Technically I still have the cold... I say technically because it seems to mostly have moved from being an active cold to just being the general feeling of pressure in my sinuses. Dr Google doesn't seem to think that it's a sinus infection, but it's still annoying.
I was supposed to make simple soup last week... just potato and leek... with bacon, because bacon. And that's how it started... but I thought it was going to be too thin and put extra potato in, then too much cheese, then way too much pepper. So while it should have been simple, it didn't end up quite as simple... plus it ended up very, very thick. So by the end of the week I'll admit I was a little bit over it.
The rest of the week was fairly rinse and repeat... then on Friday I had my chiro appointment, which, as always, led to general wandering around in the Mall until I ran out of things to do.
This morning I woke up way too early thanks to some heartburn... well, Doctor Google has some other ideas about it, but we'll go with heartburn unless it happens again. It wasn't a whole heap of fun though, and I ended up getting up, wrapping myself in blankets and sitting in the lounge for a while, until the sensation dissipated and I was essentially falling asleep... so I got back into bed.
All of that did kind of throw off my morning though... which was only really a problem because Ma was getting her hair did, so I was left to my own devices.
And that led to me leaving the house about an hour later than I would have otherwise.
Which did lead to the shopping taking slightly longer than it otherwise would have. But that was also partly because I kept forgetting things and had to double back on myself a few times. This week's soup is very definitely going for a simpler vibe. I don't know completely what I'm going to end up with, but I'm not going to blend it... and I'm going to try and keep it reasonably thin.
I still managed to do all my shopping, come back, unpack and do a few other things before Ma rocked up. Interestingly, I'm pretty sure she had a cut and colour, but I honestly didn't even notice the colour if I'm honest. Maybe that means it wasn't as obvious as it sometimes is... I don't know.
Neither of us really had any plans (and to be honest, I would have been okay if we'd just called it a day then and there... but it seemed a bit cruel to have Ma drive all the way here and then just turn around and go home again)... but eventually we decided on a trip into town, mostly for Ma to run an errand, but also to check out Flinders Street Market, because that's usually worth a poke around once in a while.
Turns out it was kind of a very good day for Flinders Street.
Firstly I found a very apropo brooch for a belated birthday present... then we discovered Ark Angel Creations... she makes "sensory products"... for both kids and people with sensory needs. And I'm a pretty tactile person at the best of times, so her stall was a ton of fun to poke around at. She also had some of the water beads, so I grabbed a pack of those, because they're always fun...
Then saw these little knitted discs that are basically a circular tube with a marble trapped inside, and you just move the marble around by manipulating the disc. They were only a couple of bucks, so I grabbed one, and I haven't really been able to leave it alone since. I'll get over it eventually, but it's fun and gives me something to do with my hands while doing other things.
From there we had a poke around the Mall so Ma could do what she needed to do, then we came back to the Village, poked around T2, grabbed some food and came back here.
And that was about it really.
Here's the line up...
- Scallywag Pirate
- Spooky Boy
- Desert Warrior
- Ice Queen
- Wildlife Photographer
- Banana Suit Guy
- Penguin Suit Guy
- Dog Show Winner
- Cute Little Devil
I also feel like the devil was a left over design from the series 14 monsters, but he is quite sweet.
At the bottom of the list for me is the cyborg. The hair is kind of interesting (although why the stud on the gun isn't blue to tone in with everything else is a mystery), but overall she feels a little m'eh. Likewise the Mariachi guy... the guitar is cool, but he's like the lovechild of the Mexican and the Bandito.
The collection of Lego animals from these sets are expanded this time with a penguin and a little white dog (Tintin MOC anyone?).
The opening line of narration to Kubo and the Two Strings isn't just empty words, this is a movie you don't want to look away from for a second.
I'm completely and totally, madly, head-over-heels in love with Laika, the production company behind not just Kubo, but also The Boxtrolls, Paranorman and Coraline.
And this is their biggest and most ambitious movie thus far.
Essentially Kubo is a Japanese action adventure movie made with 3D printed, stop motion animation puppets.
Which shouldn't work, but as with everything Laika put their collective hands and minds to, the heart of the story of Kubo makes everything else not exactly inconsequential, but the spectacle always serves the story. And makes for some amazing moments.
I'll be honest I didn't even know this movie existed until about a month ago, and I tried not to see too much about it before the fact, wanting to go in pretty much cold (beyond knowing, as the poster shows, there was a boy, a samurai beetle and a monkey). And I'm glad I didn't know anything, so I'll be staying as far away from story as I can for most of this review.
Let's get the obvious stuff out of the way first. This movie is absolutely stunning... from the first shot to the last, it's an amazing feast for the eyes (and the characters of The Sisters... I want collectible versions of them!). If I was going to quibble at all it would be to say that when the faces are viewed close up, you can see that they're 3D printed, there's a slight softness and graininess to some of the details... particularly evident in the lines on Beetle's face.
But I would much rather they use the 3D printing and be able to create epic numbers of expressions and props and the like than the opposite. And eventually the technology will catch up with what they're doing and the faces will be flawless.
There was also something about the animation that reminded me of old-school stop motion in a way their previous movies haven't... but again, not in a negative way.
