For the first time in forever I've been really jazzed about some unexpected hardware news. I used to obsess tirelessly over AMD, Intel and NVidia specs often making the argument that AMD was the pioneer and innovator that drove the market, and in the past few years I finally feel somewhat validated by AMD. What's fascinating though is the progression that I figured AMD would make in developing truly exciting cutting edge desktop class SOC's in a way that matters to enthusiasts and content creators. Well.... Apple is doing it, and my mind is kind of blown. The M1 Max is the most exciting thing to happen in computer hardware, maybe ever?? Consider it's power envelope, it's overall efficiency, it's ability to deliver high end graphics at 4K without the need for a discrete GPU. I figured AMD would get there first, they certainly have the engineering, I'm not sure if they lacked the vision, or if they are afraid of cannibalizing the discrete GPU space. Either way, I truly believe Apple has found the way forward in silicon design. If you would have told me this was going to happen when Apple said they were going to transition from Intel about a year ago, I'd of had a hard time believing it, but here we are. - https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2021/10/introducing-m1-pro-and-m1-max-the-most-powerful-chips-apple-has-ever-built/
I haven't seen a thread about cookware, etc. So I felt that it was time to put forth this discussion. It should be fun to see what everyone else is into cooking and what they use so post what you use and what you like to cook. Also post your wish lists of kitchen tools. Hell, why not include everything kitchen from utensils to appliances. Lets have some fun with this!
I like to cook (and eat) almost anything from glop to gourmet. I have taken classes in French Continental, general Italian, Southern Italian, Northern Italian, Spanish, Mexican and Asian. I really got into cooking when I was a wine buyer in the 80's. I grew up on Eastern European, BBQ and basic American staples.
I have generally had decent stuff in the past. But for the better part of the past dozen or so years was I had been in flux as I worked away from home and didn't cook much at that time. Now that I have been home full time for the past 2+ years I have been cooking more and more. That is when I felt the pinch of using a hodge podge conglomeration of cooking tools. So I decided to start collecting new cookware and cutlery to make cooking more enjoyable. While I have had names like All Clad, Viking, Henckels and Wusthof in the past I wasn't looking forward to the cost they command. So I looked at other brands and decided to try made-in by purchasing their Carbon Steel Wok and 3.5 qt Stainless Saucier. I fell in love with the 5ply stainless Saucier and was ready to try more of the 5 ply stainless line. So I got the 4 qt saucepan with lid, 3.5 qt sauté pan with lid and 8" and 10" stainless pans. Let me say the stainless pans are really nice to use and are my new crepe and egg pans. After learning how to season and use the carbon steel wok I got 1 10" carbon steel pan. I am now so in love with the carbon steel pan and wok that I use them whenever I can put anything in a pan. After seasoning similar to cast iron they are slick like non-stick and conductive like cast iron. The carbon steel pans also brown and braise like nothing else. And after some good seasoning and use are an easy clean up. All the stainless is as good as the Viking and All Clad I have had in the past. I am now looking forward to getting a 12" carbon steel pan, 12 qt stock pot and 5 qt saucier. While I already had 2 blocks of J.A. Henckels knives I have always liked the thought of the Japanese style knives over the German style. The Japanese style are cut to a sharper bevel and lighter than German knives. And I have always liked the look of Global knives (which I first saw on "Cooking with Giada") and decided to get a set. I have been more than impressed with these and use them now for everything but the heaviest jobs, which is where the heavier German knives excell.
So I have several bottles of port that have been aging cough cough pandemic... and I think we should get together and drink them.
- Linc has graciously allowed me Friday night for tasting during ICOK, October 29th. So after we light the offrenda, we can drink some wine and have some eats.
For those of you that have not had Port before, Port tends to be on the sweeter/dessert side and have an increased alcohol content. The bottles I have purchased are across the spectrum from white to aged tawny style. Oldest bottle in the tasting will be 41.5 years old, so we have an exciting time ahead of us. As the alcohol content of this is high, and I think we will have a decent turn out for ICOK, I am opening 24 spots for the taking.
- Cost will be: $35-40/seat depending on participation numbers
- 8 ports 1 oz each + many snacks
- Will for right now be just taking a first come, first serve list to be posted here. Will take payment closer to the event. Don't want to jinx it now with COVID. Please message me on discord and I'll put your name here to secure your spot. Will also take a few backup spots in case we have people that drop out.
Can't wait to see you all
Here's the current list of prizes! Stay tuned for more.
