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.

Snowtrooper Update

Progress on my snowtrooper costume has been very slow these past few months. However, the largest hurdle has been overcome, and things should hopefully be picking up speed.

I painted the details on the backpack with enamel paint. It still needs a little touching up here and there, but it’s mostly good to go.

painting-2

backpack

Pants have also been purchased.  I had to go to a specialty uniform store to get the right kind of pants without a zipper or side pockets.

pants

 

The thing that stalled progress for the longest time was the duster.

A few months ago I went to my parent’s place to get my mom to help me with the sewing.  I had purchased a pattern for a simple coat that was pretty close to what I needed.  I figured we could start with that and make any minor adjustments as required.

Unfortunately the pattern was just a bit too complicated.  We realized the duster would actually be pretty simple to make if we just made a sort of plain shirt and sewed a skirt onto it.  So, I cut up a t-shirt to act as a template for cutting the real cloth in order to get the right dimensions, and we (well, mostly my mom) sewed it all together.

duster_0duster_1duster_2

Several hours, many broken threads, and one busted sewing machine needle later we had a finished duster. Sadly, the first duster didn’t turn out quite right.  The skirt was too short, the sleeves too loose, and we discovered the front flaps could have been done a but better.

A second attempt was made about two months later.  This time all the shortcomings were corrected.  I also bought tougher thread, and we used velcro strips that didn’t have a sticky backing, which is what caused so many headaches the first time.

The end result of this second attempt was perfect!

duster_completeduster_front

The most difficult part of the costume — the long, flowing coat — is now done.

esb_ss

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??)

Rogue One

I saw Rogue One last night.  I had watched a couple of spoiler-free reviews beforehand which had rated the movie as “good, not great” and a letter grade of “B”, so I didn’t go into it with high expectations, but, personally, I was completely blown away by how good it was.  It was amazing!

SPOILERS AHEAD!

I’ve been trying to think of a reason not to rate this movie a 10 out of 10, and the only thing I feel is a legitimate gripe that I have with the movie is the CGI Tarkin (and, to a lesser degree, CGI Leia).  I don’t think it’s bad enough to knock my rating of the movie down by 10% from a 10 to a 9, though.

The pacing for the movie was great.  It did not feel like a typical Hollywood movie.  The plot moved along swiftly with no lulls or tiresome parts. The tone is also very different in this movie, and you feel it right away when you are immediately dropped into the movie without the traditional title and opening crawl.  It feels like “Star Wars for adults”.

Rogue One is definitely a war movie (as compared to all the other Star Wars movies, which are more fantasy-adventure movies).  During its development I had heard the filmmakers touting the film as being more serious, but I went into it with a little skepticism (because, come on — Star Wars is a movie about space wizards for goodness’ sake).  That skepticism was eliminated pretty early on in the movie when one of the main “good guys” ends a clandestine meeting in an alley by abruptly murdering his contact.

There are just so many great things about this movie.  I’ll just list a few of the things I really liked:

  • All the main characters were interesting and enjoyable to watch.
  • So much shooting and explosions and space ships fighting and space ships getting shot and space ships tumbling around on fire and space ships crashing into things!
  • The brief cameos from obscure characters, like “Dutch” Vander (Gold Leader) and Garven Dreis (Red Leader) who pilot a Y-wing and X-wing, respectively, both in this movie and the original Star Wars movie from nearly 40 years ago.
  • The very “British WWII military” look and feel of many of the officers on both sides (General Merrick — Blue Leader — is a great example).
  • Smashed X-wings “skating” across an energy shield.
  • The restoration of the “mystical” aspect of the Force (i.e. no stupid midichlorians), thanks in large part to the character of Chirrut (who is awesome).
  • An explanation for why the Death Star has a tiny hole in it that will cause the entire thing to blow up if someone shoots a single torpedo into it.
  • The largest Star Wars space battle ever (the Battle of Scarif).
  • Y-wings!  Y-wings making bombing runs!  Y-wings firing ion torpedoes!  I didn’t think Y-wings would ever get any love ever again, but they did!
  • Darth Vader’s literal “horror scene” near the end of the movie (one of the rebel troopers trapped in the corridor pounding on the window of the jammed door — begging for help from onlookers on the other side — was fantastically unsettling).

st_shield

ywings

rebel_help

I really hope the rest of the upcoming stand-alone Star Wars movies end up this good.

rogueone_onesheeta

The War is Over

Looks like the War on Christmas is finally over thanks to the tireless efforts of conservatives over the years. The election of Donald Trump appears to have the “atomic bomb” that finally ended the “war”.

waronxmas

With the war on Christmas over, I wonder what the next made-up thing will be that the elite will use to trick members of the lower and middle classes into fighting amongst themselves and, ultimately, voting against their own best interests? Perhaps a War on Easter?