Categories
*.BAK

Glengoyne 12 Year Old

4th taster from the Advent Calendar.

Some people describe it as easy, and I’d agree. It is not overpowering, just slightly malty, you don’t feel the 43%, but it numbs the mouth nicely. For 45GBP, you can’t wish for much more.

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*.JPG

Shigurui

One cannot escape Berserk legacy.
Here we have the “white”, feminine swordsman that aims to marry the daughter of the dojo master while sleeping with his mistress, the crazy yet dangerous dojo master, and the “black” swordsman, that even trains for a two handed sword to get stronger.
The “white” swordsman is so ambitious, that he even kills his mother, because she was a prostitute, and that would endanger his goal of becoming a samurai.
Shonen is often structured about techniques. Here, the characters are obsessed about 3 things:
– Grip. You’ll see a lot of characters holding a sword between two fingers, instead of in their palm, like normal person would
– Counter-grip. This is supposed to add more speed to the sword, like a bow string. The crazy dojo master secret technique is to hold the sword between the thumb and the index finger of his hand, while the blind psycho holds it with the two fingers of his leg
– Increasing the reach. For that, characters would hold their sword with two fingers by the tip of its handle, instead, just holding it like a normal person would. Well, at least they don’t throw their swords

Categories
PC Gaming

Fuga: Melodies of Steel

Slightly melancholic JRPG about Nazi dogs kidnapping a French cats village, and six children from that village commandeering a tank and trying to save their families. Of course Valkyria Chronicles comes to mind here.
It plays as a linear set of battles, with some visual novel breaks in between, where you pick which characters to bond, similar to later Fire Emblem games. Bonded characters get special attacks when they are put together in the same turret.
The fights are turn-based with priority. You try to exploit enemy weaknesses to one of three types of ordnance to push them down in priority, ideally destroying some of them before they manage to attack you.
If your crew dies, you just have to repeat a few battles. It is explained as time-travel in the story, though.

Categories
*.JPG

Shigurui

Body horror is something Miura, may his name be forever blessed, established 35 years ago. After all Gatz is introduced as one-armed-swordsman in the very first chapter of Berserk.
Still, Shigurui does take it up a notch or two, with a duel between one-handed-swordsman and a blind and limping swordsman, following up with a six-fingered swordsman.
As base as that sounds, there are a lot of very interesting historical details there. The samurai are concerned with how much “koku” (a measure of rice) they earn, or what how many servants they could afford if they marry daughter of the head of the dojo.
The entire story is a puzzle box in itself. A story within a story within a story. 22 swordsmen are gathered to participate in a tournament with real swords. And as the first battle commences, we are told about the history of those two swordsmen. And as we are told about the history, we are told about numerous legends surrounding those swordsmen.

Categories
*.BAK

Glen Moray 2014 Oloroso Matured

3rd bottle from the advent calendar. This one is down my lane, so to speak: sweet and warm. Something I would definitely buy for myself:

https://www.masterofmalt.com/whiskies/glen-moray/glen-moray-2014-oloroso-matured-warehouse-1-whisky/

78GBP for what is basically 10 years old whiskey is a bit steep, but is definitely a nice discovery.

Categories
*.DOC *.MP3

Small Town in Germany, John le Carre

“Young Germans don’t blame their parents for starting the war. They blame them for losing it.”

Out of all John le Carre novels I’ve listened to until now, this is probably the best novel in terms of narrative yet. And it’s not really a spy novel, again! It’s a classical noir novel, with a “detective” in a trench coat, corrupt cops, unfaithful wives, and… Nazis.
The best part of the book, that made me laugh out loud, was the dinner that the head of Chancery, Bradfield, hosts. How the German and Dutch swear their “allegiance” to Britain, “my son studies there, my daughter studies there,” is so similar to how 50 years later, every Russian oligarch still sends their kids to study in Great Britain.
On a more serious and more nuanced tone, the book discusses what is the age of the Nazis’ crimes. Should they be forgiven in ’45? ’55? ’65? Never? Why is one arbitrary date better than the other?
And of course, common to le Carre is the theme of abandonment by your country, in this case, of a hunter for Nazis and a Jew asked to “forgive and forget.”

Categories
*.AVI

Clarkson’s Farm S01

Finished first season of Clarkson’s Farm. I’m not sure how relatable it is for people outside of the UK, but for someone who’s been living there for quite a while, it’s spot-on. And has a lot of interesting details about what it involves to be a farmer.

For me, the most interesting part were the sheep. The relatioship of Jeremy genuinely caring for them, but then also liking the fact that boxes of mutton sell well and shepherds pie is tasty.

And as a bonus, there are those glimpses of British wildlife, like foxes, stupid deer and ridiculous owls.

