Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Miracle Fruit?

Apparently there's an interesting fruit that changes the way your taste buds perceive sour tastes into sweet. It would be interesting to try this some time. =) I should see if any of my friends want to do a tasting party with these.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

My City!

Apparently there's this site where you can create your own little town that gains population when people go visit it. It's kind of cute. Pointless, though. I still couldn't help but make a little city of my own called "Greener Grass." No, that's not a drug reference. I'm sure you can figure out what it's a reference to. =)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Poor Thing

My roommate's kitty has this habit of waking me up in the mornings when she's out of town. It's annoying, but I can't really be too upset about it since she's probably just lonely. She cost me a few hours of sleeping in this morning, though. Then of course now she went off somewhere to take a cat nap herself! The nerve!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Wasting Energy (But Looking Pretty Awesome)

Apparently there's this hole in the ground in Uzbekistan that has been burning for over 35 years. some dudes were looking for natural gas and came upon a big cave of natural gas. For whatever reason, instead of doing something useful like collecting the gas and using it for fuel, these dudes thought it would be a better idea to burn off the gas.

I mean, I gotta say, it looks pretty amazing, but it's such a waste in light of how much natural gas that could have been used for fuel has been wasted. At the very least, someone should build a generator on top of the hole.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The First Zero Carbon Emission City?

Apparently the United Arab Emirates is planning on building Masdar City as a zero carbon emission city of 50,000 people. Cars won't be allowed in the city. Instead, they will have some underground public transportation that is solar powered. They plan on recycling / reusing water with very high efficiency (80%). All in all, this city sounds like an incredible experiment in making mankind's existence on earth more sustainable.

Being in southern California where we drain water from hundreds of miles away to sustain our needs, being able to have 80% efficient water reclamation would be an incredible breakthrough, not to mention all the other feats they are planning. The really astounding thing is they are planning on beginning construction as early as next year.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Super Mario Levels -> Music

Using Super Mario levels to play music was a new concept to me when I saw this clip. They not only make a Rube Goldberg style level that plays itself, but this one plays a medley of songs using the in game sound effects in conjunction with the audio track. I can't even being to guess how long it took to set this up.

Video games are truly a new medium for artistic expression. It's hard not to believe it when things like this are possible.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Leaf Cuisine

Lunch with my friends went about as smoothly as possible. We ate at Leaf Cuisine, a raw vegan foods place. The food there is very interesting, since they emulate normal foods using only raw vegan ingredients.

One friend didn't like it. He ordered a "pizza" which was nothing like a pizza. Instead of a baked, dough crust, it had a cracker-like crust made of some pressed grain. Instead of cooked tomato sauce, it had some sauce made with dried tomatoes. Instead of cheese, it had some fake cheese sauce with approximately the consistency of mustard. Unfortunately, he was expecting something far more pizza-like.

My other friend was okay with her dish. She's vegetarian, so her expectations were probably more realistic. She ordered nachos which were fairly close to nachos. They were again made with some sort of cracker-like chips made presumably of corn meal but with herbs. Then they had good, normal guacamole and pico de gallo on them. Instead of sour cream, they had some fairly runny creamy sauce. Instead of cheese, they had that fake cheese sauce again. Then they had some sort of bean sauce designed to emulate refried beans.

The dish I ordered was pretty good, actually. I (wisely) ordered a dish that usually is served with mostly raw ingredients: a mushroom sandwich. The only thing a little unusual was that instead of bread, it had "mango bread," which seems like it's something like dried slices of mango. The innards of the sandwich were quite decent, so I enjoyed it.

I would be willing to go to that restaurant again. I'm pretty sure my vegetarian friend would too. My other friend, I'm pretty sure would not.

In any case, the lunch was not particularly dramatic, so things turned out to be okay.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Why Am I Nervous?

Tomorrow, I'm going to have lunch with a couple of old friends. For some weird reason, though, I feel really nervous about it. It's almost as if I'm afraid of what might happen. I've been on kind of uncertain ground in recent years with one of them. She and I used to be much closer, but we've kind of gone our separate ways in recent years.

I guess I always feel like she's going to judge me or freak out about something I say. I guess it's just worse in light of my recent dispute with one of our mutual friends. It always seems like the people who freak out the most about others being judgmental are the most judgmental themselves. It's quite irritating, to be honest.

My tolerance for that sort of thing has been destroyed in recent months. Maybe I'm nervous that I'll get upset? Maybe I'm nervous that our friendship might no longer be there? Maybe I'm just nervous because I don't know what to expect?

Thursday, May 1, 2008

WOW: Arena Success At Last

My warlock's team has finally found what feels like a comfortable class composition in recent weeks and has finally taken over (again) as the strongest team on my server. Oddly enough, the development that has allowed us to jump past 2000 rating has been swapping out our priest for another mage. I don't blame our priest's skills or something, I just think that our old class composition was obsolete. Really, it was obsolete already at the end of season 1. The recent surge in popularity of "Eurocomp" (a.k.a. rogue, mage, disc priest, warlock, resto druid) and "Trifecta" (a.k.a. warrior, enh shaman, rogue, priest, paladin) was really hurting our old composition because both of those compositions exert devastating pressure on warlocks.

Many teams have given up on warlocks, but obviously, I couldn't. Given the selection of players on our team's roster, we theorycrafted that adding another mage instead of a priest would strengthen us against both of those compositions because we'd be adding another anti melee crowd control class as well as significant firepower. The old model of a single priest mana burning the opposing team's casters was simply not powerful enough after the mana burn nerf relative to the offensive firepower the other teams could bring to bear on our team.

Thus, our warrior, warlock, mage, mage, paladin lineup was born and immediately our rating went up. In hindsight, it's been kind of ironic that we spent so long trying to recruit a skilled priest and then in the end, we had to bench him. The personal aspect of maintaining an active arena team roster is the hardest part for me. People become friends as they play together, so it's very hard for me to alter my team's class composition. How do you ask a friend to sit out because your team does better without him without it sounding like you're blaming him for your losses? Luckily our priest offered to bench himself for the good of the team. I mean it was apparent that our team simply didn't perform as well when we ran with him (given that his personal rating had fallen to more than 200 below the team's rating).

While I don't feel like my team is extraordinarily skilled, I am proud of the way we have been playing. We are the most consistently active and now the most successful team on my server and that is definitely something I feel I can be proud of, since I'm the leader.