Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Where have you been all my life, Dual Shock 2?

I finished Ocarina of Time on Monday. After all that work I decided to give up on finding the last four Pieces of Heart and the last six Gold Skulltulas. Wikipedia tells me that I also missed out on the biggest quiver that can hold 50 arrows, but that particular minigame was just dastardly and I have no particular wish to do it again.

So what to do with my unused time? Well, I got started on some work... like, actual work. Today I got back on track with my research reading, too. Before I resorted to that, though, I decided to try my hand at the original Legend of Zelda (yes I own the game, so having the ROM is legal, fascist). Those of you who remember my original retro-gaming period of second year will recall that my drive to be good at Metroid was entirely fuelled by the fact that I have owned the game since I was 7 or so and yet sucked it very, very hard at Metroid. I am still very proud to say that twelve years after getting it, about eleven of which were spent honing my dexterity with musical instruments, I beat Metroid.

(Oh my God, Samus is a girl!)

So it goes with Zelda. I've owned Zelda probably even longer than Metroid, yet even four years ago after my Metroid kick I decided to try Zelda and could barely survive past the first three screens. I had better things to be doing, so I forgot about it. But now it's time to conquer that mountain too. I fired up FCEultra, set it up to work with my trusty Gravis Eliminator Aftershock, named my character "Dickolas", and we were off to the races.

In an up-left diagonal direction.

Unfortunately, I had forgotten that for all of its charms, the Gravis Eliminator Aftershock suffers from a really, really shitty D-pad. It's very difficult to just press up -- no, you'll usually get up-left or up-right. But not up. I had previously just lived with it, as I was conscious of the fact that I paid $50 for it and at the time it was clearly the best gamepad on the market (or at least of the ones that I tried). So, I beat Super Metroid despite aiming diagonally up-right most of the time, and I suffered -- suffered -- through Tony Hawk 3. Later I discovered that people make console controller-to-USB adaptors. B'oh.

Today, figuring that the warranty must be long-past by now anyway, I opened it up to see if I could hack it or make a new D-pad for it. Instead, I came away very impressed at the internal construction and saddened because there's no way in hell I could possibly make a new D-pad for it. To add injury to insult, I broke a wire so only one of the rumble motors works now. Do any of you have a soldering iron? Do any of you know how to solder?

Look at this thing. The D-pad is not a cross. It's a... fucking... I don't know what it is. It's a regular D-pad, in a funhouse mirror. What were the folks at Gravis thinking? D-pads should always be Euclidean.

Fuck this! I said. I decided to right my previous wrong and pony up for a Dual Shock 2 and USB adaptor. I almost bought a nice $10 adaptor (Mac-compatible! w00t) and $17 Dual Shock 2 online but shipping was $10, so I thought I'd go Chinatown and/or Japantown to look for a cheapo adaptor. But then I realized:

  • it costs $6 to get to Chinatown, another $2 to get to Japantown;

  • I might find a $5 adaptor in Chinatown, but I also might only find a $15 adaptor, and regardless, it probably won't support rumble or the Mac, and it came from Chinatown and as such possibly contains lead in its construction;

  • Japantown has a website and none of their stores sell gaming equipment;

  • Dual Shock 2's start at $19 used at EB, as opposed to $17 new on that website; and

  • there's no tax if I buy it online.

So, I did.

I really can't wait to get my Dual Shock 2. Now maybe I can WALK IN A STRAIGHT DAMN LINE through Hyrule. I could even execute a fastplant in THPS3 again! Hell, I could even finally play THPS4 on my Mac without constantly spinning in circles!

I think I'll name it Excalibur.

Current Music: XTC - Neon Shuffle

Monday, May 29, 2006

New template

Thanks to Steve, I have a new template. The old one, while nice, was just a stock Blogger template that I threw more and more hacks onto, and it didn't really work on IE either. This one was built from the ground up by Steve to my specifications, and is much cleaner and better suited to the way I like to make changes.

