Posts tagged ‘glitch’


Fish and Kasha and Hardcore Heroes

So the little daughter, now out of college and a Certified Adult in her own right, has been cooking things. Cooking, from the look of the pictures she’s been posting to The Instra-Gram and other young-person places, delicious gourmet sorts of things.

Which is really cool. :)

This weekend she is home visiting, it being the weekend after her birthday and a convenient weekend for visiting, and she asked me to show her how to make Fish and Kasha, which was one of the things that I used to cook for the family back when I was myself young and energetic enough to cook on weekends. (Age is of course a feeble excuse; maybe I will start doing it again!)

I couldn’t find a written-down recipe on any of the many recipe cards in the various recipe-card collections in the kitchen, but I thought I pretty much remembered how, and M helped remembering the ingredients, and so the little daughter and I went out to the local vast cavernous A and P, and we bought fish and kasha and chicken broth and bread crumbs and broccoli and cauliflower and cheese and stuff, and came home and cooked it all, and it was all very yummy and nostalgic and successful.

(They didn’t have any really familiar-looking fish varieties, but the little daughter looked up “swai” on her “cellular phone” and found that it’s basically a kind of catfish, which is what it looked like, so we got that, even though it was “re-fresh” (that is, frozen and thawed) rather than actually fresh.)

Then while we were eating and talking about when we had first, and last, had Fish and Kasha, I remembered where the recipe of course was, and found it in the old weblog, in the entry for 7 November, 1999. A while back! And reading the recipe, it turns out we followed it pretty much exactly, down to getting Wolff’s kasha at A and P, and it being Sunday. (Although we didn’t do the extra skillet-involving steps with the kasha, and it still came out perfect.)

Here it is again, just for fun (note somewhat twee Rocky Horror reference at the beginning there):

Sunday Dinner: Fish and Kasha

This is a great dinner, because it doesn’t have many ingredients. I don’t like a meal with too many ingredients (did somebody yell “slut”?).

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cut two catfish fillets (about a pound) into bite-size chunks. Take two bowls, pour some milk into one, and some bread crumbs into the other. Dip each chunk of fish into the milk, and then into the crumbs, and then put it onto a baking dish (mine is clear glass or pyrex or something; I don’t know if that matters). Cook 25-30 minutes, until tender. Do not overcook.

While the fish bakes, take about one cup whole-kernel kasha (a.k.a. buckwheat groats). We used to get this in five-pound sacks from Walnut Acres, but they don’t seem to have it anymore. Now we buy two-cup boxes of Wolff’s in the “funny furrin foods” section of the A&P. You can just boil it in chicken broth for about 15 minutes, but for a fluffier result: in a small saucepan, melt two Tbs butter in two cups (one can) chicken broth, with a dash salt and a dash pepper. At the same time, heat the kasha in a frying pan or heavy skillet over high heat, until hot and toasty. Pour the boiling stuff carefully into the kasha, lower heat to simmer, and cook covered about 10 minutes, or until the liquid has vanished and it all seems sort of done.

Steam some broccoli. That is, cut off the parts of the stem you don’t want to eat, and arrange for the top parts that you do want to eat to be exposed to steam (preferably in a steamer rather than just sitting in boiling water), until it feels right when poked with a fork. “Right” is entirely up to you.

While all that’s going on, melt another two Tbs butter in another saucepan (yeah, you’re going to have some dishes to wash, later). Dump in enough flour to mostly soak up the butter. Gradually add milk, a little at a time, stopping between each addition to stir until smooth. When you’ve got a good amount (use more milk for more but thinner sauce, less for less but thicker; it will thicken up somewhat when you add the cheese in any case), grate in some cheese (we like sharp Cheddar for this, but anything gratable that you like will work). Stir until the cheese is all melted.

Pour the cheese sauce over everything else, and eat.

