Monday, July 30, 2007

Really good K-rab salad

A very nice Russian cleaning lady who used to work for us made this for us a couple times. Here's my version of it. It's really good.

Tanya's (Imitation) Crab Salad

  • 1 lb. Imitation Crab
  • 2 cups Yellow Corn (frozen, canned, whatever)
  • 2 cups Green Peas (see above)
  • 1/2 - 1 oz. fresh dill, chopped
  • 4 hard boiled eggs, chopped
  • Mayonnaise (add later, to taste)

How to make it

Cut or tear the imitation crab into bite-sized pieces. Put it in a big bowl. Pour the corn, peas, and chopped up hard boiled eggs into the bowl along with the dill. Mmmm. Dill. Mix it all together. Feel free to add more dill. It is good. You'll see.

Don't add the mayo until you're going to eat it (i.e. Store it in your refrigerator without any mayo). We were instructed to let the salad sit out so it wouldn't be so cold before eating. We add mayo to individual portions instead of to the big bowl.

Now if only I can remember her secret beet salad recipe...

Friday, July 27, 2007

Mobile blog?

This isn't really mobile. But I'm testing it out. Supposedly I can email and it will post things to my blog. And you're all going to like it because I'll write from the train or from the back of an elephant. You'll see.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

I like 7

I heard a man and woman talking on the bus today. I'm sorry I missed the beginning of the conversation because it was so wild. They didn't know each other and mostly the man was talking. He went over how he and someone else were dragons. Well reincarnated dragons, and it went on for a while. I was thinking "Oh, okay, I didn't spot these two for geeks, but clearly they are either role-playing geeks, science fiction geeks or maybe like World of Warcraft geeks." Man, I love role-playing and all that geeky stuff, but I might be embarassed to talk about it on the bus. But no, I was wrong. In fact he was saying he was a reincarnated dragon. Or at least, you know, his spirit was that of a dragon. I'm hoping based on the word "Dragon" and a few other key words from their conversation and the magic of Google that I'll find this guy's nutty web page.

The train ride was a better experience. Well, the train ride is always a better experience. But there was a mommy and a 3-year-old boy coming home from the airport. They had two big suitcases. The boy was constantly asking questions and making statements. It was awesome. And all really funny to me. Three-year-olds are pretty much universally cute. "Is this our stop? This isn't our stop, so we need to stay on the train. I don't want to walk on the tracks. It's dangerous to walk on the tracks. Right Mommy? Do you see the seven? I like seven*. Do you see eight? Eight is a boy but five and seven are girls. I love you Mommy."

My good deed for the day was helping them with their bags when they got off at their stop. I was going to call this post "Good Deed for the Day" but I like this title better.

* I like seven too, but I didn't tell him that. I didn't want him to learn to talk to strangers, y'know? Numbers though... they're cool!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Wedding Dash

I'm busy working... but I wanted to mention that the Mac/Windows game I've been working on, Wedding Dash, is shipping. Check out the 60 minute trial. If you like Diner Dash you'll love it.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Jonah and Ari are cute.

I've been slacking on pictures of Jonah and Ari. So here are a few of my recent favorites.

I broke a DVD

My train pulled into the train station and I was rushing to put my headphones and computer away. That's when I slid my computer into my backpack and heard a loud POP. I thought it was a plastic bag although what's a plastic bag doing in my backpack? It turns out it was one of our DVDs from Blockbuster Total Access. D'oh. It snapped in half.

I signed us up for Blockbuster Total Access, it's like NetFlix -- DVDs by mail. But also you can return the movies to any Blockbuster store and get a free rental right away in addition to your by-mail DVDs. I'm not a fan of Blockbuster the company, but it's hard to beat Blockbuster Total Access when you live as close to Blockbuster as we do.

So I felt bad right away when I realized I broke it. I guess because I'd have to pay for it. Plus it was season two of Scrubs (the tv show). And I really liked season one of Scrubs. Why didn't someone else tell me about it sooner? Speaking of which, why didn't someone tell me how good Weeds on ShowTime was? (It's really good. Like almost Arrested Development good.)

