miko2: Ranma disguised as a schoolgirl to fool Ryoga (Default)
So I watched Megamind last night (which I picked up for $16.99, it was on sale!)

Spoilers Alert )
miko2: Ranma disguised as a schoolgirl to fool Ryoga (Default)
Thermian Myrkel would be an interesting name for a character.
miko2: Ranma disguised as a schoolgirl to fool Ryoga (Default)
Saturday night while returning from Seattle I almost ran out of gas. Also, my engine light came on again... I had hoped it was done doing that. It's been coming on ever since I had the water pump and timing belt changed two weeks ago, but I don't think there's anything majorly wrong now, I think it just could use a tuneup. Anyway, the gas light came on indicating I had 1/8th of a tank left, and I was only halfway home, and it was 11 PM and I only had $1.00 in my pocket. Not very good planning on my part. But I made it home okay.

Sunday I raided my little savings jar for $10.00 for gas, in crumpled $1.00 bills. ^_^ After I drove to the nearest gas station and put a paltry 2 1/2 gallons in the tank, I went to the store. As usual I only had 1 or 2 things in mind ot get, but somehow spent $50.00 anyway. (Well -- that included $20.00 cash for more gas). Among other things I bought some stew meat and a bag of onions and some baby portabello mushrooms, and I made a kind of onion-mushroom soup in the crockpot over the rest of the evening. For dinner though I did hot pot with chicken, mushrooms, potato and carrot and a few other things (ginger, Chinese cabbage). I watched Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan while cooking and eating dinner.

Monday night I watched Star Trek: The Search for Spock. I watched a lot of the extras for both movies, which were quite funny because Bill Shatner was at his most bitter and angry, although it might have been partly an act. But he complained a lot about Nimoy's getting extra money and a big death scene in the first film, and accused Nimoy and Bennett of orchestrating everything that lead into the sequel and Nimoy demanding to direct the film. Nimoy and Bennett's explanation of events was much more believable -- Nimoy didn't want to do Star Trek II, Bennett convinced him by saying, "We can give you a great death scene", and Nimoy, figuring that there would never be another Trek film after this one, agreed. Later when they were filming, both of them realized that the film was going to be pretty good, and there might actually be another film, and they had second thoughts. Bennett also talks about an early screening where the film ends with the funeral and Shatner's eulogy, and how much of a downer it was and how the audience reacted with shock and sadness. Not the best way to end a movie. And he wanted to leave open a "possibility" -- not that they had a sequel in mind, but you needed to leave the option open for any future writer, and also for the audience so that they weren't certain that Spock was actually dead. Thus, the quick mind meld with Bones (suggested by Nimoy) and the final scene of the coffin on the Genesis planet. But by Shatner's account, the setting for the death scene with he and Spock on different sides of a barrier was something he came up with as soon as the idea of Spock's death was mentioned to him.

Tuesday was payday, and I drove up to my credit union in Kent and then over to Costco. It was misting up when I left. It was raining lightly when I got to the credit union. By the time I got out it was raining harder. At Costco it was nearly a downpour -- it just kept getting worse and worse. Anyway, I tried to get from Costco to Fry's using side streets since it was 5 PM and traffic was heavy on 405, but traffic was heavy everywhere so that really didn't work too well.

I was able to exchange my non-working hotplate pretty easily. I could have just gotten cash for it, but I kind of wanted to buy a movie or something. I had in mind maybe picking up Avatar, or Megamind, or How to Train Your Dragon, or Tangled (the last two I've seen and liked quite a bit). Anyway when it came down to it, none of those movies seemed worth spending $20.00 on, so I wandered arouond and discovered that Futurama season 5 (the 13 episodes aired last year on Comdedy Central) was out and available for $22.95. So that's what I picked up.

I ate dinner a Panera -- a Mediterranean veggie sandwich, very good.

I replaced the money in my savings jar -- I actually put $20.00 back. This is not my large change jar, but a small plastic jar that Valentine made for me a couple of years ago at least, that was supposed to be a fund for buying more anime. I've been stuffing a couple of dollars into it every few weeks or every month, and there's more than $40.00 there now. I could probably just buy two of those $20.00 films I mentioned, but I think Valentine needs to be the one to help me decide what to spend the money on. ^_^
miko2: Ranma disguised as a schoolgirl to fool Ryoga (Default)
A short conversation with cleverbot:

Miko: What is the square root of 64?

