Thursday, May 26, 2011

EVE Online: the trial ends. Thoughts and an interesting sci-fi concept.

Scoville Bessler ends her fourteen day jaunt in New Eden on a high note, or least a fairly decent middle range note.  I've learned the basics, picked up a few tricks, made some contacts, blew up and salvaged a shit ton of pirates, droids, and Caldari and a couple of Amarr ships here and there.  As a member of the Gallente Federation, currently at war with the aforementioned realms, I haven't met any Caldari or Amarr yet but I don't like what they stand for - the Amarr in particular are a bunch of religious fanatics with a society based upon slavery (though there are also some Machine worshippers that make me happy in my 40K place).  Caldari might as well be called Randians. 

I've got a nice little system of mission grinding/salvage/and sales going on.  I've starting saving salvage for a buyer who constructs her own ships and sells them.  Yeah so I'm a sanitation engineer & junk peddler.  What?  My primary focus with Sco is getting her skills really up to skill before venturing too far astray.  That way I don't have to waste too much money on new ships and gear. 

Once I get my paycheck I might sign up for a month but I'll have to juggle finances first.

The interesting concept I began thinking about a day or two ago was a discussion I had in-game about my avatar Scoville.  Someone asked me if she was a man or a woman.  I replied that Scoville is a woman but that I was thinking of starting a male alt.  The person joked that they weren't sure, in a very polite way, because Sco had both masculine and feminine qualities in her portrait.  Then that conversation was over and we all started goofing off again.  Yesterday, while I was out making deliveries, I was glancing at the conversation box and some people were joking about how few actual women played the game and a lot of women chimed in that they did but then some guy pointed out that a lot of men have female avatars (the guy who was joking with me about Sco) so I jumped in and quipped, "Yeah and sometimes you just can't tell."  Then it kind of hit me that a society - so deeply based around clones and cloning would or could have radically different notions of gender, gender roles, sexuality, etc, etc.  Granted these are still human societies and some rely on cloning and cybernetics more or less than others additionally humans can still be born naturally.  It's not clear what direction I'm going with this, might be aimless rumination.  In anycase I involved myself in the conversation about clones (in particular Sco) potentially not really being concerned about gender, I wanted to make an "Orlando" reference but people probably already think I'm a weirdo.  Especially in the case when a clone in the case of capsuleers (pilots in EVE) have a clone waiting in case of pod death - you're grafting a personality into a body (read the article, it explains the concept much clearer than I can).  So in any case now Sco identifies as herself first, clone-status and gender-status are other people's concerns not hers.  How very Intaki of her.

And that's the end of EVE crazy talk for the time being.  Classes start up soon.  The weather is getting hot.  Hope you are all well.

Abuelita J's Slow Cooked Pork Recipe - as remembered when removed from a kitchen.

Recently having a conversation in The Spice Guild group on teh FB and we were talking about pulled pork and variations and whatnots and I started thinking about how I put together my normal version.  Now we all know, or at least most of you know two things 1) I love pork the way a fat kid loves cake 2) I totally scammed this recipe from this in 2004:


Ah memories.  Over the years my recipe has the fundamental elements of RR's but it's definitely taken on a life of its own (plus I can't afford to buy my shit from Central Market unlike some fancy ass Central Texans - jk) and I've learned to make it different ways for different people.  So people like it more spicy, some like it sweeter.  Here's a rough outline of the main recipe I use, kind of...sort of...

Here's one problem though - I don't know how markets are where you folks live so you might not be able to get Mexican stuff at your pinche Yankee supermarkets.  No worries, just find your local Central/South American grocery store and go there.

To start:

Pork, butt, shoulder (loin is too expensive and not fatty enough) at least four pounds.  Cut into bite sized chunks.  Put chunks in a gallon zip-lock bag or pot or whatever  (personally I've started using the dutch oven I'm gonna cook the dish in because I'm too cheap to buy zip-lock bags).  Cover with:
  • 1 Can Jumex Mango or Papaya or Pineapple nectar
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 juice 1 lime or lemon
Let sit for one disc of LOTR Director's Cut or two, whatever.  Hell go take a nap.

