Frappuccino

Last week, during the first heatwave of this summer, Chris and I were dreaming about a good refreshing frappuccino. The first time we’ve drank this cold delight was years ago at Starbucks, when they still had a lactose free version of this drink. Years later, we’re still craving for a cold “coffee” beverage for summer so, we decided to order a blender that can crush ice, and make a perfect frappuccino.

Yesterday was quite a hot Saturday, too hot to do anything so, we lazied up, hanging in the couch while sipping from our jar of frappuccino, and re-watching Breaking Bad.

After a few experiments, this is our favourite recipe until now (for 2 persons):

  • 2 cups of coffee;
  • 2 cups of lactose free milk;
  • 4 tablespoons of sugar;
  • 12 ice cubes.

It’s very easy to make too, just throw all the ingredients into the blender, and a few seconds later it’s done. I know that a lot of people add whipped cream, and a whole bunch of other stuff, but both Chris and I prefer our food as simple as possible.

Yesterday was an amazing day, and I’m ready to have more of those. Let the summer begin!


The King of Staten Island

Friday was warm, so warm that our traditional pizza-gaming eve got replaced by a pizza-movie eve. But what movie to watch when there’s barely any air to breathe?

I don’t know why we decided to watch The King of Staten Island… To be honest, the trailer and the tattoos were probably the selling point. Anyway, we watched it with greater pleasure than we anticipated. The King of Staten Island created a nice chill vibe over our week-end and it still hasn’t left.

While not much happens, the ambiance is great and Scott is a very attaching character with an amazing t-shirt collection, his sense of humour was balancing perfectly the dramatic undertones of the movie.


AI in Adventure Games

Yesterday, while watching an episode of Westworld, I thought about how cool it would be if point-and-click games would use an AI… Instead of scripted characters who are always at the same place, saying the same things, we could find them speaking to each other, wander around, have different dialog lines following their moods.

For example, we would enter Thimbleweed Park and Delores could be home but she could also be at the arcade or at the dinner, living her own life.

Of course, there would be boundaries, for the sake of the story, but everything else would be left to the AI. I could spend days looking at game characters interact with the environment and with each other in a completely unpredictable and unscripted way.


Zelda – Link’s Awakening (2019)

Link’s Awakening wasn’t only my first Zelda game, it was also the first game I completed, not only on Game Boy, but on any Nintendo gaming system. Yep, you read well, I never owned a console before the Game Boy. I was a computer dude and by the time that the original Link’s Awakening was released, I was gaming on an Amiga 1200.

Anyway, that year, I had a very nasty bronchitis that kept me home for several weeks (smoking sucks, glad I quit). All I had to cheer me up was the video club and my Game Boy.

I was already used to play adventure games, but this was entirely new to me. The island exploration unlocking as I solved dungeon puzzles and gained new powers that enabled me to jump further or carry heavier rocks, it was brilliant.

Soon, I was known to be the dude who had completed the game and my friends were calling me everyday to know the next step of the trading sequence. Were those my 15 minutes of fame?

When I found out that Nintendo was about to release a remake of the game, I was overjoyed, especially because I instantly loved the art of the new version. I purchased the game and added it to my backlog.

Last week-end, I’ve finally completed Link’s Awakening and I have enjoyed every minute of it. The game is almost identical to the original, only with cute new graphics. I’m probably going to play it again soon… Some day… (let’s be real, my backlog is huge).

A few facts about Link’s Awakening that I didn’t know until recently:

  • Development began after-hours by Nintendo staff. It grew into an original project under the direction of Takashi Tezuka;
  • The majority of the Link to the Past team reassembled for Link’s Awakening;
  • Tezuka wanted the game world to feel like the television series Twin Peaks.
  • Princess Zelda is not featured at all in Link’s Awakening, though she is referenced by Link, initially confusing Marin for her;
  • Peach isn’t the only thing from Mario that you can find in Link’s Awakening, there are also Goombas.