1 Quantum Age Adventures (Recycled Comics omnibus)
1 One year premium membership to boardgamearena.com
1 Pair of Custom Earrings from The Crafty Archivist @WagsFTW
1 $50 giftcard to Crunchyroll.com
1 3 month gift card for Crunchyroll Premium
1 PS5 Controller
1 Harley Quinn “Mini Glass set” of 4 shot glasses (x1)
3 Pandepic laser etched Yeti cups with lid and straw
1 KrakenDice Leather Dice Tray
1 The Mandalorian gift set (socks, "the child" 12oz mug, Grogu enamel keychain)
1 8" Tom Nook plush with 151g bag of sour skittles
1 8" Koopa Paratroopa plush with 191g bag of starburst
1: Mega Construx Charizard kit
1 Among Us: Crewmate Plush (Choose color)
1 Splendor Board Game (Marvel or Regular Edition)
1 Sushi Go
1 Codenames Disney
1 Telestrations After Dark
1 Canvas art piece, Marvel, 2 pieces
We'll be having a virtual Expo Icrontic (EPIC) the week of Mon June 21 to Sun June 27!
After the great success of @BobbyDigi's Not-Expo in 2020, we've decided to use the (hopefully) waning days of the pandemic to bring you a slightly more elaborate version. Call it... a pandEPIC.
We're selling tickets to help fund the webserver once again, but this year there's swag! You choose:
- $12 to PARTICIPATE — with an official attendee badge for your collection, mailed to your doorstep! (BYO lanyard) or...
- $60 for FULL SWAG — event badge, a small Icrontic logo Yeti mug, event stickers, and more!
All attendees will get a special role in Discord and access to an event exclusive channel.
There will be events that may charge additional fees (like a virtual Escape Room and a Murder Mystery) — we'll collect those closer to event time. We're going low tech this year, too: no EventBrite registration, just a Google Form & PayPal. No t-shirts, either, they're hard enough to pull off in-person.
The tentative agenda for the week:
- Mon: Opening Ceremony & Werewolf Introduction
- Tue: Video Game
- Wed: Video Game, Movie
- Thu: Escape Room
- Fri: Casino Night (Beach Party)
- Sat: Murder Mystery, Video Game, Prize Drawing, Warpath
- Sun: Comedy Brunch (stand up comedy stream)
Feature games will include:
- Golf with your friends
- Minecraft creative build
- Organized boardgaming times
- ...and more TBA!
We've studiously cut costs for the webserver / "business" over the past year so we're down to $700/yr (from ~$1300 previously). If you'd like to donate directly, you can PayPal me at email@example.com. You can also add $50 to your ticket price and I'll upgrade a $10 ticket to a FULL SWAG ticket (if possible).
Fri May 28 is the hard cutoff to allow for shipping times.
Starting in April. Every Wednesday for 5 weeks we'll watch a movie hand picked by me. Carrying over from movies we watched in March, these movies have meaning to me for some reason or another. As we get closer to each viewing, I'll tell a story leading up to why these movies, in my eyes, are some of the best movies to hit the screens in the last 25 years.
Until then, I'm interested in your thoughts. Have you seen these movies? What did you think? Maybe take a guess at why I chose these movies.
Knock Off (1998) - Staring international action hero Jean-Claude Van Damme as Marcus Ray, who works in Hong Kong as a sales representative for V SIX Jeans. As the city prepares for the transition from British to Chinese rule, Ray gets wind of the Russian Mafia's plans to bring a deadly secret technology-microbombs-to the worldwide terrorist black market. Aware of the wave of global terrorism this will incite, Marcus acts quickly. With the aid of trusted associates Tommy Hendricks (Rob Schneider) and Karen Leigh (Lela Rochon)-both of whom are undercover CIA agents-Ray must outsmart both an organized mob of criminals as well as a corrupt CIA section chief (Paul Sorvino) to avert a worldwide catastrophe.
Emperor (2013) - A gripping tale of love and honor forged between fierce enemies of war, inspired by true events and starring Matthew Fox and Academy Award®-winner Tommy Lee Jones as General Douglas MacArthur. Immediately after Emperor Hirohito's World War II surrender, General MacArthur (Jones) suddenly finds himself the de facto ruler of a foreign nation. He challenges his expert on Japanese culture - General Fellers (Fox) - to provide evidence in 10 short days to decide if the Japanese Emperor, worshipped as a god by his people but accused of war crimes, should be punished or saved. The fate of a nation awaits...
Arthur & Merlin (2015) - From an age-old tale, in Dark Ages Britain, a powerful druid is bent on destroying the Celts. Arthur, a banished warrior, and Merlin, a hermit wizard, embark on a heroic quest to stop the druid and save their people.
