ACNH Island Designer

After weeks enjoying the peaceful life in Animal Crossing New Horizons, KK Slider finally visited our Islands and, by doing so, Tom Nook unlocked the terraforming app. We recently had a week off and we enjoyed our days away from our office laptops reworking the shape of our beloved Islands.

Sardoken

I had planned to keep as faithful as possible to the original design of my island. I would only move what was really necessary in order to build great yards for the residents and correct a few things like the position of the bridges.
By the end of the week, the island had changed much more than I had anticipated. I changed the path of the rivers, deleted a cliff, moved most of the buildings and relocated my house.
I am completely addicted to terraforming and I can’t stop changing the design of Lonestar to further improve it.
I only wish that they would have kept the entry of the buildings and the bridges to even numbers. For example, the exit of the airport is 2 blocks while the entry of the museum is 3 blocks, which makes it harder to center the paths. But it’s just a small complaint, the app is really well done and fun to use.
I wonder what my island will look like after my next week off…

Soforah

I remember playing Animal Crossing in 2006, Chris had bought me my first gaming platform, a Nintendo DS, and AC Wild World. I was so happy at that time roaming around in my little town, it already seemed so huge. Fifteen years later, we’re actually terraforming, crafting, and decorating an entire island. I knew that New Horizons would be different from all previous AC games, but I never expected it to be this great. When I created my island, Miskatonia, I chose one that I thought would be the perfect lay-out to begin with. 100+ hours later my island doesn’t look at all anymore like the original map. So far, I’m having tons of fun creating little nooks and crannies all over the place. So much has changed already, I wonder what it’ll look like in another 100+ hours from now.


Palm Springs

This is the first movie we’ve watched during our one week of summer holidays. We thought it would be fitting our mood of sun and blue sky during this strange month of July. For some reason, I’ve believed all my life that Palm Springs is a place on the border of a beach with lots of palm trees, imagine my surprise seeing a desert instead. I immediately googled Palm Springs after watching the movie, and yes, it apparently is a desert resort city in California. I’ve learned a new thing that day…

The movie was fun to watch, Andy Samberg was as hilarious as always. Movies about time loops always reach their best point when the people who are stuck in them, accept their fate and completely let go. Throwing a bomb at a wedding, dressing up like a pirate, camping in the desert while stoned and watching dinosaurs pass,… life would be so much fun if none of your actions would have any consequences, the day starts over and over again anyway.

Also, those inflatable pizzas look so comfy, I could see Chris and I floating on one of those babies in our imaginary pool.


Sharknado

I won’t lie, we thought about stopping the movie several times, but we eventually made it until the end. The acting is bad, the scenario is ridiculous, the camera work is pathetic and the effects are among the worse I’ve ever seen.
Yet, as we are comfortably installed in our living room, far from the dangers of the US West Coast, we both agree: we had a good evening watching Sharknado.

As I was searching for a screenshot to use in the post, I stumbled upon this image:

Really, sharks in space? Now, that makes me wanna watch the next chapters.


The Hit Connection

During the 80s, one of my favourite thing to do was to go to town and purchase a tape of the Hit Connection, a hit compilation released yearly in Belgium. I would then listen to it with my Walkman until the tape would eventually stay stuck in the player and I would have to purchase it again.

So, when I think about eighties music (which will remain the best music until the end of times), I always remember my tapes of the Hit Connection. That’s why, even if it isn’t based on the official compilations, my Apple Music 80s playlist is titled “Hit Connection” (yes, I’m an Apple b*tch).

While it isn’t as charming as purchasing physical editions, streaming services are much more convenient (especially in 2020). Did we trade charm for convenience? Absolutely. Have I become an old nostalgic? Don’t we all…


Luther

So we’ve watched all the seasons of Luther during our lunchtimes of the past weeks (home working for life) and this is what I’ll remember from it:

  • Idris Alba is a badass;
  • There are a lot of sick people in London (cancel my next visit);
  • Never befriend a serial killer;
  • The theme of the show is performed by Massive Attack and it is excellent.

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga

Another consequence of the Covid Pandemic was the cancellation of the Eurovision Song Contest and that’s super sad because it’s one of the best evening of the year.

Thanks to this movie, we had a taste of our favourite contest. It may not have filled the gap, but the duo Ferrell-McAdams made us laugh and brought a welcome Eurosong touch to this disastrous year.

Lately, we’ve seen contestants trying to adapt their act to the standards of nowadays pop music… But Fire Saga reflects what I think Eurovision is about: a celebration of individuality where people from all over Europe bring something different.

Now, let’s hope that 2021 comes fast.


Westworld – Season 1

Dolores on a rampage.

This TV-show brought me back to the time I’ve played “Detroit: become Human”, I remember going crazy by the way humans were treating the androids in this game. Westworld does the exact same thing, all I wanted was for the robots to have their revenge.

Imagine being stuck in a park where rich creeps can play out their rapist and murder fantasies on you over and over again, this is downright atrocious. I strongly believe that from the moment you create a life, whether it’s a robot, AI, or android, this very being needs to be treated with respect. Humans tend to treat everything that is different from them as a threat, an enemy. They are so afraid to loose control, that they would rather destroy anything that is different from them than learning to coexist.

This is such a deep and philosophical subject, Chris and I can talk for hours about this, but I’m not going to go there because this post would become an insanely long rant. The true plot of the story is that they uploaded “reveries” which means that the robots can have memories, these memories create emotions, and because of these emotions, they can deviate from the paths that were coded and uploaded in their system. An intricate topic with tons of plot twists that I didn’t see coming.

