Monthly Archives: August 2006



I went to Ventana for lunch today. And what is Ventana? It is the student run restaurant of the Texas Culinary Academy. This used to be part of the IBM complex. But it seems that IBM has just about sold the west side of Burnet Road off. In fact, the IBM cafeteria, putt-putt course, and other buildings were all fenced off with temporary fencing. I had to walk around it to get to Ventana.

The place was busier than I have seen it in the past. Although it still was not full yet. And there were a lot of students walking back and forth from the parking lot. Enrollment must be high after a couple of years of operations.

I ordered the pan-fried trout. It was served with green beans (haricot vert) and red onion rings. The onion rings were the best I have ever had! They were sliced ultra thin and very lightly breaded. The balance was perfect. I thought the fish was a little salty. And, for dessert, I had a “baked alaskan” which was a strawberry sherbert on shortcake bread and covered in meringue and torched. I didnt like it much. The strawberry sauce was thin and the sherbert was weak as well. Which lead to the meringue overpowering the dish.

Still, I would highly recommend Ventana. I consider myself lucky that I have three good restaurants (Mangia and Taco Deli) within walking distance from IBM.


How to Build a Panoramic Tripod Head for $10 link via

Killings: God 2,038,344 Satan 10 link via

About evolution: The United States had the second-highest percentage of adults who said the statement was false and the second-lowest percentage who said the statement was true link via

Coca Cola recipe link via

Stirring stick removes caffeine link via

The FSM appears link via

How to buy meat, the vinyl record link via

The grain required to fill a 25-gallon SUV gas tank with ethanol, for instance, could feed one person for a year link via

3D live motion video camera that uses LIDAR technology to get a range-finding for every pixel link via

Tapioca time bomb link via

One serving of pork brains in gravy contains 1170% of the recommended cholesterol link via

Round salt link via

Animator vs. Animation link via

New species of sea urchin found in eBay auctions link1 link2 via

Outlawing unbelief link via

Magnetic water link via

Bring me the head of Charlie Brown! link via

Gas Pizza Oven


I bypassed going to Ed’s for game day. He had the shingles. And I was feeling gamed out. But I was in the mood for experimenting.

I came across this product at Williams-Sonoma and thought that it was a cool idea. However, it was $99 dollars! I already own a pizza stone and keep it in my oven to help even out the temperatures. So I put it in my gas grill.

I also used another recently purchased toy of mine (an infrared thermometer) to check the temperature. 439 degrees Fahrenheit. Good to go…

Pizza cooking

I did run into one problem though. My dough was probably too wet. Not enough to stick on the counter but enough to stick on the pizza peel. So, I threw that one away and this time I covered the peel in 1/8″ of corn meal. I figured I could scrape it off when it was cooked.

Pizza removing

It did slide off of the peel easily enough this time. Getting it back on was not a problem. Although cleanup was surprising. I would not have guessed that cornmeal would flare up that much. It must have more oil in it than I suspected.

Next time I will work on making a dryer dough…

Disc Golf 08/19/2006

Group at Old Settlers

Another Old Settler’s day. Which is unusual. Since we normally play on Fridays, we do not play it on Saturday. However, Wilco and Cat Hollow were holding a huge tournament today called the Texas 10. So we decided to abort here.

Darwin II close encounter

Again Darwin II had another close encounter! In what looks like the same spot. Sigh… I think I am getting worse…

Adam lost disc

While I had a close scare, Adam unfotunately lost his disc in this dense growth of thorns and stickers. But he did come out ahead. While searching, he found four more discs!

Disc Golf 08/18/2006

Closest to the tee

Another freakin hot day of disc golf. It actually rained on the trip over to Old Settler’s Park. Well, about twenty drops… I was wondering about the flag under hole 8. John explained that it was probably the closest to the hole marker. Which is pretty close! That must have been a very lucky throw, since it is a heavily wooded area.

