Movies We Grew Up On: Dated Catchphrase Edition

Previously: Excessive Carnage Edition

For those who appreciate the value of an expertly-timed "Cowabunga!" or an air guitar accompanied "Excellent!," this one's for you.

Dave's Pick: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

We almost never saw movies in the theater when I was a kid, but the live action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was a big event for 4th graders everywhere, and I was no exception. I bugged my mom for three straight weeks to take me to see it. Every time she asked me to do something around the house, like take out the trash for instance, I would respond with "I'll take out the trash if you take me to see Ninja Turtles!" After enough pestering, she eventually relented. By the time the sequel came out a year later, my brother and I were officially old enough to ride bikes to the Cinema 10 on our own, for which my mom was surely grateful. I am already dreading payback day when our kids relentlessly demand that we take them to see the latest bag of crap disguised as children's entertainment.

Is It Still Watchable? Only if I ever feel like remembering what it was like to be in 4th grade, which I usually don't.
Michelangelo: Yes, dudes and dudettes! Major league butt kicking is back in town!

Kristen's Pick: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure

I have special memories from middle school of watching this movie with my good friends. I was dubbed "Ted," Caitlin was "Bill," and poor Alicia got stuck being "Rufus." Sorry, Alicia. It seems that we were constantly quoting this movie. In my opinion, this was Keanu Reeves' best role ever. I always thought it was hilarious that Napoleon ends up at a water park, though I'm not sure why. And whenever I see a giant ice cream sundae, I still feel compelled to chant "Ziggy Piggy, Ziggy Piggy."

Is It Still Watchable? Now that I'm older and perhaps a little wiser, certain references are probably funnier than they used to be (i.e., Freud). But on the other hand, this newfound maturity might have the opposite effect on some of the more juvenile antics.
Ted: Bill, strange things are afoot at the Circle-K.


Can't Openers

or: They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To

Growing up, it seems like we always had the same stalwart set of kitchen gadgets. I'm fairly certain that further inspection of my mom's current kitchen would reveal many of these decades-old tools still residing in her drawers. Kristen and I haven't been quite so lucky. In 5 years of marriage, we have already gone through 3 can openers. With all the advances in technology these days, it seems like a can opener is something we should have perfected by now (or perhaps modern technology has allowed companies to perfect how to build things that will break immediately after their warranty expires). Here's a quick overview of our can opener history:

We received our first can opener as a wedding gift. A brand known for quality, this one worked without a hitch for a few of years until, without warning, it started neglecting to cut all the way through the metal on opposite ends of the lid, leaving it loose but still very much attached.

Michael Graves
When choosing a replacement can opener, we unwittingly fell into the old form vs. function conundrum. This one was sure nice to look at, but struggled with its lone task for only about a month before it started to spin out, failing to even cut the can at all.

Frustrated by our ongoing bad luck, Kristen picked this one out because it was the cheapest one at the store, using the logic that if it was eventually going to break, we might as well spend as little money on it as possible. Inevitably, I was attempting to open a can of spaghetti sauce a few weeks ago when the plastic knob cracked, rendering it useless.

So in our exasperation we turn to you, our loyal readers, to help us avoid wasting our money on another shoddy kitchen gadget. If you have found a particular brand that works well and has lasted for a reasonable amount of time, please let us know. Or, if you have had an experience similar to ours, feel free to vent.


Temple Open House

Since moving to Daybreak a little over two years ago, we have watched with great interest as the Oquirrh Mountain Temple has gradually sprung up out of the ground into the fully formed structure it is today. The public open house officially begins on June 1st, but community residents were invited to attend a sneak preview this past Saturday morning. It was exciting to finally see the interior. One of the cool things we noted was the modern style of the various textiles and design elements, at least compared to what you typically see.

Looking out across the valley from the temple parking lot, you can see two more temples—the Jordan River Temple (left), and the Draper Temple (right) which was dedicated earlier this year. We could see downtown, but couldn't quite make out the Salt Lake Temple amid the other buildings.


The Phantom Menace at 10: The Film

Previously: The Hype

Overall, seeing The Phantom Menace for the first time was a favorable, if somewhat overwhelming, experience. It makes such a difference to see a film on opening day with fellow fans. There was a collective rush as the theater lights dimmed and "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. . . ." appeared on the big screen. When we bought tickets the week before, we had the foresight to get them for the 10:30 am and the 1:30 pm showings. This way, after seeing it once, we could walk out of the theater, get back in line, and see it again. I eventually saw it 6 times before heading off to Iowa in early July. It probably would have been 7 had I thought better of going to Wild Wild West. Nevertheless, this still stands as my personal record for most times seeing one movie in the theater.

