Tag: Provo

Stadium of Fire 2014

stadium of fire

Have I mentioned it recently how much I love living in Utah? One of the greatest parts is all the wonderful entertainment that is accessible, affordable and family friendly.  I have long thought of doing a blog called Utah52 and talk about a different cultural event every weekend of the year in Utah.  Unfortunately I would need a group to help me with such a project as I have things going on some weekends.

Nevertheless, you could easily go to a great quality event every weekend.  In December you could go to something every day.

People that are long-timers in Utah don’t understand how unique it is.  My parents live in Sacramento and thy have a professional musical theater called Music Circus and a youth theater and that is basically it.  I wanted to see Christmas Carol there and nothing.  In Utah you can see Christmas Carol like 100 different places.

Dance is heavily supported.  Ballet West is one of the best companies in the country.  Same with Utah Symphony.  There’s the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and every town has their own little playhouse.  Where I live in Draper has the amphitheater and Draper Historic Theater.

It’s just a great place to live!

The universities here make everything special also.  The choirs, dance troops, productions are second to none.

In this vein, every year BYU and the City of Provo puts on a huge production called Stadium of Fire.  They usually get a popular recording act- often country and then surround them with the longest fireworks display in the country and much more.

Unfortunately I haven’t been able to attend for a long time because of family stuff but this year I was so I snatched up tickets.  Carrie Underwood was the singer and I particularly wanted to see her because in 2005 I was supposed to see her but the traffic into USANA Ampitheater made us an hour late and we missed both opening acts to Kenny Chesney 😦  (That is why I hate USANA)

So I got tickets and pretty good one’s too.  I went with my new friend Adam and we had a great time.  Carrie was awesome and did all my favorite songs.  One especially cool moment was when she went from Jesus Take the Wheel to How Great Thou Art.  It was great.

(I wasn’t as close as this guy but I still enjoyed it)

There was also a field worth of dancers, a super hero trampoline troop that was amazing.  If these 2 routines don’t make you smile than I worry for you… 😉

The fireworks were then pretty awesome.  I made this video of the night using a new app called majisto.  It turned out pretty well.

War veteran and land mine survivor JR Martinez was the emcee of the night and hearing his story and the Utah Army Band play made me ponder about the freedoms I enjoy.  Too often these days we are talking more about rights than freedoms. Rights are important but we also need to step back and be grateful for the many freedoms we do have that others do not.  The push for more rights can make us forget what tremendous blessings we have.

Let’s just say there is a reason so many including children are desperate to come here and we forget that or at least I do. Sometimes it is helpful to have all the pomp and circumstance of a stadium of fire to remember how great it really is.

I loved it and am grateful for all the volunteer work which goes into such a production.  Thanks to all!

God bless America!

stadium of fire2



Green Panda Cafe

Any reader of this blog knows I love good food and finding great restaurants.  I take a special pride in hunting down hole in the wall places that have delicious food at low prices.  For instance, there is a little Japanese restaurant in Midvale called Nagoya Sushi in a strip mall sandwiched between a party supply place and a petsmart and it is so good!  Best tempura I’ve ever had.

Another good find is Bangkok Grill in Orem that has fabulous thai food but its also next to a party supply store (maybe a trend?) and a block behind a mall. I also love Diego’s Taco Shop in Provo.  The nacho’s are to die for and it is fresh, cheap and yummy.  My kind of place.

One more little find is Firehouse BBQ in Salt Lake.  It is sort of tucked away on 21st south but everything I’ve tried has been delicious. Even the sides which are usually lacking at BBQ places were superb.  Great pork, beef, chicken and the sauces aren’t too sweet.  Best BBQ in Utah and low prices.

Sometimes I think the more intriguing the location, the better the food. It’s easy to make good food in a spot close to an arena with tons of foot traffic but it takes real effort, and food has to be extra spectacular to be successful in some strip mall in Midvale. What are some of your favorite hidden gem restaurants?

Well, today I’d like to profile one of my newest finds- Green Panda Cafe, Provo

Last Fall I was driving to visit my sister Anna in Provo and we were discussing where to eat dinner.  Neither of us had any ideas and I happened to drive past a strip mall and I noticed a sign saying ‘The Green Panda Cafe’ and for some reason I was intrigued.  What does that even mean? I’ve never heard of a Green Panda let alone a cafe for them.  I said ‘let’s give it a shot’ and being the adventurous type she agreed.   (Trying hole-in-the-wall’s takes a certain degree of adventure because believe me they can be disasters but that’s part of the fun of it!).

green panda

The front of the restaurant is kind of dark and its hard to know if it is open or not but trust me it is! It is run by a husband and wife couple and she does all the cooking, he takes the orders.  She is Taiwanese and the place is always full of returned missionaries who served in Taiwan and they seem thrilled, so I’m guessing its pretty authentic.

