Don't

I woke up this morning with the worst headache of my life. Ow ow ow. The edge has come off but I’m still suffering, which actually works well for me. You know how much I like complaining. So, in honor of my lousy-so-far day, here is a list of things I don’t like:

  • the smell of parmesan cheese. Sick.
  • playing chess.
  • social disapproval, real or imagined.
  • classes that don’t post grades online. In this day and age?!
  • being barfed on.
  • not knowing where my glasses are, and being too exhausted/miserable to put in contacts.
  • the Bwun’s tantrums.
  • fussy babies. Seriously, jr, you have it easy!
  • being too tired and busy to clean the kitchen.
  • Velveeta.
  • seeing other people make money for mediocre or downright horrendous work.
  • still recuperating from all the company we had on Sunday (for jr’s christening), and therefore not going grocery shopping and not having any food I want to eat.
  • almonds.
  • fever and chills.
  • the song “Hey, Soul Sister” by Train. Gaa.

That being said, I’ll try to post some positive things later. For now, let me be grouchy!


T's Diner Style – Provo UT

On an especially hectic night, both Roni and I couldn’t muster the energy to cook a meal at home.  We were thinking of places that we could try and T’s Diner came to mind, as it was near the house and had recently opened.  I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from a place that bills itself as “American and Authentic Colorado-Mexican” cuisine.  Having tried both sides of the border on the menu I was left with mixed feelings.

On the one had, our first visit led to us discovering the best burgers in Provo.  No joke!  I had the guacamole bacon burger and the meat was well-seasoned and perfectly juicy.  The guacamole tasted fresh and it was the best that I have had in a while.  Roni’s burger was also well seasoned and expertly prepared.  The fries were also quite good, but don’t expect crisp perfection here.  These fries were a bit soggy, but were good enough that both Roni and I loved them.  The restaurant itself is simply decorated, and seems to dance the line between casual diner and fast food.  Perhaps that is the reason that it is merely “diner style” instead of a “diner.”

On the other hand, our shakes were a disaster.  I had a caramel shake and Roni had a chocolate shake.  These shakes were so watery that they were scarcely able to be called shakes; it was more like flavored milk.  Based on the burgers, we ended up going back to try the Mexican side of the menu; we were quite disappointed.  Roni ordered a carne asada burrito.  While the flavors were nice and the food tasted quite good, she could barely get through a bite without a rather large piece of gristle.  I can understand a piece here or there, but almost a full quarter of the burrito was inedible connective tissues (FYI: “inedible connective tissues” is rarely a good thing).  This speaks to laziness in preparing the meat and poor quality control in the kitchen.  In my dish, I ordered a green chili sauce to go over my burrito, but red sauce was put on.  Otherwise, there just wasn’t anything special about the burrito; it was immensely mediocre.

Our service also left much to be desired.  We sat at our table for several minutes after we were ready to order without anybody coming to the table to check up on us.  There was only one other table seated, so I doubt we were lost in the crowd.  Also, the server never came back to check up on how our meal was doing.  If she had, we would have told her the issues we had with our food (Roni with the gristle, and me with the wrong sauce on the burrito) and moved on with the dinner as happy customers.  However, the most unnerving thing was that when the waitress brought the receipt for me to sign she just waited there and STARED at us while we filled out the tip amount.  Not just in a friendly “let me get that for you” kind of way, but in an awkward “I want to see the how much of a tip you leave AS YOU WRITE IT” sort of way.  Furthermore, she wouldn’t give back the credit card until we had filled out the tip amount.  It. Was. Weird.  I’ve never felt so uncomfortable in a restaurant setting before.

With that being said, I really cannot say enough good things about T’s burgers.  If you want a the perfect diner-style burger, then this is the place for you.   However, I suggest that you get you steer clear of the Mexican menu and that you get your order to go.

Category: Fast Food
Food Quality: 3.5
Portion Size: 4
Speed: 4
Flavor: 4
Overall: 3.5
Price: $2-$8

tl;dr- Great burgers, mediocre Mexican.

T’s Diner Style
520 N 900 E St
Provo, UT 84606


Picture books

There’s No Such Thing as a Dragon
{written and illustrated} by Jack Kent

It wasn’t until I sat down to read this with the Bwun that I recognized it as a book I read as a child. The illustrations are cute and simple in this story about a dragon who Isn’t. Definitely recommended.

Raccoon Tune
by Nancy Shaw / illustrated by Howard Fine

I’m not sure how I feel about books in rhyme. When well-written, they’re catchy and fun, but more often than not they turn out to be forced, clumsy rhymes with bad cadence. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I’m a terrible person and I don’t like poetry. Whatever the reason, Raccoon Tune was very nearly clever in its rhymes. The illustrations were fabulous – great paintings of raccoons causing mischief.

Gregory’s Shadow
{written and illustrated} by Don Freeman

I’m sorry to say that both the pictures and the story were unmemorable in this Groundhog Day-themed book by the author of Corduroy.

Seen Art?
by Jon Scieszka / illustrated by Lane Smith

What a great concept for a book: a kid is supposed to meet his friend, Art, but when he asks people if they’ve seen Art he ends up getting a tour of the MoMA, as everyone explains their interpretation of what art is. The book is filled with reproductions of actual artwork in the MoMA. I wasn’t a huge fan of the illustration style of the book itself, but it was quirky and actually worked well. I might even buy this!

Down to the Sea with Mr. Magee
{written and illustrated} by Chris Van Dusen

Another book in rhyme; this one seemed very Seussian. Again, I loved the illustrations but was underwhelmed by the story about a man and his dog taking a boating trip.

