Monthly Archives: November 2012

Making Homemade Udon

I didn’t mention this before, because I’ve fallen way behind in watching Space Brothers. But it’s a good time of year for making noodle soup, so you might like to watch this episode of Space Brothers and learn how to make udon noodles from scratch!

Udon are wheat noodles, made with water and salt. The Japanese make various sorts of soy broths to put the noodles in, and also add various ingredients according to local and seasonal tastes. Of course, you can use the same technique for making noodles for chicken noodle soup, etc.

A lot of people have those skinny French rolling pins for making French bread, but the Japanese rolling pins are really skinny. Still, I think you can still make the udon just fine. I suspect that kids will really enjoy kneading the noodle dough with their feet, though, and doing it in a ziplock bag keeps everything pretty sanitary. Singing the udon-kneading song is optional.

The udon sequence starts at 11:30. The astronaut trainees start making it, and then there’s a flashback to Mutta learning how to make it from his “aunts” (ie, local friendly adults, not actual aunts) Sharon and Tamura.

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Arab Historian’s Writings about the Pyramids

“Al-Maqrizi on the Pyramids” was translated and webbed up because “ancient astronaut” types claim that the book has stuff about aliens in it. But it’s much more interesting as a record of human interest in ancient Egyptian stuff.

For example, this beautiful poem:

“The Qadi Fakhr El-Din Abd el-Wahab El-Masrime recited verses about the pyramids he had composed in 655 (1257-1258 CE) and which are excellent:

The construction of the pyramids is like a preacher
Who affects the heart without using a word.
There comes to my mind a good word. Ancient:
“Where is the one who raised the pyramids?”
These are high mountains and are almost
Higher above the ground than Saturn.
If Khosroes had had their sides for a throne,
He would have preferred that throne to his portico.
They have passed through the heat and cold of time
For a very long time, and have felt nothing of those two things,
Neither the scorching sun, nor the wind that
Blows, nor the torrent which flows.
Was it a pious man who raised them as testimony to his piety,
Building the Pyramids for one of his idols?
Or is it the work of a man who believed in the return of the soul
To the body after leaving it?
Did he build them for his treasures and his corpse
As a tomb to protect them from the Flood?
Or are these observatories for the planets
Selected by learned observers because of the excellence of the place?
Or are they the description of planetary calculations,
Such as those once done by the Persians and the Greeks?
Or do we have etched on their faces
A science that seeks to understand the mind?
In the heart that sees them, the need to know what their writing means
Arises as a desire biting at the fingertips.

Heh… that kinda says it all. We’re lucky to live in a time when you can learn how to read hieroglyphs and understand ancient Egyptian.

Via Roger Pearse.

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Why Blogging Is Light

Working at a call center is very tiring, even at an inbound call center. Most of the time I’ve been working has been either new-iPhone time or the holiday season.

You have no idea how tiring it is to work at this place. I’m getting better at it, but it’s still horribly exhausting.

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It’s Not That It’s Bad, It’s That It’s So Mediocre.

“Paper Menagerie” by Ken Liu has just become the first story to win the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award.

But it’s just not all that great, and it’s not really a fantasy story.

As for the science fiction portion, an entire village of magic origami makers is apparently of no interest to the Imperial, Republic, or Communist Chinese governments. They practice magic in public, yet the governments never think of any use for it. Nor does the magic origami user in the story use her powers over paper to change her life story in any way.

Yeah. There goes the science fiction portion.

And I also disbelieve that any woman would never significantly learn English when living in the midst of an English-speaking community, or that a kid growing up in the Seventies (when Asian stuff was cool, when genealogy and family history was wildly popular, and when learning foreign languages was widely seen as important and an enviable skill) would have experienced this particular Connecticut life. Also, everybody knows that guys get really good at foreign languages when they’re married to a foreign speaker, if they have any interest at all. So if the woman had only spoken Chinese and the kid spoke Chinese, ten to one that the husband would have spoken Chinese at home too. You don’t have to be super-great at a language to understand each other. So basically, we’re talking worst case scenario of non-assimilation… with a woman who simultaneously is extremely skilled at survival and has magic, a man who would go all the way to Hong Kong for the love of a woman’s eyes, and a kid who’s allegedly intelligent, all refusing to get any suburban or family survival skills. I mean, it could happen, but does it make any sense?

We also have a letter where Mao’s famines “struck,” rather than being caused deliberately by government stupidity and malice. Most survivors of Communism take it pretty personally.

However, I disbelieve most of all that a woman who’d been through Mao’s Cultural Revolution and slavery elsewhere would ever have implied that Connecticut was the worst thing to ever happen to her. Seriously?

Oh, noes, I live in a suburb with food and family and a roof over my head!

Yeah, that’s exactly how the survivors of Communism usually feel.

Obviously it’s normal to feel alienated a little if you’re an immigrant. It’s normal for children of immigrants to feel a little alienated also. Does this mean that the one generation is morally superior to the other? Or does it mean that everyone in this family becomes big jerks to each other because humans are just meanies?

I don’t get what I’m supposed to be thinking here, and why the mother didn’t start some kind of business or art installation or local TV show with her origami. And if other people can’t actually see or hear the origami, why the implications of a mind control telepathy that persists after death are not being examined.

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Reality Overtakes Fairy Tale Nightmare

Women are imitating the wicked stepsisters for the sake of shoe fashion.

From the original Grimm’s:

“The King’s son picked [Cinderella’s shoe] up… Next morning, he went with it… and said… “No one shall be my wife but she whose foot this golden slipper fits.”

Then were the two sisters glad, for they had pretty feet.

The eldest went with the shoe into her room and wanted to try it on, and her mother stood by. But she could not get her big toe into it, and the shoe was too small for her.

Then her mother gave her a knife and said, “Cut the toe off; when thou art queen, thou wilt have no more need to go on foot.”

The maiden cut the toe off, forced the foot into the shoe, swallowed the pain, and went out to the King’s son. Then he took her on his horse as his bride and rode away with her.

But they were obliged to pass… the hazel-tree, [where there] sat two pigeons and cried,

“Turn and peep, turn and peep,
There’s blood within the shoe,
The shoe it is too small for her,
The true bride waits for you.”

Interestingly, Grimm’s also points out that Cinderella wore such small shoes because she’d been starved long enough that she’d had her growth stunted. German peasants had a lot darker view of the world than the French nobility who came up with the story.

Via Instapundit.

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Steven Den Beste Is Back!

He’s still rehabbing in a nursing home, but he was able to post on his blog today.

There’s actually somebody where I work who has the same last name, but I haven’t actually seen him/her and don’t know if there’s any relation (other than being ethnically related, somewhere back in the mists of Europe).

Via Wonderduck and Zoopraxiscope.

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The Rush Hour Fannish Baby

Thanks to everybody needing a feelgood story this week, there’s been a bit of coverage of the rush hour baby delivered by his dad (with directions from the 911 dispatchers) in the front seat of his car, on the side of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Turns out the dad and mom are fannish, and the dad is one of the Eyrie Productions forum regulars.

They’re a lively bunch, no doubt about it….

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