Blaugust Prompt #13 – 5 Facts

Jen from Bookofjen has a prompt for us: 

Tell us five things about yourself!

Thanks for the prompt, Jen! Check her blog out! The next one in line is Heather from Geeking By! Check her blog out as well! 🙂

This post is part of the Blaugust 2020 event. Wanna know more about it? Then check out my post on it or Bel’s post where he also linked everyone who’s participating! Be sure to check out the others as well!

Alas, the five-fact-list is starting now… This one should be not too depressing!

Fact 1: I’m getting better at cooking.

This should be no surprise since I’ve lived alone for nearly two years now (The 3rd of September marks the beginning of the third year!) but I actually am getting better at that cooking business.

Over time, I’m really good at knowing what spices and what things are missing in dishes and I’m very good at spicing up veggies, for instance. I don’t have too many mishaps anymore with too much salt or too much pepper and am also getting better at cooking meat through to certain points.

That’s something that I’ve been excited about lately. After all, food is important but it should also taste good and since I love cooking for other people, including friends and my girlfriend, I want them to enjoy their food as well. 

The things I work on right now is getting faster and more confident with the knives and actually being able to create dishes that look good. 

The latter is somewhat of a bad habit of mine where I don’t care about the look of the food if it’s food for “only” me. I’ll eat it regardless of how it looks… but I wouldn’t want to take a dump on other people’s plates and serve it to them, so I’m trying to get better at actually making it look good. For that, I tend to take a look at different veggies and their colours and stuff to essentially balance out the colour palette. Before cooking them, I tend to boil them for a bit before putting them into cold water… “to blanch” veggies is very good to stop them from cooking too much and losing their colour, which is important in the case of sweet potatoes who turn brown instead of orange… or beans that lose a lot of their green. You can also peel off tomato skins using that method.

Hence, I go through a bit more of an effort to make the actual dish look good. Forming the rice is also really nice… experimenting with the look and presentation of the sauce on the plate… that kinda stuff. 

The former thing about knives is a bit of a fear of mine. Before I started my blog, I accidentally stabbed myself with a knife into the left hand. So, now, I tend to be super scared of using knives since I don’t want to cause another red wedding in my flat, worrying everyone and passing out on the floor and stuff. 

To get better at knife-work, I try to challenge myself while cutting up veggies and to try and filet meat easier while also trying out different techniques… overall, it’s a process and I’m excited about getting better at it.

Fact 2: I hate tier lists.

While maybe surprising, I hate tier lists like this one. I don’t enjoy writing about something without connecting different dots in some way together. Lists don’t have anything to do with knife-work or food. Shopping lists are handy but as a post? I’d hate that! So, let’s try and get this over with…

Maybe, it’s a bit of an ego-issue but I tend to devalue posts like “top 20 games budgets” that essentially represent a five-minute Google search… Obviously, these posts also take work… obviously, they are also a time investment for the author. But I just don’t like them. My list right now already took more time to write than their post over there – and yet, it’s content produced for the masses. Stuff, that people enjoy and like. 

I hate it. I devalue it and I doubt that’s a bad thing either. It’s just opinion that I don’t rate posts about facts or lists or whatever highly.

I’ll hate this post, even if it probably does a lot better than my other posts. 

Fact 3: I enjoy anime.

This one is probably no surprise after the manga review that I did on Girl By The Sea or after talking about Necrobarista and Milky Way Prince. 

Generally, I wouldn’t consider myself a “fan” as the fandom consists of weebs and self-proclaimed “otakus” that constantly use at least one Japanese word per sentence… and I also don’t like a lot of the gatekeeping and hate that is going on in the fandom… and the sexism, bigotry and double standards… and the harassment of cosplayers… and the number of people thirsting over girls while obviously being toxic assholes… yeah, I don’t want to be part of that community.

But at the same, I guess I’m a “fan” since I enjoy a fair amount of anime and watched a fair amount myself so far and since I still actively watch shows whose episodes come out every week… it’s just that I don’t enjoy all of the fandom-aspects of it. I talked about it for a bit in the fandom-post a while back… But there are a lot of things that I’ve left uncommented…

Fact 4: My favourite numbers are 17 and 19.

Honestly, I don’t know why people would choose any other numbers… 19 is my absolute favourite number, so I had the habit of using it a lot when I created exercises for students of mine… but sometimes, when they were about to notice, I’d use (the inferior… but also really pretty) 17 to confuse them. They are both prime numbers as well, which is quite cool! 

A past professor of mine really liked 15 and 28. What a weirdo. 

And a friend of mine really liked 5/7, though I can understand that he liked that number a lot… 

…I really hope that I meet normal friends when I study English studies. I really hope that we can talk about normal stuff… my math friends were weird and they made me even weirder. 

Fact 5: I used to do Kendo, Iaido, Iodo and Muay Thai.

Okay, the latter was something that I initially wanted to do… but I ended up not being able to since I moved away shortly afterwards… but I did train Kendo (The Way of the Sword), Iaido (The Way of the Drawing of the Sword), and Iodo (The Way of the Stick) for a bit more than a year. 

