Sushi Pizza

An important part of the scientific process is the reproduction of experiments. When one scientist gets a particular result, it is that scientist’s job to describe the process they used to achieve it.  Then other scientists can do the same experiment and confirm that indeed they witness the same phenomenon that the first scientist claims to have discovered.

Here I am providing a service in the same vein, but for the benefit of the culinary rather than the scientific community.  (Huibregtse, 2017) describes a “healthy” sushi pizza with a rice crust and fish toppings. Whether a dish based heavily on short-grain rice can be considered healthy is outside the scope of this work.

Methodology

I collected the sashimi-grade fish from “toyo shokuhin & gift shop” in Raleigh. The proprietor was not there when I arrived. As I was trying to decipher the fish options, I heard rhythmic popping noises behind me. I listened to them as they made their way from the back of the store to the counter, and when I went to the counter I saw she was popping a strip of bubble wrap one bubble at a time. When I bought the food she asked me what I was making. I told her “sushi pizza” and showed her a picture. She asked if I was having a party, and I said, no just a date. She took out a Sapporo beer can and handed it to me. I said “for the date?” and she said “this is a reward for spending $70.”

I added tamago (japanese omelette) to the toppings, and cut the nori more thickly than Huibregtse.IMG_20180331_122454408.jpg

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Discussion

A few tips to get the most out of your sushi pizza:

Go light on the rice – we couldn’t eat much pizza because I’d packed so much rice into the crust, and we ended up with lots of extra toppings that we had to find other uses for or just eat sashimi-style.

Consider making a thin-crust sushi pizza and splitting the same amount of rice over two pizzas.

Use scissors on the nori, and don’t expect to need more than a sheet or two. We have so much leftover nori it’s a relief that it will last longer than the fish.

Conclusions and Future Work

Sushi pizza is a promising alternative to traditional sushi. It has the limitation that it can lead to an excess of rice in comparison to the other ingredients, but as we discuss in the Discussion section this may be ameliorated through simple experimentation.

Works Cited

Huibregtse, Kelly (January 5th, 2017) Recipe Makeover: Healthy Sushi Pizza  retrieved from https://asideofsweet.com/make-healthy-sushi-pizza-recipe/

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Immunotherapy PSA: Stay the whole thirty minutes

Hi, I’m Sam. Do you know what immunotherapy is? Have you seen The Princess Bride? If you answered no to the latter, go watch The Princess Bride and come back. Do not use this brief recap as an excuse to not watch the film in its entirety. To do such a thing would be inconceivable. That’s another PSA for free, folks.

Not included in the above video is the Man in Black’s explanation for why he won the battle of wits despite Vizzini’s ruse. In the next scene he tells the princess that, in fact, both cups were poisoned. The Man in Black has protected himself from the poison through mithridatism, building up an immunity by administering very small doses that increase over a span of time.

This is the same concept behind immunotherapy. After developing a solution of the allergens to which you would like to become immune, your allergist will inject heavily diluted doses directly into your bloodstream once or twice a week and slowly increase the intensity over time. You may be thinking that this sounds dangerous. Or maybe you aren’t.

Well, actually, the reason it’s not particularly dangerous is that the doctors know what they’re doing. Certainly The Man in Black doesn’t mind taking his life into his own hands, but your doctor would very much prefer that you do not. Doses are administered according to a strict regimen, typically requiring a complete restart if you so much as move to another doctor. What’s more, the most time-consuming part of the process is actually just thirty minutes of sitting in the waiting room to see if you have a reaction.

This is where I come in. After a few months of twice-weekly doses, I had never had more than a red bump that felt like a bee sting. I never left the office before the nurse came to observe my reaction, but that was more of a sense of habit and respect for doctors than an actual sense that I was in any danger. Last Thursday, it all changed.

Ten minutes after my shot, I was itching all over. Then I started sneezing and coughing and my eyes started to water. In moments I was wheezing to the receptionist, “I think I might be having a reaction.” Then I was surrounded by medical professionals who insisted on wheeling me through the health care center in a chair regardless of whether I  myself felt I was fit to walk.

