Saturday, September 30, 2006

Sushi Etiquette

Here's a nice little list covering Sushi etiquette, with which most Americans probably aren't familiar. Some key items:

- Nigiri (a small piece of fish on a small bed of rice) should be eaten in one bite. But if the Sushi chef made it too big to pop in your mouth, don't worry about it.
- Don't mix wasabi into your soy-sauce dish. The chef puts what he considers to be the right amount of wasabi underneath the fish, and you can add a little more on top if you want. Wasabi soup is so gauche (but it's so good I do it anyway).
- Don't leave food on your plate at the Sushi bar. If you didn't want it, you shouln'ta ordered it.

Friday, September 29, 2006


I'm trying to watch the 1957 movie Tammy and the Bachelor on American Movie Classics, but I can't shake the nagging feeling that Leslie Nielsen's about to bust out with an 'I am serious, and don't call me Shirley" at any moment. It's like having the first five notes of Shave and a Haircut stuck in my head.

How about that? Such is the power of typecasting that I can't even watch a movie with Leslie Nielsen before he was Leslie Nielsen. Come to think of it, I have a hard time watching old clips of OJ playing football as well.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Dave and Julie: Saccharine Barfs

So there's this couple I know, Dave and Julie. And I swear, they're both cool individually. I mean, I think they are. Actually, I wouldn't know, since they're like joined at the hip and stuff.

Anyway, so we're at Dave's, getting ready to go out to dinner, and Dave's like totally wearing his Tivas. And as we're leaving, he's like "hey, maybe these sandals are a little too informal. Maybe I should put on something a little nicer." And Julie's like, "Oh, bubbie [she calls him bubbie for some reason, it's disgusting], you know you look beautiful no matter what you wear."

I've taken to wearing a cilice for just these situations. It distracts me enough to suppress my gag reflex.

Apparently, I'm not the only one who feels this way.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Customer Service

I spent my birthday in a hotel in the Philippines, which isn't much fun at all. However, on the day of my birthday, as I made my way about the New World Renaissance Hotel in Makati, hotel staff who I didn't even know kept wishing me happy birthday as I passed them. The whole day culminated with the hotel staff surprising me by knocking on the door of my room with a birthday cake and a song. It was a nice little touch for this weary traveler.

It's so nice, in fact, that it outweighs any discomfort I may feel about everyone in the hotel knowing my personal business. It does make me wonder, though, about the other regulars in the hotel who treat the staff as if they don't exist, and engage in behaviors that they surely would want to couch in some kind of anonymity. Because, the hotel staff... They. Know. Everything.

The Portrayal of Tech in Films

I'm not exactly a techno-geek, though I suppose I know more than the average American. It's easy to mis-peg the average and bias it with your own knowledge, but trust me. There are plenty of people who think you can shut down a computer by turning off the monitor, etc, etc, etc, so I'm pretty sure that saying I'm above average isn't saying much at all.

Still, though, you have to wonder how people are willing to suspend disbelief that when movies do things that people with even a cursory understanding of technology have to realize doesn't make sense. It's a total Deux ex Machina for lazy scriptwriters, so you have to respect it when filmmakers at least make a valiant effort.

Gideontech has ranked the top ten worst portrayals of technology in film. Reading through it, I must say I'm not at all in accord with their list. I mean, really, how can you exclude Independance Day, in which Jeff Goldblum writes a virus in the universally destructive language of AppleScript to take down an alien computer system, about which he has no knowledge? And while Mission Impossible is right where it belongs, I think the biggest problem is that is internet search for "Job" instantly turned up relevant biblical references rather than, say,

But as I was preparing my formal letter of complaint, I realized that it is such a huge and pervasive problem, that most peoples' lists won't overlap much at all. It's so common for films to be so bad in this regard, that it's really tought to narrow it down. So kudos to Gideontech for at least trying to bring attention to the problem.

Please, filmmakers, is it really too much to ask that you hire a Tech Support Representative, Level 2, to give your script a once over before you turn on the camera? I hear you can get them pretty cheap in India.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Brittingham may choke on someone else's vomit

In case you haven't been paying attention to USC football (I know, of course you have, but humor me), the fullback position is cursed this year. First, starter Brandon Hancock went out for the season (and, probably, forever) with a blown knee. Then second stringer Ryan Powdrell went down with a gruesome ankle injury. Sports Illustrated likened it to the drummer position in "This Is Spinal Tap", and that was two days before third stringer Stanley Havili went down today with a broken fibula against Arizona.

So it may be fourth stringer Mike Brittingham next week, unless they convert someone from another position.

Viidoo Internet TV Pleases Me

I try to time my trips abroad as much as possible so as not to miss any USC football homegames, but it still sucks that the away games aren't televised overseas. I've had to make do with sketchy internet reports from Until now.

I just discovered internet television. It has most of the major US networks, as well as HBO, CNN, and ESPN. It appears to be a P2P stream-sharing kind of thing, but it works pretty well, considering it's likely "unofficial" nature. It freezes every 20 seconds or so, for just a second or two, but the picture quality is adequate in full screen mode, and it's a far cry better than hitting F5 over and over at

Viidoo makes me a happy camper. Gotta go... I'm about to watch my Trojans throw down with the Wildcats on ABC.

Friday, September 22, 2006

The beef jerkey diet

I've been low carbing lately which is a little tough to do while I'm travelling in the Philippines. So I've been eating a lot of beef jerky (Jack Links, to be more specific. The Sweet&Hot is awesome and really cheap at Target) that I brought with me. I noticed yesterday that I was really thirsty. It could have been the 520mg of sodium per serving, but it got me to wondering. How much of a normal person's water intake comes from food, and what happens if you eat food that doesn't contain water?

