Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Busy Thanksgiving

Lots of music this past week!  I finished up a Patreon request (will be released on my next "Remixes" album), did a little update of my Brave Fencer Musashi remix, which is now OUT as part of OverClocked ReMix's Hometown Heroes album (will also be on my Remixes volume 2 album), and started up on another commission.  After this one I still have two more songs to knock out in early
December, and that's not even taking into account the fact that Ludum Dare is at the end of next week(!).  I'll be doing One Hour Compo on Thursday too...so yeah, hopefully I can set aside more time to cram out some more music soon since I have deadlines to meet.


Speaking of deadlines, xmas deadlines are quickly sneaking up on me!  I haven't done a big shopping trip, but perhaps I won't actually need to, as I'm taking a smarter approach this year and trying to do a bunch of gift shopping online instead.  Still have to make sure I'm on top of it though, since I won't have any time at all during Ludum Dare.  I have a couple of bday things to take care of too; I should at least knock out some of the handmade stuff since that will go a long way towards wrapping everything up (figuratively and literally lol).  It may seem like there is still more than a month left before xmas but I have xmas deadlines as early as two weeks into December so...

Progress on Tactics Ogre has slowed, understandably, but on the other hand I did finish up my second playthrough -- this time through the Law route, as well as getting the (bad) Lord ending.  Next up will be a go through of the Chaos route (trying to just do what is necessary) and skipping a bunch of sidequests, mostly to recruit Cressida.  I was initially thinking of having that be my last playthrough, but after reading up some more it probably makes more sense to do a 4th one on Law route to be better setup for the endgame.

Anyways, Dark Souls is on temporary hold but I've made it through Sen's Fortress!  Though I still have to actually clear out that area and find some of the stuff that I've missed, like Big hat Logan.  After that it's onto Anor Londo...

In the meantime, I finished Hollow Knight!  Definitely a huge game with a lot to explore, and pretty enjoyable at that.  As I mentioned before, each area definitely has its own unique vibe, and I was actually pretty impressed by how atmospheric some of the darker areas were, that was pretty cool.  There's still a lot more for me to do in the game, however, as I've only gotten the first (worst) ending, and still got a lot more to find and collect (as well as a bunch of better endings to get after I've found more stuff).

Yesterday was pretty productive as I managed to run some errands and do groceries as well as got my flu shot, and also cooked lunch and dinner AND managed to bake some cornbread as well (which I overcooked a bit, but was still "ok").  I hardly ever bake usually, but I'm also hoping to try pumpkin pie later this week, so hopefully that goes well.  If all goes right I'll also try making prime rib on Saturday, woo!

Last night I also "accidentally" pulled an all-nighter trying to recompile and update LoopMuse, a project that I initially made =7 years= ago in 2011.  I went into some pretty deep rabbit holes, but I'm out alive and with a pretty good understanding of what I need to do to get some of my other old projects updated as well.  I don't know if that work was honestly worth it (most would probably say not), but I feel happy that it's finally done, as that's something I was never able to get to for a long time.  I'd say that I'll try to update some other old projects as well soon, but honestly I've got so much other stuff to take care of this coming week that I probably shouldn't.  Did I mention that I also need to draw up another pixel art album cover for my Monthlies album this month, and oh, I need to do that before Ludum Dare starts...I also updated to Unity 2018 and would like to at least do some initial tests with that before LD starts so I'm not caught with my pants down for anything.

Regarding LD, we'll see what happens with it, I know trying to do something with a narrative element again would be great practice for us but it really depends on what sort of ideas we come up with.

Also, I DJed Friday Night Waltz for the first time this past week!  It was pretty successful; I'm glad people came and that they seemed to enjoy the selection of music and dancing.  As for myself, I'm getting more and more into just glowsticking...I donno, I think like when I think about social dance in theory I still am interested, but in practice I just get into the feeling of just wanting to move on my own.  There's so much more freedom of expression when it's just yourself.

So right, writing this blog post has actually made me realize that I have a ton of things to get done.  I tell people that being unemployed has allowed me to kick back and really take my time with things, but gosh I don't really know if that's true, haha.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

For I am just one person, and who is one person to think that they could change the thinking of the many?  Let alone someone with as little charismatic aptitude as myself.  I am just one hard-working person with more pride than they ought to have.  And I can improve my own ability all I want, but would it even make a difference to other people?

I think that if it were not for social dance, I really wouldn't care as much about the importance of being more outgoing.  It's the only hobby I have where the community has such a direct impact on it.  And yet, for all the dedication I have to it, am I really that dedicated?  For all the times when I said people should strike up a conversation with someone they didn't know, when was the last time that I did so?  And for all the times when I encouraged people to dance the opposite role, when was the last time that I tried?

I have always believed that you don't truly have the right to wish for change unless you embody that change first.  So for now, I am just one person who will just stay in my little corner.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. Also seared duck breast

I've spent the greater portion of the past two =days= cleaning and organizing stuff.  Phew!  I don't even remember how I started down this path anymore, it was like one little thing where I was like "oh well, also trash day is coming up so I should also probably take care of this other thing that I've been meaning to and -- oh, while I'm at it, I guess I could really go through this other thing and ..." and before I knew it I was embarking on a total rehaul of boxes, drawers, and everything.

