Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Holidays are a Time to Slam Tim Tams with the Flim Fam

In order to properly do a Tim Tam Slam, you will need a Tim Tam (or Arnott's Original as they are called in America) and a cup of hot cocoa. They are chocolate cookies covered in chocolate that you can purchase at an import food store. They are sold at Cost Plus, but other import food stores such as LiLi's Oriental Market in Mesa may also have them. Just ask for Arnott's Originals.

Once you have your cookie and mug of cocoa, it is time to prepare for slamming. Be sure to read these instructions in their entirety before you attempt a slam.

1. Be sure that your mug of cocoa is fairly full, and place it in front of you.
2. Select your Tim Tam and carefully bite off two opposing corners. (For example, the top left corner and the bottom right corner.)
3. Using your Tim Tam as a straw, place one of the bitten corners in the cocoa and one in your mouth. Begin to suck the cocoa up through the Tim Tam straw.
4. When the cocoa gets to your tongue, IMMEDIATELY* shove the entire cookie into your mouth.
5. Experience the chocolate bliss.

* Note: It is imperative that this step is done quickly and smoothly. Delaying even a second may cause your cookie to disintegrate in your hands. No one wants chocolate bliss in their hands as opposed to their mouths.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The P-town Culture Club

I am sorry for the long hiatus since my last post. Tyler and I have been doing some important field research at the many yogurt shops that have sprouted up around Provo this year. Provo seems to consistently invite enthusiastic entrepreneurs to try their business ideas out. Tyler and I have noticed a quick turn around time for businesses here to open, try a new product, and close. Perhaps it has to do with the close proximity of the Marriott School of Business. Whatever the cause, though, the truth is that the businesses here seem to change almost yearly, and several similar ones just sprouted up in the past few months.

For the "pure yogurt" craze, it all started with Yoasis, which found its home as a replacement for Glazies in the strip mall at Bulldog and Freedom, creatively entitled "The Corner" (which has always seemed to have this blatant and desperate desire to become a popular hangout for BYU students). Yoasis seems to have that same goal in mind, and seeing as Tyler and I are generally anti-establishment, we vowed never to go. Our curiosity quickly got the best of us, and we shamefully tried a number of times to patronize this strange new place, but left each time, too turned off by the long line of morons inside. We finally bought our first pure yogurt in the middle of a weekday from the "paradise" at The Corner. The first taste of these pure yogurts is a little shocking. It is much more bitter than your standard frozen yogurt. It definitely feels healthier, leaving you with a nice feeling afterwards. It's as if you feel like you have done something good for your body. We returned a couple of times for the intriguing new taste despite the high cost.

Then, within a few months, we saw "Spoon Me," "Red Mango," and "Hello Yogurt" all sprout up in different areas around Provo and Orem. Tyler and I were further intrigued. Not by the apparent "demand" for pure yogurt, but by the sheer audacity and confidence that these new places displayed. We set out to attend each one and note their strengths and weaknesses, hopefully determining which yogurt reigns supreme. This research has been thorough, the results have been compelling, and we now display them for your education and interest.

Update for our readers outside of Utah (both of them): "Pure Yogurt" is frozen yogurt that has not had any artificial flavors added, making it both tart and creamy. This yogurt is considered to be more healthy than flavored frozen yogurt because it uses natural ingredients and has live and active culture counts in amounts that researchers have determined to have positive health benefits as certified by the National Yogurt Association. (See for more details.) It's as if you were to buy plain yogurt at the store and stick it in a soft-serve machine. I suppose what makes people want to go to one of these places, as opposed to say "trying to find a TCBY that hasn't closed down yet," is the feeling that you are doing something healthy for your body. Plus, everyone's doing it!!! You'll read below all the reasons why having pure yogurt is "cool."


This was the first experience we had with the concept of "pure yogurt." The yogurt is tangy and tasty, but the service needs some fine tuning. When we have been there, they only have one person working, and each yogurt is prepared with such care and precision that it becomes a borderline obnoxious ordeal. We definitely slow the whole process by ordering bananas as a topping. They slice the banana very thinly while it's still in the peel, then awkwardly use the peel to stick it around the rim of the yogurt. The slicing and placing of the banana takes a good 60 seconds or so. The only times we've gone, we haven't even had to wait in line, and it has taken 5 minutes for them to prepare our yogurts. I cannot imagine what the wait time would be on a Friday night with a line of 30 people in it.

Yoasis is definitely the most spacious of all of the establishments. There are many tables, including booths, to sit at, and since it adjoins Teriyaki Stix and Hogi Yogi, one can order a full meal befre topping it off with pure yogurt. The decor is clean and modern, but the plasma televisions showing nature videos are a little off-putting. I suppose it is to accentuate the "natural" and "paradisaical" theme of the place, but its weekly live rock music, Wii tournaments, and Rock Band jams seem decidedly un-natural and conflict with the theme Yoasis is trying to have me buy into. I know these events are simply an attempt to gain a community following, but as a result, I just get the idea that Yoasis is trying too hard.

