Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Japanese style milk bread.

I like Japanese/East Asian adaptions of "western" bread.

I found this recipe written by this Germanic-Chinese lady called Angie. Angie, being non-American, wrote her recipe in the awesome & rational & superior in every way (unless you're American) metric system.

Because all the ingredients are measured by weight, the recipe is idiot proof and simple even for a non-baker like me.

Here are the results.


Divided, Risen, and Arranged.

Baked! Yum.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

There should be no fish or sushi restaurants in America.

This post may seem quite pedantic, but please bear with me while I demonstrate with my irrefutably poor logic that there should be no fish or sushi restaurants in America.

The Japanese people account for approximately 2% of the world's population, but they account for approximately 12% of fish consumption. Sushi, despite having originated from the Asian continent, has been developed and introduced to the West by Japanese immigrants. Therefore, eating fish and sushi, for all intent and purposes = being Japanese.

The Japanese people were ruled by a political entity called the "Great Imperial Japanese Nation" (大日本帝國) between 1868 and 1945. This political entity was extremely militaristic and sought to expand its territories. Between the late 1800s and early 1900s, this political entity annexed Korea and the Ryukyu Kingdom, waged war against Imperial Russia and the Soviet Union, as well as Imperial and Republican China. By the 1930s, Japanese forces under this political entity had committed grave atrocities, and later attacked this wonderful country of ours with a surprise raid at Pearl Harbor, as well as US ruled Philippines, and British assets in Malayan Peninsula. The Imperial Japanese government directly contributed to the death of millions of people across East and South East Asia, as well as thousands of British Commonwealth and American lives.

By operation of the wonderful guilt by association fallacy, the fish/sushi restaurants (GOOD & YUMMY) ---> all things "Japanese" ---> Japanese Imperial government (BAD!!!!).

Ergo, it is simply insensitive and wrong to eat fish or consume sushi. We should protest the building of fish and sushi restaurants, whether 2 block or 1500 miles away from a site of an atrocity or battle, it is simply WRONG!!

Oh - and I have a personal say in this, I'm an ethnic Chinese whose grandfather was forced to join the Imperial Japanese Army, I'm living in America, and even if those things didn't matter, I'm offended because of my ultra-developed (abet uninformed) sensitivities. Every time I see someone eat raw fish, or fish in general, it reminds me of painful cultural collective memories of the unpleasant Imperial Japanese atrocities. We simply cannot let the Japanese militarists and Imperialists believe that they have won.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tea Egg.

Tea egg is one of those Chinese things that vary from region to region. It is really easy, and the taste is very subtle.

Basically boil some eggs. How do I boil eggs? Put them in a pot, fill it with water to cover, then heat over fire until water boils. Once the water boils, turn the heat off, and let it sit for 15 minutes.

To make tea egg, you'll want to cool the eggs down completely. I usually do it with running water. Then what you'll want to do is gently crack the entirety of the egg shell, without actually removing the egg shell. Why do this? You'll see later.

Then take a pot, fill it with enough water to cover the eggs. Add just enough soy sauce to make the water opaque. Then add maybe two teaspoons of five-spice powder. At this point, you can add a teabag or two (dark tea not green) in the pot. Alternatively, you can skip it, but the egg will just be soy sauced, and wouldn't be an "tea egg".

You can put the eggs w/ the cracked shells back in the pot, and turn the heat on. Let it boil for 15 minutes, then turn off the heat, and let it sit for several hours.

Let it cool, and serve!

The finished egg.

Peeled and ready to eat! It may not look very seasoned, but trust me, the taste is there. Check out the lines! The more cracks, the more lines!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ford making special F-150 with Harley-Davidson.

Ford & Harley-Davidson is pairing up together to pimp a F-150.

My question to the men who buy this... isn't it easier and cheaper to go see your doctor and have a conversation about the little blue pill?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

human factors review: Automotive Instruments

(as described by Wikipedia)
  • The science of understanding the properties of human capability (Human Factors Science).
  • The application of this understanding to the design, development and deployment of systems and services (Human Factors Engineering).
  • The art of ensuring successful application of Human Factors Engineering to a program (sometimes referred to as Human Factors Integration). It can also be called ergonomics.

Good human factors minimizes the amount work or the taxing of a person's resources when operating the specific machinery or system.

Good design should not increase the amount of effort the user has to expend for the sake of "style." Unfortunately, not enough graduates from art schools with "industrial design" degrees take this seriously.

Automotive Instruments

These gauges are from the Chevy Camaro. Why must the digits be rotated in a radial fashion around the perimeter of the circular gauge? How does that help anyone read their current speed?

These are even worse. From another Chevy Camaro design, why does the speedometer only display increments of 25mph? Even if the increments are 25mph, why are there no markings for consistent intervals? Such as 5mph increments?

In addition, the speedometer or the tachometer's radial rotation of the numbers is inconsistent. In the speedometer's case, the 25mph and 175mph markings are incorrectly rotated 180°. In the tachometer's case, 1 and 7 are incorrectly rotated 180°. In human factors design, it is better to be poorly designed but consistent, rather than poorly designed and inconsistent.