To many people Breath of the Wild is the Zelda Game of the Nintendo Switch, to me it’s the remake of Link’s Awakening.


The Charnel House Trilogy

The Charnel House Trilogy, developed by Owl Cave, is a point & click game with pixel graphics. As the title states the game is in 3 parts: Inhale, Sepulchre, and Exhale. The story is about a horrifying and fatal night aboard a train bound for Augur Peak. Even though the game is pretty short, the developers managed to create an eerie atmosphere that puts you at ill-ease in times.

My favourite scene is the one at the station, waiting for the train while snow’s falling on the abandoned tracks is so dreamy. Despite the current summer temperatures, Alex gave me the chills though. I mean, who goes out in the snow in just a T-shirt? I’d be wrapped up like an Eskimo!

Anyway, I’ve played this game a few years ago, and remembered how much I loved it at that time. Meanwhile, I’ve played so many other games that I’ve forgotten most of the story of The Charnel House Trilogy so, I planned to re-play it this weekend.

Today, after a great walk at the park, a super delicious sandwich, and a damn fine cup of coffee, I installed myself at my desk, and booted this little gem. Two hours later, I had already finished the entire story. While it was very short, the adventure was worthwhile. The puzzles are a bit too easy, but it made the trip go smooth, and without any challenge. I can understand that some people may have an issue with that, but it didn’t really bother me that much. Props for the pixel graphics cause I’m a complete sucker for these. All in all, an absolute must for all adventure games fans.


A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

One, two, Freddy’s coming for you.

Three, four, Better lock your door

Five, six, grab a crucifix.

Seven, eight, Gonna stay up late.

Nine, ten, Never sleep again…

Chris and I are huge horror fans, and since psychological dramas are taking over our beloved genre, we’ve decided to re-watch the good old classics for now. Nothing beats a slasher movie on Saturday night so, we’ve decided to start our re-run galore with “A Nightmare on Elm Street” series.

Yesterday evening we’ve watched the first one, released in 1984. Now that’s what I call real horror. How I’ve missed the simple plots of a slasher movie! No intricate dialogues, no psychological BS, and no violins… Just the simple life of teens, trying to outwit a creepy killer on cool 80’s tunes. The perfect recipe for a Saturday horror night.

While reading some trivia of “A Nightmare on Elm Street”, I’ve learned that the movie is actually inspired by real-life events. Apparently, Wes Craven decided to make this movie after reading some L.A. Times articles about a group of teenage immigrants who, after moving to the U.S., died in their sleep after suffering from disturbing nightmares.

Interesting… A great concept, perfectly translated. The last time that I had watched a NOES is so long ago that I barely remember any of it. I’m glad we decided to do some re-runs for now, I have the feeling that I’m watching most movies for the first time again. The perks of getting older… hehe…

Anyway, A Nightmare On Elm Street is, in my opinion, along with Halloween and Friday the 13th, one of the best slasher movies ever made.


17th Wedding Anniversary

17 years ago, I was getting married to my soulmate, my partner in crime, Inge (aka Soforah). Much has happened since then, we’ve changed apartments a few times, we’ve moved to another town, Inge has found a new job… Some things haven’t changed, we’re still the same geeks who enjoy to game and watch TV together. Inge has changed my life for the best and I only wish to be as good to her as she is to me. I am a lucky man.


The Purge – Season 2

I love the entire Purge franchise, I enjoyed each movie and I had a really good time watching the first season of the TV show. Inge and I had kept the second season for a binge day and we haven’t been disappointed. After the first episode, we were instantly hooked and we didn’t go to sleep before the end.

The principle remains the same: anti purge folks fighting the new founding fathers to put an end to the deadliest night of the year while other people fight are being targeted by vengeful murderers.

It’s packed with action and the few drama scenes aren’t long enough to break the rhythm of the show. The cast was great, I especially enjoyed Derek Luke whom I recognized from 13 Reasons Why.