The only hard part about this is getting everything to be done at about the same time. That, and cleaning up afterwards. But it’s all very yummy! The little daughter eats everything but the broccoli. The little boy used to eat the kasha back when he was a baby, but won’t anymore.

Tonight, all four of us ate pretty much everything. :)

On entirely other fronts, I’ve been playing Diablo III more, which surprises me somewhat given my not very enthusiastic first impressions. Turns out there’s something soothing (or something) about wreaking havoc through the same landscape and the same story multiple times, with varying character stats and types and varying nastinesses of monsters.

Most recently I’ve been playing in Hardcore mode, which means that if the character you are working on dies, it stays dead, and you need to start another one (or go back to leveling your comparatively unexciting non-Hardcore characters).

My first one, Ulf The Doomed, made it to level 30 before I got careless and he ended up surrounded by monsters, which isn’t usually a problem, except that multiple ones were taking turns freezing him so he could neither fight not heal himself, which definitely was a problem.

The second one, and my first what do they call them Wizard or Magic User or whatever, was Mary Death (a brilliant name, I thought), and she made it only to level 14 before dying due to my not having swapped the latest level of potions into her action bar, and left-clicking rather than right-clicking on the potions in inventory once I realized that, arg.

And that was all good fun, but I think I might be tired of Diablo III for awhile now, we’ll see. And I haven’t been in WoW or Glitch or anything that I used to play alot and have now temporarily forgotten about entirely, for some time.

On the other hand I’m still in Second Life for at least an hour or two, at least five or six days a week, even when real life is moderately stuffed with things (as it’s tended to be). Which says something. :)


Thursday, December 1, 2011

So, well, let’s see.

Here is a random image, in the sense that it was the first hit on a Google Image search for “random image” (without the quotes). It has lots of numbers in it. Also, the second hit was a picture of Chuck Norris.

(Google seems to have made it harder to construct image-search URLs, or I’ve just forgotten the simple method. I thought you used to be able to just change the “www” to an “images” in the standard Google search URL, but now it seems you have to set “tbm” to “isch” in the query-string.)

For the first time, I have started a NaNoWriMo novel, and then not finished it during November. New experiences are good. Somehow I just sort of lost interest, and although sitting down and making myself write 1,600 or 2,500 words was still fun, it was I guess a familiar and already-known sort of fun that didn’t prevail against all other sorts of fun one might use one’s leisure time for.

(Will I ever finish it? Will we discover who, if anyone, murdered Viridax, called The Wise? Will the mysterious narrator’s origins, unknown even to emself, be revealed? I don’t know!)

I started playing The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and then sort of stopped, and so far have continued to stop. Or (interesting verb tense there) have at least not started again. A few notes on Skyrim:

