Monday, January 30, 2006

Sushi Course in Japan.

Check this out.

Sushi Course
(This points to the last day of a her 15 day course (9 through 15 were blogged) If you have the time and are a Sushi Otaku its worth reading all she blogged about)

I would love to be able to fly to Japan and take a full on sushi making course. (I'm such a nerd, for a vacation I want to fly to another country and take classes). Its not going to happen on my current paycheck, but its fun to dream.

In other news one of our friends just had a baby, she is celebrating her return to sushi eating by going to eat with a bunch of folks. I think she is planning on going to a restaurant I have not been to before and I'm looking forward to the new experience.


So I'm writing a children's book. Correction I've written the book, the text anyway. Then I started on the art and ... BAM! I hit a brick wall, I had taken some art in High School, but what little skill I had then has completely left. So I've decided to learn to draw. (again, in a way, I never was above a sub par level)

In a word I'm intimidated. I know what I want for my book. I know its going to take a long time and a lot of work to even get in that ballpark. If I can get there at all. The author, of the art book I am reading, claims no talent is needed, just good hard work. And to tell you the truth that the only thing giving me hope. So I've bought a sketch book (two actually) hopefully after I fill those I'll see some improvement.

I'm trying to find subjects that I like to draw, so I wont quit. I like drawing ships, boats and the ocean. I can see why Homer liked it. Homer's work is amazing, I look at it and I just get intimidated all over again. Cross your fingers for me.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Neck Burn

Superwoman is nice enough to cut my hair for me. This saves us a fair amount of cash. For a little while now our mechanical clippers have been going out. (Making lots of noise jamming up on hair etc..) Tonight after she had cut Cookie Monsters hair she was working on mine. She was just finishing up, and was about to trim my neck hairs. (This is the only part of the proccess done without a blade guide/gaurd on) The second she pressed it on my skin I felt this super hot burning sensation. I guess the blades had gotten out of alignment so they were rubbing against each other. (Making them extremely HOT) I flinched and jumped away, in which I gave myself about 40 small little cuts right in the burn area. So now I have a super mutilated 2" by 3/4" section of skin on my neck. OUCH!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Guildpact Pre-Release

Before the sushi dinner that I prepared Saturday Evning I went to the Pre-Release for, Guildact, the newest set of cards in Magic: The Gathering.

If you don't know what "Magic: The Gathering" is click here.
If you don't know what a "Pre- Release" is click here.

I arrived in at the Pre-Release around nine in the morning. Normally there would be a half hour wait, or longer, when I arrived. I got in and was through the line in a matter of minutes, there wasn't as many people as usual. Pre-Releases (at least the Saturday portions) are done in 'flights' of 32 players, since there wasn't as many players it also meant that I has to wait a bit for my flight to start. Thats OK though I would rather wait sitting at a table and playing some casual games, that be stuck standing in line.

My first impressions of the set are good. I like the like all the guilds that they introduced. My favorite guild is the Orzhov, but I didn't have to cards to support playing it in the PreRelease. Green-Red is great at the beatdown, and blue-red is tricky, and white-black is all about controlling the game.

I got a great pull from the Ravnica Tourney Deck. Glare of Subdual, Twilight Drover, were the highlights. I also got a few (very few) token producers, and some limited removal spells, but not enough of any one thing to have a consistent deck.

I felt a really strong pull to go 4 colors, but my lack of mana fixing, caused me to go only 3 (red, green and white). I had some great black cards but most of them required double black to play, I ended up cutting it, because it looked even more inconsistent red green white. My deck ended up relying on cheap and undercosted creatures to do early damage, then using the Glare of subdual to lock things down to get in the last few points of damage in. One huge help in this strategy was this Awesome DRYAD. Most people were playing multiple non-basic lands, and this little gem was worth twice her weight in gold all day. She punched through a lot of damage in almost every game that I got her out.

Match One: I played an opponent playing a Red Green Black deck. His most effective card was Shambling Shell. (in multiples? He seemed to get it out in each of our three games). Game one was close, but fell into my favor, largely because of my dryad, which he ended up nuking, We went about 8 turns with him about about 4 life until I got the Glare to finish things off. The second game was just as close, but he ended out edging me out with good removal. By this time the clock was wearing awefully thin, we had about 6 minutes left going into the 3rd game. It wasn't even close, my cheap creatures had him dead in about 6 quick turns. Match results 2-1, Overall results 1-0

Match Two: This gal was playing green black white (and red?) The first game was back and forth for a bit. But the Dryad finished her off. The second game was an exercise in frustration. She got out an early Souls of the Faultless, I was able to take it out but it caused a severe rift in our life (10 points). She then locked down on of my creatures with This Awesome Enchantment. We both drew dead for about 12 turns, and the enchanment pinged me to death, while I tried to keep things close with a Twilight Drover. I finally got another creature, and tried to get in the last few points of damage but lost the race. Game three, I drew a ton of my Gruul cards and she had mana problems, the game was over pretty quick. Match results 2-1 Overall 2-0.

