100 Years 100 Movies: Awards

Previously: Born to be Wilder

I want to take a quick break from my classic movie reviews to look back on the first 10 films I have covered. Hollywood has never been shy about awards, so I thought it appropriate to hand out a few myself. Don't be daunted by the surplus of clips—only one runs more than a minute.

Most Attention-Grabbing Opener
Sunset Boulevard

When a movie begins with a corpse floating in a pool, rest assured things aren't going to go very smoothly in the ensuing flashback.

Best Spontaneous Body Contortion
Donald O'Connor, Singin' In The Rain

Woofiest Leading Lady
(TIE) Barbara Stanwyck, Double Indemnity, Dustin Hoffman, Tootsie

Double woof.

Worst Hippopotamus Impression
Humphrey Bogart, The African Queen

Most Creative Use of a Tennis Racket
Jack Lemmon, The Apartment

(As a spaghetti strainer.)

Best Inquiry About Beans
Walter Huston, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

Least Sympathetic Character
Vivien Leigh, A Streetcar Named Desire

The original drama queen.

Most Shocking Moment
Corrupt "Taylor Machine" thugs menacing a group of boy rangers, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Most Likely to Join Our Movie Collection
Some Like It Hot


Salt City Happenings

Recently I finished up work on another annual Salt City Candle catalog. If you want to peruse the whole shebang in pdf format, click here to download (6 MB). All in all, I think it is my best one yet. One of the fun things I was able to contribute this time around was some of my own photography.

For each fragrance Salt City makes, there is a companion photo that goes in the catalog and on the label. Typically we use stock photography, or outsource it. But after having some trouble finding the right image for Peppermint Bark (one of our new holiday fragrances), I volunteered to try shooting it myself. Since actual peppermint bark candy is a little hard to come by in the middle of the summer, I found a simple recipe online and made a batch. After a couple rounds of shooting, my boss gave his stamp of approval to this photo.

Peppermint Bark

Now that I had proven myself, my boss offered me another fragrance shot. This time I would be shooting a replacement photo for an existing fragrance, Woodberry. I made my initial attempt up at the family cabin, then set up shop on the banks of Oquirrh Lake at sunrise for round two.

What's with the dinosaur? Read on and find out.

I had to lay down on a slope next to the water to get the proper angle, using my elbow to perch myself up. As I was shooting, I heard a rustling noise behind me. I twisted around to see what it was, and found myself face to face with a large goose. Now, if this had happened to Kristen, she probably would have jumped into the lake and attempted to swim across. I am a little more rational when it comes to birds, but I couldn't help thinking of the scene in Jurassic Park when Dennis Nedry (aka Newman) is confronted by the dilophosaurus (aka the spitting dinosaur). Fortunately the goose took pity on me and I was able to capture this shot.


Okay, one last bit of pimping for Salt City. We recently opened up an outlet store in West Jordan at 8441 S Old Bingham Highway. There you can find all manner of discontinued and flawed merchandise at considerable discounts. There is also a selection of new products at regular price. If you ask me nicely I'll even hook you up with a 20% off coupon. For those in Davis County, a similar outlet store will be opening next week in Layton at 1604 West Hillfield Road #102. Check 'em out. And remember, it's for a good cause—the more candles you buy, the sooner I get to work 5 days a week.


We Heart More Sandwiches

It has taken some time and planning, but we have gradually made it around to a handful of the sandwich shops you recommended to us last fall. There are still more places on our "to try" list, so this fun (and delicious) little adventure remains ongoing.

The Sensuous Sandwich
378 E 1300 S, Orem
163 W Center St, Provo

In addition to the mighty fine sandwiches and super cheap prices, there was a poster of a skateboarding monkey above our booth. I mean, can a dining experience get much better? I had the Enticer (pastrami) while Kristen went for the Super Saucy (roast beef with BBQ sauce). Other sandwiches on the menu include the Stimulator, the Satisfier, and the Au Natural. With risqué names like that, I'm surprised the conservative Mormon moms of Utah county aren't outside picketing and writing letters to the editor. Think of the children!

