Cup of Ice and Fire

It has been something like twenty years, but it has finally returned: Cinnamon-flavored Slurpees!

cinnamonslurpee

I had only seen this flavor once, many many years ago.  The flavor wasn’t really all that great, but the experience was something entirely new: an icy cold drink which burned my mouth.  I never, ever thought I’d see this flavor of Slurpee ever again.

It’s not really a crazy hot flavor or anything.  It does have a decent cinnamon flavor, though, for a cold drink.

I’ll probably never buy this flavor again, actually — it’s really just the fact that I never thought I’d experience a cinnamon Slurpee ever again…and now here it is.

So, Universe: if you are suddenly granting food-wishes, please bring back Mexican Chili flavored flavored Bits & Bites (or was it Nuts & Bolts?).  Also, those big, round jaw-breaker-like lollipops that came in grape, orange, or cherry flavors.  Thanks.

 

Death Star Trench Misconception

The other day I was listening to an interview with Todd Vaziri, a visual effects artist from ILM.  During the interview, Mr. Vaziri talked about working on Rogue One.  He brought up an anecdote about how, one day when going over the visual effects being worked on, one of the story’s writers suggested that the Death Star model needed more detail around a north-south meridian line near the base’s north pole.  The writer casually explained that this was where the final “trench run” in the original Star Wars movie happened, which was a revelation to most of the visual effects crew.

For most of my life since seeing the original Star Wars it never occurred to me that the Death Star trench run does not occur along the equatorial trench we see in long shots of the station.

deathstar

The equatorial trench on the Death Star is lined with hangar bays and is the ingress/egress area for the station.  This trench is far too large to be the trench which leads to the Death Star’s thermal exhaust port:

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The actual trench in question is far narrower and has no room for hangar bays:

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Adding to the confusion caused by the strongly visible equatorial trench is the use of horizontal shots of the actual trench in question.  In this image, the north pole is to the right of the screen, not to the top which is natural for us to assume:

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Oddly enough, the movie itself explains that the exhaust port is at the north pole and that the trench runs north-south during General Dodonna’s mission briefing:

trenchanim

I probably dismissed this in the past because of the fact that the computer animation was based on an earlier model of the Death Star which had the laser dish situated on the equator.

wrongdish

Because the dish was in the wrong place, I guess I subconsciously figured the location of the trench was wrong, too.  But, no, the historic “Death Star trench” runs north-south and ends at (or near) the north pole.

trench0

It’s neat to learn something new about a thing with which one is already very familiar.

Mark of Excellence: Hummel

I earned my first Mark of Excellence on my Hummel the other day in World of Tanks.  These are special markings that are drawn on the barrel of a player’s tank which indicate exceptional performance.

hummel_mark_of_excellence_1

hummel_mark_of_excellence_2

These in-game markings borrow from the old “kill rings” or “victory marks” tank crews would paint onto their tank guns to mark their kills.

kill_rings

More World of Tanks

I started playing World of Tanks again after a long absence. As usual, the quality of the graphics and sound have noticeably increased since the last time I played.

I play German tanks almost exclusively, focusing primarily on the SPG line (“self-propelled guns” — aka artillery, or “arty”). The highest tier SPG I have is the G.W. Tiger (tier 9), but I’ve kept the SPGs from the three previous tiers — G.W. Tiger (P), G.W. Panther, and Hummel — because they’re so much fun to play.

The Hummel is my favorite tank to play in the entire game.

wot_favorite_tank

I recently completed the final mission of the SPG campaign, which earned me my first female crew member.

war_gods.jpg

I also like the German tank destroyers, and am currently building experience on the Jagdpanther and Jagdpanther II. A second line of tank destroyers has appeared in the game’s research tree, so I’ve started along that one as well with the boxy Pz. Sfl. IVc (the “toaster”).

wot_ruins

I like the Jagdpanther, but the lower tier StuG III is probably my favorite tank destroyer.

wot_field

I used to play light tanks a lot, but they’ve fallen out of favor for me after I earned my Mastery badge with the VK 28.01 after I killed five tanks in one game with it a few years ago:

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I used to play medium tanks a lot, too, but that tapered off quite a bit once I researched my first heavy tank.  After discovering that I’m just not very good at playing heavy tanks, my focus moved primarily to SPGs and tank destroyers.

Here are a couple more photos from the game as it looks now:

And here are some videos I just made:

(Here’s my full World of Tanks video playlist containing older videos)