Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Job Search... Well... Not a Good Sign... From the Magic Eight Ball

The Magic Eight Ball has played an important role in my life.  My then-future wife thought it was funny that I made decisions based on the Eight Ball's advice.  Little did she know that I actually did take heart of the words appearing in the dark liquid within.  You see, the Eight Ball provides stress-free decision making.  Other than the stupidity of being guided by complete chance, you can't blame the Eight Ball for any of the answers it gives.  Like flipping a coin, it has absolutely no biases or faulty thought processes.  In that sense, the advice it gives is pure and beautiful.

I have had an Eight Ball since, well, before I can remember.  And the odd thing is...  It generally has been... correct.  I did spend a long time being single in 1999.   The Blackhawks didn't get past the St. Louis Blues in the first round of the 2002 Stanley Cup Playoffs.  I didn't get the Disney counsel position in 2014.

First things first, I gave my former boss an Eight Ball for Christmas.  After the company let me go in early March, while in her office, I secretly asked it if I would be alright job-wise... And it answered "It is Certain."  That's reassuring.

But today I asked it whether I would get an in-house counsel position soon and it answered:

Ouch.  I need full-time work as soon as possible.   Then I asked it whether I would get adequate hours during my part-time independent contractor legal role.  It answered:

Not good at all.  I like my new boss, the work and working remotely.  That was quite deflating.  Next I asked it whether I would start a successful business with my buddy Al.  It answered:

I waited for less than a second and asked it whether I would start a successful business with Al again.  This time it answered:

Snap.  Al is like one of my best buddies, a really inspirational guy.  Pretty disheartening set of answers, all in a row.  I asked the Eight Ball whether I would be a millionaire by the end of this year.  To that it answered:

Damn, 2017 just won't be my year I guess.  I also got a negative response to whether I would have a full-time job by August of this year.  Finally, I asked it whether I would have a business that would make $500,000 by the end of the year.  It answered:

There is a God!!!  I can sleep easier tonight.  Thanks for the read!!!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Newest Project: Hordes Minion Circle Orboros Battle Box

Hey Guys,

Quick post of what I'm working on now before we head out to cousin's family's (his wife's brother has a JD now) law school graduation celebration.  Got these guys in a trade for a squad of MK III space marines from the Prospero box set.

Having a pretty fun time getting these guys painted.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Hong Kong Cafe; Schaumburg, Illinois

Here's a family favorite.  We've been going to Hong Kong Cafe on Algonquin Road in Schaumburg for years, maybe since the mid-90's.  Why?  Great food and good prices.  They say you can judge how good an ethnic restaurant's food is by the people that eat there; that is, if the crowd is largely composed of people from the country of the food's origin, it's authentic and good.  That said, it's no surprise you hear lots of Cantonese Chinese coming from the tables of Hong Kong Cafe's patrons.

Last Saturday we picked up Grandma (who was born and raised just outside Hong Kong) and met Dad there for lunch.  We ordered a no-frills lunch meaning no 'bubble" tapioca drinks or appetizers.  Dad ordered duck over rice:

Awesome duck sauce is all I can say about his dish.   My daughter ordered shrimp wonton noodles:

The wonton noodles are a specialty at Hong Kong Cafe.  You have to try them.  If you like a variety, order the Super Bowl which has shrimp wontons, fish balls and beef balls among the noodles.  I ordered the sweet and sour chicken:

Damn that was good, fresh and lots of it.  Fresh pineapple, not the canned type.  So the food is good and affordable, people from Hong Kong eat there and the decor?   The decor is clean and modern, not a hole in the wall.

Dad foot the bill, which was around 50 bucks for the six of us.  Not bad at all.  They have weekly lunch specials that are five to nine dollars.  As the menu states, I feel that Hong Kong Cafe has the "Best Chinese Food in the Area."  I give it five egg rolls out of five egg rolls.  Thanks for the read, and make it out to Hong Kong Cafe if you have the chance. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Condolences to Parents of Ones Lost at Manchester Ariana Grande Concert

As a parent with two grade school daughters, my heart goes out to those who lost theirs due to an act of extreme cowardice at Ariana Grande's concert last night in Manchester.  It was only four months ago when I was contemplating getting four tickets to Ariana's March concert here at the United Center.  Who can't relate to leaving a concert venue, program in hand and still being immersed in the excitement of just seeing one of your favorite stars?   Those lost were caught up in all that wonder when their lives were needlessly taken from them.  I love my daughters more than anything in the world, so my condolences to those grieving English parents.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Black Thunder Chocolate (ブラックサンダー)

We did our bi-weekly trip to the Japanese supermarket, Tensuke, yesterday and I had a bit of luck in the chocolate department.  My favorite chocolate bar, Black Thunder, was discounted from 75 cents to three for a dollar (due to a rapidly approaching expiration date).  In Japan, they are generally around three for 100 yen, about the equivalent price.  So we got six of them. 

