The Failure of Adam

A while back, probably close to a year ago, our teaching pastor, Pastor Hurmon Hamilton came and spoke to the Men’s group at church. He was challenging the guys to step up and be the men that God called us to be.

The topic of what he shared was based off of Genesis 3, sometimes appropriately known as “The Fall of Man” chapter. Pastor Hurmon shared three insights from this passage:

  1. His voice was absent when he should have been heard.
    Men are headline communicators. Women are fine-print communicators.
  2. Adam was personally absent when he should have been present.
    Sometimes you have to act it before you feel it. Because Adam was not talking to her, the serpent did.
    If you really want to change the world, be a good husband and daddy.
    Adam was too busy fixing an already perfect world.
  3. When it was time to lead, he followed.

He then shared three questions:

  • Where are you in your heart?
  • Where are you in your mind?
  • Where are you in your actions?

And three admonishments: Speak up. Show up. Step up.

It was a great way to start off the year. Looking forward to a great 2013!

CrashPlan+ Slow Uploads

I use CrashPlan to back up my computer.  They’ve been my backup solution of choice for about the past 2 years.  I love them!  They’re great, relatively inexpensive, and super easy to use.

There’s just one recent problem: my uploads to their service are deathly slow, like 150Kbps slow! I used to easily get 2Mbps, over 14 times faster.  Now, I’m lucky if I can even get 200Kbps.

So what about the 24 GB I have to upload?  CrashPlan says it will take 15 days. Aye Ya!

I did an internet speedtest, and was able to consistently get 20Mbps down, and 4Mbps up.  I ran the tests again while uploading to CrashPlan, and the results were the same.

Speed test results

Not happy with the performance, I logged a ticket with their support. Here’s what I got back:

Hello Brian,

Thanks for contacting CrashPlan Support.

We are aware of recent issues that some of our CrashPlan+ users are seeing with lowered upload performance. We are looking into the scope of this issue, and pursuing all available avenues to improve performance for affected users. Unfortunately, I do not have more details to provide at this time. Support is receiving updates, and will inform you as soon as we know more and can provide further information.


Well, at least I know it’s not just me. I’ll update if I hear anything further.

Perfect Garlic Prime (Thyme) Rib

A few holidays ago, we made Garlic Prime Rib. It was really tasty.  Last year, I found the food blog Serious Eats, and their Perfect Prime Rib. I haven’t actually made the Perfect Prime rib recipe, but the science is sound.

For Christmas this year, I’ve decided to combine the best of both worlds: the flavor of the Garlic Prime Rib, and the cooking method of the Perfect Prime Rib.

So I present to you, the Perfect Garlic Prime (Thyme) Rib.

Here’s what our roast looked like this year:

(Astute observers will note that the package says nearly 17 lbs. We didn’t serve the entire thing. I cut off one rib to save for another time, for reasons explained below.)

And here’s the recipe:

6.5 kg Choice-grade standing rib roast1, 2 (labeled at Costco as “Beef Rib Whole Bone In Vacuum Packaged”)
25 cloves of garlic
5 Tbsp olive oil
4 Tbsp sea salt
2 Tbsp ground black pepper
2 Tbsp dried thyme


  1. Preheat oven to lowest possible temperature, 150°F or greater (some ovens can’t hold a temperature below 200°F).
  2. Season the rib side of the roast with 2 Tbsp of salt
  3. Combine the garlic, olive oil, remaining sea salt, pepper, and thyme in a food processor, or small chopper3.
  4. Spread the mixture over the fatty side of the roast.
  5. Place the roast, garlic side up, on a rack in a large roasting pan.
  6. Put in the oven and cook until the center of the roast registers 120°F. In a 150°F oven, this will take around 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 hours. In a 200°F oven, this will take 3 1/2 to 4 hours.
  7. Remove roast from the oven and cover with aluminum foil to rest.
  8. Crank the oven to it’s highest setting, at least 500°F
  9. 10 minutes before serving, place the roast back in the oven, and cook until crisp and well browned, 6-10 minutes.
  10. Remove, carve, and serve.