It was a lot of fun and helped me with a lot of issues from my posture to my self-discipline to anger-management, I guess. I really enjoyed it when I passed one of the exams, the 6th Kyu (it’s the first thing you do and it goes down to the 1st Kyu and then you get the 1st Dan, all the way up to the 6th – at least in Germany).

Quite often, we’d travel somewhere as well to learn more about other schools and techniques and we’d also have joint exercises with other schools and dojos. Once, we had a workshop of sorts with other dojos of other martial arts and we were able to experience some more Iaido taught to us by a 4th Dan who passed the exam for the 5th in Japan (!) but didn’t accept it since he felt that he didn’t deserve it yet. I even got to learn a bit of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and we did some exercises on Kung Fu, or specifically the Pak Sao techniques. 

Sadly, it didn’t work out with that since I had to work, I had my girlfriend at the time, school stuff, the training, and lots more going on. In the end, I had to make the right call and prioritize something… 

When I had less work, I wanted to train something again, and Muay Thai seemed like a cool thing that I could enjoy, mainly since my ex-girlfriend at the time talked a lot about it. My long legs were quite optimal for it since I had the necessary speed and height to kick people’s head without them reaching me but sadly, I couldn’t practice it too much… Once the “Rona” stops, I may actually pick it up again and start over. I would have loved to do Iaido or Iodo again but I don’t have my old equip anymore…

Cheers!

TSS#71 – Blaugust Prompt #5 – Rituals?

This brings me back a bit but I actually talked about today’s prompt before when I just started blogging and when I entered Blaugust for the first time last year. It feels like ages but it’s only been a year since I wrote about this. Today’s prompt is the following: 

Everyone has specific rituals that they follow, tell us about one of yours.

The post that everwake is hosting over here is quite similar to an older post over here. Rituals… there are a bunch that I actually follow. 

For instance, I used to do Kendo, Iaido and Iodo for three years a while back and in our Dojo (or potentially all Dojos?) we had to do a small bow whenever we entered the room in the direction of the corner that is the farthest from the door. Essentially, you’re bowing to the “Elders” in spirit that have trained there before you. I’m not training any sword-fighting anymore but I am still doing that whenever I enter halls… probably out of habit. I mean, I don’t do a full-on bow (90°) but rather just a tiny one… like a nod, I guess? 

One of my rituals also includes watching my plants in Viridi grow!

I feel like that ritual is more of a habit, but despite that, I still follow it. I don’t try to get rid of that habit. I rather go with it since it doesn’t harm me and also doesn’t require too much energy to do. It’s mostly subconscious and just every now and then someone points it out, asking why I did that. Rarely do I ever notice myself doing it but honestly, I wouldn’t care. If there are “spirits” or “ghosts” of the people that trained there before you, I’d like to pay them respects. Imagine angering them or being rude towards them while using the same halls as them. That’d suck.

And if we stay on the topic of sports, I actually used to play Volleyball. I wasn’t really good at all that much apart from the front positions due… but I was nearly excellent at the service. I’d be able to land six or seven points in a row due to me landing the ball exactly on the backline so that people would think that’s it out of the field… but it’s actually still in there. 

To get those points and to be able to service that well, I followed a stupid ritual of me dribbling the ball three times in specific spots before then holding up the ball in front of me and then just slamming it away. My service was good but I sucked at everything else, so naturally, I’d try to get as many points out of my service as possible to make up for my lacking skill… and it worked. Those stupid rituals annoyed everyone but it really helped me do well. 

And when it comes to blogging, I tend to get some coffee in the morning or make some tea during at later hour before writing. I tend to forget about my tea/coffee during the writing process but I like the smell while writing and I made it a habit of mine to drink it beforehand… cold coffee is alright… but nothing goes against some hot coffee in the morning, y’know?

I noticed that I tend to make herbal teas for when I write reviews and fruit teas for when I write Stray Sheep. I love Camomile tea, for instance! Or some mint tea… I have nice liquorice root and mint flavoured tea over here that tastes really well and is able to make my day no matter what’s going on outside… of course, green and black teas are also awesome! For my birthday, I received some nice Oolong and Jasmine tea here, though I tend to get a whole can of that stuff usually.

Plants are cute!

I don’t usually believe in superstition or rituals like that but I tend to follow a lot of them. I probably am following a bunch of rituals and routines without even noticing them. Another stupid one would be that I always spit three times when I brush my teeth. I don’t know why but more or less than that just feel weird… and maybe my OCD just gets triggered when I do it four times or two times… 

And well, definitions are also a thing. Some of these “rituals” could actually just be habits. To begin with, is something really a routine or a habit if you’re not doing it with the intention of doing it? If you’re subconsciously taking a bow before entering a hall, is that really a ritual or maybe just some habit? 

In the end, it doesn’t matter though. Routines help you organize and structurize tasks and schedules. Without them, a lot of things would suck a bunch more… Without routines, you forget important steps. Without rituals, you may not get motivated enough to write up a post or get some work done, for instance. Without some of these habits, you wouldn’t be as successful, I reckon! 

Routines are nice and I like that I have some in my life. The same goes of course for rituals, superstition, and habits – subconscious or conscious doesn’t matter in that regard. Of course, there are bad habits but I’m getting rid of those slowly over time, I’d say. 