The Magic Porridge Pot
{written and illustrated} by Paul Galdone

I have a lot to say here. Brace yourself.

The story of The Magic Porridge Pot is as follows: a woman and her daughter live in poverty in a tiny cottage, and when they have no food the little girl goes looking for nuts and berries in the forest. One day she can’t find anything, so she sits down and cries; an old woman appears and pulls a magic pot out of her cloak, instructing the little girl to use the words “Boil, little pot, boil” to make porridge appear when the pot is placed on the fire. The woman also says to never forget the magic words “Stop, little pot, stop” to make the pot stop bubbling. Well, all goes well until one day the little girl is gone, the mother is hungry, and after she eats she can’t remember the magic words to turn off the pot. She tries saying halt, enough, cease, no more, etc., but the porridge overflows the house and fills the streets of the village. The little girl rushes home and says the magic words; the townspeople go eat up all the delicious porridge in the street; no one ever goes hungry – or forgets the magic words – again.

Ok, so it’s a stupid story. And the illustrations are hideous. Let’s look a little more closely, though. Who forgets the word “stop”? The mother is depicted, both visually and in words, as a simpleton. Maybe that’s why she isn’t the one going out looking for food. The little girl is clearly supposed to be a fair, admirable girl whose virtue shines through, and she therefore receives this gift from the old woman. But why make the magic words SO SIMPLE and then ask your audience to believe that the mother can shout halt, and cease, but not stop? My other comment is that the villagers are happy to help clean up the giant porridge mess, but have apparently never shared food with the little girl and her mother before. That doesn’t reflect too well on their society, if you ask me. Read this only if you want to delve into the unintentional implications of a really dumb folk tale. Also, the porridge looks really gross.


Slacktivism

(Can I just say that slacktivism is one of my favorite made-up terms from the past decade?)

I read a lot of blogs. I’ve already admitted that perhaps more time than necessary is spent with my Google Reader. Of course, the blog world – as well as the internet in general and the real world – has been afire since the earthquake/tsunami in Japan. We are devastated. We are heartbroken. We want to help. (I’m assuming most of us are decent people who feel such things – though there are sure to be some who are heartless and therefore cannot be heartbroken, and who think Japan deserved this disaster. Hmm. For the rest of us, what happened is a big deal.)

Back to the point – a majority of the blogs I read are participating in a Blogger’s Day of Silence today. The point is to “raise awareness” and to make an effort to “respect and acknowledge” the situation. Bloggers posted about the Day of Silence earlier in the week and encouraged readers to participate, as well as to donate.

I am really not trying to offend anyone here, but…

SLACKTIVISM!

Signing up for this day of silence does nothing more than make you feel like you’re part of a cause. Or rather, a Cause. You have nobly, selflessly, put others’ needs ahead of your own. Also, your blog was linked on the main Day of Silence page.

Why not make this a donation-focused day? Why not organize a day where everyone blogs about their favorite charity that is currently helping Japan? It’s because we don’t want to ask readers for money, we don’t want to ask ourselves for money.

Well, slacktivism aside, I did donate through the link on the Blogger’s Day of Silence page. I usually go through LDS Philanthropies, but this is specifically created to help Japan. (The Red Cross allows you to donate for Japan as well, but they have a $10 minimum and I’m poor.) So. I refuse to be silent, mainly on principle.

But I will help!

And you should too.


The Book of Air and Shadows

by Michael Gruber

{ 2007 | William Morrow | 480 pgs }

As a general rule, the more I tell you about a book’s plot, the less likely I am to recommend that you actually read it.

This is one of those times.

The Romgi picked up The Book of Air and Shadows before he did his internship in Korea last summer, but never got around to reading more than 100 pages or so. I picked it up last week after too-much-schoolwork and it turned out to be a quick read. The book has a fascinating plot: a fire at a bookstore selling rare antique books leads to the discovery of a 17th-century manuscript that mentions Shakespeare. It turns out to be a letter from a dying man to his wife and a series of ciphered letters from the man to his employer; the man (Richard Bracegirdle) spent part of his life spying on Shakespeare, who was a suspected papist. Most importantly, the ciphered letters detail a play that Shakespeare wrote about Mary, Queen of Scots, and indicate that the play, though unpublished, has been preserved and hidden. The big question of the novel is, are the letters genuine or part of some elaborate fraud?

The story is well-told. It alternates chapters of first-person narration, third-person narration, and excerpts from the Bracegirdle letters. I enjoyed the variety of viewpoints and the way the story progressed. Unfortunately, there was enough vulgarity in general and depravity in the first-person narrator in general that I’m going to draw the line: there are other worthwhile books to read. You can skip this one.

I thought for a while after finishing The Book of Air and Shadows about whether I wanted to recommend it or not. As I said, the story was engaging and well-told. But it was peppered with foul language and lewd references. How much is too much? Do we turn off the movie or put down the book at the first expletive? Usually not. Should we? I’m not sure. It seems like there are so many more worthwhile things we could do with our time, though. And so in the end I decided against giving this the thumbs-up.


Weekly cookie jar

Row 1: print / plate / owl
Row 2: dress / tape / shirt
Row 3: necklace / romper / glass
Row 4: print / mobile / clutch
Row 5: book / necklace / tray


This just in

I’ve suddenly gotten over my slump by realizing that I’ll be finishing my degree in December 2011. That’s right, THIS YEAR. There’s no December convocation so I’ll still get to walk when everyone is here for the Romgi‘s graduation.

Can we start celebrating now, though?!