Wokking Up Michi’s Ladder

As part of my commitment to healthy eating, I’ve embarked on two new, and related, pursuits:

  1. wokCooking with a Teflon Wok: Until recently I didn’t cook at all. It struck me that cooking with a wok might be easy and fun.  Last Christmas I purchased a Teflon wok for use on the stove-top. I’ve used it almost every day since. It’s turned out to be fun, easy and quick to clean.
  2. michi's ladderEating From Michi’s Ladder: As part of my P90X training, I was introduced Michi’s Ladder. The ladder consists of 5 tiers of foods. The goal is to eat as much from the top two tiers and as little from the bottom tiers as possible.

In the last few months I’ve eaten, and enjoyed, more vegetable dishes than I have in the last decade.

Going forward I’m looking for and experimenting with tasty, easy to wok recipes for the food listed in the top two tiers of Michi’s Ladder.

I’ll kick things off with my latest recipes for a chilled cucumber salad and my sautéed squash in a wok.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941)

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde 1941

2-rating (2/5) ‘horror’

This particular version of  Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941) is the first Jekyll and Hyde movie I’ve seen (there are several). I chose this one because it stars two of my favourite classic movie actors: Spencer Tracy and  Ingrid Bergman

Note: I’m a classic movie fan. This is the first of what I hope will be many classic movie reviews on The Daleisphere.

Tracy plays Dr. Jekyll, a medical researcher forced to test a potion on himself when the hospital he works for refuses to allow him to test it on his patients. Jekyll’s potion is designed to separate the soul’s evil from the good.

I dislike horror movies intensely. While billed as a horror movie, it pale’s by today’s horror movie standards and comes across as more cruel than scary. Spencer Tracy’s performance as Mr. Hyde was difficult to watch. In the dozen or two Tracy film’s I’ve seen, he’s always played the good guy.

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Weight-loss Diet Tips for the Single Geek

Dales Biceps

In December 2006 I decided (for the final time) to get fit and stay fit. For the prior decade my weight had yoyo’d within a 30 pound range.

In order to loose weight and keep it off forever I personally committed to making two fundamentally integrated life-long changes:

  1. Regular Workouts: I needed to first loose 40 pounds (to get to my goal weight) and thereafter maintain and and improve upon the weight loss and fitness with a lifetime of fun and sustainable physical activity.
    (Note: I reached the weight goal in 90 days with P90X)
  2. Healthy Eating: I needed to find ways that worked for me (the single geek) to match my initial weight loosing workout regime and then, for the first time in my adult life, to consistently eat right, and enjoy it, for the rest of my life.

For me, the far harder of the two was, and remains, healthy eating. This post summarizes the calorie reduced eating strategies that worked for me as I lost those first forty pounds.

Note: I will cover some of my ongoing healthy eating ideas in future posts.

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Charlie Rose Questions

Charlie Rose I admire Charlie Rose.

I have been watching The Charlie Rose Show for more than a decade (searchable archive here).  He has interviewed everyone – world leaders, dictators, actors, singers, scientists, doctors, architects, authors, journalists, bloggers, judges, lawyers, titans of industry, philosophers, religious leaders – from every walk of life and pursuit.

He is the most balanced and engaging interviewer I know. His ability to draw out guests and provide a compelling viewing experience is renowned. Over the years, I have jotted down some of the Charlie Rose questions that have yielded compelling answers.

If you really want to get to know someone, try out some of these questions over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.  I have had hours of interesting conversation with friends and family with these.

Charlie Rose TableWARNING: Use them sparingly. If you fire them off at an unsuspecting questionee, you may find your friend feeling more like the victim of an inquisition than the participant in an intimate conversation! 🙂

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I Switched to Windows Live Writer

Windows Live Writer Logo

For months now, I have been hearing good things about the offline blogging tool Windows Live Writer (download). Two weeks ago I was listening to Leo Laporte and Paul Thurrott‘s most recent Windows Weekly podcast (No. 53) were they once again were singing its praises. Since ‘The Daleisphere‘ just set sail, I decided to give it a whirl with my new blog.

Windows Live Writer Editor

After two weeks, I’m sold! Compared to the WordPress editor, this is one fantastic piece of kit.

In this post I describe some of the key benefits that convinced me to switch, include links to online demos, describe the WLW add-ins I’ve found useful so far and list some areas that need improvement.

