Friday, December 29, 2006
Let's talk about Japanese food. It's varied, balanced, complex, elegant, succulent, striking, rejuvenating, and a tasty bowl of udon cures all wounds. More than once I have considered that my experiences involving Japanese food appeal to all five senses, and I liken it to a spiritual event. As I said, I heart Japanese food.
I have been blessed by living in the Bay Area, so have been able to sample some pretty decent manifestations of the cuisine. We're on the Pacific Rim, and we have a good amount of Japanese people straight representing, and so the non-Japanese people get to benefit from some of the more authentic flavors that have been established in restaurants throughout this region. One such place was near my home: Jo's Sushi Bar.
Don't let the name or wall marlin fool you. This place has outstanding sushi. I haven't been to every Japanese restaurant in the Bay Area, but I've been to a few (Kirala, Uzen, Tachibana, Ta-Ke Sushi, Mifune, Ebisu...), and I was pleasantly suprised to find this gem nestled in suburbia. The appetizer was Albacore Tataki, which is seared tuna sashimi served with a ponzu dipping sauce and red garlic chili sauce. Delicious. Fine. Glorious. The next round consisted of Oshinko Maki, and Ichir-oll (spicy tuna with avocado and tobiko), and a Holiday Roll (tuna with frikake, so it's red and green - very festive, eh?) There was no mayonnaise in the rolls, and they used actual cuts of the tuna, not that particle trim that you find so often in sub-par rolls. The fish was tender and flavorful, and the oshinko tasted fresh and juicy.
Oh it was heavenly. What made it even nicer was that we got to sit next to the giant fish tank and watched what happens in "Finding Nemo 2: Jacques Gets Tanked." I think I'll need to get one of Jo's t-shirts just so I can represent. I recommend sitting next to the tank in the 2 seater if you get a chance to go.
Thursday, December 28, 2006
We've been cloning animals for a few years now, but there's been a recent development that might affect the way you look at your ribeye in the near future.
Stephen F. Sundlof, director of the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine, concluded that "...meat and milk from cattle, swine and goat clones is as safe to eat as the food we eat every day." While the conclusion doesn't mean approval, we're one step closer to being able to sample "future-steaks" and "space-chops." Those in favor of the technology say it would be used primarily for breeding and not for steak or pork tenderloin. This means that if Harry the bull is a virile horny beast, and is a prolific breeder, farmers can clone him to sire more cattle forcing Harry's genes into the herd thereby directing the bloodline. It's kinda like what the English, French, and Russian aristocracy did, but not really.
Interestingly enough, Barb Glenn of the Biotechnology Industry Organization, mentioned that she doesn't think labels on the food are necessary since people won't actually be eating cloned animals, just the children from the parents. That makes senses. She must write those wonderful screenplays in Hollywood, where you can drive your Calvin-pissing sticker adorned SUV through the plot holes.
Aren't you thinking of the Mendel genetic inheritance model from high school biology? You know the one where you mix and match dominant and recessive genes? Good, you remember. OK, so if you remove all the random genes donors, and replace one of the parents with Harry's genes in each test sequence, and let Harry do what Harry is best at, there will be a lot of calves that have Harry's horns or large flanks. Then we eat those flanks. Those flanks have Harry's genes. We just ate Harry.
My main concern is that if you breed generations of clones, you can eventually help introduce genetic imperfections in the herd, which threatens the long-term viability of the food source. Of course in an ideal world, the farmers would rotate the genetic material introduced in the generational breeding so as to reduce the chance of introducing anomalies like a third butt or a horn that grows in place of an eye. Of course, the third butt might be a plus in the industry. One cow = three rump roasts! YES! The consumer wins again!!
Which leads me to recommend this book: Oryx and Crake, by Margaret Atwood. Her name may be familiar from her other book which was made into a movie with the eponymous name, "The Handmaiden's Tale." There's some exploration about the slippery slope of genetic manipulation perfectly manifested in pigoons, creatures that are part pig and part human and are bred for solely for organ transplants.
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
F.E.A.R. incorporates the Max Payne/Matrix bullet-time effect so that everything slows down so you can maximize your carnage and shoot 16 guys in the face and still have time to attach a proximity mine on a wall next to the Robocop looking killbot (check the section on "...wave after wave of my own men...") This game has some of the best graphics for a shooter that I've seen. The gore factor extremely high. Close range shotgun blasts make limbs vaporize in a red mist. Wounds profusely bleed and leave hideous smears on the walls and floors. It also makes cool references to Special Forces Operational Detachment - Delta, which is always close to my heart. The story elements are spooky, and it's obvious that the writers gleaned themes from modern Japanese horror films, read "Ringu/The Ring" and "Ju-on/The Grudge."