Tony Caputo's Market & Deli
314 W 300 S, Salt Lake City

If you crave authentic Italian sandwiches, then this is the place for you. Their menu prominently features fancy sounding meats like prosciutto, mortadella, and capicolo, so you know it's the genuine article. When heading for the car to leave I noticed a little design firm next door. I immediately wanted to send them my resumé—just so I could eat lunch here multiple times a week.

Cucina Deli
1026 E 2nd Ave, Salt Lake City

Cucina Deli boasts great food and a welcoming neighborhood atmosphere to match. Their lone slip-up was accidentally putting cranberry mayo instead of chipotle mayo on my pastrami sandwich, making for a rather unusual flavor combination. When I mentioned this mistake to one of the workers they cheerfully made me a new one, so no harm done I suppose. Across the street from the deli was a large white house with rainbow-striped siding. Ah, the Avenues.

Grove Market & Deli
1906 S Main St, Salt Lake City

When you walk into Grove Market & Deli, it feels like you have stepped into a different era. The narrow aisles are packed with people as you make your way to the deli counter in the back. As for the sandwiches, they are ridiculously huge. For around $8-9, you can get a double wide footlong piled with fresh meat and toppings. Kristen and I split one, and it was big enough to feed both of us for two lunches. Since we were sharing, unfortunately I couldn't convince her to go for their signature sandwich, the "Big John," which comes fully loaded with ham, turkey, roast beef, pastrami, corned beef, salami, bologna, provolone, and american cheese.


My Pixelated Education, Pt. 2

My brother Rob's educational computer game of choice was much more well known than mine. Every elementary school kid from the late '80s and early '90s should be familiar with The Oregon Trail. This "pioneering adventure in learning" taught us the realities of life in the 19th century like no Nintendo game could (well, except maybe Duck Hunt). Setting out from Independence, Missouri in the Spring of 1848, it was your mission to lead a wagon of settlers safely to Oregon.

What I Learned: Computer games are infinitely more fun with a strange bearded man and wild raccoon by your side.

Throughout the course of the trail, members of your party had to endure a variety of ailments such as measles, snakebite, exhaustion, cholera, or the most dreaded of all, dysentery. When someone died it became necessary to write a silly and/or mildly profane epitaph on their tombstone for future travelers to read.

What I Learned: If you ever do end up with a disease like cholera or dysentery, just rest a few days and it will go away.

When your food supply started to run low it was time to man up and hunt for sustenance. Out in the untamed frontier there was all manner of wild game to be had, including bison, bear, deer, elk, and rabbit. But really there was no need to bother with the smaller varmints since a single bison netted approximately 1000 pounds of meat. Of course no matter how many able-bodied members of your party were still around, you could never carry more than 100 pounds of food back to your wagon.

What I Learned: The thrill of the hunt. I have never been hunting in real life, but thanks to the game's extremely realistic simulation, I don't need to.

After successfully braving such travails as getting your wagon stuck while attempting to ford a river, bandits making off undetected in broad daylight with 542 pounds of food and 3 wagon axles, or getting sick from drinking water an ox defecated in, you were treated to a fleeting view of the scenic Willamette Valley before being shuffled off to have your final score tallied.

What I Learned: The payoff of a video game is almost never worth the amount of time you have spent conquering it.

Now that you are feeling some Oregon Trail nostalgia of your own, you can play the original game online here. And while you're at it feel free to order me this t-shirt for a future special occasion. I wear XL.


Barton Family Reunion '09

My family had its annual summer reunion this past weekend up in Logan. Here's the whole clan.

Friday night after dinner I busted out my spread of gourmet s'mores. In addition to the combinations already tested, I added a few more options including Reese's peanut butter cups with banana slices, and Dove caramel-filled chocolates with strawberries.

As Kristen posted about here, Eddie and all of his cousins tie-dyed shirts last week. As you can see, when wearing it he thinks he's the bee's knees.

Have I mentioned my family loves food? For those that might take issue with my camera work focusing on the grilled chicken with only my dad's hand in the frame, rest assured he wouldn't want it any other way.

We had planned an all-day trip to Bear Lake on Saturday, but the weather was rainy for most of the morning. After dilly-dallying the afternoon away, unsure if the rain was going to come back, we finally headed up to the lake in the evening.

