Friday, August 31, 2012

Mormons Can have Caffeinated Soft Drinks

(Photo taken by Marlith

"With reference to cola drinks, the Church has never officially taken a position on this matter, but the leaders of the Church have advised, and we do now specifically advise, against the use of drink containing harmful habit-forming drugs under circumstances that would result in acquiring the habit.  Any beverage that contains ingredients harmful to the body should be avoided."  (Priestood Bulletin, Febuary 1972, p.4)

The above quote is stated in Mormon Beliefs and Doctrines Made Easier by David J. Ridges.  And after this quote he states, "Drinking colas and other caffeine drinks are not grounds for withholding a temple recommend."  

There has been a huge debate with members of the Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, whether or not drinking Caffeinated soda is against the Word of Wisdom.  It was a huge deal in the LDS community where I grew up in Porterville California.     

One Seminary teacher told us that in meetings he would only drink milk, refusing root-beer because he wanted to avoid the appearance of evil.  And a girl told my cousin, when he was drinking a caffeinated soda, "You might as well have a beer."  The pressure was really bad at times and caused me many a moral dilemma.  Of course, after much contemplation, and realizing that neither one of my Parents lost their temple recommends due to coca-cola, logic dictated the wonderfully cool, refreshing drink was okay in moderation.

Then I moved to Utah and suddenly I found myself in the presence of many saints who loved their Cola, Mountain Dew, and Dr. Pepper.  I was shocked!  (Of course, you still can't get a caffeinated soda on BYU's campus.  All the fountain drinks are caffeine free . . . I knew many students who found a way around that.  Smuggling caffeine on campus!  The horror!)

But with Mitt Romney, an active Latter-Day Saint, running for Presidential Political Office, a lot is being asked about the Church.

For the first time last week, a prime-time show, NBC's Rock Center, dedicated a whole hour on Mormonism, which you can still watch online.  (I have, some of it is really nice, like what they said about Welfare Square and the Humanitarian system, which are amazing, and some of it disrespectful . . . )  But still, things are being said about my faith.        

There was a woman by the name of Julean Jackson (don't know how to spell her name) being interviewed in the 3rd segment of the program. She was asked "Do you drink Caffeine?" and Julean mentioned she's only had one coke in her life, but doesn't drink Caffeinated Soda.  On that point, I know missionaries personally who actually taught that along with giving up coffee, tea (from the tea plant, herbal teas are okay), alcohol, and tobacco, that caffeinated soda is not okay and must be given up as well.  This isn't in Preach My Gospel (p.78), the book missionaries teach from, but a reflection of how they were raised.  This topic has been a huge case of confusion.
So last Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012, as reported by Peggy Fletcher Stack from the Salt Lake Tribune in Ok, Mormons, drink up--Coke and Pepsi are OK, the Church officially states on "The Newsroom Blog" in a post entitled Mormonism in the News--Getting it right  that, "Finally, another small correction: Despite what was reported, the Church revelation spelling out health practices (Doctrine and Covenants 89) does not mention the use of caffeine.  The Church’s health guidelines prohibit alcoholic drinks, smoking or chewing of tobacco, and “hot drinks” — taught by Church leaders to refer specifically to tea and coffee."

It's nice finally having a clarification that it's okay to drink cola's and so forth.

It's truly a personally choice.  Many members in my family drink Coke and Dr. Pepper (those are the most popular), but a long time ago, for health reasons, I personally chose to give up all soda (except for an occasional Ramune, Raspberry Sprite, or Ocean Water from Sonic), and fruit juice.  But it's my choice, and we're all different.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

If I Had a Mansion . . .

I don't think I'm the only person who, as a kid, would imagine all the crazy things they would do if they had a huge house.  It's fun dreaming in the ridicules.  Some of my crazy ideas include a room dedicated entirely to Ferrets (because they're cute and mischievous, though smelly, so they get their own room complete with a large array of see through tunnels), a room dedicated to a small city (a la tiny houses and train sets), and a gigantic music/library.  Ridicules, though I think every idea is genius.     