Taken from a 2010 Buick Lacrosse. In a vehicle that starts at $26k, this is a travesty of effective design. Both the speedometer and the tachometer have dominant markings placed between the numerical indicators, which create an unnecessary chance for ambiguity. GM should have also thought about which demographic their customers are - old people. In this case, if a Buick customer confuses 50mph for 40mph, I don't blame them, the instruments are unnecessarily confusing.

 These gauges are from a 2008 Chevy Cobalt SS. GM clearly knows how to properly design an instrument cluster. Their generic parts are straightforward and well designed. But it seems like in the past couple of years, when they try to design something "new" and "fresh" they let their clown car art school types take over and end up with crap like the aforementioned works of "art."

2010 Ford Mustang. Radial arrangement of information should be avoided. But if one must do so, I suppose the half circle has got to be the way to do it.

These are simple gauges from a 1995 Honda Civic. As you can see, the instrument cluster is centered around the speedometer. The gauges have nicely arranged numbering at 20mph intervals, with clearly marked 10mph increments, with smaller markings for 5mph intervals. There's no nonsense. In addition, in the inner circle, the gauges indicate the current speed in kilometers, because GASP! people sometimes visit Canada.

Taken from a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. A simple well designed modern set of instruments. No excess stylistic design that gets in the way of conveying information. Coolant temperature and closed/open status of doors are displayed in the center of the tachometer. The center of the speedometer contains a fuel gauge, as well as a current gear selection indicator.

For instruments that are intended to convey basic information, the simpler is always better. Instrumentation is not a place for designers to emphasize their individuality or creative talents.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Why every self-respecting monarch needs a genealogy and a spy service.

I recently had the misfortune of being reminded of a terrible film. Why do I subject myself to partially re-watching bad films? Because every now and then, bad films, like parables, yield wisdom and advice for the unusual situations people end up in.

Curse of the Golden Flower [2006] is one of those bad films. This film is directed by Zhang Yimou, the man who was also responsible for House of Flying Daggers, one of the worst films I've ever watched. In Chinese, the film is titled 滿城盡帶黃金甲, which roughly translates to "Whole City in Gold Armor." Why was it retitled as the "Curse of the Golden Flower?" Who knows? In addition, despite being a period piece set in supposed ancient China, all the women are wearing corsets that accentuates their cleavages.

Anyway... the film is basically a big imperial family drama with a lot of extras and large sets. A thinner than usual Chow Yun-Fat is The Emperor. The Emperor has the nicest hair, he really should consider doing a commercial for Head and Shoulders.

Liu Ye plays the 1st Prince. Jay Chou plays the 2nd Prince, he is supposed to the strong son, who is a capable general. Unfortunately, Jay Chou is a musician, and not much of an actor - so he comes off as a unconvincing peasant from Taiwan who can't properly speak Mandarin Chinese.

Some no name kid plays the 3rd Prince, who no one really gives a damn about. Gong Li plays the Queen (step-mother the 1st Prince, biological mother to the others). Why do I mention this? you know where this is going don't you?

The Queen and the 1st Prince have a sexual affair. The Emperor knows this, so he is having the Queen's daily meds poisoned. The Queen, getting sicker, suspects something is up, and hires an Private Investigator (PI) to spy on the Emperor. She also spends her time sewing golden chrysanthemum flowers.

The PI is a woman, and happens to be the wife of the Imperial Doctor (the dude responsible for mixing the Queen's daily meds with poison). Awkward?

Anyway - during one of her spying missions, the PI gets caught. The PI is brought in front of the Emperor, where everyone expects the PI to be executed. To everyone's surprise, the Emperor asks everyone to leave.

It turns out that the PI was the Emperor's first wife. Um... the 1st Prince's mother. Oh wait - I accidentally omitted the fact that aside from sleeping with his stepmother, the 1st Prince was also sleeping with the Imperial Doctor's daughter.


The 1st Prince is not only fornicating with his father's wife, but also his half-sister. I think this dynasty is heading towards the likes of Egyptian Ptolemaic Dynasty and the House of Hapsburg. This is not a good arrangement. To cut the long story short, the Emperor has the Imperial Doctor, the Doctor's wife (the PI), and their daughter killed.

The 3rd Prince, that no one gives a damn about, kills the 1st Prince, and tries to force the Emperor to abdicate. That didn't work out too well, and he gets killed by blunt force trauma from the Emperor's gold loaded belt.

The sort of Queen stages a rebellion in the court yard. Thousands of men rush in, led by the 2nd Prince, wearing gold uniforms with chrysanthemum flowers. They're all slaughtered in the massive courtyard.

But in an EPIC fashion, the courtyard, littered with thousands of bodies, thousands of gallons gallons of blood, and who knows how many trampled pots and plants, are washed clean and disappeared in five minutes. Pretty amazing, I mean the cleanup is almost good enough to make this horrible film worth it.

So after the slaughter and cleanup, the Emperor forces the surviving 2nd Prince to dine with him and the Queen. While eating some tasty food, the Emperor offers the 2nd Prince a reprieve, but only if he is willing to feed the poison to the Queen. The 2nd Prince refuses the offer and offs himself.

The Emperor sort of pauses for a second, then resumes eating. Yum!