Friday, August 7, 2009

Save the Tiger.

I'm still bored. So between job searching, doing chores, and playing games on the PlayStation, I made another video.

Save the Tiger.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Vladimir Putin drinks Dos Equis.

I was bored today, and after browsing for jobs, I decided to put together this little Dos Equis commercial spoof. After all, who can resist the Russian nationalist uber-masculine Prime Minister Vladimir Putin?

Stay thirsty my friends :p

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Birther in Chief - Orly Taitz.

The birther movement is a strange one. Basically... it is a group of conspiracy theorists who believe that President Obama is not eligible to be POTUS because he does not satisfy the Article II, Section 5 requirements, which requires the President to be a natural born citizen.

One of the folks that has been getting a lot press time is Orly Taitz... who is sort of crazy. Basically she's a realtor, dental hygienist, and "lawyer" who has been filing silly lawsuits all over the place trying to challenge Obama's qualification to be POTUS. Each and every time she files a complaint about the issue, it is dismissed because she doesn't have standing.

She's also been filing lawsuits outside of jurisdictions where she is admitted to practice. Apparently, Orly didn't go to an ABA accredited law school, so... despite being admitted to the bar in California, can't really practice law anywhere but California.

For a glimpse of how crazy she is...

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The new Honda Insight is Dumb.

In 1999, Honda introduced the first-generation Honda Insight. It was a two-seat subcompact hatchback that featured aerodynamic rear fender skirts and was also the first hybrid passenger vehicle sold in North America. Honda engineers, in their pursuit for maximum fuel economy, built paneling of the Insight out of aluminium and plastic, and even installed low-rolling resistance tires (sacrificing comfort and handling) on low-drag rims.

Although the Insight didn't look very cool, it was cool because it was an ambitious technological achievement by Honda. It was fuel efficient (53mpg combined - EPA '09 estimate), quirky, and introduced the hybrid to America.

Two years later, Toyota introduced its first Prius in North America. As you can see on the right, it didn't look at unusual. The first North America Prius was a four-door sedan. I had the opportunity to ride in one while I was at the University of Illinois... and it was nothing to write home about. The Prius was sluggish, cramped, and worst of all... it was neither particularly fuel efficient nor economical (because of the premium price).

But Toyota wasn't complacent, and three years later in 2004, it introduced the 2nd generation Prius that everyone recognizes (in case you don't... it is the red car to the right).

Not to be outdone... Honda went back to the drawing board... and uh... five years later... introduced the... uh... the 2010 Toyota Prius Honda Insight. Ignore the physical similarities, because the Insight only looks the Prius, but doesn't perform like one.

Starting at $19,800, the new Insight is $2,200 less than the new 2010 Toyota Prius (which was also received a major update this year).

Unfortunately... the new Honda Insight is Dumb. To spare you the details... basically the 2010 Prius is more fuel efficient, more spacious, has better handling, quieter ride, better power to weight ratio, more torque, better brakes, and less carbon-dioxide emissions.

So basically... the 2010 Prius not only has better fuel economy (which I suppose is the variable by which all hybrids are measured), but is really... a better car. In addition, the Insight's rear headroom is pathetic. Anyone who is probably over 6 feet will not be able to comfortable sit in the backseats of an Insight, because their head will be touching the ceiling.

The $2,200 dollar price difference shouldn't really be a deciding factor between these two vehicles. If you can't afford the $2,200, you probably can't afford the premium of buying a hybrid vehicle... financially, you'll be better off driving a high-efficiency sub-compact like a Honda Fit, Hyundai Accent/Electra, Kia Forte, Toyota Yaris, Scion xB/xD, Nissan Versa, etc...

Now... I read quite a bit of automotive journalism. Some automotive journalists (particularly the dumb ones), praise the Insight as an "alternative" to the Prius. These idiot automotive journalists use code words, which I will translate for the non-idiotic audience.

Statement #1: "The Honda Insight is more fun to drive"
Translation: It is not as well insulated from road noise, has a more unforgiving suspension, so it feels more "sporty" even though it really isn't. So if you're an idiot who likes to play pretend, the Insight is for you!

Statement #2: "The Honda Insight is not boring, unlike Toyotas."
Translation: I have a low self-esteem and I continuously strive to be "different" and "unique."

