Chow Jew Rice Noodle (with Chicken)

VH Chow Jew Rice Noodles with Chicken
VH breakfast – July 31, 2015

Here’s another bowl for my VH trophy case. This is the first photo here of the “standard” Chow Jew noodle, with chicken breast. When I was eating VH regularly it was usually more chicken than pork, which is why the former is standard to me. I wonder how they decide on which one to use?

Looking at the photo now, I want to eat it again. So delicious! ?

Playing PlayStation Games on PC, Step by Step

Was itching to play some of my old PlayStation games but didn’t want to pull out the machine from storage, so I tried using an emulator. Here’s one way to get started quickly:

  1. Go to www.ePSXe.com and download the latest version of ePSXe (1.9.25 as of this post).
  2. Extract the ePSXe emulator files into a new folder (I named mine ePSXe), making sure to preserve the folder structure.

    ePSXe Folder Structure
    Be sure to preserve the folder structure when unzipping
  3. Use a search engine to find and download a PlayStation BIOS (ePSXe recommends SCPH1001.bin), then download it into the bios folder. For legal purposes it’s better to match the BIOS with the model of your own PlayStation (my original PlayStation is SCPH-3000, but for some reason only SCPH1001.bin will work with the wizard in the next step. Any other version will require a manual configuration afterwards in Config->Bios).
  4. Launch ePSXe.exe. If ePSXe has not previously run on the machine, the config setup should run automatically.

    ePSXe Configuration Setup
    This wizard runs automatically when starting up ePSXe for the first time
    Click the Config>> button.
  5. Select the SCPH-1001 BIOS downloaded from step 2, then click Next>>.

    ePSXe - Configuring the BIOS
    Only SCPH1001 will show up in this list – any other version will require going to Config->BIOS after completing the wizard
  6. Select Pete’s OpenGL2 Driver 2.9 (should work for any modern system), then click Next>>.

    ePSXe - Configuring the Video
    Pretty much all cards support OpenGL nowadays
  7. Select ePSXe SPU core 1.9.0., then click Next>>.

    ePSXe - Configuring the Sound
    Only one option here
  8. Select ePSXe CDR WNT/W2K core 1.7.0. for Windows 7, then click Next>>.

    ePSXe - Configuring the Cdrom
    Choose appropriately for your OS, though probably at this point nobody uses Win9x
  9. Click Controller 1, then click inside each box to map a key/button to the corresponding PlayStation controller button. When finished, click OK, then Next>> again. Super easy whether you have a PlayStation->USB adapter or a keyboard.

    ePSXe - Config Gamepad
    Click inside each box, then press the key/button you want to use. The upper-right dropdown selects the type of controller.
  10. Click Done. ePSXe should now be ready to run at the most basic settings (they can be fine-tuned later).

    ePSXe Configuration Complete
    Almost there!
  11. Insert PlayStation game into optical drive.

    Resident Evil - Director's Cut
    This game is almost 20 years old
  12. Click File->Run CDROM.

    ePSXe - Launching a Game
    This is it!
  13. Play!

At this point the game will run fine but some of the settings might not be perfect (e.g. full screen vs. windowed, etc.). You can play with the settings (Config->Video->Configure) to get the quality and speed that you want. Below are the settings I chose and the result. Note that my machine is from 2011, so I’m guessing most machines today would be able to meet or exceed the settings I chose. Hope you found this guide helpful. Have fun!

My ePSXe Settings
My settings after some trial and error
ePSXe - Resident Evil
Looking good – enjoy!

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

The Standard - July 2, 2015
The July 2, 2015 edition of the Standard – from our last day in Hong Kong

Today marks three weeks since we’ve returned home. At this time three weeks ago, we were already asleep in bed after enduring a trans-Pacific flight.

In the two weeks since the last update, I’ve sometimes found myself asking whether we really lived the past two years in Hong Kong. I set my desktop slideshow to play photos from 2015, hoping to see some photos from my old home that would spark some feelings of nostalgia, but no sparks come. I try setting it to June of 2015, just a few weeks ago, and it’s the same. I’m kind of a nostalgic person (as can be seen from the Museum and the Nostalgia categories on this website) so it seems a little strange that since I’ve been back in the States I haven’t really thought of Hong Kong too much. I thought that I would really miss my life there, miss the people, the environment.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been back and forth enough times now to know that it is futile to try to keep up with what’s happening on the other side of the world. When we are there, whether “there” is HK or SF, we don’t even have to try to know what’s going on locally. We become aware through osmosis, whether it’s through local television and radio, walking on the street, or hearing coworkers chatting. For example, on the day that we left I probably could have named at least one topic that was covered in the Standard newspaper pictured above. But now, on the other side, despite trying really hard to keep up by listening to internet radio, streaming television shows, or chatting with friends on WhatsApp, I couldn’t tell you anything about what’s trending in HK right now. I could quote a headline from an HK website, but it’s probably not exactly what everyone’s talking about in HK at this moment. There’s definitely something to be said for being fully immersed. Those other things are not a substitute.