I felt pretty much fine through all this. If that seems strange, note that I have experienced each of these symptoms individually and at no point had any of them been life threatening. So, when the nurses told me not to be afraid and I wouldn’t die, I said “why should I be afraid I’m going to die?” I wonder if the fact that I was shaking like a jackhammer from being given three epinephrine* shots had anything to do with the seeming over-concern over my emotional state.

It was when I was feeling pretty much great that they decided I should go to the emergency room. They said that I needed four to six more hours of observation, and even the length of an Uber ride to Rex hospital without professionals staring straight at me could be fatal. So I obediently climbed into a surprisingly comfortable gurney and enjoyed the comedy stylings of my EMT, who told me that I was shaking like a dog pooping razor blades and that he was going to steal my identity through my digital signature.

Wheeled to my room, I climbed out of the gurney and lay on a substantially less comfortable hospital bed. A nurse pumped me full of Benadryl, and left me in the room unobserved. I sat semi-catatonic on the bed for an hour and then another nurse came in to give me a prednisone prescription and tell me I was free to go. I took a Lyft back to my house, then drove to Harris Teeter to buy some pork ribs and kale for supper.

Three morals I want you to draw from this experience:

  1. Don’t wander off when you should be under observation during an immunotherapy shot.
  2. Sometimes healthcare practitioners in an ER have a very different idea of how much danger a patient is in than their peers in a company health care center.
  3. You should watch The Princess Bride

This has been a public service announcement.

*also known as adrenaline

 

Image Credit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZSx3zNZOaU

Little Shop of Horrors

The classic boy-meets-girl-makes-Faustian-bargain-with-evil-talking-plant story, Little Shop of Horrors may be best known by its 1986 movie adaptation starring Rick Moranis and Steve Martin.

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The movie was based on a musical that started in off-off-Broadway in 1982, and made its way to off-Broadway and finally to Broadway itself. That musical was actually based on another movie released in 1960 – a B horror comedy cult classic.

Public Domain Movie: The Little Shop of Horrors (1960)

One thing I learned watching the original Little Shop of Horrors is that Bill Murray’s character Arthur Denton was not imagined out of whole cloth just so the movie could have a funny scene with Murray and Martin. In fact, he is based on Wilbur Force, a masochist in the original movie who, after the murder of the dentist, insists that Seymour himself operate on him. This was one of Jack Nicholson’s earliest roles, and he is nearly unrecognizable he is so young.

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Finally, if you are a fan of the musical and were disappointed by the strangely abrupt and upbeat ending of the movie, you should know that it seemed rushed for  a reason. There was a complete ending closer to the tone of the musical and the original movie that was cut because it upset a screening audience. Fortunately, A Little Shop of Horrors “director’s cut” is out on DVD that shows the movie as it was originally intended. Watch it.

https://www.amazon.com/Little-Shop-Horrors-Directors-Cut/dp/B008AT9XOC/ref=tmm_dvd_title_1?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Lost in Austin

I went to Austin, Texas a while back and wandered around. This is from a series of Facebook posts I made while getting lost in the woods.

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Walking through an empty, interminable forest trail.

 

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A barking dog echoes in the distance…
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I’m not sure I’ll find an exit soon wandering along this dried creek bed.
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I see a house! But it’s on a steep dirt incline.

 

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A six foot stone wall! I’ll have to travel alongside to see if there’s a way through.
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An exit!
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Back to civilization.

Black Panther is still a superhero movie

Superhero movies are among the rare areas of disagreement between Rotten Tomatoes and myself. Critics laud as an action-packed visual masterpiece what I see as a series of cliches and overused plot devices. I should know this by now, but every once in a while another film bills itself as a revolution and I fall for it.

Not that Black Panther isn’t revolutionary.  It addresses colonialism, something rare in Hollywood. Its strong female characters are described in level-headed publications as having the potential to change the world. It may be the first example of afro-futurism entering the mainstream consciousness.

It’s also two hours and fifteen minutes of one-liners, explosions, and people punching each other. If you don’t blink you might catch the minute or so dedicated to plot, character development, and interesting concepts. That minute is well worth seeing, but if you’re not into Marvel movies in general, consider downloading The Shape of Water to your phone and switching to it whenever somebody pulls out a gun, a spear, a witticism, or a remote-operated vehicle, or T’challa’s catsuit materializes on his body. You might be able to get through both.