I wondered if Blockbuster would charge me a ton for the movie or what. I don't know yet... Surprisingly, I filled out the online "Problem Report" form truthfully. I considered saying I lost the DVD or that it had arrived broken. But they have an option right there "I damaged the DVD." And that is exactly what happened. The good news so far: They immediately asked me if I wanted another copy of that DVD right away or another one on my want list. Nice. Strong work Blockbuster. That is much better than the "You owe us $29" screen I was expecting.


I talked to my mom and she's the one who told us about Weeds. So I take it all back! Although if you know of a really good show you should still tell me. Also. That reminds me. If there's a really good band the same rule applies and you should tell me. For example, here are some good ones: Talking Heads, Matisyahu, Blue Oyster Cult, The Specials, Sisters of Mercy, and Ben Folds Five.

CalTrain to San Francisco

I take the train to the city a couple days a week to go to work. I really like taking the train. I can work without anyone bothering me, I don't have to drive, and trains are cool. Plus, sometimes there's the super happy conductor. He's always so positive and happy it's awesome. Here's what he's like:

Bienvinudo namaste
What a wunnaful wunnaful day.

(Pulling into station)
What a beautiful morning, isn't it?
Menlo Park Menlo Park
Have a wunnaful

(New passengers get on)
Okay rolling along
Next is Milbrae...
Have a safe trip
Followed by 4th and King
Are we havin' fun?

This is the mini bullet
Please keep your shoes off the seats...
Sit back relax and enjoy the show
If someone you don't know sits down and starts talking to you
don't worry. make a new friend today.

This guy is awesome. People smile and laugh out loud at what he says.

This is a huge contrast to the MUNI bus drivers. Sometimes they're nice, but, wow, sometimes they are super mean. I've had them close the door on me and drive away as I was trying to get on. I had one that was super mean because I asked her what bus number it was. Rather than answer she just spent her time being mean to me.

A worse but more subtle thing is that the bad bus drivers accelerate and stop quickly. Really quickly. It may not sound so bad to you, but I've seen entire busloads of people, we're talking 100 people, get mad because of the shitty way the bus driver is driving. I don't know if the bus drivers realize the impact they have on their passengers. But 15 minutes of jerky driving can irritate anyone. I used to think maybe some of the buses were harder to drive smoothly, but now I'm pretty sure it's a driver thing. From what I understand the sooner the drivers get to the end of their line the longer they can take a break until their next time around. So they have an incentive to go as fast as possible.

I want to find a MUNI bus driver's blog and read the other side of all this. I know it's got to be hard. The passengers are often griping, out loud, and there are constantly people trying to get on the bus without paying. Or just being asses in the back of the bus. It's wild to hear the stupid things passengers say on the bus. Like a guy who got on and was mad he was going to miss his train. Look, jerk, if you were worried about missing your train then catch an earlier bus. Clearly it wasn't that important to you or you would have caught an earlier bus. What good is blaming the bus driver going to do? And why blame the bus driver OUT LOUD?

I've heard multiple people complain about bus drivers driving too politely and blaming them as the reason they would miss their train. Look, you don't have a seat belt on and if this bus driver loses her mind because you're saying she sucks at her job she's gonna stop so fast you're going out the front window. Pipe down and talk about how nice a day it is or something. Or get off and catch another bus. You're gonna miss your train anyway.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Songs and Bedtime Rituals

We always sing Jonah songs when he goes to bed. It's part of his bedtime ritual. Apparently every kid has some bedtime ritual. Some families give their kids a bath, read 7 stories, do a dance, drink some milk, sing songs, take another bath and then the kid goes to bed, maybe. Our kids are lucky to get a bath a month. They're not the cleanest children. But they're cute! Anyway, we'd heard of these crazy multi-hour bedtime rituals and tried to keep Jonah's to a normal set of things.

