Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Tokyo Majin Gakuen Kenpuchou

Okay, zombies, demons and high school onmyouji, how can I pass up Tokyo Majin Gakuen Kenpuchou? Waiting for episode two now!


Alan asked for my salsa recipe, but of course I have two now, so I had to put the second one online in order to point to both of them. Here we go...


  • 1.5 pounds firm, ripe tomatoes (dice into 3/8" cubes)

  • 1 large jalapeño chile. Remove seeds and reserve. Mince flesh.

  • 1/2 cup minced red onion

  • 1 small clove garlic, minced

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt

  • pinch ground black pepper

  • 2-6 teaspoons lime juice

  • granulated sugar to taste

  1. Put a colander into a bowl.

  2. Drain tomatoes in colander for 30 minutes.

  3. As tomatoes drain, layer on jalapeño, onion, garlic and cilantro.

  4. Shake colander to drain off excess tomato juice (this stuff tastes really good).

  5. Empty bowl and wipe clean.

  6. Put colander contents into bowl.

  7. Add salt, pepper, and 2 teaspoons of lime juice, toss.

  8. Taste, and add minced jalapeño seeds to make hotter if you want.

  9. Add sugar and additional lime juice to taste.

That's it! As always, good, sharp knives help with the prep.

Friday, January 26, 2007


Funny how memory works. On the way into work this morning, I was listening to this podcast on the Greyfriars and Blackfriars (don't worry, I found a lot of it confusing), and one of the guests mentioned that the Franciscans (the Greyfriars) were a mendicant order.

For the next several minutes I was unable to pay attention to the show, as I was recalling a comic I used to read 'religiously': Groo the Wanderer, by Sergio Aragones. In it, a character satirically modelled after Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian wanders the land, with only his sword and his clothes as property. A running joke is that he is referred to everywhere he goes as a mendicant, which makes him very angry, as he doesn't really know what the word means.

That's it, just an example of how my mind is constantly derailed by pop culture references. I'm my own personal Handicapper General.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Thanks for Saturday

I just wanted to thank Tom for inviting me along for the pilgrimage to Syun Isakaya for sushi and many, many other delectable dishes. It was a lot of fun.

Oh, and a big shout out to the folks from up north, most of whom I've not seen in awhile, and a couple whom I haven't seen in ages or not at all. It was great seeing you folk too!


Jean has traditionally been the member of this family engaged in an uneasy truce with technology. She has frequent troubles with our computers, watches seem to break for her pretty consistently, you get the idea. But now it seems to be my turn.

I decided this weekend that I wanted to move from my 'bulky', nearly three year-old third generation, 15GB iPod to a smaller iPod Nano, so I picked one up (now christened Lum) and gifted the 'fatty' on Renee. She spent the weekend, MLK Day, and this morning, listening to The Pillows and Maaya Sakamoto. But today, her 'new' iPod was unresponsive, just four days after I gave it to her, after using it for nearly three years myself. After many attempts to revive it, I have concluded that it is a brick. Guess who has asked for an iPod Nano for her birthday?

Item Two: We bought Renee a rhythm game for Christmas, Taiko Drum Master. It's for the Playstation 2, but my PS2 doesn't read it. That's only the second time in my PS2's long history that a disk was unreadable.

Item Three: Stupid electric blanket! I've been using it as a regular blanket for donkey's ages. But now, the evening I decide I want a warmer nest, I plug in the heater control, and it flashes 'FF' at me. Borked, plain and simple.

Is this to be my lot from now on? I'm the tech geek in the family, so everybody better hope not!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Metric Office

I was reading an article on Slashdot revisiting the never-ending resistance to the Metric System in this country, and read a comment from a British reader stating that most people in his country do not use the Metric System (they use miles, pounds, etc.). I got to thinking about it, and I started wondering about the odd measurements of paper (odd to me) 'over there'.

I read quite a few technical papers in my field, and many of them come from Great Britain. A lot of those papers are a pain to format for printing, because we use 8.5 by 11 inch 'letter' paper, and the articles are formatted for A4, which is narrower than letter, but longer, by about 0.7 inches (more precisely, 210 mm × 297 mm, or 8.3 by 11.7 inches).

So I looked it up on Wikipedia, and found that A4 is indeed a Metric standard size. The standard is ISO 216, and specifies a whole range of paper sizes, with the basic stipulation that the dimensions of each sheet are width-to-length a ratio of 1 to √2. Then, any two sheets of one size laid side-by-side will exactly overlap a sheet of the next size up. To quote the article: "This simplifies copying two A4 sheets in reduced size on one, and copying an A4 sheet in magnified size on an A3 sheet or copying half an A4 sheet in magnified size on an A4 sheet."

Pretty neat, actually. And it explains the odd millimeter measurements, especially when you take into account that the 'central' sheet size is B0, which has dimensions of 1000 mm by 1414 mm.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

<em>Two</em> QOTDs <em>Two</em>!

I loaned Brent a mix CD with some of the music I got recently, and of CSS he said:

After listening to some of the CSS songs, Jen said: "Are you sure Don wasn't a teenage girl in the mid-80's?" Heh.

While listening to Let's Make Love And Listen To Death From Above, Jen said it sounded like "Dr Who meets the Spice Girls", and found it annoying.

And yes, I did listen to the Spice Girls when they were popular. And Ace of Base. I could go on. I'm not proud. Or tired.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

iPhone and Jeff Han

Jeff Han at TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Talks in Monterey, California, this year gave a fascinating presentation of a touch-driven computer interface.

Today, Steve Jobs gave a presentation of a touch-driven interface for Apple's new iPhone. He mentioned that they'd taken out a lot of patents. I wonder if the touch interface was one of them, and if Jeff Han might have something to do with this?

On a Roll, Here

Recent iTunes purchases, in order:

  1. One More Try - My Robot Friend

  2. Polka Power! - "Weird Al" Yankovic

  3. Tetrishead - Zoe Keating

  4. Goldfinger - Shirley Bassey

  5. Girl Anachronism - The Dresden Dolls

  6. Coin Operated Boy - The Dresden Dolls

"One More Try" is atypical for My Robot Friend, as it has a guest vocalist, Antony. And typically for me, it's the one song I really like off this album, Dial Zero.

"Polka Power!" I first heard as the music for the anime music video Anime Polka. I showed it to Renee, which set her off on a grand adventure hunting down every darn song that "Weird Al" has on iTunes and YouTube. I bought this one out of a sense of nostalgia.

"Tetrishead" is a tune off One Cello x 16: Natoma. Zoe Keating is a cello artist who creates compositions with tape looping of her cello performances. This tune is particularly captivating.

Goldfinger I hope everybody recognizes.

The two songs by The Dresden Dolls are the best ones off their premiere album. They also have music videos of these online. Oh, and I love their self-description: Brechtian Punk Opera.