In re: Statement #1. Some people are idiots. They'll take the uncomfortable "sporty" ride even if the car's performance doesn't match the comfortable "un-sporty" vehicle. I suspect it is what motivates teenagers to buy a Honda Civic, install a fart-cannon exhaust, rice it up with a massive wing (because you know... a Civic needs the downforce huh?)... because you know... if it looks fast or feels fast... it is huh? I suspect these folks never quite developed past the stage of "pretend play"... and are basically overgrown toddlers.

As for Statement #2... these folks will do anything to be "unique." These people, failing to recognize the paradox of trying to be "unique" as a reactionto what other people are doing, will not act rationally because... you know... everyone else is doing it yo?

So if a friend has rave reviews and great experience with a particular car, they'll refuse to purchase it (even if they were previous amiable to it), because... you know... gota be "unique" right? It makes one wonder... what will these folks not do in their pursuit to be "unique"? If someone starts a viral campaign that says... "you should not eat poo," will these "unique" individuals begin to eat fecal matter?

Honda's marketing campaign for the Insight emphasizes its availability to the common person, "designed and priced for us all." If that statement is true... I'm going to be depressed about the future of humanity, because we're going to be all under 6 feet tall, and incredibly stupid in our pursuit of being "unique."

But in any case... let's enjoy Honda's tribute to the idiotic masses, which I think is a pretty cute commercial? But that may be my inner idiot.

Monday, August 3, 2009

"Chashao" pork buns.

I made Chaoshao ("Chinese BBQ") pork buns. They're very tasty, and relatively easy. The instructions are written in a no nonsense manner, because cooking really should be no nonsense and easy.

Chaoshao Pork Recipe
        • 5 lbs of pork loin
        • 2/3 cup hoisin sauce
        • 2/3 cup sugar
        • 4 tablespoon of gin
        • 4 tablespoon of oyster sauce
        • 2 teaspoon five-spice powder

Take the pork, and strip off excess fat and connective tissue. Since the pork loin runs along the top of the pig's rib cage, it is rather long and slender. Take a knife, and butcher the loin along the long and slender cut of meat. You'll then want to cut up the pork loin into long chunks, thereby increasing its surface area to mass ratio, which will facilitate better marination and cooking.

You'll want to cut it along the grain, because after cooking, you'll slice the pork up against the grain, which will result in more tender bites.

Then mix all the ingredients together, and marinate the pork for at least 5 hours.

Then put the pork in an oven safe vessel, brush it with the marinate, and bake it at 375°F, for approximately 50 minutes. You'll want to flip the pork every 15 minutes or so, and brush more of the marinate over it. Near the end, just pour the entire marinate onto the pork, and let it cook with the drippings.

After you remove the pork from the oven, it should be dark brown/red, let it cool, then begin to cut the strips against the grain, which will give you something that looks like this.

Place the slices of meat back in the dripping, it'll the meat will soak up the rich condensed goodness, the thin slices will be good to eat. I eat it on rice, noodles, and of course, in buns!

Bun Dough Recipe
        • 1/2 tablespoon of yeast
        • 2 tablespoons of sugar
        • 2 teaspoon of vegetable oil
        • 1/3 cup of milk
        • 1/2 cup of water
        • 2 cups of flour

Combine water and milk, heat it until it is warm, then throw in the oil, sugar and yeast. Stir. Mix in the flour, knead & add more flour until the dough is elastic, but no longer sticky.

Let it rise for about an hour.

Then roll it out into a log, cut the log into 10 pieces. Each piece will be one bun.

To make the buns, just roll the piece of dough until it is roundish & flat (roughly 3m, which I think is about 1/10 of an inch). Then put your pork filling inside in the center, and proceed to wrap it up.

To wrap, simply bring two opposite ends of the dough together at the top, meeting at the center, and press them together. Repeat until the bun is closed (you'll probably need to repeat this only 3 times per bun). Then pick the bun up, and place the top (which you just closed) on your kneading platform (so that it is upside down), put your palm on top of the flat bottom, and roll the bun in your hands for a few times, until the top (now on the bottom) is fairly flat).

Bake the buns at 400°F for about 20 minutes. You can brush the top with eggwash after baking them for about 5 minutes, but I skipped the eggwash... because really? Who cares if it is shiny. You can also steam the buns until the dough is cooked.

The Result? Yummy goodness.