Read everwake’s post over here and check out Wilhelm from The Ancient Gaming Noob over here as he’s hosting the next prompt!

Cheers!

This post is part of the Blaugust 2020 event. Wanna know more about it? Then check out my post on it or Bel’s post where he also linked everyone who’s participating! Be sure to check out the others as well!

Indietail – Pool Panic

I’ve never been a fan of games that had anything to do with sports. There’re football games, soccer games, golf games, and… well, pool games. Speaking of pool games, today’s review is about Pool Panic! 

Developer: Rekim Games
Publisher: Adult Swim Games
Genres: Sports, Indie, Puzzle, Adventure, Action
Release Date: July 19, 2018
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC, Switch
Copy was purchased

Pool Panic takes the classic approach of pool or billiards games and flips it the bird. There are 100+ levels in a ton of different settings and areas that all feature different mechanics that make this game feel like more of a puzzle game than an actual sports game. 

“It’s the least realistic pool simulator!”

– Rekim Games

You’re a walking pool cue ball that’s navigating through the world to uhm… beat all levels. The store page claims that the game plays best with a controller but I personally found the mouse and keyboard controls to be a lot easier to handle. 

Your goal for each level is to toss most to all other pool balls into the pockets before putting in the 8-ball and finally walking down the pocket yourself. Most of the time, though, there’s a twist. On top of the normal goals, there’re also side goals which include “no fouls” (pocketing the cue ball), finishing the level in a set amount of time, finishing it with only so many strokes, and finishing the level with all balls pocketed! You can complete these missions one step at the time or try to achieve them all at once, which leads to a bigger challenge, however, I so far only went for those redos to get them all but never tried to achieve all at once. 

But that seems rather realistic, right? Well, here comes the puzzle-aspect into play:

You need a certain amount of balls in the holes to finish the level, so the game makes it harder for you by throwing in all kinds of random elements at you. In one level, for instance, I had to sacrifice humans to a monster in a cave, then sacrifice their remains to our Lord and Saviour C’thulhu (just kidding, it was just a random altar for probably someone else) to unlock the whole, before eventually pocketing that 8-ball! In another I was running a marathon, there was also a fishing level or an air hockey level, a spider level, and overall there are just way too many different levels in all kinds of different worlds! 

I really liked one level in a medieval area where you’ve got to take part in a jousting tournament but my favourite probably was one of the earlier levels where you’ve got to bait raccoons with meat from the BBQ before then pocketing all those boy scouts and raccoons! 

There’s a huge overworld with a ton of different areas!

The overworld is relatively open with only a few barricades here and there. To proceed into new areas, you’ve got to finish previous levels, resulting in you gaining a way to overcome those barricades. There was a horde of bears stopping me in one place, so naturally, I had to find the bear hunter to scare those bears away!

But then again, you usually can access a lot of areas to some degree without having completed the earlier areas. I definitely would recommend checking out other areas in between if you’re getting frustrated with certain levels.

Speaking of bear hunters, bears and spiders: They’re all presented in the form of legged billiard balls. 

There is a huge variety of billiard balls in all kinds of colours that each have different effects and properties. Some balls are scared when you look at them, some balls that throw you when you get too close to them, and some balls that cause little earthquakes to happen when you annoy them. There are even goalkeeper-balls with arms that stop you from pocketing other balls and dancing balls that dodge your cue ball if you aim at them directly!

Presentation-wise Pool Panic really reminded me of Adult Swim for some reason. It uses vibrant colours and the world is truly unique – and also fun to walk on. The Adult Swim-iness probably was a feeling I had when I looked at some of the balls’ faces that were terrified by me aiming my cue at them and eventually sending them down the rabbit ho– I mean, pocket! Pool Panic uses a vibrant colour palette and some great music by Grandmaster Gareth. The colours, music, and animation are really fitting for a title that is so unique and… droll!

But although Pool Panic is shining when it comes to the world, the presentation and the creativity, I must say that it’s a bit frustrating to control.

I’ve mentioned that I preferred the mouse+keyboard controls before, and I must say that that’s mostly due to the fact that it’s near to unplayable with a gamepad. Even with a mouse however, there may be times where the game acts up, e.g. after locking onto a ball. Sometimes you just try to tune the direction a little bit and your cue just goes crazy! Luckily, after a bit of fine-tuning in the sensitivity department, it becomes playable and a lot less frustrating. I still would call the need for tuning here a flaw, though.

Overall, Pool Panic is indeed the least realistic billiard game I know!

The puzzling-aspects are great, there’s always a new take on levels, the different balls are brilliant in their facial expressions and overall I had a blast playing it. The controls might be a bit frustrating for quite some time but I was able to return to it after a break and play on, so I guess, it’s manageable. On top of that it also has co-op, a versus mode, a ton of achievements, some extra challenges, and the Panic Mode where you’re fighting against the clock! So, there is a lot of value in here! Hence the recommendation. 🙂

Have a nice day!

I’m taking part in this year’s #IntPiPoMo. If you’d like to participate or get to know the other participants, feel free to check this post out!