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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spring Break

All hail that fabulous time of year known as SPRING BREAK! WOOO! Now it has been several years since Spring Break meant anything to me, even in my past college experience it was pretty lame, and this year it was looking pretty droll, I took no time off from work and had few plans, but as the week has gone on I have managed to get rid of a few shifts, and have made some spectacular fun days! On Monday I helped clean out the garage (lots more to do) and few small errands, then today (A beautiful day) I Spent some quality time reading in the sunshine, and then I took my nieces to the park (what fun can be had on jungle gym equipment!)

To finish the night, I made a fantastic dinner for the family. It went better than I could have imagined. Their was grilled chicken, grilled asparagus, wheat rolls, and salad! The asparagus was simple, blanched then a little olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, cilantro, and pepper. I let it sit for just about 10 minutes then plopped it onto the grill for about 7 minutes, maybe more, just till they were warm and looking a little crispy.

The chicken marinated for several hours, I used the leftovers of a sauvignon Blanc from the night before, (Pomelo-this SB has the flavors of the pomelo fruit which is a large citrus fruit that is the ancestor to a grapefruit.) olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, onion (white) and just some simple Italian herbs (namely basil, and rosemary). And Voila a moist and delicious chicken! After I pulled the chicken off the grill I did place a dollop of Pesto on each breast and a slice of Fresh Mozzarella and broiled them just long enough to melt and slightly brown the cheese. This is my favorite way to zing up boring old chicken breast.

The salad was more of a salad bar, I put everything for salads in small bowls on the table namely because I don’t like any of it in my own salad but the family does. The rolls were actually straight form our local Hy-Vee so just plain old dinner rolls, but were perfect with dinner! After dinner it was time for a quick walk/run. More walk than run on my part.

SO my plans for this week are simple, its supposed to be about 80 degrees tomorrow, so after coffee and breakfast I think I will try to get some yard work done, then off to see Alice in Wonderland 3D during the afternoon, then maybe some simple hoagie sandwiches for dinner, or perhaps panninis, I was thinking Fresh mozz, leftover pulled chicken, tomatoes and pesto!

As for the rest of the week, who knows, but I am definitely going to enjoy it!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Legend of The Seeker TV Review

I think its time for me to come out…about my obsession with SciFi/Fantasy. (Got yeah!) Most of my friends and family are already aware of this, but I am totally obsessed with all things SciFi and Fantasy. I mean books, movies, TV shows, games, on and on and on. One of my biggest obsessions was with Terry Goodkind and his Sword of Truth Series. I loved this series so much that I wanted to be in a Richard and Kahlan sandwich (sandwich only because I know Richard would only have me if I dealt with Kahlan). The Characters, the relationships, the story, it was a wonderful tribute to writing, even if the end was a little weak-sauce. Be aware if you are planning on watching the series this post has spoilers that may either deter you or encourage you to watch the show.

A few months ago my dear little brother and I were in Lawrence having dinner with our friends Meryl and Blaine and we all discussed the series and the TV Show that has evolved around it. I had seen parts of episode 1 and was disgusted by its lack of any sort of closeness to the book other than some of the basics. However, Little brother has been hounding me to give it a go again, and with my Birthday gifts (Blu-Ray with Netflix and a 9 month Net-Flix subscription) I had no more excuses.

I am trying really hard to like the series, and I mean really hard, I have given up all preconceptions that it will be anything like the books and look at it as a new series with the characters I love. But after the second episode I don’t know if I ever will make it. I mean I can’t believe how different it is! There is no previous relationship with Zedd and Richard, so there is no deep feelings of friendship and concern that is so important to Richards Character. I believe Richards feelings are the most important part of his character, not to mention his powers as both seeker and later as a wizard. And speaking of Power, I have to say the Sword of Truth may have some extraordinary magic, but where is the consequence? Where is the balance? Magic in the sword of truth series often has a relationship to science in the real world, one big similarly is to Newtons Third Law: To every action there is always an opposite and equal reaction. The magic in the sword of truth is embedded in this principal! It is a magic of duality, of Life and Death, of Anger and Love, of giving and taking! It will give you the power to smite any enemy but it takes its price in pain, and without the ample supply of anger that price will kill you, and your first kill is both test and an action of bonding, bonding the magic of the sword with its twin in the Seeker. But Richards first kill does nada! AHHH!

Kahlan and Richards relationship is jacked up too, they are making a mistake showing her power so soon and having Zedd warn Richard so soon. There is no time for their friendship to evolve and them to fall in love.

And lastly what’s up with the Caribbean Addie! And Zedd and her lacked a whole series of important discussions involving sex and growing back her foot.

