Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Initial Review - Ozark Trail 12' x 10' 5-Person, 2-Room Domed Tent

This is an initial review of the Ozark Trail 12' x 10' 5-Person, 2-Room Domed Tent from Wal-mart because I haven't actually camped in it. We set it up and took it down again, mostly to make sure we didn't hate it. I was going to water proof the seams, but didn't realize the sealant needed to dry over night and since it was going to rain the next day... You get the picture.

Overall: I like it. It seems to do well for $50. My children loved playing in it.

Set up: Easy but takes 2 people. It took us 40 minutes to get the tent up, but since this was the first time we'd done it and I've never set up a tent before, I didn't think it was too bad. It has the usual poles that you put together and pop the tent up. We didn't stake down the tent since we were just trying it out. Tip: when attaching the plastic clips to the poles, start at the top and work your way down.

Tent itself: Much bigger inside than I had realized. I could stand up just fine as could my husband. The room divider is a joke, just a thin piece of cloth that hooks across, but that isn't a big deal to me since we don't plan on dividing the tent. We didn't have any gear to put inside, so I can't comment on how well everything fits. The gear loft is a little black mesh piece that fits across the top of the tent. It isn't very big. There are pockets under the windows.

Fly: The rain fly fit well. It has 2 poles that help it "pop out" for ventilation. I don't think this tent would do well if it was raining and the wind was gusting. If the wind was at the right angle, I think rain would come under the fly, and since the top of the tent is mesh for ventilation, it would come right in. I think you could tighten down the fly if you needed to though.

Taking it down: Easy / hard, Getting the tent down was easy. We still haven't succeeded in getting the tent back in the carry bag. Tip: bring rubberbands to hold the poles together or there is no way you will get them back into the carrying bag.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Happy Tomatillo

Happy Tomatillo 2
Originally uploaded by rcstanley.

I was browning some tomatillos for a sauce when I noticed this happy little guy. I should have saved him; I could have made a fortune on ebay. Oh well, he made a fantastic sauce.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Utah Senate Race 2006

I know I should be worrying about who to vote for for city council in October, but worrying about the senate race is much more fun.

I don't think I'll vote for Senator Orrin Hatch (R) again. He's sponsored some bills I really don't agree with, like the DMCA (it's been used several times in lawsuits, but never to support a just cause) and has voted to extend the length of copyrights. He has seniority, but that is only a good thing if he is representing Utah well. To be fair, I need to do some more research on what Hatch has done to see if "Intellectual Property" is the only thing I disagree with him on.

So the other choices:
Stever Urquhart - (R) From what I've seen on his site, he is even more conservative than I am. (In Utah, I'm a moderate.) He basically wants the federal government to keep it's nose out of state business. He also doesn't like judicial activism (congress should make the laws not the supreme court) A good point, but not hot button issues for me. He also thinks the DMCA goes too far as does copyright law. Update (11/14/05) - dropped out of the race.

* Paul Ashdown * - (D) founder of Xmission (my ISP). From what I've seen, I like him the best. I agree with his ideas of patents, copyrights, and most other things. I hope he has a chance. The problem is, it's hard to run as a democrat in Utah.

Jim Matheson - (D) His name keeps getting thrown around. If Hatch retires, he might run. I don't remember liking him particularly, but I haven't researched his positions either.

Roger I. Price - (Personal Choice) Enough said. Way too conservative for me.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Sticking to it

I've discovered a fun, random program Pivot Stick Figure animator. It allows you to create stick figure animations. It is easy to use and fun. It's located at: http://www.snapfiles.com/get/stickfigure.html

I tried animating one of the stories I made up that my daughter likes.

The basic plot is that Sagwa the cat (named after the PBS cat) goes out in the river and gets trapped. Sagwa blows her whistle for help. My daughter comes, finds a stick, and rescues the cat. (Unfortunately, being a toddler, she's decided she likes Sagwa and Snake better than this one I animated. )

Friday, September 09, 2005

My take on Katrina

I had a couple of thoughts about the hurricane. (Warning: Ranting below and I didn't check my facts very well either. Believe what I have to say at your own risk.)

First, it is a great tragedy, but I have seen some stories that have made me feel confused. First this quote from here:
Hip-hop hitmaker Timbaland said that he is renting trucks, buying clothes and toys and heading "to the trenches" — first stop, the Houston Astrodome. He challenged peers who splurge on jewelry and cars to do the same, because "these people in the dome listen to our music."

"Don't give to no Red Cross, that's the easy way. Not to say anything bad about the Red Cross, but who knows where that money's going," the producer said. "Take your money and do your own thing."
I think the sentiments he express are great. Everyone should do more and share with those who have lost so much. I also agree it is better to give time then to throw money at something then forget about it. However, I don't agree with "do your own thing". If the newscasts are to be believed, not being organized caused this tragedy to be greater than it needed to be. Yes, you can "do your own thing" especially if you are rich and famous and get some good PR, but the people who do this professionally probably have a better idea of what is needed. (I'm hoping he talked to people down there to see what they really need.)