We figured the water would be too cold for the kids to swim, but once we got there they jumped right in anyway, swimming and splashing until the sun went down.

Since we weren't planning on getting in the water, we didn't bring our swim suits. Eddie seemed content crawling around on the beach when he suddenly made a break for the water. We figured he would stop cold (literally) once his hand touched the water's edge, but we were wrong. He went straight in wearing the only pair of clothes we brought. Hence the reason for him being pantsless in the photo.


My Pixelated Education, Pt. 1

I grew up during the dawn of the video game age. In my early years the Atari 2600 was all the rage. Gradually it was supplanted by the Nintendo Entertainment System. My brother Rob and I desperately wanted a video game console to call our own, but no matter how much we begged for one our parents would not concede. They were of the opinion that the 8-bit graphics would enslave our senses, force us to neglect our homework, and eventually turn our brains into mush. Fair enough.

As a result of this parental embargo, we lived out our video game dreams by watching Nintendo-themed TV shows like Captain N: The Game Master and The Super Mario Bros. Super Show. But every so often we'd get a taste of the real thing at our more fortunate friends' houses and realize what we were missing.

Luckily the home desktop computer was also arriving during this time. We got our first PC when I was maybe 9 or 10. Truly it was a marvel of modern technology with its basic DOS operating system, dual floppy disk drives, and black and green hued monitor. Whatever mundane word processing functions my parents had in mind when they purchased it, Rob and I knew its true calling... video games.

Our parents soon relented on their hardline ban and got us each a computer game for our birthdays—on the condition that they had educational value. These games did in fact teach me many valuable lessons which I will periodically share throughout.

Super Solvers: OutNumbered! was the game I received. Evil genius Mortimer Maxwell, aka the Master of Mischief, had taken control of the Shady Glen Television Station for a nefarious (if nondescript) purpose. He was hiding somewhere in building, so you had to navigate through each room, solving math problems and gathering clues to help you detect his whereabouts. You were also racing against time—if you couldn't find the Master of Mischief by midnight, you lost.

What I Learned: The answer to the age old question, "When am I ever going to use math in real life?" When you have to find an evil genius who has taken over a TV Studio, that's when.

The nameless, über cool protagonist carried a magic remote, and dressed in clown shoes, shorts, puffy coat, and a ball cap. Also, he didn't have a face. What was he hiding behind that cap and big collar?

What I Learned: Puffy coats, shorts, and clown shoes are a winning combination of coolness.

Roaming the halls of the TV station was the Master of Mischief's sidekick, a malevolent walking TV named "Telly." You had to zap him with your magic remote, then answer a series of math problems akin to flashcards. In exchange for a certain number of correct answers, he would give you a clue.

Since you were working on a time limit, you would receive more points the faster you could complete the game. Well, Rob and I discovered an options menu where you could customize the math problems you were given. We set it so all of Telly's questions would be multiples of zero, meaning every answer would automatically be zero. We soon got very quick at hitting zero, enter, zero, enter, zero, enter, etc. every time we ran into Telly. Thus we managed to shirk doing any actual math while maximizing a fairly meaningless point total.

What I Learned: If you're not cheating, you're not trying hard enough.

Once you gathered enough clues, it was time to uncover the Master of Mischief's secret hiding place. What the nameless protagonist lacked in the face department, the Master of Mischief made up for in spades. His oversized facial features, wild mane of hair, and puffy bow tie made up more than half of his body.

What I Learned: An evil genius really should be able to come up with something more clever than "Yikes! You found my hideout. You won't be so lucky again."

Next: The Oregon Trail


Books [Dave] Read This [Month]

Ever since finishing school, the desire to read for pleasure has never fully hit me. While Kristen sometimes plows through 2-3 books a week, I am lucky if I manage that many in a year. This past month was a little different though. I still can't compete with Kristen, but I did end up finished two books, which is good enough for me to temporarily commandeer her position as the blog's literary critic.