Wake up from nap, watch Boromir's Last Stand while gathering ingredients:
  • 1 small bag "cajun" mirepoix (ain't got no carrots in it) or make it fresh.  I don't care.  Personally I think the difference is marginal and besides we're not here for the mirepoix are we?
  • about half a cup of Abuelita J's Spice Mix
  • 1 regular size bottle of real Coke - Mexican Coke if you can get it.  To me this makes a difference because Mexican Coke is like Dublin Dr. Pepper - it's made with cane sugar and tastes awesome.  If you can't then regular Coke will work too, like a 12oz can.
  • This depends on your taste but sometimes I will add one can of El Pato tomato sauce.  Yellow or green can - green is jalapeno.  I want to get my hands on some of their red enchilda sauce.  I love El Pato.  It's one of the things I buy at the grocery store whether I need it or not, though I always need it for something.  If you don't have access to El Pato don't use Hunt's or anything like that, just forgo tomato.
  • Again, depending on your taste and your guests' taste, I'll add more heat.  Usually in the form of a blend of dried chiles and if I'm feeling real froggy a couple of grams of ghost powder.
Throw everything into one pot, I use a Le Creuset 4-qt Dutch Oven for pretty much all my large cooking these days - not because I'm a snoot but because it's such a utilitarian item.  You can also use a crock pot.  I do not in anyway shape or form recommend using a soup or a stock pot.  That's running the risk of burning your pork (or stew or chili) which will potentially ruin the whole thing and then you'll have quarts of frozen gross hidden at the back of your freezer or fridge until you just throw the whole container away because you don't even want to acknowledge what you've done. 

You can use the oven but since it's above 90 degrees outside I don't wanna use mine so I use the range.  Over a low-medium heat put your pot filled with porky goodness, cover. Once you smell what the Rock is cooking (love you Dwayne Johnson) or if you hear the pot bubble over go give it a stir.  I usually check it every half-hour or forty-five minutes just because I'm paranoid about burning and I also have to work with an electric stove that's kind of persnickity.  Usually for about, meh, three - four hours.

Now here's the biggest difference between my own and many other recipes - I take my trusty wooden spoon-atula (seriously I've carved and sharpened and shaped this thing over the years into some kind of freakish primitive multi-tool) and slowly smush all the pieces, not to a paste or anything but basically break down the chunks.  Stir, cover, remove from heat and let sit while you make rice.

I generally serve mine over rice with a slice of lime and some cilantro.  I've also eaten it plain in a bowl, on a bun, enchiladas, burritos, tacos, with or without sour cream, with or with avacado.  So yeah.  There's the general outline.  Enjoy.  As always, questions, comments, ideas, tips, and tricks are always welcome.

Good cooking.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I can't explain why this irks me so much.

from: I Am Bored
Dear readers, I have to comment on this fucking thing.  I remember when Insane Clown Posse was a fucking joke in the early-mid 90s.  I just don't get it, Detroit has put out good music since the city lost Motown.  But this, this isn't even white trash.  This is like some kind of devolved post-apocalyptic sub-human gang roving the streets of Detroit fighting over scraps of rancid dog meat. 

This is just bad music.  They must put lead in Faygo.  I don't have the slightest idea of how to comprehend ICP or Juggalos or this entire subculture.  Nor can I even comprehend their Shangri-La album "wherein the group embraced God, positivity and the ways of paradise and warned that "the end consumes us all." Derrrrr Wha?

I might have to watch The Family Underground documentary to suss out more about these people.  I mean, I can intellectualize white power fanatics, Prussian Blue fans (white nationalists), Heritage not Hate, Dirty South, and various genres of metal but dude.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A combo personal and brief update on adventures in EVE...

If I have been - or if I continue to - maintaining radio silence for the next few days or weeks I'm okay, I'm addicted to EVE.  I know that LA Noire came out yesterday and I've been waiting five years for it to come out and I'm still a Rockstar whore but it comes down to a financial decision.  Plus I know that LA Noire will plummet in price soon enough, even if it's not a GOTY edition (I'm still waiting for the Fallout Vegas edition with all the DLC).  Summer will be pretty slim with disposable income, as it will be for a lot of folks, and air conditioning is vital in Texas but you pay through the nose for it.  Bastards.

In personal news I received my grades for the semester: 2 A's, 1 B, 1 D.  I think D stands for "Didn't care." or "Didn't put any effort." into English class.  Apparently analyzing poems and literature isn't my forte (nor do I give a fuck), though I did okay with drama.  Throughout my entire life, if I don't care then I won't be bothered.  History and Ethnobiology were the A's.  Boo-yah.  Besides I'm not going to grad school to analyze fucking Joyce.  Not that there's anything wrong with that...