What I will say about the story is that at it's heart it's about family... and about both taking control of your own story and knowing the power that stories possess. And that even stories with a happy ending can be sad (or vice versa, I'm not completely sure which it is).
I know that there's at least some authentic Japanese mythology thrown into the mix, and it feels like it all could be... but the majority of the story is actually a creation of Shannon Tindle and Marc Haimes, and they've done a fantastic job.
Continuing the Laika/Game of Thrones cross over started in Boxtrolls, Kubo is voiced by Art Parkinson (who plays the youngest of the Starks in GoT), with Charlize Theron as Monkey and Matthew McConaughey as Beetle.
It's a beautiful movie though... sad, peaceful, frenetic, original and thoroughly watchable.
yani's rating: 5 paper samurai out of 5
Yes, after making it past the mid point in August and dodging any number of colds and illnesses that have afflicted my co-workers, it finally caught up with me this week.
So it's made the rest of the week a little more challenging.
But starting at the beginning. Last week's soup was equal parts success and disaster... and I say disaster only because I wanted to add a little more spice and flavour to the chicken and vegetable soup I was making. I found a couple of packets of chicken tinga flavouring amongst my pantry and decided to add them both. I'm going to say for future reference that one would have been more than enough. But the soup had a little of everything in it, and a couple of chicken breasts, and I blended the whole thing, chicken included, which was kind of interesting and pretty much successful.
Then I got sick, and as usually happens when I'm sick I either lose most of my appetite or else I get cravings for very specific things. And I think both of those things happened this time. Which would have been fine, had I not already made excessive amounts of soup. Ah well, at least Ma happily accepts all my left over soup.
So this week has been mostly been spent in a bit of a haze... especially at work.
Thursday was Haircut Night. After my last haircut I've been thinking about changing the colour to match in a little more with the uncoloured parts of my hair. In short, to take some of the yellow out and matching it with the silver that's coming in. Well, it's been there for a while to be honest.
The cut is the same, but we got a less brassy tone for the main part of my hair. Tink recommended I get some of that toning shampoo just to add to the toning, so I picked some up today.
Today was fairly standard, all things considered. First the supermarket... and I decided on potato and leek soup for this week, something simple and uncomplicated just in case this cold persists.
Neither of us bought an awful lot to be honest.
And then after we got back and I'd unpacked all my stuff, we decided to head down to Marion (with a brief stop off first at the post office to pick up a parcel).
There was also a brief stop off at Laygo (the Lego store on South Road) since we were going past, mostly to order the next series of minifigures (which I also still need to do a post about)... but I had a nice chat with the guy who runs the place too.
We didn't really do a lot at Marion... I did get a new mouse for my laptop (same brand and model as the last one, but this one is red... to be honest, the black one looked a little better... but red) from Big W, and as I mentioned, picked up some of the toning shampoo (and conditioner).
Then we pretty much headed off to the movies, more on that later, although I will just say that moving to this apartment has very much done a number on our movie going habits, and it was already in decline anyway...
After the movie we stopped off in the new "fresh food" area at Marion at one of the new eateries, Warong, and had some lunch... it was pretty good, although the seating is slightly diabolical.
It'll be interesting to have a proper poke around that area next time, try some of the other food options... but really anything will be an improvement on their food court.
And that was pretty much that to be honest. But at least we were able to stay out of the weather.
No, I can't do 8 hours of purring... not that it's not lovely, but I'd legit fall asleep.
Technically I really should be doing this through my headphones, but I left my headphones back at the office on Friday night.
Also, I realised something this week... I don't know exactly when it happened, but at some point, everybody but me on Instagram stopped using the frames and, as far as I can tell, the filters. Here was I, happily going along using the app the way I thought everyone else was, then I suddenly realised, yeah, you're out on your own there buddy. So I'm attempting to follow the herd. Still using some filters, but not at full strength, and I kinda like the results so far.
But seriously, next time there's a meeting where we all decide something isn't cool anymore, can somebody at least send me a memo afterwards? Thanks.
Oh, and just in case anybody is interested, I've added a widget to the sidebar of the blog that lists all the podcasts I'm currently listening to on a regular basis. And if anybody has suggestions for interesting ones, let me know.
Last Sunday my plan to invent mushroom soup went pretty damn well. I got the idea at some point to roast the mushrooms first, and that was a good plan. Turns out it's really easy to do (well dur... but chop into quarters, toss in olive oil, salt and pepper... then into the oven for about 20 minutes). I also threw in a potato, a turnip and a swede, which kind of bulked things out.
It was a very "and this, and this" kind of soup. I stuck a teaspoon of Vegemite in for flavour, the same with Dijon mustard... and ended with some fairly out of date natural yoghurt to make up for a lack of cream.
Side note, can you guess the downside to listening to rain sounds while typing... yeah, I need to pee...
This week was all a little m'eh.
There was a census on Tuesday... well, there was supposed to be a census, except the website crashed. Looks like it might be up again now though, so I may have to try and fill it out later.
I started watching the series everybody on the internet has a massive nerdboner over, Stranger Things... I'm about two thirds of the way through currently, and yeah, I'm really, really not feeling it. I'm not saying that it's bad, I'm just saying that it still really hasn't grabbed me.
