Farewell, 2020

2020 may have been disastrous for many people but, at least, a lot has happened, which is more than we can say about the previous decade.

From a pandemic to a mad president, I’ve never read the news as much as during this year. Ok, we’re all getting tired of Jimmy Fallon’s Trump bashing spree, the rednecks of America, the anti-maskers and the confinement but 2020 had us entertained, on a global level.

Also, we could both finally live one of our oldest dreams: spend an entire year dressed in pyjamas and I have the feeling that we’re about to make it.

What we will remember:

  • The first confinement was impressive, the second was a mess, I hope that we won’t see a third;
  • We’ve finally seen the end of Orange Is The New Black and it was awesome;
  • We’ve watched El Camino and it is the end that Breaking Bad truly deserved;
  • The new Doom was crap;
  • Animal Crossing was fun until the terraforming and custom paths;
  • We’ve seen all three seasons of Westworld and it blew our minds. Go androids!;
  • 1917 was a stunning camera job;
  • Mark Ruffalo had us replace all of our Teflon cooking pans;
  • The second season of the Mandalorian was as excellent as the first;
  • Building Lego is still a blast!;
  • The launch of Shadowlands was fantastic;
  • Go Venthyrs!;
  • The Cyber Punk hype train seems to have derailed and I’m happy that we were not in it;
  • America has lost a lot of the popularity that it had managed to build during a century of movies, will they ever get it back? It will certainly take more than Dwayne Johnson and The Avengers;
  • Home working is great but, even for the hermits that we are, it’s becoming a bit long.

Tomorrow, we’ll be celebrating the end of one of the strangest year we’ve ever known and we’re not sure whether we should be happy or afraid…


Xmas Holidays: Second Week

Lego

We’ve started to build the pirate ship that Sof’ offered me for my birthday. It’s a fun build and I can’t wait to see it completed.

WoW

When you’ve spent the last 6 months in a world where you practically one shot every mob, it’s hard to land in a place where 2 mobs is too much to handle. That point is when we generally go back to our hunters because they cheese up everything you throw at them. Unfortunately, hunter is also the most dull class and it easily trivialises every aspect of the game.

So, we decided to hold on to our paladins, and we did well. It’s harder, we have 18 buttons to press instead of 3, but we have the feeling to play the game. The food buffs, the potions, the gems, the enchants, everything matters now and it makes the game so much more interesting and fun.

At this moment, we’re building our own routine with Torghast, Heroic dungeons and the callings which we enjoy very much. We’re also participating to Winter Veil and it adds pretty nicely to the Christmas spirit.

TV

Like I said in my previous post, we’ve ditched every TV show that we had planned to watch in favour of Dark. We’ve seen the end of the second season yesterday and it blew our mind. I won’t speak too much about it here because I feel like the show deserves its very own post.

We’re getting ready for two cozy days of Christmas magic at home.


Xmas Holidays: First Week

Our home working computers are hidden inside of a wardrobe, the apartment is fully decorated (picture above), the laundry basket is empty and everything is planned to the last detail. But you know how it goes, after 3 days the plan was entirely changed…

We were supposed to play only with our paladins but we’ve also started to level our hunters and we’ve race changed them to Taurens…

We’re currently using Clefthooves as pets because they’re more resistants to damage. Also, they’re big wooly beasts and we love them. I’ve called mine Hoofty because, you know, Liège and stuff…

We were supposed to watch the second season of The Boys, followed by Truth Seekers. Instead, we’re re-watching one of our favourite TV shows ever: Dark and it is as good as the first time we watched it.

TLDR: We’re on holidays, we don’t follow the plan we had made and we’re having a blast. The best moments are often unplanned.

By the way: it’s my birthday and Soforah is making her infamous vegetarian lasagna for this evening, we’ll just have to pop it in the oven after an afternoon of levelling in Maldraxxus and Ardenweald, life is good!


Belgium Is Absurd

Languages in Belgium are a real pain in the ass! We have 3 official languages: Dutch, French and German. It generates a ton of problems and even xenophobia. These problems have consequences on our everyday life, and even on our access to technology.

If you live in Belgium and your OS is in English, most search engines and websites will assume that you’re a Dutch speaking person. Because, you know, French speaking Belgians don’t speak English (am I a joke to you?).

This is already ridiculous, but it gets worse… When the Homepod was released a few years ago, Apple wouldn’t sell it in Belgium. While it can recognize Dutch (the one that’s spoken in the Netherlands), it can’t make sense out of the Dutch that’s spoken by Belgians because it is more of a dialect than the real thing. Since those people have a very fragile sensibility when it comes to their language, Apple decided not to sell its voice operated device in the entire country.

But wait, it gets even worse… While the official Apple website doesn’t sell the new Homepod Mini, you can purchase it on the websites of other shops… Only if you set these webshops to French!

So, if you’re a Belgian who uses an OS in English, it is assumed that you’re a Dutch speaking person. But if you want to use a voice operated device that recognizes English, you have to buy it in French. Wtf?!