Long ago the bed time ritual consisted of:

  1. Change diaper
  2. Drink "Warm Hot" milk. He learned that hot was too hot, but I guess that warm wasn't hot enough. Thus was born "Warm hot milk." e.g. "Do you want some hot milk, Jonah?" "No! I want warm hot milk!"
  3. Read a book
  4. Sing a worker man song (Some song made up on the spot about a kind of worker, maybe a mechanic, a fireman, a police woman, or sometimes all three or more).
  5. More songs by me and Kelly. Kelly knows lots of songs and is good at making up songs. I think I'm better at making up songs that, well, that make sense, but she's a great singer. She'd laugh as I made faces at her because I was worried her song would teach Jonah some crazy wrong thing and he'd forever think monkeys live underwater or you know, like that Argon* is NOT a noble gas. Sheesh.
  6. Twinkle Twinkle (the big finale)
  7. Kiss goodnight

These days the ritual is more like this:

  1. Tell Jonah it's time to brush his teeth
  2. Overcome his resistance to the idea of brushing his teeth, even though we brush his teeth every night. Could be some crying here.
  3. Go to the bathroom
  4. Read a book
  5. Read another book
  6. Put on pullups
  7. Maybe put on "Sleeping Pants" or a "Sleeping Shirt" (These pretty much need to match or he's not too cool on the whole thing
  8. Sing "Factory" -- Somehow, months ago, I came up with a song about a factory worker who messed up. Now the messing up part is key to the song. I forget what the original version was but it was something like this... A family asked the factory worker man to fix their crib. 'Cause it was broken. And, well, I guess in this song they fix cribs at repair factories. Anyway, there was a mix-up at the factory. You guessed it, the crib went on the wrong converyer belt. Yes, yes, it was put on the remote control car line. So at the end of the line the factory worker had a remote control crib instead of just a fixed crib. Now it was cool, because one could drive it around, but it wasn't really what the family wanted. I think the family requested their one crib to be fixed normally and maybe one R/C crib, 'cause a remote control crib is pretty cool.
  9. Twinkle Twinkle -- Still the big finale. I have sung Twinkle Twinkle Little Star more times than any other song in my life. It makes me yawn when I sang it. I think I've been conditioned by singing it so many times when I'm sleepy.
  10. Kiss goodnight

* I considered "Neon" here but I think you'll agree with Kelly and I that Argon is WAY funnier than Neon.

Video Games

  1. The video game I'm working on at PlayFirst is going to ship really soon.
  2. I really want a Nintendo Wii but a big part of that is just because they're so hard to find. Also. I don't want to pay extra. I want to pay the $250 list price. It seems like a scam from Nintendo... "Hi, yeah, the Nintendo Wii is only $250! Not expensive like the PS3 or XBox. What? Oh, sorry, we're out of stock. We accidentally didn't make enough so demand is way higher than the supply. So you can buy one for, mmm, how 'bout $450?"
  3. Really what I like is to buy old PlayStation 2 or GameCube games. I think I'll wait until the Wii is older. Maybe when the Mini-Wii comes out or something. I like those old consoles. They've been around long enough that the games are cheap ($10 or less used) and its been established which games are really good. Or important for me too, which games are at least pretty good but cool and different (e.g. Odama... See below!)

Now that I have a little free time (see #1 above) I've been catching up on my stack of used PS2 and GameCube games. I played some Karaoke Revolution. It's like karaoke. Except with a score. And when you sing well you unlock more stuff. If only there was the ska or punk rock Karaoke revolution. Kelly even sang a couple songs. I'm an okay singer, but Kelly is really good. I knew she was a good singer before but now we can finally harness that skill for something useful. Unlocking everything in the game. :-)

Also played some Animal Crossing which is a genius game. It's just really well designed.

I played Lord of the Rings: Two Towers which I thought wouldn't be so fun. I loved the Lord of the Rings movies but was skeptical that the game would be fun. Note: I still bought it for like $5 used though. Anyway, it's fun but maybe too hard for me. The two cool things they do in the game are: 1) The game shows clips from the movie then transitions from those into the game graphics really smoothly so the difference between the movie and the game graphics isn't so jarring. 2) There's no goofy tutorial or tons of intro stuff to get through. It just dumps you into this battle and you start fighting bad guys. LOTS of bad guys. There are very brief tips on screen like Press X to attack (or whatever).