Categories
*.AVI

Dungeons and Dragons

I’m simply amazed how much meaningful content they managed to squeeze into two hours of screen time. Time to wonder why Star Wars are not able to do the same. But we all know the answer, don’t we?
There is clear motivation for every character, there are brief but accurate explanations of the world setting, and each episode has it’s own well defined mood. Just the episode where heroes had to speak with dead barbarians could redeem another movie in my eyes.

 

 

Underdark action scenes are mind-blowing.

 

Standoff between two wizards is even better.

 

 

And there is a lot of respect to the source material, tons of references, instead of just making stuff up.

Categories
*.BAK

Samsonite Ecodiver Travel S backpack

 

I’ve been using North Face backpacks for many years now. And grew slightly disillusioned by them with time. So after trying out a couple of Samsonite backpacks at the airport, I decided to give them a chance.
Ecodiver line is the water resisting one. That’s easy. Considering the fact that my North Face Surge got soaked quite a few times, I view it as a considerable benefit. The more complicated part is that inside the lineup, there’s Travel Backpack and Laptop Backpack. And smallest Travel Backpack (38L) is larger than the largest Laptop Backpack (26L). Since my surge is 32L and I don’t consider it to be too large for my needs, I went with Travel S model.
Things I like:

  • Two pairs of compression straps, top and bottom
  • Vertical organizers in the large compartment. This is useful for storing a water bottle, for example.
  • The external side compartment also has a zip pocket. On Surge, those were open, and stuff would fall out of it unless you secure them

Things I’m neutral about:

  • The glasses compartment is a mesh inside the large compartment. Don’t see why, could be made a small compartment accessible from the outside and still be waterproof

Things I don’t like that much:

  • Hip belt can be tucked away, but you can’t remove it. I never used hip belt, and don’t expect to, so I’d prefer it to be removable
  • I’d prefer two side pockets instead of one.
Categories
*.BAK

St.Bernardus Christmas Ale

I was looking forward to try this beer, but it turned out into a slight disappointment. It’s not particularly bad, and didn’t leave me with a headache or anything like that, but it just didn’t taste anything special. Not too sweet, not too spicy. Just… alright, I guess.

 

https://triplebrewonline.eu/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/370.jpg

Categories
*.BAK

MtG memories

When I was a kid, our local game store had a poster of Magic the Gathering on its door. I’m not even sure if it sold any, or it was just there. But for some reason, two cards in particular scared me for some reason. Just found them:

Both from the Arabian Nights expansion.

Categories
PC Gaming

Graven

The game made me rage-quit a couple of times. But that is something you should never do. When you quit, enemies respawn. And your valuable ammo does not.
The fight with the Archivist boss instead of being fun felt mostly annoying. The boss can pass through walls, has a ranged attack that kills you in two hits. And another attack which slowly drains your health, apparently? I couldn’t figure out how it works, and the game doesn’t explain it properly. And it can kill you as soon as you respawn. Sounds like fun?
Not as “fun” as backtracking without a map and with tons of respawned enemies. Funny enough, judging by the few game guides, there was a map at some point, until it was removed.
Inadvertently I finished the first episode. I expected that I’d be able to finish some quests, as meaningless as they are, but I was thrown right into the second one.
I rarely drop games, but I think for Graven, I’ll make an exception. Which is a shame, I did enjoy the art style. But the lack of saves, a map, and a combination of too many enemies and not enough ammo, coupled with some bugs ruined it for me.

Categories
*.BAK

Eureka Mignon Libra coffee grinder

I wanted a grind-by-weight coffee grinder since I bought my first coffee grinder, Compak K3 some 7 years ago. At the time, there was only Baratza Sette 270Wi. Strangely, seven years later, there aren’t many choices either: either same 270Wi or Eureka Mignon Libra. There are mixed opinions regarding Baratza’s connical burrs design and it’s ability to grind for espresso. So, I decided to give Eureka a chance.
First few impressions:
Tiny. With the hopper, it is as tall as K3 without one, and much shorter. The feel if very compact.
Sharp edges. Compak is all round. The machine is round cone, the hopper is a round “hat”. Eureka is all angles, so sharp I almost cut myself getting it out of the box.
Smooth and clean. Eureka is known for making very quiet coffee grinders. While not very important for me, it is noticeably quieter. What was far more important for me, and one of the reasons I finally decided to get a new grinder, is the clumps and distribution. In the meantime, the coffee is clumpless, and comes out as in the videos, in an even stream. That also means that despite me not getting my funnel yet, it doesn’t leave as much mess as Compak does.
Now, I still haven’t dialed the grind, simply because I didn’t want to waste coffee. So maybe it will get clumps once I grind finer. We’ll see soon enough.