Match Three: This was the pinnacles of frustration for the day. Game one, I mulliganed my first had, (holding 6 mana and one small creature). My second hand I had a land a signet and a 4 cheap creatures. I figured if I could draw 1 mana in the first two turns or so I would be okay and kept the hand. Big mistake, I didn't draw another land until I was already beyond hope. On the bright side I did get a good look at my opponents deck, She had a cool (but inconsistent) deck built around the Gruul Mechanic Bloodthirst . Her deck even had a doubling season. I sideboarded in some cards to take care of the cards I thought could be problematic and I shuffled like a madman trying to get my mana out of clumps. It didn't work. I got a fair opening hand of 4 creatures and 3 land. I kept, and only drew one other non-land card the rest of the game. I had her on the ropes early I got here down to about 6 life and I was at 15 or so, but I was forced to trades some stuff off and never drew any replacements. A frustrating loss to say the least. Match results 0-2, Overall 2-1

Match Four: This guy had a sweet deck. He was playing red, black, and blue. He had answers to everything I put out. Its like his deck was built around destroying mine. His Wojek Embermage was used in conjuction with a Tidewater Minion, the combo was more than enough to wipe out my weenie hord. It didn't help that he was a good player too. He won both rounds pretty quickly. I was also having mana problems this game but even if I wasn't I think he would of outplayed me, and won. Match 0-2 Overall 2-2

During the last break and during this one I was tearing my deck apart trying to find why I was having so many mana problems. And hopeing to find an Answer to them so I could sideboard it in after the first game of my next match. I couldn't find anything that would lead to my problems other than unlucky shuffling and cutting. So I reshuffled everything and took a break waiting for the next round to start.

Match Five: Both my opponent and myself had a record of 2-2, One of us would win cards and the other of us wouldn't. (unless we drew then we would both not get any cards :( ) So the play began. I could tell he was really wanting to win and get into the prizes, so I felt bad that I beat him. The first game we played was pretty close, he had a bunch of weenies and I had a Streetbreaker Wurm that was eating him down. He finally threw enough weenies infront of my wurm to kill it. I drew a few mid range Creatures (2/2 and 3/3's) he never could recover the tempo and I won. The second game he started off trading creatures, and ThoughtPicker Witching me. I fianlly got the witch out of the way but then he had some fliers out and I had no way to stop them, I kept hoping for my Glare to topdeck but it never did. He won, at this point he was so exited that he scooped up all of his cards and started to walk off. He wanted that win so badly, but I had to remind him I had won the first game and if he left then he would lose the third game, and I would win the match. His face kinda fell a bit when he realized that he had lost the first, and that this thing wasn't over yet. (like I said the first was AWEFULLY close and he had been ahead most of that game) The third game was a horrible game to win, we played into another deadlock, then I drew my Glare of Subdual. I grimaced and put it on the table. It took two turns for me to win. I felt horrible beating the guy, but I wanted into the prizes too, and I DON'T like to throw matches.

I stuck around just long enough to get my prizes (three Guildpact booster packs). I didn't even had time to open them, I was running late, and had to get home, if I was to have any hope of getting the Sushi dinner on. But I had a great time, other than the fact that none of my friends came. So I didn't really have anybody to talk to inbetween rounds, which meant that I talked to complete strangers instead. This brings up another point about PreReleases, they are with out a doubt the most friendly magic tournament. I compared cards with some other guys, played a few games with casual decks, and met some other players from around the state, I think I may have even made a new freind or two. Any day in which you make some friends is never wasted.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Sushi Dinner: My most amibitious dinner so far.

Last Saturday I made dinner for my wife, My brother in law and his girlfriend. For Christmas I gave him a coupon and a menu for a free dinner sushi dinner that I would prepare. Saturday he redeemed it.

On the menu:

Miso Soup, Salad (with a vinegarette made from soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, dashi, and a bit of oil) and Gyoza (potstickers, we didn't make these fresh, just opened a bag) Superwoman prepared these items, and did an especially fine job on the dressing for the salad.

I decided to make four kinds of Sushi:

"The Super California", something I created, (though I am sure there are rolls like it all over the US under different names) consists of your basic California Roll elements, Crab (imitation for me, cause I'm poor.), Avacado and cucumber. I also add large shrimp, celery and a bit of mayo (mayo is for the imatation crab to moisten it up just a bit) to the roll which takes it from haso-maki to futo-maki(small roll to a large roll). Then I cut the roll into halves and dredge it in tempura or panko (panko this time) and deep fry the halves. When I have someone trying sushi for the first time, I will serve this roll first. This roll is very American, comforting my guests with the familiar taste of fried shrimp while introducing them to the sushi rice and nori. Both my Brother in Law and his GF were trying sushi for the first time, and the GF was especially nervous about trying something new. They both loved the rolls. Hooray two new converts. They were both exited for some more. Very exiting!

