Archive for January, 2006

SP-10 may be working again

Sunday, January 29th, 2006

Well, we took the SP-10 to the range on Saturday and ran 600 rounds through it.  There were only 3 failures.  So, it ran 99.5%.  That is definitely not a declaration of being fixed, but it’s not necessarily still broke either.  I’ve got another 600 rounds I’m going to run through it before I even remotely make any decisions about it being fixed or not.  I can only hope.

Kyoto Japanese Restaurant

Thursday, January 26th, 2006

The best place for sushi in Stillwater, Oklahoma is Kyoto Japanese Restaurant. Well, that’s not saying much. There’s only three places I know of that even have sushi in Stillwater. Still, Kyoto is very good and is better than any other sushi place I’ve been. I first tried the restaurant sometime in 2002 and have been back probably over a dozen times since. If you’re coming through town and you have a hankering for sushi, give’em a try. On the weekends be sure to call in for a reservation or arrive early, because they will completely fill up. On my most recent trip the wait was 40 minutes, so we just got seats at the bar (which subsequently filled up too). For those that aren’t quite sure about sushi yet, I highly recommend one of their Kamikaze dinner plates. It comes in several choices of cooked meat, tempura, sushi, and includes soup, salad, and ice cream.

Here is their Kamikaze Beef:
Kamikaze Beef

Taxes done

Thursday, January 26th, 2006

I got my taxes done last night and I received an e-mail today saying that my tax return was accepted by the E-file system.  It feels good to get that out of the way.  My nice little refund should be back in the next two weeks.  I think this is a new record for me in terms of being done early.

What a week

Sunday, January 22nd, 2006

What a week!  Well, due to missing my first week of classes for that INS interview, I got in this week expecting quite a bit of catch-up.  I certainly had it coming.  I got to my first class to discover an assignment was due from the first 2 chapters and we started lecture on the 3rd.  Any makeup on that would be due in 2 days.  My second class was a complete mystery to me.  I sat through the first lecture feeling like I had missed a month.  Getting the syllabus helped some, but only in that I see how much work I’ll have in there this semester.  My third class was a little chaotic.  From my correspondance with the professor I had expected a little different person for the instructor, but it was obvious that lots of people were skipping class or that this was their first (or maybe even second) lecture like me.  He was trying to help get us all on the same page.  My fourth class was a total suprise.  I got there that night and the first thing the professor does is give us a quiz.  I didn’t have a clue.  He didn’t mention it to me when I talked to him earlier in the day, so I felt it was a little mean, but it could have been worse.  So, now I’m kind of caught up and this’ll be my first real week.  Let’s see how it goes.

Last Holiday

Saturday, January 14th, 2006

We caught Last Holiday tonight. I think Hollywood is coming out of their rut. This was a beautiful movie. I really enjoyed it. I don’t have any points about it that I didn’t like about it. The directing was good. The cinematography was good. The screenplay was good. The casting was excellent. The acting was great. This isn’t an artsy, political, indy, or message movie. It’s just a good movie. I highly reccommend it to anybody. The PG-13 rating is appropriate, but I don’t think little kids would be that interested in it anyway. Catch it if you get the chance.

Panorama stitching software

Friday, January 13th, 2006

Well, I started looking at panorama stitching software again. I found this cool software called autostitch. I’ve been testing it out with some good results thus far. They haven’t been perfect yet, but it may be better than I can do with hugin and enblend. I’ll have to try them all and compare. Here’s a raw stitch:
Grand Canyon

Showtime’s Sleeper Cell

Wednesday, January 11th, 2006

I finally finished watching all 10 hours or so of Showtime’s Sleeper Cell. Wow what a powerful show. I don’t know what the political critics are saying about shows like this. They say it portrays Americans fighting terrorism in the same light as the terrorists themselves. They say it makes terrorists sympathetic. I don’t understand how they can say that. I think shows and movies like this help to show the American public the complexity of this war on terrorism. You can only fight an enemy you don’t understand. To know your enemy is to better fight them and this provides a little more insight on what might be (and likely is) going on. Sure there’s some dramatization; sure there’s some racy scenes, but that’s just Hollywood for you. It isn’t a huge part of the story and in some part it just goes to show the hypocrisy and mindset of those we fight. What I most hope people can take away from this show is the war within Islam itself. Most Americans have absolutely no exposure to Islam and I think it does well to give them a touch of insight into moderate Muslim’s religion with a direct contrast to the militant fundamentalists that wish to do us harm. This mini-series is not for the faint of heart or young ones, but if you aren’t in those two categories I highly recommend it.