As far as price goes, the yogurt is a little expensive, and the toppings are cleverly distributed as one topping for $1.25, two toppings for $1.50, and three toppings for $2.00. It forces you to buy more toppings for a better deal, when I am pretty sure you get the same amount of topping either way, you just pay for the agency of choosing more than one item.

Yogurt: 4/5 Decor: 4/5 Value: 3/5 Atmosphere: 2/5

Red Mango:

This little shop was much more impressive. It had the same sort of modern decor, but gave a more exclusive dessert club feel instead of the "we'll take anyone" desperation that Yoasis exhibited. The thing was, I believed Red Mango. The interior colors were sheek and smart, and all of the design seemed very coherant and consistant. While the patrons in Yoasis were a turn-off, we felt like we were friends with all of the hipsters here in Red Mango. Also, it's located in Orem, so the personnel seemed naturally more edgy. Their menu offered a bit more variety, but the pricing system was very similar to Yoasis. Here at Red Mango, however, the price seemed more called-for in an upscale dessert shop like this one. I know that I was paying for the quality and the experience. The yogurt had a similar tangy zip, but tasted higher in quality with a little bit more creaminess to it that Yoasis didn't seem to have. Overall, we had a great experience at Red Mango and enjoyed the exclusive yet inclusive atmosphere. We did not have any complaints here.

Yogurt: 5 Decor: 5 Value: 4 Atmosphere: 5

Hello Yogurt:

This shop, located next to Sensuous Sandwich in Orem, was definitely the most different of the bunch. You can tell that it is geared to a much different audience. While the furniture remained true to the Mod Ikea look, the rest of the place looked like a local ice cream shop that you remember from your childhood (my childhood being in the 80's with the recession).

The pricing system was the most innovative we had seen. The yogurt and toppings are priced solely on weight at $.38/oz. They offer the largest selection of yogurt flavors (while still including the "tart original") and toppings, and the entire place is self-serve. You take your cup and put as much or as little of any number of yogurt flavors and/or toppings. This gives a sense of freedom unprecedented at dessert parlors. You get exactly what you want, without worrying about getting the best value. To further ensure that you get what you will like, they have set up a table with little cups for tasting. Sine there is no direct supervision of the yogurt dispensing machines, you can try as many flavors as you need in order to decide what you want the most. The price is very modest as well, I got a pretty big yogurt, and paid less than I had at any of the other yogurt places.

The only downside to this place is the lack of supervision. We wondered how efficient the service would be if a lot of people came in to get yogurt at the same time. This place leaves the efficiency up to the patrons. Having been to both Disneyland and Disney World in the past year, and seen a major difference in the way the two are run, I can tell you that it makes a big difference between ensuring efficiency and trying to let it happen on its own. Also, it was interesting to see how many people had trouble operating the yogurt machines on their own. Perhaps it's because I spent many meals at Furr's Cafeteria and Home Town Buffet, but I thought everyone knew how to dispense yogurt sanitarily into their cup. Instead we saw some adults squirting samples into a cup, licking the top, then pressing their ABL cup right up under the dispenser again for more. That's gross to me. But besides the occasional residue left by other customers that might end up in your cup, it tasted great and the price was well worth it!

Yogurt (plain): 3 Decor: 2 Value: 5 Atmosphere: 4

Spoon Me:

This may be the most disappointing for us. My first impression was that they are trying harder than all of the others. The interior looks as if it were designed by an interior design enthusiast as opposed to someone who has experience, and the menu offered the least agency of them all. In Spoon Me's scenario, you can choose from original, green tea, or Acai Berry yogurt, but the toppings are one blanket price. If you want toppings, you pay for the right to have them and then you can choose up to three. This bugged me. I had to clarify with the lady that that is really how they do things.

The biggest turn-off, however were the labels on the bathroom doors which just added to the interior confusion. The men's said "Yo Homie" and the women's said "Yo Mama."...This just didn't seem to mix with the androgynous modern design that the rest of the place was trying (unsuccessfully) to embody. I didn't like those doors.

I will, however, give one prop to Spoon Me in their attempt to be more eco-friendly. Their spoons are crazy-thick and seem like they were made for babies, but are so because they are completely biodegradable, or "fully compostable." Their cups, too, claim to save a billion watts of energy a year or something like that. I liked that. I mean, why not use products that are good for the environment? Their trash, then, was fully compostable, and as a result, this business could do its part in saving a lot of energy. It's too bad that I'm not going to go there anymore.

Yogurt: 2 Decor: 3 Value: 2 Atmosphere: 2

As you can see by this research, all yogurt places may not equal. Do not be discouraged if you haven't found the pure yogurt place for you. It is only a matter of time before one pops up that may satisfy your particular yearning. For us, it's Red Mango and Hello Yogurt, depending on what experience we're in the mood for.