Categories
PC Gaming

Graven

I expected Hexen 2 or maybe Heretic 2, but it feels more like Strife, with a proper town to explore, or even Arx Fatalis, as you expected to throw boxes around and burn wooden planks with fire spells.
It only takes a few hits for you to fall. Unreal was also quite unforgiving, but at least there was a save/load option. Here, I died a couple of times because I didn’t understand that there’s a lot of stuff that can blow up. Not just red barrels, but also red crates (no, they don’t contain ammo) and what I considered some altars, and turned out to be piles of tar. When you die, you lose some money.
Flying enemies are a bane in most FPS games. But here, they are tiny, hard to hit, almost black, and have an AoE attack that kills you in a couple of hits.

Categories
*.AVI

Succession S01

Completed first season of Succession.
It became my “flight series”, as I could watch it during takeoff and landing from my phone, as there isn’t much in terms of visuals.
Interesting how a story can be hyper-realistic and absurd at the same time. Kind of like Breaking Bad, I guess. But not as bad.
There are not a single character with redeeming qualities in those series. And no clear morals.
Does it make sense to continue buying cable stations, or should the company pivot? Is it immoral to sell family business, if the business is run by a demented tyrant, Logan? Would his weak son, Kendal, be a better alternative? Maybe by the end of the series there will be some conclusive answers. But that’s not a course in company management, after all.

Categories
*.AVI

Big Short

I didn’t expect to enjoy it so much. Christian Bale and the guy from Blade Runner are great, but there is also the guy from Midnight Mass, and hilariously Kendal from Succession . And the evil guy from Umbrella Academy. Damn, I forgot the Umbrella Academy.
Breaking the 4th wall, led by Ryan Gosling, is something that movie does hilariously well.
The general tone reminded me of Dopesick, though. Everyone was “just doing their job”, “playing a system just a little”, and it all ended up in a huge disaster. But nobody paid the price for it. Except us, of course.

Categories
PC Gaming

Unto The End

Completed Unto The End.
I think that there’s a fine line between being vague and obscure. At some points you’re asked to make an offering or a trade, and it’s not clear what exactly is expected. I guess I guessed luckily and assembled a Wanderer’s Totem, that let me past the “Ancient One”. But I have no idea what would have happened otherwise.

One annoying bit is that the game has frequent checkpoints, but it doesn’t allow you to revert to the last one. The only option is to start the game from the very beginning. And sometimes you do get in an unfavorable situation, like not being able to see your enemies behind obstacles or losing your last torch, stumbling in darkness, unable to progress or die.

Some fights felt like too much guesswork for me too. In those case, you’d be lucky to have a spare spear. And I just ran past some of the enemies. Often they’ll leave you alone if you do.
Only on the last boss I discovered that there’s a setting to slow down fights. To my defence, I didn’t know it’s the last boss either. It’s not graceful, as it slows everything, including character movement. Luckily, the boss is quite fair and takes only a few hits to go down.

Categories
PC Gaming

Unto the End

This is an interesting mix. Minimalistic interface, slow moving character and traps resemble a limboid. But there are fighting mechanics, with telegraphing enemies, resembling soulslike.

Desktop-Screenshot-2024-01-25-21-42-17-53

But then there’s no visible stamina, and no penalty for death, no bloodstains. There are campfires, though. There’s also roll vs block mechanic, but here the game adds something I haven’t seen in this genre, although it appears in fightings: high and low blocks. Every enemy telegraphs a chain of high and low attacks, and if you block all of them, you can riposte.

Desktop-Screenshot-2024-01-25-22-33-47-96
One nice detail is that you can upgrade your armor by collecting different junk, and it changes your appearance slightly.

Categories
*.BAK

Loch Lomond Spearhead Whiskey,

2nd taster from the Advent Calendar.

https://www.masterofmalt.com/whiskies/spearhead/spearhead-whisky/

I guessed right that it’s 30GBP whiskey. It doesn’t smell of anything but alcohol to me, and doesn’t taste like much. If I was told it’s an Irish whiskey, I would probably believe it.

Categories
PC Gaming

Chorus

Completed Chorus.
It’s quite a spectacular game, in the most direct sense. You’d rarely see more magnificent space battles as the backdrop of your exploits.
The final battle with “the Dragon” can get overwhelming a bit: swarms of nanomachines, space rays, and meteorites (what?) flying at you from all directions, while you need to chase the ever-rotating serpent. But thanks to checkpoints, it never gets to the point of being truly annoying.

Chorus-2024-01-22-22-08-18-02-mp4-000534-449
The story is exactly what you’d expect: a Mass Effect, gather everyone together the beat the Cosmic Evil kind of story. But it’s well executed, in a classic sense.
Funny that although at the beginning, the game tried to force you to switch between weapons, by the end you can do fine with just the minigun.
And the final episode where you just spear through frigates is again, just spectacular.