This is his return gift for the theme song I wrote for He very patiently spent numerous hours listening while I kept asking him to tweak things and then change them back. I feel a little bad because he spent a good amount of time on it, while the theme song took about 45 minutes total.

I guess I better record a better quality version of it. It's the least I can do.

Current Music: Marvin Gaye - What's Going On

Sunday, May 28, 2006 100th post

After much planning and waiting, the LUGs are proud to present to you our 100th post. We hope you enjoy.

EDIT (7:53PM, May 28, 2006): Actually, we just hope you read it.

Current Music: Hot Hot Heat - This Town

Friday, May 26, 2006

How I became notorious (Random quotes from my past, provided with some context)

Prof. Greg Martin, instructor of Math 432B: Any questions? Any last questions?

class: ...

me: Are you my father?

Two months later

Prof. Greg Martin, instructor of Math 331: I'm always afraid to ask if you have any questions.

me: ...

Ten minutes later...

me: Oh, right.

Six months later

Chris: All of the grad students are always saying, "Man, we should take more classes with Richard!

And that's how I won the respect of the graduate students in the math department.

Current Music: Sloan - Don't you Believe a Word

What's YOUR personality defect?

You are 57% Rational, 42% Extroverted, 28% Brutal, and 28% Arrogant.
You are the Robot! You are characterized by your rationality. In fact, this is really ALL you are characterized by. Like a cold, heartless machine, you are so logical and unemotional that you scarcely seem human. For instance, you are very humble and don't bother thinking of your own interests, you are very gentle and lack emotion, and you are also very introverted and introspective. You may have noticed that these traits are just as applicable to your laptop as they are to a human being. You are not like the robots they show in the movies. Movie robots are make-believe, because they always get all personable and likeable after being struck by lightning, or they are cold, cruel killing machines. In all reality, though, you are much more boring than all that. Real robots just sit there, doing their stupid jobs, and doing little else. If you get struck by lightning, you won't develop a winning personality and heart of gold. (Robots don't have hearts, silly, and if they did, they would probably be made of steel, not gold.) You also won't be likely to terrorize humanity by becoming an ultra-violent killing machine sent into the past to kill the mother of a child who will lead a rebellion against machines, because that movie was dumb as hell, and because real robots don't kill--they horribly maim at best, and they don't even do that on purpose. Real robots are boringly kind and all too rarely try to kill people. In all my years, my laptop has only attacked me once, and that was only because my brother threw it at me. In short, your personality defect is that you don't really HAVE a personality. You are one of those annoying, super-logical people that never gets upset or flustered. Unless, of course, you short circuit. Or if someone throws a pie at you. Pies sure are delicious.

To put it less negatively:

1. You are more RATIONAL than intuitive.

2. You are more INTROVERTED than extroverted.

3. You are more GENTLE than brutal.

4. You are more HUMBLE than arrogant.


Your exact opposite is the Class Clown.

Other personalities you would probably get along with are the Hand-Raiser, the Emo Kid, and the Haughty Intellectual.



If you scored near fifty percent for a certain trait (42%-58%), you could very well go either way. For example, someone with 42% Extroversion is slightly leaning towards being an introvert, but is close enough to being an extrovert to be classified that way as well. Below is a list of the other personality types so that you can determine which other possible categories you may fill if you scored near fifty percent for certain traits.

The other personality types:

The Emo Kid: Intuitive, Introverted, Gentle, Humble.

The Starving Artist: Intuitive, Introverted, Gentle, Arrogant.

The Bitch-Slap: Intuitive, Introverted, Brutal, Humble.

The Brute: Intuitive, Introverted, Brutal, Arrogant.

The Hippie: Intuitive, Extroverted, Gentle, Humble.

The Televangelist: Intuitive, Extroverted, Gentle, Arrogant.

The Schoolyard Bully: Intuitive, Extroverted, Brutal, Humble.

The Class Clown: Intuitive, Extroverted, Brutal, Arrogant.

The Robot: Rational, Introverted, Gentle, Humble.