You'd be surprised how closely riding a mission bike resembles podracing sometimes.

So how has The Phantom Menace held up over the last 10 years? About as well as the Emperor's skin some might say. Now, I hadn't watched the film since preparing for the release of Revenge of the Sith 4 years ago, so it was with some trepidation that I pulled the DVD off the shelf to get reacquainted. In recent years, it has become commonplace to uniformly bash George Lucas and whole of the Prequel Trilogy, but that is not my intention. I'm going to try to look at the film objectively, if that is even really possible.

The Good

The Jedi
It wasn't until I was reading the opening crawl for the first time, "....the Supreme Chancellor has secretly dispatched two Jedi Knights, the guardians of peace and justice in the galaxy, to settle the conflict...." that it really hit me—I was finally getting to witness the Jedi in their heyday. The first 10 minutes of the film bring Star Wars back with a bang as Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) infiltrate a Trade Federation battleship and school Nute Gunray on how the Jedi go about negotiating. Any time this duo shares the screen the movie gets noticeably better.

The Phantom Menace is noteworthy for being the first time Liam Neeson took on the role of a wise mentor.

Darth Maul
One thing is for sure, George Lucas knows how to craft a memorable villain, and Darth Maul is a devilish doozie. His menacing appearance and sparse dialogue really adds to his mystique, and being played by martial arts expert Ray Park certainly doesn't hurt either. Unfortunately, George (we're on a first name basis) also has a habit of killing off said villains too abruptly (also see Boba Fett). For the many who considered the relentless Sith Lord to be the best part of Episode I, his premature demise led to 3 years of futile speculation as to whether he might return with a mechanical lower body, or if he had been cloned, or...

The Lightsaber Duel
All at once, the epic three-way lightsaber duel at the climax of The Phantom Menace firmly established a unique fighting style for the Jedi, raised the bar for the later episodes, and made the modest clash of Obi-Wan (Alec Guinness) and Darth Vader (David Prowse) in A New Hope look downright decrepit by comparison. Stunt coordinator Nick Gillard stages the action like an elaborate ballet—if only the real ballet involved twirling swordplay, sucker punches, force throws, and gratuitous clenching of rotted teeth.

Also inspired by the Episode I duel is the infamous Clash of the Lightsabers Card Game, which Kristen has sworn to never play again due to the strain it puts on our marriage.

John Williams
The Phantom Menace soundtrack came out a few weeks before the film, and the revealing track list ("16. The High Council Meeting and Qui-Gon's Funeral") confirmed what I had already guessed from watching the theatrical trailer too many times. That flub aside, John Williams brought his "A" game for his first Star Wars score in 17 years. I love the gentle foreshadowing of the Imperial March within Anakin's otherwise innocent theme, and the choral/brass battle of "Duel of the Fates" will always take me back to 1999.

The all-digital characters of the Star Wars Prequels are hit-and-miss to be sure, but Rob Coleman and his team of animators really knocked it out of the park with the shrewd Mos Espa junk dealer. Watto's character design takes full advantage of the limitless potential of digital technology with his craggy teeth, elephant-like snout, and flapping wings that keep him hovering above the ground. Plus, his used car persona and gruff voice greatly increase his quotability factor.

"What, do you think you're some kind of Jedi, wavin' your hand around like that?"

The Bad

Young Anakin Skywalker
In regards to "Little Ani," it is unclear where the fault lies. Was Jake Lloyd just a mediocre child actor, or did George not give him adequate direction? A little of both, mesa thinks. Anakin's half-baked contribution to the climax certainly wasn't Lloyd's fault though. The chosen one had already demonstrated superior piloting skills and instincts in the podrace, so what's the deal with having him end up in space by chance and ("Oops!") accidentally destroy the main reactor of the Droid Control Ship? That's just bad writing.