Case in point, I watched two episodes Sunday morning, but wasn't compelled to watch the whole series straight through. In fact, even though I think I watched another one on Sunday night, I didn't go back to it until maybe Thursday. I also wish I could put my finger on why it isn't working. It may be that it's too earnest and I haven't really found a reason to care about the characters that much.
I'm aware that the internet may well gather their pitchforks and torches, but yeah, like I said, a well put together show, just not on my frequency.
Other than that the week was fairly dull. Work got kind of hectic, mostly because I was distracted by some other work and couldn't give anything else my full attention.
Friday we had a morning tea and drinks to celebrate someone leaving... but it was someone I didn't really like all that much, so while I enjoyed the morning tea and went to the drinks, it was most in spite of the person they were for, not because of them.
The drinks didn't really last all that long... at least not as long as last time. But Owlgirl did come in, as did Herschel, so that was nice. And Owlgirl said she had some shopping to do and could only stay for a little while, but hated shopping alone... so I decided that I'd go with her and wander around the shops. To be honest, when we left the drinks were already winding down (and I was only about three drinks in).
So we wandered about looking for whatever it was she wanted, I did take a detour off to the comic book shop for a minute to pick up one of my orders.
Then just before 8:30, we rendezvoused with her BF and they went off, leaving me to grab something for dinner before wandering home.
And when I got home, I found my fan-made Jacob Frye/Assassin's Creed Syndicate pendant waiting for me. It looks pretty good actually. I made need to make a slight modification to it, but the coin is an authentic 1844 shilling, and the necklace is pretty comfortable to wear. And yes, fan-boying pretty hard. But it also doesn't LOOK like I'm fan-boying... because it's just a coin necklace, and if you don't know what it is, you're none-the-wiser.
This morning I managed to get up, do some dishes, have a shower and be dressed albeit without any shoes, when Ma arrived... and I didn't get my ass out of bed until after she'd messaged me to say she was on her way, so that was pretty good.
We did the usual supermarket thing... I honestly have no idea what I'm doing with the soup this week. I just bought a soup pack and a ton of vegetables, so I'm guessing vegetable soup... possibly with chicken, I dunno yet.
When we got back we had to make a quick trip to Coles over at the Village, since we'd forgotten to do that at Norwood, then unpacked and kind of sat around a little bit going...
"I dunno, what do you think?"
"I dunno, what do you think?"
"I dunno, what do YOU think?"
And that never gets us anywhere.
Fortunately I had something of a backup plan, since my bus goes past the art gallery every morning, and I've been seeing a big sign for a Robert Hannaford exhibition for a while now.
Now, before today I knew jack shit about Robert Hannaford, but looking at the four images on the banners outside the gallery, I was pretty sure he was an Australian artist from the 1930's or 1940's, who primarily did male portraits. And both of these things are my bag.
Turns out that technically none of that is true, beyond the Australian bit and the portraits bit.
Robert Hannaford is a South Australian portrait artist who was born in 1944, worked as a political cartoonist and has been a finalist in the Archibald Prize 23 times, winning the People's Choice award three times. And all of the handsome men on the banners outside the gallery were self portraits.
I will say that I fell instantly in love with all of his work. I still can't get over the very 1930's, 1940's vibe that I originally saw, it's definitely there, but even just the self portraits from when he was in his 20's (which I think are most of the banner images), especially the quick pencil sketches and the like, are amazing.
Robert Hannaford - Tom (1987)
This is my favourite though...a portrait of his son Tom from 1987. Putting aside that Tom is a beautiful young man... that amazing, amazing blue against his skin tone... this image doesn't do it the least bit of justice. It just shines like a jewel.
It was also interesting that the gallery had mixed through some other works from their collection, a collection of self portraits, a group of nudes, some large portraits of important leaders, all complimenting Robert's work beautifully.
I was so enamoured by his work that I did something I've never done before... I went to the gallery shop and bought the exhibition book. I'll have to set aside some time and go through it... it's mostly his artwork, but there's a few pieces of text too.
We wandered around the rest of the gallery as well, which we don't do all that often, but it's nice when we do. While I do miss some of the pieces that used to be up (and don't really like some of the new pieces... like the dead horse thing), I do love that they now mix up ancient and modern works into themes rather than time periods.
After we'd finished our wander, we headed down to Burger Theory for lunch. I had the new Burger of the Month... the Diner Burger, which has a hashbrown, egg salad, bacon, BBQ sauce and cheese in addition to the usual beef patty. I can't say it's the tidiest burger I've ever eaten, my fingers were a giant mess once I was done, but it was interesting.
I do think the hash brown got a little lost to be honest... and if memory serves and these were their "made from scratch" hash browns, they were really good. And, as always, the BBQ sauce was lovely. It was just maybe missing a little... something... I can't put my finger on what though. But still tasty.
Then we wandered back to the car and called it a day.
Oh, and I need to remember to go looking for a new wireless mouse next weekend if not before... the one I have currently is losing it's buttonness... I've replaced the battery, but it still doesn't want to click when I click... so maybe time for a new one. Maybe a trip out to Officeworks.
