Monthly Archives: February 2010


The C Programming Language & HP Lovecraf link via

Just how much can you tell from photoshop manipulation? link1 link2 via

Underwater radio-controlled model Enterprise link via

The Underhanded C contest link via

Two scathing Star Trek reviews link1 link2 via

100 Cupcakes game link via

Launching a Christmas tree with 32 large model rocket engines link via

Frozen Britian seen from above link via

180 Degree Shutter link via

Toy train used to calibrate fusion reactor link via

Comment card text considered a felony link via

Spherical video link via

The calmest place on Earth (and clearist) link via

Coffee brewing taken to an extreme level link via

ketchup made in the style of chocolate link via

How to recover your lost camera link via

Making Seitan from Whole Wheat Flour link via

I let the brewed coffee Oil Master’s brain link via

Why I don’t have a girlfriend: An application of the Drake Equation to love in the UK link via

Techno Jeep link via

Mindbending photos link via

Ikea dolly hack link via

Dispersion of Sound Waves in Ice Sheets link via

weekend life link via

David Blaine on holding your breath link via

Deep-Sea Snail Shell Could Inspire Better Body Armor link via

Green sea slug makes chlorophyll like a plant link via

How to modify an oven link via

Red hot poker in a bar link via

ASCIImeo link1 link2 link2 via

How to modify an oven link via

Red hot bar poker link via

Ultra-Light Stand Hack link1 link2 via

Musique celeste link via

Instructions on how to hug a baby link via

Tank Skeet Shooting link via

The truth dogs reveal about evolution link via

Measuring type link via

Lunch notes from my permanent roommate link via

Bringing Mu to the iPhone link via

Horizontal and vertical: The evolution of evolution link via

Fear the Boom and Bust link via

A tool to deceive and slaughter link via

How To Report The News link via

Axe Cop link via

The Honeymoon Is Over Downs link via

My models link via

Farmer who built secret castle behind straw bales loses court bid to save it from demolition link via

Mark Malkoff Gets Carried in New York City link via

Tee shirt designs link via

Wes Anderson’s Spiderman link via

Embrace Life link via

How to split up the US link via

Home-made Camera for Ogling link via

LOST valentines link via

Augmented reality maps link via

The Hexakopter link via

Dan Gilbert on our mistaken expectations link via

Two girls, one camera link via

Kirsten Dunst is turning Japanese link via

Gamma error in picture scaling link via

Skiiing down Mt. Everest link via

Flip walks link via

Zombie Disney cosplay link via

Stretch! link via

Better Bread With Less Kneading link via

Fluorine: The gas of Lucifer link via

A Primer on Information Theory and Privacy link via

Seinfeld plays D&D link via

RPG Chess (Foxtrot 2010-02-07) link via

The love zipper link via

Gravitomagnetic field measured link via

Umami Black Beans

Lately, I have been on a black bean mission with my cooking experiments. I have tried a more vegetarian version by substituting gelatin or pectin as the thickening agent instead of beef bones (I never got around to trying Lieber’s Unflavored Jel). But it just doesn’t work as well. So, for this attempt, I went back to my old standby oxtails. However, I did try adding smoked paprika. This did not make the beans better in my opinion. You couldn’t really notice the paprika note and I did not like the bright red tint either.

Back to umami though which is the real point of this recipe. The first interesting blog mention of umami that I came across was umami salt. However, I didn’t act immediately upon it. It percolated in the far recesses of my mind for a while.

I started to research lists of foods high in umami. One version lists bonito and kombu among others. This made me think of the fundamental Japanese soup stock, dashi. Since it is a mild broth, I thought it would be perfect as a base for cooking the black beans. The next easy umami thing to add is shiitake mushrooms that are ground into a fine powder.

When one of my cooking blogs that I read posted about extracting the best flavor of kombu here, the tipping point was finally reached! I researched the kombu highest in glutamic acid. However, you need good luck in finding specialized types in Austin. I did find Hidaka Kombu in Asahi Imports. Also, here is an interesting article on kombu.

I made another discovery about cooking beans as well! Soaking and cooking them in hard water will not soften them fully. Here is an article which talks about the problem. I suggest using distilled water to both soak and cook in.

So, the recipe follows:

Dissolve 3 heaping tablespoons of Kosher salt in 7 cups of distilled water. Sort one pound of black beans for any rocks, broken or discolored beans. Soak the beans overnight.

Cook 14 grams of Hidaka Kombu and 14 grams of dried bonito shavings (Katsuobushi) in 6 cups of distilled water simmering at 65 degrees Celsius (149 degrees Fahrenheit) for one hour. Strain.

Rinse hydrated beans well and put into the dashi stock. Grind 15 grams of shiitake mushrooms into a fine powder with a clean coffee grinder. Add two bay leaves, 5 cloves of minced garlic, 1 tablespoon of onion powder, tablespoon ground black peppercorns, 1/2 teaspoon of Wright’s Liquid Hickory Smoke, and 2 pounds of beef oxtails. Cook, covered, in an oven set to 275 degrees for 1:30:00. Remove oxtails and bay leaves. Add smoked salt to taste.

Disc Golf 02/20/2010

Jon and Mike
Mike kicking new wall

Jon, Mike, and I went down to try out the newly redesigned Circle C course. There are new tee boxes, erosion control, and a small wall for Mike to kick.

Water crossing #1
Water crossing #2

With the recent rains around here, there is now a river which prevented us from crossing. Fortunately, there was a dry way around both of them. Although Mike and Jon did take the direct way on one of them…

More beer

We also stopped by the Flying Saucer Draught Emporium again.

Disc Golf 02/13/2010


Nick and I went to Old Settler’s Park for some disc golf. Which can easily handle rainfall. Initially, I thought the day would be cold but it warmed up quickly and turned out to be beautiful out.

Texas Hold’em at Facebook

Zynga first hand

I’ve been playing Texas Hold’Em on Facebook courtesy of Zynga. It’s a cute flash game. Nothing like a real money game at a casino or a home game with friends of course. It is not hard to get virtual money. You don’t have to pay any real money. Which gives the tournament games an interesting dynamic. Most people just go all in at the first round. And, if they fail (like they usually do), then they start another first round tournament game and try again. These games start immediately, so there is no real discouragement to people using these tactics. Of course, I hope to have pocket Aces when against these people. Usually, I wait for a very strong hand to call people going all in.

Zynga Poker Math

Of course, there are bugs with this game. It doesn’t keep the odd chip whole when more than one person wins an all-in bet. This fractional money gets even more distorted due to rounding errors as it keeps getting split. I have also seen it make you call an all-in bet when you already have all your money in. “Call 0?” is definitely a broken behavior.

Zynga bottom straight flush

Of course, I am going to call with the second best hand in this situation. And, if you have the Ace and King of Hearts, then good luck to you…

Zynga won final table

Finally, after a lot of playing, I win the third round of the tournament! This gave me a chance for a free trip to San Francisco.

Encrypted rant

Version: GnuPG v1.4.10 (GNU/Linux)
Comment: Use “gpg –dearmor” for unpacking


What matters is not the contents but the feeling.