Black Thunder chocolate is extremely popular in Japan due to Olympic Men's Gymnast Gold Medalist, Kohei Uchimura, whose like of Black Thunder is often talked about in the Japanese media (the below picture of Uchimura is a photoshop, not an official endorsement).

Why do I like Black Thunder so much?  Well, it's pretty much a chocolate covered Oreo bar.  The bars themselves are a little larger than a mini Snickers bar.

 As explained earlier, Black Thunder is chocolate-covered Oreo with white cookie bits deliciousness.

Due to the high amount of sugar, it gives you 110 calories of power to win an Olympic Gold Medal!  But what's more, there is 1.3 grams of protein in each bar.

Curious about Black Thunder?  You can find it at your local Japanese supermarket or even on Amazon.  Thanks for the read.  Have a good rest of the weekend.

Friday, May 19, 2017

My Next Project: Hordes Minions Gatorman Posse

Got another project finished earlier this week.  These guys took about two weeks to complete.  Before I even start talking about them, I have to admit I am exhausted.  Some dude's car alarm had a problem and every two hours (or when the wind blew), it went off.  Gotta love apartment life.  Finally at 6am, I couldn't fall back asleep again. 

As to the Gators, I pretty much used the same painting technique and paints as I did for the Wrastler, layers of inks and dry brushing.  Damn there goes that God awful alarm again.

Like the Wrastler, these guys had some gaps that needed filling.  I used green stuff on the gaps, as in the below.  Privateer miniatures, while sculpted awesomely well, have lots of flash.  That had to be removed with an Xacto knife.

Once cleaned, filled and prepped, they were ready for priming, which was done with Tamiya grey primer.  And then after they dried, they got a layer of flat Tamiya dark yellow.

About three successive layers of green ink was applied to the Gator skin.

Three successive layers of black ink on the back scales.  Brown ink on the Gator bellies.

Mouths and teeth were done in the same manner as the Wrastler.   Mouths were a red ink/white paint mix with a wash of diluted red ink and then dry brush of much lighter red ink/ white paint mix.  Teeth were painted bleached bone, washed with brown ink and then dry brushed with bleached bone.  Pole arms had two layers of brown ink with a gold layer on the blades, then for the blades, followed by a heavy layer of brown ink and a dry brush of bronze.

Eyes took forever.  Yellow layer paint with a black iris. Claws bleached bone, brown ink and bleached bone dry brush.

For the head dress on the leader, I paid homage to the Blackhawks for the feathers and painted them red, yellow, green and orange.  First I painted the feathers a base layer of those colors.  Next I inked them, using green for the green, light brown for the orange, red for the red and light brown for the yellow.  The feathers were then dry brushed lighter respective shades of their colors.  Finally, I added a second dry brush layer for each of the feathers; really light green for the green feather, white for the yellow feather, orange for the red feather and yellow for the orange feather.

And there you have it, a painted Gatorman posse to join the Wrastler.  I picked up some Circle of Orboros minis in a trade and have started them.  As a result, expect a Circle post in the near future. Thanks for the read. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

USPS Denies Insurance Claim; Slurpee Mishap

No surprise here.  The insurance claim for the broken Warmahordes miniatures was denied.  I waited 4 days for a letter explaining why it was denied.  Evidently, it was denied because the proof submitted to substantiate the value of the claim was insufficient.  The letter stated this:

That's some pretty tough crap to overcome.  I traded miniatures for miniatures.  The letter went on to state:

Hmmm... Again, it was a trade of miniatures for miniatures, so there's no receipt or evidence of payment.  I tried to get around this by sending an appeal with prices of completed eBay auctions like this:

I even submitted before and after pictures to buttress the claim:

And... No success on the appeal:(

I'm not willing to give up on this and have created an itemized receipt listing the value of the items traded for and the items traded to my trading partner.  I'm just waiting for receipt of the signed receipt from my trading partner.  Once received, I'll submit a second appeal and keep you guys updated.

On a lighter note, an incident from Seven Eleven last night shows why you need to carefully watch your children at all times.  I let my youngest one get a Slurpee by herself, turned around to grab some Slurpee straws and look what happened:

Damn that was a mess... And being the good parent that I am, I decided to take a picture of the situation getting worse rather than helping her lol.  Luckily the clerk just didn't care.  Have a good one today.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

New Primaris Space Marines

Games Workshop is finally making the Space Marines that I've always wanted!  Today they officially announced the upcoming release of the Primaris Space Marine, as shown below.

From the pictures in the actual GW promo video, it appears that the Primaris stands a head taller than its older Space Marine counterparts.  Check out actual video of the Primaris below:

It's appropriate that we finally will have realistic scale Space Marines that tower over regular humans (the marines are supposed to average around eight feet tall).  The current marines in their weird Space Marine squat pose stand just as tall as regular human Imperial Guardsmen.