Hmmm... given how badly this is behaving, it may need a trip tomorrow...
Last week's Mulligatawny soup went pretty well, even though I managed to fuck up the amount of lentils that were supposed to be in it, so I pretty much ended up with a much thinner soup than I think I was supposed to have. I think maybe next time I'll double everything except for the spices... don't get me wrong, it's amazing, but it is so damn spicy that by the end of the week I was a little bit over it.
I honestly can't think of anything noteworthy that happened during the week... work was work... I was hoping Friday was going to be fairly quiet since Plaid wasn't around... and it was, for the first couple of hours, and then all the crazy just dropped out of the woodwork.
So I was very glad to walk out of work and then go and do a little wandering and a little shopping in the Mall. Essentially I had to pick something up from Zing and could have just gone straight home from there, but it always feels like a bit of a waste to just do that and not wander around, especially since I no longer have the option of a wander any night of the week (well, I do, but it means going completely the opposite direction from where I'm going).
I hit Zing, I picked up the next couple of books in the series I'm reading at the moment and I grabbed another hair product pack (so much cheaper than buying some individually!), had a poke around a couple of other places and then headed home.
And that was pretty much my week.
Today consisted mostly of the usual arrangement with minor variations.
I had a severe case of apathy during the week, so I needed to do a little housework before Ma arrived... not everything got done, but enough.
I didn't get that much stuff from the supermarket, but the makings for what may be a weird little Frankenstein soup... I'm leaning towards something mushroom, but I don't have a recipe and I'm basically winging it. We'll see how it works out. I just wanted something a lot simpler this time.
We came back here, did the usual unpacking and then headed off to the city. Ma needed some birthday presents and cards, so off we went.
Normally what may have happened is that we would have gone to one place, seen something reasonable, then gone to every other possible store before deciding that the thing we saw in the first store was actually the best thing on offer. I also managed to find something for Owlgirl for Christmas, so that's that already sorted, and we're not even in double digit months yet. And after learning my lesson back in June about the best place to buy greeting cards, we went straight to David Jones and off Ma went... granted I had to steer her back in a more interesting direction when I remembered that one of the cards was for Miss Oh.
Sidebar... I had a little bit of a "WTF" moment when Ma mentioned that Miss Oh is turning 18... what the actual fuckery. I mean I know time passes and everything, but holy fuckballs, when did that happen.
Anyway, we did that, poked around a couple of other places and then pretty much called it quits.
And that's pretty much it...
Yeah, it was a bit of a night... but we'll get to that.
Just as a quick sidebar before we begin. The basic tenant of customer service, as far as I believe, is that if a request has been put to you, then you do your best to fulfil that request, or you communicate with the client. As someone who does some version of that on a daily basis, it's not that fucking hard. However it's also my number one bugbear about the world... is that people are just fucking lazy when it comes to that.
I raised two issues with my landlord when I had my inspection. They sent out the (useless) handyman. He certainly came, he certainly looked at both of the problems. He didn't fix either of them, and I haven't heard anything from either him or the landlord since.
My final tattoo session was cancelled because my artist was sick. The receptionist said that she'd contact me with a new time. I haven't heard anything from them.
If you say to me that I have to contact you again, that's fine... but if the request is last in your hands and you haven't given me any additional information or have said that you'll contact me, then you need to contact me. I don't have the time or the inclination to chase you to make you do your job. I have enough shit of my own to do.
Anyway, sidebar over.
Last Sunday morning I had a powercut. I lazed around in bed for a while, and a little after about 9 or so, the power cut out. Just about the time I was going to get up, put on the TV, fill the sink with hot water and make some breakfast before watching videos on YouTube.
No power meant no TV, no hot water and no internet.
Fortunately I could still light the stove using a match, so I managed breakfast. And I boiled some water on the stove so that I could do the washing up. Fortunately even though I got an SMS saying that the power would be down until 1pm, it was back up within about an hour and a half.
As soon as it came back on I literally dove for the shower and then refilled the sink with hot water to wash my breakfast pots. You know, just in case. But it didn't go off again, so it was fine. I swear though, I hadn't had so many power cuts or power hiccups in all the time I was in North Adelaide than I think I've had since I moved here.
Sunday's soup was pretty good. The pea soup recipe is fairly easy and was pretty tasty.
This week at work wasn't too bad. The lull from the last couple of weeks is officially over, but we're handling it all pretty well so far, which is good.
I feel like there might have been some other random tale to tell from the week... but if there was I'm really not remembering it right now.
Thursday was Haircut Night... so I headed off to Tink's to get my hair did. And we did the usual... short cut, slightly blonde. And talked a lot of random crap.
Given how much grey is currently showing up in the sides of my hair, I'm tempted to try and experiment next time where we try and go for a more ashy/silver/grey colour for my hair generally. You know, just as an experiment.
Friday we organised to have drinks with some of the former members of The Nuthouse... well, actually they organised the drinks. I did have my chiro appointment to go to first though. My normal chiro is on holiday, so I saw the other woman, and that's always a much more invigorating adjustment (which is basically code for her being much more forceful).