  • It is indeed rather pretty, but there are lots of rather pretty videos around, and either I amn’t all that impressed by mere eyecandy, or it’s just that this eyecandy isn’t all that to my taste, and I’m just more a Windwaker sort of d00d. (Awful lotta grey in the palette, too; maybe if I played it for long enough I would get to more omg-colorful places, Oz-style. Or not.)
  • It is realistic in some good senses; the female characters, for instance, do not have huge mammaries and skin-baring armor, unlike a billion other games one could name,
  • There is at least for me rather an Uncanny Valley effect in some of the realism (for some reason I always think “Eerie Valley” at first instead of “Uncanny Valley”, but Google reads my mind and knows this and takes me to the right place anyway); for instance a very realistic-looking tree sticking through the side of a very realistic-looking building is somehow wronger than that happening in a cartoon world; and a very realistic-looking person behaving in a weird robotic way (see below) is more disturbing than a cartoon character might be.
  • And what’s up with the incredibly stupid and annoying NPCs, anyway? Bethesda has made a bunch of these games, you’d think they’d know how to do it by now. But no, go into the back room of the shop to look around, turn to leave, and there are the shopkeeper and your housekarl, standing side-by-side blocking the doorway, staring creepily and not getting out of the way. Since people are not penetrable as they are in WoW, the only way out of the room is to push on the blockers until one of them moves; and the one that moves will make an annoying annoyed noise, like “Huh?” or “What?” or “Whoa!”, and they’ll make that same noise every single time you have to push them out of the way. Which will be lots.
  • Companion NPCs are also horrible at battle tactics. I’m exploring an ominous cave, an arrow comes twanging out of the dimness, I press my back to the wall to get out of Line of Sight, and my housekarl goes rushing off down the corridor, sword held high. Facepalm. Players who do this kind of thing in WoW get kicked from the party. My kids say they don’t take their housekarl around with them because of annoying stuff like this; but then you can’t do as many quests at low levels, without the help. (It’s possible to tell your companion to stay put, but that’s not what’s wanted either; if there’s a “don’t be stupid” mode, I haven’t found it yet.)
  • Which brings me to levels of things. Now really it’s unrealistic in WoW, say, that you can just select something and the game tells you what level it is, or that it’s so high level that you’d better stay out of its way. But on the other hand in Skyrim when someone says “Could you go get some lemon verbena for me”, you’d think they might add “oh, and the thing guarding it hurls Enormous Fireballs of Instant Death, so you’ll want to level up for a few days before you try it”. Only polite!
  • I find having to use separate control-things for where I’m walking and what I’m looking at to be a PITA (this is on the “xbox 360” console-thing). I’m always finding myself staring up at the sky while my little person walks off the side of the stairway and falls into a lake or something. The kids say that this is how First Person Shooters generally are these days (DOOM wasn’t!), but really Skyrim spends most of its time not being a First Person Shooter, so you’d think there’d be at least an optional “camera follows you sensibly” sort of mode like WoW and SL and and and…
  • Complain, complain, complain, moan, moan, whinge.

Isn’t “whinge” a great word? I think it is British. Speaking of which, that “mdr” in our previous humorous entry is short for the French phrase “mort de rire” which literally means “death from laughter” or “dies laughing”, but idiomatically is the French equivalent of “lol”. You can impress Francophones in online environments by casually saying “mdr” when amused; rather than “mort de rire“, this then means “I am a cool and with-it vaguely-multilingual modern person, and I am amused”. (At least that’s what I mean when I say it.)

Which brings us to the important question of what the repetitively intensified forms of “lol”, like “lolol” or “lololol” or “lololololololol”, mean. (It has been suggested that it means “lots of laughing out loud”, but that would be depressing.) The right question is, do these forms stand for “laughing out loud out loud out loud…”, or something more complex, as in “laughing out loud out laughing out loud…” or “laughing out loud, oh laughing out loud, oh laughing!”.

I think I prefer the lattter.

And there is a picture of a kitten which has captured a little boy. Or, for those in the more conventional time-stream, a cat which has captured a teenager. We get this alot around here, mostly when he is asleep and she isn’t. The boy also captures the kitten relatively frequently.

(If you click through on the picture you will get to M’s weblog, where you will find lotsa fun and mostly irony-free stuff about Thanksgiving and all, and pictures of more people, possibly including me. Don’t tell!)

What else what else? Still playing Glitch just a little, dropping in to learn Distilling I and maybe fight off a rook attack. Also the aforementioned Illyriad, where I have now (with much help from the training guild that I joined early on) moved my capital out of the desolate mountains onto the fertile plains, and established a second city (well, tiny village), and am building buildings and breeding cows and sending my army to fight giant snakes (they were all wiped out by some wild dogs once, owch) and sending caravans full of resources from my capital to the new city to help the building.

But I’m not really sure why, and I can easily imagine that before long I might be writing my guild to ask them if there is some way I can ship all of my goods and population off to their cities, leaving perhaps just a plaque signed “Ozymandius” to mark where in Illyriad I once was.

Or I could get fascinated by something in it, who knows…

Oh yes! And there is this picture!

Please use straw hole

which is our Annoying Inanimate-Object Request o’ the Day. (Click through to flickr for amusing Notes overlaid upon the picture itself; what will they think of next?)