The Good:

Untethered Blogging: WLW has untethered me from the net. Previously I had used the WordPress editor and/or the WYSI plugin-editor exclusively. This meant I needed to be online to write posts. Now I can write my from anywhere, on any computer, at any time, whether online or off. So far I’ve written most of my Daleisphere posts on a lazy-boy recliner in front of the TV! 🙂

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Solving the: ‘Word 2007 Spell Checker Doesn’t Work’ Problem

Word 2007 - Spell checker not working

Among other things, I draft legal documents for a living. Sometimes Word does not highlight misspelled words with the little wavy red line as you would expect. And worse, it doesn’t report them as typos when running the spell checker.

The problem, depicted in this graphic has been the subject of numerous online discussions. See for example here, here and here. The usual forum response to this problem is "I hate Word 2007" followed by little, if any, constructive discussion of what’s going on or how to solve it.

In order to understand the solution, it is important to first understand the problem. The problem lies with the infamous hidden spelling markers that Word inserts in documents to make spell checking more efficient.

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CRTC Rejects Independent HD Broadcaster

Text of Decision

In yet another example of Canada’s broken broadcasting policy, Canada’s national broadcasting regulator, the CRTC, today denied John Bitove’s (XM Canada’s founder) HDTV Network Inc’s application for an eight city Canadian HDTV broadcast network. The network was to be backed by Microsoft founder and Charter Communication’s chairman, Paul Allen.

Most Canadian cities have few or no digital broadcasters. Global has repeatedly missed the CRTC-imposed deadlines to launch its terrestrial HD broadcast system in Canada. Here, a proven entrepreneur was denied the right to do that which a national Canadian broadcaster is unwilling or unable to do.

Why? Because the network was not committing to broadcast enough local Canadian content. Content that most Canadians neither want nor watch.

It was heartening to see one commissioner, Len Katz, dissent.

Canada’s broadcasting policy is in need of top to bottom reform with an emphasis on market-driven competition and integration with U.S. broadcast and telecom policy. Until then, Canadian consumers are left with an increasingly sub-par and antiquated broadcast  system.

Cross-posted to ZNF here.

Update: The San Francisco Chronicle picked up this post here.

Related Posts:

Using the TiVo Series 3 in Canada (October 15, 2006)

Sources: globeinvestor.com | Financial Post | Canadian Press | Digital Home Canada | Globe & Mail | inside the cbc

Andy Roddick – Engaged!

andy roddick serving I was watching Andy Roddick play the unknown Ivo Minar (CZE) at the Sony Erricson/Key Biscayne Open tonight and I got this pleasant surprise! It appears Andy Roddick is newly engaged to a pretty model (of course) named Brooklyn Decker.

The cameramen were keen to pick her out of the crowd and focus in on the ring. I snapped these off the good-old TiVo.

 Brooklyn Decker (close up) watching Roddick at 2008 Australian Open Brooklyn Decker's Engagement Ring - 2008 Australian Open Brooklyn Decker watching Roddick at 2008 Australian Open

Good-on-ya Roddick! Let’s hope this improves your game.

The engagement was officially announced on AndyRoddick.com on March 31. No date has been set.

Cleaning Up After Vista Service Pack 1

 Vista SP1

I updated my Vista x64 installation with Windows Vista Service Pack 1 the day it came out (March 18, 2008).

Due to the the notoriously buggy nVidia Vista drivers, the small version of the service pack was not available to my nVidia-laden XPS 600 through the recommended ‘Windows Update’ process. So I downloaded and installed the larger 64-bit (x64) version of the service pack here (32-bit (x86) version is here).

Everything generally went without a hitch (though it seems to have turned on a few of the unnecessary security settings I had turned off).

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Zoolander – Redux

Zoolander Cover 0.5-rating (0.5/5) comedy

As a true-blue movie fan. I’ve easily watched more than 1,000 movies at the cinema and hundreds more on DVD, HBO, Showtime, the Movie Channel, etc. In 30+ years of movie watching I have walked out of only two – Zoolander (2001) and Purple Rain (1984).*

I walked out at the point where Zoolander was pumping gas, drinking Orange Frapacinos and dancing with his friends to Wham!’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go“. My less-than sophisticated one-word assessment of the movie from the 16 minutes I watched back then was – gay!