And Then There Were None // Agatha Christie

I'm fairly certain I read And Then There Were None in junior high, but had forgotten everything other than the basic premise of 10 strangers on an island getting killed off one by one. In recent years I have brought the book along on many trips with the intention of re-reading it, but have just never cracked it open. A few weeks ago, as Kristen was in the midst of one of her reading binges, I was bored enough that I finally dove in.

The first 100 pages or so are a little slow given the copious setup (or maybe my reading skills were just a little rusty). But once the remaining guests begin to realize the first few deaths weren't accidental, and they are all at the mercy of a madman, the story kicks into high gear. As characters get knocked off at an increasingly rapid rate, it becomes impossible to put down. This is the quintessential mystery novel.

The Yankee Years // Joe Torre & Tom Verducci

When The Yankee Years debuted earlier this year, it garnered a lot of attention for all the wrong reasons. "Torre Slams A-Rod in Tell-All Book" blah blah blah. Basically it was marketed on the basis of a few so-called controversial passages. This rubbed me the wrong way, so I didn't immediately seek it out. The manufactured controversy has long since died down by now, so I figured it was time.

What the book does offer is an honest and open look at the rise and fall of the Yankee dynasty during Joe Torre’s 12 year stint as manager. The Yankee Years adequately recaps the championship teams from 1996-2001, but Buster Olney's The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty remains the definitive book on that era. Where The Yankee Years excels is in illustrating why the Yankees have failed to win it all since losing their core of unselfish, hard working players at the turn of the millenium. I appreciate learning the full stories behind the headlines—stories that were only hinted at, or well-masked by the patented cliché-speak of professional athletes. It is also interesting to examine key factors that drastically changed the game in these 12 critical years, from the rapid rise of steroids, to the increasing implementation of statistical analysis (which emerged in part as way for smaller market teams to compete with the financial juggernaut Yankees).

Most of all though, the book served as a guided tour through 12 years of my life. As key games were recounted, I would immediately remember specifics of when and where I watched them. In 1996, I witnessed the Yankees win the first championship of my lifetime in the basement of Cami Oliekan's house, and had to threaten to punch my friend Marc for acting obnoxious and ruining the moment. My freshman year at Utah State I enjoyed the dominating 1998 team crush all October competition. I let out shouts of joy in the Rich Hall commons area during the improbable back-to-back comeback wins in the 2001 World Series. I had just started dating Kristen a month before the nerve-wracking game 7 of the 2003 ALCS, won on Aaron Boone's walk off homerun in the 11th inning. Not all these memories were positive ones though, such as the eventual game 7 loss to the Diamondbacks in 2001, and losing sleep during the week long, gut wrenching collapse against the Red Sox in the 2004 ALCS.

The last truly great Yankee moment, courtesy of Aaron Boone in the 2003 ALCS.


Tag... You're It!

Here's a tag that I got off of Kristina's blog. So, for those of you who only have a new blog post every couple of weeks, I specifically tag you!

What is your current obsession? Losing weight! My goal is to lose 15 pounds by November. We'll see how that works out.

What do you hate the most that everybody else seems to love? Reality TV. I live every day in reality. Why should I watch other people do the same?

What are you wearing today? Shorts and a t-shirt.... same as always.

What's for dinner? Lemon Garlic Chicken and corn on the cob

What would you eat for your last meal? Mashed potatoes, green beans, cheese ravioli, Dr. Pepper, and an entire chocolate cake with lots chocolate frosting... and fudgey chocolate swirly ice cream on the side. (If I know I'm going to go, I might as well enjoy my last moments... right?)

What's the last thing you bought? Sandwiches at Leger's Deli.

What are you listening to right now? Nothing at all.

What do you think of the person that tagged you? Kristina is my hero. She is fun and outgoing and seems to handle stress SO much better than me.

If you could have a house, fully paid for, and totally furnished anywhere in the world, where would it be? Hmm... that's a tough question. There are too many places I haven't been. However, if I had to choose a place, I would choose England.

What is one of your hobbies? Sewing poorly.

What are 3 things that annoy you most? Inconsiderate people, listening to people talk about their political views as if they are everyone's political views, and extreme temperatures.