Jar Jar & the Gungans
You knew this one was coming. By now, there isn't much left to add concerning the epic miscalculation that is Jar Jar Binks. Without fail, every time I watch the film, I find myself wishing Qui-Gon would just whip out his lightsaber and end our suffering when he first runs into the hapless Gungan in the swamps of Naboo. Having said that, I'm fairly certain that Jar Jar would have been much more tolerable with a less grating voice and fewer slapstick antics. Almost as baffling is Boss Nass and his compulsion to violently jiggle his cheeks after finishing a sentence.

You can do it, Qui-Gon. It is better that one Gungan should perish than that an entire fanbase should dwindle and perish in unbelief. (Yes, I just went there.)

Juvenile Dialogue
"Are you brain dead? Ex-squeeze me! Yousa in big doodoo dis time. Are you an angel? How wude. Yippee! I don't care what galaxy you're from, that's gotta hurt!" Star Wars dialogue has always been a bit on the clunky side, but certain kiddie-friendly lines in The Phantom Menace make "But I was going into the Tosche Station to pick up some power converters!" sound like Shakespeare. Of course, this was all just a warm up for the "romantic" exchanges in Attack of the Clones.

The Just Plain Bizarre

The Trade Federation
From my very first viewing of The Phantom Menace, there was something a little off about Nute Gunray and his Neimoidian cohorts. They are probably the Star Wars characters that I mock the most, thanks to their poorly articulated mouths and Chinese stereotype accents. Their sudden demise at the hands of the newly christened Darth Vader was one of the highlights of Episode III (for all the wrong reasons).

"What? What did you say?"

Midichlorians & Anakin's Conception
Ever since Qui-Gon's first mention of Midichlorians in Episode I, fans have hotly debated George's decision to give the spiritual concept of the force a blatantly scientific explanation. However, an early draft of the Episode III script featured an Empire-esque twist that could have gone a long way to redeem this plot point. In this version, Chancellor Palpatine plainly admits that he manipulated the Midichlorians to create Anakin, thus making him Anakin's father (from a certain point of view). However, the final film leaves this detail much more ambiguous, making the inclusion of the Midichlorians all the more head-scratching.

Puppet Yoda
When developing Episode I, the thought process must have been, "Okay, Yoda is 30 years younger, we should make him look a little different... some crazy eyes and sideburns should do it." Did they forget that Yoda is nearly 900 years old? Do the last 30 years of whatever species Yoda is really make that big of a difference in his overall appearance? Rumor has it that the puppet is slated to be replaced with a CG version in a future DVD/Blu-ray release to better match Episodes II and III. Thank the maker.

Is there a CG Yoda in Episode I's future?

So there you have it—plenty of good, bad, and bizarre stuff to be had from the beginning of the Star Wars saga, and I feel like I have left a lot out. Does anyone else have an Episode I opinion they're just dying to to share?


The Phantom Menace at 10: The Hype

The following post contains pervasive geek content and imagery. Reader discretion is advised.

Today marks the 10 year anniversary of the release of Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace. Has it really been a whole decade? That makes me feel old. Commemoration of this occasion calls for no less than two blog posts—one dedicated to the hype, and the other to the film, as these are two very different things. So who remembers 1999? Seeing this film was a major cultural event. It was the perfect storm of fan hunger and media coverage just before the dawn of the online ticket age. My Episode I experience is one of the most memorable of my life. It's one of those stories I'll tell my kids, and they'll tell me how big of a geek I was (or still am).

The Gathering Force

I had always been a big Star Wars fan growing up, and when I reached high school, I found a group of friends that loved these movies as much as I did. Star Wars also happened to be enjoying a bit of a resurgence at the time thanks to a blossoming expanded universe and a new line of toys and merchandise on store shelves. With talk of how much collectors were willing to pay for the original series of Star Wars toys, several of my friends and I enthusiastically spent the paychecks of our crummy teenage jobs to start collections of our own. Unfortunately, every other fan that wished they hadn't destroyed their old toys had the same idea, so that pretty much negated the value of the new series as eventual collector's items. I kept up with the first few waves of action figures and ships, but as the toy line expanded further and further, I wisely gave up the dream. This collection now resides in a pair of boxes at the very back of the storage room under our stairs. Kristen has a habit of bringing this up every time we are doing Spring cleaning for some reason.

Star Wars toys were officially no longer being made for kids when the first "Princess Leia in Steel Bikini" action figure debuted.

