April 16, 2009

WoW Patch 3.1

Posted in Games, Role-Playing Games, Video/Computer Games at 2:13 pm by Transmuter

So patch 3.1 just dropped for World of Warcraft, and so far I like it. My favorite thing about the patch so far is that Divine Plea is refreshed on autoattack when talented into Guarded by the Light. The upshot is that my Protection Paladin almost never runs out of mana as long as I’m fighting something. It’s awesome! Also cool is the new Argent Tournament. I just achieved the rank of Valiant today, and I’m enjoying the new daily quests. They’re good money too, and it gives me incentive to do dailies again, since I’m already exalted with the Sons of Hodir, the Kalu’ak, and the Oracles. (I’m not really interested in the Knights of the Ebon Blade dailies.) Anyway, good times!

Play the Distraction Game! See how well you can focus on the game itself, and not the distracting borders.


Cheese – Mini Babybel

Posted in Food at 1:57 pm by Transmuter

Ok, I haven’t had a chance to get some real cheese eatin’ going on this week, so I’ll review the famous processed cheese known as “Mini Babybel”. I’m not entirely sure what a processed cheese is, except that it’s made of a combination of cheeses and cheese materials (like milk!). I always liked these as a kid, since 1) They’re kid-sized and 2) Unwrapping the wax is fun!

So I have ambivalent feelings about this cheese. Sometimes I eat it and I’m like “Wow, that was really tasty!” and other times I think “This cheese is kinda gross.” Why is that? I have no idea. Sometimes the first bite is icky but the last bite is good! So crazy. They make a convenient snack though!

Rating: 4/10 – 7/10 (Depending on my mood?)

Bonus tip: Apparently there are several varities of this mini cheese, such as cheddar, gouda, and “light”.

As another cheese note, yesterday I made a sandwich out of the last of my Dubliner cheese. Unfortunately I couldn’t slice it as thin as I had the first week since it was the end piece, so it was about twice as thick as I was used to. When I ate the sandwich it was totally gross! The cheese had crystallized or something, and the flavor was totally different from what I remembered. It did taste a lot like Swiss cheese, but even more disgusting! What’s the deal, man? Did the cheese go bad? It was probably three weeks old, stored in a zip-lock bag in the refrigerator.

Revised rating: 1/10. Seriously, I couldn’t eat more than half of the sandwich!

On an unrelated note, I just finished reading every single Dinosaur Comic. I think it’s affected my writing style. Funny comic, though! Very cerebral, and lots of linguistics-related comics too!

April 7, 2009

Cheese – Dubliner

Posted in Food at 4:18 pm by Transmuter

After the extreme creaminess of Havarti I wanted something a little firmer for my second cheese. Since my sister-in-law is serving a mission in Ireland I decided on Dubliner, which is Irish but not actually from Dublin. Anyway, Dubliner is an aged, firm cheese. While making my sandwich the first day I tasted a chunk of it – it was gross! “Crap,” I thought, “I have a week’s worth of this stuff!” However, I had heard that many cheeses should be served at room temperature for best flavor. Fortunately for my taste buds the sandwich was far tastier at lunchtime than it was when refrigerated. So if you ever buy any Dubliner, let it warm up before eating!

I really liked Dubliner. It has a similar texture to aged cheddar, but perhaps a bit grainier or more astringent. (I hope I am using the right terminology for this.) The flavor was not extremely sharp, but still somewhat strong; it seemed kind of nutty. I would definitely eat this cheese again.

Cheese rating: 9/10

As an interesting note, I assumed this cheese would be fairly exotic and uncommon since it was not one of the really well-known varieties and imported from Ireland. However, the other day I was shopping at Costco and lo and behold, there were a bunch of big bricks of Dubliner! That was certainly unexpected!

Cheese – Havarti

Posted in Food at 3:59 pm by Transmuter

Ok, for my first week of cheese experimentation I bought a hunk of Havarti. Havarti is a semi-soft cheese originating in Denmark. I made sandwiches of ciabatta bread, deli-sliced turkey, and sliced tomatoes. I had 4 sandwiches’ worth of ingredients, so I had one a day at lunch from Tuesday to Friday. I didn’t really care for it the first day, but by the second day the flavor had grown on me somewhat. By Friday I could appreciate the flavor of the cheese, but I wouldn’t say it was my favorite.

The cheese was soft and very creamy, with a mild flavor. At this point I’d probably say that I don’t particularly care for creamy cheeses, but I’ll try a few other soft varities in the future to make sure it wasn’t just Havarti I was unimpressed with. Keep in mind I love extremely sharp cheddar, so Havarti was like the opposite of that. Still, I didn’t dislike it either.

My rating: 5/10

April 3, 2009


Posted in Food at 8:44 pm by Transmuter

I’m going to start reviewing cheese. For the title of this main post I tried to think of something fairly grandiose, like “All About Cheese” or “The Great Cheese Review”, but I don’t really know that much about cheese and I’m no high-class food critic. Hence we have the simple, if rather dull, title above.

Anyway, this might seem like it’s coming from out of left field, so let me explain. I have been a little more interested in cheese for the past few weeks for two reasons. Firstly, I saw an episode of “Good Eats” where Alton Brown talked quite a bit about cheese. Secondly, I read the Wikipedia article on cheese and several related articles. I read about how to make cheese, visited a few websites selling cheese and a few more sites selling cheesemaking equipment. I didn’t really intend to make cheese, but I was on something of a cheese studying kick so I learned a fair bit about it.

A week or two ago Chiemi and I discovered a grocery store called Harmons. It’s slightly fancier than your regular Albertsons – it reminds me a bit of Trader Joe’s, but not as exotic. I was impressed to see that they had a whole island displaying cheeses, with a “cheese monger” staffing it and giving advice to customers. I decided to try a week of making sandwiches for lunch at work, but this time using good ingredients. I bought some ciabatta bread, some fresh sliced turkey from the deli, and I decided on trying some Havarti cheese. If the experiment worked out, I planned to buy different types of cheese the following weeks until I had experienced many kinds of cheese.

Since I’m doing this cheese testing thing, I might as well write down what I think of each cheese, if only so I can remember which cheeses I liked. I’ll write a separate review for each type and link to them from here. As far as my cheese background goes, I like Gouda-type cheese and Pepper Jack. I don’t care for Brie or Swiss, but I absolutely love sharp cheddar, especially Tillamook Vintage White Extra Sharp. Mozzarella is ok, but kind of bland. Anyway, to the reviews!

The Cheese Reviews:

Week 1 – Havarti
Week 2 – Dubliner
Week 3 – Mini Babybel
Week 4 – DaVinci
Week 5 – Red Hot Dutch