Why does the juice carton implore me to use the straw hole? What if I don’t have a straw? What if I just like the old instinctive “separate and bend back the edges and push out the little spout” method of drinking my encartonned (encartoned?) orange juice?

Things like this baffle me. Someone at (ummmm) Tropicana must have explicitly decided that the carton would say “Please Use Straw Hole” there. It’s even right at the place where you put your fingers to open it in the good old spouty way. (And in fact the carton even has little indentations in the upper surface, to make the spout pop out better! Visible in the picture!) What could the person have been thinking, as they decreed that those words should appear there, in Brand-Appropriate Green?

Is there some Great Battle within Tropicana, or perhaps within the Carton Producing Community, between those that put the spout-enhancing indentations in, and those who pre-perforate the straw holes, and this printed legend represents some partial victory of the latter over the former? Was it snuck into the package design in the dark of night, by a ninja in the employ of the straw-holers?

How do they tell who is winning? Does the Nielsen company survey people about their carton-using habits? Are there little Carton Diaries, where you record which way you opened each morning’s orange juice, with little ticky-boxes for “straw hole” or “spout” (or even, horrific to contemplate, “other”)? Or do the cartons themselves contain tiny sensors and transmitters, and phone home to Carton Ninja Central to report on us?

The world is so mysterious…


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Okay, so, random update! I’m on vacation this week, which has been very nice and restful. Some small (well, variable-sized) voice is telling me that I ought to be actually doing special vacation-things during it, but mostly I haven’t been.

I did go and get a massage at the Club, which was pricey but lovely (all that oxytocin!); tomorrow the plan (slightly tentative, but a plan) is to go down into The Big City, maybe see Steve (who yeah hasn’t updated for awhile), maybe go to Poet’s House, which is for no particular reason my current NYC Heart’s Desire (having finally accomplished my original one the other year, and my second one more recently (did I really not write about that anywhere? seems implausible)), maybe just sort of bop around insouciantly (WordPress thinks that is not a word, more fool it).

I didn’t go today because (A) it is Cold and Grey out, and (B) the city is all busy being occupied, and while I do support the protestors in spirit, I don’t seem to be prepared to either occupy along with them, or route around them, in person (and why not, another variable-volume voice inquires, why not?).

I have made basically zero more progress on the novel, which is somewhat surprising. I figured a week’s vacation (which means nine days all told) would be the obvious time to write an’ write an’ write, but it hasn’t worked out that way. I am not into forcing myself to do stuff while on vacation. :) I’ve tried a few times, but the Story So Far is apparently not something that I see alot of inspiring possibilities in.

(It is funny how Word Mavens and spellcheckers insist that “alot” is not a valid word, and everyone should write “a lot”. I am not quite descriptivist to think that anything where you have to keep telling people that they’re doing it wrong is probably therefore correct (I am a hard-liner on apostrophe-use, for instance), but eventually one does have to cede the field, especially on things that I like to use.)

I seem to be entirely bored with World of Warcraft (and apparently I’m not the only one); it’s amusing to see that in a break with some previous practice WoW is apparently getting playable Pandas in the next expansion. We’ll see if that lures me back; I dunno.

I’m sort of plateaued on Glitch at the moment also; I’ve done a bit of everything, I’ve run around everywhere; there are a bunch of more badges and trophies that I could get but… For now I’ve released my piggies, and I’m just poking my head in now and then.

For unknown reasons I’ve started playing Illyriad, which is one of those sort of multi-player online versions of Civilization, where you build tanneries and upgrade barracks and chop wood and send scouts and armies around and stuff. This is I think me here, but we’ll see how long I remain actually interested.