Last week my family and I wondered into the Clark Planetarium.  I've been there many times, but this time I was entranced by the Kinetic machines they have running.  These machines are like watching balls ride roller coasters.  I told my brother "Wouldn't it be cool to have one of these at home?"  In which he agreed.  Then, a few minutes later, my Dad joined us, equally entranced, and said "Wouldn't it be cool to have one of these?"  Yeah, totally.  The machine they had on the ceiling was amazing.  It's like watching the solar system in motion, which, with this being a planetarium, is probably the point.       

I first became aware of Kinetic machines thanks to an exhibit at BYU Provo back in 2003 called Poetic Kinetics.  It was put together with an away of contraptions built by father and son.  The son, Andrew Smith, has on his website several videos of his machines to view, and there a lot of fun to watch.  You can find it at under the tab "rolling ball."  He has some other really fun stuff to watch.  Now to learn welding . . .


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Dark Chocolate Muffcake Recipe

Dark Chocolate Muffcake

1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup + 1 1/2 teaspoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup + 1/8 cup granulated sugar (which is technically 5/8 cups)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup + 1 TBSP milk 
3/4 cups small bitter-sweat Chocolate Chips
1/2 cup chop nuts (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.  Stir together.

3.  In another large bowl use a mixer (I used a hand-held one) mix butter with sugar.  Make sure they are smooth.  Now add the eggs and vanilla, mix together until they're fluffy.  Don't over mix it.  This step, along with the next step, must be done with a mixer, and not by hand.  The fluffy consistency is crucial for the final outcome of the cupcake.  

4.  This next step may seem complicated, but it's not.  Add 1/3 of the flour mixture into the bowl with the sugar and butter, mix on low speed for about 45 seconds (or until well mixed).  Add half of the milk into same bowl, mix for 30 seconds (or until well mixed).  Add another 1/3 of flour, mix 45 seconds.  Add final 1/2 of milk, mix for 30 seconds.  Add final 1/3 of flour mixture, mixing it until it's blended and fluffy.  

5. Fold in the chocolate chips and nuts

6.  Tablespoon equal portions into a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners.

7. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until done, using the good ol' toothpick test.  (I'm at a high altitude, so it doesn't take as much time up here as it will at sea level.)

I don't use frosting, because the final result is something akin to a cupcake and muffin, which is why I call it a muffcake.  I feel frosting would ruin it.

         This recipe is a variation of a recipe I found in the Dec 2010 issue of Family Circle, called Hot Chocolate Cupcakes.  I was super excited to make them, only the result was bland, dry, and in serious need of cocoa, which defeats the purpose of the cupcakes name.  So I tweaked it.  Next time I make them I going to add another tablespoon of milk, to see what that does.  And I'm going to use Dutch cocoa instead of Hershey's, and see if that ups the chocolaty goodness.  What I have now tastes very similar to the Chocolate muffins you buy at Costco.  Enjoy!    

I just googled Muffcake to see if anything popped up, and there were matching results!  I guess I'm not as original as I thought.  But it's still tasty.

Monday, August 27, 2012

American Fairy Tales by L. Frank Baum

(Public Domain)

When you hear the name L. Frank Baum you will probably think of The Wizard of Oz, but you are probably not aware that he wrote some other fun tales for the young.

One day I was searching for something new to read in the public domain, and stumbled upon the American Fairy Tales.  There are American Fairy Tales!?  I was curious and intrigued.  On, a site that houses free public domain ebooks, I downloaded the fairy tales, and soon I was whisked away in sheer delight.      

The style of Baum's writing feels quite modern, even though these stories are over 100 years old.  (They were written in 1901.)  He wrote the 12 fantasy stories after his great success with the Wizard of Oz.  The tales are fun and imaginative, and it only makes me admire L. Frank Baum all the more.

I really enjoyed "The Capture of Father Time," a story about a boy out in the west who is throwing a rope and captures Time, which causes him to freeze time in the process.  "The Queen of Quok," about a boy who suddenly finds himself a King and needs to marry, so he finds a genie in his bed that helps him solve his problem.  And "The Glass Dog."  The Glass Dog is my absolute favorite!  If you're going to read one of the fairy tales You Must read this one.  'Nuff said.  I don't want to spoil it, but it is thoroughly amusing!  At least my brothers and I think so.