The casting is excellent, Anthony Hopkins (Dr. Robert Ford), Evan Rachel Wood (Dolores Abernathy), and especially Thandie Newton, a complete badass in her role as Maeve Millay. Here’s one of her quotes:

Maeve Millay: [to Sylvester and Lutz] All my life, I’ve prided myself on being a survivor. But surviving is just another loop. I’m getting out of here. You two are going to help me.

Sylvester: No. Do, do you know how far these people will go to protect their IP? Every part of this building, including the skin on your back, is made to keep you here. It, it’d be a suicide mission.

Maeve Millay: At first, I thought you and the others were gods. Then I realized you’re just men. And I know men. You think I’m scared of death? I’ve done it a million times. I’m fucking great at it. How many times have you died? Because if you don’t help me I’ll kill you.

The show reminds me somehow of a real life MMORPG, where NPC’s relive their same fate over and over again. Humans are just guests in the NPC’s home world which is nothing more than an amusement park that provides an escapism from those guests’ real life.

On another note, I also absolutely loved the music and the player piano rolls used throughout the entire season. Some of the instrumental covers include songs of The Cure, Soundgarden, The Rolling Stones, Radiohead,… I’ve read on IMDb that the repetitive three-chord phrase, often heard in the background music, comes from Westworld (1973), where it underscored the Gunslinger’s slow but relentless pursuit of the hero. I really like this tune, it reminds me a lot of Carpenters’ music. It makes me wonder if season 2 will be as musical as the first one!

There is so much more that I could elaborate and mention about this topic, but I need to draw a line somewhere so, I’ll end this post with one more quote that is mentioned repeatedly throughout this season:

“These violent delights have violent ends” – Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet


Bates Motel

A few years ago, Chris and I finished watching all seasons of Bates Motel. We were in awe from the beginning to the end, and felt sad when the story ended. Somewhere in June, I was searching Netflix for a new thing to watch while crocheting when I stumbled upon Bates Motel, I instantly pushed the button “play from the beginning”. This TV-show is even better than I remembered, there’s so much that I had already forgotten.

While watching the show, I couldn’t help myself but be awestruck by the little town of White Pine Bay. The nature looks so beautiful, it always makes me envious for huge hikes in a forest so, I looked up where the TV-show was shot. Apparently the original story of Bates Motel takes place in California, the TV-show however moved the infamous hotel to a fictional town in Oregon. While reading about the actual location of the shooting, it appears that the filming took place in Vancouver and British Columbia. Well, Oregon or not, the place looks beautiful and that’s that.

The casting is excellent, Vera Farmiga (Norma Bates), Freddie Highmore (Norman Bates), Ryan Hurst (Chick Hogan) being amongst some of my favourite characters. Apparently, Ryan Hurst thought his role as Chick was too similar to other characters he had played before, so he accepted the role with the condition that he could make it personal. The result was amazing, I’m glad that he was given that opportunity. I’ve also read that Vera Farmiga was the one that suggested Freddie Highmore for the role of Norman. Those two were absolutely perfect in their role. I can’t imagine anyone else pronouncing the word “mother” as sickly and disturbing as Mr. Highmore does.

On a finishing note, here’s my favourite quote of Norma Bates: “When I moved here, no one prepared me for the colossal, frickin’ face-dive off a cliff that living in this crazy town really is!”. Even though I think that Vera Farmiga is an excellent actress in each role that she plays, she really kills it as Norma Bates. Whoever did the casting deserves an award.


Deconfined and Swimming

My first week back at the office felt horrible. The day before the big come back, my left ear got inflamed, probably because of allergies, so I felt like crap before it even begun. I also had a little problem under my right foot which made walking painful. At the office, people didn’t care much about social distancing, I spent the day walking backwards to keep a safe distance. As if it wasn’t enough, I had an allergic reaction to soy (my kryptonite) on Friday.

Happily, we can now swim in Animal Crossing: New Horizons and it is super fun, especially doing cannonballs and meeting Pascal, the wisdom otter.


Thimbleweed Park

I remember this kitchen from somewhere…

It seems that I’ve been catching back on games that were on my list for much too long. It may have to do with the fact that we’ve quit a long-played MMORPG that was taking all our precious free time…

The very first game that I’ve ever completed in my life was Maniac Mansion on C64. From the moment that I had figured how to use the key that was hidden under the doormat to open the front door, I was sold to point-and-click games. Since then, I’ve been playing a lot of them, mostly on Amiga and PC.

Even if many of these games are excellent, my favourite ones have always been those developped by Ron Gilbert. So, it is no surprise that I highly enjoyed playing Thimbleweed Park. I love everything about it, the graphics, the setting, the characters, the music, the voices, the sense of humour and the dialogs. Thimbleweed Park is very high on my top ten favourite games of all times, it could actually be my number one.

Things I didn’t know about the game:

  • Many names found in the game’s phone book are from Kickstarter backers from around the world. When you call their numbers, you will hear individual messages from them;
  • Dr. Fred, Nurse Edna, and one of the tentacles from the game Maniac Mansion attend Ransom’s performance;
  • Ransom’s insults are censored. However, for 0,79€, you can purchase a DLC that enables the unbeeped voice;
  • From the start, Gilbert says, they wanted to parody the TV shows Twin PeaksThe X-Files, and True Detective.