Sunday, May 30, 2021

Book Review: The Remembrance of Earth's Past trilogy

The Remembrance of Earth's Past is a trilogy written by the Chinese science fiction author, Liu Cixin.[1] It consists of three novels: The Three-Body Problem (2006), The Dark Forest (2008), and Death's End (2010). Ken Liu's English translation of The Three-Body Problem won the 2015 Hugo Award for Best Novel and Liu's translation of Death's End won the 2017 Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel. These two novels also won the Chinese Galaxy Award.[2] Some spoilers ahead.

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Product Review: More Takis Flavors (and Imitators)

Takis are a brand of flavored corn chip that I originally discovered while serving a mission for my Church [1] in México. The original flavor (Crunchy Fajita [2]) are one of my favorite chips overall. Recently a bunch of new flavors, including some limited edition flavors, hit the shelves. So, naturally, I had to buy them all and try them. Read on to find out what I (and my family) thought of them.

Product Reviews: Southeast Asian Treats

In Roy, Utah there is an Ocean Mart. Ocean Mart is a Utah-based Asian supermarket.[1] I originally went in looking for nattō (which I found) so that I could have my Introductory Microbiology students try it. (Nattō is soybeans that have been fermented by the bacterium Bacillus subtilis var. natto.) Now I go there at least once per semester and I occasionally veer off course and buy something else that has caught my eye. Here are a few recent takes.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

The Invisible Mazes of Chagunitzu and Paganitzu

In the early 1990s my parents bought their a PC running MS-DOS. Over time we played several different games on that and subsequent PCs, including Monuments of Mars, Pharaoh's Tomb, Jumpman Lives!, Crystal Caves, and Paganitzu. These were all shareware games from Apogee, so we only had the first part of each one. Later, I got the chance to play all three levels of Paganitzu [1], as well as Chagunitzu [2], the first outing of protagonist Alabama Smith. Both of these games have rooms that feature invisible mazes. You know me: I drew maps![3]

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Product Review Blitz IV

This is the final installment (for now) of mass product reviews. Preview: Doritos Dinamita Mojo Criollo chips, Lays Kettle Cooked Wasabi Ginger chips, Kerrygold Skellig cheese, MontChevré Fresh Goat Cheese Peppadew, Woolwich Dairy Chevrai Sweet Pepper Heat, Carr Valley Creama Kasa, Underground Meats Saucisson Sec, and Underground Meats Finnochiona.

Product Review: Chinese candies

I picked up some Chinese candies at an informal seminar when I was a post-doc at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. I can only guess that they were provided by a Chinese post-doc or graduate student. 徐福记 (Hsu Fu Chi) is a Chinese candy company that is mostly owned by Nestlé.[1] The three crisps (all labeled 特制, "specially made") appear to have been produced by Hsu Fu Chi directly. I can only guess that the other two brands, Mr. Shu's and 英之莉 (Ying Zhi Li, "White Jasmine's Petal") are daughter companies.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Typefaces I Hate II: Scriptina

I see this font all the time, particularly in association with the Relief Society [1] of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints—on fliers, on crafts [2], and even once as a giant quote glued, letter by letter, to the wall. Sadly, it even appeared on the cover of the 2011 winner for Best Picture Oscar.[3] It was designed in 2001 by Frederic "Apostrophe" Nader for the free font foundry Apostrophic Labs, which went under in 2003.[4] It was then updated in 2010, mostly with character diacritics, by Roger S. Nelsson, for CheapProFonts.[5]