You can download the stories for free at and at google books.

Apparently Mr. Baum also wrote the novel The Master Key, also in 1901, that is fabulous.  I haven't read it, but it's at the top of my list.

Happy reading:0)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Doing Something

(Picture taken last Spring)

"A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable,
but more useful than a life spent doing nothing."
~ George Bernard Shaw

Saturday, August 25, 2012

An Easy Way to Measure Running Distance

Earlier this year, back when I was training for a 5k, I would run laps to help me prepare.  Since then I've found that I don't much care for running (bad knees), but I did "run" into a problem when I was training.  Keeping track of the laps.  Listening to music to help me stay focused, I would count the laps in my head, or on my fingers, only to lose track and question my distance.  I thought it would be cool if I could find some device with a clicker to do the thinking for me, but thought I wouldn't be able to find something like that.

Then one day at the craft store I was wondering the yarn section when I stumbled across an interesting device.  A knitting counter!  There's a few models, but I choose a model from Clover.  You can wear it as a pendant, which is nifty since you don't have to hold it, and mindlessly click it at the beginning of each lap.  Unfortuanly it doesn't come with a cord, but I was able to use a chain from a necklace I don't use.

Since buying it I've used the counter to measure the 4 mile distance I'm determined to walk, and it's wonderful.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Sparkle, Movie Review

"Was my life not enough of a cautionary tale for you?"
Spoken by Whitney Houston's character  

Rating: 3 Stars out of 5

I went into this film excited to see Whitney Houston's final performance in Sparkle.  She inspired me as a kid with her powerful singing.  This movie, though there were some good moments, left a bad taste in my mouth.

Whitney plays the mother of three talented, ambitious girls, though they are ambitious for different reasons.  The eldest daughter Sister, played by Carmen Ejogo, is nearing 30 and is desperate for attention and love.  The middle girl Delores, played by Tika Sumpter, has her sights set on medical school.  And the youngest daughter Sparkle, played by American Idol alumni Jordin Sparks, is an inspiring singer-songwriter, writing songs in secret, if only she can work up the courage to perform solo.  It's Sparkle's dream that brings the sisters together, when she begs her older Sister to sing one of her songs at a club, and leads their lives on a roller-coaster path.  

The movie is formulaic and full of cliches, but I expected that, and it's hard not to compare this 1976 remake to the 2006 Dream Girls film, that being based on the 1981 Supreme's inspired musical.  Comparing the two movies, Dream Girls is clearly the stronger, more polished film.  That doesn't help Sparkle "sparkle."  And it doesn't help that in Dream Girls another American Idol alumni, Jennifer Hudson, stole the show and walked away with an Oscar.  Her performance is unforgettable.

Carmen Ejogo, of all the actors, had the strongest performance in Sparkle, bringing a bigger then life presence.  I do wish to add that I've always enjoyed Jordin Sparks voice, and she played the sweet, innocent sister well.

The songs were strong as well in the fun motown style.  The songs "Hooked on Your Love," "Running," and a few other are playlist repeat worthy.  

Whitney's character and performance is a little chilling, and that's what left me feeling a little uncomfortable, because art was imitating life in a way.  There is a scene where the oldest daughter relates the story of finding her mother, Whitney, passed out in a puddle of vomit.  Throughout the movie Whitney looks tired and worn out with life, which is appropriate for her character, but as she relates to her daughters the realities and horrors of show business, it's hard not to wonder if those scenes are slightly autobiographical.  The ending may be happy, but there is that sad undertone laced through the film. 
MPAA rating: PG-13 for mature thematic content involving domestic abuse and drug material, and for some violence, language and smoking. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Saints and Soldiers: Airborne Creed, Movie Review

Rating:  2 Stars out of 5

What's tragic is that everything the first movie got right, Saints and Soldiers, the second movie got wrong.

The first movie, which came out in 2003, was miraculously filmed entirely in Utah and under a million dollars (yet it looks like a major motion picture.)  From beginning to end the WWII epic has non-stop action and heartfelt moments.  The characters are strong and the story is focused.  Definitely a must see with a strong 4.5 out of 5 star rating.     