The Haughty Intellectual: Rational, Introverted, Gentle, Arrogant.

The Spiteful Loner: Rational, Introverted, Brutal, Humble.

The Sociopath: Rational, Introverted, Brutal, Arrogant.

The Hand-Raiser: Rational, Extroverted, Gentle, Humble.

The Braggart: Rational, Extroverted, Gentle, Arrogant.

The Capitalist Pig: Rational, Extroverted, Brutal, Humble.

The Smartass: Rational, Extroverted, Brutal, Arrogant.

Be sure to take my Sublime Philosophical Crap Test if you are interested in taking a slightly more intellectual test that has just as many insane ramblings as this one does!

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 36% on Rationality
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 45% on Extroversion
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 27% on Brutality
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 20% on Arrogance
Link: The Personality Defect Test written by saint_gasoline on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Current Music: Link - Bolero of Fire

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Linky linky dumpy dumpy: FEATURING The Legend of Zelda, Bi-monthly Man vs. Clown! link dump, and "Apache" by the Sugarhill Gang

I've been playing The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time almost non-stop for four days now, on account of it's so good. The fact that it's almost consensus the greatest video game of all time is astonishing on its own, and that's why I had to check it out, eight years after the fact -- I've never known any gamers that agreed on anything. Everything about the game is beautiful. The puzzles are really engaging, the attention to detail is almost superhuman, and it hasn't been that hard to get my head around the 3D perspective. I truly believe it when they say it's the greatest video game of all time.

So it almost breaks my heart to see this:

According to the Wikipedia article, this game was made by Philips for the failed CD-i game console as part of a botched deal Nintendo made with them. Compare Ocarina of Time's astonishingly well-tuned physics and combat with this memorable boss battle:

Man. That's fucking rough.

The main reason I thought to share this was because of this, found on Man vs. Clown!:

Look at that poor woman. She speaks with the voice of experience! Fortunately, Steve tells me there is a good amount of pre-existing literature on the subject.

Finally, for good measure, courtesy of, here's Will and Carlton dancing to "Apache".

Current Music: Sugarhill Gang - Apache

Saturday, May 20, 2006

An oversight

I went to the department commencement ceremony today. Unlike at UBC where everybody's commencement happens in the one gorgeous building on campus, our department just books a medium-sized lecture hall. The commencement speech here appears to be very different in flavour from those at UBC, too -- today's commencement speaker was a statistician who basically talked about his research as examples of the kinds of things the new graduates will be pioneering, working on, etc.

One of the things he showed was a satellite image of a neighbourhood in LA with the names of all of the wireless networks publicly accessible there when wardriving. There were a bunch that had names akin to the default "Linksys" or "Netgear" networks you get on an unconfigured router, and then there were ones that were clearly people who knew they were being watched with names like "f*ckyougetyourownshit", names he was apparently very careful to censor.

Except for "Lesbian Dildo Vagina Party".

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Someone in Korea is going to be very unimpressed with me this summer

My friend Soyeon just dropped by my office to get a few words from me for her wedding video:

Congratulations Soyeon and Jun Woo! I hope you have many happy years together, and... and... um...

I think I better start over.

Chimp love on the savannah

I've recently been attending a reading group which consists of a lot of population geneticists and people generally interested in evolution. Not a lot of Republicans there.

Last night they brought a copy of a brand new article that was just published in Nature magazine which was just mentioned on Slashdot, which shows evidence that in fact Neanderthals (?) and chimpanzees may have interbred much more recently than widely thought. The species tree they showed involved an ancestral species branching off into two (chimpanzees and another species which I assumed were Neanderthals), then both species splitting off a subpopulation that interbred which became humans. The chimpanzees survived, and the Neanderthals died out. As someone who knows nothing about biology, even I understand how amazing and important this discovery is to the field.

Here's what some of the fine scientific minds present had to say about it:

  • "Chimp love on the savannah!"

  • "I can just imagine these two species on opposite sides of a clearing, sort of eyeing each other, saying, 'I think this could work!'"