School news, whatever, whatever, EVE Online.  I wish I had started playing this instead of WoW.  I'm plugging along in the free demo, got through the roster of tutorials (there were about six or seven), have a good basic set of skills - still have yet to decide which direction I want to take - still leaning towards explorer/recovery/salvage/looter/courier/pirate hunter that I usually play.  Yes I know it sounds like "Firefly" but I was playing this class before I saw it thank you.  Pure Han "shot first" Solo scoundrel...this time I think I'm going for Lando as the ultimate goal.  I've had a massive amount of fun so far playing EVE but I've also developed an appreciation for the pure monotony of space travel, especially in high security zones where you don't have to worry about pirates or PvP waiting for suckers to warp out of gates (I haven't encountered this yet thank god but I've been sticking to high security zones).  I've managed to get a freighter that is pretty quick and cuts travel time by a third but still...whew.  Fortunately even during warp travel there's a huge amount of stuff to do.  Granted most of this stuff to do is logistical, doing business, mapping routes, planning what cool stuff to buy, etc., etc.  so it's not like you're sitting there staring slacked jawed at a loading screen. 

Now paperwork and shuttling gear back and forth isn't riveting stuff so where's the fun?
  • Are you the kind of person who will merrily spend hours building a ship a  la Chromehounds?  Do you like tweaking power levels, weight/speed ratios, weapon ranges, and more and more?  Does the concept of creating the ultimate fitting for your bad ass ship, with off-market mods under the hood make you tingly in your bathing suit area?  Oh yeah.  I might not be a gear head, grease monkey in RL but in game?  Fuck yeah.  I usually spend about a hour at the beginning of each play session: checking my settings, doing a systems check, and seeing what new equipment might fit onto my ship of choosing.
  • A very, very important and humorous saying in chat that I've seen repeated - usually in response to a player lamenting the loss of their ship - "Never fly more than you're willing to lose" (or willing to insure).  In EVE you will have your ship(s) destroyed (whether or not you get "podded" aka having your escape pod blown up is another issue).  Most players keep a stable of craft for a variety of uses and often (if possible) more than one of the same craft.  My current total of ships lost are - two rookie n00b ships, the freighter Miss Ska Tonic, and the freighter The Yellow Rose of Texas.  So far I haven't been podded but I bought a back-up clone just in case.  I also took out platinum full coverage insurance for my current boat named The Pork Chop Express which is a destroyer kitted out for survey, salvage, and mining.  I'm working on tricking out a freighter for speed but will probably save my pennies for a rainy day.
  • The reason I have kept my losses low is because I haven't ventured into lowsec aka Low Security regions yet and chances are I won't for quite some time.  Additionally since my previous losses I have become a lot more cautious warping into unknown space (I taught myself a trick to quick warp in and out of an area - hopefully I won't get caught with my pants down by rats with warp drive scramblers). 
  • Deep space scanning EVE does it right.  As many of you folks may know - I game for exploration and by proxy loot.  One of the primary ways to do this is to find anomalies, hidden jump gates, gas clouds, deadspace, derelict space stations, space hulks and the like.  You find those through a process of sending probes into space (right now I have basic probes) and through a combination of luck, skill, tri/quadrangulation, and profanity.  Of course as you gain skills and better gear the process gets easier.  There a certain amount of patience and delicacy involved as well as I had to trick myself in thinking (spatially) in three dimensions on the computer.
  • I also am learning how to target multiple bogeys at the same time.  There's got to be an easier way because right now it's like trying to roller skate in a buffalo herd.  I might have to map a controller for combat.
  • Amusing - tracking down a UFO in space.  For some reason the idea just hit my absurdity button.

Hope you all are well.  More news to follow soon.  I promise I'll do some movie reviews ASAP.  Promise.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Scoville Bessler

EVE Online - Day 1 of 14: The return of Scoville Bessler

EVE Online - the MMO set in space - that isn't Star Wars or Star Trek.  I remember hearing about this game about the same time I was thinking of starting Warcraft but as we all know I ended up going with WoW until I got bored.  I'm also bored with all the games I currently own and I have until Tuesday to wait to get my grubby paws on L.A. Noire (narf, narf, narf).  So after some poking around on the world wide web I decided to give the free two-week trial of EVE Online a go.

