I tried that spread that tasted like cookies… So you don’t have to!

I think by now, if you’re reading this, you know I have a bit of a sweet-tooth.

And by ‘a bit’ I mean ‘a lot’.

So when my local store brings out some new spread that tastes like goddamn honest-to-god biscuits (or cookies, for you Americans and web developers), well, what’s a boy to do but slap down $5 of my hard-earned cash to perform some sweet, sweet, biscuitty science?

FOR SCIENCE!
(also, totally not sponsored)

STRAIGHT OUT OF THE JAR

Well fuck my asshole and call me Riley Reid, this shit tastes like a pack of Milk Arrowroots just came in my mouth. The consistency can be described as the lovechild between Nutella and peanut butter. Gooey, but you couldn’t sculpt a circus tent out of it or anything.

ON BREAD

I got whatever bread was lying around. I’m not spending $2 on some punk-ass white bread just to justify an article. 5 Grains it is.

Then I got stuck.

“It’s a sweet spread.” I thought to myself. “So I don’t need butter on it.”

“But I use butter with jam. Hell, sometimes I’ll eat buttered toast like a savage.”

I decided to throw caution to the wind and try both.

Without butter, it was… a bit much. I may as well have just eaten it out of the jar for all the difference the bread made. It turned into paste into my mouth, but it wasn’t like peanut butter where it stays there for 10 years and everything you eat after that somehow tastes like peanuts.

With butter? Now there’s some fine eating. The savouriness of the butter cut through the biscuit and sugar and made the sweetness of the whole ordeal bearable. My grandparents used to feed me and my brother milk arrowroots with butter. This was that in bread form.

INITIAL FINDINGS

I have come to the conclusion that Biscoff is pretty fucking rad and I recommend you try it.

DISCLAIMER: It goes downhill from here. If my girlfriend and close friends are reading this, please judge me as the man you know me as, not the one writing this blog entry.

ON A PB+J SANDWICH

Biscoff already tastes like goddamn diabetes. So adding it to a Peanut Butter and Jam sandwich tastes like how a diabetic coma must feel.

This shit conspired with the jam (Blackberry, if you care enough) and overpowered anything savoury about this whole experience.

Bread? Gone

Peanut butter? Nonexistant.

Butter? I Can’t Believe it Went Bye-Bye!

Granted, I slathered the Biscoff on like it was peanut butter, so perhaps a different mix is required to complement everything. I however, do not get my hopes up that the experience will be any different.

ON A PULLED CHICKEN SANDWICH

I am not a seasoned chef, nor am I a foodie. I can cook for sustenance, but if you’re looking for a gourmet meal, we’re going out.

Okay, fine. We’re ordering in the cheapest pizza I can find and adding as many coupons as I can.

This, along with an apparent subconscious yearning to drastically shorten my life expectancy, has led to me trying some weird shit.

I think I’ve hit my limit with this disasterpiece.

I made a chicken sandwich as I normally would: Chicken, some sort of greenery, cheese, aioli, and -learning from my experience from the PB+J, added “just enough” Biscoff to complement the dish.

Hoo boy.

If I could associate the taste with a moment in my life, it was like seeing Tony Hawk skate for the first time on TV after hearing how great of a skater he was, and watching him eat shit on the first run.

It was like coming to the realisation that the Jennifer Lopez movie ‘The Cell’ was less a thought-provoking police procedural and more a big pile of set-piece whoring wank.

It was like realising that I’m literally trying to poison myself for a few clicks on a blog nobody reads.

My life flashed before my eyes, is basically what I’m getting at.

My first mistake was adding Aioli. I love the shit, but it pretty much killed the whole thing.

My second mistake was adding a sweet spread to a savoury sandwich.

It was just gross. Lesson learned.

ON DORITOS

Not to be deterred to find a diamond in the rough. I had a bag of plain Doritos from a games night I ran a few months back. Originally I was gonna buy some corn relish, but that day my stomach sung a different tune.

Okay, it pretty much made a noise approximating a frustrated sigh and let me get on with trying to send myself into the hospital.

Recovering from the dubious mix of Aioli and Biscoff, I just dipped a corn chip straight into the jar. Realising it wasn’t corn relish, the chip promptly broke and I had to dig the rest out with a spoon.

