New-York

The cruise to Liberty Island

2023 was definitely not a prolific year for Spacewocket. However, it is, by far, the year that we did the most in real life. Between the celebration of our 20th wedding anniversary in the Belgian Ardennes, our trip to New-York and the construction of our new gaming rigs we’ve been more busy this year than ever!

Since the big “house in the country move” was a bust, we decided to rain sparkles over our apartment city life. And, oh boy, NYC was perfect for that.

We’ve stayed 10 days and we had a blast from the first minute to the last. Visiting it in September is perfect, the autumn vibe is right around the corner but the temperatures are still very soft and there is left tourists than in summer.

Coney Island beach

My best advice, if you go to New-York, is to plan an entire day for Dumbo, Central Park and Coney Island. These are the places that we’ve loved most and I really think that they deserve an entire day.

Don’t listen to people saying that NYC is dirty, unsafe and filled with hobos, it’s absolutely not true. We felt safe the entire trip and New-York is one of the cleanest city I’ve seen so far. Another myth to debunk is that the food is bad. Of course, if you don’t get prepared and rely only on food trucks, you won’t have a great culinary time. However, there are great places to eat all over the city, you just have to make a little research before your trip because most of those places are hidden.

Coney Island

The best way to enjoy such a gigantic city is to make a list of all you wanna see and group everything by neighbourhoods, so you don’t spend your days travelling from one place to another. For example, you can take the ferry from Manhattan to Dumbo (4$) and spend the day walking around. When the evening comes, have a few beers at the Evil Twin Brewery, then eat a pizza at the infamous Juliana’s. After night fall, walk the Brooklyn Bridge toward the Manhattan skyline, most tourists will be gone.

Walking the Brooklyn Bridge by night

The same goes for Central Park, you can end a good day hanging in the park with a good beer and a burger at the nearby Thompson’s. The place is hidden inside a super chique hotel, don’t be afraid to enter!

We’ll miss New-York as much we’ll miss having such a trip ahead of us. 2023 is definitely a special year, and it’s not over yet!

Strange Times

Some years are just perfect copies of each other, fast-forwarding you through time with a feeling that not much is happening. Then, some years are so different, you feel like you’ve just been spat out of a washing machine, and you can barely recognize the world around you. Well, 2023 feels like the latter. It’s not as if we’re powerless and the things that are happening are out of our control. I think that we both needed a change, and we created voluntary chaos around ourselves. Maybe we feel like this because this year marks our 20th wedding anniversary, or maybe we’ve spent too long sliding down the same quiet river… Maybe both. Time works in mysterious ways…

So, what’s changed? Well, not that much. However, it has only begun.

Living in Brussels

Nine years ago, we moved to Brussels to live closer to work. Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to enjoy this town. We’ve really tried, but it didn’t happen. So, for several months, we’ve been searching for a house around Liège, my hometown. Despite our best efforts, we didn’t find the right place… The apartment we purchased when we moved here is gorgeous, which made it even harder to find a house – we don’t want a downgrade! Also, searching for a house made us realize how convenient living in Brussels really is. Mobility is fantastic, and there’s always a grocery store within walking distance. Not depending on a car is amazing, especially for our budget. This may sound like our brains trying to rationalize the fact that we’ll have to stay in Brussels, and perhaps it is, but having searched for a house made us realize that we’re actually pretty good.

Dragonflight

Our end-of-the-year 2022 holidays were kinda underwhelming. The launch of Dragonflight was a flop, and we didn’t find a way to replace it. So we started the year not knowing which gaming direction to take.

We’ve tried several times to get back hooked to WoW, but the direction they took with the game is horrible. It’s almost as if they took all we disliked in the game and packed it into an expansion.

I could talk for hours about all I dislike in retail WoW. Forbidden Reach feels so dead, Dragonflying being mandatory, world quests that don’t reset fast enough, the lack of quest hubs, crappy events like the community feast or the great hunts, the professions that I don’t even feel like leveling anymore… Each expansion always had a thing or two that we disliked; it’s hard to please everyone. However, this is pure garbage.

