Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Financial Frenzy

I'm quite baffled by the current financial woes, or so I hear. I don't understand how it all works. I know it is in bad shape, but I don't know how everything works together that creates this/a hostile financial situation.

The buyout of Bear Stearns, government bailout of Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac, the emergency funding for AIG, the crash of Lehman Brothers, the sale of Merrill Lynch to the Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase purchase of Washington Mutual, the forced sale of Wachovia to Citigroup. There are other events of the current financial crisis, but those are the ones that come to mind as I live in North America.

What will this mean for the world? What will it mean for individuals like me? I really have no idea.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Seven States of Matter

Playing Penny Arcade Adventures is always interesting as their colorful dialogue, wordiness, and intellectual anomalies make it a hilarious game. One of the items in the game was a book on the "Seven States Of Matter". I'm not really a physics student, but I looked around for a couple of articles.

Liquid, Gas, Solid, Plasma, Beam, Thought Waves, and BEC/Bose-Einstein Condensate (zero state of matter). Hah?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Mashable mention

Yay. Even though the mention of our product, Rezgo, was buried way down there in a list of 270 other online business tools, a mention is a mention! Mashable!

Friday, September 19, 2008

RestoReview: Soul Robata and Izakaya

Soul Robata & Izakaya is a new Japanese restaurant in Richmond's "food alley" on Alexandra Road. Soul is not your average Japanese all-you-can-eat. It serves a more traditional robata-style grilled food. Although the restaurant is dubbed as an Izakaya, it didn't feel like it as I didn't even see a drink menu. The restaurant is not really visible from the outside, it blends into the various stores beside it. However, the interior is charming and quite inviting. They had little lanterns or Akachōchin hanging above their sushi bar. The restaurant has a small, warm loungey atmosphere with quirkiness represented by the little cups and ceramics on the wall with english phrases that didn't make any sense or fit with the ambience. Examples of some of these phrases were: 'corn squeezins', 'mountain dew', and 'little brown jug'.

Sashimi (Hamachi, Kampachi, Mata?) - Fresh and soft. What good sashimi should taste like.

Grilled Beef Tongue - Soft, tender, and melts in your mouth. My fav beef dish!

Monk Fish Liver Pate - Definitely a must try. I haven't really tried fish pate and I have to say I really like it. It reminds me a little bit of the salmon pate I had before, but this is given a unique twist with its slightly pickled flavor. Yum!

Salmon tartare with Nori - I'm a little put off by this. I've had better salmon tartare elsewhere in Vancouver (if I remember correctly, it was at Brix). I would have to say it was average, and a little too strong in flavor. It was too 'fishy' and had a strong smell.

Crispy Chicken Skin - Mmmm. Can't really go wrong with fried chicken skin. Crisp, and flavorful.

Hairy Crab Bruschetta? - I'm not sure what is so hairy about it. Crab paste (the high cholesterol stuff) on top of bruschetta and served on some salad. An interesting dish guaranteed to raise your cholesterol through the roof. It's something to try if you've never tried it before, but I didn't feel like it was all too delish.

Takoyaki/Octopus Fritters - I love takoyaki, and Soul's "Octopus Fritters" are no exception. Standard formula and tasted like perfection.

Fried Ice Cream - I tried out two different flavors, green tea and
black sesame. The green tea was quite ordinary and did not match with the fried exterior at all. The black sesame on the other hand is rated as Jeff's current "Best Fried Ice Cream ever". The dark, intense earthy flavor of the black sesame merges perfectly with the fried batter. It is a perfect dessert to a Japanese robata dinner. For those of you who have never tried black sesame ice cream, it is an intense, mildly spicy concoction that has a nutty taste. (Unless you order ice cream at Guu, in Aberdeen anyway, that tastes like watered down ice cream because it's probably from Mondo Gelato).

Soul Robata & Izakaya - Definitely a robata, not so much an Izakaya. It's not Japanese run, but that's okay, the food is good. Service was excellent, tea service came by almost every 5 minutes or less and the staff was friendly. Ambience is a little quirky and not authentic, but it's a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. The Black Sesame flavor Fried Ice Cream is a MUST.

Soul Robata & Izakaya
1015-8580 Alexandra Rd, Richmond. B.C.

Service & Setting: 4/5
Taste: 4.5/5
Cost Level: 3

Microsoft's new advertising campaign

Microsoft's second wave of ads are definitely much better than the Bill Gates / Seinfeld ads. It's nice to see Microsoft finally starting to pick up on competitive advertising, but they have a long way to go before they catch up to Apple's anti-pc ads.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Close Call

I nearly got smashed in about 15 minutes ago. People really need to do shoulder checks, especially in high speed areas. I almost got pushed into the wall on the Second Narrows bridge. I was driving around 75km/h in the far right lane going onto the bridge. The black pickup in the center lane then decided he wanted to switch into my lane. I was probably in his blind spot just behind him on the right half a car length back. He was merging in pretty fast and he probably would have hit me had I not blasted my horn and try to give him some room. I think I might have damaged the right surface of my car as I moved right to dodge but probably ran into the barrier. I don't think I hit the guy, but damn, I heard a loud screeching/squeaking sound for about a second.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Alaskan Cruise

The Alaskan Cruise was a nice relaxing break for me. It wasn't the most exciting trip. It was quite boring, but it was nice and calming for me. I spent a lot of time out on the deck just staring out into the ocean and the icy land of Alaska enjoying the cool breeze.
Normally, I would assume I gained weight on the cruise, but I somehow actually lost 2Lbs after the week-long cruise. Must have been all that stair-climbing and walking action. I took a no-elevator approach and climbed the stairs every time. I walked a lot since I had to keep going between the back and the front of the ship.

I can't say I'm completely happy with the food on the cruise. I was happy with the quality on the casual dining. The formal dining however was quite disappointing. The expectations I had were quite high. I've heard that Celebrity Cruises has better food. I'm going to hold judgment and give them a 4/5 and give it an overall rating of acceptable. This is a temporary judgment as the cruise we were on had a special group of Jewish cruisers and b/c of them half the kitchen had to be locked down for them alone to prepare kosher meals. This severely limits the abilities of the kitchen's quality control to serve good meals.

Here are some pictures that I've chosen from the 1152 shots I took. :o