Blurty

and my little robot friend

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one of my biggest pet peeves is the incorrect portrayal of chinese people as vietnamese or vice versa, in film or other media.

to some extent i understand the confusion in every day situations, the two cultures are quite close.

but in film and media, there’s really no excuse for naming a purportedly vietnamese character with a distinctly chinese name (and when i say that i mean it’s so clearly a chinese name that there’s actually a vietnamese version for it.) well maybe she’s actually supposed to be chinese then! you might argue. if only i hadn’t heard them speaking vietnamese in the movie! badly translated subtitled vietnamese, at that!

i could explain away one or two instances with “maybe she’s half - her mother is one thing and her father the other” BUT NOT AS MANY TIMES AS I’VE SEEN SUCH THAT I AM TYPING IN ALL CAPS WITH ANGRYFACE RIGHT NOW.

it’s insulting, and worse, it’s sloppy. it’s something that could be corrected with a very simple google search, and yet film makers (i single them out because they in particular are so very guilty of this) simply can’t be bothered. because the distinction just isn’t important enough? it’s like naming every black character in your movie “shaniqua” or “tamiqua”.

seriously, every time i see a supposed “chinese” girl called “thuy trang” it just makes me want to punch kittens. 

this was inspired by myq kaplan referring to ng as a vietnamese surname. IT IS NOT VIETNAMESE NG IN VIETNAMESE IS NOT A WORD MYQ. ALSO WHY DO YOU SPELL YOUR NAME LIKE THAT IT IS NOT HIP OR ORIGINAL, IT IS VERY 2001, you are such a funny guy but sometimes you make me want to slap you.

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"he was nervous"

There was an article in the news today about a rail guard - or public safety officer - who accidentally discharged his weapon. Public Safety Officer is the name given to the new public transport security guards, essentially. There’s been some controversy over them being armed with guns, with many critics saying that without being fully trained police officers, they don’t have the right to carry them. I tend to agree, but that’s not the point here.

My issue with the incident here is that the spokesman who commented to the media explained it away with “It was his first day. He was nervous - as we all are, on our first day.” Over and over, he repeated that mantra, “He was a bit nervous. It won’t happen again.”

Well no, the first day bit won’t happen again…gosh, aren’t we lucky he won’t be going into a high stress working environment then, though?

Of course he was nervous on his first day and of course it was an accident. Accidents happen, even to well trained, qualified people. The incident in and of itself isn’t an argument against PSOs carrying firearms, that’s a whole other blog post. But I really do have to wonder at the PR people who let the spokesman run with the “he was nervous, feel bad for him” excuse.

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important property that must be protected:

I’m in the process of researching strategies for a boss fight. One of my favorite sites for this is icyveins.com, which tends to provide great, comprehensive guides and descriptions of encounters.

This amused me however:

I’m referring to, in particular, the watermark. Not that this isn’t somebody’s intellectual property, but I wonder how many people out there are incapable of drawing three circles within each other and coloring them green and blue.

no disrespect intended. i very much respect and appreciate the effort that goes into the site. 

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i am cold, i say. will you always keep me warm?

of course, he says.

promise?

yes, he says.

will you always love me?

yes, he says.

promise?

yes.

will we always be together?

yes

promise?

yes

do you always keep your promises?

he says yes, but i know he is lying.

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So in Batman Begins, Bruce Wayne refuses to kill the one murderer that the league of shadows places before him in order to show his committment to justice.

'No,” he says, “I will not be an executioner.”

So instead he burns down the temple and kills a bunch of the guys he trained with instead.

That makes sense…

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I really feel like Futurama has gone the way of the Simpsons and become a soulless shell of its former self.

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Sometimes I Wander into the Kitchen

By no means am I a food blogger, and I have no plans to be. For one thing, I don’t have anywhere near the discipline needed to blog regularly, and food blogging would require me to cook often enough that I could blog about it. But I do like to cook, and when I cook I like to make food that I can really enjoy. I love rich, flavorful food, and it wreaks havoc with my diet. That might be why I don’t cook that often, come to think of it.

Tonight I made curry samosas, spinach and ricotta three cheese pastizzis, and mushroom zuchini bolognaise puffs, served with a side of potato au gratin and steamed vegetables. Yes - I was going with very much a puff pastry theme, and I think I went slightly overboard, since I made enough to feed all 5 of my family and still have 3 trays left over.

Anyway, I was really pleased with how the spinach pastizzis turned out and since I did a lot of experimentation with them I’m going to jot the recipe down here so I don’t forget.

Ingredients:

1 onion, large

Baby spinach - 300grams, finely chopped

500grams of light ricotta cheese

light tasty cheese

parmesan cheese

feta cheese, crumbled

mozarella cheese

1 egg

butter

salt and pepper to taste

ready rolled puff pastry sheets

Ok, so my 3 cheese spinach and ricotta pastizzis were really more 5 cheese. But the blend of cheeses gave it a wonderful, rich flavour, and really cut down on the amount of salt I needed to use.

