Sunday, December 28, 2008

Ninja Town (DS)

Its one of those castle defense games. There is something innate about games like these. Its in our genes. Protecting your territory brings out the animal in all of us.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

About as good as Indiana Jones 4. What made it more enjoyable was that I wasn't expecting anything from this movie. Indiana Jones 4, I keep thinking that Lucas made this movie bad on purprose so that the studio stopped nagging him to do any more of Indy movies.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Rock Band 2 (X360)

I got an amazing deal on this. I've moved on to Expert.

Guitar Rock Tour (DS)

Its kinda like Rock Band to-go on the touchscreen. Its not bad. I think I can finish it relatively quickly.

A Christmas Story (Movie)

This one is a classic. It reminds us of our childhoods and how the way we viewed the world as children was naive but it also made sense at the same time.

The Universe (Latest Ep)

I've seemed to have lost a lot of interest as quickly as I gained it. I've gained a lot of knowledge from it. String theory, black holes, unlimited dimensions, the understanding or (the lack of understading) of gravity, electromagnetivity, etc. I'll watch a few more eps and see if I'm gonna keep watching because its suddenly become a little boring.

CSI (Latest Ep)

Fishburne was not as dark and cold as I was imagining him out to be. I think I'll give him a fair chance before I make any decisions to where I'm going to stop watching the show because its become different in any way.

Bourne Identity (Movie)

I think I saw this movie in the theater, but the reason I watched it again was because I saw part 3 on cable, and wasn't really sure how Bourne came to be, or why he was seeking the truth. I'd have to say part 1 was the best because of the mystery and the surprise of finding all those super abilities. I don't remember a lick of part 2, and part 3 was too dark.

Top Chef (Latest Ep)

This episode was too predictable. But this means that we can look forward to a double elimination. I first though Eugene was a badass when the show started, but now I don't think he's good. He'll be going home soon.

Korean Ramen with Cajun Audioulle sausage

My favorite brand of ramen is called Samyang. Translated, it means 3 flavors. The secret is putting a little bit of saffron to give it an amazing booth in body. I throw the sausage in there when the soup is still boiling, but its already been taken off the heat. I crack an egg in there. And in about 5 minutes, you have a hearty meal.


Soba is so simple, yet totally satisfying. I've been boiling some butterflied shrimp to eat on the side just to have something else. I guess tempura wouldn't be bad either. I wonder what else might complement it.

Banana Pancakes

I've been using Purple Yam tea mix, but I took that out, and found that after I took that out, it was a little dry. So just banana pancakes itself needs syrup whereas the taro pancakes didn't, and was delicious by itself.

chicken piccata on top of pesto tortellini

Topped with parmesean cheese with some green beans on the side.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas comes early

Stan sent me a link to a thread at at 9:25 PM tonight. A Rock Band 2 set for $109 + $25 Gift Cert on purchase. Effecitively $85 for the set. 55% off for something in relatively high demand at MSRP ($189.99).

I saw the message at 10:43 PM. On the forum thread, people posted that 10 were in stock (last time they checked at 10:30 *AM*) at Tustin, and that it should be open untill midnight. I programmed my GPS for Tustin, but since I live in Huntington Beach (and mistakenly thought that the person didn't bother to check the availability at Huntington Beach (he did mention on the bottom that Huntington Beach was out of stock, I just didn't see it), I just did the Store Locator on the Huntington Beach location. Not knowing they were out of stock, I was out the door by 10:46 PM, on my way to the Huntington Beach Toys R Us. My chances of returning home with one at either store? I'd say close to 0%.

The traffic lights were on my side as all 2 dozen traffic lights I needed to drive through to get on the freeway were all green. I got to the store by 11 PM. I got to the game department, and the guy told me that they haven't had it in stock all day. I asked him whether he can look up for me if other stores had it in stock. And he said they can do it for me at the Customer Service department.

I get to Customer Service, and there is one box of Rockband 2 Special Edition for the XBOX 360 on the floor!! I puzzlingly point and tell her that I'm looking for "one of those" and wonder if she can help me get one, already resigned to the fact that they are out of stock, and everything that they have in stock is either a defective return, or something she's holding for somebody. And the lady tells me someone had just returned it, unopened because the dad didn't know XBOX 360 games didn't work on PS3s. I verified it was new and unopened. And interestingly enough, she had just got off the phone with another person who was looking for one. She told the person that they had one in stock (the one I was buying), and she wasn't sure if that person was on their way right now.

