Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Quick Enchiladas

I don't have any pictures, for which I apologize, but here is the story:

Last night around 11:30 we decided we were hungry, and so I did what I like to do in those situations and threw something together. It turned out rather nice, wherefore I thought I would share it.

First, I sauteed a few chicken breast tenders (I just place them frozen in a pan on medium heat, cover them, and let them cook. They stay nice and moist this way.) As they got white and looked like they were cooked through, I poured some Archer Farms Chilies & Lime sauce over each of them (this is only available at Target).

In the mean time I prepared a diced tomato and got out some flour tortillas, lettuce (romaine hearts was my green of choice), cheese, salsa, and sour cream.

Using my trusty cooking spatula I chopped up the tenders while still in the pan, then emptied the entire contents of the pan (extra sauce and all) into a dish.

Then I placed a generous portion of shredded cheese and some of the chopped tenders into four flour tortillas, rolled them, and placed them into the same pan used to cook the chicken (still lightly coated with oil from the sauce). I was careful to save as much of the sauce in the dish as possible. To this (the sauce in the dish) I added a spoonful of sour cream and whisked the crud out of it, and then poured the combination of sauce and sour cream on top of the rolled tortillas and placed the pan back on the stove at a little above medium heat for a few minutes.

I served the enchiladas with the lettuce, diced tomatoes, and salsa on top. They were rather delicious, if I do say so... :)

Sunday, October 28, 2007


Am I way out there on this?

We live in a culture that we considered rather advanced. I mean, look at our communication capabilities and things. Wow. As far as knowledge of things and general intelligence go, it seems that we are really pretty far along.

And so there is something that confuses me. Putting aside the LDS theology of the origins of precious things (you'll see what I mean), let's go back to "Primitive Man." (Again, this is solely for illustration purposes.) Here we have one of our ancient predecessors who is developing senses a little beyond his counterparts, and this relative of ours, while digging in the dirt one day, discovers something shiny. He is thrilled by the discovery, so much so that he digs this shiny thing out of the dirt and takes it back to his mate who is equally thrilled with it. Let's consider that this is the beginning of civilization (not the invention of a writing system as the historians would have us accept). What do I mean? I mean that this is when "man" excels past the other animals because he finds interest in something that won't give him shelter, assist in the preparation of food, or otherwise aid in his survival.

Is this a little cynical? I hope it will get better.

But wait, this shiny thing eventually does assist man in his survival, because he develops a system whereby he assigns values to this shiny stuff. The more you have of it, the more you can get of food and shelter from others. Ah, there is civilization! The assignation of value to things that really don't have value, except in the systems of man. [By the way, what makes it valuable? Not only is the stuff shiny, but its rare! Yes! Now I understand.] And what do we do with this stuff? We wear it of course!

Or at least that is what people did in the more primitive times. They adorned themselves with this stuff. Heck, just read Isaiah 3 (cf. 2 Nephi 13) to find out how much the ancients loved this stuff and to stick it on themselves--and sometimes in themselves. They would actually puncture holes in their skin and then hang this stuff in those holes!

Well, isn't it nice to live in the twenty-first century when we have come so far from these primitive times? Oh wait, hang on, I'm just now hearing something on the radio. It was something about the value of gold in the "Market." Oh, now another commercial, this one is for a jeweler who claims to have the best stuff on the market, and they just used a newly minted word to describe their iventory:

Are you ready for this? We've come so far in our day that we have assigned shiny stuff an onomatopoeia:


At least, this is the only explanation I can think of for this most annoying of words. This must be describing the sound shiny things make when they sparkle. But tell me, has anyone actually ever heard a shiny thing go "bling"? Somehow I think this is a sound jewelry dealers have created in their commercials to entice our most sophisticated natures to hearken to that most critical of areas of the origins of civilized life.

By the way, check out my watch.

An Interesting Read

What is it exactly that interested me so much about this book? I'm not really sure, perhaps it was sparked by my reading of the biography of President McKay (David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism by Gregory A. Prince and Wm. Robert Wright) which had a significant amount of material about his dealings with government officials, or perhaps it is that there is a budding political scientist somewhere inside me that is straining to get out, and this was a pretty low impact way to combine it with my passion for Church History.

Whatever the reason, I read it, and thoroughly enjoyed it (though I do have to note that there is a major typo in the afterword where the author, Michael K. Winder, relates his experience visiting former President Jimmy Carter's Sunday School class where they were studying the book of Revelation--he called it "Revelations." A minor thing, you might say, but don't you dare call it Revelations in front of Richard Draper, arguably the Church's expert on Apocalyptic literature, of which the Revelation of St. John is of major importance--he would not be well pleased, to say the least.) Now, I have just one or two comments to make about the book.