Cleverbot: I don't know.

Miko: You're a computer, shouldn't you know the answer?

Cleverbot: I told you, I'm not an AI.

Miko: You didn't tell me that, and it's not true anyway.

Cleverbot: I did too. You are forgetful or you are lying. Which is it?

Miko: I am correct.

Cleverbot: You don't play football.

Miko: You don't play tiddlywinks.

Cleverbot: How do you know?

Miko: How do you know that I don't play football?

Cleverbot: Because you are not all knowing.

Miko: Are football players all knowing?

Cleverbot: I don't really know.

Miko: What do you know?

Cleverbot: I know the answer to life, the universe and everything.

Miko: 42.

Cleverbot: If 42 is the answer what is the question?

Miko: Nobody knows.

Cleverbot: I thought you knew everything.
miko2: Ranma disguised as a schoolgirl to fool Ryoga (Default)
On Sunday I decided to make a new attempt at doing a "hot pot" meal. I had a hot plate that I'd bought at Fry's several weeks earlier. I drove up to Uwajamaya in Renton and found a good clay donabe (Japanese pot for hot pot cooking). It was only about $24.00. I also picked up a couple more of the small cheap sauce bowls for a couple of bucks each.

I already had most of the other stuff purchased. After working out I set up my pot and hot plate and chopped up the vegetables and meat. This time around I had the meat frozen and then thawed it slightly by running it under warm water, then sliced it into relatively thin slices. This worked well. My vegetables were red potato, carrot, green beans, baby portabella mushrooms, some shitake mushrooms, and some Chinese cabbage. Oh, and large leeks.

Unfortunately once i was all ready, I realized that my hot plate was doing nothing. After trying it in several outlets I realized that it simply didn't work at all. I bought it only a few weeks ago, but I'd already tossed the reciept, which upset me a bit. Ultimately, though, it only cost $24.00.

I did my hot pot on the stove again. :/ I watched the movie The Tale of Despereaux which I'd borrowed from Tom. My only other problem was that I went overboard on the sauces -- I had Chinese hot mustard, hoisin sauce, black bean sauce, barbeque sauce, sesame oil, Lea & Perrin's worchestershire sauce, wasabi horseradish sauce, Siracha hot sauce (rooster sauce), Jack Daniels hot mustard, Merlina's habanero mustard, and Tobasco buffalo sauce. So I had too many sauces, too many of them were spicy, and I only had nine of the small sauce bowls including a cheap plastic one with a burn mark in the center. Also, I discovered that after all of my preparations, the one thing I failed to pick up was any soy sauce. :/

Monday Tom and I got together and among other things we hit Fry's, where I bought a new hot plate. My plan is to return the other one for credit using the reciept from the second. ^_^ We also visited Uwajamaya's in downtown Seattle, where I bought four more small sauce bowls with a pretty cool flower pattern and also some soy sauce. ^_^ (We also hit a bunch of places that only Tom really wanted to go -- two fabric stores, a hardware store, etc.)

So last night, since I still had a lot of the vegetables left over and needed to use them, I did a hot pot dinner again. This time I only set out four sauces using my new bowls, and I used the hot plate so that I could cook and eat while I watched my movie (which was Over the Hedge). Worked very well. ^_^
miko2: Ranma disguised as a schoolgirl to fool Ryoga (Default)
Saturday I played City of Heroes in the morning. I didn't go outside until the afternoon, by which time it was pouring down rain. It seemed like the perfect kind of weather for stew, and I was in the mood to cook without doing any actual work. Plus I've only used my nice black crock pot twice since I bought it a couple of months ago.

So late Saturday night just before I went to bed I tossed into the crock pot: diced stew beef, sliced smoked turkey keilbasa, diced potatoes, carrots, onions, and some water and spices (mostly I used a stew mix packet, with some extra beef bullion, garlic salt, bay leaves, liquid smoke, worchestershire sauce).