This Star Wars renaissance culminated with the release of the Special Editions in the Spring of 1997. I find it quite fascinating to look back on this time from a marketing standpoint, realizing that it was all part of a well-orchestrated strategy to re-establish the series in the minds of consumers—the precursor for a new set of films. Soon enough, official word started to emerge concerning the long rumored second trilogy. First came tidbits about casting. Next, its peculiar title, The Phantom Menace, was revealed. By the Fall of 1998, the hype machine really started to roll with the debut of the first teaser poster and trailer. When the theatrical trailer followed a few months later, I recorded it off TV and watched it so many times that I unwittingly pieced together a vital plot point (Qui-Gon's death).

I finished up my freshman year at Utah State in early May, returning home with the release of The Phantom Menace only a few agonizing weeks away. By now, only me and two remaining friends, Spencer and Fonz, had yet to leave on LDS missions. My departure date wasn't until July 7th, but poor Fonz had the misfortunate of being called to report to the MTC on May 19th, the very day the movie was coming out. And then there were two.

The Line of the Century

At the time, the Century 16 in Salt Lake was the only local theater to feature THX certified picture and sound, so naturally that is where geeks like us wanted to experience the film for the first time. Spencer had heard the Century was going to be preselling tickets a week in advance, so the evening before they went on sale, we decided to head down to the theater just to check out the situation and maybe ask a few questions. Much to our surprise, we saw that a line had already started to form in the east parking lot. One fan was dressed in complete Darth Maul attire and makeup, while another pair were adorned in Jedi robes, hard at work choreographing an elaborate lightsaber duel.

We saw this fan at the theater again later in the summer, still rocking the full costume. That's dedication. Misguided? Definitely.

After exchanging glances, we knew what we had to do. We quickly drove home to grab sleeping bags, camp chairs, and other supplies. Our next stop was Albertsons to stock up on food. If my memory serves me correctly, we filled our shopping cart with a bag of tortilla chips, a jar of salsa con queso, a 12 pack of Pepsi, a 12 pack of Mountain Dew, a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, a half gallon of milk, a box of raspberry filled powdered donuts, a box of fruit snacks called Jar Jar Glitter Rolls, and last but not least, a helium-filled Darth Maul balloon. Spencer's mom graciously footed the bill.

By the time we made it back to the theater around 8:00 pm, the line now stretched once across the parking lot and wrapped halfway back—not a bad position to be. We hunkered down for the night, basking in the palpable buzz of the growing crowd, and catching occasional glimpses of the Original Trilogy being projected on the side of someone's RV. We attempted to get some sleep, but all the caffeine coursing through our veins and noise from the crowd made it next to impossible.

"That there is an RV."

By morning, the line now went back and forth across the parking lot 7 or 8 times. We had a quick breakfast and packed up most of our supplies. Around 7:00 am, a handful of overwhelmed theater workers with megaphones came over to instruct us on what was going to happen next. Tickets were going on sale at 1:00 pm, and in the meantime, we had to move the line from the parking lot over to the ticket office. One by one, they gave us small numbered tickets to preserve everyone's place in line, but the crowd quickly bunched up near the front as people started to cut in line. By the time we got our numbered tickets we were in the 400s, well back from where we had started. Still, the rumored number of people said to be there was somewhere around 2000, so it could have been worse.

As the line reformed in front of the ticket office, it wrapped all the way around the theater and back across part of the parking lot. We were situated against the east side of the theater—the State Street side. This meant that every 30 seconds or so, a passing car would honk at us.

If running on limited sleep were you, with a belly full of raspberry filled salsa con queso donuts, look as good you would not, hmm?

Once we were settled, we got in on a round of Star Wars Trivial Pursuit with some people next to us. In the midst of our game, a reporter and cameraman from KSL News were walking up and down the line looking for some interesting fans to feature in their story, and Star Wars Trivial Pursuit was just the hook they were looking for. So a group of about six of us got to be in the background as she covered the event. To close out the segment, she asked us what had to be the easiest questions in the game (which she rehearsed with us before going on camera), including "What color is Darth Vader's lightsaber?" and "Who said 'All his life has he looked away... to the future... to the horizon?'" For the latter, she used the worst Yoda impersonation I have ever heard.

The kid whose head appears in the bottom of this photo was wearing a t-shirt that said "Can't sleep, clowns will eat me..." over and over. What can I say, it was a very memorable shirt.