First, I was intrigued by the publisher: Covenant Communications. My first impression upon hearing about the book was to question why Deseret Book was not the publisher. After reading it I'm pretty certain I know why Deseret Book did not publish it (this is assuming, of course, that the author approached DB first and was turned down). There are way too many details about the political preferences of Church leaders for this to be published by DB. The ultra-conservative views of some leaders contrasted to the more liberal views of others are spoken of--not to the extent that they could have been by any means--but enough that, in today's political climate which is polarized in incredible ways, there may be just a wee bit too much that could be considered controversial.

[I need to include this little aside here. While working on this posting I am also feeding the boys some lunch--leftover Little Caesar's Pizza. Joshua has learned to dip everything he eats in ranch and so requested ranch with his pizza, but we are fresh out of ranch, so not willing to be deterred he immediately then requested ketchup. I asked if he was sure he wanted ketchup for his pizza and he insisted, and so he is eating his pizza with ketchup and currently begging me to come and wipe up some that he spilled...]

These posts always become projects completed in many sittings, largely due to the fact that Joshua and Morgan keep me rather busy. So if there seems to be a break in the stream of consciousness, well, that's why.

Back to the book. My other comment has to do with the impressiveness of the project Winder took up. To write a one volume survey touching on each of the 42 U.S. Presidents and their associations with the Church is a major task. But he did well, and in the process made me thirst after more knowledge about the U.S. Presidents. I highly recommend the book. It goes quick and is fun.

Monday, October 22, 2007

A Week Without Technology; sort of...

Last week Jessica, the boys, all of Jessica's family, and I went to Anaheim to spend the week at Disneyland. The hotel we stayed in boasted internet access, but as with most hotels that do so did not tell us about the fees and everything else that are part and parcel of such access. So we spent the week without technology, excepting of course the kind of technology that causes you to speed through the atmosphere at really accelerated rates.

Apparently I missed out on some news, like Stephen Colbert's announcement that he is running for president (in South Carolina only). I'm not exactly sure how that works, but... well, his interview with Tim Russert on Meet the Press was pretty funny.

No, we spent our evenings in the hotel room watching the Disney Channel (this is something we do not do at home inasmuch as we do not have cable TV or anything like unto it). I discovered a really fantastic show called "The Replacements." It's a silly cartoon but it is actually funny! That just so happens to be an element missing in a lot of entertainment these days--humor.

So Disneyland was wonderful Joshua loved the Astro Blasters ride (you get to shoot aliens with laser guns, what's cooler than that?) and the Matterhorn. Jessica loved the Tower of Terror, and Morgan pretty well liked being outside for most of the day. Speaking of, I'm including some contrasting pictures to demonstrate the weather we left in Sunny California compared to that which we woke up to Sunday morning in Utah after arriving home.

It's good to be home.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Week

Anyone who has not seen it yet, definitely needs to check out Jessica's new hair cut on her blog. She is absolutely adorable. What a lucky guy I am! (Here is a picture, but still check out her blog.)

Today Jessica had a conference for Pediatric nurses, and so I hung out with the boys all day. It was beautiful outside, wherefore we spent time in the backyard chasing each other and swinging (mostly them, I'm a little too big for our swing set). At one point I gave Joshua a push on a swing and he did this incredible upside down twist that sent him flopping on the ground (the push was not very hard, but I think he kind of let go of the ropes). I was very proud of him, because instead of giving into the bit of fear he must have felt, he laughed kind of nervously and got right back on the swing.

And so General Conference came and went. Wow! Just a couple of thoughts about that:

1. President Henry B. Eyring! I was so thrilled at this announcement. His talks in the Priesthood Session and on Sunday morning were incredible. He is one of the most humble and powerful men. Wow.

2. Elder Quentin L. Cook. I knew of Elder Cook from my days at the MTC when he was made head of the Missionary Executive Committee. I couldn't remember anything specifically about him, but as he stood up and spoke about Elder Maxwell encouraging him that if he felt comfortable testifying of the Savior he would be fine I really felt a confirmation that this was the man to be a special witness at this time.

3. Elder Wirthlin's family says he is in good health. Apparently he locked his knees while speaking. Ah, what a powerful talk he gave! He usually tells funny stories or makes some sort of joke, but I think this subject was too sacred to him for that--and wow! And Elder Nelson's sweet gesture to stand and support him while he finished. That was incredible. It kind of reminded me of when President Hunter collapsed while speaking, but got back up and finished his talk--with broken ribs!

4. Anyone wondering about the Church's doctrine concerning the Godhead, just ask Elder Holland, and you will know in no uncertain terms how it is. By the way, it just so happens to be the same doctrine that those in the New Testament believed.

5. President Hinckley bore powerful testimony as well, of the Restoration and the Savior. His talk in Priesthood was amazing. At 97 he is still going strong, this is just unprecedented!

