Thursday, June 29, 2006

arts and crafts

Last night some friends and I got together to have a super art night. Its been a long time since the previous Art Night 2005. My friends are really artsy and have their house decorated with various assorted paintings and mixed media awesomeness. Watercolors is my weapon of choice but last night I decided to make the plunge into the world of oil paints. Coming from the world of watercolors I didn't really have a clue how to mix the goopey greasey oil paint into proper shades... I ended up deciding on two small paintings.

The first subject was taken from a RollingStone magazine- Its the avacado cover from the new Pearl Jam record. I'm trying to study the way light and shape works so a fruit or something works out great. The avocado turned out pretty good. Mixing the paint to get the right shades and colors wasn't that hard I guess.

Then I went ahead and painted a tomato. It looked pretty good. The background was textured and was mildly interesting. In both of the paintings I used opposite colors to make the subject stand out from the background. It was a good experiment.

I guess I'll post pictures of them once they dry.

new news

So the US Supreme Court just back handed President Bush with a 5-3 ruling which says military trials would be illegal at Guantanamo Bay Prison and violate the Geneva Convention. So what does the future hold for the 450 prisoners held at Gitmo?

Bush has stated, "I’d like to close Guantanamo." But he added, "I also recognize that we’re holding some people that are darn dangerous."

In a world that's so darn dangerous finding a place to stash all those forgien terrorists is getting harder and harder. Every time another reporter finds another sercret CIA prison abroad, it gets harder to put the Axis of Evil somewhere.

The minority dissent was extremely critical of the ruling saying it would undermine the President's ability to fight against terrorism. While the majority complained that "Congress has not issued the executive a 'blank check'." This will inevitably cause more international critisizm of the President and his Administration's policies. But that leads me to believe that the majority opinion may have been influenced by the monetary circumstances and not the principle of what is really happening in Cuba.

The status of the Guantanamo Prison facility isn't clear, and the ruling did nothing to state whether it should be shut down or not. From what I've read about the prison, those detained are treated fairly well and given every oppurtunity to worship according to their beliefs. But then there are other reports that over shadow that description. Three detainees have just commited suicide (unthinkable in Islam), and hunger strikes are common protests. Most of the prisoners are in their twenties, a few are just teenagers. Many of the prisoners are scheduled for release, but some still face more time while being charged for no crime.

What will happen to Gitmo? It will probably stay. Bush will be criticized even more, but not much will change. Another disaster could prompt justification for such facility. But who knows. I would expect that this ruling will do little to stop what Bush wants at the moment.

Update: 07/11/06

According to the Assosciated Press today, Bush announced that the US would extend basic Geneva Convention protection to those held captive at Guantanamo Bay.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Why is a good sandwich so hard to come by? I've gone to every establishment around my living vicinity and I've come to some interesting conclusions. I still have a few more options, but I doubt there would really be any differences or incredible innovations that would really persuade me to try them. Here's the run down:

Ernie's Sports Deli (the one in Provo): typically great sandwiches- they basically stole the sport deli atmosphere commonly seen at Gandolfo's. You know, big screen TV's with a Yankee's game blaring and tons of sport memorabilia crap covering the walls. The great thing about that place is the unique menu that they offer which is slightly different than the average sandwich place. The downside is the horrible service from the teenage stoners that work behind the counter. If it didn't take 40 minutes of being ignored or hearing "heh, sorry for the wait dude." I'd eat there more often. I wrote a nasty letter to the manager after a particularly bad experience, but am too lazy to send it. I am not the only one who feels that way.

Sensuous Sandwich: I've only been there once and found that the sandwich wasn't that bad. The only downside was that they wrapped it weird and it disintegrated when I tried to open it up at home. It's a smaller place that specializes in those huge 12 foot long party subs and catering. Most of the workers there are teenage blonde girls and that may explain why the place seems busy. If I worked for the Health Department I would question the sanitary condition once I walked through the door. If I was sixteen and single I'd eat there everyday.

Quizno's: It seems like this franchise is gaining in popularity because I see these restaurants all over the place now. I've found that I can expect the same sandwich and the same type of treatment at any Quizno's. Their menu is pretty good, the sandwiches are pretty big, and the price is a little on the expensive side. All in all I feel like I have to be in a Quizno's mood to actually go there.

Subway: I seem to see those Jon Lovitz commercials every fifteen minutes. Unfortunately they do little to make me want to set foot inside a Subway restaurant. I don't know what I have against Subway, but ever since they decided to start making Fruizles (aka: crap smoothie) it seemed like they got gimmicky. Then in order to keep up with Quizno's they had to bring in toasting machines to make their cold boring sandwiches toasty. I can't remember the last time I ate at Subway, but I think I'd call the health department on this one too if I had the chance.