After that bit of excitement, the morning began to drag. We eventually tired of Star Wars Trivial Pursuit, and tickets still hadn't even gone on sale yet. Plus, all the junk we had eaten was starting to catch up to us. We weren't allowed to use the theater bathrooms, so I ventured back over to the east parking lot to use one of the two port-o-potties that had been provided. Let me tell you, sharing two port-o-potties with 2000+ people was not pretty. Every moment behind that plastic door was spent imagining the horror of getting tipped over while still inside, so I was in and out of there like lightning.

When 1:00 finally rolled around the line started moving, albeit very slowly because the theater only had one ticket booth dedicated to selling Star Wars tickets. Did I mention that the Century 16 staff was totally unprepared for the geek tsunami that hit them?

This isn't actually the ticket line. It's the line for the port-o-potties.

The afternoon dragged by as we slowly made our way around the building, inching ever closer to the front of the line. By 5:30 we had reached the home stretch. Thankfully, they finally decided to open up more ticket booths, and the line really started to move. By 6:00 we held tickets in our hands, approximately 22 hours after we started our quest. Now we just had to wait another week for the movie to actually come out. Crap.

Next: The Film



A few months ago we went to my sister's house for a taco dinner. She had a big bag of uncooked tortillas from Costco. I had never seen such a product before. How do they work? Well, just heat up a skillet or griddle, slap down a tortilla, watch it brown and bubble for about 30 seconds on each side, and presto, it is ready to eat. They are so good I'm not sure if I can ever eat a run-of-the-mill, precooked tortilla again.

We don't have a Costco membership, but we eventually tracked down some Tortillaland brand uncooked tortillas at select Walmart and Harmons locations. We have been going through packages like crazy ever since, so I had the bright idea to try making tortillas from scratch. I found several recipes online which were all pretty similar. I opted for one that doesn't call for lard.

Homemade Flour Tortillas

• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1 tsp salt
• 2 tsp canola oil
• 3/4 cup lukewarm milk

In a mixing bowl stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add vegetable oil to the lukewarm milk and whisk briefly to incorporate. Gradually add the milk to the flour mixture, and using clean hands, work into a sticky dough. Place the dough onto a flour dusted surface and knead vigorously for about 2 minutes, or until the dough is no longer sticky.

Return dough to bowl, cover with a damp cloth and allow to rest for 10-20 minutes so that it will be easier to roll out. Divide dough into 8 balls of equal size, cover them, and let them rest again for about 20 minutes.

Dust a clean surface with flour. One at a time, remove each ball of dough. Press it out into a 5-inch circle. Using a flour dusted rolling pin, roll it out from the center until the tortilla measures a little less than 1/4 inch thick and is a 7 or 8 inch circle.

Transfer the tortilla to a dry preheated skillet or griddle. When the tortilla begins to blister, allow it to cook for 30 seconds, flip it, and cook the other side the same way. Remove tortilla, place it in on a clean towel and cover loosely with another towel. Repeat for remaining tortillas.

All in all, these turned out pretty good for a first time experiment. I couldn't get them as thin as the pre-packaged ones with a rolling pin—when they cooked they would puff up to about the thickness of flatbread (maybe I should ask for a tortilla press for Father's Day). But since the recipe only calls for a only a handful of ingredients that are likely already in your cupboard, making them yourself is quite cost effective. Of course you are paying for the convenience of just pulling a few out of a bag and throwing them on the stove. There won't always be time to make them from scratch, but if you have 45 minutes to spare, I recommend giving it a try.


100 Years 100 Movies: Why the Long Face?

Previously: What a Drag

Up next are two John Huston-directed films starring Hollywood legend Humphrey Bogart, or as Kristen likes to call him, the guy with the long face. I tell ya, she really struggles getting past peculiar physical attributes.

38. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)

One of the bonuses of watching these classic movies is getting to see memorable scenes and quotes that have been imitated or parodied so many times that they are instantly familiar, whether you have seen the original movie or not. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is certainly no exception to this. As the story begins, we are introduced to a pair of down-and-out Americans, Fred C. Dobbs (Bogart) and Bob Curtin (Tim Holt). They are stranded in Mexico, desperate for money, when they overhear grizzled prospector Howard (Walter Huston) giving a monologue about what gold does to men's souls. Choosing to only acknowledge the part about finding gold and disregard all the moralizing, they soon set off with the old-timer in an attempt to strike it rich. When the precious metal is found, we are treated to as fine a happy prospector jig as you are ever likely to come across (see video below). But since the initial discovery is made about 45 minutes in, it feels inevitable that bad things are going to happen. Sure enough, as their riches grow, so does Dobbs' greed and paranoia. The constantly blowing dust of the Mexican desert practically makes you smack your lips for water, offering the ideal setting for the ensuing desperate behavior. And I couldn't help but smile when the following famous lines were uttered.
Bandit: Badges? We ain't got no badges. We don't need no badges. I don't have
to show you any stinking badges!