Alternatively, you can donate $14.75 or whatever they’re charging for movies now to your favorite social justice cause and keep your two hours and fifteen minutes for activities that do interest you.

 

Image credit: https://www.verdict.co.uk/black-panther-already-turning-huge-profits-marvel/

A review of my games

My father has reached the level of notoriety that he has become known as “The Game Man,” and his game collection now grows through no effort of his own. People give him old games, unplayed games, and some very strange games because they know he will play them. He fills the top level of his foyer closet with his games, and has an entire bookshelf in the garage for the rest of them.

Comparatively, I am still merely a game boy. I still must purchase most of my own games, and my collection does not even fill a miniature bookshelf. It is a very nice bookshelf, though, a gift from my Mother. Also, I know a bit about the best game for the best situation. Let me go through my games from left to right and top to bottom.

Telestrations

A cross between telephone and pictionary. Popular at parties. People will often complain that they can’t draw, but tell them the worse the drawings are, the more fun the game is.

Pit

A one hundred year old game (114 years old, to be more precise) that simulates the commodities market. Boiled down, this game is quick to learn and tends to involve a lot of shouting as players each clamor to get the attention of a trading partner.

Seven Wonders Duel

If you have one fellow strategically minded friend, this is a good game for the two of you. Advance through technological ages and build an empire better than your rival’s!

Red Flags

A game where you make imaginary people for your fellow players to date. It’s a fun, simple to play game where you make ridiculous suitors such as a man who “loves kittens, shares all your interests, and is incapable of feeling emotion.” Don’t expect much strategy or a lot of replayability.

Aye, Dark Overlord

One of my favorites, Aye Dark Overlord is a guided improv game where one player plays the overlord and the other players are all his or her minions. The twist? The minions have already failed at a task that the overlord player makes up to assign them. Each minion’s job is to avoid the blame for the mission’s failure. The penalty for being blamed is, of course, death.

The Battle for Vyk Tornaahl

This is more of a piece of art than a game. It’s beautiful, but when my friend, who illustrated one of the cards, showed it to me, and I insisted we play it at three or four events, eventually he said, “Could we play a fun game?”

Munchkin

The classic D&D parody where you kill monsters and take their stuff. This game is simpler to play than a serious strategy game, but more tactically rewarding than a pure party game. My copy is many years old, and has so many expansions and is so well-played I have to hold the box together with rubber bands.

Unstable Unicorns and Exploding Kittens

A small sample of the recent explosion in kickstarter party games. Still more sophisticated than Red Flags strategically, but simpler than Munchkin and much simpler than a real strategy game. Their amusing illustrations and writing make them fun to bring out once or twice at parties, and unicorns and kittens may be effective at drawing out certain reluctant players.

Aquarius

This is a variant of dominoes with simple rules and bright colors.

Yikerz

I often refer to this as “the magnet game.” The goal is to put magnets on a mat without them touching each other. The rest is physics. I find this game is particularly good for attracting the interest of non-gamers, and I often will claim that it has never failed to entertain.

If any of these sounds appealing to you, they’re all still available for sale, I’m sure. If you’re in the area and want to play one, just let me know!

I’m not here to make friends

This is an old comedy sketch idea I found in my Evernote archive.

Sketch Title : “Upcoming Reality Shows”

A series of increasingly ridiculous reality show concepts presented as brief sections from each show.

Each section starts with a description of the show, a short clip of the activity, and an interview with someone asserting he’s not here to make friends. Maybe even funnier if it’s the same guy in every competition.

Competitive Origami: People at a table intensely and angrily folding paper cranes

Interview: “I’m not here to make friends, I’m here to fold paper!”

Competitive Livestock Abuse: Two men harassing a donkey

Interview: “I’m not here to make friends, I’m here to kick ass!”

Competitive Confessions: “I’m not here to make friends, I’m here to make amends”

Competitive Carpentry: “I’m not here to make friends,” Holds up a pair of wooden bookends, “I’m here to make ends.”

Female-to-male drag competition: “I’m not here to make friends, I’m here to make men.”

Writing contest for the next episode of “Friends”: “I’m not here to make friends, I’m here to make Friends.”

Competitive Networking: “I’m not here to make friends, I’m here to … uhh …”

It's about whatever I say it's about