I’ve been there 4 times and every time it has been a home run.  Everything is fresh and remarkably light for Chinese.  Tonight Anna and I had gyoza, cream wantons, curry, shrimp and chicken with noodles and pork buns.  So much food but so yummy! It’s not greasy or overly sweet like most Chinese food.

Plus they have steamed pork buns.  Ever since I went to Japan I’ve been searching for them and they are the best!  Light, flavorful, and so delicious! (sorry I need more food adjectives!).  They are special right now but I hope they never take them off the menu

Who can't like steamed pork buns.
Who can’t like steamed pork buns.

The other great thing about this place is it is a real bargain. $6.49 for a LARGE bowl of chicken, veggies and rice. $3.75 for a boba drink, $2.99 for 2 pork buns, $3.99 for gyoza.  A steal.  I couldn’t make it for that price if I tried.  And large helpings too!


shrimp and chicken choi mein
shrimp and chicken choi mein. An incredible bargain. Tons of shrimp, chicken, veggies, under $10!
cream cheese wantons
cream cheese wantons
kung pao
kung pao chicken. A favorite of mine. They use grilled chicken instead of fried in some dishes.
They have boba drinks of all flavors which take a little getting used to but I love
They have boba drinks of all flavors like these which take a little getting used to but I love

I really want this place to make it so spread the word and go check it out.  I know you will be impressed.

Green Panda Cafe

3220 North University Avenue, Provo, Utah

Funny Glimpse into the Past

Here I am with the floppy disk!


Change the poem, change the line,
change the meaning, change the rhyme,
change the outcome change the plan,
change the mood, change the man.

Change your looks, change your smile,
change your going, stay awhile,
change your past, change your time,
change your future, stay be mine.

william greer

Today I was filling up my new bookcase (which despite purchasing 4 bags of books from DI leaves my other bookcases markedly sparse!).  While personally oogling over each and every book- even the ones from my childhood such as the boxcar children and babysitters club- I started looking at my old books from college.  This is always a sentimental trap for me because I look at my college experience as the most defining one of my life.  My mission was the most difficult, college was the most defining.  I know it is such a cliche but I really did find my voice as a young political philosophy student.  All of the sudden I had the words to say what I had been feeling my entire life.  I can recall the first moment of reading Plato (something most would shutter at) as one of the most liberating of my life.  Particularly his teaching on forms- the belief that eternal forms have always existed.  He uses the example of a chair. We know something is a chair because it uses the form of a chair.  Abstract concepts are the same way.  We know what justice is because it fits the form of justice.  There were so many times in my life when I had been trying in vain to describe my heart and to know that this struggle with words was eternal was an ah ha moment if there ever was one!  Since then I have had many ah ha moments but none came with such fluidity as they did in college. Suddenly reading became easy and fun, writing (and even grammar) became a passion and learning new concepts an adrenhaline rush.  This love of learning has never left me and I believe is now one of the distinctive parts of my personality.

Anyway, as I was reminiscing with each old book I came across a book from my Marriage and Family course (ironic that I took 3 such courses I know!) and from inside the book fell out my old floppy drive from college!  What a blast from the past that was.  I knew it was the floppy I relied on because it was black with a green and white label.  I used to put everything on that floppy (everything that would fit that is!).  At the time it seemed more than sufficient for my back up and storage needs.  Looking at it now it has 1.44 mb. To put things in perspective one song on Itunes has 5 mb.  My current ipod has 160 GB.  The flash drive I carry on my key chain has 4 GB and my back up capabilities are over 1 terabyte.  This means that in my personal back up system I have over a million floppy drives! Amazing.

What am I getting with all those bytes- tons of added photos, videos and software space, back up for many projects, and perhaps most importantly thousands of downloaded songs and cds at my disposal. With all that I am only using about 1/3rd of my storage capacity.  It is hard to imagine filling it up but I am sure someday I will.  Perhaps someday I will be looking at my loud noisy back up hard drive and think it is so old fashioned- just as I am with the floppy drive.

That said- I wonder if my life really is any better?  Back then I still had a laptop with music files, software and was completely satisfied.  In fact, I would love to be able to look at this floppy and see what kinds of projects I was working on and items I thought important enough to save.  Most of it is probably papers that I put on the floppy to print at the SWKT computer lab (my printer was notoriously fickle- something that doesn’t seem to have changed much with ink jets!)

Do you all ever have moments like that where a simple item will start you down the reminiscing trail and lead to questions, to pondering?  Happens to me all the time.  Please share!  I haven’t had a comment in a while.  Not since my President Obama post and let’s be honest you guys don’t want me doing political posts all the time do you!!  (Btw, I’ve lost 8 lbs so far on my new fitness regiment but that’s for another entry!).  Thanks for reading.