Then I made my monthly scheduled visit to the comic book store.
The one "downside" to finding a comic book store where I feel incredibly comfortable (greenlightcomics.com) is that I spend a lot of money. Especially since I've started at least three new graphic novel series and found some interesting looking queer indie comic series.
I rolled up to the second choice pub, since our first choice was holding a wine tasting, and, yeah, I hope we don't end up going there again, it's way too snooty for our crew. We're really not a "bros and straight white girls" bar kind of crew.
I'd only intended to have a couple of drinks and then take myself home... yeah, that didn't fucking happen.
But that's also what happens when people start buying me drinks. If I'm buying my own, the "yeah enough now" is effective, otherwise it's too easy just to go "yeah alright".
Which is why I started drinking rum and dry...
Also, Owlgirl was there, and Hershel was there... and I'm not going to lie, I miss both of them quite a bit. Pixie wasn't there though, which would have been nice.
So I spent quite a bit of time with OG and quite a bit with Hersh, which was nice.
And OG got to clear some air, which she couldn't until she'd had some space and time and distance from the group and the job. It was much needed and I'm glad she got that opportunity.
At a certain point (when most of everyone else has already dropped off and gone home or on to other activities) the staff told us (and by the way, while it was far too snooty, the bar staff, superior eye candy for the most part) they needed to remove our table (yep, just ours) to make a dance floor space... so OG, Hersh, Sprocket and Plaid all decided it was time to move elsewhere.
Well, Hersh, Sprocket and Plaid had a plan, and I had only been catching about half of what everyone said all night because bars will insist on playing fucking music at full fucking volume on a Friday night when people are there to talk not to have to scream over the top of some tosser manhandling an acoustic guitar... sorry, where was I. Oh yeah, plan... they had one, and I heard a sentence that was essentially "susurrus susurrus susurrus susurrus susurrus cocktails"... and that was fine by me.
So we headed off, and where we ended up was The Bibliotheca Bar And Book Exchange. Now I'm not really a bar person, and I'm definitely not a cool, hip bar person... but Bibliotheca is my kind of bar. In large part because books. However when I walked in and saw a giant mural on the wall by my buddy Josh Smith, former owner of Espionage Gallery and now maker of amazing miniatures, well, that was clearly a clue.
And then one of the bartenders brought us the cocktail menus and said to me "you don't recognise me do you?"... and for a second I really didn't... and then his voice registered. It was Charlie, who was the guy who helped Josh out at a number of the Espionage shows towards the end.
And also the point where they set our drinks on fire. Yep, OG and I decided (well, there wasn't really ever any doubt) to get the Harry Potter inspired "Drink Who Shall Not Be Named"... and then sat at the bar while our lovely bartender poured flaming alcohol between two Turkish coffee jugs.
It was really fucking impressive. And the drink, while not my favourite thing I drank all night, and maybe a little stronger tasting than I usually like, was amazing, since it ended up warm and when you sipped it the vapour went up the back of your throat so you were tasting it and smelling it at the same time. It was a hell of a thing.
I did really like the follow up drink though, the Amaretto sour... which was all sweet and fluffy and didn't even taste of booze... and then the daiquiri was a nice clean finish.
OG left first as the BF was picking her up, then Hersh, til it was just Sprocket, Plaid and me... and then we realised it was basically past 11:30 and we all really should be getting our drunk asses home. So we left Plaid to walk one way and Sprocket and I walked back to his bike and then he went one way and I went the other and I, yet again, walked my very drunk ass home.
And stopped at the petrol station to buy a pie because even though I'd stopped off between the comic book shop and the first bar to grab something to eat so I wasn't totally drinking on an empty stomach, I hadn't really had what you could call a proper meal. So petrol station chicken pie... which was actually pretty good.
I got home at 1am, and after some random Snapchatting with Sprocket to ensure he got home okay, I crashed out about half an hour later.
Waking up this morning wasn't the most hung over I've ever been... partly because I had drunk water during the night... but I hadn't had any when I got home... and I was just feeling a little sheedy... somewhere between shady and seedy.
A shower helped, although there wasn't anything helping the fact that I'd spent the evening screaming over the music and I had my "radio announcer" voice happening.
When Ma came down we headed off to do the shopping... I'd decided to make Mulligatawny soup, which at the end of the day is predominantly lentils and spices. After we were done shopping and had come back and unpacked, I discovered that my downstairs neighbours are moving out. I discovered this when they parked a moving van in the driveway. But this was after I'd already put my car away, so it was fine.
Again, we didn't really have a plan... there were movies we COULD have gone to see, but I really wasn't in the mood (and I think I might have fallen asleep to be honest)... so we just headed down to Marion for a general wander.
*cue general wander around Westfield Marion montage*
We poked around all the shops, both bought stuff we really didn't need, got some pies from the bakery for lunch and then headed back here.
And that was about it really. I wouldn't say that I was specifically hung over... but I was definitely fluffy for the whole day.
bloggiversary this week. Yep... eleven years of the stream of consciousness from my fingers to your eyeballs. Scary, huh. And as anyone who's been paying attention will have noticed, the blog, she has pretty much dried up to about a once a week thing.
