Monday, January 29, 2007

Pots and Pans

I've been really slow in posting my Christmas stuff and since I refuse to interrupt my video game play to do some posting, I'm mooching some work time instead ;-)

I only want to note at the moment two pans that I picked up over the Christmas break.

I bought the pan on the left from a large Asian grocer in Cincinnati. I picked it up with the expectation that it was a takoyaki (tako=octopus) pan since it consists of the same series of half circles that would be in such a pan. It turned out to be labeled for cooking a Vietnamese dish that's kind'a a 'half takoyaki'. Instead of rolling the dough to form a ball as you would for takoyaki, the Vietnamese variety is like an open faced takoyaki where the ingredients are put onto the half circle of cooking dough and when they are done they're dipped in a sauce and eaten. It should work either way, but the Vietnamese dish sounds better and is less doughy.

The pan on the right is a tamagoyaki (tamago=egg) pan that Mrs. Sandmich got me for Christmas. It's cool since it's half the size of the regular tamagoyaki pans that I've seen, so I won't feel the need to cook a half dozen eggs for myself in order to cook up a nice lookin' tamagoyaki.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Why No Posts?

Just a note, Return to Castle Wolfenstein is still the greatest multiplayer game ever.

I had reinstalled it for some reason, and after I played it for an hour or two, I wondered how I ever got sick of it enough to uninstall it. After the eighth hour I realized that I didn't uninstall it because I got sick of it, but because I didn't.

Outsold in its day by Medal of Honor and later Battlefield it didn't get much respect because of its lack luster single player and its multiplayer component that required a little, yes a little, team play. Its simplistic team play elements add to it's depth but its pension for quick death keeps the gameplay moving at a quick pace.

Coming in a close second for greatest multiplayer game ever though is the Headball add-on to the game Rune. At its finest this mod consisted of four teams of three players mixing it up in a mosh pit trying to cut each other's heads off so that it could be tossed into a goal for points. I've never played a game as hectic as this. Even at it's height though nobody played it though since it was a pricey add-on to a game that not very many people purchased to begin with (much like Wolf, the concept only works well with several players).

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Quota hmmm

From here:
By the way, the outcome with the Fire Department of New York appears to have been that they hired some women to make the courts happy, but relegate them to the sidelines. Women firefighters in NYC are known to their male colleagues as "firewatchers." Thus, No New York firewomen died on 9/11. In contrast, here are the pictures of the 343 NY firemen who died that day.
Women typically lack the 'killer instinct' that men have that enables them to go into such harms way. But really, why would one want it any other way? Isn't half the planet acting like men enough? What good could possibly come about with the death of femininity? What harm?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Education and IQ

For anyone who didn't catch it, Charles Murray had a pretty good series of articles in the WSJ this week:

The money quote from the second article:
Combine those who are unqualified with those who are qualified but not interested, and some large proportion of students on today's college campuses--probably a majority of them--are looking for something that the four-year college was not designed to provide. Once there, they create a demand for practical courses, taught at an intellectual level that can be handled by someone with a mildly above-average IQ and/or mild motivation. The nation's colleges try to accommodate these new demands. But most of the practical specialties do not really require four years of training, and the best way to teach those specialties is not through a residential institution with the staff and infrastructure of a college. It amounts to a system that tries to turn out televisions on an assembly line that also makes pottery. It can be done, but it's ridiculously inefficient.

I'll point out though, that someone noted elsewhere that one of the reasons that college diplomas are used as a filter is because court orders have stated that employers cannot give written tests to potential applicants if they show a disparate racial impact, which they certainly always would. Thus, employers use college diplomas as crude filters, a kind of outsourced written test. What'a waste...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Bento Watch #35

Among several other things, one of my brothers got me the nori sheets below for Christmas:

He didn't know what they'd be used for, so I include the following pic below:

After setting on the rice for a few moments, the sheet softens and it can then be pinched up in a little rice-seaweed ball with chopsticks. I like the taste of the sheets, but for their size they have a rather extreme amount of fat (from what?)

Anyway, the bento below is miso soup, rice, veggies, and marinated pork:

Friday, January 12, 2007

Borderline Fun

Seems like this would've made more news, From here:
A U.S. Border Patrol entry Identification Team site was overrun Wednesday night along Arizona's border with Mexico.

According to the Border Patrol, an unknown number of gunmen attacked the site in the state's West Desert Region around 11 p.m. The site is manned by National Guardsmen. Those guardsmen were forced to retreat.
However, it turns out that this is the stated policy, from here:
National Guard personnel can defend themselves if they are threatened. They are not authorized, however, to apprehend illegal immigrants.

As an aside, can you imagine any other, non-white guilt country doing this kind of thing? Can you imagine Russia posting military units whose rules of engagement consist of running away?

Anyway, what kind of people could be trying to sneak across the border?
Mexican authorities reported finding nine bodies in a mass grave in Michoacan State (western Mexico). The grave site was not far from Uruapan. Michoacan State was the center of a large-scale counter-drug operation by the Mexican Army in December 2006. The Mexican police reported they found the bodies after an "anonymous tip." The Mexican government reported that over five hundred murders occurred in Michoacan state during 2006.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Minimum Rage

I had a thought pass through my sleepy mind over the vacation period.

I remembered Thomas Sowell's quip that minimum wage laws had killed off the gas station attendants. Remember the bit from Back to the Future where the '50s gas station was filled with dudes who checked your oil and what not? Sowell's point was that those jobs are gone, not due to some quirk in automation, but because those jobs became too expensive to keep around due to minimum wage laws.

For some that's probably only a vague memory, but for me that's something I never even witnessed. The fact that gas station attendants aren't real in my mind makes the quip less forceful; but that passing thought I had drew notice to something a little closer in time.

I remember a time, vaguely, when about every lane in a grocery store had a bagger. Even the no frills grocers typically maintained sufficient staffing levels that no one gave a thought about how their groceries were going to get bagged. But some time in last twenty or so years, that started to change. Check out this fuzzy cell phone pic:

The above is a shot of a Bigg's store in Cincinnati that happens to have good prices. When they first started opening many years ago, they offered a bit of change: lower prices, but bag yer own groceries. At that point in time baggers were already on the outs, and now even larger chains put what can best be called a half hearted effort into grocery bagging. Indeed, with nicer self scanners, even the cashiers are on the outs. The Meijer store that I went to in Cincinnati provided a typical experience: 4 packed self scan registers, and three 'manned' stations which typically handle only the difficult, awkward transactions (or customers) with which the self scanners can have issues.

It's all too obvious that this level of automation will continue. Although saps may vote in favor of minimum wage, they always show their true feelings by looking out for their own self interest and shopping at places with the best prices. Labor is just like any other product, increasing its price (in this case artificially), reduces the demand.