My Life as a Dog

Friday, October 26, 2007

Dashboard Confessional - The Shade of Poison Trees

My latest purchase, The Shade of Poison Trees, is Dashboard Confessional's latest CD. Sure it's not like hearing them live. But seeing them live has it's own pros and cons. I experienced them live a month or two ago at the Summer Jamboree. If you're not into listening to screaming girls or a large crowd singing along to every song then it's probably best that you just get this CD and listen to in the privacy of your own home. All of the tracks and the entire CD of MP3s are available from Amazon here.

Jon McLaughlin - Indiana

It was earlier this summer that my friend, Brad, introduced me to Jon McLaughlin. Well, not to Jon himself, but to his music. It was an easy sell. I was immediately hooked. I've loved listening to the MP3s I had but now I am the proud owner of his CD entitled Indiana. If you like Ben Folds and John Mayer, then I'd recommend you try Jon McLaughin's work. All of the songs from his Indiana CD are available DRM-free from Amazon.


Saturday, October 20, 2007

Fuji Finepix Z10FD


I've done it! After years of using a hand-me-down digital camera, I've taken a big step forward purchasing my first-owner camera. I initally ordered it on Oct 16th through Amazon for $175.25. I was suprised to see that it wasn't going to ship until Oct 22nd. So I started looking around at other merchants. I found it listed on Buy.com for $165.99 and another $10 off if you use Google Checkout for the first time. Since Amazon was taking so long I thought I'd cancel my order with them and put one in with Buy.com. I did that on Oct 18th and to my surprise, it shipped on the 19th and is supposed to be at my home on Tuesday (23rd). Take that Amazon! They had me scheduled to receive the camera by Nov 2nd.
It seems like a good camera with some cool new features. I'm sure I'll write more about it once I get familar with it. And it should help make some good new posts!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Brooks Design Associates


A friend of mine, Darrin Brooks, from "the mission" is a designer and is currently teaching at the Utah State University. I've recently redesigned his website. In the past I've only done straight html/javascript websites for him. This time I got to use a little more of my current skill set by writing the site using ASP.NET 2.0 and css layout. The results are much better. Check it out by visiting Brooks Design Associates.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Beef and Beer Chili

With colder weather approaching and having recently received my September issue of Cooking Light, I decided that their Beef and Beer chili looked like it would be great for the cooler weather. I tried it a few Saturdays ago and liked it so much that I made it again a week earlier. I've just finished off the leftovers I had frozen and since I'm still thinking it's a good receipe, I'm posting it here. Enjoy!


Beef and Beer Chili

Cornmeal helps thicken the chili to a satisfying consistency. Serve with a chilled lager. Time: 41 minutes.

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped red onion (about 1 medium)
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper (about 1 small)
  • 8 ounces extralean ground beef
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 (19-ounce) can red kidney beans, drained
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (14-ounce) can low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 (12-ounce) bottle beer (such as Budweiser)
  • 1 tablespoon yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Preparation
Combine first 4 ingredients in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook 5 minutes or until beef is browned, stirring to crumble. Stir in chili powder, cumin, sugar, and salt; cook 1 minute. Add oregano and next 4 ingredients (through beer) to pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Stir in cornmeal; cook 5 minutes. Stir in juice.


Yield
4 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups)


Nutritional Information
CALORIES 261(20% from fat); FAT 5.7g (sat 2.1g,mono 2g,poly 0.2g); PROTEIN 18.3g; CHOLESTEROL 30mg; CALCIUM 74mg; SODIUM 799mg; FIBER 8.3g; IRON 3.7mg; CARBOHYDRATE 30.3g

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Darin & Rachel Johnston

Darin Johnston & Rachel Borup
married September 27, 2007
(Photo from the recption October 4, 2007)

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Truth About Rebates

(At least the truth about this rebate)

So earlier this summer I noticed that fan on my power supply of my home computer was not spinning. After checking with my support technician, I decided that I needed to bite the bullet and go ahead and get a new power supply before my old one caused serious damage to the rest of my system. I found a deal on one of my favorite "deal" sites that I check daily: Ben's Bargains. It was an Antec Basiq 500 Watt Power Supply for $40 after two separate $20 rebates. So I bought it.

