Ph.D. Candidate, Honorific Lord of Sealand and Brother of Pi Kappa Alpha
Alberto C. Cruz
2013-05-29 : Recipe: Classic Cheeseburger Recipe

This recipe nailed the classic In-N-Out style burger. I haven't run into someone who was not totally impressed with this burger. You don't even need fixings with it, it's great by itself.

Uses the following ingredients:
Ingredient 1: 1 lb. or more of ground chuck roast or tri-tip, grade choice or higher. This is the most important ingredient (DO NOT SUB THIS WITH ANYTHING). The quality of the meat is important here. We're serving our burger by itself, with no fixings, and the meat has to really shine. I recommend getting a chuck roast or a tri-tip, and having the butcher at your shop ground it up for you. Have him pick the most marbled roast he has-we want a really high fat content, upwards of 20%.
Ingredient 2: 1 teaspoon of Lawrys seasoning salt per 1 lb. of meat. If you have your own personal rub or spice you can use that as well.
Ingredient 3: 1 egg per 1 lb. of meat.
Ingredient 4: Butter, enough to butter all the buns.
Ingredient 5: Hamburger buns.
Ingredient 6: Enough clarified butter to grease the cooking surface. Butter will probably do fine, but you should prefer clarified butter for cooking if you have it because it burns at a higher temperature.
Ingredient 7: Cheese of your choice. Or not. If you don't, skip the part where we put a lid on the pan (the lid is placed on the pan to melt the cheese).

And requires the following utensils:
Utensil 1: A heavy metal spatula.
Utensil 2: A large griddle, heavy bottomed skillet or pan to use as a cooking surface. Teflon is undesirable as our heavy spatula will scrape the surface and probably scrape off some Teflon that can get into our food.
Utensil 3: A lid for the skillet or pan, or, if were using a griddle, a pie pan, lid, or similar cover that will be able to cover all the patties while we cook them.
Utensil 4: A mixing pan for making the patties.

Directions:
1. Combine the meat, seasoning salt and egg (1,2,3) into the mixing pan (U. 4), and thoroughly mix the ingredients together.
2. Form balls of meat roughly the diameter of your thumb, or 4 oz. Set these aside on a clean container.
3. Warm your skillet (U. 2) to medium to high heat. Add the clarified butter to the pan, let it melt and coat the surface were going to cook on with it.
4. When it starts smoking grab your patties, flatten them to look like burger patties, and add them to the cooking surface. Let them sit for 3-5 minutes until they are browned on the cooking side. Don't touch or flip until they're browned.
5. When they're browned, flip them. Use a heavy scraping motion with the spatula (U. 1) to make sure you don't lose any bits of the patty. Immediately drop slices of cheese on top of the burgers after they're flipped. Drop the lid on top of the burgers (U.3). Let sit for 2-3 minutes.
6. While the patties are cooking, slather some butter onto the buns (4, 5) and warm them up as you please.
7. Remove burgers and serve immediately.

2013-05-28 : We're live!
We're live! If you can read this, this is my first attempt to use MySQL to create a blog posting system in conjunction with PHP. It was a little shaky at first. Godaddy seemed to have many issues--each support post in the forum seemed to have many people bashing Godaddy for being impotent in their support--but these turned out to be errors on my part. Godaddy is OK in my book.
2012-05-04 : Review: First impressions of Diablo 3

Hopefully everyone remembers Diablo 2. Personally, I have some pretty fond memories of it as a child. In Diablo 2, you had to carefully plan a character's attributes and skill tree as you leveled them up. Once you hit max level, you grinded out the proper items that would finally make your character. It was a great feeling, pre-expansion, when you got your Sorceress to spit out ice orbs like a machine gun. Then you took it out in duels versus other players. If you executed the build properly, you were the baddest character amongst your friends, maybe even ladder ranked.

I'm going to try and be as objective as possible with this review. The question on the table is whether or Diablo 3 is a good action adventure RPG (AARPG). AARPG's have the following characteristics: (1) depth in its character build, like the careful planning involved in a Diablo 2 character, or a Vanilla WoW character. (2) The gameplay should be fluid, like God of War. (3) Its gameplay should be non-linear--unlike Final Fantasy XIII. (4) It should have some sort of storyline.

The graphics were pretty good on my machine (At time of writing, I have a dual SLI Geforce 465, and an overclocked i7-2600k). In my opinion, however, graphics don't make a game--note that it's not in the criteria for judging the game. Either it's lacking or adequate. Diablo 3 has adequate graphics: They have random giblet physics. It has less of a cartoon-ish WoW feel. The theme was darker than WoW, but they went back on their promise to deliver Diablo 2's morbid atmosphere.

Is there depth in character build? Not at all. God of War has a more complex skill leveling system than Diablo 3. A player invests time into leveling their character and gets enjoyment out of seeing their hard work come to fruition. This is a lot like Zero Punctuation's comparison of Minecraft and Gary's Mod (you have to work for what you build in Minecraft; you get everything in Gary's mod at whim so it's not as rewarding). This applies completely here. They removed the skill tree and the point buy attribute system. As you level up you make no choices for your character build. As you level up, you get access to newer skills. Everyone has access to all these skills, but you may only use a subset of 6 at a given time. There is no consequence when switching between builds. For example, if you see a character doing better than you, you quickly duplicate what skills/runes they have equipped. This leaves customization to what items you'd equip. Since they introduced the auction system, even this is not redeeming. Another gripe about the whole auction system is that Blizzard forces you to use Paypal who would take a cut of you profits when you transferred it to your actual bank account, on top of whatever cut Blizzard is already taking. Rewarding gameplay goes to those that paid to win.

Despite what some people might say it looks like they're gearing this for a console deployment. Your hotkey is limited (you can't map to any more keys than) 4 secondary skills and 2 skills attached to your left and right mouse button. That sounds a lot like the 4 buttons on any given console controller, and two triggers (See the picture). You can clearly see you don't stack points into anything, you just pick whatever skills you want to use.

There is also no world PvP. They have promised a patch that would allow WoW style arenas; for us older gamers, this type of PvP isn't even considered PvP. At launch you will not even be able to duel each other.

Is the gameplay fluid? Yes. Despite there being no character build, the game executes exactly like Diablo 2. Use the mouse to move, hold shift, spam some arrows into some mobs. There are random unique mobs, clusters of uncommon mobs with an attribute (like teleport). Thankfully they didn't change this.

Is the game non-linear? It does not appear so. Playing to level 10 in the Open Beta, I had mostly 1 quest in my quest log active. The larger map was linear, and the areas seemed pretty large and random (like Diablo 2), but I could not proceed to a new area unless I had progressed the main storyline enough.

Is there a storyline? Yes, more so than Diablo 2. They added side-character interaction. In Diablo 2 it used to be you purchase the chumps (side-characters) in town. Now, they're a part of the main storyline and you have conversations with them, adventure with them, etc. The dialogue is reminiscent of Diablo 2. It doesn't scroll anymore though, you get a pop up. That's all. The addition of this interaction with side characters makes the storyline a little more pronounced than Diablo 2 (previously, this guy is telling me to go kill something; now, this lady needs to go kill stuff with me, and she's coming with me, talking to me). The storyline is more driven than Diablo 2. In my opinion, there is some improvement in this area. The side-chumps resemble the followers in The Old Republic.

No skill tree, no attribute system, pay to win for items and no world PvP? No thanks. I was hoping they would make it more like Starcraft 2 and not change much.