I bought an EyeToy PS2 camera a while ago for $10. The games that came with it were fun for like an hour. "Hey, look at me on the TV! I'm fighting ninjas. Sort of." All the games show the player onscreen and none have like any depth to them. I just bought AntiGrav and it's a whole 'nother thing. It uses the EyeToy camera but you don't watch yourself batting away cartoony ninjas and hamburgers. Instead it's a cool looking hover board race game. You jump to jump over obstacles, you lean left and right, you put your hand out to grab power-ups etc. I haven't played it a lot, but it's pretty damn cool.

Oh yeah, I played Odama a bunch on the GameCube. Well, for me a bunch is anything over an hour. 'Cause once you have babies that pretty much ends "doing things" for more than 10 minutes at a time. Anyway, Odama, wow, it's weird and cool. It's a combination of a real-time strategy game and, well, pinball. Now I love pinball, but computer pinball games don't usually suck me in. Apparently the promise of real-time troops walking around on the playing field while I, the player, gets to hit a giant pinball around was enough to get my interest. p.s. The game comes with a microphone so you can tell your troops what to do while you're busy knocking over the bad guys or hitting a floodgate to stop the river. Crazy! Also. The setting is feudal Japan and the narrator is an old Japanese guy and everything he says is in Japanese with English subtitles. Nice.

I'm too lazy to put pretty pictures in this post now. I'll update this later.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

It... might... have... switched... to...

We were sitting at the dinner table tonight and Jonah started telling us to stop and go. He was pretending to be some kind of stop and go machine. So we were eating our food and he would put his hands up with his fingers spread and we'd all stop eating (except for Ari, that kid never stops eating*). He was pretending to be a stop and go machine. So he'd put his hands down and we'd eat. Hands up, no eating. No moving. Hands down everything is all right. Good times, right?

So we're doing this and I think "Crap. I'm hungry. I wish he'd put a little more time between the "Go" and the "Stop." This is ridiculous. And that's right when the Stop and Go machine (a.k.a. Jonah) broke. His hands went down and he made that "Whrrrrrr" sound that the breaking machines/robots that are turning off and breaking make. And I said "Uh oh. What happened to the machine? It's broken." And I thought "Hey, I can go back to eating. Nice."

Then, as Kelly and I were celebrating the end of the machine, Jonah as narrator said "You have to be careful because the machine..." and we're not sure what else he said. We were busy eating and, you know, happy the machine had quit its thing. Next we heard "It... might... have... switched... to... choppers!" And that's when he started chop chop chopping furiously with his chopper arms.

Kelly and I were talking about how you really have to pay attention to those red and green traffic lights to stop and go. Or else look out, maybe CHOPPERS! That started the uncontrollable laughter. Jonah followed up with changing into hammers, pokers, cutters and wackers.

* Note: Ari is only 16-months-old, so he's not really a kid, but "that kid never stops eating" sounds funnier than "that baby never stops eating."

Monday, July 02, 2007

My message to Apple's web site feedback...

Here's a message I just sent to Apple about their web site. I'm red/green "Color Blind" which mostly means I have trouble telling the difference between red and green sometimes. Anyway, as someone who is passionate about user interfaces and making life easier for users, I got mad when I saw Apple's iPhone availability web page. It made me extra mad because normally they know better than to use red and green dots. Duh.

The iPhone availability screen uses red and green dots to show which stores have and don't have iPhones. That's not-so-good for the 8-10% of men who are red/green color blind like me. You'll have a much better shot at my business if I can tell which stores have the iPhone.

You may want to revisit that artwork and follow the old (and very good) Apple Human Interface Guidelines... Don't use color as the only way to communicate something. You can use shape/pattern/whatever. Or for me if you used blue and red that would do it.


Eric Snider

Update Hey, my brother David let me know that Apple updated their availability page. Now it uses squares and circles. Nice! I'm not sure if it was me who got them to change the page. But I'm going to assume it was. Now I need to start writing congress about electric cars or something. Maybe plug-in hybrids?