I'm not planning on shutting things down any time soon, but other than the explosion that is Fringe time when reviews are flying thick and fast across the blog, a once a week thing is about all I'm really up for any more. It's also not like my life is so terribly exciting that I can't sum the whole thing up in a once a week wrap-up.
And yes, the fact that it's my eleventh bloggiversary is the reason why all the image above contain a single item, person or creature... two one's side by side... eleven. Yeah, I got nothing really.
It feels like the overall theme of this week should be "things that should have happened but didn't". Like, me acknowledging that it was my bloggiversary on Monday... I knew it was coming, but somehow I thought it was Tuesday. Other things will become apparent as we go.
Sunday I made some version of potato, leek and bacon soup. Was it the best version I've ever made. No, not it was not. But it was edible, so that's the main thing.
Work was actually a little slow this week... things will return to the regularly scheduled insanity next week, but for now, I took the opportunity to just go a little slower on a lot of things.
Thursday was supposed to be a half day at work followed by my final tattoo session. However they called me first thing on Thursday morning to tell me that my artist had come down with "the lurgy" and had to cancel. Well shit... and after I drove into work and everything.
Friday the handyman was supposed to come and fix the toilet and the extractor fan in the kitchen. I got home Friday night and he'd definitely been here, but pretty sure he just poked around because he didn't actually fix anything. At least he showed up this time. And the fact that he was coming made me do all my necessary housework on Thursday night.
There really isn't anything else to report for the week portion of my week.
Today was fairly standard... got up, got ready, went shopping, came back unpacked.
I'm planning on making the pea soup again this week... which is fairly quick and simple if memory serves, and given that the main ingredient is frozen peas, I didn't end up buying all that much at the supermarket.
Once we were done with that portion of the morning we headed into the city to do some general wandering... I ended up spending a little money at Zing on Pop vinyl toys, then we headed down the other end of the Mall and I bought some new black jeans for work.
Not terribly exciting, but I did need the jeans, and hopefully they won't look quite so much like jeans.
We headed to Burger Theory for some lunch and had the fairly unusual burger of the month, the Meat and Three Veg... which, as it says on the label, had the patty and then three different kinds of vegetables... carrots glazed with some honey... cauliflower puree... and then grilled broccoli. Don't get me wrong, it was interesting... and I'm pretty sure both the carrots and the cauliflower imparted some great flavour... and I like broccoli. It was just... not going to make it into my top ten list of burger of the month.
Then on the way back here we called into Haighs to see what they had going on at the factory shop. I'll just say that I need to make what I bought last for a while.
Given the general uproar about the bugginess of Assassin's Creed Unity when it first game out, I wasn't necessarily expecting it to be a great experience. But given that the game launched in November 2014 and I didn't get around to playing it until sometime after March 2016 a lot of the issues that surrounded its launch weren't present once I booted it up for the first time.
And as with Assassin's Creed III when the whole system was rebooted which made both combat and free running feel fresh and new (although in the case of ACIII's combat I hated the fact that medicine was gone and I couldn't use that while fighting, although I loved all of the updates to the free running), ACU has likewise had a seemingly "from the ground up" reboot. While the majority of the core gameplay remains the same, a lot of the way you approach the world changed significantly and many familiar things feel very different.
Not least of all was the fact that this was the first AC game I played on the Playstation 4. And while I generally don't get too overexcited when it comes to graphics, ACU is a good looking game (which I feel like I've been saying in one form or another since AC Revelations). Plus the sheer number of people in the crowds makes Paris feel like such a lived-in and full city in a way that Venice, Rome and Istanbul don't by comparison.
I liked ACU's reboot to the free running system with the "free-run up" and "free-run down" options (although the fact that it stopped me from flinging myself off the edge of buildings towards other buildings that I know I could have caught hold of was occasionally a little frustrating... granted that has probably been my number one cause of desynchronisation over the whole AC franchise). But the speed that hero, Arno Dorian, scales the buildings, as well as the little flourishes of parkour animation that he does when he reaches the tops of buildings or the group really add something to the free running.
One of the other things I really liked about the free running this time around was that the buildings seemed to be designed to more easily get from one side of the (very, very, very large) city of Paris to the other. The city is designed with many different kinds of architecture and differing building types, however a lot of the rooftops are flat and wide, and cables/ropes are attached between wider gaps making it really easy to get a decent run across the tops of buildings. In some ways it reminded me of a lot of the building design from Assassin's Creed Revelations.
The story feels fairly standard for an Assassin's Creed game, although there are some nice flourishes and the integration of a number of both historical figures (most notably Napoleon Bonaparte and Maquis de Sade) and events (the storming of the Bastille, the execution of King Louis, etc) in a way that feels more immersive than previous AC games.
The main character of Arno Dorian is possibly the most Ezio-like of all the characters, although overall I will say that he's a little bit forgettable from a personality perspective. But he's definitely up in the top of my favourite AC characters. And after several "non assassin" leads, Arno is a return to form as the fully trained character who is involved in the Order.
The love interest angle to the story is actually neither here nor there... Elise is a nice enough character, there's an interesting dynamic in their relationship, but essentially she's just there to push certain story elements (follow her here, defend her from this, find this thing for her etc).