Good Earth; Junkies Cafe: They have a cafe type deal in the corner of the grocery store. The sandwiches are those healthy type picnic sandwiches you'd see at Magleby's Fresh or at Kneader's. The smoothies there are very good as well, just expect to pay a little more for it. And then you might have to wait, and wait, and wait... It seems that the same pierced feminist lesbian vegans eat there everyday, and every hemophiliac in Utah county is addicted to the organic goodness available here.

Kneader's: The sandwiches are comparable to Good Earth's. They look like sandwiches you could make at home if you had the time an all the left over ingredients to put it together except now you pay $7.00 for it. I guess there are some artisan breads and pastries available but I usually don't eat that with a sandwich. When you walk into a Kneader's beware: there are lots of arts and crafty type stuff every where and you've run into a Mormon Housewives Gossip Epicenter. Not really my bag I guess.

Gandolfo's: One thing I've noticed about Gandolfo's is their huge menu. If you don't like what you see just make up a sandwich, the sky is the limit. Their breakfast sandwiches are very good and a great deal. I've noticed that the prices have been going up lately, and I blame high gas prices for this. Expect the same sports memorabilia to distract you from eating. Probably my favorite sandwich place at this point in time mainly because I can eat a different sandwich every day and actually enjoy it. If any of Gandolfo's competitors could copy something, it should be a menu with variety. Who cares about sport's crap, anyone can get a sandwich at a sport's bar. Gandolfo's is just good food.

Hogi Yogi: is crap.

Besides the usual menus offered elsewhere it seems that every fast food chain has got to take a swing at the sandwich niche. Wendy's now offers those wierd mushroom looking frescata sandwiches, and while they may appear appetizing on television, they don't look that good in person. Arby's has some new sandwich offerings on the menu but when I took a bite all I could taste was the mustard. They had drentched my sandwich in Dijon mustard! Unthinkable!! I've noticed a restaurant called The Italian Place on State St. but I once saw it surrounded by police officers, so... I'm not sure if I want to eat there.

If there are more sandwich places out there I haven't been too motivated to go try them out.

Thursday, June 15, 2006


I'm getting married in a few weeks. Getting ready for a wedding is kind of like planning a coordinated military strike force. You have to determine where to attack and how to do it. Figuring out what kind of cake, dresses, invitations, tuxes and menu items are just the tip of the ice berg. Being the groom, I just hope to be pointed in the right direction and say the right name. I don't think I've done much, and much to my amazement, after a long day of running around my fiance told me we were pretty much done. What? Really? Ok.

One of the last things that we ended up doing was touring our new prospective apartment. "new" is an understatement. Some friends of ours had just purchased an old house so they could fix it up. It has a lot of potential. The house we are moving into was built in 1898 and is currently under total renovation. All the carpets were torn up to reveal a trap door on the first floor that went down to a dirt and stone foundation. Three layers of linoleum was torn up from the kitchen floors. After removing a closet our friends found out that the current ceiling was not the original and that someone had lowered the ceiling a foot and a half. Why? No one knows. There are two front doors which suggest that it may have been a duplex at one time. A doorway was converted into a closet, which sticks out about 5 inches into a hallway.

The back half of the house is an obvious addition. Who ever owned it must have decided to add more rooms whenever it was convenient. There are pipes and electrical wires that criss cross and intersect between rooms. Going upstairs reveals narrow doorways a couple of rooms. In the back of a closet is a door that opens up to an unfinished crawl space. The top of an old chiminey is visible in the darkness and you can see where they broke off the top and roofed over where it should have stuck out. I assume the fireplace got bricked over. Other chiminey had a similar fate at the other end of the house. A few windows have been bricked over. There are some more little secret doors around the house that are either small closets or lead to more unfinished crawl spaces full of old insulation and trash. Most of the interesting fixtures and door handles are under layers of paint that need to be removed. An unique house indeed.

The back yard has a small building that was used for storing coal and a storm cellar. The cellar was full of jars of preserves and cans of things. But the room is too small, making me wonder if the other half of the room was walled over a long time ago. The basement of the house is similar with odd cinderblock walls blocking entry to another part of the basement. Exploring all of these rooms make me wonder if someone will find treasure or a skeleton or a hidden time capsule somewhere. Maybe a ghost or two.

I'm excited to move there- my fiance is too as long as I don't try to frighten her with ghost stories. The house should look pretty awesome once the renovation is finished. I'm excited to move into a different apartment. We're getting new furniture and will have access to the hot tub and the trampoline in the back yard. Old houses are cool because they have so much history to them. I have a friend that lives in a house that was made in the 1600's.. just thinking that far back blows my mind.