I got it home and got it installed. It was working beautifully. The problem for me was that I didn't follow my normal procedure and fill of the rebate forms immediately. Several days went by and the box to my new power supply was sitting on my counter just waiting for me to cut out the UPC. Apparently I waited long enough so that I didn't give it a second thought when I threw it out while cleaning house. Of course the next day was garbage day and the box with it's UPC barcode was long gone.

After beating myself up over and over about it, I came up with a plan. I would go back to Circuit City and ask them if I could get a photo copy of the UPC barcode. At least, I could get one of the rebate checks. (The other required the original UPC.) They obliged fortunately. In fact after I explained the story, one of the helpful salesmen suggested that I try sending in a copied UPC with the rebate that required the original. After all I was already out $20. So what was another 41 cents for a stamp.

I submitted both of the rebate forms with copies of the UPC barcode and then tried to forget about them. So you can imagine my surprise when I received both rebates in the mail. Maybe this doesn't happen most of the time. Maybe it was just good luck. But if I ever find myself in this situation again, you can be assured that I will try it again.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Jamboree Music Festival

So yesterday was the big Jamboree Music Festival 2007. Seeing how this is the first year of teh festival, I wasn't quite sure how it was going to work. I had never been to a show (or much of anything) at Thanksgiving Point. The stage and all was set up in the north west corner of the Electic Park. We had VIP tickets, so we entered in the west entrance. Where we picked up our free t-shirts, limited edition posters, and our VIP passes. We got there about 3pm expecting that we'd probably still get to see all the bands except for maybe the local band (who's name I don't remember) and maybe one other band. Instead we got there right at the end of Limbeck's set. So we missed Piebald, Steel Train, Limbeck, The Stella Brass, and the local band. Suprising since the show started at 1pm. Apparently in 2 hours they were able to zip through five bands. Oh well.

As I mentioned already, when we go there Limbeck was already playing. I'm not familar with their music at all but I enjoyed the few songs that they played while we were there.

Next up was Lucas Reynolds formerly of Blue Merle. Now I gotta say that I'm a Blue Merle fan and have been them twice in concert and really enjoyed both times. I kind of thought that Lucas was the keystone of Blue Merle and that he would be just as enjoyable on his own. I wish I wasn't saying this but I was not impressed by his solo act. Maybe he's still figuring it out or something but by himself, he leaves a lot to be desired. Of the songs he performed, his lyrics were comedic at best. I'm still hoping that he gets it together though. I'm rooting for you Lucas!

Colbie Caillat was the next to grace us. Now I had heard Bubbly and I had seen the video on VH1. Thus I was expecting her to come out and look a little folksy. So it was a little shocking to see her come out wearing what Stacy and Clinton would call a pot holder (mini skirt) and a halter top. It just made me think Mariah Carey. (and that's not good.) Fortunately Colbie is very talented and it showed in her voice.

Now here's where the show got really interesting for me. Another band that was new to me, The Format. Good stuff! I thought the lead singer looked like Stephen Tyler of Aerosmith until my friend suggested Mic Jagger. He was right. The band was very entertaining and had a great sound. I'll be adding some of The Format to my collection.

Toad the Wet Sprocket was after The Format. Now Toad has been a favorite of mine for years now. It was nice to see them playing together again. (In case you didn't know, they have "broken up.") I've seen them perform together several time now as well as Glen Phillips on his own. These guys are amazingly talented. Too bad the high schoolers standing behind just didn't get it. We wanted to deck them after several comments. I think they were just interested in crowd surfing anyway. Hard to do that while listening to Toad.