  1. I generally aim for about 1 lb, or 0.5 kg of meat per person when I’m looking at a bone-in roast. (Boneless, I go for about a half pound or 250g of meat per person.)  In this case, the roast was about 14 lbs., which was a bit on the high end.  Fortunately, it worked out. We had 10 adults, 3 kids, and only two slices of leftovers.  I’ll chalk it up to my brother-in-law who had multiple servings.
  2. In this case, my roast had 7 bones.
  3. I use the Cuisinart SmartStick with the chopper attachment.

Bacon Lover’s Deviled Eggs

I love deviled eggs. Growing up, my parents weren’t fans of the “deviled” moniker, so we called them “Angel Eggs.”  I could go either way, but I totally understand that for most people to even have the faintest idea of what I’m talking about, I have to refer to them as “deviled.”

In any case, I had a company potluck yesterday, and Charlene had the inspired idea to do Bacon Lover’s Deviled Eggs with bacon, cheddar cheese, and scallions.  Mmm…


1 dozen hardboiled eggs, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, yolks removed
1/2 C mayonnaise
2 Tbsp course ground dijon mustard
4 Tbsp cheddar cheese
2 Tbsp turkey bacon bits
2 scallions, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a bowl, combine all ingredients except the whites. Mix well.
  2. Fill the whites with the mixture. Feel free to garnish with extra bacon, cheese, and scallions.

Brian’s Chocolate Chip Cookies Revisited

It’s been about two years since I posted my original recipe for my chocolate chip cookies.  Since then, I’ve begun the move to preferring metric and mass measurements over imperial and volumetric measurements.

So with that change, along with further refinements I’ve made over the past two years, I’ve decided to update the recipe. Enjoy!

200 g white sugar
200 g packed brown sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter
2 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
300 g all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
300 g rolled oats
600 g semisweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a stand mixer, cream the butter, brown sugar and white sugar until smooth.
  3. Add the eggs , milk, and vanilla.
  4. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, stir into the creamed mixture.
  5. Stir in the rolled oats and chocolate chips.
  6. Make golf ball sized portions, and place 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or a Silpat silicone baking mat. Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Cool cookies on wire racks.

Metric and Mass over Imperial and Volume

I’ve decided to start moving from Imperial and Volumetric measurements to Metric and Mass measurements in my cooking. (Though technically inaccurate, some people refer to measuring mass and weight interchangeably. I’ll try to be as accurate as possible by referring to measuring mass, but please forgive me when I slip up.) Why? Because it’s much more accurate, it’s far simpler, it’s easy, and it’s different.

It’s more accurate because as this article on measuring indicates, things like a cup of flour can vary in mass from 4 to 6 ounces.  That’s bound to make a difference when you’re measuring out several cups of flour for bread or pizza dough.  Weighing your flour is much more accurate.  200g of flour is always going to weigh 200g.

It’s simpler because, as anyone who has taken Chemistry is aware, the metric system is all based on multiples of 10.  1 milliliter is one tenth of a centiliter. 1 centiliter is one tenth of a deciliter. 1 deciliter is one tenth of a liter.  Thus 1 milliliter is one thousandth of a liter.  Same thing with milligrams, centigrams, decigrams, and grams.  See Wikipedia for a much more comprehensive list.  On the other hand, who has time to remember that 1 teaspoon is one third of a tablespoon; one tablespoon is one sixteenth of a cup; a half cup is 8 tablespoons, one cup is half a pint; one pint is half a quart, and one quart is one quarter of a gallon?  Can you keep all the thirds, halves, quarters, and sixteenths in your head?  I can’t.

It’s easy because if you ever need to double or halve your recipe, it’s all a matter of multiplying or dividing nice round numbers by two.  If the original recipe wants 500mL of water, and you double it, you’ll end up with 1000mL, or one liter, of water. But what happens if a recipe wants 2 cups of water, and you double it? Sure, you could measure out 4 cups of water, but you could also measure out 1 quart of water as well. But it gets worse. What if the original recipe asks for 1 tablespoon of water, but you halve it, you’d end up with either half a tablespoon, or 1.5 teaspoons of water. Who has time to remember all these dumb conversions??? How about we move to metric, and make every unit only a simple move of the decimal place away from any other?