Second Life, in contrast, continues to be fresh an’ interesting (the virtues of user-generated content). I’ve been generally hanging out and exploring stuff as usual, and for the first time gotten into some PvE combat, which I’ve never really done in SL before. And in order to figure out how that works I’ve started fiddling with my own combat scripts; maybe I will post the sources to the Wiki once I have it all working (it will be simpler than the full blown open-source RPG system that’s out there now, so maybe easier to learn stuff from). Unless I get distracted. Which I usually do. :)

(Today’s distraction, while I was fiddling with combat scripts, was a friend I hadn’t talked to in ages IMing me at random and eventually mentioning that she’d gotten into SL Golf lately, and of course we ended up going off golfing a bit together, which was fun.)

What else what else? I’ve been watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes (in order from the beginning) on Netflix streaming on the iPad (did I mention that?). I last watched Season Three: Episode Five (“Homecoming”). It’s a kinda guilty pleasure :) but really it’s pretty good, most of the time. I get annoyed when things happen too obviously for plot reasons, but that’s only once in awhile.

Soon I will be caught up as of the end of 1998!

And finally, what’s up with people behind counters saying “Can I help who’s next?”? (Or possibly “Can I help who’s next?”) Is that an East Coast thing? A New York thing? A suburban thing? Do people say that around you? Maybe someone can ask Language Hat


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Marilyn Langston writes:

Dear David Chess,

I just got done reading your “Wednesday, February 16, 2011” and I found it really informative! Do you do advertising? I’m marketing out a few sites and can pay you $50 via PayPal to add a text link into one of your older posts. The link would go to an education site and I’d make sure the site relates to your post’s content.

Thanks and let me know if we can work something out!

Marilyn Langston

I can certainly understand why someone might want a link from the really informative “Wednesday, February 16, 2011“, all about how bad Apple is at giving names to their products, but I think I will hold out for a better offer…

So I think I am pretty bored with World of Warcraft right now; haven’t played it in some time and don’t miss it. I have a level 85 DPS (ol’ Spennix), healer, and tank, they’ve done most of the Stuff except for raiding, I’m not that fascinated by raiding, and it’s hard to schedule anyway.

I’m also sort of tired of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which I have been watching episodes of from the Lesser Mesozoic on Netflix. I’d been having a very good time watching them, really, but then somehow at the beginning of the extremely exciting finale to Season Two, where the evil version of Angel is grinning devilishly (or vampirically) at an unusupecting Buffy from behind a tree in the cemetery, I was suddenly overcome by a large “oh, yeah, yeah, sure, evil Angel, whatever”, and switched it off.

(“Vampirically”? “Vampiricly”? “Vampirishly”? “Vampiresquely”?)

I’m not tired of Glitch yet (see me!), and am level 23, have nearly 50,000 units of currency (which is enough to buy the most fancy kind of house, although I’m enjoying life in my tiny apartment enough that I don’t currently plan to move), and am working on getting more and more and more skills.

With the various skills I currently have the money flows in at a pretty huge rate, from just walking through the world and casually harvesting things that I don’t actually need (because I already have 750 of them in my bags), and selling them in the selling place (which is called “auctions” although it contains no actual auctioning).

Once I have Master Chef II, though, and maybe once I’ve used my Martial Imagination and Piety to fend off a rook attack or two, I can imagine getting tired of glitch also. We’ll see if they develop the story as I hope they are going to.

I have not gotten in the least tired of Second Life, because it is sort of infinite, being different stuff created by the users alla time. (See ol’ Dale Innis’s insightful essay on user-generated content: UGC FTW!.) Lately I have been rather deeply embroiled in women’s fashion, but hey it’s the XXIst century, after all.

Oh, and…


does anyone know what “kasou no morinomajyo” might mean?


While making a little house out of pieces of takeout-food cardboard on the floor this evening to amuse the cat, I suddenly remembered that I used to sit for hours and hours on the floor of the livingroom back in the house, making and knocking down and making again and putting heavy things experimentally onto the rooves of, endless houses of cards, made with more or less dogeared and more or less complete decks of playing cards.

Good times, good times. Haven’t thought about that in years…