Here's a picture of the current squatty Space Marine below:

The official GW site states that:

"The Primaris Space Marine is a new breed of hero for this, the darkest age in the Imperium’s history. These new warriors are the next step in the evolution of the Emperor’s Angels of Death – genetically altered from their brethren to be bigger, stronger and faster – timely reinforcements to the Imperium’s armies as their enemies close in for the kill."

Here's a screenshot of the new Primaris from the video.
He has longer legs and a smaller head-to-body proportion than his squatty current brethren.  Look at the cool stuff he is armed with, a new bolt gun pattern and a new mark of power armor.  Not only that, he has better stats than the current marines and two wounds, making him much closer to the movie marines we read about in the fluff.   Finally, for all those worried that Guilliman's Ultramarines would be the only ones getting the Primaris, the official GW site says this:

"Any of the galaxy’s many hundreds of Codex Chapters can use Primaris Space Marines, along with many of the less Codex-compliant ones like Dark Angels, Blood Angels and Space Wolves."

I can't wait for the Primaris release, possibly next month... Thanks for the read!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day! Raku Sushi; Naperville, Illinois

For Mother's Day, I hope you brought Mom out to a nice lunch or dinner.  That said, we had a chance to eat at a pretty nice restaurant in the western suburb of Naperville not long ago, Raku Sushi.  Generally, I'm not a fan unauthentic Japanese restaurants.  If I want Chinese food, I go to a Chinese restaurant or if I want Korean food, I go to a Korean restaurant.  I just like my food authentic.

I've spent over 10 years in Japan and can spot an unauthentic Japanese restaurant right away.  Usually, it's in the name of the restaurant.  A restaurant name including a major Japanese city such as Tokyo, Kobe or Osaka is a dead giveaway of unauthenticness as well as inclusion of  American-known Japanese words such as samurai, shogun or ichiban.  Next, if the menu doesn't have Japanese on it, it's not authentic. 

The truth is, most American people can't tell unauthentic Japanese restaurants from authentic ones and really don't care either.  Business-wise, Japanese food is much more profitable than Chinese or Korean food so Chinese and Korean owners go for the money.  Most Japanese restaurants in the U.S. are not owned or run by Japanese people.

When I saw Raku Sushi's "Dim Sum" (Chinese tapas) sign, I knew it was Chinese owners.  Japanese restaurants do not serve dim sum.  However on the night we ate at Raku Sushi, we felt like dim sum as well as sushi, so Raku was a perfect choice.  A little background on my family, I am Cantonese Chinese-American and my wife is Japanese so Raku would be a perfect choice for us.

You can tell from the outside of Raku's building and its interior that the building used to house a Baker's Square.  The interior is pleasantly decorated and clean.
Raku is awesome because it serves dim sum all day!!!  Usually restaurants stop serving dim sum after 3pm.  I picked up the dim sum menu and ordered an order of ha chaang fun (thick white noodles with shrimp), haam sui gok (deep fried pork pockets), gai lan (Chinese vegetable) and joong (sticky rice with fillings wrapped in leaves).  Wifey ordered various nigiri and maki sushi for her and the girls.  We ordered some chow fan (fried rice) for everybody.  The food all was brought to us about the same time.

Everything was... awesome!!! The dim sum was just as good as the Chinatown mainstays Three Happiness and Furuma, if not better.  I don't want to give it too many props, but on that night, it seemed to taste just as good as the dim sum we had in Hong Kong.  What was so great about it?  The food wasn't too salty and was really fresh.  Although some of the dishes were deep fried, they had a fresh oil taste if that's possible.  The shrimp in the chaang fun and fried rice were crisp and juicy unlike the often drier shrimps in those dishes.  And as a bonus, the sushi was delicious too!
The fish was fresh!  And the rice wasn't dry.  Regarding one of the nigiri we ordered, ikura (salmon roe), wifey commented that they were fresh and not fake.  Like for the chaang fun and fried rice, the shrimp on the nigiri was crisp too.

Finally, the service people were very attentive and the owner is a nice guy too.  Raku is not the cheapest of places and our dinner including tip was around 75 dollars.  But in this case, we got what we paid for.  I'll definitely come back for a special occasion.

If you have a craving for good dim sum AND sushi, I highly recommend Raku Sushi in Naperville.  I give it five har gows out of five har gows.  Thanks for the read, and hope your Mother's Day went well if you are a mom and reading this.

It's Been A Long Time... Favorite Stuff I Got Recently: SNES Classic/Star Wars Shirt/Spiderman/Apples/Boo Berry

There's been a lengthy lag in time since my last post.  It's because...  I got a temporary counsel position with a medical device ...