The followup movie, Saints and Soldiers: Airborne Creed, is overwhelmingly confused.

The exposition fell flat, and there was no real setup for how our cast of characters end up in enemy territory.  Yes, there is an opening scene involving the Germans, but it only connects when you listen intently to a small bit of dialogue somewhere in the middle of the movie.  (Since they choose to begin the movie this way, the main character should have been either the central German character, don't know his name, or the French resistant girl, Emilie.)   Then we are suddenly shown a bunch of people jumping out of airplanes.  If you go to the films website you learn this is the 517th Parachute Regimental Combat Team.  They volunteered to land in enemy territory, with a chance of no backup, to help the French Allied forces.  But there was no setup to this.  You get the gist gradually as the film progresses.  If I would have known the risk of their mission at the start, and the purpose of what they were doing, I would have been far more engaged in the plot then I was.   

Another major fault of the film is a lack of a main character.  Since this is a Saints and Soldiers film, it's safe to assume Jones, played by David Nibley, a man strong in the Catholic faith, is the central character.  He gets a lot of flashback time after all, only problem is a couple other characters received a lot of flashback time as well.  Instead of a main character with the support of a strong cast, we get a bunch of characters vying for our attention.  The result?  A huge mess with the lack of a focused story.      

As much as I enjoyed Corbin Allred as 'Deacon' in the first movie, it was a mistake to bring him back and have him portray an entirely new character.  Watching the trailer as many times as I did, I assumed Corbin was reprising his character.  Airborne Creed is a prequel to Saints and Soldiers, not a sequel, and Deacon could have been brought back.  Instead of taking advantage of a great opportunity, the writers choose instead to leave me questioning who Corbin's new character is, and that caused some distraction.   

One of the brilliant aspects of the first movie is the ambiguity of the Main character, Deacon's, religion.  You assume he's LDS, with a fair amount of clues leading to the fact, but this is only confirmed in the DVD commentary track.  The first movie tackled brilliantly the psychological hardships of war, questioning morality and what truly makes someone an enemy.  This new film tried to do the same, but did not succeed.

What's truly sad is that a lot of these problems could have been fixed in the script writing phase of pre-production.  This could have been a great film.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Happy Birthday President Monson!

 (Holding the precious tickets in my hands.)

Last Friday was President Monson's Birthday Bash!  Okay, it wasn't like that, but when the Mormon Tabernacle Choir (or as we like to call in Utah "the Mo-Tab") is involved, it's pretty darn close! 

 (Everyone heading to the Conference Center wearing their Sunday best.)

There was a grand performance at the LDS Conference Center in SLC in President Thomas S. Monson's honor called "Golden Days: A Celebration of Life."  The choir sang Broadway musical hits, because, if you've listened to any of Brother Monson's talks, you'll quickly learn how much he loves show tunes and going to plays.  Apparently he's seen Annie in at least 11 different languages!  

When Dallyn sang "Bring Him Home" from Les Miserables, we all gave him a standing ovation (the first of many).  It was the most beautiful rendition of the song I have ever heard. 

(Waiting for the show to start.)

I've been to a few performences at the Conference Center, and this, hands down, is my favorite of them all.

In the middle of the show they suddenly brought up the house lights and had everyone sing "Happy Birthday" to President Monson.  We were all so shocked!  But it was amazing.  He's 85 years young.

Happy Birthday President Monson!  May you have many more!

If you haven't seen the celebration, and would like to, the full performance is available to stream on the Mormon Tabernable Choir's website and at


Monday, August 20, 2012

The Vogue Tome

(A phone book sitting next to the September issue of Vogue)

Today I was surprised to find the latest issue of Vogue in the mail, which is one of the many magazines I subscribe to.  What is even more amazing was how thick it is!  It's the 120 year anniversary for the magazine plus the Fall Fashion preview in one.  I put our local phone book right next to this months Vogue to prove how big it is!        