Science isn’t always easy.

Unlike the other concoctions I tried, this one turned out a bit of alright! Much like that sweet and salty popcorn you can buy, both flavours complimented eachother rather well.

I wouldn’t replace it for salsa on Nachos, or for my heroin-like addiction to corn relish, but hey, a win’s a win.

FURTHER EXPERIMENTS

I think after the chicken sandwich, I’ve seen all there is to see. I was contemplating sausages, or steak or something akin to a home-cooked meal, but that would just be not only re-creating the sweet + savoury combo found in the dorito experiment, but it’d be a waste of a perfectly good cheap meal.

I hypothesize, however, it would make a decent accompaniment to say, ice cream, or apple pie or something. Not so much a topping, but a side-piece akin to custard, or waffles or something.

But this is science for another day. Until then, I have to go get my stomach pumped and check my insulin levels.

Till next time…

I Have Concerns About the Final Fantasy VII Remake

For the uninitiated, I’m sure it felt surreal to see what the sciences would consider “A Metric Fuckton” of people freak out over a 22 year old game. But for us old farts in our late 20’s, 30’s and 40’s, the Final Fantasy VII: Remake trailer drop was a fun time had for all.

Except for this old fart. You know, the one writing this blog that you’re now reading.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m an absolute, nostalgia-ridden purist who thinks a remake when Square-Enix could make like, a dozen new games in the time this has taken is stupid, but FFVII isn’t by any means untouchable. Even if you think it is, it’s available on pretty much every platform at the moment. So you can enjoy it in it’s purest, 1997-est glory any time you like.

But here’s the thing: With the smoothing of some of the rougher edges that will inevitably happen with this remake, what else are Square Enix willing to smooth? (and I’m not even going to get into potential DLC here)

WARNING: SPOILERS WITHIN. If you somehow missed out on it in it’s 22 years of being around, might wanna get that sorted and avoid the following section.

Final Fantasy VII isn’t exactly the most family-friendly game. Filled with implied bestiality, implied homo-eroticism, VERY much implied eco-terrorism, cross-dressing, gambling, exploitation of women, and if you wanna push it, unsafe motorcycle riding, and that’s just on the first disc.

In fairness, he wouldn’t be able to fit a helmet over his spiky fucking head

And that’s all fine. I’m no prude. Without them, Final Fantasy VII as we know it wouldn’t be the weird, esoteric, nearly-steampunk-cum-fantasy trip we all know and love. But think to yourselves now: How necessary are these scenes in a modern gaming environment?

In one particular scene, Cloud has to cross-dress to enter the Honey Bee Inn. Which is… Look, it’s a brothel, okay? No two ways about it. There’s women, people pay to spend some naughty-time with women, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, then it’s not a cat, is it?

Anyway, Cloud cross-dresses to enter the Honey Bee Inn to save Tifa, which opens up a whole sidequest of collecting clothes (including panties), getting the right perfume, lifting weights, and um… This.

So many moustaches…
…So little time

In another section of the game, there is almost a real-time strategy element where you have to defend Fort Condor from Shinra forces.

Meanwhile Mass Effect barely had a working car in it.

All of this is entirely optional, and that’s not even getting into the Golden Saucer minigames, the romance minigame, finding Yuffie, and so on. All optional, some important, any necessary? Probably not. And that’s what’s concerning me.

If, (or rather, when, at this point), we eventually get the Final Fantasy VII remake, this is the Final Fantasy VII I want. The almost perverse, gritty world of Midgar, warts, gambling, cross-dressing, implied gay sex and all. Since FF8, the other Final Fantasy games I’ve played have paled in comparison to the weighty girth of the amount of shit you can do in FF7, some even just railroading you into the right direction.

Fuck that. Give me my high-res 4K cross-dressing Cloud who gets banged by several gay dudes in a hot-tub. Give me Fort Condor, give me the stupid shooting-gallery laser game in the Golden Saucer which I was terrible at. It might not be necessary, but it’s Final Fantasy VII, damnit. (also having a gay orgy in a seemingly accessible game loved by all is progressive as hell for 1997, and that tickles me).