The problem is not only that we hate the expansion, we hate the general direction of WoW’s development. If this is indeed the third phase of WoW, then the game is dead to us.

We’ve been playing that game for 17 years, so it takes some effort to get out of our routines, get used to new games and change our habits. That alone kept us very busy, finding new games isn’t as simple as it sounds. Luckily, Diablo 4 got released, but that will be part of a dedicated post.

20th wedding anniversary

On the 7th of June, we were married for 20 years. Soforah is the best partner that I could ever dream to have. She’s always there when I need her, she brightens each of my days, and I only wish that I had met her sooner because it feels as if I only started to live from the day I met her. So, Hon’, if you read this: thank you for everything. I hope to be the man you deserve!

We’ve been back and forth between a few ideas for our celebrations: a short trip to the Belgian Ardennes, a trip to the US, two new huge PCs. We finally decided to do it all; we’ll be celebrating the whole year. So far, we already traveled to the Ardennes, and it was great. Rochehaut is very beautiful, even if a bit difficult to reach by public transportation.

We ate really well, and it was great to be together, far from everything for a few days.

We almost drowned in the Jacuzzi. Believe it or not, but it was our first time enjoying a bubble bath together… Jeez, that thing made us sleepy. However, we survived. Only to be drowned once more by the most overwhelming shower I’ve ever had. I’m not sure if we’re really good candidates for spas.

We’re planning our trip to New York, which will be followed by building the most badass PCs we’ve ever owned.

Voilà, this post was long, but it covers pretty much the last 6 months of our lives.

TLDR: We spent a lot of time searching for a house, but we’ll stay in Brussels. WoW sucks, and we’ll be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary for a full year.

The Night Before

Let’s eat too much food, stay up late watching movies and enjoy our gifts – I got the feeling that not even Chinese health concerns could keep Santa from getting us what we asked (because we’ve been so fucking nice).

In the unlikely event that someone else would read this post before Christmas is over: we wish you a good one!

Tis The Season

The best time of the year has officially started. It’s a very busy time for us, we have so many movies and TV shows to watch that, just like last year, we had to create a spreadsheet.

We have built a few new Lego ornaments for our tree and two small trees for our desks. But the greatest new piece is the Christmas train (featured picture). It isn’t complete yet, we’re taking our time, building it while watching the TV Show The Santa Clauses, which is surprisingly good.

We won’t have much time to post in the coming weeks but we’ll try to catch back later. Meanwhile, enjoy the season, get fat, spoil yourselves and have fun.

It’s Fucking Halloween!

Being horror fans, Halloween has always been a special day for us. We decorate our table, we eat Soforah’s infamous pumpkin pastas and we watch horror movies.

This year, we’ll spend our afternoon hunting Baa’l, World of Warcraft’s Secret Demonic Goat. Then, we’ll watch Halloween Ends (which is very scary, not because of the horror, but because of the extremely bad reviews), followed by the new Hellraiser.

When you celebrate Halloween in a country like Belgium, where barely anyone decorates his house and no trick or treating is going on in the streets, you can’t help but feel lonely. That’s why I’ll be playing Caroline Kornstar’s Lonely Halloween until our ears bleed, because something has to bleed on Halloween, right?!

Pancakes & Try Outs

It’s Sunday and Soforah is baking pancakes. That sentence alone makes me happy because pancakes are awesome. Pancakes are life!

This afternoon, we’ll be doing a few tests.

As we’re getting closer to Dragonflight, we’re testing a few classes to replace our long time hunter mains. This afternoon, we’ll be giving another chance to the Druid since the class seems to be in a great shape for the new expansion. Also, we’ve always been Druid fans.