I had no intention of attempting this movie again. But in the intervening years, too many pop-culture references and friend recommendations made their impact. And, perhaps Owen Wilson’s recent suicide attempt may have weekend my resolve. So when I saw it in my TiVo listings as an HD broadcast on City TV, I relented.

With some trepidation and a willingness to accept the possibility that my tastes may have changed in 7 years, I sat down and watched it.

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Google Turned Feedburner into ‘Free’burner Without My Knowledge

feedburner logo Until two days ago, I was blissfully unaware of the fact that Google had purchased Feedburner back on June 3, 2007 and in the process made two of its key services, FeedBurner Stats Pro and MyBrand, available to bloggers for free (see announcement).

[February 3, 2009 Update: Google has integrated Feedburner into its Adsense platform. See my new post ‘How to Migrate Feedburner Feeds to Google Adsense’.]

FeedBurner Stats Pro provides bloggers with detailed statistics about how often their RSS feeds are being used, which posts are being read/accessed the most, what feed readers are being used etc.

MyBrand allows the blogger to use a blog-branded RSS feed URL (in my case http://feeds.daleisphere.com/thedaleisphere) rather than a Feedburner-branded URL (eg: http://feeds.feedburner.com/thedaleisphere even as Feedburner continues to manage the feeds in the background. The obvious advantage of MyBrand, aside from the branding aspect, is that bloggers are no longer locked into Feedburner and can seamlessly transition their feeds to a competitive service without requiring their readers to update their feeds. (More details here)

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Hellboy (2004)

Hell Boy Poster3.5-rating (3.5/5) super-hero, sc-fib

Hellboy (2004) has fallen out of the bottom of my TiVo at least twice. Seeing it reappear in my  TiVo listings as Fox Channel HD movie last week I decided to record it once-again on the off chance I’d actually watch it.

As a rule I do not watch horror films. I was under the mistaken impression that this was one such film. It isn’t. It’s more of a super-hero movie.

I enjoyed it.  Ron Perlman was surprisingly good. I don’t recall watching Perlman in any prior movie. I was delighted by his light-hearted sardonic performance. From the first time I saw her in Legally Blonde (2001), I’ve been enamoured with Selma Blair. She was fine in this film.

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Washing Wine Glasses in the Dishwasher – Safely!

wineglasses in dishwasher with elastic bandBeing a bachelor, I’m averse to washing dishes by hand whenever possible. Last November I found myself searching Google for ‘dishwasher safe’ wine glasses.  I wanted to add a Canadian etailer link to my Christmas wishhh list on www.wishhh.com (check it out, you’ll like it).

It’s surprisingly difficult to find ‘dishwasher safe’ wine glasses. Instead, I found a host of wine-glass-in-dishwasher solutions like this one and this one. These  products amount to little more than fancy ways to ensure that wine glasses are secured so that they do not bounce around (or into each other) during the wash cycle.

Continue reading “Washing Wine Glasses in the Dishwasher – Safely!”

WordPress 2.5 – First Impressions

WordPress 2.5 rc 1 was released on March 18. I am using my new blog, The Daleisphere, as a WordPress 2.5 testing ground before rolling it out to my other video game law and imedia law blogs.

[March 29 Update: The Final 2.5 Release is now available for download here]

Daleisphere WordPress 2.5 Editor

So far I’m impressed!

There has been some controversy over the new design. They’ve moved some commands/menus around, removed some superfluous options, updated the dashboard and a few other odds and sods. So far I think it is intuitive, elegant, attractive and easy to use. Heck, its downright purdy! Installation was easy. All of my plugins and themes but one (see below) work fine. In the five days I’ve used it I haven’t experienced a single glitch.

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Mardy Fish – A Flash in the Pan or the Real Deal?

Mardy Fish Prior to Easter dinner my brother-in-law casually mentioned how surprised he was that Mardy Fish beat Federer in the semi-finals at Indian Wells. My TiVo had been faithfully recording the matches and I was a couple days behind. I was so certain that this couldn’t have been accurate that I was willing to place a bet that it must have been someone else, perhaps Hass, that took out Federer.