65. The African Queen (1951)

The African Queen was ranked #17 on AFI's original 100 Years 100 Movies list that debuted in 1998. For the revised 10th anniversary edition that I have been using, it tumbled a whopping 48 spots to #65. Let me tell you, this is very fitting. Some movies are able to transcend their old fashioned roots and technical limitations to remain rightful classics, but the truth be told, this is not one of those movies. Set during World War I, The African Queen follows the adventures of a gruff riverboat captain (Bogart) and a Christian missionary (Katharine Hepburn) as they grow together during a perilous river journey though the African jungle. I can see how it was a big hit in the early '50s, but it hasn't aged very gracefully. The performances are unnatural, the love story is rushed, the music is overly melodramatic, and the special effects are pretty hokey. I would even go far as to say that this is a perfect candidate for a remake. Let's say you cast Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman in the Bogart and Hepburn roles. Throw in some lush, modern production values, maybe change Africa to Australia, and what the heck, why not make it a musical? That's a sure-fire hit, right?
Charlie Allnut: Well I ain't sorry for you no more, ya crazy, psalm-singing, skinny old maid!


Anniversary in St. George

Last Thursday was our 5th anniversary, so we planned a little trip down to St. George this past weekend to celebrate. On the way down, we dropped Eddie off at his Grammy's house in Cedar City for our first baby-less night since he was born.

We arrived in St. George just in time for our dinner reservations at Scaldoni's. The restaurant featured a nice, upscale atmosphere, and the food was excellent. After dinner we checked in at our quaint little Bed & Breakfast, the Ava House Inn & Spa, then went on a walking tour of St. George's Historic District in the warm Southern Utah weather.

Rock of Ages? The Tabernacle juxtaposed with an adjacent sculpture.

In the morning we paid a visit to Ancestor Square to check out a local farmer's market. Next up was a tour of the St. George Tabernacle. After a trip to the outlet stores, lunch at Capriotti's Sandwich Shop, and a tour of the Brigham Young Winter Home, Kristen started having some serious Eddie withdrawals. Luckily we soon met up with him and the rest of Kristen's family at the town square so the kids could play in the water features.

My camera saw a lot more action once Eddie arrived.

Playing in the fountain trying to catch the streams of water.

I had to include this one. Time for a new swim diaper, Ed?


Grilled Italian Panini

With the weather warming up, I was recently flipping through our grilling cookbook on the hunt for some new recipes to try out. As soon as I saw this photo (below), my mouth started to water and I knew I had found what I was looking for. (FYI, that is actually several sandwiches stacked on top of each other, not one towering sandwich.) We made these out on Sunday night. They were really pretty easy to assemble, and they have a zesty flavor to rival a good restaurant sandwich.

• 16 oz unsliced ciabatta loaf
• 1 tbsp olive oil
• 6 oz thinly sliced provolone cheese
• 1/4 cup mayonnaise
• 1 tbsp basil pesto
• 4 oz thinly sliced ham
• 4 oz thinly sliced salami
• Several romaine lettuce leaves
• 1 recipe red onion relish

Carefully trim off and discard top crust of the bread and make a flat surface. Turn bread over; trim off and discard bottom crust. Cut remaining bread horizontally into two 1/2 inch-thick slices. Brush one side of each bread slice with oil.

Place half of the provolone cheese on the unoiled side of one slice of bread. In a small bowl stir together mayonnaise and pesto; spread over cheese. Layer with ham (we used prosciutto), salami, red onion relish, lettuce, and remaining cheese. Top with other slice of bread, oiled side up.

Place panini on greased grill rack over medium heat. Put a 13x9-inch baking pan on panini; weigh down with several baking potatoes. Grill about 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Use hot pads to remove baking pan. Carefully turn panini. Replace baking pan on panini; grill 3 minutes more or until cheese is melted. Makes 4 sandwiches.