I checked out after paying $109 + tax. And she gave me a $25 gift card to boot. As I made the short walk to my car, I saw someone pull up to the store at 11:07PM. She seemed to march with determination into the store. I wasn't sure if she wanted the rockband 2 set, but I drove off quickly to avoid any possible confrontation (i.e. a woman running after me in the Toys R Us parking lot). You see, people get crazy at this time of the year.

Surprisingly, I hit about a dozen traffic lights on the way back (the universe rights itself), and I was back at home at 11:30 PM. Still on a high from the excitement. Reading more of the thread on the forum after I got back, I was told that the Huntington Beach location had been out of stock at least since 8:30 AM this morning. And it seemed as though most people in the forum had resorted to price matching at Walmart since most toys r us were out of stock after this morning. The price matching at Walmart was a good deal, but not as good as they did not give you a $25 gift certificate. Score! I literally can turn this around and make an easy $75 by tomorrow, but I'm gonna have to keep it.

Stan asked me if it would have been better if he just called me next time he saw a deal, but the irony is that if I had gotten there right after he called me, I would have gotten there before the guy returned it, and I would have walked away empty handed.

Until now, I've been playing with my brother's unused PS3 Rock Band when I was at San Diego, and after that, Stan let me borrow/have his RB1 drums, his guitar hero xplorer guitar, my brother's PS3 mic that works on the xbox as well, and Stan's RB1 game as well since he has RB2). It was kind of my makeshift Rock Band for Po' People kit. But now, I have the shiny new black RB2 drums, game, guitar, mic for $85. I'm totally stoked!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Rock Band (X360) Moved On

Trying to 5 star everything in Hard.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Dark chocolate to milk chocolate with almonds

I had picked up this brick of baking chocolate at fresh & easy when I was in SD. They had a milk chocolate with almonds there, and it was good for straigt up eating. The dark chocolate was definitely baking chocolate. It needing a little more sugar, I decided that I as just going to experiment. The chocolate was dirt cheap, so I didn't even bother reading information online. I decided to just go for it.

And what do you know, working with chocolate is actually takes some knowledge and experience with the product.

First things first, you cannot add sugar to melted chocolate. I roasted the raw almonds in peanut oil and set that aside. That itself was pretty tasty after it had rested a bit.

I set up my double boiler, and when the chocolate melted, I decided to add some sugar. After giving it more than enough time to mix into the chocolate, I decided the sugar wasn't ever going to mix into the dark chocolate. So all I had left was melted dark chocolate with gritty sugar in my double boiler. I imagined the tasted to be something unplesant. I did remember that Alton Brown from Good Eats saying you can't do this or that with chocolate. And maybe adding sugar was one of them. I had raw sugar, and that didn't do anything either. Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, I now had raw sugar and white sugar grittyness in my melted dark chocolate. Maybe it needed some liquid to mix the sugar in? So I decided to add some Hazlenut non daily creamer. And it instantly had a chemical reaction and turned into a solid.

I admit defeat and put the solid into a zip lock bag. The next day, I decided to dissolve the solid into boiling milk. I was hoping to boil out the milk as everything seemed to be dissolving fine into the liquid. But unfortunately it wasn't ever going to return to a solid state. But what I did end up with was pretty good fudge. Unfortunately, I don't like fudge, but I was happy that I was able to turn something that I thought would have been thrown out into something commonly consumable.

It turns out that if you want to turn dark chocolate into milk chocolate, you have to use sweetened condensed milk. If you want to turn baking chocolate to sweet dark chocolate, you need to use chocolate liquor. And you can add other things to enhance the flavor or chocolate.

Overall, it wasn't a complete waste. And I did buy the brick of chocolate for $2 primarily to play with it. I'll just eat the rest as is. Its not too bad. Maybe I'll go get some sweeted condensed milk if I have some left over.