Whilst FF7 isn’t my favourite game in the series, let alone on the original Playstation (more of a Metal Gear Solid dude, if I’m to be honest), I’m gonna be really gutted if these things disappear in favour of slightly better graphics, slightly better mechanics, a slightly better Materia system, and a Cloud that doesn’t look like someone just melted a Lego man’s head and gave him a huge fuck-off sword.

Admit it. You were thinking it too.

I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Till next time.

Onward to 2017…

So… 2016. What a fucking garbage fire, hey?

Not just the celeb deaths and Cheeto Grandad ascending his throne, but it seems everywhere I looked people were having a shit time of things.

There were good bits for me. 2016 was more or less a gap year where I could just sit and think “what the fuck do I do next?!” and it more or less turned out that way. Highlights include:

-Travelling for the first time in forever. Scone, Brisbane, Port Stephens, Cessnock. Sure it was all for work, but got to see more of the country all the same. Also. Whale watching!

20161105_145438

-Seeing Osaka Punch live for the first time. I heard a lot about these guys via Luis, and had always wanted to catch them at a gig.

Shanghai Punch? Osaka Shanghai?
Shanghai Punch? Osaka Shanghai?

Shooting the “Shenanigans” video clip. In 2015 I worked with Helen Perris, few years before that was Alison Avron. Now just need to flag down Dorje, Toska, Tom Dickins and Brendan Maclean and I can consider myself accomplished.

So ticked another thing off the bucket list here, meanwhile “Shenangians” came at a time for me where things were all a bit dire and horrible, so being able to work with Luis + co on something awesome was rad, and something I sorely needed.

-Mel and Gemma. While not perfect. Good times were had, laughs were shared, as were events.

-Watching Canada vs USA @ Qudos Stadium. Hockey! Canada winning! Gretsky was there!

-Newsagency’s birthday celebrations. Ever since I left Marrickville I have missed going to the Newsagency. Made up for that with the birthday celebrations one fateful evening, featuring Alison Avron, Tom Dickins and Sarah Belkner. It was great to see those guys again.

-Starting the podcast. As with most things I helm, releases have been sporadic and all over the place, but learning all the ropes with Michael, meeting Raynne and Hektik Hektor, and shooting the shit about all things ridiculous has been a blessing.

-Finding a new sport to enjoy. COME ON WANDERERS!

-Attending the “Fight Like a Girl” book signing. While I’m not a devout follower of Clementine Ford, I admire the work she does. So grabbing a copy of her book hot off the press and meeting Ford was pretty rad.

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That… about wraps it up. I daren’t use the term resolutions for part two of this entry, so let’s call them goals. Either way, I want it written down so I can hold my dumb ass accountable (or at least laugh when I fail miserably)

-Start work on Limited/ShavedPigBicycle stuff. Jordan and I have been throwing ideas around for the punk band, and I’ve been recording stuff for a music project of my own. This year, I want to gig and release an EP.

-Continue the podcast. Whether it be releasing old material or recording new, I want to keep going with it. And with the impending arrival of President Trump, it’s not like we’re running out of material any time soon.

-Keep making videos. Whether it be films/web content or just talking head stuff, I want to give YouTube a proper go this year. One video a fortnight at least. Can’t be that hard, right?

-Get back in touch with people. Hoo boy. This is the big one.

Throughout 2015/2016, between work, two girlfriends, and my hobbies, I have successfully hermited myself from pretty much everyone and it left me pretty fucking depressed. There are a fair chunk of people I have lost touch with and miss having that sort of connection with those people. You can blame a chance meeting with Kitty at the Fight Like a Girl signing for that realization.

It wasn’t on purpose. Okay, so it mostly was. But I felt that hiding from the vast majority of the world was a fab thing to do. So in line with the “new year, new me” shtick, I have a proposal:

Let’s do coffee, or lunch, or beers, or dinner and a bad movie, or play a game, or… some sort of activity I haven’t mentioned. If you’re not local? Let’s Skype. Chances are if you’ve read this far we’re halfway decent mates anyway. So I probably miss you very much and would like to catch up.

I spent 2016 wallowing with the people I needed around me at the time. Now I want to spend 2017 with the rest of you.