The remark he made about the American Red Cross made me a little upset because I see them doing so much good in so many places. I'm not sure if he meant that the Red Cross wasembezzlingg or if he meant that the money you donated might go somewhere other than thehurricanen victims. If he meant the second, so what? There are other disasters going on right now. If the people from New Orleans are being assisted sufficiently, why not let them use the money to help others whose tragedies are not as newsworthy?

My second comment is about an article (can't find it again). When disasters hit, animals get forgotten and neglected. I feel horrible thinking this, but that is how it should be. I don't mean it is OK for animals to be mistreated and to suffer, but if it a choice between a dog suffering and a person, I'll pick the dog. People are more important. Once people are cared for, then is the time to start worrying about the animals.

There was a story about a boy who had his dog Snowball taken away from him as he boarded the bus to go somewhere else. The news story mentioned that they thought the dog had been found. I'm glad they found the dog. I understand that for that boy it was probably doubly traumatic, to loose everything then have the dog taken away. It would be easy to blame the police officer for it. The problem is, the dog couldn't go. I don't think the dog should have been able to go. I'd assume it is bad enough with upset people not to add upset dogs (probably uncontained). Also, what about people with dog allergies? What about if the dog got scared and bit someone? The other side of it is, if Snowball got to go, why not someone's fighting pitbull. Should the food for people go to feed these dogs? When trying to keep large numbers of people safe, individuals get shafted.

Now the Humane Society has set up shelters for the displaced animals and I am glad for it. (Especially because packs of large, hungry dogs roaming the streets cannot be good for anyone.)

I don't think this post makes much sense. I'm still trying to make sense of it myself. But there you go.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Smothered burritos

I made the best dinner yesterday. It took awhile, but boy was it worth it.
I made smothered burritos. To make them you need:

2 c black beans cooked (I started from dry beans, but canned would be a lot less trouble)
tomatillo sauce (this sauce is a little hot, you might want to put in 1 jalapenjo instead of 2)
lime rice
cooked shredded chicken (I just threw a few chicken strips on the George foreman grill)
6 tortillas

Make burritos by putting in a scoop of beans, rice, chicken and tomatillo sauce. Fold up burrito and place in a pan, fold side down. After filling burritos, spoon more tomatillo sauce over them and sprinkle cheese on top. Place in oven at 400 until cheese melts and burritos are warmed through (5-10 minutes).

I still had plenty of leftovers for the next day.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Review: Sam Hawk Korean Restaurant

Name: Sam Hawk Korean restaurant
Location: 660 N Freedom Blvd, Provo, UT
Phone: (801) 377-776
Rating: four stars
What I get: Spicy Beef and a Sprite
Cost per plate: around $8
What else you get: included with the meal are various appetizer including pot stickers, kimche, a potato dish, something with shrimp, bean sprouts, and some really good spiced beef.

I love the spicy pork here. They are not kidding about it being spicy (clears the sinuses). You put the spicy pork in a lettuce leaf with some rice and eat it like a taco. I've also had the clear noodles which are good. I also had the Jop Chea, which is fried clear noodles. It is good for those who don't want something spicey. There are some other things we've had there, but they aren't as good.

Note: this is a very small restaurant and it is slow for that reason. If you know when you will be there, call ahead then they will have your meal ready for you.

Review - Provident Pantry Freeze-Dried Sliced Peaches

Name: Freeze-Dried Sliced Peaches
What: Freeze-Dried Peaches, 1/2 c peaches to 1 c warm water to rehydrate
How much: it cost around $19 for a #10 can and should make 12 c of peaches.
Rating: 2 stars (out of five)
Verdict: I'm sticking with apples

I'm not a peach fan, but I do like the freeze dried peaches that come in cereal (Honey Bunches of Oats). I thought I'd try out freeze dried peaches. I did not like them. They have an odd taste to them. I tried rehydrating them, but they still had that weird taste. Since these are the first freeze dried food I've bought, my suspicion is that all freeze dried foods have that taste. My kids love them dry, however. And they make a quick snack for them.

Review - Provident Pantry Blueberry Pancake Mix

Name: Blueberry Pancake Mix
What: Pancake mix, just add water and cook. Add eggs and you can use it for waffles.
How much: it cost $5.79 for a #10 can and should make 54 five inch pancakes.
Rating: 4 stars (out of five)
Verdict: I'm buying more for my food storage.

I usually don't like pancakes from a mix, so I was pleasantly surprised by these ones. The "blueberries" gave it a nice taste. Without syrup, regular pancakes can be a little dry. I could probably eat these "blueberry' ones just as they are (which I think is an important consideration).

For me, 2 cups of the mix yielded around 11 pancakes.

I haven't done a comparison to see how much it would be to buy a comparable "instant" pancake mix from the grocery store. I'll look next time I'm there.