Almost feet wet

Darwin II had a close encounter today. It would have been in the water if the lake was at normal levels..

Game Day 08/17/2006

Game #1


I keep Klunker on my table because I would like to play it. And tonight seemed like the night. We were looking for a quick game to start off with and I thought that game would it. But John hosed me by bringing FBI to the table. Since I didn’t know the rules to Klunker and John knew the rules to FBI, everyone agreed to play it. Sigh.

The game has a Take 6 feel to it. There are plus and minus cards in the game in five suits (colors). Every round, we will deal out ten of them. Next, people will either advance a card or not. (You can get rid of negative cards but this will cause you to go later rather than earlier). This will determine the order of play for the round. Then everyone picks to cards and simultaneously reveals them. These cards will determine which suit you must choose from. The first player reveals one of the face down cards and picks a card in the middle of the table in that suit. Play continues in the order determined until the last player goes. That person gets to take two cards. And then play goes in reverse order until the first player gets their last card.

So, you usually try to give up a high valued card in order to go first. This will atleast allow you to be guaranteed of getting one good card. The second one is a crap shoot. Unless you are lucky enough to have a pile that has no negative cards in it out there. Then you can choose that suit and not be disapointed if it is empty when it gets back to you.

At the end of the game, we determine who got majorities in the different suites for bonus cards (from +5 to +1). And your score is the total of the cards and any bonus cards.

Game #2

Canal Mania

I am on Boulder Game’s mailing list. And when I received one of their notes, I noticed that they had Canal Mania coming soon at a pretty good price. So I jumped on it. And got the game quicker than Ed and Susan did (they pre-ordered directly through the publisher’s site).

This game is a mix of Ticket to Ride and Age of Steam. You build canal segments on the map. There are four kinds of segments (stretch, lock, aqueduct, and tunnel) and the restriction is that you cannot have two of the same kinds of segments next to each other. During the game, you can either collect cards that are displayed face up, or build canals. When you build, you play the appropriate cards (some are harder to build and require more cards: like the aqueduct (2 aqueduct cards) or the tunnel (3 tunnel cards)) and then score points (not much though: 0,1,2, or 3 points per tile). There are engineers in the game that will lend you their special powers (draw one more card, build with one less card, etc).

The other aspect of this game is the delivery of goods. You may deliver goods from one city or town to another. Goods must move along canals and cannot move into a color more than once (for a maximum of 6). Points are scored for cities that are connected by player’s canals. So, along a three town path connected by two players, both players will score 2.

The production value is pretty good (although the cards could be coated). And, instead of the usual tea-towel board, The Ragnar Brothers went with a cardboard board (yea! much nicer). I would rate this game as a middle weight, meaty game. And one that I hope to play again…

Armadillocon 28

Julie E. Czerneda

Thanks to a little bit of serendipitous web surfing, I visited Whendy Wheeler’s livejournal page and was surprised to learn that Armadillocon 28 was this coming weekend. And when I went to check out the schedule, I learned that Julie E. Czerneda, one of the science fiction authors that I read, was there.

I went diving into my book storage area and pulled out her books.

It seems that I have been slacking off lately and am behind on reading her new books. I will have to add them to my rather large reading list… Anyways, back to the tale. So I drove on down and got her to sign my books. She is an energetic and charming person. And she took time to personalize what she wrote in the books! I also listened to her read some short stories. Which is always cool.


Monkeybot link via

Wake turbulence being caused by an airplane link via

Do you see 9 dolphins or a NSFW picture? link via

Cargo ship Cougar Ace tips over, 4,700 Mazdas aboard (didn’t know a ship could still float at that angle) link via

Time fountain link via

Six places to nuke when you are serious link via

Faith based programming link via

Ze Frank (Max Headroom combined with John Stewart) on terrorism:
“A small number of people can incapacitate a society by leveraging our inability to understand risk.”

Color 3D prints of your video game avatars link via