  • "It's like on the Simpsons last week. Did anyone see that?"

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

I question the relevance of your statistics

I suppose, geographically speaking, I should probably be a Sharks fan. As my home for the last two years, the Bay Area's only hockey team should really get more of my attention. There's a lot to like about the Sharks, too -- two goalies who've shown some good stuff, some great players, and they showed some heart in surging to get into the playoffs in a very convincing fashion.

And yet here I am cheering for the Oilers, despite the Oilers having actually personally inconvenienced me in the past (I contacted them numerous times about possibly using a parody of their logo as the Math Club's T-shirt design, and they never returned any e-mails, calls, or letters. Losers). There's a lot to like about the Oil, too. So I was cheering in the pub on Friday when Vesa Toskala coughed up the puck to Sergei Samsonov and gave up a gimme goal. My first thought was "Toskala blows", even though I don't actually think he blows. But then he gave up two more goals and I thought, "Looks like Toskala's pulled a Cloutier". 18 shots and 6 goals later, I wonder if he has, in fact, pulled a Cloutier.

To look further into this, I took a look at this article on CBC Sports Online. At the bottom, the last paragraph says "Toskala sports a 6-4 record in the playoffs (only three goalies have more victories) with a 2.48 goals-against average (eighth in the NHL) and one shutout."

I'd just like to point out that "only three goalies have more victories" is a pretty lame statistic to use when trying to make a goalie look good. One would expect about three goalies to have more wins than you when you're down 3-2 in the second round. Like, say, the ones that advanced to the next round, and the one who's beating you. Fun fact: by the end of the playoffs, it is highly probable that one goalie will have won 16 games!

Secondly, being 8th in the NHL in GAA is not particularly good either, considering that only about 20 goalies saw any significant action in the playoffs.

For shame, CBC, for shame.

Current Music: Mobile - Tomorrow Starts Today

Monday, May 15, 2006

How grammatically correct are YOU?

How grammatically correct are you? (Revised with answer key)

You are a GRAMMAR GOD!

Congratulations! If your mission in life is not already to preserve the English tongue, it should be. You can smell a grammatical inaccuracy from fifty yards. Your speech is revered by the underlings, though some may blaspheme and call you a snob. They're just jealous. Go out there and change the world.
Take this quiz!

Quizilla | Join | Make A Quiz | More Quizzes | Grab Code

I have no idea how this happened, as I answered all of the questions by feel, not knowledge.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

In Conversation With Dickolas, or, Non-Random quotes from last week, provided with some context

friend: Do you ever wonder things like, "Will I ever love again?" or "Am I the only person who feels this way?

me: Um


Kasper the Dane: Watching Fabian play you is like watching Fabian wipe a newborn's ass.

me: ...

Two days later...

me: Did you mean "whip"?

me: I've been thinking about putting together a band.

Dan: You could try using Craigslist.

me: Yeah, I guess I shouldn't be so hesitant to meet new people, eh?

Dan: Well, you should. Most people are very uninteresting.

Current Music: The Flaming Lips - Ego Tripping At The Gates Of Hell

Thursday, May 11, 2006

What's Wang This Week: 300th post/Two down edition

300th post! w00t

As of today I am all done with classes for this year. Two down! As of now, I'm a 3rd year PhD student -- and that makes me one of the senior students. This is cool, but it would be cooler if I actually felt like I know more stuff than the first-year students.

The last couple of weeks have been spent mainly finishing up work/reading for my classes. To celebrate, I plan to do nothing for the next few days. Mind you, I haven't exactly been doing all that much work for the last week either since I finished the one final report I had to do. I've been watching Eva, reading Eva, and re-watching and re-reading Eva. I've also been needing a haircut.