COD2 is a World War II shooter that has you play through all of the major campaigns of WWII, first as a Soviet rifleman, then as a U.K. armored infantryman, and lastly as a U.S. Army Ranger who supports efforts to make D-Day a success. The play is gritty, not so much in gore, but in the way that battle is portrayed as it should be: messy, confusing, and inaccurate. The American campaign intro sequence pulls from the landing scene in "Saving Private Ryan", and it's just as tough to watch as you're the proponent of the action and the witness to all the destruction. This game is the largest factor in why I haven't posted in so long.
Prey is a beautiful shooter that uses the DOOM3 engine (think portals) and puts you in the shoes of Tommy, a native American who wants to get off the reservation, and end up getting his wish...and so much more. You never run out of lives, rather if you die you're allowed the opportunity to enter the spirit world to recharge your life and spiritual powers before continuing on in your quest. The gameplay is fluid, the graphics are luxurious, the story compelling, and the enemy smacks of the Borg, always a good villain.
Honestly people, aren't these the best villains ever: Borg and Nazis? You just can't get tired of smoking these jokers. Incidentally, name one of the first video games in which a certain German WWII psychopath was THE main boss character. American versions of the game list him as "Master-D", but he looks like you-know-who. Just for the sake of your well-being, know that his head explodes in a very graphic way at the end of the game. It wouldn't be right if it didn't.
Friday, December 22, 2006
That would have been 5,000,000,000 Washingtons. That would buy my house approximately 7,680 times over. It would also approximately pay for $200,000,000 of my winter heating bills. As I don't drive much, and fill up about twice a month, Exxon could pay for my gas for 62,500,000 years with gas at its current cost. Of course, don't expect to see gas remain at a constant price after this.
Exxon will most likely need to "pass the savings" to the end user (read, you and me) in order to recoup their loss. Never mind that Exxon earned $10.49 billion in the third quarter of 2006: the second-largest quarterly profit ever recorded by a publicly traded U.S. company. The perfect mental image that comes to mind here is the Texan from The Simpsons - YEEEEEHAAAAWWWWW!!!!
HAHAHAHHAAHHAHAAA!! That's awesome. Awesome like all the completed human genome work getting shredded by Pat Robertson.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Someone vandalized the American soldier memorial on the hillside in Lafayette last night/this morning. In case you haven't heard anything about this Louise Clark, the property owner, and some other interested individuals put up hundreds of white crosses on her private land. A sign that reads "In Memory of 2,867 Troops Killed in Iraq." sits in the middle of the memorial.
On a lighter note, you can now log your driving frustrations on platwire.com. For more info.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
I believe the mom is also a big backer of the Left Behind games, which exposes children to wanton Christlove-related violence, general intolerance, and heathen conversion.
The Georgia Board of Education voted to deny Laura Mallory's request, and sentenced her to actually read the books and see all the movies while wearing a sexy witch outfit.
I'm no big proponent of political correctness, I cross "that line" all the time, but there is something to be said about being sensitive to someone's culture, especially when you're on the *wink-wink* wholesome program "The View." Rosie apparently thought it'd be funny to imitate how a Chinese news anchor would report Danny DeVito's drunken bout on the program, and proceeded to act it out by eloquently articulating "...chong, ching chong chong, Danny DeVito, ching chong chong chong, drunk, The View, ching chong..."
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
My Scottish friend and colleague pointed this out to me, so however worldly you think I may be, I am not the multi-linguistic, mega-faceted cultural ambassador I seem to be. I do, however, share some Scottish blood, albeit a minor amount mixed with Yugoslavic blood - a mixture that no longer exists by today's maps. Regardless, I wear my tartan proud and drink my fair amount of single malt (I like mine peaty), but this article on Scottish independence was interesting to me.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
In the game, titled Left Behind: Eternal Forces, you are a person left behind on Earth after the Rapture has come and taken all the true believers to Heaven. If you don't know what this means, then you're a doomed sinner, so put your head between your legs and kiss your forked tail goodbye. 666 Satan hearts you.
The Ad Engine is the seamless interface between the game and the advertiser servers, and works as a broker between the two, calling advertising creative elements as needed, providing them to the game to be displayed as ads in the game, and tracking impressions and views and reporting back to the advertising management servers.
