Saturday, February 21, 2009

Motown Mochi

The popular Motown group The Contours, came through Binghamton this evening on a singing tour of the classic hits from yesteryear accompanied by an orchestra and rhythm section and it was certainly the most unique gig I think I've ever played. These guys shook the roof, thanks in part to modern-day amplifier technology, and did there own choreography all decked out in sparkly suits. We played hits from The 4 Tops, Miracles, and Temptations and it felt like opening a door to the sixties - not that I've been there or anything.

Earlier today I helped make some strawberry filled Mochi - a Japanese desert - with some friends and it was rich in flavor and texture. It also happens to be one of the messier foods to make. There must a direct correlation between the quality of foods and the amount of cleanup required afterward.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Laundering Monies

Did you know that Canadian quarters don't work in washing machines here in the states? For the last two months I have not been able to use the drying machine in my apartment complex on account of the jamming coin slot - which has made for a grand first northeast winter. Well turns out I just discovered a rogue coin from the north country in my laundry money. I can't help but wonder how much of this 'legal tough' has managed to infiltrate this country's laundromats over the years? And maybe that's the cause behind the economic turmoil; we've been using pesos! No, that's silly. I guess what I'm trying to say is next time a vending machine spits back at you, you best check for dubious dinars.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Eternal Perspective

It's February and getting closer to marking a year living here in upstate New York. I can't help but think about the future and where I see myself a year from now. Growing up as a child I always knew that following year I would progress to the next grade. Life was simple back then, relatively speaking. Plotting the course to pursue in life year-by-year was never a mystery to me, however, I'm discovering that the basic equations of life I used back then are beginning to unravel into arrays of abstract theories and disjointed proofs. To say it another way, I'm asking more the "why's" and "how's", not the "when's" and "where's".

All of this thinking has prompted me to remember to always keep an eternal perspective in all that I do. Having this beyond-line-of-sight can help clear the less-insignificant cobwebs and obstructions in life that creep up all around. It makes the little things each day worth living and the big things just that much more. In essence, having an eternal perspective helps one find joy in the journey.

My random thought for the day is brought to you by the letter A, as in air. Air has many stunning uses as you know and one of particular awesomeness is insulation. I guess everything is an insulator to some degree, but next time you unplug a current-happy cord from an electrical socket and sparks shoot out, think about how wonderful air is for keeping you safe from Mr. Zap and his ionizing buddies.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

FebCon 2009

This weekend I had the special opportunity to attend a YSA (young single adult) conference for my church held at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. The primary reason for these types of get-togethers is so that YSA's have the chance to meet and make lasting friendships. Often many will travel several hours (at least on the east coast) to attend these conferences. A spiritual theme highlights the various events and workshops; the theme for this conference was "Joy in the Journey." I was so impressed by some the talks that were given which covered: Spiritual Guidance in Adversity, Lifelong Learning and Interfaith Understanding.

Cornell is the kind of school that the typifies the movie 'Dead Poet's Society.' As I walked the corridors of the gothic-like construction I could almost hear the paintings on the wall of generations past chant "Carpe Diem" - or perhaps it was my stomach fond of a lunch break.

I had a blast, met a lot of new friends and even managed to get my groove on. One of the crazy activities Saturday night was a battle royal of Ice Soccer and it's pretty much what the name implies. Picture an ice rink, two goals, a soccer ball and ~30 people falling all over their rumps feverishly attempting to dribble the ball in street shoes. It's a miracle no one managed to crack their skull open but honestly I cannot remember the last time I had this much fun. Slide tackles and body checking were no strangers on the ice but rather a sense of the vertical. Needless to say we were all incredibly sore the next day in church - and there was much rejoicing...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

25 Not-So Admirable Professions (in no particular order)

The jury is in, and the verdict is FAIL for the following list of professions:

1) Professional Male Wrestling
2) Video game instructor
3) Anything to do with 'Adult Only'
4) Whoopee cushion manufacturer
5) Fake ID/Visa/Passport dealers
6) Sea Shepperd
7) Lumber jacking on protected land
8) Pimps & company
9) Anything to do with the Tobacco industry
10) Casino & online gambling
11) Spam mailers
12) Identity phishing
13) Mafia henchmen or other muscle for hire
14) Astrologer
15) Day trader
16) Bingo caller on a cruise ship
17) Lawyers (the kind that preys on the weaknesses of society)
18) Politician (the kind that is bought with the right price)
19) Professional beggars
20) Illegal immigration 'coyote' smugglers
21) Narcotics Dealer
22) Patent 'Whores'
23) Get-rich-quick scam artists
24) Weapons smuggling
25) Seal Clubbing

There ye be warned. But enough of the obvious, there are a myriad of jobs that fall in between the Admirable and Not-So Admirable spectrum. One of the many odd things about myself is my fascination with reading first-hand accounts of hilariously crumby jobs and laughing along. So with that, what's the worst job you ever had?

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Dallin vs. Dinner

The last few weeks have been part of my "what tastes good" dinner preparation experiment. My goal is to eventually have a 7-day meal plan where each entree is simple, tasty, and not exceeding an hour to prepare. So far many recipes have run the gauntlet of my kitchen though few ever surviving the 'nose' knows test. That's right, my nose is the most accurate sensory organ in my body, which draws no small attention to my unique dinner table etiquette. Call me strange but I keep a digital record of most successful dinner recipes for future reference. Just to showcase the past few days:

Monte Cristo Sandwiches

Missionary Surprise a la Polski (bread makes anything Polish - just ask my dad)

Balsamic and Garlic Chicken breasts

Chicken fingers with apricot sauce