Name: Glenmoreangie 10 Year “The Original”
Spirit Type: Single Malt
Age: 10
Region: Highland
Year Distilled: 2001
Year Bottled: 2011
Cask Maturation: first and second-fill bourbon
Alcohol %: 43%
Color: Amber
Date Purchased: 2013.03
Price: $40


Made using “the tallest stills in scotland”, Glenmorangie is a delicate spirit and a great whisky for starters because of it’s price and approach-ability.  The tall stills means the heavier flavors don’t make it into the distillate (they are unable to escape the still!).  Glenmorangie has a lot of depth if you want to spend time with it, but is a great standard whisky for when you just feel like a dram. (more…)

Name: Ardbeg Ten Year Old
Spirit Type: Single Malt
Age: 10 years
Region: Islay
Year Distilled: 2001
Year Bottled: 2011
Cask Maturation: 10 years in Bourbon casks
Alcohol %: 46%
Color: Amber – 4 (very pale)
Date Purchased: 2012.07
Price: $45


This is one of the core Ardbeg expressions.  The other two are Uigeadail and Corryvreckan.  The only source I can find states that Ardbeg is matured exclusively in ex-bourbon casks.  This is a bit of a rarity, as usually some sherry casks are also used (Remember – a single expression of whisky is a combination of many casks of whisky, unless of course it is a “single cask” expression). (more…)

I was playing Skyrim the other day and and interesting game mechanic occurred to me.  Skyrim has instances of this mechanic, but Minecraft makes great use of it…

Imagine you’re playing Skyrim, and you have decide to take up archery.  So you get a bow and a number of arrows.  You then find a practice dummy, and fire a handful of practice shots.  Every arrow you shoot can be found again and picked up.  And it brings me great joy to do so.  

It is truly pleasing to be able to go an fetch an arrow I’ve shot.  It is an incredibly simple thing, but it’s quite possibly my favorite activity when playing Skyrim.  Perhaps it’s because it’s relatively uncommon for this “Conservation of Mass” feature to exist in a game.

The results when adventuring in Skyrim are disappointing, unfortunately.  Arrows you shoot into your enemies are not guaranteed to be picked up.  Each time I kill a monster with one shot – something requiring some skill – I run up to the fresh corpse for my loot, and discover that apparently my shot was so good that the arrow disintegrated upon striking the target.  sad… :(

Minecraft has a similar issue with arrows, but the bigger part of the gameplay – the building – is all about conservation of mass.  The world you see when you enter the game, for the most part, will be completely conserved as you play the game.  You can pick up the ground, the water, and the trees.  That delightful “pop” as the world is converted from mass to inventory, and that “thump” as it is returned – cocaine.

The human in me is satisfied by a world that behaves this way.  It’s comforting to know that I could move that mountain if I wanted to.


hmm… I’ve been playing a lot of Skyrim lately, but now I want to play Minecraft…

I just went to Best Buy at Santana Row (in San Jose) to pick up a game I bought online.  I didn’t expect it to be a learning experience, but it was.  I learned that I should not shop at Best Buy.

Just a few numbers from the experience:

  • Time of arrival at Best Buy - 8:30 pm Sunday, November 23rd
  • Amount of money spent at Best Buy – $8.65
  • Time spent browsing in the store – 20 minutes
  • Number of people in line when I got in the “Store Pick up” line – 2 (not counting myself)
  • Number of people who cut in line while I was waiting - 1
  • Number of people at the counter serving people - 1
  • Time it took for me to get to the front of the line – 30 minutes
  • Time it took for me to give the girl my name, and for her to find my item – approximately 2 minutes
  • Time of departure from Best Buy – 9:25 pm

I waited in line for 30 minutes so I could get my $8 game, and I will not be going back.  Best Buy got a little bit of money from me and alienated me as a customer.

Compare that to the fact that I spent about $100 on Steam this week during which I was visiting with my family for Thanksgiving.  I didn’t have to wait in line, got what I as a customer consider some great deals, and was left feeling very happy.

My experience with Amazon this week was much like Steam.  Great buys and I’m happy about the whole experience.

Man I love the internet.

After, oh, idono, two years?  I’ve finally updated my noodle site.  I had been wanting to do this for some time.  It’s generally the same, but I adjusted the style a bit (it had been bothering me) and, more importantly, I’ve fleshed out the FAQ section more.  I’ve collected all the questions I’ve gotten so far on the FAQ, and I’ll try to keep it updated as time goes on.

Check out the newness here:

I have a 2004 Mazda 3, and the battery was finally done after six and a half years.  I learned some new things about “newer” cars (my last car was an ’89 pickup) and I thought I’d share.  This may only apply to Mazda 3, since in the forum-reading I’ve done it sounds like people are a little surprised at the way the Mazda 3 behaves.  So here’s what I’ve learned.

When you disconnect the battery in your car, all the electronics reset.  That makes sense.  What you may not know is that the computer in your car also resets itself.  In the case of the Mazda 3, this means the computer has to relearn how much fuel to give the engine during idle.  So for a few days your Mazda 3 may rev between 500-1200 RPM when idling at stop lights.  It’s a strange experience, but after three days my car is back to normal.

I’ve heard (although it didn’t seem to help me) you can try assist the car in learning the idle by starting it cold and letting it warm up without touching the gas. I attempted this and it didn’t seem to affect things – time only solved my problem, but your experience may be different.

Additionally, the computer in the Mazda 3 does need to be updated from time to time, and I believe you can take it to your dealer to have the computer “flashed”, as they call it.  All they are doing is updating the firmware on the computer to the newer version from Mazda.  This may also help.

So if you’ve changed the battery in your Mazda 3 and you’re worried about the idle, wait a few days.  There may not be a need to start taking things apart, replacing air filters, and cleaning throttle bodies (as I’ve seen recommended).

Alright, it’s not a  true roguelike in that it’s not turn based and you can continue after death if you want, but there’s no need to split hairs.  Transcendence is really fun.  And it’s free.

I might describe it as “Diablo in space”.  You’ve got a randomly generated “Dungeon”, where it’s a series of solar systems connected by star gates.  You pick one of three ship classes, and you fly around, kill stuff, collect the loot, and upgrade your ship.  There’s even a bit of a storyline and a pretty well fleshed out universe.

The graphics might be considered a little simple, but if you can get over that there’s a really compelling game underneath.  Something that’s well worth the zero dollars you have to pay for it.  I highly recommend it.

I just finished playing Final Fantasy XIII.  I say “finished playing” because I “finished” it two weeks before.  I haven’t enjoyed the extra content in a Final Fantasy since Final Fantasy VII.  I think it helped a lot that I essentially skipped Final Fantasy XII.  I played about 4 hours, felt overwhelmed, and quit.

I have a single tip for anyone who is getting tired of JRPGs, but would still like to get through Final Fantasy XIII:

Read the Datalog

I think there is a lot of storyline lost in translation.  Reading through the story recaps every once in a while will get you back on track.  Also note that the character biographies change as the story progresses.  It’ll put an exclamation mark next to the new stuff, though.  I essentially made it my goal to make all the exclamation marks go away.  It’s felt like storyline upkeep to me, almost.

Anyways, just wanted to mention that.  I approve of the game’s responsiveness, too.  All the previous Final Fantasies had too many black screens while things loaded.  Apparently all I needed was a menu that loaded in a reasonable amount of time…