I've created 3 miniblogs on the side

Things I've cooked, games I'm playing, and tv shows and movies I'm currently watching. I've created them separately because I would like to keep these on a list, separated from everything else as I seem to blog about anything. At least these will be categorized. I got rid of my workout blog. I haven't stopped working out. Its just that I realized it wasn't interesting enough to blog about. But food, tv shows and movies, and games I'm playing seem more interesting to keep updated.

n+ (DS) Passed

This game is painful at times, but it is great. I'm worried I may break my DS again because i'm pushing so hard.

I wonder if this game would have done better if it was called something like Ninja Moves or something like that. n+ is meaningless, but anything with the word Ninja has some coolness to it.

Hell's Kitchen (DS) Passed

This game was awesome. Unfortunately there were 2 levels that you couldn't get 100%, other wise it was cool. The arcade mode was unexpectedly great as well. Like any great game, I found myself having to find creative ways to get higher scores. Anyone think they can beat 120 in arcade mode?

Order Up! (Wii) Passed

First passed it in Normal, then passed it in Hard. This game was so fun and addicting. I hope to see Order Up! 2.

GTA IV (PS3) Passed

The game itself was not great because there was a very small amount of weapons, no planes or parachutes or jetpacks. But I know that they built a solid engine and it can only get better from here.

Punisher: War Zone (Movie)

I warned my roommate that the first Punisher was really really violent. This one was about 10x more violent. But some violent scenes was hysterical as well. Like the one scene where the parkour guys gets blown up by a rocket launcher.

Top Chef (Latest Ep)

Haha, team rainbow is looking awfully foolish. One member left, and she keeps ending up on the bottom. Not that there is anything wrong with that. But for some reason, I want to see team rainbow go down.

Get Smart (Movie)

This was one of the funniest movies I've seen in a long time. I did not expect much, but I'll remember this line for a while:

Maxwell Smart: Are you thinking what I'm thinking?
The Chief: I don't know. Were you thinking, "Holy shit, holy shit, a swordfish almost went through my head"? If so, then yes.

You'll have to watch the movie to get it.

CSI (Latest Ep)

I can't believe Gil is no longer going to be in CSI after the next ep. I'd rather they put an end to a good run and end the show with a bang then see it go downhill. I hope Fishburne can carry the show. It'll take more than a few good eps to see if he can do that or not.

The Ultimate Fighter (Latest Eps)

Junie, what a dumbass. But, he's very young, and I'm sure seeing himself on TV will help him mature. And maybe one day, he will fight in the UFC. He is an interesting person and possibly a gifted fighter as they initially made him out to be.

Dana really made it interesting though. With moves like that, how can people hate Dana White? It was genius. Screw the technicalities of having to kick people off the show because a "rule is a rule" nonsense. He made Junie eat his words. I wanted to see Junie get beat up and his dreams shattered. And that's exactly what we got. I can't really remember being this fulfilled watching TV.

House (Latest ep)

A part of me doesn't like the fact that they'd made House and Dr. Cuddy get into that position where everyone's going to wonder if they are going to hook up or not, and maybe keep it going on for years. That by itself has been overdone, but then again, it keeps a show interesting. Lets see where it goes.

Thai Red Curry

Prep time: 5-10 min
Cook time: 5 min

I've been making green curry last few weeks, and since the paste for the other curries are so cheap, I decided to buy the red and the panang pastes as well. I had been getting the frozen seafood mix and the asian frozen vegetable medlies from Trader Joes, but this time, I decided to do everything from scratch.

Unfortunately, it didn't turn out as well as I hoped. While it seemed like you couldn't possibly ever make a bad batch of thai curry, I found one key mistake you can make that can mess up the whole thing. When I was buying coconut milk at 99 ranch, I saw that this other brand of coconut milk on sale at half price. Not thinking twice, I bought that instead of the ones I had already put in my basket. I soon realized as I was cooking that the coconut milk that was on sale sucked. The biggest factor was that it was more liquid and had less of that cream. Checking the Nutritional Facts, it was obvious. the cheap coconut milk had 7g of fat, while the good one had 14g of fat. Lesson learned.

