Monthly Archives: March 2009

Things I’d Like to Learn

I just stumbled across a myriad of free online resources for learing. Here’s my top 7 list of things I’d like to learn for free.

  1. Self-education on advanced business concepts from The Personal MBA(tm).
  2. A political science course or some lectures on entrepreneurship from Academic Earth.
  3. Just about anything on YouTube EDU.
  4. Brush up on my German, learn coversational Hebrew or Mandarin Chinese from Learn10, podcasts from OneMinute Languages or Mango Languages.
  5. Religious scripture classes from BYU with my wife.
  6. Something that sounds great like, Economic Analysis for Business Decisions from MIT.
  7. Course lectures from Cal Berkeley on iTunes U.

Sam Hawk Korean Restaurant

The beef bulgogi was good, the pork better (spicier), but I think that I wanted more. While I normally go for a salad, for some reason piling everything into the lettuce leaves wasn’t enough. I’ve had fajitas with the same amounts and… well, I ramble now. It was good and light. The little beans were fantastic and I could have had much more. I’ll pass on the kimchi next time, but the presentation and flavor overall was very good.

This is a fun Korean restaurant if you want a taste of the foreign stuff, which was quite savory. I give it 4 stars because it seemed authentic, was decently priced and tasty.

Sam Hawk Korean Restaurant
660 N Freedom Blvd
Provo, UT 84601
Phone: (801) 377-7766

Olive Garden

My wife and I have always loved the Olive Garden. The classic is the fettuccine Alfredo, but we often have the chicken parmigiana. Lately I’ve been ordering the steak Gorgonzola, which is a turn for me because I normally try to order something different – but when you have a winner, why move on?

The salad and bread sticks are staple. For the extravagant, order a boat of Alfredo sauce to dip the bread sticks in. The dressing on the salad is absolutely delicious. This duo is probably the tastiest and most filling free appetizer available.

Typically the servers are helpful and friendly; although the last two times we visited the one in American Fork the service for our large groups was scattered and slow. I have no complaints about the service for small groups and couples from any of the locations I’ve been to (Sandy, Provo, and American Fork).

I give Olive Garden 5 stars because they have so consistently delivered over the years.

Olive Garden

504 W 2230 N
Provo, Utah 84604

Audio-Technica LP to CD Converter

The real name of this product is “Audio-Technica AT-LP2DA LP-to-Digital Recording System” and I find it intimidating and overly-complicated — not far from how I feel about trying to convert LPs to CD. Isn’t technology great?

At the request of my mother and after looking at several products on the Internet, I’ve settled on the Audio-Technica as the one I’d like my mother to try using. I considered the technical specifications, software and user reviews and I think we’ve got something that will work. The final price comes in around $100, including shipping and handling.

The package includes the software, turntable and wires needed to connect it. The turntable has USB and phono RCA outputs, so you can connect it to your home stereo too. The software has features that will allow you to record the LP, clean it up by removing the pops and static, split it into the individual tracks, then record it onto a CD. It seems like the complete package.

I’ll post an update after we’ve had a change to use it a little bit. Check back after Christmas!

Pizzeria 712

I agreed to go to the pizzeria hoping for a cross between a Pizza Hut buffet and California Pizza Kitchen. There is always a danger for me in ordering pizza from a sit-down restaurant and that is that somehow I can only get half as much as I can get delivered for the same price. Nonetheless I forged ahead, trusting in the refined senses of my friends. Although several of the five pizzas listed on the menu looked good, and several looked as though they have no meat, I ordered one with soppressata, which turns out to be a fancy pepperoni. It was delicious, and it was not as good as the one with slab bacon! The pizzas were indeed big and I was not left wanting. In fact, I found it to be the most acutely-flavored pizza I have ever eaten. Very good, 5 stars.

So this thought came to me, as I read it off a chalkboard in the restaurant: When you start with the finest ingredients, you can cook it simply because you taste what it is.

Pizzeria 712
320 S. State St. #185
Orem, Ut 84058
(801) 623-6712

Play N Trade

So I tried out Rock Band the other day at my friend’s house, and it was a lot of fun – until my kids bumped the XBox and scratched the disc. Now nobody’s pulling off fabulous riffs.

I heard that Play N Trade could resurface the disc, so I took it over there and they polished it for $3. I tried the disc later but it didn’t work, so I took it back and they “polished” then “sanded” the disc for free! It works great now, and I didn’t have to try the peanut butter solution I found on the Internet.

160 East University Parkway Suite G
Orem, Utah 84058

Pandora Internet Music

Like a lot of people, I love music. Also like a lot of people, I’m picky. When it comes to music, I just want it to be good – without loud commercials, too much talking or crappy or offensive music.

Enter… this is one box you do want to open!

Pandora learns from you – the more you listen and rate the music, the better it gets! It does a good job of playing your favorites while mixing it up with new artists and songs.

Now here’s the kicker: it’s free and commercial free. No really. Check it out. This is a perfect example of why the Internet is great!

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

Prince Caspain takes the next step in the Narnia storyline as we rejoin Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy Pevensie in their magical land where things are much different than before.

I enjoyed this movie and its message. It seemed to be both more intense and more meandering than The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe which was puzzling. The special effects were very realistic, now only drawing attention as you watch a centaur run and wonder if that’s what they really look like. Although we didn’t include the kids, I think we will next time as there wasn’t anything other intense fighting sequences to give them nightmares.

All of the principle actors have returned – and some new ones – and their acting is believable and complimentary to each other and the story. Directed and co-written by Andrew Adamson again, and distributed by Disney and Walden Media, this franchise is poised to find its way on to a lot of families’ movie collections. I award this film 4 stars for being very good.

The Mission

“A surgeon to save the body must often hack off a limb. But in truth nothing could prepare me for the beauty and the power of the limb that I had come here to sever.” — Altamirano

Bringing in an Oscar for best cinematography, Golden Globes and awards from the Cannes Film Festival and others, the Mission delivers. Well, it did in 1986 anyway. The story sounded interesting and it had one of my favorite actors, Liam Neeson, albeit in a small role at the beginning of his movie career. Oh yeah, it had Robert De Niro and Jeremy Irons too.

So the cinematography was really good. The setting is 18th century South America. Enter the Jesuits and slave traders from Spain and Portugal, and conflict ensues. Roland Joffe’ brings this conflict home. It’s a classic thought-provoker, although I admit that I was often distracted by the angles, special effects and acting. 1986 seems to be in that uncomfortable transition between trying to do things on screen and actually being able to do them. I guess I say one too many rubber dummies falling down the waterfall.

So back to the movie – the locations were amazing! It’s the true story of Rodrigo Mendoza and Father Gabriel’s attempts to bring Christianity and peace to the natives of the new world. I can’t imagine that the natives were played by extras, which makes this film quite remarkable. In the end I am left feeling embarrassed by our own history and wondering how it is that we manage to make such grandly-poor decisions.

I give it 5 stars