In both the main game and the Dead Kings downloadable content there were two elements that changed the way I ended up playing the game a little. In the main game you're told that the gangs that are roaming the city (coloured red in Eagle Vision) are harassing the populace and have "no right to be doing what they're doing" or something very similar. These are contrasted with the official guards (coloured blue) who just wander around and will attack or chase you if they see you doing something wrong. But just this one line about the gangs, mentioned once, actually had me going out of my way more than once to take them down. I tried my hardest not to kill the guards, but anybody wearing red needed to die and die quickly.
Contrasting that with previous games, where there's only "innocent bystanders" and "guards/villains" and I didn't have quite as much of an objection to just running past people and letting them live. The fact that many of these gangs are random events that once you'd completed X number the game gives you a bonus of some sort (usually cash) didn't hurt, but it was more my moral objection to them that saw them fall under Arno's blade.
And in Dead Kings there's a little boy who is at the centre of the story, and who I got quite attached to, even over the relatively short play time of the game. Basically by the end of the content in my own personal interpretation of what happened next, Arno adopts him and they go on adventures. It made me wonder about a game where you play a mother or a father of a kid who is integral to the plot (maybe they're a sage or somehow historically relevant... to the Order at least)... and how that would change what you're prepared to do.
The addition of a skill tree for advancing the three areas of stealth, melee and ranged combat felt a little broken... or just that there were never enough points on offer to really do all the things I wanted to. And some of them I feel like I unlocked entirely too late in the game for them to be of much use (although I love the disguise skill). Possibly it was because of the multiplayer element baked into the game and the expectation that you'll be completing those missions which would have, in turn, earned you more points.
One of the things I did like about the redesigned combat was the upgraded Phantom Blade (aka Hidden Blade) which fired projectiles in much the same way as the gun upgrade in either ACII or AC Brotherhood worked. And once the berserker/poison was available, I once again found myself letting characters kill each other off while I watched on from the safety of a rooftop rather than engaging people directly. Likewise, for me, the regular projectiles took the place that daggers have held in previous games. I'm basically a sniper, I'm not going to lie. I'd much rather do the deed from afar then get up close and personal. I mean, Arno's an assassin... why the hell wouldn't he do the deed from a safe distance and live to fight another day.
The range of weapon choices in ACU was pretty amazing too. Swords (regular damage), axes (heavy damage), spears (long reach), pistols and rifles (ranged) are all present, in a range of different skins and damage levels, but I decided quite early on that the spear class was where I felt the most comfortable... once again, all about keeping people at a distance... because why the hell wouldn't you? I also like that the fight animation has become fairly sophisticated and Arno will string hits together in unique ways even though you're essentially button mashing.
It also meant that I relied more on the weapon and not as much on the smoke bombs for close combat. In fact I got through the majority of the fights with the spear alone.
And on top of that Arno's hood, shirt, belt, pants, Phantom Blade and boots were all customisable, with, as always, a range of colours. DRESS UPS! Like seriously, the character creation portion/costumes and accessories are what I love in games.
The problem is that often times the highest powered items that I had access to were kind of ugly or looked ugly when mixed with other items (and the matching ones were only accessible though co-op missions). Thankfully the ability to throw a full costume over the top of those choices (like Ezio or Connor or Edward's outfits from previous games) meant you could keep the stats while still having a decent looking character. I did enjoy the range of things, if not always the specific items, though... and I would really love for them to make a game where you design your own ancestor character a little like the character creation process in something like Fallout 4 (part of me still wants to go back and restart FO4 because I'm really not happy with the final design for his character's wife).
Granted I would be designing that character for about three hours before I was happy with his look.
I feel like ACU was one of the most densely packed games, at least as far as collectibles and side missions and the like. Perhaps that was because the story didn't feel like it was really all that long, but there was still plenty to do. But because of the lockpicking minigame (and it's three difficulty levels) and the slow trickle of points to put into skills, this is also the game where I left the most unopened chests and other assorted side quests just sitting there. Part of that was around the multiplayer element they added, where you could play cooperatively with other people to complete missions (which I never did anything with)... there were at least two different kinds of those, plus all the chests, and the other collectibles. When I finished the game, my map almost looked like I'd never even started.
Speaking of side missions, one of the additions that I did really like was the Murder Mysteries. These mostly relied on using Eagle Vision to look for clue markers/people and then solving whatever grisly murder you're discover. It was a definite change of pace, and although occasionally felt somewhat like busywork running from one location to another and then another and then another, only to usually run back to one of the earlier locations to accuse someone, I enjoyed all of those missions. There was only one of them where I was unsure of the culprit and had to resort to looking it up online. And that was more about a choice of two possible villains, and the one I thought was more likely turned out to be the killer.
Also adding a different element were the Paris Stories, often based on actual historical occurrences (I'm pretty sure the murders were likewise at least historically inspired) or French literature. Essentially these are mini-missions broken into three or four parts, they were closer to normal AC gameplay, but not entwined in the main story.
So even with the small number of flaws and the issues that happened when it launched, I actually really enjoyed my time in Revolutionary Paris.
