In the mid-90s a friend of mine got, for his birthday, a really nice wok set. It included several tools, not just the wok itself, and a cookbook. The wok is simple, a sheet of carbon steel hammered into a bowl shape and finished with a handle; it's not even in the same time zone as nonstick and it's therefore virtually indestructable.
I liked it so much I bought one of my own. Getting it seasoned was a bit of a pain since an electric stove can't develop the heat that a gas stove can, but eventually I managed to get it to where it needed to be. And it's faithfully served me as I made lots of delicious food.
The cookbook advises marinating meat in a 50:50 mixture of wine and soy, with onion, garlic, and ginger (and sometimes pepper). And I used to watch The Frugal Gourmet when I could, and he used a similar marinade; I've used this ever since I started cooking asian food, and as advertised it takes the fatty taste out of the meat.
But the meat always has a rather harsh flavor I can't describe. It's not exactly garlic or onion, and it's still present even when I leave them out of the marinade. It persisted past changes in the type of wine used and in the composition of the marinade. I put sugar in; no change. Vinegar, going from sake to wine, changing the proportions, adding a dash of szechuan sauce, and so on--none of my experiments have changed this.
Everyone says my food is delicious and it evaporates--and I enjoy my own cooking!--so I should be satisfied, but there's that one little flavor note in the meat that continues to bother me...and I can't get rid of it. I never taste anything of the sort in authentic asian cooking, either, which is what really bothers me about it.
When I made yakisoba early Tuesday morning, I didn't have time to marinate the meat, so I just cooked it. And it tastes like beef that's been cooked without spices or marinade, with the full normal flavor you get from beef, and without the harsh flavor note that typifies the marinated meat I usually cook with.
So I've got to be doing something wrong; I just can't figure out what it is. (And "wrong" is too strong a word since--again--the food is delicious and leftovers quickly evaporate...but if there are enough people present for the meal there are none.)
Now, watch: someone clues me in and I fix the recipe, and then I'm the only one who likes his cooking. *sigh*
* * *
Monday afternoon I finally bestirred myself and cut the grass. When I'd finished cutting the grass, I got out the loppers and went to work on clearing out a bunch of shrubbery that has been annoying me for three months, and made a nice pile by the driveway.
And ended up scratching welts on my arms.
Certain plants have defense mechanisms which consist of tiny hairlike thorns. These thorns are very, very small, but when you brush against the plant some break off in your skin. And then they itch. Fortunately there aren't very many of them. And they are getting better.
And the yard looks a lot better.
Still up to do is to reattach the plank to the fence that I knocked off. That means finding nails (or screws) and going to work on the thing. I didn't want to do it yesterday since I was too busy playing WoW....
* * *
So, self-driving cars are going to be legal in California. It's been a long road (pun intended) to develop cars that have autopilots. It's a trivial task to design a control system to steer the car and mash the pedals, but not to write the program for it. Programming is the hard thing, because the highway is a very complex environment. 90% of the things we do while driving a car are entirely automatic--90% of any complex task is automatic, which is why you have to practice in order to learn to play an instrument or do martial arts or draw.
But of course you can't build a control system for a car and then drop a computer in the driver's seat and say, "Okay, now step on the brake and shift into drive..." because the computer doesn't even have the programming to know what the brake is, much less the concepts of "step", "shift", or "drive". And even if you give it the most sophisticated video scanning system imaginable it won't know how to interpret the information coming from that system--it won't even pay attention to it without programming.
And once you do have the software in place, it has to work perfectly every time and it has to be fast. It doesn't do anyone any good if the computer realizes it was supposed to stop after it runs down a trio of nuns crossing the street.
Programming is the hard part of this kind of endeavor.
I should say that programmg is now the hard part, because the hardware we had a few decades ago wasn't up to the task. I remember seeing something on TV about the earliest efforts at autonomous vehicles. They had to mount the hardware in a panel van--it was bulky and required a lot of power--and it had a complex laser scanning assembly on top of the cab which had a mirror flopping around, and it could move at the blinding speed of 10 MPH on a good day. Most of the time it would have to stop moving while the computer churned through what the sensors had told it.
This was in the late 1980s.
So, hey--maybe by the time I'm in my 60s I'll be able to get into the car and say, "Take me to the store!" and it'll reply, "Buckle up, buttercup!" ...and after I remove my fist from the dashboard, off we'll go.
* * *
I have to admit I am not terribly surprised at this: people without a scientific leg to stand on manipulate the press to bolster support for their anti-scientific position. This article is about people who are against genetically-modified crops; it makes no mention of the exact same kind of behavior seen from the climate alarmist crowd.
* * *
Toyota can read the writing on the wall. Toyota's not going to market an electric car, because they can see how well Nissan, GM, et al are doing with theirs.
IE "not at all well". Because there's no f-ing market for that junk. Because electricity costs more per mile than gasoline. Because we're still generating electricity like it's 1885.
* * *
Elizabeth "Fauxcahontas" Warren has worked for big corporations trying to oppress the common man. Yeah, she worked for LTV Steel, which--bankrupt--was trying to avoid paying retirement benefits and such. Also, she helped an insurance company deny benefits to asbestos workers.
I'm sure that there was some kind of social justice angle to her tireless work. It wasn't that the corporations were paying her the big bucks to help them screw the little guy out of his paycheck, right?
* * *
After Bible study last night, I played WoW for a little bit and then went to bed. I slept pretty much all night, which is why I'm awake before 9 AM; it's like I was tired yesterday or something. What the hell is that about?