I've noticed that depending on how busy I am and how stressed I am, I do or do not want to listen to new, challenging music. When things are busy and I need to get stuff done and am grappling with my feelings of inadequacy, that's when I pull out the old Wilco albums and the Ron Sexsmith. As of last week, since things have lightened considerably, I've decided to inject more insanity into my playlists, so I've been listening to the Pixies. I bought Come On Pilgrim and Surfer Rosa, and I find them highly entertaining. I'm not sure if I will ever fully get my head around their music, nor is it exactly the kind of music I sing in the shower, but there's something infinitely entertaining about Black Francis singing in Spanish and howling "I got a broken faaaaAAAACE!"

After my revelations of two days ago, I've now also decided that I want to try Zima. How bad can it really be, right? Right?


Now that I have a little time that I can waste guilt-free, I also plan to spend much more time reading crap on the internet. However Slashdot and Fark are leaving me wanting. My daily fix of comics keeps me going, but that's only, like, 10 minutes of reading. I've just realized that this happens to me all the time, and the only surefire way to ensure that I have things to read online is to produce it all myself. This might be a problem though as I simply cannot be bothered. At least I still have Dr. McNinja.

Or maybe YouTube will solve my problem. Shankar found someone on there that puts up movies, ten minutes at a time. After he passed his qualifying exams, he holed himself up in his office and watched "Braveheart" in 10-minute chunks and in the wrong aspect ratio. Well, I guess it was free(dom!).

I did some poking around yesterday and one of that day's hot keywords was "xtc". I clicked on it and lo and behold, amidst all of the videos of people hopped up on goofballs were some absolutely priceless videos of XTC, including some of their really crappy videos and this autobiographical puppet show. The real gems though were the clips of them playing live. Jebus, they were fucking awesome! Watching these clips, you'd never know he hated touring so much. Watching this clip of Andy Partridge having a nervous breakdown on stage, on live TV, though, makes it more obvious.

I've also booked my plane tickets for the summer holidays. I'll be in Ithaca at Cornell for a couple of weeks at the end of June and beginning of July; then it's off to Toronto for a few days, and home in time to pick up my sister and nephew at the airport. Things I intend to do in Toronto: 1) get on MOD; 2) see the Jays; 3) ...; 4) profit.

We'd been talking about it for a while, and Graham and I finally decided to put the songs we almost finished up on MySpace. Two hours of tweaking later, I am proud to say that you can find our band page here, and that MySpace is really really lame. I'm even prouder to say that unlike some people (that being, every band I've ever seen on the whole damned site), we don't blare our music at you as soon as you visit the page.

Current Music: Peter Adams - The Spiral Eyes

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Fry me to the moon

I read this article on Slashdot yesterday about ten years of Neon Genesis Evangelion. Vince and I both figured it must be the ten year anniversary of the series ending on TV or something. (It wasn't, but whatever.) What luck, I had just got my Platinum Collection and had watched the first three discs of it. To celebrate, I decided to watch the last two discs in one shot -- the last eleven episodes, all at once. It made my head hurt. Why do I pilot the Eva?

I'm not much of an anime fan. When I was a kid I enjoyed the animation and the action, but not as much as some. I watched Eva in second year; at the beginning I think I was a little drunk and so I dismissively predicted everything that would happen in the show right off the get go. I really had to go to the bathroom, but I decided to stick around for the first few episodes anyway. I ended up holding it in for two hours because I just couldn't tear myself away. Every single one of my predictions was wrong.

After watching Eva, I tried in vain to find something else that would strike my fancy in the same way. Being told by all of my anime-fan friends that Eva was overrated, I watched a few other movies and series that they recommended as being very deep and meaningful, but found nothing that I really liked. I guess I'm just an Eva fan, not an anime fan. But I am a huge Eva fan. It's big, messy, and flawed, sure, but the fact that the story and characters end up in an unfinished soup of confusion and psychological anguish adds a stark honesty to it all: after all, in real life things don't tie up neatly and people don't change. Maybe it only ended up the way it did because the director was trying to do too much and ran out of money, but in the end the series is still something that I don't see enough of in the media: one man's comment on the human condition.

