13 rating! Awesome! Oh wait...I already saw this film. And to be honest, this film was one of the cleanest movies I've seen in some time (also one of my favorite films and quite inspirational and uplifting). There has been a lot of talk about whether Weinstein should have re-edited the film or not. This post isn't to argue either way.

Instead, this post is my about why the rating system in the US is broken (thanks to the MPAA). I'll be honest - I think the rating system is pretty horrible. I realize there needs to be some type of rating system, but this system just doesn't work. Before I go on I need to state that as a member of the LDS church we are counseled not to watch R-rated movies (I couldn't find a link to this on the site however). I've still seen my share of them in my lifetime but I'll usually get a guilty feeling afterwards (I didn't after watching The King's Speech though). That's probably one of the main reasons why the rating system bothers me so much.

Honestly though, there are some PG-13 movies that are far worse than R-rated films. Let's look at the King's Speech. The film received it's R-rating due to two scenes in which Colin Firth spills out the F-word about 6 times in a row the first time and then 6 times in a row the second time. There are some other swear words throughout (mainly in the same scenes as these F-words). That's it. Don't believe me - read the guide over at IMDB (this is where I typically look for what's in a film). I know the rule - 2 f-words max to earn the PG-13 rating. To be frank though, that's the dumbest thing I've ever heard. While I'm not a parent yet, here are two PG-13 films that I wouldn't want my kids watching, without me, over The King's Speech.


I went to this film when I was probably about 13 years old. I didn't know much about the film, but since it was PG-13 I was "allowed" (both by my parent's rules and by MPAA standards). As a 13-year old growing up in the LDS church, I had been highly exposed to swearing throughout school. But I don't know if I'll ever forget the scene where Jack is sketching Kate posing nude. I was more than shocked at this scene in a PG-13 film. Also I'm not clear why this use of nudity in an "artful" sense warrants a PG-13 rating but swearing in an "artful" sense does not (the swearing in the King's Speech is definitely artful and not overused by any means).

The Dark Knight

I really liked this movie but my wife stopped watching after she saw the scene where the Joker impales a character with a pencil in the eye. While I'm glad this film got a PG-13 rating (I didn't have to feel guilty about watching it) I'll admit that it is very dark and intense. There were definitely people that felt it should have been rated R. How often do you or your kids see violence like that depicted in this film at school or work? I'm betting for most of us it's very rarely.

My recommendations

As a parent or just a moviegoer in general, don't rely on the ratings system if you're concerned about content. The MPAA is far from perfect. Look at what is contained in the film. I typically look at IMDB, but while preparing this post, found this site which I may start to use: Kids in mind. Unsurprisingly, Titanic and the Dark Knight are both rated worse overall than The King's Speech.

As for the rating system, I think that we need to move to something similar to that of what Kids in mind is doing. Splitting a rating out and putting it on a 1-10 scale for three different categories - Violence, Language, and Sex & Nudity. From there, taking some kind of combination of those three values to determine an age limit on the film. Until then of course, we'll be left scratching our heads as to why we don't see some of the best films made because they are rated R while we sit through some very degrading cinema because someone thought it didn't meet the R-rating standard. However, go enjoy a great film in The King's Speech if you've been holding out because of the rating (the reedited version of course).

On another note, let's get rid of heavy swearing all together in movies. Whenever they translate movies into Russian they always translate the heavy swear words into very mild words in Russian. What's the obsession with swearing in American cinema?

Recipe #2: Fake/Simple Chicken Cordon Bleu

| Sunday, February 27, 2011
As promised, this is another recipe to use that uses more of that Ham that I used for the breakfast sandwiches.

Prep Time: 15 minutes (50 minutes with baking time)
Serves: 4 (of course you can do more or less really easily)

Here's what you need:
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

  • Ham (enough to cover the 4 breasts)

  • Swiss cheese
Preparation instructions:
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Pound each chicken breast to get it flattened out.
- Slice up your ham and cheese.

- Place the cheese slices on the chicken breast and then the ham on top of the cheese.
- Roll the chicken breast up and push a toothpick through the middle (I use matches).

- Put in oven for about 30 minutes (I don't know the exact time, just make sure the chicken is cooked when you pull it out).
- Enjoy!

We ate these with some sliced up potatoes that we cooked in frying pan with some cheese melted on top. Also added some sliced up tomatoes with a bit of sour cream.

Must know shortcuts

| Sunday, February 20, 2011
If you don't know this trick, you should learn it:

- Hold down the CTRL key and click this link.
- Hold down the SHIFT key and click this link.

Now, if you write websites, stop forcing new windows or tabs to come up. I can do that myself if I want, thanks! I hate when I come to a site that pops a link up in a new window or tab! People would know these shortcuts if sites didn't do that.

If you want to learn other great shortcuts or if you don't use CTRL+C and CTRL+V, check this site out (some of these are Windows specific - search Google if you're not using Windows):

Hold CTRL and SHIFT and click this link