Red curry paste
Fish sauce
basil leaves
peanut oil
thai chiles
bamboo shoots
baby corn
chicken stock
coconut milk

It may seem like a lot of ingredients, but considering there is no real cooking involved other than sauteeing the garlic, and everything is added to taste, its one of the easiest things to make. To be honest, I can't see myself going back to a thai restaurant any time soon because I've discovered its so cheap and easy to make thai food at home.

Walnut pancakes

Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 5 min

Pancakes for breakfast have been a routine thing for me at the moment.

I have an awesome basic recipe.

1 cup flour
1 cup milk
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp veg oil
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg slightly beaten
mix the wet ingredients first, then mix into the combined dry ingredients.

From then on, you can do whatever you want. I put some taro tea mix in there sometimes. At other times, I have tried putting things like green boba tea mix, a ripe banana, and this time walnuts. Other than the color, the taro or the green tea mix doesn't seem to affect any noticable flavor, which is unfortunate. The banana however is a very strong banana taste. If you love bananas, you'll love the pancakes, if you hate bananas, it will not be edible. When I have some rip bananas, I'll put them into the walnut mix, and make banana walnut pancakes. I really can't see how this can turn out bad.

I've experimented a little to try to bring the green tea flavor out. And the way I was going to do that was to add a heavy amount of mix into the maple syrup. It did kinda work, but it became a lot thicker than I was hoping. Maybe I could have thinned it out with water.

Things I've learned, if you don't compltely mash the banans into almost a syrup, when its cooked, you'll have these pockets of soft banana goo inside your pancakes. I really thought it gave the pancakes some x-factor.

Also, walnuts...raw walnuts were ok into the pancake mix, but I think if you toast the walnuts first, it may even better. I'll have to try that next time.

Lastly, I always made the mistake of oiling the pan first before cooking pancakes. Especially because they are on the directions of every pancake mix I've ever bought. And if you do this you get really ugly pancakes. The trick is to not use any oil at all. Any oil that is in the recipe should be part of the mix. All you need is medium heat and a good very non stick pan. When you flip them over, they'll look perfect every time.


I am going to log the things I watch for gits and shiggles. Why does blogger's logo make this theme look like the North Korea flag?

Sunday, December 7, 2008


On my spare minutes, I play games on my DS, Wii, PSP, and 360. I would also like to keep a list of the games I pass.


Working at home, I find myself cooking a lot. So I created this blog to log what I cook, the but more importantly the observations so I can improve on the dish next time.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Blackberry Storm's first impressions: A huge disappointment

I've been holding off on getting a iPhone until I tried the Blackberry Storm. So I went to the Verizon store, and I can't remember the last time I've been so disappointed due to high expectations. Well.....not counting Indiana Jones, Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls.

But the whole clickable LCD was a total mess. They never explain in the commercials how it really works. The entire LCD presses in. So for example, the amount of pressure needed to press the G key is a lot more than to key on the edge like A. That problem compounded by the fact that you have to press in for the key to register made it awkward. The pressing in feature slowed down typing.

There are positives and negatives. For example, before you type in a word like "The"

On the Storm, the key will light up, and once you realize you are on the right letter you have to press in.

On the iPhone, it registers when you just touch the key (or maybe when you lift up, not sure). That might sound like it'll take some precision touching but the iPhone seems to have incredible word recognition software where it seemed like I typed a 6 letter word completely wrong (6 out of 6 wrong characters), but since all the letters were approximately near a commonly known word, it corrected it after the 6th character.

Doing the Storm and iPhone typing head to head, the iPhone blew away the Storm.

When I first asked about the Storm to the Verizon rep, the first thing she said before anything was that the Storm's firmware that was on their current models are their old versions and that the response on the new firmwares are much improved. A stiff warning before we actually got to see the Storm with the old firmwares. And she wasn't kidding when we tried it out. The old firmware wasn't boarderline unbearable. It was beyond unbearable. Any person who actually saw the Storm in this form I would imagine would be running to the apple store. It was worse than my first encounter with the Motorola Q on its day 1 release.

Because of my love for Blackberrys, I'll have to give Storm just one more chance with the new firmware before I rule it out completely. But the Storm's better firmware is going to have to be about 10x more responsive to have the same responsiveness than the iPhone. I don't like the typing, which was my biggest reason to even consider the iPhone. My verdict until then will is that the Storm is a total miss.