"Fried Halibut" was next on the menu. This is a haso-maki roll with deep-fried Halibut, breaded with panko, and wrapped up with avacado. I deep fry the fish for as short as time as possible, searing the outside, cooking the panko, and making the inside of the fish warm and juicy. This is another great roll for sushi beginners. A "fish stick" in a roll, is a second layer of comfort. Its also a great roll for people that "don't like fish". Usually good quality fish that is cooked right will bring people around. For the presentation I tried a beveled cut. I didn't get a picture of the presentations but it looks quite nice. I'll make it again and post a picture of it.

"Golden Roll". Smoked Salmon and Mango wrapped inside out. On the outside the roll can have tempura flakes, but I put on sesame seeds this time. This is a really rich flavored roll. One or two pieces is usually enough for most poeple. The presentaion on this one wasn't bad. I need a sharper knife so that I don't tear the roll apart. The shape is a little off, and you can see strings of mango that the serated edge of my knife caught and pulled out. Normally a sharp one sided knife is used for sushi, this type of knife doesn't have a serated edge. Serated edges will catch and tear the nori, catch the rice and move it and do a number of other bad things to a roll or piece of fish. A good quality sushi knife will probably be my next sushi related purchase.

"New Yorker" A steak filleted very thin and wrapped up with carrots and topped with deep fried carrot slivers. One of my favorite rolls. This can be tricky because the steak is rolled right against the Nori. Its hard to get enough of the fat off that it doesn't ruin the Nori. I don't think I got quite enough of it off. And I don't think I deep fried the carrots long enough (but I had a taste of the roll a good deal after it served, giving the nori and carrots time to soften, and be mushy.) Here is a shot of that.

Desert is what I am the most proud of. Check it out.

The dish got bumped just before I snapped a picture of it. So the presentation is a little of center. But I thought the dish looked great. The Kanji on the left is "wife". I made one for my brother in law "dragon", and for his girlfriend "beauty". If you look closely you can see the kanji is on wax paper. This was my first attempt at a chocolate kanji and I used chocolate syrup. I thought if I froze it for a day that it would harden (I prepped these about a day in advance). I was wrong. Next time I'll use melted chocolate chips, So I can get it off the paper onto the plates.

Well I'm still an amateur, that's obvious, but the taste and presentation of my dishes are coming along. I was quite proud of this meal. Especially that I was able to completely change somones perception of sushi.

Friday, January 20, 2006


Welcome to my inaugural post.

Be proud your are now part of a select group, a reader of the most under read blog in cyberspace. Talk about exclusive!

Welcome again, my name is >-----Censored------<, well I guess you don't get to know. Around here I will be known as Sushi Boy. I am a sushi aficionado (wannabe sushi connoisseur), aspiring writer, family man, computer programmer, gamer (not gambling, I mean game games, both the video and RL versions) and struggling student; all rolled into one package.

In this blog I will brag shamelessly about my sushi exploits ( both preparation and consumption), please bear with me on that. In line with the sushi I will talk about my forays into Japanese culture, which I find captivating. Occasionally, when I am feeling brave, I may post a short story I have written. If you wish to critique it, feel free. While I'm attached to my work, I usually build my self up for criticism before I share it. Like any other blog I will share the more interesting points of my life, like a journal.

My intention in writing this blog is, first, to practice, hone and share my writing. Hopefully it will be enteraining and easy to follow. Please leave me some feedback if you like/dislike something about this blog. The second, is to find and interact with others who may like sushi, writing or games. So if you have something to say, Speak Up, I'd love to hear what you think. I will try to organize my posts in a way that it is easy for you to find and read the things you like, while skipping the things you don't.

Here is a quick introduction to my family.
-SushiBoy- Thats me. You've heard enough about me, so lets move on.

-SuperWoman- Beautiful, smart, fun, kind, and a stellar wife and mother. I'm sure those that know us would say that I married up, way up. She is a great cook whose hobbies are reading and needlework. She also enjoys advising a group of early teenage girls in our church congregation.

-Cookie Monster- Son of SushiBoy and SuperWoman. 3 years old. Into dinasaurs, sandboxes, snowmen and cartoons (especially Scooby Doo). Has a discerning palette for a 3 year old. While he is a picky eater, he will eat things that make most toddlers quail, namely tofu, avacado, squash and broccoli. But his favorite food is, with out a doubt, bacon. Atta Boy Son! Cookie Monster likes to hang out and play with his mom, dad, sister, grandmas and grandpas. He has some close friends but is mainly introverted, which leads us to ....

-Cakes- Daughter of SushiBoy and SuperWoman. The extrovert of the family. 18 months old (at time of draft). She is very petite, even for a girl her age. She is a bright ray of sunshine ninety nine percent of the time, in the other one percent she will make a hurricane think twice about crossing her. Cakes is begining to develop what she likes now. She likes to eat. She is early to bed and early to rise (kind of at odds with the rest of the family). She loves music, and when I play DDR (Dance Dance Revlolution) she loves to have her own dance mat to boogie on, or to have me hold her while we both boogie down.

You've made it this far. Thank you for reading. There will be more to follow soon!