The headlining band was Dashboard Confessional. This was the second time for seeing them live. Chris Carrabba is amazing! What big talent in such a small package. That doesn't bother the girls though. They were going crazy the whole time. I felt like I was at a Backstreet Boys concert. (Other than I actually love the music.) If you've never seen Dashboard live, here's what you need to know: The audience will be singing every lyric. So be prepared!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Lean Mean Thirteen - Janet Evanovich


I just finished Lean Mean Thirteen, the latest in the Stephanie Plum series written by Janet Evanovich. Stephanie was up to her ol' antics. She was joined by the regulars: Grandma Mazur and her new stuffed cat, Blackie; Lula the former ho; Joyce, the money grubbing Stephanie wannabe, and let's not forget Stephanie's love/lust interests, Joe Morelli and Ranger.

I've said it before and I'll say it again for this book. Janet Evanovich is one of the few authors I've read that can actually elicit a audible laugh out of me while at the gym. I find her writing very fun with great visuals. I recommend it if you are looking for a light read. Beware, as with Ms. Evanovich's previous novels, there is plenty of sexual inuendo and some strong language also.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Fountains of Wayne @ The Depot


Last night was my first time attending a show at The Depot in Salt Lake City. The Depot is located in The Gateway and is acutally in the old Union Pacific building. If you've never been there, you're missing out. It's a great venue! If only every concert could be held there. (No I don't own stock.) What did I like? Well first of all it's clean. I know, it's a novel idea. Also the layout is great. Not a bad view of the stage from anywhere in the place. Of course we were front and center for Fountains of Wayne on August 21, 2007.

If you've never heard of Fountains of Wayne, you probably just don't realize that you have heard them. There "big hit" from their last album, Welcome Interstate Managers, was entitled "Stacy's Mom." See! I knew that you had heard them. Of course that is probably not one of their better songs. (Depending on who you ask, I suppose.) Prior to last night, I was always annoyed with bands who refuse to play their hit songs that fans always seems to want to hear. Last night I actually felt for FOW as they started playing Stacy's Mom and a horde of drunk girls belted out the song at the top of their lungs while dirty dancing with each other. Personally I could have forgone the song rather than have that image burned into my mind. I'm guessing that the girls were there to get drunk, oh and to hear that one song.

But if we ignore drunk girls, the show was great. Fountains of Wayne has lots of fun lyrics and upbeat "pop" tempos. Don't let "Stacy's Mom" keep you from giving them a listen. They've got several CDs all of which are great.

Here's a clip of Fountains of Wayne at The Depot singing Hey Julie:

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Josh Rouse - Nashville

Here's my latest purchase from BMG, Nashville by Josh Rouse. Actually they mistakenly sent me Al Green's The Definitive Greatest Hits. Not really even close. Fortunately for me BMG is really good at righting their shipment mistakes. They are even letting me keep the incorrect shipment. (I can always use a good white elephant come Christmas time.)

All the tracks are available on iTunes:
  1. It's the Nighttime
  2. Winter in the Hamptons
  3. Street Lights
  4. Carolina
  5. Middle School Frown
  6. My Love Has Gone
  7. Saturday
  8. Sad Eyes
  9. Why Won't You Tell Me What
  10. Life

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The Anatomy of Peace - The Arbinger Institue


So I just finished reading The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict by The Arbinger Institute. This the second of two books written by this institute. The first was Leadership and Self Deception: Getting Out of the Box. Now I've read both and I highly recommend them to anyone who either enjoys self-help books or who is interested in have more peace in their day to day lives. It's helped me.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Fruit Dip

Ingredients:
  • 8 oz Softened Cream Cheese
  • 8 oz Cool Whip
  • 8 oz Marshmallow Creme
  • Jello to taste (Optional)
Directions:
Combine cream cheese, cool whip, and marshmallow creme. Getting a good consistency is easiest when the cream cheese is soft. Add Jello to taste. Choose whatever flavor you like. I find that lime is one of my favorites. Refrigerate dip. It works best when you chill it over night. Serve with cut fruit. I like to use bananas, apples, strawberries, pears, and pineapple.