New In Town (2009) - Lucy Hill (Renée Zellweger) is an ambitious, up and coming executive living in Miami. She loves her shoes, she loves her cars and she loves climbing the corporate ladder. When she is offered a temporary assignment - in the middle of nowhere - to restructure a manufacturing plant, she accepts the opportunity, knowing a big promotion is close at hand. What begins as a straight forward job assignment becomes a life changing experience as Lucy discovers greater meaning in her life and more unexpectedly, the man of her dreams (Harry Connick, Jr.).
Unlocked (2017) - Noomi Rapace leads the all-star cast of this intense, London-set spy thriller. She plays undercover CIA agent Alice Racine, charged with preventing an upcoming biological terror attack. But when violence erupts, Alice realizes her CIA colleagues (Michael Douglas, John Malkovich, and Toni Collette) may be trying to eliminate her to cover their tracks. On the run, she must rely on the help of a tough catburglar (Orlando Bloom) to survive—and to save the city from catastrophic devastation.
Movies will start at 5:30p / 6:30m / 7:30c / 8:30e each Wednesday in April (and then May 5th)!! See you there!
Last year I finally took the plunge to import a 25 year old vehicle from Japan. It's not hard if you're willing to be patient, and doing it yourself will be cheaper than buying from a stateside JDM import dealership. There are several paths to getting a legal car in the US, but here's the path I recommend based on convenience and buying from a Japanese auction.
ASSEMBLE YOUR TEAM
You want to find n vehicle exporter in Japan to handle the purchase overseas. Japan has a complicated title/ownership system and all vehicles must go through a de-registration process before they can leave the country. Your exporter will handle all that along with booking the ocean freight to ship your car, various Japanese inspections, and making sure the car gets to port. There are several companies that do this and their fees vary as either a flat rate per car you buy, or a percentage of the purchase price, or some combination of the two. I used JapanCarDirect.com and have been very pleased with their service.
In my case, I paid a $500 deposit to JCD which gave me access to their web platform so I could look at cars at all the Japanese auctions, view historical sales data on the cars, etc. The deposit can be used toward the purchase price of my car should I decide to bid, or it can be kept on retainer if I want to keep using them as a vendor. It is fully refundable and therefore not included in any of the cost estimates in this document.
Once you send over a deposit, you're good to start playing the game of finding a good car to import.
You also want to find a freight forwarder to handle the import of the car one it hits the US port. This will add cost but also makes life super easy because they'll handle filing all the paperwork with the port, US Customs, the EPA, the DOT, etc. Be aware that finding a company willing to import a car for your personal use can be a challenge. Many companies only focus on commercial accounts and don't want to get burned by people trying to import illegal cars. Shop around because fees vary wildly.
As soon as you get into the auction system, it's tempting to see the sales price of cars and think OMG SO CHEAP. The price you pay is only part of the larger picture. Here's pricing for my small kei van. Bigger cars mean higher prices for inland transportation, ocean freight, and delivery to your door. Your Japanese counterparts can help estimate freight costs based on the vehicle prior to bidding so be sure to ask what the Landed Cost estimate is for your vehicle type.
Cost Group 1 - $3,700 Paid once you win a car within a couple days via wire transfer.
- Purchase Price of the Vehicle - My van was $1,680.
- Fee to the Exporter - Figure $1k for most cars for their services. This is how they make their $$.
- Inland Transportation to the Port and Inspections - $300
- Ocean Freight & Marine Insurance - $1,000
- Wire Transfer fee from your bank - $40
Cost Group 2 - $1,700 Paid when your car delivers to port 4-6 weeks after your make your initial purchase. OMG So Many Fees!!! These are the prices I paid through a company down in TX.
- ISF Filing - $52
- Unloading- $172 goes to the port operator who got your car off the ship
- Duty - $334 (Figure 25% of the vehicle price for trucks and cargo vans, 3% for cars)
- US Customs Clearance- $145
- Single entry bond - $95
- Express Courier - $30
- Documentation - $85
- DOT - $53
- EPA - $65
- Transit - $650 to deliver the car to my driveway. This varies wildly based on your distance from the port and the size of your vehicle. In COVID times, budget $1,000 or more to deliver to a location 8 hrs away from the port.
- Wire transfer fee to the freight forwarder - $40
So my $1,600 van cost $5,500 by the time I got it plated and insured in my home state. Budget accordingly. I'll break down and explain some of these fees later