Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Games Reclaiming My Time

Lately my time had been occupied, not by reading, but by games.  It was a bit of a change to be honest.

First, it was Final Fantasy: Dimensions on my Galaxy S II.  It was throwback to the classics FF game style in their NES and SNES eras.  What did not help, was that I lost my game saves when I flash my phone to Jelly Bean 4.1.2...  I should have redone all backup and not just update it.  Well, nothing I can do about that now though...  I am slowly playing it again with more insights on which directions I should take for each characters.

Second, Mass Effect 3: Citadel DLC.  Like many reviewers and comments were posted about this DLC pack (4.5 Gbs in size which was like a whole game a few years ago), it was the biggest fan service of the highest order.  Dialogues were filled with inside jokes (Traynor's Toothbrush, ), ripping of the commander, reminiscing the fallen comrades and tied up a few loose ends (James showing his finished N7 Tattoo, Thane recounts what he was doing between ME2 and ME3, and connecting with team members.)  It was fun going back and learning all the missing pieces of their stories and such.  I finished the Citadel DLC in one afternoon and realized that in order to really get the whole story, I will have to played more Priority missions to meet all the members so they will showed up in the DLC.  So I did all that and now ready to complete the DLC again.

Third, Plague Inc. on Android, I heard about this game on KUEC pod cast so I give it a try.  It was...  somewhat fun.  The brain worm was fun to play as you get to infect the world *Then* enslave the humankind.  The other disease was quite difficult to determine how to win.  Other than the brain worm, the other common disease play through required a certain balancing act.  The objective is to eliminate all humankind.  The operative word here in *all*.  You will have manage the disease so that it will infect and then kill everybody.  Otherwise, the research for cure will began and you won't have enough time to kill everybody.  I must have played almost 10 tried before winning the first scenario.  After about five loses in the second scenario...  I will probably cool it for a while.  The game was a huge battery drain though.

Fourth, the impending StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarms.  I love game with story and StarCraft have enough to be a saga.  I am looking forward to learn what will happen to the rescued Kerrigan and where will this next arc lead her to.

So the reading will go on back burner for a while.  At least until first week of April in which the next book in Cut & Run series, Touch & Geaux, will be released.  I am really really really looking forward to that book.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Highlight of San Jose Trip

The standouts for me were the food.  I had tasted the best Carbonara ever at "The Sausage Factory" in Castro in San Francisco.  Sean ordered it and I tasted a bit from his plate.  Apparently, using pancetta instead of normal bacon make a big different to this dish.  My ordered, some spicy tomato sauce thing, was nice too.  The portion was huge.  I ended up having to pack about one third of the portion.  It was still good after staying in the fridge for two days and microwave.

I also ran into unexpected Gumbo stand at a farmers market in Monterey Bay.  We were there to see the Aquarium but we arrived a bit late after we visit the beach in Carmel.  The ocean was very cold for me at Carmel but it was sunny and a lot of families were enjoying the weather at the beach.  But I digress, we did not went into the aquarium because it was about to close.  I thought it was also odd that the gift shop was not available to people who had not buy the ticket to see the aquarium.  Anyway, on our way back to the car, we came across the farmers market.  At the very end of the road I saw a stand that sell New Orleans food.  I was excited because, although this might sound racist, I saw that the stand was manned by two black women who spoke with Southern accent.  I just knew that the food would be good.  After being a bit indecisive, I decided that this would be a very place to buy Gumbo from and I wasn't disappointed.  The seafood Gumbo that I bought for 10$ was full to the brim with shrimp, fish and crab.  I was telling the ladies that I thought I would have to wait another year to eat New Orleans gumbo and my friend added that I was initially planned to visit New Orleans for labour day weekend but the hurricane disrupt my plan.  I, later, went back for hot sauce to spice it up and asked for the hottest one.  They gave me a bit of dubious looks but handed me the sauce.  I added a bit and while it was quite hot, it wasn't the hottest I ever had.  It was still good though.

I also love In-n-Out burger. The burger there was nice but their fried was the best I have ever had.  I would love to return to San Jose just for the burger and the Carbonara.  On one morning Sean also take me to a breakfast place downtown and I order omlette with hash brown.  The hash brown was lovely :d.  The portion was also nicely large.  Despite what many said about American penchant for large portion, it was not always true.  Some of the meal I had were not quite enough for me to be full.

I was there in time for the Castro St. fair.  It was quite nice.  The weather was cool and there were a lot of things to see.  One booth was selling Venetian masks.  They certainly looks very nice but also very expensive.  There were many things to see, also the Blue Angels were flying over the area as well.