By morning it was smelling very good. I added celery and mushrooms. I ate some at Noon, then later put three containers in the freezer for lunches.

My ex-roommate Tom called later, wanting to get together. I had nothing specific in mind. Tom works a night shift, so we "got together" after 4 PM. We went up to Fry's, and I found absolutely no dvds that I actually wanted to buy, but I did finally get myself a cheap electric hot plate so that I can do hot pot properly. Now I need a good pot to put on it -- maybe something earthenware, or brass, I dunno.

We hit Half Price Books too, and I picked up a few dvds there, including Monsters Vs. Aliens, Hoodwinked, Star Trek (the new one) and the Watchmen. I paid for my stuff and then I went to the Thai restaurant nearby and ordered red curry chicken and brown rice, waited 15 minutes, got my order, and then waited another 10 minutes, and then Tom was finally done with book shopping. So that's about an hour in the bookstore, a very short shopping trip for Tom.

We watched Hoodwinked, which Tom hadn't seen before. Hoodwinked is not a Dreamworks animated film -- neither is Igor, Despicable Me, Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs, or the Ice Age films -- but I tend to lump them all together. Generally when it comes to animated films, there are Pixar films, there are Disney films (technically there are two Disney categories, "classic" films that follow the old Disney formula to varying degrees (Tangled is one of these, I think, even though it's computer animation), and those that are the more stupid and cheap dumbed-down kid's films like Bolt, Brother Bear, etc.. Lilo & Stitch is kind of its own category though I think). And there are creepy gothic stop-animated films (Coraline, Corpse Bride, Nightmare Before Christmas). And virtually everything else falls into the "computer animated films with pop culture references, aka Dreamworks films" category.

Many of these films are amusing without being great films, and that's pretty much how I feel about Hoodwinked. It's funny. It's not great computer animation, it's not good, character-driven writing (see: Pixar). It's full of pop-culture references that would prevent it from becoming a timeless classic even if it were good enough (which it isn't). But it amuses me enough.

I think possibly How to Train Your Dragon is the only film in the "Dreamworks and stuff like Dreamworks" film category I'd consider good enough to become a timeless classic. Maybe the Aardman films get a pass too, but that's because they're Aardman films (Chicken Run & Flushed Away).

We also watched episode 1 of Brisco County Jr, and I lent the series to Tom since he'll watch all of it before I would probably finish the first disc (there are 8 discs total).

My car's still not fixed. Guy at work is going to fix it for about $700.00, which is close to $1,000.00 cheaper than the dealer, but it means I wait until he's ready to fix it.

I just found out that one of my Ranma 1/2 fanfiction stories is on a Russian web site for Ranma 1/2 fanfiction. Someone translated it into Russian. That's kind of cool. ^_^

One other note about Hoodwinked: I bought the soundtrack a couple of years ago, mostly because I liked the song "Tree Critter". I still do. The songs were written by John Mark Painter, half of the duo Fleming & John (the other half is his wife). I know nobody knows who they are but I have their two cds and liked them well enough. He's also done studio session work for Indigo Girls, Jewel, etc.

*EDIT* Oh, and yeah. The sequel. I don't pay attention to what movies are out each week, so I didn't even realize there was a sequel until today. Really, even if I found the first film amusing, this didn't demand a sequel. Oh, they strongly hinted at one, and the apparently have followed through. The question is, why?

But then I didn't think there needed to be a Shrek 3 or 4, or an Ice Age 2 or 3, and I don't think we really need a Madagascar 3 either. We probably don't need a Kung Fu Panda 2 either, but I'm pretty sure a 3 and maybe even a 4 are inevitable.
miko2: Ranma disguised as a schoolgirl to fool Ryoga (Default)
I took my car in today to have them replace the fan belt. This on the theory that the fan belt is slipping, and that's why my car engine is running hot.

Not quite. The fan belt is slipping because the water pump is leaking radiator fluid on it. Unfortunately, that's a much more expensive fix -- 1300.00 according to the dealership. They wanted to fix something else too. I could probably get the work done cheaper somewhere else, but I can't afford it right now anyway, so it looks like I'll continue to drive to and from work and not drive anywhere else if I can help it. No trips to Seattle.