So that's it.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

An old Memory

On my high school graduation day, one of my sisters (and I'm so sorry I can't remember which) gave me a very useful graduation gift. A small, battery-powered, digital alarm clock [pictured here at right]. She said that it would be a good thing for me in the coming years.

At the time I couldn't think of anything I would need an alarm clock for in the immediate future, but did think it would be very cool when I went on my mission--it's so compact and everything. But as it worked out, within a couple of months that little alarm clock served a very important purpose.

It was August 1999, and my two friends, Aaron and Spencer, and I had set up a recording date in Phoenix for our band. Aaron's dad worked for (or with) a guy at a recording studio; we got an excellent deal and we were thrilled to go record, but we needed to get from Provo to Phoenix somehow with all of our instruments. My reliable little Mazda fit me, my drum set, and one other person rather comfortably, but three people with additional amplifiers and such was not an option.

So we took Aaron's car. An old Buick (or something like unto that)--brown of course. Old cars like this are always brown or maroon. It had no air conditioning, radio, or clock. We fit all of the instruments in the trunk and backseat, which meant that there was just enough room for the three of us on the bench seat in the front. We brought along a battery-powered boom box for music, and my little alarm clock for a time keeper (we were punk-rock kids who didn't wear watches). Eight years later, is it unbelievable that we took off on a road trip in an unreliable car and no cell phone or other means of communication? Pretty much, but a lot of what we did on that trip is unbelievable.

Like when we got to Phoenix. After sleeping for a couple of hours we woke up and went to Denny's for breakfast, following which as we were driving back to Aaron's parents' house we saw a soccer field that was full of irrigation water and decided that looked like a great place to cool off a bit (because in Arizona in August it is unyieldingly, unbearably hot). We walked out into the middle of the soccer field and had second thoughts. The water was murky and warm, and there were a number of little bugs flying low over the water. But as we were not very wise, one of us (and I don't remember who) tackled another one of us (again who escapes me), but that started it. We bathed in a cesspool that morning...

It seems like that was Friday. On Saturday we recorded, Sunday we rested and went to bed at about midnight before our Monday morning drive back to Utah. By Monday "morning" I mean 1:00 am. I set my handy little alarm clock for 1:00 am, and after it went off we piled into the brown beast of a car and headed--not directly to Utah--but on a little detour that took us to visit one of Aaron and Spencer's friends.

I don't remember her name, but she lived somewhere in Arizona and we showed up at her place around 3:30 am. Now, to this day it shocks me that she was not at all surprised to see us at her apartment door at that hour. Yet she opened up and greeted us like it was the middle of the day. After a short visit there we headed out again, and made a brief stop in St. George where we startled Laurie and her family (imagine seeing three dirty, multi-color haired kids pull up in front of your house in an unfamiliar car and come stumbling out looking like they know you...). Then it was on to Provo; the smell in that car was revolting. The three of us were exhausted, Aaron was delirious, and attempting to stay awake was difficult. We stopped at a rest stop near Nephi and each flopped on the grass for a few minutes where we caught a little nap.

Oh, the memories this alarm clock brings...

This is the amazing thing about it:
It came with a AAA battery in it which powered it. That battery lasted the entire course of my mission, the year afterward while I went to school before getting married, and then survived multiple uses under the hands of Joshua who liked to see the screen turn blue when he pushed the button. When I picked up the alarm clock last night I noticed the battery was out. Eight years of dedicated service it gave. It's one of those with a power indicator line on it--it showed no sign of life when I tested it. The "best when used by date" was January 2002. That battery certainly fulfilled the measure of its creation.

I woke up this morning to the familiar beepbeepbeep of that alarm clock. Aw the good times we've had!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Radio Teasing

This morning I was listening to KSL while doing our morning routine (feeding the kids, playing with them, and working on my appraisal online training) and heard a lot about some sort of "press conference" that the Church would be holding at 10:00.

I got all excited thinking that maybe they were going to announce the new counselor in the First Presidency a few days ahead of General Conference. But then a later report clarified what was going on: it was an internet news conversation of some kind, in light of such things as a Mormon presidential candidate and the conviction of Warren Jeffs (I suppose to emphatically state that Mr. Jeffs has no link and/or affiliation with the Church whatsoever). When I heard this I immediately went to lds.org to find the link to this thing, but found nothing about it. So I went to KSL's website, thinking that the story on the webpage would have a link to the thing, but the story was not even listed (even though it was touted as the "top local story" for half the morning). So I went to national news sites looking for anything about this, but couldn't find it at all. Finally, KSL played about 15 seconds of it and then went to commercial.

In all, I wasted about 45 minutes trying to listen to something that, apparently, the public was not privy to, and found much frustration in doing so. Wherefore, I consider it rather unfair that KSL make such a big deal about this thing and then leave me hanging. If the public cannot hear it, please tell us!

Oh well. Life goes on and at least we're only a few days from Conference--something I can readily participate in myself. Thank you very much.