 

Till next time…

 

A Bunch of Shit Video Games Could Kindly Stop Doing

Lo and behold, the work gods have smiled upon my shitty existence and gave me a week off to do nothing in.
So I’ve spent it watching Penn and Teller: Bullshit! and gaming. You lot played We Happy Few yet? It’s pretty tits.
I have, however, noticed a few trends/bandwagons whilst browsing my Steam queues that really… Look, can you guys just cut this shit out?
This is no real order, something-something-stream of consciousness. This was also originally a Facebook post that got too long, so this may be a little all over the place.
Without futher ado…
 
-Look/smell/sound/play like Minecraft.
We get it. Minecraft is tits. We don’t need 30,000 clones of it. Minecraft is Minecraft, your game shouldn’t be Minecraft because Minecraft already exists.
Similar themes also apply to the following games:

-Amnesia (It’s like Memento all up in this shit)

-P.T. (It’s gone man, time to move on. Or give Allison Road some space to breathe first.)

-Five Nights at Freddy’s (No more animatronics, no more hiding from animatronics, no more fucking phone guy, no more fucking pizzerias. No more fucking cameras. Unless you create something completely fucking fresh and interesting, I don’t give a shit.)

-The Forest/Rust/Day Z/Billy Bob’s Survive n’ Craft (We get it. You’re in a forest and you have to survive or you’ll get shit on by a zombie werewolf-bear hybrid with voice acting provided by Gary Busey)

-Slender: The Eight Pages (No. Just no.)

 
-Procedurally generated whatever-the-fuck. 
Everything is procedurally generated. Your mom was probably procedurally generated. STAHP. I’m sure it’s pretty impressive tech you’re very proud of with all the coding and the bells and whistles, but we got along fine without randomizing levels for many, many years. We can continue to do so forever more.
 
-Not give any sort of blurb on Steam. 
It’s great your first person, crafting, procedurally generated, indie, crowdfunded, horror-survival game with RPG elements has all these things. So does most of my collection. Gimme a story to go on. Don’t just say it’s an engaging story, tell me why it’s engaging. That’s what a blurb is for, you twats.
Actually, while I’m at it…
-Make sure your RPG elements are actually RPG elements.
The whole point of an RPG is to level up and gain skills so you’re not the incompetent dumbshit you were 30 saves ago. Crafting holsters for your gun and unlocking useless abilities do not an RPG element make. It’s not even an element. It’s just shit.
 
-Be anything more than $20 for an Early Access title.

Really? Like, really? $10 or $20 I can understand. You guys need money to do the game and want to provide a little somethin’-somethin’ early as a reward. Awesome. But if I’m paying upwards of that for your unfinished title, while a complete and arguably more justifiably priced game is the same if not more, then whatever half-finished, IKEA-inspired contribution to the gaming Pot-Luck better be freaking awesome.

P.S. Fuck you, Day Z. You were $30 of pure unadulterated sadness.

-Be anything that isn’t BioShock Infinite
Yeah look. I’m sorry, but my heart remains tied to Columbia and it’s racist inhabitants. It’s the “Living in a country where we’re only good at racism and sports” thing. It reminds me of home.
It’s not you, it’s me. BioShock Infinite was fucking amazing and your game probably sucks in comparison.

BROOOOOOO!

Another thing that’s not mine. But YOU GUYS. This is important.

Thanks to “Angry” Joe Vargas, I’ve been introduced to this wonderful little gem known as “Broforce”, developed by Free Lives Games. In short, you should play it. If Terraria and Metal Slug hooked up at a drunken frat party hosted by 80’s action movie heroes, you’d get Broforce (also, some of the most meta and self-aware fanfiction one could imagine).

The free “brototype” is available as a standalone download or playable via web browser now. But Free Lives have promised more levels, the ability to create and share your own levels, local and online “Bro-op”, and much much more.

The alpha build itself is an absolute hoot to play and honestly? Looking way too good to be an alpha. If they released the game as is, I’d be happy. Your first port of call is collecting all the bros throughout the game (all not-so-subtle nods to 80’s and 90’s action heroes), killing anything even remotely moving that stands in your way. The destructible terrain allows for some strategic gameplay, and the weapons available (different with each character, along with a special attack) give the game a well-rounded run-and-gun style of gameplay. The graphics are wonderfully retro and the level design is great.