I tried to like this game, I really, really did. But I just couldn't take any more sailing. Add to that a protagonist who is somewhat unlikeable as he works against everything that players have been taught in all the previous games and it just wasn't working for me.
I actually played this before I started Unity... but given that this is more a short catalogue on why it didn't really work for me than a full description, I figured it made more sense to slot it in under the Unity part.
It feels like Ubisoft have been trying to present a "the Assassin's aren't totally right and the Templars aren't totally wrong" overarching storyline for the last few games. Starting with ACIII and the *spoilers* revelation that the group of men you're been following are actually Templars and not Assassins *end spoilers*, through to a number of deaths in that game where the dying character spreads doubt to Connor that whatever reason he thought he was killing them was essentially flawed in some way. While I appreciate the idea, and especially if they were setting up the idea behind AC Rogue in ACIII (it does share a couple of characters and some locations, so it's possible), but I want my good guys to be good and my bad guys to be bad... none of this wishy washy middle ground.
So at its heart the idea of playing a character from "the other side" was interesting, but may have been more compelling if they'd been a Templar from the start, rather than an assassin switching sides. But then that kind of means you lose a lot of the Assassin's Creed mechanics. Or maybe they started the game as a Templar and you learn about their assassin history as the game progresses.
The gameplay of Rogue is a mix of both ACIII and AC Black Flag (mostly the American cities and a metric ton of sailing from place to place respectively), but as I said, given that I'd just spent the whole of Black Flag sailing from place to place to place, and upgrading my boat and whatnot, I really didn't want to start over from scratch with a completely new character and do more of it. Plus the fact that the setting was a location where you couldn't even swim in the water without freezing to death (I did a lot of swimming around in Black Flag), I just couldn't get that interested.
I got a few hours in and just lost interest. And now that've packed up my PS3, it's highly doubtful I'll even both revisiting it.
See also: Honor the Creed and Assassin's Creed Black Flag
I spent quite a large portion of Sunday cleaning the house... from more or less when I woke up to about 2pm in fact. Granted that wasn't flat-out hard-core cleaning, but I did get almost everything done. But given that the inspection wasn't until Thursday, I had a little extra time to do some of the last minute things later in the week.
Then the evening was taken up with me having another crack at chicken noodle soup. And I think I hit it a little out of the park I have to say. The down side is that I don't remember precisely what I did. I know I went light on the carrots, and used both leek and onion, and bacon and about six litres of stock to ensure it was suitably soupy and didn't get too thick. I also included three chicken breasts, which I poached in the soup before taking them out, shredding them, blending the soup and returning them.
And because I didn't think I had any of the angel hair pasta (which I discovered that I did today, but only after I bought another packet), I broke up some spaghetti and used that instead. I possibly should have broken it up even smaller, but it did do the job.
I know that some of it is just me being me... and I understand some of the other reasons, but it still annoys me a little. And if I end up winning the position I'm doing (when it finally gets advertised), I'll expect some things to change. But for now, I remind myself that a good portion of it is my own brain working against me.
I finished off the last of the cleaning and organising for the inspection on Wednesday night then went out and got pizza so I didn't have to worry about doing any dishes or cleaning up once again.
When I got home on Thursday night, the note I'd left out for the rental agent was gone, but unlike last time when she'd left the note with additional commentary on it and photographed it, this time it was just gone. And unlike in the old apartment, there was no inspection sheet left behind. So I'm guessing everything was fine. But can I just mention that compared with my last agent, this one both sucks and blows.
Ma messaged me fairly early on in my trip around the supermarket to say she was on her way down, but fortunately I had more than enough time to finish shopping, come home and unpack almost everything before she arrived.
As the photos and the title of this post indicate, we had a Fork on the Road to attend down at Port Adelaide, but it didn't start until noon and we didn't really have anything else planned, so we just decided to have a poke around the shops until it was time to head off to Fork.
We started with the Kmart on Anzac Highway... mostly that was just a general wander... and then since we had to head down to the Port anyway, we ended up at West Lakes for another wander. Then we headed off to the Port.
It's been a while since we've been to a Fork... well, just over a year to be exact, and in the same location. Part of the problem is that they keep doing Fork on the Road on Sundays, and I'm usually less bothered about going on my own.
And maybe I was spoiled by some of the really, really big Forks I've been to previously, but this one felt a little small. I mean the weather was nice and everything, but, yeah, kind of small. And the fact that it's now on the south side of the mill instead of the north side, it does feel more cramped with very narrow paths between some of the trucks, which doesn't help traffic flow.
It was nice to see the boys from Burger Theory on site... I do sometimes wonder if they every sit back and look at the other trucks and take pride that they were really the first Adelaide truck and really the one that started it all (or at least they are as far as I'm aware).
We started with Burger Theory of course, partly because they'd only just opened and the line was short... I had a craving for a cheeseburger and Ma tried the falafel burger (which is fast becoming one of my favourite items on the menu), which she enjoyed. And while were were sitting down eating our burgers I noticed long time Twitter friend Prakky taking photos, so when we went to get our next course (tacos from Tacocat) I stopped and said hello, which was nice.
And we finished off with honey puffs from the Honey Ladies... always a good way to end.