After returning home and cranking up the TiVo, I was astonished to see that 98th ranked Mardy Fish had indeed beat Federer in straight sets at Indian Wells – with only a 37% first serve percentage match.   Prior to Federer, he had beaten 4th ranked Davydenko (in the 3rd round), 24th ranked Hewitt (in the 4th) and 7th ranked Nalbandian (in the quarters).

Given Fish’s history, this run was arguably as remarkable as Djokovic’s successive Montreal 2007 victories over World Nos. 1, 2 and 3 (Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Roddick, respectively) on three consecutive days.

Continue reading “Mardy Fish – A Flash in the Pan or the Real Deal?”

Welcome to The Daleisphere

So, why The new blog?

Dale PointingI’ve been a blogger for years now. My video game law and imedia law blogs were created to promote my legal practice. Occasionally I’d sneak in posts like this one, or this one, or this one, that were decidedly not about law at all.

As I drilled down into my Google Analytics stats, I noticed that the popular posts were frequently the ‘snuck in’, non-legal, posts. So, I thought, why not create a blog just for those kinds of posts?  And The Daleisphere was born.

Focus & Approach

eyeball focus New authors and playwrights are taught to write about what they know. The Daleisphere will be about what I know – topics within the ‘sphere’ of ‘Dales’ interests and influence (see below), but decidedly outside of the topics covered in my professional blogs.

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Orange Box – Mini Review

orange box cover art3.5 rating    (3.5/5) – shooter – platformer

Reviews: Metacritic 96%
Reference: wikipedia12
Developer: Valve Corporation Engine: Valve’s Source Engine

[Note: This mini-review predates the founding of the Daleisphere. It was culled from an email I wrote to friends about the game in early December 2007.]

Orange Box consists of several games in one package:

  • Half Life 2 and the mini-sequels Episodes 1 and 2,
  • Portal (there will be cake 🙂 )
  • Team Fortress

Certainly worth a rental if you’ve never played Half-Life 2 – or even for Portal. Unfortunately, as was the case on the PC, Half-Life is a game that gives me headaches and makes me nauseous after 30 minutes of play. I cannot sit with it long enough to play it through. If whatever does this doesn’t affect you, its quite a nice shooter. Though I wouldn’t give it the kudos its getting in the press. 

The game “Portal” also makes the Orange Box worth a rental. It’s playable all the way through in just a few hours. I enjoyed it quite a bit. 

I didn’t try Team Fortress (which is getting terrific reviews) – it is an online only game and nobody I know has the game.

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare – Mini Review

call of duty 4 - modern warfare box art3.5 rating    (4.5/5) – shooter

Reviews: Metacritic 94%| Game Rankings 94% 
Reference:
 wikipedia12
Developer: Infinity Ward Engine: Infinity Ward proprietary

[Note: This mini-review predates the founding of the Daleisphere. It was culled from an email I wrote to friends about the game in early December 2007.]

Wow, did Infinity Ward EVER out-do themselves here.

This is the shortest shooter I have ever played. I finished it in about 6 hours. But oh, what a sweet 6 hours they were. 

In a way it was a bit like Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune in that they brought a few cinematic elements to the game that I’ve never quite experienced in a shooter before.  The part where you are the gunner in AC 130 gunship looked like it was taken from actual footage of the Iraq war. Very, very compelling.  I have NO complaints about the game except it was too short.

Infinity Ward made COD2 and 4. Activision farmed out COD3 to Treyarch. They should NEVER do that again as Call of Duty 3 was really quite bad. Infinity Ward has made this more than a respectable franchise again.

Because I had nobody to play this game with online, I can’t say much about the online play (which I tried a few times). It’s getting very good online reviews though.

Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune – Mini Review

uncharted - drake's fortune - box art 5 rating  (5/5) – action – adventure

Reviews: Metacritic 88%| Game Rankings 89.69%
Reference: wikipedia12
Developer: Naughty Dog Engine: Naughty Dog proprietary

[Note: This mini-review predates the founding of the Daleisphere. It was culled from an email I wrote to friends about the game in early December 2007.]

Just finished the PS3 exclusive ‘Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune’.  Prior to this game, the most fun I had on the PS3 was playing the PS2 titles God of War 1 and 2.  Finally, a PS3 exclusive that is top notch.

image This is an THE BEST action adventure game I have ever played. Very much in the tradition of Laura Croft, Indiana Jones, Prince of Persia and many others, but with much, much more. I’ve never quite played anything like it.

