Misadventures in Hot Dog Consumption 

I love hot dogs. I don’t care what’s in them. I just love them. They have to be done right or else they’re nothing more than a supporting actor to the leading dynamo known as hamburgers. I have found some places that succeed in this regard while others produce a hot dog that’s so insufficient that it might as well be served by the dozen. The area I live in is not loaded with a large amount of quality eating establishments. I know I need to venture outside of my immediate area to find other contenders. I will probably do that at some point. First, I need to find out what’s out there.

One thing that’s always surprised me is the ineptitude of the fast food juggernauts to produce a decent hot dog. McDonald’s has tried it a few times with less than impressive results. Ray Kroc, the man who’s commonly referred to as the founder of McDonald’s even though he was just the guy who bought the company from the actual founders, the McDonald brothers, prevented McDonald’s from serving hot dogs due to the unpredictability of their ingredients. Burger King has one on their menu right now. I don’t trust it.

Wienerschnitzel has a location right down the street from my house. I went there once and never will again. Their hot dogs are a lifeless waste of the soggy buns they’re put in. Freddy’s, a joint that recently came into my area from parts unknown, has hot dogs but they’re small. I have to buy a burger to get a complete meal out of the arrangement. I love Freddy’s and would recommend them to anyone who has them in their town. They need to work on beefing up their hot dogs if they want to be a contender.

I get that I could make hot dogs at home. Where’s the fun in that though? I make hot dogs one way and they’re not that impressive. I could make those hot dogs every day of the week for very little money. That’s not fun. I want a hot dog that’s interesting. A hot dog that’s made using recipes and techniques perfected by passionate people over the course of years. I want a hot dog that I think about when I’m no longer in the place from which I’ve ordered it. I’ve found that dog and am going to write about it next.

Clog Proof Coffee Grinder

Would it be too much to ask for a company to make a coffee grinder that doesn’t clog? My insufferable grinder clogs all the time. It always seems to do it at the worst possible time too. Why is that? The last time I checked a coffee grinder is something that’s supposed to grind coffee. When it doesn’t grind coffee, it’s no longer a coffee grinder. It’s just a machine that makes a lot of noise. I find myself having to resist the urge to throw the contraption across the room every time I have to dig out the needle noise pliers to get the 1/8 of a teaspoon of grounds out of the gears.
I received a manual grinder and it did not get the job done. I had to exert a considerable amount of effort to get a minimal amount of grounds. I kept trying to make the process more efficient and was left with the same lackluster results. I have yet to write a review about this product because I feel like I’m not using it right. I plan on writing the manufacturer of this product to see if there’s some sort of remedy to this situation.

I’m really hoping that another company steps up to the plate to make a better grinder. A grinder that blows through a pound at a time without getting clogged. I saw a grinder like this at my favorite coffee laboratory, Daily Rose Espresso in Layton, Utah. The proprietors of this establishment fed a bag of coffee through a beastly looking grinder and it spit it out like it was nothing. I’m sure there similar contraptions in other coffee shops across the country. The cost of these machines is so significant that it makes it difficult for the average coffee drinker to get their hands on them. There has to be a better way.

I’ve pondered launching a Kickstarter campaign to turn a clog proof coffee grinder into a reality. In order for me to go into that project, I would have to research all the grinders. I haven’t done that yet. I will continue to search for this kind of grinder until I’m able to add it to my repertoire. Coffee drinkers deserve better grinders than the ones they’re getting. If I can’t find a grinder to recommend to them, I will put the wheels in motion to ensure that it’s created.

On the Futility of Memorials

A memorial goes a long way, but it can only go so far. Remembering something is all well and good. If that thing isn’t here, you can remember it all you want. The thing you’re remembering isn’t going to come back. You will feel better for awhile having remembered it. This feeling will subside, making it even more difficult to process your loss than if you had done nothing at all. I’m not advocating for the abolition of memorials in all their forms. What I’m saying is we need to do more to appreciate and preserve what we love while it’s still here.

I’m lucky to have not dealt with a lot of loved ones passing away. Family members have died of old age, but I didn’t have good relationships with a lot of them. Only two losses were substantial. I found ways to overcome those losses because I knew we had shared many great moments and left on good terms. I miss them often. However, for some reason, I don’t miss them so much that I wish they were still here. It would be wonderful if they were. I just remind myself their number was up and anything we could have done in our relationship was accomplished and then some.

I often regret the fact that I didn’t spearhead an effort to save the Cinedome 70 in Riverdale, Utah sooner. I should’ve acted the moment I saw a for sale sign attached to the building. Public interest would’ve been up and all the damage vandals inflicted on the structure could’ve been avoided. I realize that a lot of people think I’m foolish for admiring a building that’s now long gone. I get it. I just love buildings that are loaded with personality, especially buildings that were constructed by passionate people.

Modern architecture is soulless and lifeless. Nothing but a bunch of straight edges and open windows. Corporations rule the day and they prioritize designs that are easy and cheap to replicate. Consumers go for these establishments because they’re everywhere. They pass up the little places, thinking that they should avoid them since the owner wasn’t able to plunk down the money to outfit everything with the newest and the best. Whatever happened to appreciating the little guy? I wish the juggernauts would go out of business tomorrow, allowing for the up and comers to create the jobs and make things enjoyable again.