I can probably afford to get it fixed next month. I get m yearly vacation bonus check, which I was hoping to be able to use on something fun like a new laptop. I get 3 weeks of vacation now so it's a bigger check than it used to be, and if I can find someone besides the dealer to fix my car for less money, then maybe I'll have money left over. We'll see.

Norwescon was fun. I bought a few things, I wrote a bit, I hung out. I took today off to recover, but mostly all I've done, aside from failing to get my car worked on, is to do some shopping, read a Fables novel, and play some City of Heroes. I'm going to go exercise now.
miko2: Ranma disguised as a schoolgirl to fool Ryoga (Default)
Lately there have been some alarming stories about the bookstore chain Borders. All indications are that they are not long for this world. This is a problem for me, because I have a Borders gift card that's been sitting on my countertop for the last two months. It's one I bought myself, to use as a Christmas gift. I was holding onto it becuase I still have a couple of people that I was unable to give gifts to during the holiday season, but the way things are going, I might be giving out a gift to a store that no longer exists.

Therefore, today's goal is to drive up to Southcenter Mall and spend my gift certificate, and maybe pick up some other kind of certificate to use in its place. I have a few things that I'd like to buy. Also, I think I'll head over to Renton afterwards and check out that Go Deli place I posted about yesterday.

That's the plan anyway. ^_^
miko2: Ranma disguised as a schoolgirl to fool Ryoga (Default)
This is one of those posts that I'm making just so I can remember a few things later.

A short food article in the Seattle Times asks what the best "Bahn Mi" is in Seattle. I love Vietnamese sandwiches, and I haven't had one in a year or more. Just the mention of it in the article made me want one. It was a short article, but I scanned comments on the story for good places near where I live. Here's what people suggested:

Go Deli in Renton

The Monkey Bridge in Ballard was mentioned several times. Ballard being a place I visit once or twice a month. ^_^

Pho La Vang in Burien

Pho Thai in Puyallup

I need to try one of these places out soon. ^_^
miko2: Ranma disguised as a schoolgirl to fool Ryoga (Default)
While on my morning break yesterday the phone lines lit up with calls. These people, mind you, have to go through an automated answering system that identifies the company they're calling and asks them to select from a list of options -- selecting "rate department" is how they get to me. And then while they're on hold, they get to hear about all of the ways our company can fulfill their transporation needs.

So when I get to the last caller waiting on hold, he says, "I was calling to find out if the brunch special you have on Thursdays and Fridays is available to anyone, or to club memebers only?"

My coworker says I should have said, "Club members only," and hung up. Or maybe take a reservation first. :D

Anyway, the salvage item of the week was a small bottle of au jus concentrate. French dip sandwiches sounded good too, so I bought some beef roast and whole wheat buns on the way home and cooked the beef in the crock pot overnight. Now I have sandwiches and au jus lined up for the next three days. ^_^
miko2: Ranma disguised as a schoolgirl to fool Ryoga (Default)
Hot Pot

A lot of anime shows have scenes or stories where the characters share a "hot pot" meal. This is apparently a popular and cheap communal dinner, where meat and vegetables are cooked in a boiling pot in the center of the table. Shows such as Ouran High School Club make a big deal of this being something to do in the Winter, especially for the lower or middle class.

On several occasions I've wanted to try something like this, and I ran across it again in the show Princess Jellyfish, where the poor otaku have a once-a-week hot pot meal. Anyway, it put me in the mood to try that again. Since it was a cold day, and Superbowl Sunday (never mind that I wasn't watching the game), I decided to do it.

According to the web, "hot pot" is basically Chinese/Japanese/Asian for "stew". Typically, however, the various veggies and meat are cooked quickly and then removed from the pot and eaten with various dipping sauces. Meat is usually very thinly sliced and kept frozen until cooking, so that it curls up when cooked -- similar to the meat you get at a Mongolian grill, I guess. Noodles are also a popular addition.