Why is it so thick?  Ads.  You don't even get to the table of contents until page 76.  But I'm strange, I actually like looking at the ads.  Now, if you don't like ads, you'll probably get very annoyed, quick.  Fashion spreads are hidden amongst the advertisements, and sense ads don't have page numbers, it's hard finding the few articles that exist, as they get lost in this tome.   

It was fun seeing some vintage photos, I just wish there were more images to look at.  With the thickness of the magazine I was expecting a little more on the 120 year subject.

I haven't read any of it yet, just thumbed through.  The magazine's got some weight.

Below is the September Vogue issue sitting right next to the August issue.


Friday, August 17, 2012

The Odd Life of Timothy Green Movie Review

Rating:  2.5 Stars out of 5

The Odd Life of Timothy Green starts out in the picturesque town of Stanleyville, home of the #2 pencil and a quiet set of folks.   Cindy and Jim Green, who desperately want a child of their own, has just been informed that that will never be possible.  Now the two wishful parents must go about their lives, she working in the pencil museum, and he working at a failing pencil factory, dealing with a broken heart.

That night, in a fit of despair, the two decide to create a list of everything they would love in a child, and imagine living out each moment while they jot the concepts on pieces of paper, placing them in a box.  They bury the box in Cindy's garden,determined to put it behind them.  That night, in the midst of drought (and the first of many magical moments), there is a freak rain storm over, and only over, their home, and Timothy grows out of the garden to enter everyone's lives.

Some of the characters are delightful.  CJ Adams, who plays Timothy, is a sweet young actor.  Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton as his parents have nice chemistry, and I love how they play off the impracticability of their situation.  I also like Odeya Rush who plays Joni, Timothy's friend, though nothing is explained in regards to her characters: no parents or history, running around as a free spirit. She's just as mysterious as he is. Other characters, such as Jim and Cindy's bosses, quickly fall into stereotypes, and poor stereotypes at that, creating a cast that comes across two-denominational.  

The plot is also predictable and contrived.  There are sweet moments, but instead of being surprised by various plot points, I instead found myself watching the characters to see how they would react.  The climax of the film was anti-climatic.

What the film does have going for it is the beautiful cinematography and heart.  Nature and light is captured in a wonderful way, and I found myself wishing I lived in a place so innocent and safe with the ability to escape to the forest with no fear of harm.  And there are some really touching moments. 

The movie does celebrate family, and the need for family, and that's a very positive message.

Overall I'm glad I saw The Odd Life of Timothy Green, and many families will like the charm, but its a movie I'm happily content to see once.  It is a great movie to take the kids to see as they may learn a thing or two.  There's no such thing as the perfect child, but every child is important and special.


Thursday, August 16, 2012


(On the way home from California last Spring)

“All our dreams can come true,
if we have the courage to pursue them.”
~Walt Disney

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

My Favorite London 2012 Olympic Moments

The funny thing about my family is that we're not super sporty people; it's probably because we're geeks who spend most of our time with the arts and sciences.  But when the Olympics are on, the TV is on, and we get excited over everything.

I think apart of it is because the Olympics isn't your typical sporty fair.  There is something for everyone: from soccer to basketball, table tennis to gymnastics, track and field to trampolining, etc.  And the team you are cheering for is your home country, so there's good ol' fashion national pride.

Favorite Scandal Moment

After the Men's team final, the British erupted in a loud applause when the scores went up and their home team got Silver.  Prince William and Harry were in the audience sharing in the excitement.  China got Gold, Britain Silver, and Ukraine Bronze.  Then someone from Japan's team went to the judges to file a complaint.  Kohei Uchimura wasn't given credit for his handstand dismount off the pommel horse, which lowered the score.  As part of regulations, they had to offer money, a few Benjamin Franklins, and their plea was heard.  The score was changed.  China Gold, Japan Silver, and Britain Bronze.  That one change, about .7 points increase, bumped Japan to Silver and tossed Ukraine off the podium. The home team had to go from an elated second to third.    

