Bitter Grounds - espresso fueled ramblings

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Dear Business Insider - can you spot what's wrong with this photo?

Not sure what the Business Insider editors are smoking, but they need to lay off when it comes to fact checking time.

Photo of a pot plant on flag under headlines dealing with Canadian Interest rates

Hint:  This is not the Canadian flag.


Original article here 

Gaming 101 - don't kill off your colonists in the first 15 min

I am one of the worst video game players on earth.  Despite my utter ineptness, I enjoy playing and occasionally, idly, think maybe I should stream my attempts live. I could call myself “Captain Disaster” or “Your Colony is DOOOOOMMMMED”.  I don’t enjoy shooter games and war games much. I prefer sims, strategy and the odd dungeon and dragon style game.  I enjoy the mechanics of governing and the minutia of dealing with the economy etc so tend to gravitate towards games that allow me to micromanage the smaller details. I'm not good at the management, but I do have fun.

The problem is, I tend to get into weird moral dilemmas’ while playing. One of the reasons I don’t do well at games like Europa Universalis or Civilization is the mental gymnastics my brain gets wrapped around. I start thinking “I can’t just declare war, they have the right … “ or “well why can’t there be universal suffrage or freedom right now … oh that was quick” and the game goes to hell in a hand basket.  Inevitably, my little kingdoms get swept away. Often, shockingly fast. Once in awhile I’ll throw ethics aside and play the role of despot or whatever and .. nah, never lasts long.  I know, it’s just a game, but the little running commentary in my head harkens back to my days as a political studies student at Queen's discussing the historical ramifications between this act or the political maneuverings that led to that disaster. Eventually I end up looking up some arcane bit of history and forget I have the game playing. If it’s real time based, I return to find everyone dead.

I’m working on a new game now – Planetbase by Madruga Works ( Steam is running their summer sale and I picked it up to try out. The premise is straightforward. I’m in command of a new colony on some distant planet. No wars, no moral dilemma, not a rival colony to be seen. Just me and my little colonists. I’m in charge of setting up the colony and making it sustainable. Planning things out properly will attract new colonists, opportunities for trade and expansion.  What could go wrong?

Colony one.  Even for me, it was a stunning record of 15 min worth of game time.  Need to plan a better layout. Oh and get the oxygen maker running faster. Much faster.  

Screen capture of second colony in Planetbase

Colony 2.  Not too bad! Lasted long enough to grab a screen capture. 

Read more: Gaming 101 - don't kill off your colonists in the first 15 min

Ohhhh a selfie, or maybe a little game of where's waldo

Decided it was time to take a selfie for Canada's 150 birthday. Enjoy:


Photo of Hudson's Bay window on Dundas, complete with hidden selfie

A little unboxing therapy – a ghost pepper sauce?

Unboxing is usually the domain of tech and gaming sites or fashion, but I get a bit more pumped over food and espresso.  Just ask my customers. I must be the only computer tech support around who is frequently asked to pick up a special cheese on my way to the customers or if I have a recipe for some cool veggie they’ve discovered.  What can I say, I’m full-service computer support! I’m the type of person who gets excited about grocery stores – even when I’m on vacation I check out local groceries to see what people are buying. I’ve hit grocery stores all over the US, Canada, Hong Kong, Cuba, Germany, Paris, Netherlands, England, Spain … maybe I should contact GUSTO TV and ask them to sponsor a world tour of grocery stores. Ok, I just wandered into fantasy land.

My local Longo’s, a home-grown chain here in Toronto, often has new products to try or tastings set up. I'm an unabashed lover of the store and, although they aren't aware of it, have had a long standing love affair with their produce department since my early years. They are super big on supporting local producers, which always tickles me.  While looking around my eye spotted this:

Longo's Signature Freestone Peach & Ghost Pepper Sauce

Yes, a  bright, shiny, colourful new, hot sauce. I love hot sauces. I mean LOVE hot sauces! OMG I LOVE HOT SAUCES. I’ve never had a ghost pepper sauce because, although I adore hot sauces, occasionally the appreciation isn’t reciprocal. Too much heat and well, acid reflux does backstrokes in my stomach.  I couldn’t resist this one and threw caution to the wind, hoping the peaches would prevent a complete hot pepper mutiny. In case anyone was in the store watching, yes, I was that odd little person dancing near the freezers with the bottle of hot sauce at the Imperial Plaza store. I make no apologies.  

Read more: A little unboxing therapy – a ghost pepper sauce?

Ah, sunshine and robins .. okay just one robin

From about a week ago, before the great inundation last week. Looks like lots of nice weather coming up. Hopefully things will dry out a bit and I'll be able to get out with the camera a bit more. 

Photo of a robin - Toronto May 2017 

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Catpaw with a pint & a typical bad haircutTime for a new look - the venerable cat on a postage stamp is now retired. As much as I loved him, it was time for a face lift - bad haircut & all. 

"The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself."

- Albert Camus

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