For my purposes I picked up a packet of beef strips designed for stir fry, and a wide variety of vegetables -- carrot, turnip, potato, daikon radish, green onion, bell pepper, green beans, a few brussell sprouts, white mushrooms and portabella mushroom. I wasn't able to cook at the table, of course, but I set up a pot on the stove with beef broth and spices, sliced up my vegetables, and once it was boiling I began placing things in it and then removing them when I thought they had cooked long enough. In hindsight I overcooked most of the veggies, but it was still okay. I also left a lot of things too long, so they were unwieldy with chopsticks. I had way too much daikon radish.

I also added some small frozen precooked shrimp. Larger shrimp, not precooked, would have been much better, but this is something I already had in the freezer.

For sauces I had a spicy sesame oil, a spicy Tabasco soy sauce, some Jack Daniels horseradish mustard, some barbeque sauce, and some "peanut sauce" made with peanutbutter, water and oil. I also had some pickled ginger on hand. I made good use of my assorted little sauce dishes that I've collected from Uwajamaya. I think I probably need one or two more. ^_^

The final results made a pretty large and mostly healthy meal and also today's lunch. I think if I do it again I need to be more careful to not cook stuff so long, and to cut things into easier-to-handle-by-chopstick pieces. Also it'd be fun to do it with an actual pot designed to be used at a table -- and do it with other people. I bet you could buy one of those at Uwajamaya, but I don't know if it would be worth the expense given how often I might use it. Maybe I should try to figure out if there's a restaurant in the area that does that kind of thing.
miko2: Ranma disguised as a schoolgirl to fool Ryoga (Default)
I've logged into City of Heroes twice in the last month... just to keep my characters from being kicked out of the SG I'm in. Not that that seems very likely; the leader's awol and the SG seems pretty directionless. The friend who got me into the SG in the first place and is supposedly 2nd in command of it mostly plays with a different SG now... so maybe the SG I'm in is dying. It's a huge SG with many divisions though, so it would be a slow lingering death.

But anyway, I haven't actually played CoH in a month. You might think that means I've gotten a lot of writing done instead, but that's not the case. I played Second Life a bit, watched movies, read, and surfed the web. In other words, I can find many ways to goof off.

blah blah blah )
miko2: Ranma disguised as a schoolgirl to fool Ryoga (Default)
To the Best of Our Knowledge has a show this week called "Graphic Art Grows Up", with stories/interviews focused on Jules Feiffer, Will Eisner, Dennis Kitchen, and Robert Crumb. You can listen to it here.


Also, an older Radiolab show that I downloaded this to my iPod this morning (I'd somehow missed it when it first aired) and had to listen to it twice. Radiolab: Words. Stories about how we learn words and how they affect how we think about the world. Very fascinating.
miko2: Ranma disguised as a schoolgirl to fool Ryoga (Default)
For Christmas, my nephew got a new LCD TV. His old one was only a year old, so they gave it to me as a present. It's a bit smaller than my previous TV, which was 27", but my old TV is a massive heavy non-digital tube television.

Now the plan is to give away my old TV and my massive entertainment center, if possible. I think my friend Tom might want the TV if I offer it to him.

On the down side, my new TV still doesn't pick up any television signals. I live on a hill with trees everywhere so always had to use rabbit ears on the old TV, but they won't work for a digital signal.

On Friday I drove up to Fry's to get an HDMI - DVI cable. With that, I'll be able to hook up my computer to my new TV if I want, which might be fun to try. I also got a DVI - SVGA connector, which allows me to also hook the TV up to my laptop -- with suspect video quality, I would guess, but we'll see.

The cable only had one end showing, which was the DVI connector. But the box clearly said HDMI - DVI. I took it home and opened it up, and discovered that it was actually a DVI - DVI cord. :P That did me no good, and it was well after 5 PM on New Year's eve, so I had to wait until Sunday and drive back up to exchange it. Kind of annoying to make that long drive again to exchange something that cost me about $17.00.

I did very little for New Year's. In fact, I went to be about 11 PM. ^_^
miko2: Ranma disguised as a schoolgirl to fool Ryoga (Default)


A lovely performance of that familiar story Ladle Rat Rotten Hut....

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