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:

shot_438

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)

I Flew an X-wing Today!

I was at my brother’s place today and got to try the Star Wars: Battlefront – X-wing VR demo on his PS4. It was incredible!

Here’s a video of my play-through of the demo (The first seven minutes or so are just me getting used to being in a virtual world with an X-wing starfighter – jump to about 8:00 to see the start of the game):

It’s disappointing that there’s nothing more to the demo than one simple mission. There’s really no reason why the demo could not have had an “infinite play” mode.

Sadly, there appears to be no news of any actual full game like this being developed.

Still, I’m sure someday I’ll be able to fly a properly simulated X-wing fighter — there’s just too much money to be had in selling such a game.

Earth vs Soup

So, I tried to make some soup last night, and things got a little out of control.  It turns out, however, that it’s pretty much impossible to screw up soup.

I stopped by the grocery store on the way home yesterday to buy some veggies, and used some chicken stock I had in the cupboard at home.  I bought the stock a long, long time ago with the intention of making soup, but I never got around to it until now.  The stock was a month past its best before date, but it didn’t taste off.  It was a little less than two cups worth.

I thought I had a raw chicken breast frozen at home so I didn’t buy any at the store.  When I got home, however, I discovered that I did not.  Instead, I ended up using a pre-seasoned frozen chicken breast.While the chicken breast was boiling in the broth, I cut up a handful of baby carrots and let that all sit covered for a bit.  Then I measured out a little rice and dropped that in, too.  The soup smelled very “carroty” by then, and it looked like I put way too much in, so I fished some carrots out with a strainer.

I took the chicken breast out as it has mostly cooked through, and then I added some mini seashell pasta.  I went to cut up the chicken breast and it basically fell apart.  I guess the marinade and seasoning they used for the chicken really softened it up.  I ended up cutting it into chunks and shreds, then tossed that back in a bit later.

After a few more minutes, I added onion and celery.  At this point I realized I had put in way too much rice and pasta, so I added another cup of water.

After some more cooking, I added some slices of a red bell pepper and a can of sliced mushrooms.  I was putting too much of every ingredient in, so I added another cup of water.

At this point, I had to transfer the soup (stew?) into a larger pot.  I was just going crazy, throwing everything I had on hand into the soup.

I eventually added two more cups of water, half a small can of tomato paste, a teaspoon of salt, and a variety of seasonings.  I figured I was somehow making a chicken gumbo, so I put some Cajun seasoning into it.

By this time, the carrots were nice and soft, but the celery was still a little too hard.  I covered the whole thing and let it simmer for a good long while to get the celery to soften up.  Two more cups of water were needed again at the end to thin the soup out.

In the end, my endeavor resulted in four times the amount of soup I originally expected, and it actually tasted really, really good.  It honestly tastes like it could be one of those delicious newer Campbell’s Chunky Soup flavors.

 homemadesoup

I believe this are all the ingredients that went into my soup:

  • 2 cups of chicken soup stock
  • 6 cups of water (may vary)
  • 1 Mediterranean seasoned chicken breast (from a 900g box of frozen breasts, can’t remember the brand)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of sliced baby carrots (not sure how much)
  • 1/2 a celery stick, sliced
  • 1/4 of a medium-sized red bell pepper
  • 1 slice of medium-sized red onion, diced (maybe too little?)
  • 1/3 cup of long grain rice
  • 1/3 cup of mini pasta shells
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • two pinches of dried oregano
  • two pinches of dried basil
  • a small amount of Club House La Grille Spicy Pepper Medley seasoning (two or three light shakes)
  • a little-more-than-a-small amount of Club House Cajun seasoning (a teaspoon?  tablespoon?)
  • approx 75g, or half a small tin (smallest tin I could find, slightly smaller than other small tins) of tomato paste
  • a can of sliced mushrooms, drained

(Earth vs Soup??)

Special Effects & Hoax Debunking

Captain Disillusion on YouTube deserves more subscribers.  He does a great job of explaining special effects and debunking hoaxes in a very entertaining way.  It’s a crime that he has only 100k subscribers.

“In a world where the content of digital images and videos can no longer be taken at face value, an unlikely hero fights for the acceptance of truth.

Captain Disillusion guides children of all ages through the maze of visual fakery to the open spaces of reality and peace of mind.”

And I just discovered he has his own website, too.

captaindisillusion