Archive for April, 2011

“Good” Instant Noodles: A Review

One of the more tangible benefits of living in a multicultural melting pot is the bountiful opportunity for exposure to new and interesting experiences of the, y’know, ethnic and/or, yes, cultural sorts. Nowhere is this brought to mind more clearly than where restaurants and grocery stores are concerned – you can alternate, more or less permanently, between shock (“Wow, the prices are low here”) and confusion (“People eat that?”) and… more confusion (“People eat that… how?”).

Anyway, when you’re a cheapskate, you like to try new stuff, and you live near an asian grocery store, you almost inevitably wind up trying an interesting assortment of instant noodles, be they ramen or pho or udon or things less familiar.

There are a couple of guidelines I like to follow, here. One is to never eat instant noodles whose (purported) flavour is a mystery. Another is to never (try to) eat instant noodles advertised as “spicy” or “extra spicy”, for what should be fairly obvious reasons. Another is to never pay more than $1.50 per package, because I’ve found that price rarely if ever is a reflection of taste or quality.

I have a couple of clear favorites that I gravitate to again and again, because they’re inexpensive and tasty. Still, every once in a while I see something that looks intriguing. That’s how I came to buy, well, this:
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Published in: Geekiness, General | on April 26th, 2011 | No Comments »

One Little Word

Sometimes, as a tinkerer, hacker, electrical hobbyist mad scientist, or just general jack-of-all-trades troublemaker, you will have occasion to put things of an electrical or indeed computer-ish nature inside of other things. Other things, it need hardly be said, whose designers had thoughtlessly failed to plan ahead for your hare-brained scheme, leaving you inadequate room in inadequate locations to do what you want to do.

Or maybe there’s plenty of room, but they just thoughtlessly neglected to design holes in their device which line up with the panel-mounted connectors on your diabolical invention/motherboard/whatever, the filthy scoundrels.

If you’re like me, you’ve probably scoured the web, and catalogs, and sundry other locations, and come to the lamentable conclusion that the world we all have the misfortune to live in would be an indescribably better place if there were, y’know, panel-mount USB and RJ45 jacks. Maybe you’ve experienced that brief euphoria of discovery at finding a “panel-mount” connector, only to learn that it’s meant to be soldered to a PCB panel, not screwed or snapped into a front panel.

I’ve been there. I know your pain. I too have ventured forth into the great and dangerous unknown to beseech the Google oracle with queries. “Art there RJ45 extensions? Art there RJ45 expanders? Art there RJ45… assemblies? RJ45… doohickies?”

And then, one day – one day much, otherwise, quite like any other – I found the promised land, my brethren and sistren and gender-neutral wielders of soldering irons and panel-nippers. I found what I – we – had been looking for:

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Published in: Geekiness | on April 21st, 2011 | No Comments »

The Sad Reality

It may sound cynical, even a little misanthropic, but the sad fact of the matter is that most strangers who show up at your door are probably not nice people. They may come bearing sob stories about how they need two or three or five or ten dollars to buy baby formula or bus or taxi fare or a shave and a haircut before their first job interview in two years, but they’re really just going to blow it on, yes, drugs or booze.

Thing is, a couple of bucks for a quick fix usually isn’t the only reason they’re at your door. No, most of them have slightly grander ambitions, I’m afraid.

They’d like to steal your stuff.
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Published in: Geekiness, General, Security | on April 15th, 2011 | No Comments »

Hamm’s Demolition Continues

Plans for the old Hamm’s brewery complex on Saint Paul’s east side to be redeveloped into anything seem to be going nowhere in a hurry, which is extremely unfortunate. Riding by on bicycle yesterday, however, I noticed that efforts to demolish some of the (perceived) less-redevelopable buildings has once again resumed…
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Published in: General, History, Urban Exploration | on April 13th, 2011 | No Comments »

The Ethnic Humour Prevention Act of 1932

My fondness for ancient mystery and adventure novels continues unabated, and lately I’ve been enjoying the various adventures of Cleek.

Whom?

Why, Detective Hamilton Cleek, of course, the erstwhile hero of many a Thomas Hanshew novel and story.

Cleek is mostly forgotten today, possibly thanks to, as Wikipedia so helpfully puts it:

“Hamilton Cleek is laughably unrealistic, at least to the modern reader, not only for his ability to impersonate anyone but for his physical derring-do and his frequent melodramatic encounters with Margot, “Queen of the Apaches”, and her partner-in-crime Merode.”

I’m sure the unreality, if any, has nothing to do with – despite having been written by an American, for largely American audiences, mind – taking place in London and various parts of the British Isles and even continental Europe, or at least vaguely charming caricatures thereof…
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Published in: Geekiness, General, History | on April 7th, 2011 | No Comments »