I question some of the character additions, the final boss is a pain in the ass to finish off, and some of the weapons prove to be more of a pain in the ass than they probably need to be, but these criticisms are minor at best. Like anything from this genre, it’s a hell of a lot more fun in multiplayer. In short it’s a wonderful throwback to the games of old. Not since Far Cry: Blood Dragon and Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag have I enjoyed the hell out of a game.

Indie games aren’t really “a thing”, for me. Mostly due to lack of exposure. But if Broforce is anything to go by, the underdogs efforts are looking very promising indeed.

 

Till next time…

Turning 20.

Not me, that is. I passed my 20’s long ago. But here’s some anniversaries for you all.

Scud: The Disposable Assassin

Scud was the first big comic book purchase I made. Picked up “The Whole Shebang!” from Amazon (I think) and read it cover-to-cover in the space of about a week. Scud -bless his pointy yellow head, got me into comics properly. Before that, it was pretty much Watchmen and some stuff I picked up on impulse whilst travelling in the US.

For those new to the title, Scud is pretty much what it says on the box (or, in this case, vending machine). He is a disposable assassin, sent on an assignment to kill off Jeff, a piecemeal monster with a plug for a head, a squid strapped to her chest, and mouths for knees. During this assignment, Scud discovers the warning label on his back, saying he will self-destruct on completion of the assignment. Instead of resigning to his fate, Scud cripples Jeff and puts him on life support, thus extending his lifespan for far longer.

Following that, Scud gets involved with the mob, fights Voodoo Ben Franklin, goes to a western town, travels in space and eventually meets Sussudio, the comic’s eventual love interest. These are not in order, nor does it completely encompass Scud’s entire journey. The story of Scud is so completely over the top and bizarre that it quickly became a favourite and constantly-recommended book in my collection. Rob Schrab’s sense of humour carries this comic along from beginning to end and he weaves the story incredibly well.

Clerks

Clerks I won’t say too much on. Chances are, if you’ve read this, you know I’m a huge Kevin Smith fan, and you can blame Clerks for the fact I went to film school and now spend most of my time chronically lying for a living.

This wasn’t my first Kevin Smith film by a longshot. I was introduced to the View Askewniverse by way of Dogma (which, in essence, was the first and only religious epiphany I’ve ever had). Until about 2010, my viewing of the Askewniverse was pretty much ass-backwards. I received the 10th Anniversary edition of Clerks as a travel souvenir from my brother and mother and I didn’t look back since. Aided by the “don’t spend money” philosophy of Robert Rodriguez, Clerks inspired me to make movies (which then turned into a web-series after about 30 false starts and bad scripts, because you know, starting small is probably better).

The beauty of Clerks is that it is a snapshot of not only independent film circa 1994, but the lives of a generation of people who really didn’t know what the fuck to make of their lives. On this level, is speaks to pretty much anyone going through their mid-20’s… You know, if you can stop giggling at the dick and fart jokes enough to listen.

Bill Hicks

That’s right. Bill Hicks has been six feet under for 20 years. I celebrated in my own way by spamming Twitter, as many others did.

Like Kevin Smith, Hicks changed my fucking life. I was first sorta-kinda introduced by way of an online friend plagarising his material, which I found hilarious UNTIL THE TRUTH WAS UNVEILED that the material was, in fact, that of a foul-mouthed american guy with a fascination of the JFK assassination.

Spoiler alert: This guy.

Bill Hicks got me into the grittier, blacker side of stand-up comedy, where the Jerry Seinfelds and Bill Baileys of the world dare not tread. Anyone who rode on Bill’s coattails were, frankly, shit in comparison (lookin’ at you, Denis Leary). Perhaps not the best role model to have, but damnit, he was a role-model I needed.

The Downward Spiral

If you’re not feeling old now, you’re about to. “The Downward Spiral” gets a big, angsty birthday cake as well.