Halloween 2020

As I am writing this post, Sof’ is preparing tonight’s pumpkin pasta dinner and we’re watching Frankenweenie on Disney+.

This is just another Halloween, yet it feels very different from the other years, not because of the second Belgian confinement that was announced yesterday (let’s face it, nerds are confined by nature), but because we didn’t take any days off for the occasion since we’re saving them to enjoy an entire month for Christmas and the release of Shadowlands.

However, we’ll still be celebrating this evening with decorations, pumpkin pastas (Sof’s special recipe) and 3 horror movies: Scare Package, The Wretched and The Mortuary Collection.

This morning, I stumbled on a very fitting video for a Halloween in confinement:

So, enjoy the creepiest night of the year, even if you’re celebrating alone.


Connected Watches & Confinement

A few years ago, Soforah and I purchased an Apple Watch serie 2 for our wedding anniversary. At first, it was new and fun, we could track the amount of steps we walked during our lunchtimes and it looked cool on our wrists.

Not being a big fitness guy, I never used it for anything else than checking the time or tracking the daily amount of steps I walked. But still, I enjoyed it, it was a cool gadget and I love gadgets.

Then, we got confined for months and I didn’t even recharge it anymore. Why would I? I am home all the time and I don’t wear a watch at home, it would make me feel uncomfortable, like wearing shoes inside.

We had planned to purchase the latest Apple Watch (which was announced yesterday evening) as a New Year’s Eve gift, but I really don’t see any reason to spend 400,00€ for something that will stay on my bedside table 99% of the time. Even if the confinement ends (you never know), I still work from home 3 days a week, which brings the grand total of days outside to 2, it’s a little bit weak to justify such an expanse.

Now I know that the definition of a gadget is something you don’t really need, but still you should at least use it…

All in all, I start to wonder if I shouldn’t go back to wearing Swatch watches. I’ve been wearing them since the 80s and I love them. Also, they don’t need to be recharged every 2 days, which is still a big plus for something that’s supposed to give you the time.


ACNH made me do it!

After a very unpleasant experience with Pixelmator Pro, followed by an OKish experience with Affinity Photo, I finally subscribed to Adobe Creative Cloud. After all these years screaming that I would never pay a monthly fee to use a software, why did I finally do it?

Well, it wasn’t a comparison spreadsheets on Reddit, no Sir… What truly got me are the Lightroom presets for Animal Crossing made by creative folks like Saturn and quinn on Twitter. Yep, you read it correctly: I now pay 12,00€/month to Adobe because I want to make my Animal Crossing screenshots look cute.

After a few days of using the combo Lightroom/Photoshop on my Mac, my Ipad and my Iphone, I’ve learned a few things:

  • Adobe softwares are the most intuitive, I found back my PS automatisms faster then it took me to develop new ones on any other software;
  • If you read online comparisons between Photoshop and its alternatives, you don’t really do it for the results. You do it because you don’t want to pay a monthly fee and you need to be comforted in the idea that you won’t be using Adobe softwares anymore;
  • 12,00€ is cheaper than the enamel pin I buy from Etsy each month (now, I’m convincing myself).

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!


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.


A R’lyeh Great Easter

In the summer of ’94, I started hanging out with some school mates that apparently were into roleplaying. One day, a bunch of us had planned to hang out in the attic room of my best friends’ old house, where they surprised me with a campaign of Call of Cthulhu. I had never heard about H.P. Lovecraft and his universe before, but since that day I’m a huge fan.

When the movie “Color out of Space” came out, Chris and I wanted to keep it for a special occasion. This Easter holiday, I thought it would be a great idea to make it a Cthulhu inspired day.

We first opened a good bottle of wine and enjoyed the beautiful weather on our balcony. It was a great moment, and Chris even got a little sunburn.

After that we crashed in the couch, and started watching “Color out of Space”. To be honest, I had no idea what to expect of the movie, I was too afraid to watch the trailer and get disappointed. Never have I been this wrong, the movie was stunning! It was so great, I don’t even know where to begin. The direction and cinematography were meticulous, alongside with a screenplay written as it should be in honour of the work of Lovecraft.

The casting was perfect, no one can portray a man taken over by insanity like Nicolas Cage does. The man is craziness incarnate, just too bad for his overacting which grows tiresome at times. Also, props for the witchy elements which they made look darker than I initially expected. I actually love all about this movie, it was surreal, disturbing, visually pleasing, and the horrific creatures were beyond grotesque.

All I can say at this point is that I can’t wait to watch this movie again. A perfect tribute to H.P. Lovecraft. Just one question though: what’s up with the alpacas? I know they’re funny, but of all animals, alpacas?

To finish the day in beauty, we watched the H.P Lovecraft documentary “Fear of the Unknown” during the dinnertime. It’s a 1 hour and 29 minutes documentary on Youtube where writer Neil Gaiman, filmmaker John Carpenter and others discuss the life and legacy of Lovecraft. When I saw the time stamp of 2007, I was baffled that it took me 13 years before even hearing about this documentary. Nevertheless, it was highly interesting, and perfect to end this Lovecraftian Easter.

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