Over the last week then I've been watching it a few episodes at a time. As I had long suspected, much of what I had missed the first times I watched it was made up for by my new monitor, which is actually clear enough for me to see everything, and by improved translations in the subtitles. Maybe because I've watched it so many times, or maybe because I've read the popular interpretations of what was happening, things were finally making sense.

Except the last two episodes.

Why do I pilot the Eva?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

AYCE high

The other week Brad was asking me what there was to do in Vancouver. Realizing that "playing poker with the LUGs followed by Hamburger Mary's and beating Derek and Victor at Mario Kart", "barbecue, karaoke, and bubble tea with the Math Club", and "playing bass for Dunning's band" aren't really things I can tell tourists, I was left to think: well, what exactly do I do at home? Oh, that's right, I eat. So I tell him and the others that there's lots of great food to be had. In particular, the Japanese food is so much better than here, and there's lots of great all-you-can-eat to be had.

They were all revolted. "What?" "That sounds awful." Huh? "What about Japanese food could possibly lend itself to all-you-can-eat?" And here I thought it was obvious: all of it! What's the matter with you?

As I got to thinking about it, though, I realized why. There really is a dearth of good Japanese food around here. I've heard of exactly one Japanese restaurant that people speak of fondly here, and as such it's packed even on a Wednesday night. It's also really expensive -- I've been to another branch of theirs in an upscale food court and I saw prices as high as $5 for a simple seaweed salad, and $13 for an Alaska roll (or something comparable to it). I've been to other places, and they're either crap or expensive. People are just conditioned to believe that Japanese food is boutique fare, where you are not meant to do anything as gauche as get full. I've asked around, and nobody knows of a good place in San Francisco either; if you can't find it in San Francisco, where will you find it?

For example, after thinking about this for a while, I had a crazy craving for some sushi, so I decided to try a little stuff at the place just north of campus. Things got off to a decent start with the miso soup, but the California roll was lacklustre. Or so I thought at first; as I kept eating, it went from lacklustre to flat-out bad. I also ordered the "fried tofu with teriyaki sauce" thinking it must be agedashi tofu. It wasn't. It was just fried tofu with teriyaki sauce.

This annoyed me, and then it saddened me. I just can't get good, cheap Japanese food around here. I can barely get one of the two. It's not like Vancouver, where you can get 18 pieces of sushi and miso soup for $7.

So when I said all-you-can-eat Japanese, the first thing that came to mind for my friends was not Japanese food, but the Sizzler with raw fish. Now, I love the Sizzler, but that ain't right. I wholeheartedly agree: Japanese food should not involve a sneeze guard.

Intrigued, I asked some Vancouverite friends for their opinions. Everyone agreed: we basically see good Japanese all-you-can-eat as our God-given right. It is more than a meal: it is an event, one which you plan around, look forward to, prepare for rigorously, and tell stories of after the fact. It is a way of life.

Well, not really.

I then asked other people, from other parts of North America. My sample consisted of one Montrealer, two from Florida, several from LA, one from Texas, and one from New Jersey. I asked them: what comes to mind when I say "all-you-can-eat Japanese"? Generally, they bring up little places that they know with crappy food that's clearly been left out for too long, buffet-style complete with sneeze guard. The Sizzler, with raw fish. I'll say it again: that just isn't right.

In the early days of all-you-can-eat Japanese food in the Lower Mainland, yes, there were buffets. Without sneeze guards, even. And for a long time, the sushi really wasn't good at all either. The rice-to-filling ratio was always skewed way too far towards rice. I've heard awful stories about the fish they would use in one particular restaurant, and yeah, it was to be expected. Come on, it's all-you-can-eat.

Gradually, though, things started to change. One day there was just the crappy place with too much rice in their sushi and fish that is best if you really don't think about it, and then the next there was the crappy place and another place, one with sushi that was at least an acceptable facsimile of the full-price version. Not only that, but they had more than just salmon and tuna sushi available. Their tempura was actually crisp and fresh. That place didn't last long, but clearly change was in the air and before long, more and more places started appearing.

