Sunday, October 28, 2007


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I have rather simple obsessions and making paella is one of them. Oh, 10 or so years ago, while I was on an LDS mission in England, I had a companion who was from Spain and he wanted to show us (there were 2 others in our flat) the joy of making Paella. Well, the language barrier and lack of propper supplies made it hard for him to make it properly but he did his best and we had a very good meal. He told us it was nothing like it's supposed to be and you could see the disappointment in his face. Ever since then, I've sought to, not just create what he made but to recreate the paella which he meant to make.

Since then, I've had several failed attempts and a long period of "giving up" on it altogether. That was before I thought of even looking it up on the internet. A couple years ago I resumed my journey once again and it has become an obsession of mine to make the perfect, authentic, paella. I found the authentic recipe and method of cooking it. I even went to the effort and expense of buying an 18" paella pan to take it to that extra level of authenticity. I've gone to, what some (including my wife) may see as, wasteful measures to achieve perfection. Buying medium grained rice instead of using the long grained rice we have. Spending $14 on a seemingly insignificant amount of saffron (hey, it goes a long way).

My next step will be to hunt down a place where I can find rabbit meat around here (shouldn't be too hard I imagine) just so I can have it the way it was meant to be had. Sure, I've experimented with variations as well so I can get a feel for what makes it work (I'm still struggling with getting the rice just right [see, I'm obsessed]) but I really just want one time to achieve the perfect paella. Then I will reach a level of content and probably find a new obsession. So, if you come to visit me or stay a night or two, don't be surprised if I make a batch of paella, and send you home with some of the leftovers. I must say, it is bloody delicious!

The origional paella recipe

Paella: Rice at Its Best

La Tienda - where I got my paella pan

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Our Only Hope?

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Ah, my next victim, Rudy. The frontrunner in the Republican camp. I think that it's safe to say that either he or Romney will be the candidate. Sure McCain is still holding on by a string but I don't think he will make it. Rudy Giuliani has many strong points including the fact that he is a moderate. This leads many to believe that he is the only one who can beat Clinton. This thought ignores the fact that many on the right do not like him. There is even a movement among conservative christians to start up a third party in the case that Giuliani gets the candidacy for the republicans. This would be political suicide in my opinion but it is a possibility. Many evangelicals are begining to endorse Romney because of Giuliani's positions.

He is pro choice, pro gun control and simpathetic towards gay marriage. This doesn't sit well with hardline conservative voters. It bothers me much less so because there is little a president can do with regards to abortion other than appoint supreme court judges who might overturn Roe v. Wade and there is no reason to believe that he will appoint anyone different than any of the other republicans would. In New York he apparently lowered the number of abortions by advocating adoption and results are more important than perceptions.

Perhaps one of his biggest hurdles is his personal life. He's been married three times and apparently his last divorce was an ugly one. In stark contrast to Romney, his children don't apparently even talk to him anymore. He has tried to break this perception by showing how much he loves his current wife by pulling stunts like having his wife call while he's giving speaches.

All his weaknesses aside, I think he does have a good chance of beating Hillary. He is a moderate on many issues but on things like the war on terror and national security he is spot on, in my opinion. He has a reputation for getting things done as mayor and holds a pragmatic view rather than an ideological one. This I think will sit well with the people in the middle and I don't think the conservatives really would defect to a third party. Some would but I hope most wouldn't. I like the ideology of Romney but Giuliani may be our only hope.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Too Perfect?

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I've thought for a while about doing caricatures of all the important presidential candidates for some time and I'm finally getting around to doing it. I've decided to start off with Mitt Romney for a couple of reasons. He and I share faiths and he's still my top pick. I, like many Mormons, have had high hopes for the guy, and still do. That said, my faith in him has been shaken but that's just because the picture perfect image you have in your head of someone is never accurate. Still, I think he's my favorite candidate, despite his apparent flip flop (in the right direction mind you) on abortion and gay marriage, though I don't think it's that cut and dry. Not many people know that Ronald Reagan, as governor of California signed bills which were pro-choice, yet he is held as the model of what a republican president should be by most conservatives. Even Ronald Reagan wasn't "Ronald Reagan" at one point.

So why the angelic depiction? Mitt has an image problem. A very strange one in fact. One of his major problems is that he appears too perfect for the average voter to relate to. He appears to have a good marriage, great kids (heck, they're campaigning for him), he's been extremely successful and his worse "scandal" was that he rode with his dog on the roof of his car on a vacation one time. It is ironic that with all the past scandals with past presidents, it's almost like the public needs to see that the president is like them.

This is not his only issue but it is a major one and I'm not sure he should get over it. It is ironic also that my next victim, Rudy Giuliani, faces the opposite problem, that of one with a poor public perception of his family life so perhaps a good one isn't all that bad.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Austin's Wild Ride

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So we had a quick trip to CA last weekend and we decided to make the most of it and go to Disneyland and California Adventure. The last time we went, Austin (6) became a speed adict... not the drug, the thrill of going fast. This time, he was dying to go on some roller coasters so we got a fast pass to go on California Screaming, a pretty intense roller coaster, and nothing like he'd been on before. Sydney was too little to go and so the two of us split from Wendy and Syd and went to get on the ride.

The first little bit he was tentatively excited and slowly I could tell he didn't expect it to be this intense. When we got to the loop-de-loop, he was not having fun at all. When we got off the ride, he was clearly upset and I tried to tell him how brave he was, etc, but he was done. Regardless of this, it wasn't long before he was rearin' to go on the Tower of Terror ride in which you experience free fall in a pitch black elevator several times... Did we go on it? You bet we did! Sydney fit on this one so she came too!