Red Onion Relish: Combine 1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced (1 cup); 2 tablespoons olive oil; 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar; and 1 teaspoon snipped fresh oregano. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover; let stand at room temperature for up to 2 hours.


Krissy's Grievances Part II

Using numbers instead of words (i.e. Food4Less)

It is not that hard to spell out the words "for" or "to" and it makes you look incredibly smarter if you do so. Go ahead... use a 4 instead of writing out "four." That's okay. But if you have any intelligence, you would not name your business "Food Four Less," so don't use the number 4! This also applies to using a single letter to replace a word, like U instead of "you." I may just be a grammar nazi, but it drives me crazy! On a side note, it also drives me crazy when legitimate businesses or candidates for public office spell things incorrectly on their signs, like one from last year's election that said "Leadership thats working." "Thats" is not even a word! I was ready to vote for that guy's opponent until I realized he wasn't in our district.

CEU transcript prices

$5? Are you kidding me? That one measly transcript cost me more than the ones from BYU and USU combined (including the stamps to mail my requests in). If I hadn't gone to school for free there, I would be more angry.

Things that get in my way

I mean this one literally, not figuratively. I have a knack for running into things that are always in exactly the same place... like our bookshelf, corners, doorknobs, etc. This is how I acquired my ankle injury in January -- I hit it on the side of the tub. It cracks Dave up because he frequently hears a bang shortly followed by me shouting "ouch!" Just the other day, I managed to hit my head on the inside of the dryer door. Then yesterday, I cut my knee on the corner of Dave's dresser. Don't ask me how I do it... it baffles me.

People who drive big SUVs and jacked-up trucks

I hate feeling so vulnerable to annihilation on the road. It's not like I drive a tiny car, but countless times I have found myself cowering in the shadows of a giant SUV or truck. Of course, the drivers of these monstrosities think that just because their vehicle is capable of crushing me into oblivion, they can disregard everyone else on the road and drive wherever they please. The worst is when you're stuck in traffic, right next to an Excursion. You know the driver can't see you because they have a 30-foot blind spot and your car is only a measly 15 feet, plus the driver is about 10 feet above the road surface, putting their field of vision approximately 6 feet above the top of your car. Of course, when this happens, they always feel the need to change lanes right over the top of any smaller car next to them. Needless to say, I use my horn a lot. And sometimes I roll down the windows and yell. Hopefully Eddie doesn't learn those words. Dave Barry sums up my irritation much more humorously in this column.


Revenge of the Grievances

Economic Crisis Exploitation

Just when we had finally seen the last commercial prominently involving gas pumps, now second-rate marketers everywhere have a new crisis to exploit. Words like "stimulus" and "bailout" have become national buzz words in light of the recent economic situation, and are quickly making their way into all manner of advertising, no matter how tacky. Some recent examples I have seen include a "Big Taste Bailout" from Domino's Pizza, and a "Taco Cheeseburger Stimulus Package" from Taco Time. Keep up the good work, fellas.

ABC Promos During Lost

We have been watching Lost faithfully since its second season, and every year there are a slew of new shows that ABC promotes into the ground. We are talking the same ads every commercial break of every new episode. In previous years it has been Invasion, The Nine, What About Brian?, October Road, Day Break, and Eli Stone, among others. This season it's Better Off Ted, Castle, Life On Mars, and The Unusuals. Even after seeing approximately 847 hours of promos, I think I have watched a grand total of 8 seconds of all these shows combined, most of which only aired a handful of episodes before getting the axe. Maybe a DVR really is worth the extra $10/month.

Facebooking My Life Away

Like most, when I first joined Facebook, it was exciting to reconnect with dozens of people I hadn't talked to in years. But after a quick exchange recapping what we had been up to since whenever, I soon remembered why we lost touch in the first place. I still think that Facebook is a great networking tool, but man is it a time waster. Whether it is sifting through the banal status updates ("So-and-so loves the nice weather!!!"), taking silly quizzes ("What Disneyland ride are you?"), or fielding invitations to all sorts of pointless groups, there is no limit to the triviality. I recently noticed a friend of mine has become a fan of "Dipping Fries in a Frosty," which upon further inspection, currently has 95,965 members and counting. Seriously. Anyway, I need to hurry up and get this posted so I can check my news feed again.