Well I will keep trying but I am not expecting to fall as in love with this series as I did with the books, but only time will tell.

Moveie Review/ Quotable Quote

I just watched “Did You Hear About the Morgans.” While the movie has two of my favorite stars (Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker) The movie itself was…terrible. It had a few laughs but the whole plot was well not much of a plot! Lol! I do have to mention a few great things, some of that feel good family crap you know, but for me was SJP quoting the most quotable master of verse. Master Shakespeare. She used Sonnet 116 as her wedding vow, now this sonnet is widely known, but I have decided to leave it here for all of those people who devour my blogs ☺
Sonnet 116
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose Worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom:
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.[1]
–William Shakespeare

Friday, March 26, 2010

"Greens, Greens, Nothing but Greens!"

I am beyond excited that spring has begun! The grass gets greener everyday, we have had several days of semi-warm weather, and plants are beginning to bud! The best has been seeing my flowers planted last fall come to bud, and I have gotten my herb garden started.

Our neighborhood has an unfortunate amount of rabbits. I mean wow! So in an effort to keep my wonderful herbs from succumbing to their gnawing little teeth I have gone the route of a potted garden. There are several advantages to a potted garden, you can easily move your herbs indoors during the winter for an extended season, you don’t end up with “runaway herbs” (My brother has mint running amuck in his backyard, some of which I will be going to take off his hands, if anyone needs mint, see me and you are welcome to some) and it looks brilliant!

I planted Garlic Chives & Onion Chives in one larger planter. I placed Italian Oregano & Thyme in a second planter, and Sweet Basil in the third large planter. I also planted Cilantro in a medium pot, and Rosemary in a smaller pot. Basil and Cilantro are used by my entire family all year in a ton of cooking, and with fresh herbs coming out all year I think their will be pesto’s and sauces galore this summer.

I procured all of these wonderful starters from a local nursery by the name of Family Tree Nursery. I did quite a bit of research on local nurseries trying to decide which one to go with and Family Tree guaranteed locally grown starters, all of which came from A town in Missouri (Clever or Cleveland or something) and the lady in the Nursery said they don’t use pesticides or growth accelerators and the herbs all came from Organic Seeds, which was a huge plus for me!

So only a few more spring projects left, I need to fix up the compost bin, and reseed some grass in the backyard, and possibly some other small things, I really want to do some Veggies, so I am considering a sort of elevated planter to keep the lettuce and tomatoes from the rabbits, but I am not sure this will really work, so I will have to do some research on how to accomplish this.

All of this is being done in an effort to become more sustainable, and to join a small group of people that my good friend, and fellow blogger, Meryl calls Urban Homesteading, while I don’t see myself ever going to the impressive lengths she has (Chickens! I think my dog would eat them!) I feel she has the some great ideas concerning ways to make ourselves healthy and richer (in spirit and money) by doing all we can to make ourselves sustainable. Thanks Mers for the great ideas!

Challengeing my Preconceptions of Socialis,

Be aware this a total rant blog, I mean I go at it hard!

As a young man raised in a small community in a semi-rural town in America I was raised with some basic rules of thumb.

1. America is the best place to live

2. Capitalism makes the world work, and other forms of socio/economic fundamentals are wrong.

. Christianity is the only religion worth believing in, as you go to hell if you are not a Christian.

These were not things that my parents taught me, or were forced upon me by anyone person, it’s the general feeling you get when you live in a city of “Good ol boy” types, good Christians who work hard, and the richest people in the town really aren’t that rich. A very Midwestern middle class city, and lucky enough to come from a home that was blessed to not have suffered any big financial issues, and a neighborhood that was filled with homes of very similar people.

So as I entered High School and began to go down a path of “free thinking” (or as my favorite eccentric English teacher would call it “THINKING” ) Some things became clearer to me. If you are not Christian, you don’t go to hell. Sorry to the bible beaters, but I cannot believe that more than 70% of the worlds population will go to hell because they believe different from you, especially since Christianity is so young compared to many other faiths (Judaism, Buddhism, Confucianism, etc). I also went through a change in what I considered social normality’s as I found that I was a homosexual. But lets keep moving.

I began to see lots of strife in America as I went to college, and then left college to experience ‘real life’. I could see people being treated wrong, persecuted for their beliefs, their race, their sexuality. I could see a disparity between the rich and the poor. I began to see that America was great, but not the greatest country in the world. I moved to Hawaii thinking maybe the distance would help, but it was still America. Here is where I began to really want to see a change in American policies and attitudes. I wanted America to be this great country we thought we lived in, one where we truly are treated as equals, where we the people make decisions in a democratic and united way. One where hate and bigotry were obsolete. I could see Americans take a step forward and then one back, and wondered how this would all end up.