Note: These reactions are based on isolated experiences at each of the establishments. Further investigations could not be performed due to lack or research funds. If you have had experiences that conflict or are in harmony with the above results, please describe your reactions. Thank you.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

I Can Has Lesson?

So, I understand that it may be a lot to ask for every English speaker to have perfect spelling and grammar (myself included). I would like to expect, however, that we English speakers at least have a general understanding of commonly used words and their pronunciation. As I listen to my fellow speakers, there are a few uses of extremely common English words that are difficult for me to forgive. In fact, there is a small uncontrollable shudder when I hear them.
Here are the top 10 unforgivable words:
(Feel free to add to this list)
10. oviously
9. heighth (I have heard drafters and architects talk about the hieghth of a building)
8. irregardless
7. supposevly, supposebly
6. nuculus, nucular (Tyler's science teacher would talk about the "nuculus of the atom")
5. drownd (ex. don't drownd), drownding
4. sell, in place of sale (I actually saw a sign that said "Contract for Sell")
3. excetra
2. exspecially, and on occasion, even "exscape"

...and the number one bizarre and annoying pronunciation heard daily...

1. acrost

I really don't understand this one. And I have heard it in many different contexts:
My design classes: "Draw a line acrost the page."
My exercise class: "Reach acrost your body."
Film sets: "The camera will pan acrost the stage."
Stadium of Fire: "They'll run acrost the field (actually, "feld") AND "The cords will go acrost to the portal."

I really don't get it. One day, I heard it 4 times. 4 times! I think it was 100% of the times I heard the word "across" used that day. Do these users spell the word that way?? I mean, why on earth would anyone add a random "t"?

I actually read why someone would add a random "t". I guess as humans, we naturally want to end words with a hard consonant. Ending with an "s" makes us nervous, so sometimes one adds the "t". That's interesting, but come on. The word is acrossss.

The biggest problem I have with this epidemic is I don't see how I can help solve it. How can I, just one little girl, tackle a problem that is so widespread? It is rude to correct people, even though I think I would want to know if one of my "mouth habits" caused people to make unforgivable lists. I guess all we can do is take notice and try to correct our kids. Other than that, I am at a loss for ideas.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Atarashii Shigoto

So, I finally got a new job. It was actually very hard to find something to meet my desires: full time, over $10/hr, and anything that isn't sales. I didn't think that my expectations were very high, but the pickins are pretty slim here in Provo.

The sudden end of my last job was a huge fiasco, (some of you know the whole story) so I had to start from scratch after I got back from the cruise. I have been doing well freelancing as a Stage Manager, working for BYU, High School Musical 3, Stadium of Fire, and such, but I really wanted a job that had normal working hours, and would still allow me to do theatre projects on the side.

Well, I am now a Medical Assistant at Nexus Pain Care. This might come as a shock to some of you. I mean, I majored in Theatre Studies and now I'm an MA at a pain management clinic?? Yes. And I love it so far! The environment is different than anything I've done so far, and I get to learn so many new things. I see patients to their rooms, maintain their charts, explain various procedures and medications to them, etc. I am learning a lot; I usually have a list of new words that I bring home every night to study. The people I work with are great. They are so easy to get along with and are so hard-working and committed. It is also so satisfying to make a difference in our patient's lives. I find the work interesting, challenging, and thoroughly rewarding. And...I get to wear scrubs!

I am still designing the set for a couple of shows at BYU this year, but this job is giving me a an additional feeling of security and busyness that I haven't had in a while.

So, if any of you have any questions about opiate medications, I may be your gal now.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I Want to Believe

In a few minutes, we are off to the midnight showing of the long-awaited X Files movie. The thing is- it's been too long. We awaited the sequel to the first for so many years that I barely care. We are going to the midnight showing tonight not because we're brimming with excitement or anything, but we figure that if we don't go tonight, who will?

In Wired last month, they wrote about the "nostalgorithm" that shows the projected ideal release date for this movie as 2018. This would give us enough time to miss the show, forget about Agent Doggett and Reyes, and be excited once more. Instead it is coming out in the lowest lull of X Files fandom.

I do want to support it, though. I feel such an obligation since I've wanted it for years. But it's like finally getting the Nanopet you wanted for years when you're 15.

We'll see how it goes. I am anxious to see who shows up. And if they are attending out of obligation as well. I really want to believe that this movie won't be terrible, but right now I am imagining Dreamcatcher.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I'm On

I wish I could say that I boarded something as exciting as Mary Murphy's Hot Tamale Train, but instead the only train that will grant me access is the ol' Blogger Express. It has rolled on by a few times, slowing down to almost a halt, but I always let it pass, thinking I was not cut out for the life it required. Now, I'm hopping on, ready to ride the rails of cyberspace publishing.

This is actually going to be more like an attempt to document our lives, since neither of us can keep up a physical journal very well. This way, we jot down what we think or do, and we don't even have to wait for our posterity to partake of it. You all can do the partaking right now! These instant results are what our impatient generation thrives on.

So read on. We'll try to write sometimes.