This means that if the player in the game strolls by a building in the game, and there's a banner ad on the side of the building that banner ad is actually tracking behavior and information about the user, and sending this information to the advertiser. Hallelujah! Finally, Capitalism and Christianity give each other a well-needed back-rub, and maybe a [wink-wink] "happy ending"?
Even more wonderful than the message of love and tolerance that murmurs deep within the rotten, festering code is the fact that there are also a horde of books and movies out in the Left Behind franchise. In fact, our beloved Kirk Cameron plays the lead character. I'm betting that these films are real popular in Montana, you know, next to Ted Kaczynski's cabin?
So to sum it all up my good people, it's a lame game that installs spy ware on your machine, and it sends a message of hate and intolerance. I'm going to give this one a big fat no, although my man Mel Gibson paid me $50 to give it a thumbs-up.
Friday, December 8, 2006
There are many articles out there about James and his family. Cnet.com, where he was a Product Reviewer, has a tribute article and film.
Being a father and being a Bay Area native, this was a hard story to follow because it was so personal. I wish the best to his family and friends during this difficult time.
Thursday, December 7, 2006
So, anyway it turns out that John Stewart and Steven Colbert are running for office in '08. How awesome is that. Show your support.
In a related note, I just think it's awesome that there's so much non-partisan froth frothing about that I'm all a-froth with strong Democratic (in a non-partisan sense, of course) feeling. I'm coming from straight from the gut. Do you know that you have more nerve endings in your gut than in your head? Don't look it up in a book - check your gut and see what it tells you.
On that note, the gift to get this year is the scrolling LED belt buckle. Read it, learn it, live it.Oh yeah, and peep the Akon "Smack That" video. It smacks of a certain Nick Nolte/Eddie Murphy vehicle that launched the buddy movie syndrome. Relish the polished lyrics:
I feel you creepin', I can see you from my shadow.
Wanna jump up in my Lamborghini Gallardo.
Maybe go to my place and just kick it, like Taebo.
And possibly bend you over.
Look back and watch me smack that,
all on the floor, smack that,
give me some more, smack that,
'till you get sore
Who says today's music has nothing to offer? I contend that Akon will be doing buddy movies with Pearl Jam in 5 years, if not sooner.
Tuesday, December 5, 2006
Friday, December 1, 2006
- Fixed pipelines are being done away with in favor of fully programmable pipelines (often referred to as unified pipeline architecture), which can be programmed to emulate the same.
- Paging of graphics memory, to allow data to be loaded to Video RAM when needed and move it out when not needed. This enables usage of the system memory to hold graphics data, such as textures, thereby allowing use of more and higher resolution textures in games.
- There is no limit on the number of objects which can be rendered, provided enough resources are available.
- Virtualization of the graphics hardware, to allow multiple threads/processes to use it, in turns.
- New state object to enable the GPU to change states efficiently.
- Shader Model 4.0, enhances the programmability of the graphics pipeline. It adds instructions for integer and bitwise calculations.
- Geometry shaders, which work on individual triangles which form a mesh.
- Texture arrays enable swapping of textures in GPU without CPU intervention.
- Resource View enables pre-caching of resources, thereby reducing latency.
- Predicated Rendering allows drawing calls to be ignored based on some other conditions. This enables rapid occlusion culling, which prevents objects from being rendered if it is not visible or too far to be visible.
What the hell does all that mean? It means that if you're running DX10 on your computer it will shoot lasers out from its optical drive, emit ultrasonic waves to deter insects from entering your home and burrowing into your pet's flesh, see through time for you to know in advance if you're going to get that raise/promotion/pink slip, and rip all neural energy from your cerebral cortex and back it up on a storage device of your choosing. Pretty cool, huh?
It will also make graphics look better on your machine. If you play games on a PC, then you probably have heard something about Crysis. This game is coming out from the development team, Crytex, which brought us FarCry. It's being published by EA. The recent DX10 HD video that was released today is *drool* captivating. The game is supposed to be functional with both DX9 and 10, so for all of us non-early adopters who haven't bought the new DX10 graphic cards (like the 8 series GeForce cards from Nvidia) this means that we'll be able to play it. Of course, Vista and DX10 are recommended. These are some *unconfirmed* system requirements.FarCry is an exceptional shooter, and presented huge draw distance in the game, which meant that you could get crisp visuals looking out past a mile. Tree leaves were visible from hundreds of feet away, and you could see fish swimming in the water as you viewed them from a cliff above. The story and gameplay was also, you know, awesome. I'm ready for a mid-life Crysis.