Did You Go to the Wilshire Theatre?

The Wilshire Theatre was a movie palace that stood and entertained many from 1968 to 1998 in Ogden, Utah. I do not recall whether I went to this theater in my youth. I mostly became aware of its existence when doing research for my campaign to save the Cinedome 70. Since the moment I became aware of it, it has been the focus of many of my thoughts. I keep coming back to it because of the lack of information that’s available. In the age where there’s a hundred high resolution photos depicting every angle of everything, the only pictures that are available are grainy images ripped out of the newspaper.

I refuse to believe that a theater can be in a community for 30 years and leave such a small paper trail. I plan on starting a Facebook page much like the one I created for the Cinedome. Granted, it will be more of a memorial page than anything else since the theater has been gone for two decades. I want to find stories and pictures, giving this great establishment the afterlife it deserves. I’m tired of seeing former pillars of the community being lost in the abyss of history.

I would love to go back to the days when movie theaters were personal. The people who ran them knew you by name. You didn’t have to take out a second mortgage to pay for tickets and concessions. I hate going to the movies now because it seems like they don’t care. Large, impersonal theaters with unnecessarily loud sound systems packed to the brim with inconsiderate ruffians. Our movie viewing experience is this way because we wanted it. We were fooled by the glitz and glamour of the multiplexes. Little did we know that we’d have nothing but multiplexes in a few short years.

Why does everything we used to love end up sucking? The Wilshire Theatre is not the only theater that has fallen victim to the multiplexes over the years. It surely won’t be the last. I’m saddened at the fact that it’s impossible to find any information about certain things. More people need to tell stories of places like the Wilshire. Maybe then we might have a shot of restoring the world of the movie houses and leaving behind the scourge of corporate influence. Corporations control everything. I wish they would leave the world of cinema alone.

Ballad of the Cinedome 70

I’m in awe of the fact that my failed campaign to save the Cinedome 70 in Riverdale, Utah is coming up on its 7th anniversary. While the campaign failed to actually save the theater, it succeeded in making sure that it didn’t go out quietly. I thought the idea of a theater that had been in a community for decades disappearing in the blink of an eye was a travesty. I had to unite the troops to make sure that this didn’t happen. In hindsight, my efforts were startlingly inept in every sense of the word.

If I could go back, I would have started my campaign much earlier. This might not have been feasible though. When the theater closed in 2001, I was a little over 14 years old. I enjoyed the aesthetics of the theater every time I went through Riverdale. At that age, I was more self-centered than I would care to admit. By the time I developed a more selfless mindset, it was too late and the theater was on its way out. I should have organized a campaign to raise the funds to buy the theater. I had a decade to do it. I will never know why I failed in this regard.

From the ashes of this cinematic palace, a car dealership rose to the sky. The owner of this dealership is the Larry H. Miller Corporation. They’re not a mom and pop operation. They operate countless dealerships and movie theaters throughout the state of Utah and beyond and own the Utah Jazz. A community fixture was bulldozed for a replaceable business that could easily close if the economy went south. I stood at the feat of a corporate juggernaut and didn’t blink. My unwavering defiance mattered very little as LHM had the money and legal resources to bury me.

I appreciate the fact that there’s a painting and plaque in the dealership building. It doesn’t say that the theater was there or for how long. Really it’s a piece of art that blends into the background. I fear that the Cinedome has been forgotten and I’m responsible. I will not let that happen. I will make it a point to talk about it a lot more in the future. Perhaps I might be able to get a mention or two of it in local media. As I did during the campaign, I’m not ruling anything out.

Car Dealerships are the Worst

Words can’t describe the outrage I feel at how car dealerships treat their customers. The only entities that treat people worse are those the dealerships work with to finance the cars. Regardless, the entire arrangement is rigged against the consumer from start to finish.

I’m not saying that every car dealership needs to give customers for free or their financiers should let people determine the terms of their loans. As a cog in the capitalist apparatus, I’m well aware that goods come at a cost and, in order to remain afloat in said apparatus, businesses have to sell enough of their goods to turn a profit.

At the same time, does the provider of goods always have to make their profit while screwing over the consumer in the process?

I’m not an insider in the car industry, but I have purchased several cars in my lifetime. During these purchases, I began to see a pattern of behaviors. These behaviors appeared no matter which dealership sold me the vehicle.

I would describe these behaviors as the run around. They act as if they’re working hard to get you the best deal possible when really they’re stalling in the hopes that you will give up and pick whatever deal they put in front of your face. You might think that you’re winning the battle if you have been there a while and the terms of the deals they’re giving you are slowly improving. The reality is that they have a lot left in the tank and the best deal is so far on the horizon that you can’t even see it. The fact that they claim that they can’t do anything more to help you is ridiculous considering they own the business. In a world where car dealerships donate cars on a regular basis, more can always be done.

I would never lump all car dealerships in with one another. My main grievances are with the ones I’ve patronized. I feel like you should be able to buy a car without having to jump through hoops. I’ve always heard that car salesman can’t be trusted, but I never understood why. Not anymore.

I’d love to find a car dealership that’s actually willing to do business with me, not take advantage of me needing a car. Be straightforward, honest, and cut out all the nonsense. For the life of me I do not get why that’s such an unrealistic proposition.