What is your favorite color? green

What is your favorite piece of clothing in your wardrobe? Have you seen my wardrobe? It consists mainly of cheap t-shirts and jeans that are too small. I do like my pajama pants, though.

What is your dream job? Being a stay-at-home mom who has it all together.

Describe your personal style. Casual, I guess.

What are you going to do after this? Maybe swimming.

What inspires you? The hope for something better.

Who was the last person you kissed? Eddie... I had to comfort him because he blew water out his nose when the valve fell out of his sippy cup.

What are you currently reading? Shadow Country by Peter Matthiesson. It is long and slow. I'm not sure if I'll stick with it.

What delighted you most today? Buying new clothes. It's amazing how much better you feel about yourself when your clothes fit right.

What characteristic do you wish you had more of?  Will Power!

What is your favorite dessert? Chocolate cake

I tag everyone who has nothing better to do. If you have something better to do, blog about that instead.

The rule: Respond and rework; answer the questions on your blog. Replace one question you dislike with a question of your invention or add one more question of your own.


I-15 Adventures

It's funny how your life changes in unexpected ways when you have a kid. We used to make the drive from Salt Lake to Cedar City (barring traffic) in 3 hours flat. Our trip down this past Friday stretched to nearly 5 hours thanks to a few pit stops. Still, this newfound leisurely pace has enabled us to discover some interesting places along the way that we would have missed otherwise. I guess that movie Cars was right all along.

Our first stop was Reed's Drive-In on Main Street in Nephi. For less than $12 we got a pair of fresh-cooked burgers, drinks, and more piping hot fries than the three of us could eat. Of course the ceiling looked like it was about to cave in on us, but these are the chances you have to take sometimes. 60 miles later Eddie was having a breakdown, so we pulled off and took a tour of Cove Fort.

Driving home on Sunday we stopped to give Eddie a break in the tiny town of Meadow, just south of Fillmore. The fact that Fillmore is the point of reference ought to give you an idea of just how tiny I mean. The benefits of the stop were twofold—first, Kristen and I now know the location of more baby swings along the drive, and second, I get the chance to revive my dormant photo series of old timey Utah.

Welcome to Meadow, where everyone gets a fair shake. (badum)

Hopefully Ted's isn't too far away.

More old, busted stuff made pretty by split tone effects. Thanks, Photoshop!

I'm always in the market for Fish 'N Tackle videos.

Baby swings and a teeter totter? This bodes well for future pit stops.


Gourmet S'mores

First off, you should know the unofficial family motto of Barton family gatherings: "It's all about the food." I tell you this to at least partially explain why I felt compelled to check out the book S'mores: Gourmet Treats For Every Occasion in preparation for a looming summer reunion.

There are some pretty extreme variations of the old campfire treat to be found in this book. The author has a pretty loose definition of what a s'more is—her lone requirement being a roasted marshmallow squished between, well, pretty much anything. To get an idea of what I mean, check out the cover image of a marshmallow and a scoop of cookie dough sandwiched between two chocolate chip cookies. I guess I am more of a traditionalist, because I still think a graham cracker needs to be what holds a s'more together.

As a trial run for the "big show" in a few weeks, I volunteered to test out some s'mores variations at the cabin last weekend. I picked out a few ideas from the book that sounded especially promising, and purchased a variety of ingredients to assemble a mini s'mores buffet. Here are some combinations we tried:

White Chocolate Raspberry
• Graham Cracker
• Hershey's Cookies 'n' Cream Bar
• Raspberries
• Marshmallow

Caramel Apple
• Cinnamon Graham Cracker
• Caramel Squares
• Thin Slice of Granny Smith Apple
• Marshmallow

Mint Chocolate
• Graham Cracker
• Andes Mints
• Marshmallow

The white chocolate raspberry was the consensus favorite. Since we didn't have a campfire, we used the barbecue grill instead. We preheated it to medium low, set our s'mores on the warming rack (so as not to scorch the graham cracker), and closed the lid for a few minutes. This method didn't result in a crispy, golden brown marshmallow, but in the plus column the chocolate was always sufficiently melted. NOTE: it's best to hold off on adding any fruit until after your s'more comes off the grill.