As usual, the entire show had me thinking “what would I do on such a night?”. Well, nothing’s changed, I would still fortify my place, wait for the night to be over, watching the news while listening to the sound of the mayhem taking place outside.

By the way, it feels weird to write this post while the streets of many U.S. cities are looking a lot like a scene from the franchise. Maybe the NFFA isn’t such a bad idea after all…


Documentaries

One of our most favourite things to watch during our Sunday lunchtimes are documentaries. Whether it’s about a serial killer, Bigfoot, or doomsday preppers, all is welcome as long as it keeps us interested.

At the beginning of the quarantine a new docuseries, “Tiger King”, was released on netflix. Everybody and his mother seemed to be pretty hyped about it so it only seemed natural to watch the show from the beginning to the end. What seemed to be a fun thing to watch in the first episode, gradually became a drag. Joe Exotic went from a funny loose cannon with a mullet to an absolute train wreck of a person. I honestly never thought that something like that existed in this world. Anyway, I admit that I only watched the entire show to be up to date with the hype, but to be entirely honest, I could have lived without it.

Add to this basket over hyped shows like “Making a Murderer”, “The Staircase”,… which I found not only boring, but also extremely depressing. I even quit watching these in the middle not caring about the end.

Unlike the previously mentioned basket cases, there are also riveting documentaries that were compelling to watch, and that brought a tear to my eyes when it ended. “Don’t Fuck with Cats”, “The Bigfoot Files”, “Evil Genious”,… All these were excellent.

“Bigfoot Files” was a complete other type of documentary, but was interesting, and at times even made me roll on the floor of laughter. Some scenes were so ridiculous, it was funny. Yet a part of me desperately wanted to know if they found actual clues on whether Bigfoot really exists or not. Spoiler alert: they haven’t. I guess that the mysterious creature will remain a myth after all.

In the entire haystack of serial killer docuseries, my favourite is “Don’t Fuck with Cats”. The story of Luka Magnotta was both disturbing and interesting, and kept me glued in front of my screen till the end. I loved the way they build up the suspense in each episode. Still now I wonder who the real monster in this story was, Luka, a victim of modern society, or the people on social media that seem to have given him a push into the direction he took. Regardless, an excellent story which is hard to top, and my favourite of all serial killer stories.


Witches casts and miscasts

Wicked witches are probably the best protagonist in fantasy. In cinema or on TV, the casting is often done right and correspond to the right image of the witches in fantasy. Unfortunately, sometimes, the casting is wrong and the result is, for me, a huge loss in quality.

Let me state first that it has nothing to do with skin tone, this isn’t a purist post about witches in fantasy. That’s why I posted a picture of the Weird Sisters from The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Three different colors, all three perfect in their roles.

Witches spend their lives learning secret knowledge, hidden from the world. They are more powerful than kings and, as such, are often regarded as threats. They work as council for the rulers or as enemy of the free world. They have a scarred side, the price they pay for messing with the natural order of things and a beautiful side, the one they show to the world.

Among the actresses who were an absolute fit, there is Katie McGrath in the role of Morgana from the TV show Merlin. She is the perfect incarnation of anger, arrogance and elegance.

Another great cast was Jessica De Gouw in the role of the evil witch from Gretel & Hansel. She managed to transform the tension built during the movie into jaw dropping final scene.

On the other side, there is Anya Chalotra in the role of Yennefer from the TV show The Witcher. To me, she’s the perfect example of a witch miscast, she’s plump, inelegant and she really doesn’t inspire danger. She was good in the role of the hunchback, but certainly not in the role of Yennefer. I really enjoyed the first season of the show, but it almost seems that Yennefer and Tissala weren’t cast by the same people. MyAnna Buring makes a perfect witch, elegant and severe while Anya Chalotra seems to struggle walking in dressed up shoes.

TLDR: Wicked witches make a show when they are cast properly. They need to be arrogant, elegant and dangerous. Yennefer is a miscast.