Now, good all-you-can-eat in Vancouver isn't the exception, it's the norm. The buffets have long been replaced by a much more civilized system where you write your orders on a sheet and they bring them to you -- no sneeze guard necessary. The sushi can be expected to be at least 80% as good as the non-AYCE version, and even the crappier places have now raised their games. Some places are just amazing, like the one and only Jiro, near Broadway and Main. This, of course, is the place with the story, which all of my friends at home have heard.

And here's that story*.

Here are a few tidbits about all-you-can-eat Japanese in Vancouver. This is mostly for the benefit of my American and otherwise not-Canadian friends, and I ask my experienced friends to contribute, comment, and correct.

  • The service method, while definitely an improvement over the buffet style in terms of hygiene, is not perfect. You will find that the second round is slower than the first, and the third is slower than the second, and -- if you make it this far -- the pattern continues. Moreover, you can reasonably expect to get no more than 80% of the things you ordered in any given pass. This generally works out for the best, though, and so you let it slide.

  • An inexperienced all-you-can-eater should never be placed in control of the ordering. They inevitably become trigger happy. Worse, they will order things like nigiri sushi, cucumber rolls, and other such things containing more rice than not-rice. This is a rookie mistake and must be avoided. There are only a handful of times in my life where I have been in serious, bloated discomfort after a meal, and 50% of them result from this. (GRAHAM. JIM. JOWEN.)

  • You will find that if you order large quantities of certain items, the amount you receive will be far less. This is the well-understood Law of Fours, which states that if you order n of any item, where n>4, you will receive 4 of said item. Not knowing anyone who actually has worked in an all-you-can-eat restaurant, this law remains unproven; however, empirical evidence shows that it holds for a wide variety of items, including (but not restricted to) rolls, sashimi, short ribs, tempura, teriyaki, gyoza (fried, deep-fried, vegetable, and prawn), and karaage. The only items that you will reliably receive all of your requested quantity of are items whose servings come in individual bowls, such as miso soup, sunomono salads, and spinaches gomaae and ohitashi.

  • For a short period of time in 2002-2003, the Japanese place in the UBC village went all-you-can-eat. I remember this time period very fondly, but I still don't know what possessed the owners to think this was a good idea on a university campus. They used to tape memorable receipts on the wall near the entrance. One receipt was easily two feet long. Once I came close to this sort of quantity with Jowen Victor (EDIT 11:19PM, sorry Victor), Derek, and Cecile; because we were frequent customers, they let us stay well beyond the alloted two hours. There was me and three other people whose aggregate mass was approximately 320 pounds, and yet we still laid a hurting on that place that I don't expect to ever equal again. Another memorable receipt was at first glance very short, but when you read it, it was damned impressive. One customer; one miso soup; four salmon sashimi; forty California rolls. That's 120 pieces of sushi.

  • One must be careful not to over-order, as they charge for wasted food. This leads desperate eaters to do such devious things as sneak food into the bathroom to throw away, and stuff the extra food into the teapot. (GRAHAM. JIM.)

  • Nobody, nobody, orders the white rice. If you order the white rice, you are an idiot.

  • A good roll a) should have a very even curvature all the way around, b) should have at least a 50% filling-to-rice ratio, c) have good, flavourful seaweed. In my experience, a roll that is not round, but square-shaped with rounded corners, is not going to be good. The roll I got at that place just north of campus? Not round.

Last time I was home, I didn't get a chance to, and all of this talk has made me really eager to get back on the AYCE horse. So, I would like to announce that this summer, while I am at home, we will be visiting Jiro, and we will be doing it more than once. Please, get in touch with me if you wish to join us.

* Incidentally, I told some of my friends this story, but I think I may have overemphasized the gunplay and theft aspects of the story, as now they just think we're reckless idiots for continuing to go there. But they don't understand. I mean, the odds of us actually being there while any serious crimes are being committed are pretty low, and the food is really really good.

Current Music: Peter Adams - The Disappeared