While not my first foray into “industrial rock” (that would be mostly attributed to Rammstein’s “Stripped”, as arguably industrial as they aren’t), like my introduction to Bill Hicks, it was something I needed. It was angry, gritty, and Trent said “Fuck” a lot. It also opened up a lot of other artists for me as well, such as Tweaker, David Bowie and -of course, Johnny Cash.

If this doesn’t make you even a little teary-eyed, you have no soul.
(trust a country musician to make a depressing song even more depressing) 
 

TDS isn’t my favourite album by Nine Inch Nails, mind. Before all the “OMG LYKE, REAL FANS” shank me, I will say it’s certainly up there (preceded by “The Fragile” and “Year Zero” on my list) and it’s a staple of my music collection. But It’s a little too angry for me for the most part. That said, it was still pretty fucking influential. Especially now I’ve found an artform I’m actually good at and I’ve always been impressed with Nine Inch Nails’ music videos. Also, you know. It’s something I chuck on when I’m feeling like a swan-dive off of the balcony is preferable to, this whole ‘living’ bullshit.

Well, that’s it for the birthdays and anniversaries. There’s more coming up (one you can expect lots of sappy, fluffy love bullshit on Facebook along with it), but I’ll come to ’em when they hit.

 

Till next time.

A Blog Post in the Form of a Survey

Open question, but would definitely love to hear from parents/teachers/daycare staff/anyone else on my flist who spend time with (or otherwise tolerate) kids.

What is your opinion on the whole Dateline: To Catch a Predator shebang? Y’know the one where they lure in child-groomers/pedophiles via chat sites, then when a meeting is organized in a house set up with hidden cameras, Chris Hansen comes out and gets all “Dude. She’s fifteen. What the fuck?” and then the guy gets arrested by local authorities. Incase you still don’t know what I’m on about, here’s a link:

Further backstory/pointless trivia: TCAP is run in conjunction with Perverted Justice, an anti-pedophile organization who uses -for lack of a better term “pedo-baiting” to get info on sex offenders. I worked with them for a very brief stint assisting in weeding out Myspace profiles and really, it’s a well organized group and I cannot commend them enough.

I can’t really say the same for Dateline.

My personal take on it is this: While yes, it’s awesome that there’s a group who use these sort of tactics to weed out sex offenders and stuff, it doesn’t need to be a televised event. To me it just comes off as cheap, trashy entertainment. Perhaps not in the same vein as [insert braincell-killing reality show here], but all the same. It’s like that “Scared Straight” show where they shove some mouthy delinquent Gen Y’s into a prison to… well, scare them straight. While watching, I personally think “Way to go Hansen! Caught another deadbeat kid-fucking loser” and then click onto… well, anything else on YouTube (more on that in a later entry). I’m not really learning anything new at the end of the day. (let’s face it, anyone who has an internet connection probably knows that there’s a myriad of kid-fuckers on the internet)

So… yeah. Drop a comment below. Let me know what you think.

 

Till next time…

 

Share and Share-alike.

Quick post whilst procrastinating from doing callsheets. Thought I’d share with you a bunch of stuff I read and love.

First up is Notes of a Dead Professor, run by one of my nearest and dearest, Allie Liz. Lots of anecdote sharing, linking, drawing and vlogging! Like this blog, only far more talented and far less boner jokes. Show her some love.

Next is The Writer’s Guide to Staying Single, an article by Mike Spry over at The Smoking Jacket which is worth a giggle or two, perhaps even a cackle if you’re that way inclined. Within it’s “six easy steps to permanent bachelorhood” is advice like:

-“Develop a subtle dependence on alcohol, just enough to make you an asshole, but not enough to kill you.”
-“Avoid songwriting and guitar-playing at all costs. These could lead to your poetry finding an audience, which could lead to a girlfriend.”

Speaking of staying single (and due to my love of the Jane Austen Argument), I also highly suggest watching this:

Quiiick bit of self promotion. I have an Instagram account. Originally I started doing it as a bit of a “let’s see how terrible of a hipster I can be”, but I’m having a bit of fun playing with all the filters and stuff.

And lastly, another video. A surreal comedy short film by Luke Wood and Dylan Morphett titled “It’s All Gouda” which I was fortunate enough to go to the premiere of