Wolfgang Puck Bar and Grill

Tuesday, January 10th, 2006

On December 21, 2005 we ate at the Wolfgang Puck Bar and Grill inside the Venetian. It is an open air restaurant located near the KA theater. The restaurant is separated from the casino floor only by glass dividers (not walls, they don’t go from floor to ceiling). The decor itself is modern. We came in at just the right time as the restaurant was emptying out for another showing of KA. We were seated at a table next to the glass divider, which was nice, because we weren’t completely surrounded by other guests. The host/waiter was slightly annoying, but he did his job. He brought us our menus and answered any questions we had. The menus were rather interesting.

This is quite evidently not a fine dining establishment, but it carries the Wolfgang Puck name and so we had high expectations. For starters I ordered a Caesar salad, and Shinta ordered some sort of fried seafood sampler.
fried seafood sampler
Caesar salad
The Caesar salad was okay. Nothing to write home about. The seafood sampler (I forget the actual name) was quite good. It was too much food for Shinta to eat, so she got a box for it and we finished it off at the airport the next morning. I recall fried calamari and fish. I’m not sure what else was in there, but I really liked it.

For the main course, I ordered a simple small steak that came with fries. Shinta ordered some sort of muscle dish.
small steak and fries
muscle dish
The steak was okay. The quality of the meat was high, and the grilling was done well. It did not lack for quality, but it wasn’t anything special. I don’t know how good the muscle dish was, but Shinta seemed to enjoy it.

WordPress 2.0

Monday, January 9th, 2006

Well, I finally upgraded to WordPress 2.0. I was really concerned that all the hard work I put into getting everything pretty much the way I wanted would have been wasted in the upgrade requiring lots of effort to fix. Well, I was wrong. It is fine. I followed the upgrade instructions and things went fine. I only had to do some minor tweaking to my stylesheets, but that’s it. Everything works great. We’ll see if I start feeling any benefit from the upgrade, though.

Luxor Steak House

Monday, January 9th, 2006

We ate the Luxor Steak House on December 20, 2005. It was a last resort choice in that we attempted to go to many of the different fine dining establishments in the Luxor to find that they were all closed Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and some even on Thursdays. This lead us to the Steak House which happened to be open. We were seated in a booth the shape of about 160 degree arc. The decor was of the kind found in the nicer rooms of a Steak and Ale or similar restaurant. It wasn’t cheap, but nothing I’m too fond of. Our server was a man named Joe. We got our menus and ordered our drinks and perused for our meals.
Luxor Steak House Menu

For starters Shinta ordered a lobster bisque and I ordered a tossed Caesar salad.
Lobster Bisque
Tossed Caesar Salad
The bisque looks delicious. My Caesar salad didn’t seem tossed in the slightest. It seemed more shredded and topped. To me it was a disappointing start, but I didn’t taste the bisque.

For the main course Shinta ordered a grilled free range chicken entree and I ordered the “petite fillet with Australian lobster tail.”
Grilled Free Range Chicken
Petite Fillet and Australian Lobster Tail
I really enjoyed the lobster. It certainly had a different flavor and aroma than the Maine lobsters I’m used to. The steak was good as well, but considering the steak I had the day before at Emeril’s, I was disappointed. The meat was done medium well, as I ordered, and it was cooked very evenly. The quality of the beef was very good too. The taste was just, well, slightly dry beef. I’m not saying it was bad, just that considering what I had just eaten the day before, it didn’t measure up. I’m typically a no-sauce guy. I don’t usually put sauces on anything, especially a steak. To me, this steak needed a sauce of some sort, but I don’t know what.

For dessert, we had the berries and cream. It was nice to have some fresh fruit, and the presentation looks good as well. Nicely done.
Berries and Cream