Then tragedy ensued, the financial crisis of 2008. I endured this as many Americans did, however, the chaos of the crisis had me moving back home, and instead of continuing on in my profession (which had lost all its glory in the face of –you guessed it- capitalism) and I returned to college. Now was a critical time for America, we elected a black man president, a man who promised us many things, financial reform, free rights for all people, healthcare reform. I thought great things were coming to America, maybe the things I hoped for would come true. So far we have seen some steps in what I believe are the right direction. #1 being the biggest reform to healthcare seen in the US in years. We have seen some big moves by the US people to hold the banking system accountable (although I think the changes were not enough) And at this time I began to get really in to my Urban Planning Major. Here Socialism began to rear its ugly head at me again. We had discussed Socialism in High School in our American Government Class. In HS Socialism was taught to us as a failed system of socio/economic planning that leads to a downward spiral towards communism and chaos. However my time in the world had taught me to discount this theory. Even in Hawaii, where we were still part of the US, a small piece of socialism had crept in. Anyone employed had to carry healthcare. Surprisingly, the healthcare was good, and affordable, mainly because more people were forced to carry this important insurance.

I find that as I get older, and things like school, and healthcare, and even social welfare programs mean more to me. I find that I believe this country formed our Government to help ourselves. I would like to think that man is placed here to help one another, that we all belong to one vast system of life, and our actions to help others in this life is what will decide our fate in the life after. I believe it is our duty to work together to better ourselves, and to learn from one another and that this learning will help us become a great people, one capable of mighty deeds, one able to offer freedom to all people, one that will end poverty and strife, but the thing that I see standing in our way is very powerful and has already sunk its teeth very deeply into the hearts and minds and souls of many people. Not just Americans, but many people of many countries. I see that evil manifested often in capitalism and the drive to “own”. We have become slaves to the all-mighty dollar, and have forgotten that there is more to ourselves than what we own. How can we compete with something as powerful as this? I see socialism as the possible end to this. I think I see many young people starting to think this way as well. We have become more conscious of our Earth and we seem determined to save it, to stop causing damage and begin to repair this damage. I think this love for the planet can be expanded to a love of people as well, and as we age and begin to take our places in society and our governments I hope we will be able to effect these changes.

In Star Wars Episode 3 Padme says to Anakin, What if the democracy we thought we were serving no longer exists, and the Republic has become the very evil we have been fighting to destroy?” I often wonder if this has not happened in America. After WWII We helped many countries to build just democratic states that are oddly socialist, and yet we never seemed to go that direction, in fact I believe that capitalism thrived on the downfall of these countries and grew like a virus during the time we should have been continuing to look inward and restructuring ourselves to some of these ideas.

So I will continue to learn and watch and hope that we as a country will continue to work on ourselves and become more than we are.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring Awakenings

This Fall upon returning to KC My mother asked me to use my long dormant green thumb to spruce up some small areas around the lawn. Now it has been quite some years since I really applied any effort to gardening, not for any big reason other than after High school I have not really lived anywhere where gardening would be practical or even easy. As many of you know that if it is not practical or easy then I am more than likely not going to participate!

Back to the story, I went to the local plant store (aka Home Depot and picked up a variety of bulbs for some easy spring planting, Tulips, Irises, and 2 others I have some how forgotten what they were! Well the other day, when taking baby niece for a little walk around the block in the wagon, I noticed that my little plants were starting to bud! I recognized the Tulips and the Irises right off the bat! Now when I went to plant these suckers I had a hell of a time, the planter is conveniently located under a Japanese Maple Tree, which has some terribly shallow roots. In conjunction with the shallow roots, I was also competing with some of that tarpy crap that keeps weeds from growing that my parents put down when they built the planter. The last issue was the soil. Here in Lenexa we are blessed with some fantastic clay like soil that is a b**ch to dig up. I was very worried when planting that I would not be able to get the bulbs down far enough, and then I decided to place more bulbs than recommended in the trench I had so painstakingly cut out of the earth.

Then we had a huge snow storm to cause me anxiety, but my dear friend and fellow blogger Meryl assured me they would be just fine. In fact last year her daffodils were bloomed and got encased in ice and still did well, so this pesky snow should be nothing but an annoyance.

So The next Project? Well we have an area to use as a compost heap, and I really think I will be building an herb garden! Some well placed Basil, Cilantro, Chives, Oregano, and maybe thyme seem like some wonderful choices, I just need some free time away from School and work to get this next project going! I plan to place the herbs into planters, and I really want to do tomatoes, lettuce, asparagus and green beans but we will have to see. I am definitely feeling the crunch of time with school speeding up and project after project due, but that’s for another blog.