It’s different because almost every (American) recipe out there is done by volume and imperial measures. I did a quick search on a few recipe sites, grabbed the first recipe I saw, and all of them were by volume and imperial measures:

The one caveat I’ll give is that there are some things that just don’t make sense to measure by metric or mass measurements.  Here’s a few examples:

  • Eggs: They come in a natural, naturally variable package.  It’s not exactly feasible to measure out 100mL of eggs.  If you crack two and they come to 120mL, what are you going to do with the other 20mL? Dump it? Not likely. So if you ever see me use eggs in a recipe, they’ll always be by count, rather than mass or volume.
  • Fresh herbs: one sprig of rosemary is going to be pretty variable, but I’m not going to bother counting out the individual leaves for you.
  • Very small volumetric measurements: unless you have an incredibly accurate scale–down to the tenths or hundredths of a gram–it doesn’t make much sense to convert one teaspoon of water to it’s corresponding mass (it’s about 0.167 ounces or 4.9 grams by the way).

Starbucks Passion Iced Tea Lemonade

4C boiling water
2 Tazo Passion Teabags
3/4C lemon juice
1/2C Splenda
1/2C Sugar
2C Water
5C Ice Cubes

  1. Pour the boiling water into a 2 quart Pyrex measuring bowl.  Add the teabags and steep for about 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, mix the lemon juice, Splenda, sugar, and water in a blender.
  3. Add the ice cubes to a pitcher.
  4. Pour the tea and the lemon mixture into the pitcher.


  • I exchanged some of the sugar for Splenda in order to decrease the calorie count.  If you’re averse to artificial sweeteners, feel free to use all sugar, or if you’re counting calories, feel free to use all Splenda.  I felt that half and half was just about right.
  • Feel free to add more ice if needed.  A significant amount of the ice will melt almost instantly because of the heat from the tea.
  • I make the lemon mixture in a blender because it makes it easy to dissolve. Feel free to stir/blend by hand.
  • I’ve added other fruits like frozen raspberries and strawberries for a fruity touch.
  • The strength of your lemon juice matters.  I’ve used both fresh squeezed and bottled from Costco.  Use more or less depending on how lemony you want it.

Welcome Joshua David Wong!

I haven’t posted anything on this blog since my Dad died, mostly because I didn’t feel like there was anything worthy of being posted…until now.

It’s been a long, hard 29 hours of labor.  Charlene and I are pleased to announce the birth of Joshua David Wong.

He was born January 28 at 7:27am; 5 pounds 5.5 ounces; 18.5 inches long; 33cm head circumference.

Joshua and mom are both very tired, but are doing well.

Thanks again for all your thoughts and prayers!

Brian, Charlene, and Joshua

See you soon, Dad

Dad and Me


My Dad passed away two weeks ago today.  It’s so hard to believe, I can barely type the words.  The memorial service was held for him this past Saturday, 8/27 at Chinese Grace Bible Church.

He was an amazing man of God.

Here’s his obituary as found on the Bakersfield Californian (or the Sacramento Bee):

David A. Wong 1952 – 2011 David A. Wong 59, ascended to be with our heavenly Lord on August 17, 2011. All immediate family was present when he died.

He was born on March 1, 1952 in Los Angeles, and was the youngest of 7 siblings. He graduated from UCLA and received his Doctorate of Pharmacy from USC. He leaves behind his wife of 33 years, Beverly Wong, and his two sons, Brian (Charlene) and Andy.

David gave his life to Jesus in 1975. He became an active church member and led several youth missions trips to inner city Los Angeles. The Juvenile Hall ministry of Youth for Christ was an important part of his life for many years. He played an active role in the life of his children. He was a loving brother, father, and husband. David enjoyed many outdoor activities such as biking, hiking, and dreamt of having a sailboat.

A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, August 27th, 2011 at 1:30pm at Chinese Grace Bible Church (CGBC) 6656 Park Riviera Way, Sacramento, CA. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Focus on the Family at 1-800-232-6459 or Youth for Christ in Bakersfield at 661-323-9041. Indicate David A. Wong Memorial.

Dad, I love you, and I miss you.  But I’ll see you soon.