Sunday, April 26, 2009

Crowning Moments of Awesome

This is the first in what may become a series of posts on moments in history that are completely, undeniably, and irrevocably awesome.
  • The British Double Cross System during World War II, by which MI5 controlled, as was confirmed after the war, all of the spies sent to the U.K. by Germany, with the possible exception of one who committed suicide. The spies were allowed to report such details as insignia on uniforms and markings on vehicles, which, of course, was so accurate that several of them were awarded the Iron Cross - while working for the British.
  • The concept of earthquake bombs - conventional bombs that were designed to be extremely heavy, with a sharp nose, so they would penetrate the ground and thus do more damage - was developed by the British engineer Barnes Wallis. One of these bombs was used shortly after D-Day to prevent German reinforcements from moving by train. Instead of bombing the train tracks, which would be quickly and easily repaired, the RAF dropped a Tallboy on a mountain through which there was a railroad tunnel. The bomb drilled itself through the mountain into the tunnel and brought the whole dang tunnel down. The entire rail line was unusable through the rest of the war.
This ends this installment of Crowning Moments of Awesome. I hope you enjoyed this offshoot of my sudden interest in World War II history. :)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Help me choose my cellphone ringer!

So for the last few months, my cellphone ringer has been a snippet from Weezer's Buddy Holly, but I'm starting to get a little tired of it - it's time for a change. I've got a few ideas, and I want to know what you think. (The following are in alphabetical order because I am going through my iTunes library here.)

1. Something by Beck. Maybe the Speak'n'Spell bit from No Complaints? Or E-Pro?
2. The Bravery - Bad Sun (I'd have the whistling lick from the chorus.)
3. Something by Cake. I'm thinking Commissioning a Symphony in C.
4. Coldplay - Viva la Vida
5. Donavon Frankenreiter - Life, Love and Laughter. (If you don't know who this is, you should look him up.)
6. Jack Johnson? Maybe Hope, or Monsoon, or Bubble Toes, or If I Had Eyes?
7. Led Zeppelin - Black Dog
8. Moby - We Are All Made of Stars
9. Modest Mouse - Float On
10. A little Paolo Nutini?
11. The Republic Tigers - Buildings and Mountains (Another kinda obscure band you should look up.)
12. Snow Patrol?
13. U2. Lots of choices: Elevation, Love and Peace or Else, Where the Streets Have No Name, Pride...
14. The Who - Who Are You. I think this would be apropos. :)

Endorse your favorite or suggest something else!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


I am feeling kind of guilty today, because I didn't go in to work because I felt kinda sick (and still do, tyvm). I hate shirking responsibilities. I also felt completely unmotivated to finish my homework properly, and couldn't figure out several of the problems. I also hate failure. (This, btw, is why I am wary of commitment - it's not the commitment that I'm afraid of, it's the failure that happens if I don't or can't follow through.)

In happier news, the new MoTab CD is amazing, and I got two free songs from iTunes, both of which are pretty decent.


Sunday, April 12, 2009


I friggin' will make this someday.

Boca Negra Chocolate Chipotle Cakes

1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus additional for greasing ramekins
1 cup sugar plus additional for dusting
6 medium dried chipotle chiles (1 ounce)
6 tablespoons fresh orange juice
10 oz Valrhona semisweet chocolate (56%) or fine-quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 large eggs
4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt

Special equipment: 8 (4-oz) ramekins

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 325°F. Butter ramekins and dust with sugar, knocking out excess.

Toast chiles in a dry heavy skillet over moderate heat, turning, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Discard stems, seeds, and ribs, then soak chiles in hot water to cover until softened, about 30 minutes. Drain, reserving soaking liquid. Purée chiles in a mini food processor or a blender, adding 2 to 3 tablespoons soaking liquid as needed to form a paste. Force paste through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and discard solids. Set aside 1 1/2 tablespoons chile paste and freeze remainder for another use.

Bring juice and 1 cup sugar to a boil in a 1- to 1 1/2-quart saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Pour hot syrup over chocolate in a large bowl, stirring until chocolate is melted. Add butter and stir until melted.

Add eggs 1 at a time, whisking after each addition, then stir in chile paste, flour, and salt. Divide among ramekins and bake in hot water bath , uncovered, until just firm and top is starting to crust, 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer ramekins with tongs to a work surface and let stand 2 minutes.

