Food Science

August 25th, 2011 by admin

I was at a farmers market a few weekends ago, and there were a lot of meat venders there.  One person was selling ground buffalo, another selling ground elk, and a third selling ground grass fed beef.  Exotic meats fascinate me, so I bought all three.  I ended up with three pounds of meat.  One thing I love more than exotic meats is science.  So, I decided to set up a taste test so I could figure out what the best meat was.

Eighteen people, six pounds and three hours later, I ended up with some results!

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Ip 2 and and Alice

August 8th, 2011 by admin
I finished up watching two more movies:  Ip Man 2 and Alice in Wonderland.  Ip Man 2 was uneventful.  Don’t get me wrong, it was awesome.  It was like the first one.  Still amazing fights, and seeing Samo Hung was very amusing.  If you liked the first one, you’ll like this.
Alice in Wonderland, on the other hand, was a lot more notable.  But, there are really two ways of looking at this movie:  Looking at it as its own work of art, or as part of the greater Alice In Wonderland world.  As a stand alone film, it’s a little bleh.  Not terrible, but not particularly interesting.  It is a story of very simplistic hero’s journey.  The characters are kind of weird, the art is colorful, but it is completely by the book.  It’s just completely forgettable.
As a fan of Alice in Wonderland, it’s somewhat painful film.  From my point of view, Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-glass were beautiful pieces of nonsense.  There were no heroes, no villains, just a bunch of colorful characters interacting with each other.  In the new Alice in Wonderland, the Mad Hatter is a hero… They took this wonderful insane character, and made him dull and rather sane.  All of his actions make sense, and are always to make the world a better place.  But they didn’t just make the character dull, they tried to make the entire world dull.
My favorite poem is the Jabberwocky, with my favorite line ‘O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”‘  To me, this line speaks to the whole spirit of Alice: Most of the words aren’t words, but they flow so well together they make perfect sense to me.  Maybe they make different sense to you, but it doesn’t matter.  In the new movie, they decided to define frabjous… really?
What did they do wrong?  They tried to simplify Alice in Wonderland into a linear, simple plot.  I think it should have been a kid’s version of Naked Lunch, or Fear and Loathing Las Vegas… Make Alice wander around in an insane world where things don’t make sense.  How awesome would it be if Depp played Mad Hatter like a G-rated Hunter S. Thompson?  It would have been epic.  You listening Mr. Gilliam?
  1. Ip Man
  2. Raging Phoenix
  3. Ip Man 2
  4. Let the Right One In
  5. Gamer
  6. Severance
  7. Alice in Wonderland
  8. Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever
  9. Croupier
  10. Gene Generation


April 16th, 2011 by admin

Whenever I sign up for a service, I create a unique e-mail address for that account. That way, if you send me spam, I can shut off that e-mail address and not be overwhelmed by offers for penis enlargement.

I was looking in my spam folder, and I noticed some e-mails titled “Re:BestPlayCasino#Click”, “Re:ForYou$BlackJack>Get” and other similarly spammy titles. I was oh so excited: my trap has been sprung! Who sold my e-mail address? Was it the tiny little miracle fruit seller? Or maybe it was the forum I had to sign up to learn about some gardening issues I had?

Nope, EA. a.k.a. Electronic Arts. Seriously? A huge multinational company? Boo on you, EA, boo! Once again: Little companies are trustworthy while huge companies are jerks.


March 12th, 2011 by admin

I love delicious food. I love ridiculous themes. I love math. So, Pi day, a holiday celebrated around the world by nerds and math teachers, holds a special place in my heart. I commented to a friend that we should have a Pi day party, and she said she was already throwing a party and we should incorporate Pi. How could I say no?  What’s nerdier than a comic and pi party?  The whole Pi Day thing was my idea, so I had to bake a pi(e)…



Update: I entered the Serious Eats Pi Day Contest:
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Let the Right One In, Ip Man and Severance

February 27th, 2011 by admin

Severance is an interesting movie.  One part goofy office comedy, one part suspenseful horror, one part action.  Each act in the movie was distinctly different, but none of them were particularly good.  The movie wasn’t bad, per se, it was just very mediocre throughout the whole movie.  None of the characters were likable enough to make the comedy endearing, or for the build up in the second act to be extremely dramatic or for the action sequence at the end to be very thrilling.  The other major problem was that I knew what was going to happen — If I had thought Severance was just a comedy, it would be pretty scary… but the end result was a movie extremely by-the-numbers movie.

Speaking of expectations ruining a movie, I really wish I hadn’t heard about Let the Right One In.  The movie was interesting, but the build up was wasted because I had already known too much about it.  If you haven’t heard of Let the Right One In, just watch it.  I won’t talk about the plot, but I do have to say the casting was great: It was extremely non-Hollywood looking.  All of the actors looked like real people, not models… which makes the remake even less enticing.

Ip Man also didn’t have a particularly interesting plot.  It’s the classic Chinese vs. Japanese plot:  One man changing the entire society.  But, it’s a martial arts movie, the plot is not the point of the movie.  The action is the point, and the action was pretty amazing.  Unlike Raging Phoenix, it was an extremely conventional martial arts movie.  No drunken boxing, no comedy, just good, old fashioned action.  Donnie Yen is amazing.  Go see him, now.