Naughty Dog really took advantage of the PS3. It has more “realism, and is more cinematic than any video game I’ve played. The story is terrific – the most “adult” (in the sense of mature, developed characters – not simplistic and juvenile) video game story I’ve experienced. They hired real actors to play the characters and the actors participated in both the motion capture and voice work – simultaneously. A rarity in video games. The result was wonderful.

Continue reading “Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune – Mini Review”

Guitar Hero 3: Legends of Rock – Mini Review

image2 rating    (2/5) – music simulation

Reviews: Metacritic 92%| Game Rankings 86.32% 
Reference: wikipedia12
Developer: Neversoft

[Note: This mini-review predates the founding of the Daleisphere. It was culled from an email I wrote to friends about the game in early December 2007.]

I really enjoyed Guitar Hero 2 and was hoping for more guitar fun.

Combat Mode Ruined the Game: Unfortunately, Red Octane decided to include a new “combat” mode that pretty much ruined the game for me. They took a fun premise and turned it into a chore.  What were they thinking? Most of GH3 is the same as GH2 except for the ridiculous combat mode that they FORCE you to play every 10th song to advance. I was unable to “beat” the final “boss”. After 10 tries I just gave up and returned the game to the video rental store.  

Achievements: The Achievements for this game are THE most ridiculous Achievements I’ve seen on any 360 game. If you finish the game I believe they give you less than 100 of the available 1000 points.  I don’t recall what the achievements were any more but I do recall being astonished at how silly they were when I read through the list.

If you don’t have either GH2 or GH3 and want one, Guitar Hero 2 is the better game.

Egg Soup

This is a lovely flavour and really hits the spot on a cold winter night.

Ingredients:

  • soup bones
  • 1/2 an onion
  • salt / pepper
  • few carrots and celery
  • 2 Tbsp flower
  • 2 large eggs
  • maggie seasoning
  • parsley

Instructions:

  • Boil soup bones and add 1/2 an onion and salt and pepper.
  • Keep boiling slowly 2 to 3 hours if possible.
  • Add a few cut-up carrots and celery about 15 minutes before eating time
  • Mix 2 tablespoons flour and 2 large eggs into a little bowl.
  • Pour this mixture slowly into boiling stock and as you ‘pour’, stir with a fork quite fast so that this dough mixture breaks up into a lot of tiny little pieces.
  • This only actually needs to simmer about 5 minutes to be fully cooked.
  • Add some Maggie seasoning towards the end, (few drops) and perhaps some parsley.

Chicken Noodle Soup

Ingredients

  • small chicken
  • salt, pepper
  • onion
  • few carrots and celery
  • store bought noodles

[Question to Dietrich Family: What kind of noodles?]

Instructions

  • Boil a small chicken an hour or so.
  • Don’t boil on a high heat — just enough to keep it bubbling.
  • While chicken is cooking, add salt, pepper and onion to it somewhere along the line
  • Chicken can be put on a something in oven to keep warm
  • Then you just add a few cut-up carrots, celery.
  • Boil store bought noodles in separate water — drain water into sink and add noodles to broth.

That’s it. If you want you could make homemade noodles.

Homemade Noodles

More nourishing than store bought noodles. Tastes better.

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flower

Instructions

  • Mix eggs, water and salt well.
  • Add Flour and kneed well.
  • Roll out with a rolling pin.
  • Shape into a roll and cut into the roll to make strips of desired width.

If you make more than you need, dry well and store in jar, plastic bag or freeze.

Roasted Chicken

Cooking Time

Six hours ideally. 1 to 1.5 hours minimally.

Ingredients

  • 3-4 pound chicken
  • salt
  • pepper
  • onion
  • dressing/stuffing optional

Instructions

  • Wash chicken quickly and make sure all insides have been taken out.
  • Add salt, pepper and onion and put into a greased oven dish.
  • Cook in a slow oven.
  • Roasts and fowl should cook at 300 degrees (at least) for 1st half hr to kill any bacteria that could be present
  • Lower to just below 300 degrees for at least six hours — makes it very tender and juicy.
  • You could cook faster at 350 degrees for 1 to 1.5 hours if necessary.

If you want to add dressing [stuffing], the method is the same, but mix dressing and fill chicken’s cavity before cooking.