Unmold warm cakes directly onto dessert plates (they will be difficult to move once they adhere).

And then you put this stuff on top.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Ten things that are pretty cool

  1. Me. (Just thought I'd get that one out of the way right off the bat.)
  2. Last night, I decided that inasmuch as I was getting a paycheck today, I would purchase a CD that's been going through my head lately. It's a guy named Paolo Nutini, or to Cara, "Italian Guy". It is good musics. Pretty laid-back, acoustic, but with enough rock and pop influences to keep things interesting. I recommend it, especially if you can pick it up for cheap.
  3. The story of how I actually got it last night is also pretty cool. I went to the FYE on 7th and 21st (because I thought about it after I had already driven past Graywhale, which is my preferred CD buying location). I'm all about buying used CD's, because I think it helps the CD's feel good about life again, after being abandoned by their previous owners. Plus it's cheap, and I'm cheap. So I checked the used racks, couldn't find it. So I checked the new racks, couldn't find it. Dang! I went up to the counter to ask the lady if all their stock was out, but found myself poking through the alluring 40% Off box right by the checkout line. Lo and behold, the very CD I had wished to purchase! So I ended up getting it for like $10. Sweet.
  4. Rubio's fish tacos.
  5. TurboTax online free federal e-filing. Easy, user-friendly, fast and accurate.
  6. My anticipated $220 tax return.
  7. Having lunch at Red Robin with my sisters and some cousins.
  8. Holy cow, the weather today!
  9. Getting paid to work on your homework. (I watched the desk at the department office for an hour today during a staff meeting. One of my classmates dropped by to give someone something, and we ended up solving one of the problems. Nice.)
  10. Ice.
  11. I had sushi for dinner tonight.
  12. Getting two extra things that are pretty cool for free!

Monday, April 06, 2009


God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs. Therefore, it is vital that we serve each other....
-President Spencer W. Kimball
I'm not going to blame you if you TL;DR this one. But that's why I put the most important quote up there at the top. :)

So I've recently decided that I'm going to go to the temple more often, and planned to schedule it in on either Thursday or Friday night, depending on homework alignment. However, last night I decided that I would go to the temple this morning. My first class doesn't start until 10:45, so I figured I'd have plenty of time to catch the 8:00 session in the temple and get out in time for school.

I drove down the ramp into the conference center parking garage and briefly debated with myself about what elevator to park next to. The one is a shorter walk to the temple, but nobody was parked near the other one, so I decided to park there.

Enter the Jamesons. As I was walking towards the elevators, a lady hailed me. "Sir?" (Btw, if you're a stranger wanting to get on my good side, this is a good way to do it. Hence why I say "sir" and "ma'am" a lot.) "Can you show us how to get up to the temple?" I turned towards the speaker and found a middle-aged couple who looked rather lost, and told them I'd be happy to help. "Oh, thank you so much. We're from Texas, and we're chronically lost."

As I helped them navigate through the elevators and doors and crosswalks and going in the right door of the temple, we got to know each other. They were from Austin, in town for conference and to see their son who lives in Provo. They are converts of about 40 years, and today was their 39-year sealing anniversary. They were pretty much the sweetest people you've ever met.

Being from Texas, which is a good 4500 feet lower than Utah, they had some amount of altitude sickness, so we took it kinda slow getting over to the temple. As 8:00 drew nearer, I found myself thinking, even if I do miss this session, I won't even mind, because these people are SO COOL.

We made it to the temple, got changed, and squeaked into the session by the skin of our teeth. During the session, I found myself thinking about how God works small miracles by small means (like giving you the idea to go to the temple Monday instead of Thursday as previously planned, putting a little extra traffic on 600 South, throwing in a red light here and there, inspiring just a little hesitation about what elevator to park by), and how incredibly good He is at this game. I also found myself thinking how grateful I was for all the talks about the temple in general conference, because it was everything all the speakers promised, just like it always is.

Afterwards, I showed the Jamesons back to where they were parked (good luck finding your car again the first time you park under the conference center!). As we shook hands goodbye, Sister Jameson said, "You should come to Austin and stay with us." I said, "I'd love to!" - and meant it.