Favorite USA Victory

The U.S. girls team winning the Team Gold.  I remember watching the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta on TV.  That for me was the Summer between Middle School and High School, and I'll never forget watching Kerri Strug needing to land a second vault, standing, on a hurt foot to grantee the team a Gold.  Since then we haven't had a girls team strong enough to bring home the team gold, until now.  These girls were amazing. Mackayla's vault was perfect and deserved a perfect score.  Overall Amazing.     

Favorite Sport

Rhythmic Gymnastics.  My previous post was all about Synchronize Swimming, which is amazing, but I thoroughly enjoyed the Rhythmic Gymnastics team compition.  What these girls can do is really astounding.  

Favorite Royal Moment

During the Cross Country Equestrian course competition, all the royals were there enjoying family time.  There was a point where Kate was talking to Will, pointing to the camera.  He looked at the camera and waved, and Kate started giggling.  It was cute.

Zara Phillips, Queen Elizabeth's granddaughter, won a Silver medal with her Equestrian team. 

Favorite New Sport

Mountain Bike: Women's Cross Country.  I had no idea Mountain Biking was in the Olympics!  I stumbled upon it by accident, but it was really fun to watch. 

United States Women Ruled!

The U.S. finished off the medal count in first place with 104 medals: 46 Gold, 29 Silver, and 29 Bronze.  For the first time there were more U.S. women in the Olympics then men, and the ladies brought home more medals then the men.  Also, for the first time there was a women competing from every country in the London games.  Amazing. 

Another amazing feat is that 38 World Records were broken at the London Olympics.

It's been fun,

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Awesomeness that is Synchronized Swimming

I honestly think it's sad that Synchronized Swimming gets the bad rap that it does.  Even in the middle of the 2012 Summer London Olympics I made this sport a joke on my Facebook wall: "You know you're a geek when you yell at the screen during an Olympic Archery event . . . I guess I would be more of a geek if I did that during Synchronized Swimming."  Joking aside, I think this is such a fantastic sport with an unbelievable amount of difficulty.

Back when my family was in California we had a pool, and I used to try some of the synchronized swimming moves to no avail.  It's amazing how they can swim upside down with their legs out of the water.  No matter how hard I tried I could never come close.

During the London 2012 Olympics Russia took gold, China Silver, and Spain bronze, though Spain was my favorite.

Okay, those pics look odd, but they were actually some of my favorite moments from their routine.  Below is a video of their qualifying for the Olympics.  The costumes are different, and there are some slight differences in the choreography.  

Some of my favorite shots were the duel cam, which showed what was happening in and out of the water.  I wish it was possible to watch all the routines like this.

My Dad noticed something interesting about the Japanese pose before they started.  He asked Steven what kanji (Japanese written character) they were representing, and Steven believes it was Kokoro, Heart.

Happy end of Summer swimming!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Treasures in Old Books

Everyone who knows me knows how much I love books, but one thing people may not know is how much I love collecting antique books.  I don't have a large collection, only a happy little shelf.  One of the things that I love to find in these books are notes, or writtings, names written on the first page, etc.  Anything that gives these old pages a history and character.  Proof that someone loved it before I did.

Cambria California has a book/art gallery called The Bookery.  I've bought a few volumes from them, and quite a few years ago I found this 1904 edition of The Masquerader.  When I was flipping through the pages I found this little note:

Take my advice and go back to Ken.  You are losing
the best thing in life.  You can't tarry too long and get away with it."

I want to know the story behind this letter!  Who are these people?  What happened?  Did Mary take his advice?  When was this written?  Questions I doubt I will ever find the answer to.

The paper seems kinda modern, but there is a bit of yellowing, and Ollie is an old-fashioned name.  How many people do you know use the word "tarry" in casual conversation?  But this is a fun little mystery I've found, and I can't help but imagine what may have come to pass.


Saturday, August 11, 2012


(Blossoms last march)

"Be faithful in small things 
because it is in them that your strength lies."
~ Mother Teresa 

Friday, August 10, 2012

The New Wendy's

This last week I finally went to the new Wendy's in Orem.  The restaurant got completely remolded, and in a way beyond what I expected.

Before and after. 