Don’t ask me how it happened, but we actually have two sets of new gaming chairs at home and we have to decide which one we prefer. On one hand, we have the Secret Lab Titan Evo 2022, which is very solid and shows a great quality in its materials but feels very hard on our backs and buts. On the other hand, we have the DXracer Formula F08, which is more comfortable but feels a bit wonky and the armrests aren’t great at all.

Voilà, the pancakes are ready. I’m on my way to food heaven…

Edit 1: The pancakes were delicious!

Edit 2: We’re not sure that we could main Druid an entire expansion. In its present state, certainly not, but everything is about to change on Wednesday with the new talent system. We maybe won’t have to cast Starfire 400 times/hour, which is really mind nuking. So, at the moment, our hunters may very well stay our main characters for Dragonflight.

Edit 3: The Secret Lab chair is harder but the armrests are much better placed and feel softer on our elbows. Also, we’re getting used to the harder backrest. However, both chairs have pros and cons, we need more time to decide.

They’ve Caught The Puppet Master

The Belgian police has arrested Robert Hendy-Freegard – aka The Puppet Master – in Groot-Bijgarden, Brussels (pretty close to where I live, actually).

He’s a famous British conman who masqueraded an MI5 agent to coerce money out of people and to pressure them to do his bidding. If you wanna know more about him, I advise you to watch the Netflix documentary The Puppet Master: Hunting the Ultimate Conman, it’s very entertaining.

One last question won’t probably be answered… While most of his victims were coerced, the woman with whom he disappeared didn’t seem persuaded to follow him. Her kids seem certain that he dragged her into his schemes, the way he did with his previous victims, but I’m not sure that she didn’t follow him willingly.

Apparently, Freegard and Sandra Clifton were working in the beagle breeding business in the French country and performing in pedigree shows. To me, it doesn’t feel very glamorous, but who knows what her previous life really was like.

Robert Hendy-Freegard at a dog show

Anyway, it’s not the first time that the Puppet Master gets caught… He already received a life sentence for his past crimes. He was freed after the conviction was overturned by the court of appeals. Who knows if they’ll manage to keep him, this time.

The Be Good Tanyas

The other day, as we were (re-re-re-)watching Breaking Bad during diner, I noticed the song Waiting Around to Die by The Be Good Tanyas. I already knew this great cover of the original song from Towns Van Zandt thanks to a game that we both completed not so long ago: The Walking Dead – The Final Season.

Lately, video games make me discover more music than… Well, it seems that video games are my only source of music since, you know, radios are dead.

Simply Horrible

So we got our third shot of vaccine last Friday and it sucked! We both had a swelling on our right lymph node and it’s still hurts (even though it looks better).

Anyway, we wanted to use our Covid Safe Ticket (for the first time), so we went to the city center to eat at the brand new KFC. Neither of us ever ate KFC but since it’s new and it has a nice NYC style, we thought that we could try…

  1. The city center of Brussels has been overrun by the worth filth I’ve ever seen. People walking on dirty socks in the street in middle of the winter, aggressive beggars at every corner, homeless converting the Main Street into a giant bedroom,… In short, avoid it if you can;
  2. KFC is disgusting. Seriously that food has the consistency of Cthulhu’s tentacles, rubbed in grease and with a nasty taste;
  3. They didn’t even check our Covid Safe Ticket and no safety rule was respected.

We both ran home, brushed our teeth, fought the nausea and promised that we’d never go again.

Change Of Scenery

This week, we did one of the saddest thing, we removed the Christmas decoration. The place feels empty and cold without our tree and we’ve already started to count down until next November. After all, what is a year if not an eleven month wait for December?

On the other hand, since the Lego Christmas village is gone, we finally could build the Millennium stand we bought from Wicked Brick and put the Falcon on display.

The spaceship is huge and heavy (7541 pieces) and the stand does a fantastic job at holding it safely. The detail is great and we also enjoy the character stand.

So, even if we’re still suffering of post-December blues, a spaceship is all it took to cheer us up. See, we’re simple people!

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