Apparently, about 20% of your water intake comes from food. So if you drink 8 glasses of water per day to bring your normal total intake to 10, and you switch to the jerky diet, you'll have to drink an extra two glasses per day.

Maybe you won't find that interesting, but at least my curiosity has been satisfied, if not my thirst.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Fuel Prices Poised to Drop Sharply

According to the Seattle Times, crude oil prices could be poised for a drop that could send US gasoline prices to $1.15 per gallon. You see, oil prices aren't really based on supply and demand the same way other goods are. The futures market for oil ensures that pricing will take into account future potential supply and demand. Investors have been speculating for the last couple years that with unrest in various oily spots of the globe, there could be a major oil disruption. Companies that rely on oil have responded by stockpiling.

But... the disruption has yet to materialize and some of those hot spots are beginning to cool. And people are sitting on a ton of oil that is priced way higher than actual supply and demand for the physical good should dictate. Bloop. That's the sound of an oil bubble popping.

SUV owners stand to benefit from this (excepting, of course, SUV owners who are sitting on major stockpiles of oil purchased at $60 per barrel), clearly, but this sounds like it could also be a boon for the world's airlines, which have been struggling of late. Maybe the Northwest flight attentands won't have to strike after all.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Stingray Retribution

Some people are weird, you know?

Apparently, there has been a recent rash of dead and mutilated stingrays turning up on the Australian coast. Apparently, people are taking out their anger over Steve Irwin's death out on all of the Stingrays of the ocean.

If people are stupid enough to do this, is it any wonder we have hate crimes against Muslims when we've been supposedly at war with Islamic terrorists for 5 years?

Monday, September 11, 2006

Don't Give In To The Hysteria


Cheap Trader Joe's Wine Review: Prosperity Red

Prosperity Red Cabernet Sauvignon
TJ's Price: $4.99

Drinkable for the money, but nothing to write home about, Prosperity Red California Cabnernet Sauvignon is fruity, sweet, and acidic. I can definitely detect a little apple and some cherry.

3 pennies out of 5.

You can see some other folks thoughts here.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

The Walrus and The Carpenter

I just found out that the works of Lewis Carroll are in the public domain. Oh happy day!

The sun was shining on the sea,
Shining with all his might:
He did his very best to make
The billows smooth and bright--
And this was odd, because it was
The middle of the night.

The moon was shining sulkily,
Because she thought the sun
Had got no business to be there
After the day was done--
"It's very rude of him," she said,
"To come and spoil the fun!"

The sea was wet as wet could be,
The sands were dry as dry.
You could not see a cloud, because
No cloud was in the sky:
No birds were flying overhead--
There were no birds to fly.

The Walrus and the Carpenter
Were walking close at hand;
They wept like anything to see
Such quantities of sand:
"If this were only cleared away,"
They said, "it would be grand!"

"If seven maids with seven mops
Swept it for half a year.
Do you suppose," the Walrus said,
"That they could get it clear?"
"I doubt it," said the Carpenter,
And shed a bitter tear.

"O Oysters, come and walk with us!"
The Walrus did beseech.
"A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk,
Along the briny beach:
We cannot do with more than four,
To give a hand to each."

The eldest Oyster looked at him,
But never a word he said:
The eldest Oyster winked his eye,
And shook his heavy head--
Meaning to say he did not choose
To leave the oyster-bed.

But four young Oysters hurried up,
All eager for the treat:
Their coats were brushed, their faces washed,
Their shoes were clean and neat--
And this was odd, because, you know,
They hadn't any feet.

Four other Oysters followed them,
And yet another four;
And thick and fast they came at last,
And more, and more, and more--
All hopping through the frothy waves,
And scrambling to the shore.

The Walrus and the Carpenter
Walked on a mile or so,
And then they rested on a rock
Conveniently low:
And all the little Oysters stood
And waited in a row.

"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings."

"But wait a bit," the Oysters cried,
"Before we have our chat;
For some of us are out of breath,
And all of us are fat!"
"No hurry!" said the Carpenter.
They thanked him much for that.

"A loaf of bread," the Walrus said,
"Is what we chiefly need:
Pepper and vinegar besides
Are very good indeed--
Now if you're ready, Oysters dear,
We can begin to feed."

"But not on us!" the Oysters cried,
Turning a little blue.
"After such kindness, that would be
A dismal thing to do!"
"The night is fine," the Walrus said.
"Do you admire the view?

"It was so kind of you to come!
And you are very nice!"
The Carpenter said nothing but
"Cut us another slice:
I wish you were not quite so deaf--
I've had to ask you twice!"

"It seems a shame," the Walrus said,
"To play them such a trick,
After we've brought them out so far,
And made them trot so quick!"
The Carpenter said nothing but
"The butter's spread too thick!"

"I weep for you," the Walrus said:
"I deeply sympathize."
With sobs and tears he sorted out
Those of the largest size,
Holding his pocket-handkerchief
Before his streaming eyes.

"O Oysters," said the Carpenter,
"You've had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?'
But answer came there none--
And this was scarcely odd, because
They'd eaten every one.

Nurse Strangles Armed Intruder With Bare Hands

A nurse in Oregon returned home from work to find a man armed with a hammer in her house. So she did what any of us would have done... she strangled him to death. The question of how is answered with the fact that she's 5'7, 260 lbs, so she had 80 pounds on the guy. But seriously, strangling someone in "self defense"? I picture Cary Elwes strangling Andre the Giant in The Princess Bride. Only with the body types reversed.

Friday, September 01, 2006

How to Make Hobo Wine

Today on wikihow, an article on how to brew hobo wine using grape juice, sugar, and yeast. Sweet!

Notes of wet cardboard accent a fruity nose. A concentrated finish, with just the slightest murmur of wet hobo.