This drink machine is awesome.  
100+flavor options.  My favorites are Raspberry Sprite and Peach Fanta.
The movie theater Jordan Commons in Sandy Utah installed these machines over a year ago, so I'm pretty familiur with the process.  It's funny watching people who've never tried the different flavors pause, contemplate, and then try a bunch of flavors in tiny sips.

A cozy inside feel.  Overall I love the new Wendy's, and I wonder how many restaunts got this change.  I hope all of them will at some point.  The biggest improvement is the ordering format.  In traditional Wendy stores you order and have your order made by the same person, which really slows down the line.  Here you order and receive in different locations, so it's a lot faster.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Men in Black 3 Movie Review

Rating: 4 Stars out of 5.

Did I just give Men in Black III the same rating I gave The Dark Knight Rises?  Yes, yes I did.  Why?  Because I had a rollicking good time.

The movie starts out with Boris the Animal, a big time galactic criminal who has been imprisoned on our Moon.  It's a good place to hold a bad dude who's obsessed with destroying our planet, right?  Impossible place to excape from . . . until now.  He escapes and is out for revenge (enter important plot point.)

Cut to established characters Agent J and Agent K (Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, respectfully.)  We learn that their communication skills have not improved whatsoever.  Agent K insist that he doesn't want to talk about his past, well, frankly, he doesn't want to talk at all.  Agent J is annoyed by this, and ties to get K to share the smallest information.

Soon it is discovered that Boris is on Earth, and the man he is out to destroy is Agent K, and to do so Boris must go back in time, with Agent J fallowing shortly behind to protect the world from alien invasion.

When in the past we meet a young Agent K (played brilliantly by Josh Brolin) and Agent J gets to see a whole new side of his long time partner. What made him change?  And why isn't he with that girl K keeps flirting with?  That's some of the questions the movie starts to uncover, along with many other details I wont mention.

Honesntly, I never saw the second movie.  My brothers came home from the film and told me not to waste my time, and I didn't.  Time and money are precious after all.  But I'm so glad I saw this movie.  I laughed a whole lot, the jokes were pretty good, and I couldn't help but keep smiling.

Some other notable favorites were the older and younger Agent O played by Emma Thompson and Alice Eve.  (I love Emma as an Actress.)  And I love the addition of the character Griffin, played by Michael Stuhlbarg.  He is an alien with the ability to see many plausibilities and realities at once.  Awesome.

Men in Black III hasn't performed as well domestically at home as the first Men in Black, but overall MIB III has grossed more then the first two installments in its Worldwide World gross, currently more then $620 Million.  Not shabby at all.        

Oh!  And below is a picture of what the screen looks like after the film brakes and burns up.  It's the first time I've ever experienced it!  Thankfully it happened during the previews and not during the movie.  That would have been sad.

Have a great day!
See a good movie:0)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


This post is more silly then anything serious.  I'm sure every child on long school trips have played the alphabet game.  It helps pass the time.  Or maybe they don't play such games with modern technology.  My brothers and I didn't have IPads, tablets, or fancy handheld games.  Goodness, I still remember the original, blocky Nintendo Gameboy with no back light; never got one, but I sure wanted one.    

So we played the alphabet game on 3 to13+ hour car trips, watching out for signs and license plates to be the first to find all the letters between A to Z.

I don't know how old I was when I noticed the Zzyzx sign, which is close to Baker California.  It seemed that whoever created the sign had a sense of humor and played the alphabet game.  A  good, easy way to get those last three letters.  At least that's what I assumed, and the thought amused me, so I never looked into it.

Thank goodness for wikipedia!  (Do kids realize how spoiled they are?  Back in school we had to look in hardbound encyclopedias to get information).

Zzyzx California, formally Soda Springs, was named in 1944 by Curtis Springer who claimed it was the last name in the English language, though he may have made it up.  The name is officially the last place name alphabetically.

The springs was originally a spa retreat for the elderly, but it is now the Desert Studies Center where they do research.    

There are even Songs and Movies based on Zzyzx; one of the movies stared Katherine Heigl.

So mystery solved.  Zzyzx has nothing to do with a silly kids game, but I still think Curtis has a sense of humor coming up with the name in the first place.

(Image Source Info) Soda Dry Lake in Zzyzx