It could also be that I really am getting old now. As I approach my fifth decade, I find that I’m able to squeeze less into my brain. It’s harder to recall things. You actually notice that a lot of things don’t stick (I know because I write a lot of stuff down, knowing that I can’t remember shit). It could also be that in my old age I’ve learned to stop paying attention to noise. I’ve stopped paying attention to some things that I now consider noise that I used to capture easily without trying, so when I try to recall details about them I’m unable to. Some of the examples from my list would be the crowds and the cigarette smoke. If I hadn’t talked about the air before, I probably would have completely forgotten how bad it was in HK.

I knew before we left that there would be some knowledge that we took for granted that would fade with time, like which car on the MTR to get off from to get closest to the escalator or how much the buses cost. At this very moment, I still remember that 2A costs $4.10, but when I try to recall the fare for a cross-tunnel bus, it takes me a second to come up with $9.30. A lot of other stuff that I’m not even aware of has probably faded already. Still, I’m starting to fill that space with new stuff, like $1.85 for BART in the city, or $2.25 for MUNI, so it’s not a total loss.

I’ve probably mentioned somewhere on here before that at the most basic level, people are all the same. Still, it’s kind of unbelievable how far away Hong Kong seems now, how it seems like two different worlds. In my day-to-day life over the past three weeks, it’s almost like living in HK never happened. But every now and then, I might encounter something to remind me of my time there. I sometimes see people out and about being absorbed with themselves and I wonder if they’re aware that there’s a whole other world out there. They’re so caught up in their current context. Although sometimes it’s tough trying to balance two different worlds (something I’ve struggled with ever since we immigrated to SF), it’s times like these that make me thankful that I have another perspective. There was someone talking to me about construction noise the other day. I just nodded my head and thought about the endless renovations that occur in Hong Kong, the jack-hammering into concrete that is a staple of HK renovations. As bad as you might think you have it, someone else in the world is probably having a harder time than you right now. And, just to be fair, I used to think the same thing when people complained about the MTR (versus BART).

To end this post, I’ll post a photo of our HK home just before we handed it back to the landlord. What I see in the photo no longer exists in the physical world, but I’m hoping it will jog my memory and spark some feelings for the place I called home for over two years. Good night.

Our HK Home
Our HK home on the last day – June 30, 2015

Big Budweiser

Budweiser Liberty Can

I didn’t realize until I checked but it looks like this is the second Budweiser I’m posting on a Thursday night. I was coming home from basketball and saw someone’s Bud in a paper bag, and had to get one – never underestimate the power of suggestion.

I guess I never paid attention before because I thought Hong Kong was so cool for having these giant cans of beer. Well, the cans here are even bigger at 25 fluid ounces or 740 ml, nearly 50% bigger than the cans I’m used to. This one is a special edition meant to celebrate 100 years of the National Park Service in 2016. The NPS really is awesome, as we experienced firsthand during Road Trip 2012.

Budweiser – 25 fl. oz for $2.19

Semi-Lunch Buffet

Appetizer Plate from Mr. Steak Grill Semi-Lunch Buffet
Appetizer plate from Mr. Steak Grill semi-lunch buffet – June 27, 2015

During our last week in Hong Kong we got a chance to try the semi-lunch buffet (or perhaps it should be a semi-buffet lunch) at Mr. Steak Grill in Causeway Bay. The first course is the buffet, followed by an entree of your choice. I enjoyed the appetizer so much (endless shrimp cocktail and smoked salmon FTW!!!) that I barely had room left for my steak.

For around HKD$200 (depending on which entree you pick), it’s not your everyday meal if you’re a regular (read: not rich) HK person, but it’s a good bargain once in awhile for the quality and amount of food you get.

Beef Chuck Roll (for Sukiyaki)

Chuck Roll for Sukiyaki

I tossed out the label for this beef already but if I recall correctly, it was “Beef Chuck Roll (for Sukiyaki)” from Nijiya Japanese Supermarket. At $12.99/lb, there is a possibility that it is USDA Prime (based on my observations of Costco USDA Prime prices). I bought 1.27 lbs (2 trays) and it was enough to feed four people at a nice hot pot. Really tender and delicious, and better (IMHO) than the fancy ribeye one that was 3 times the price.