1. Dice the onion

2. Chop the spinach

3. Saute the onion in butter until translucent

4. Add the chopped spinach, cook til leaves are wilted

5. Take the spinach and onion off the heat, leave to cool.

6. In a bowl, place the ricotta cheese, add a handful of tasty cheese, a handful of mozarella cheese, and the crumbled feta and parmesan. The amounts aren’t set in stone - add enough that it’s visible, but not so much that the ricotta is overwhelmed.

7. Beat the egg, then add to the cheese and mix well.

8. Season with salt and pepper

9. Add the cooked spinach and onion, stir through til evenly mixed.

Lay out the sheets of puff pastry, use a round cutter and cut into circles. Spoon the cheese mixture onto the pastry, pinch to close, twist the ends.

Bake at 210 degrees until golden and puffed.

These came out wonderfully rich and the onion gave the spinach a great flavour.

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Rampant Consumerism

So despite the numerous issues with security and hacking that Diablo 3 has experienced, the Real Money Auction House has finally launched, and with it the expected flood of outrage, protestations, and gloating.

The problems I have with it are predictable - I have major objections to any game that lets you buy your way to the top, because that completely defeats the spirit of the game and negates any player skill. I suppose you could make the argument that people are free to trade their real world skills for in game skills, but that’s the point, isn’t it? I’m not playing Diablo 3 to compete against your stockbroking skills, I’m playing to compete against your fireball throwing skills. Not that there’s a whole lot of competition going on at the moment with the lack of PVP, still, the fundamental objection I have is to the whole idea of paying to succeed.

But I always knew that this was going to be the case, so that source of discontent is not new, today’s source of indignation comes from the fact that items are being priced at 100, 150, 200, 250 USD - and they’re being bought.

Who on earth are these insane people who a) have a lot of money and b) are so socially inept that they care this hard about a video game? So maybe that’s a slightly silly stereotype, thinking that the two tend to be mutually exclusive — video game addicts are anti-social shut-ins for whom the game is their world, while the prosperous 1 percent are all off on their high faluting adventures. But really — who ARE these people who think it’s worth it to spend 250 dollars on an imaginary in-game item? Even people who have money to burn don’t really tend to… you know, burn it. 

I started working for a non profit organisation lately and my head has just been full of numbers to make me feel guilty. Did you know, for example, that the world collectively spends more money on video games than it does on charity? Which is not to say we should spend all our money on feeding the starving children of Africa rather than play video games, because it’s certainly not an either-or situation. But when I see this kind of rampant, wasteful, feckless consumerism it really eats at me inside. Don’t get me wrong - people who earned their money of course have the right to do whatever they want with it. Maybe these people who blow 250 bucks on an imaginary bow give 1000s of dollars to charity regularly (as rare as that might be). But when the justification is “my parents are rich, I can afford it”…ugh.

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this bothers me

Two of my friends broke up recently. I was friends with the guy first, but I didn’t really take sides. I popped onto his Facebook page this evening because he’d tagged me in one of his posts. Having not really talked to him for a little while I hadn’t realised he’d moved on, and the evidence was splashed all over his Facebook Wall. 

For some reason, seeing it gave me a sad, sick feeling. My heart hurt seeing it, which doesn’t really make sense because it wasn’t my relationship that had ended. I didn’t have an investment in it and yet seeing the evidence of that long, wonderful relationship erased made me just unbearably sad.

When my fiancee dumped me I didn’t defriend him from Facebook because I’m a weak idiot, and later I tormented myself by Facebook stalking him. When he got into a new relationship, despite the fact that I was in one myself, I still felt like I’d been punched in the gut. I don’t know if that means I wasn’t over him, all I know was seeing it sucked. I felt like I’d never existed, like I’d simply been replaced. 

Those were irrational reactions, but I know they were natural. I’m not sure what prompted this particular reaction I had tonight, though. My friend had the sense to defriend her ex, so most likely she won’t see the evidence of his having moved on. Maybe I’m just doing a whole lot of projecting right now.

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Zombie Simpsons

If you’re one of the many people who believe the Simpsons has devolved into a zombiefied, lifeless and inferior version of itself, the first thing you need to do is visit this website. Dead Homer Society puts into words all the ways that you know the Simpsons has lost the old magic but could never quite properly express.

The second thing you need to do is watch Ugly Americans. Calling this show the spiritual successor to the Simpsons is probably a bit of a stretch but at least the first season of this show reminds me of the tightly plotted satire that the Simpsons used to be, tinged with just enough heart but not bogged down by saccharine over the top emotion. The premise alone is awesome - imagine New York populated by a mixture of humans, demons from hell, werewolves, zombies and various other mythical creatures and sundry, all operating in a bureaucratic world and dealing with every day nuisances. It revolves around a mild mannered human social worker who is in a relationship with his she-demon boss and lives with a zombie room mate. Oh the zanyness! But the humour is actually reasonably clever and doesn’t overly resort to slapstick, although there is a fair amount of adult content and some crudeness.

I still watch the Simpsons because compared to everything else on TV it’s still a reasonably funny sitcom. But there’s no doubt that it’s not really the Simpsons any more, it’s Zombie Simpsons. So if that enrages you (as it should), you should give Ugly Americans a go. You get to watch actual zombies that way.