Sorted from best to worse:

  1. Ip Man
  2. Raging Phoenix
  3. Let the Right One In
  4. Gamer
  5. Severance
  6. Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever
  7. Croupier
  8. Gene Generation

Amazon vs. Netflix

February 24th, 2011 by admin

I have Amazon Prime.  I love it.  I order random stuff and I don’t have to worry at all bout shipping.  A few days ago, Amazon announced that prime members get a free Netflix-like streaming.  They claim ‘over 5,000′ videos available.

I was curious.  If you go to the Prime site, there are 71 pages of movies:  A total of around 1,700 items.  I guess the rest of the items are television shows…  Maybe I’ll take a look at them next, but that’s neither here nor therem.

But I already have Netflix, so is Amazon Prime any value to me?  I did some website scraping on Amazon and I used Netflix’s OData provider to see the differences between the two.  Random details below…

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Sous Vide Tilapia

January 17th, 2011 by admin

I just returned from an adventure in Mexico, but I didn’t have my fill of fish. On my last evening we went to a fancy restaurant called El Dorado, and I got their titular dish. It was a piece of fish with plantains. It was delicious, and I have been day dreaming about making some delicious fish myself.

So, I went to the Fresh Market and got myself some tilapia and scallops for my fish, some white and purple asparagus and garlic for my side. I threw the tilapia and scallops in a bag with dill and sous vided them for a few hours. I then roasted the asparagus with pepper and the garlic. I fried the tilapia and scallops for a second or two to brown them.

One thing about fancy restaurants is that the food is so pretty. I decided to try to do the plating myself. I think it turned out pretty well:

I put the scallops in between the alternatingly funny colored asparagus, piled the tilapia that I tore up (by accident) on the bottom and put the one intact piece on top.  I tried drizzling balsamic vinegar on the asparagus, but it was cheap vinegar so it wasn’t thick enough.  I don’t think I’m at the Top Chef level, but it looked pretty good.

Sous Vide Dill Tilapia and Scallions with Roasted Garlic White and Purple Asparagus Drizzled with Balsamic Vinegar and Lime (Marked Up)

It tasted pretty great.  Roasting asparagus makes it nice and crunchy.  The scallops were the least impressive, I should have browned them more or something… or maybe sous vide isn’t right for them?  They ended up bland.

The fish itself was good.  I added some dill, but not enough.

I have two more tilapia fillets preseasoned in sous vide bags in the freezer, hopefully the next adventures will be even better.


January 10th, 2011 by admin

“158… huff… 159…. 160…. pant… 161… 162?  *sigh*”  This was the third evening into Alan’s trip to Puerto Vallarta.  He had decided that stairs were cooler than the elevator, so he decided he should hoof it between the pool and his room.  This was not uncommon, since he enjoed taking the stairs in previous years, but this year was slightly different:  He was on the 11th floor.  Walking up and down 10 floors three or more times a day gets boring…
So, to keep his mind busy, Alan decided to count stairs.  Once again, not particularly unique for him… most days to work he counted the number of strides from the parking lot to his office. (143 if he followed the crosswalks and sidewalks, 131 if he cut through the gravel). But, Alan’s body wasn’t used to traversing so many stairs.  After three days, around 10 round trips, he still was unable to count correctly.  He knew the answer, since there were 8 steps per flight, 2 flights per floor, plus a magic extra stair on the first floor.  Often, around floor six or seven, he would notice his stair count didn’t add up to an odd number, and he would know he was screwed… but fixing the number would be cheating, and stopping counting would be giving up.
“Oh well,” he sighed, “I should stop writing on my blog in the third person and try again, maybe this time I’ll get 161.”

Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever and Raging Phoenix

December 7th, 2010 by admin

First, there was Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever. Antonio Banderas and Lucy Liu shooting guns and fighting. First and foremost, it has to have one of the most ridiculously terrible names ever. I really don’t know what they were thinking. Were they expecting to have multiple “Ballistic” movies? But, that’s neither here nor there. The movie was just “Meh.” Really unmemorable. Some average chase scenes, a bunch of explosions, some disconnected fight scenes, and a completely dull plot.

Next, there was Raging Phoenix. Take one part Ong Bak, one part Legend of Drunken Master (a.k.a. Drunken Master II) and a tiny bit of The Fifth Element and you’ll end up with Raging Phoenix. It’s not nearly as good as the first two, but it’s still quite an awesome Thai Drunken Boxing movie. The choreography was pretty amazing… Very break dancing like fighting. Good rhythm. Everyone was quite awesome. I have to say JeeJa Yanim is becoming one of my favorite stars.

Sorted from best to worse:

  1. Raging Phoenix
  2. Gamer
  3. Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever
  4. Croupier
  5. Gene Generation


November 29th, 2010 by admin

I just finished watching Gamer.  Starred Gerard “300″ Butler and Michael C. “Dexter” Hall.  Lots of explosions, a dance sequence, and lots of grunting and punching and what not.  Plus a big fat guy who touched himself quite a bit.  From that description, I know the movie sounds amazing.  Unfortunately, none of it was done very well.  There was some fun fights, but not enough to ignore the completely asinine plot.

So, we’re now oh for three.

But, I have decided that a binary opinion of movie is kind of lazy.  Instead, all movies should be compared to all other movies.  So, going from best to worst, I have:

Gene Generation

Up Next… Ballistics: Ecks vs. Sever … what could possibly go wrong?