After roughly forty-five minutes of installation (I watched an episode of SVU and ate take away in the interim) I was able to create my character.  I went for my standard Scoville Bessler female template only in EVE Online I spent nearly an hour tweaking her look.  I have to say that EVE has the best fucking character design template I have ever seen.  Seriously.  The level to which you can tweak your character's looks (including excellent scars, aging, and freckles!) is impressive but the ability to manipulate your character's expression is top-notch.  I managed to give Scoville my common expression of the Red Hook brush-off combined with smirk.  I hope I can a pic of her for you folks. 

Now the downside of such awesome character design is that you are only creating your portait.  Your in-game thingie you move around and interact with the 'verse with is the ship you helm.  At the point I am at, I don't have much in the way of ship customization, so basically I'm driving around space in the equivalent of Plymouth Horizon.  Wheeee!  Sigh.  However, I am also thinking of sticking with my crappy ship and just tricking it out with cool tech.  Por la Raza!

So, how's trucking around space?  I'm still in the tutorial but it's kind of cool.  It's a gorgeous game, which is good because I spent a lot of time autopiloting back and forth on training missions.  However that time in transit actually was pretty helpful because there is a galactic shit-ton of stuff to read, look at, and star maps to examine.  I hope I can actually do some exploring with out total risk of being turned into space dust.

One thing I have to say I really dig about EVE is the openness of the class system in that, there is no class system, no levelling per say, it's all how you play the game.  You build skills, talents in order to do what you want to do.  Additionally EVE seems to be pretty solo player friendly, which is always an upside to me.  I also dig the fact that the game world is player driven and created - to clarify a lot of corporations are player run and they dish out missions.  Neat.  I'm looking forward to playing some more tonight.


I've done a bit more searching around and reading of guides, watching official tutorials on teh youtube, and I'm starting to feel a little daunted by EVE.  I think I might be getting that "this is gonna be addicting" feeling.  IDK though, the monthly fee is $14.95.

Add 2:

Jesus - this Fleet Commander is awesome.  This is watching South Koreans play Starcraft.

Impressive space combat:

New MMO new lingo, what the fuck is "carebearing"?  I like "ratting" as a term for hunting NPC pirates.

Yeah, I think I'm just gonna stick to flying below the grid and not get involved with any intergalactic conflicts. should I be a bounty hunter ratter?

Monday, May 02, 2011

HYR gets political - a polemic.

"I think the rejoicing we are seeing today is not the celebration of a death, but the healing of a nation." 
- Anon Internet comment 
So bin Laden is dead thanks to the ass-kickery of the Navy SEALS.  Americans rejoice.  Teh FB is resounding with divisive "rhetoric".  Bells have been ringing all day on my campus.  Photographs of Americans bedecked in Stars and Stripes garb are plastered across the news and internet.  America!  Fuck yeah!

If this is the healing of a nation then it's akin to curing a death of a thousand cuts with a single Spongebob band-aid.

Ten years of war and for what?  I'm not belittling our fighting forces and never will - my problem lies with US foreign policies and penchant for international cluster fucks.  The SEALS kick ass and shoot the fuck out of a major terrorist - right on but earlier today a friend of mine said, "I didn't even know we were still hunting for him."  In class today I didn't hear a single word about bin Laden, nor did I hear or see anything bin Laden related while walking around campus.  Hell, I can't remember the last time I thought about bin Laden.  Personally I'm more focused on Libya and the impending doom that awaits Africa at the hands of the West and the Chinese.

Perhaps what bothers me the most about the FB and general internet currents is the worrying celebratory bloodlust of an American demographic.  It reminds me of the days when a fallen enemy's head would be paraded around on a pike through city streets, with uncivilized clods hurling shit and rotten vegetables at it.  Perhaps it was best bin Laden was buried at sea.

I wonder how the fruitcake marketing machine will cash in on bin Laden's death.  Are sales of toilet paper with bin Laden's face going to skyrocket?  Will "I'm Proud to be an American." ring from sea to shining sea? How soon until a video game comes out documenting the operation?

And, as so many international news sources have asked, now what?  After ten years of futile wars can our troops come home to their families?  Turn their spears into ploughshares?  Can the military spending be curtailed?  Can we as Americans learn to focus on a new day in America?  Can the right-wingers, tea-partiers, and assorted nutcases stop giving Americans of the Muslim faith shit?

I fucking doubt it.  May God have mercy on us all.

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