I'm very pleased at what I've been able to accomplish so far though!  I've sent a bunch of things off to recycling / landfill (related: I've also realized I'm not nearly as savvy as I should be on recycling and trash practices, so I'm starting to try to learn my way around that), marked other things for donating or giving away, moved a bunch of things around, and tried to declutter as well as reorganize so things make more sense.  No huge changes; all the furniture is still in the same place after all, but for example I had this stack of huge boxes and junk in the corner of my office before; all of that has either gotten thrown away, packed into sensible boxes in the back of my bedroom closet, or in storage in the garage where it isn't cluttering an actual room that I use.  I tackled quite a number of things including but not limited to:
- Redoing drawers in my office.  They're much better organized now.  Also my stationary and letter sets are much easier to get at without digging through piles of it).
- Shuffling some things around in my dresser drawers and rethinking how I fold some of my clothes.  When clothing and accessories are not easily accessible it becomes easy to just forget they exist and never make use of them, so I tried to push all of the "only use once in a while" winter gear and stuff way to the back, and moved all my hairties and such from my office to my bedroom dresser -- after all I should think about those as I am getting dressed along with the rest of my outfit.
- Repacked my box of boxes (not a big deal, it was already pretty ok, but still), and more importantly, completely redid the huge "bag of bags" that I use to keep all of my cute sanrio bags in (for gifting).  It's now a "box of bags", and they're roughly sorted by size so I can flip through and get a bag of the appropriate size instead of just trying to dig through a whole mess.  I also put my bubble mailers in the same box, yay!
- Coalesced some of my Magic: the Gathering stuff.  I have a ton of unopened boosters that are still nice to have, as well as a cube and a battle box, etc, but they're all sort of in one place instead of three different places, and I've thrown out a bunch of the packaging material and boxes and such that aren't really useful to me at all.
- Washed the bedsheets...dusted the floors...etc.
- Trying to air out a bunch of the scarves that unfortunately inherited the smell of a candle that they were packed together with while moving a long time ago.

In general there was a lot of switching from "big pile of things stacked on top of each other" to "horizontal stack of things so I can flip through and access any individual thing easily".

One thing I might still try is rotating the couch 90 degrees (same corner) as that might actually make the office feel a bit more opened up.  I'll have to see how it feels though.

I'm still not really done; I have a whole pile of charms and decorations that I took off of old bags (in addition to ones that I just have had the whole time) and would like to find a way to display them sensibly.  My office has a nice gridded display bookcase thing but it's sort of a big mess right now, so I will be looking to reshuffle that around and hopefully turn it back into a nice display.  I'm also entertaining the idea using some command hooks to hang charms on, but we'll see about that.

Anyways, I haven't really been accomplishing much else these past couple of days, but on the flipside I feel really productive and like I'm doing really satisfying work.  I feel great about myself for taking care of all of this stuff.  It's not just the cleaning and organization either; I'm also trying to work at better practices for other things, for example I'm trying to get the hang of using a kitchen towel while I'm working in the kitchen instead of always relying on the sink and/or paper towels.  I'm still trying to wrap my head around a workflow that works for that, but I'm sure once I figure it out (?) it will make things go a lot more smoothly.

Speaking of cooking, I tried making seared duck breast tonight!



I don't often do food blogging, but hey, why not?

Got inspired to try cooking duck breast after having it at Tanto (a tasty Japanese restaurant), and followed some of the basic directions from the Serious Eats writeup of searing duck breast.  It turned out relatively well!  This is my first time ever working with duck meat, but I think it seemed to be very forgiving in terms of timing because it has so much insulation on the skin/fat side.  You can see in the photo I managed to get a pretty nice level of doneness almost all the way throughout, which was nice (of course, also used a thermometer to help me estimate).

I didn't take a photo of it, but I knew that there would be a ton of rendered duck fat from the cooking, so planning for that I made some microwaved mashed potatoes with mushroom and just poured the duck fat all over it so it would soak into the potatoes for extra flavor.  That worked out, though I think there was even TOO much fat really for that purpose.  It also made for an extremely heavy meal, which is not necessarily a bad thing inherently, but I think I would have preferred something closer to the Tanto style where they serve it over a nice salad with thin (sweet) onion slices and daikon sprouts and other veggies.

The duck breast felt kind of like a steak; it was an interesting combination of traits between chicken and beef.  It did end up being a little chewy; I think two things I would change next time are to try to salt in advance next time (I'm assuming that duck meat, like other meats, will go through some tenderization via dry brining), as well slice much more thinly.

I think I could be a little less heavy-handed on the salt next time, it didn't seem super salty at the time but afterwards I'm feeling it a little bit.  For a long time I used fine-grained table salt out of a salt shaker but have since switched to measuring out coarse-grained salt by pinching it with my fingers, which is easier to see visually but I still need to calibrate downwards on the amount of salt that I need to use.

You can see in the photo I made a pan sauce by deglazing my stainless steel pan with a bit of sake and then adding in some mirin and soy sauce and sugar -- this seemed to be a pretty common combination of ingredients for sauce to go with duck breast when I looked up Japanese recipes (this combination is also just common in Japanese cooking in general).  It worked out alright, though I personally wasn't ecstatic about it.  I did have some wasabi in the fridge (not authentic wasabi, but the green stuff that we make do with in the states) which I remember from Tanto going super well with the dish; the same was true here.  Looking it up afterwards, these sorts of Tataki (seared meat/fish) dishes are often served with a ponzu sauce, so I'll probably try that next time.  I don't think it's worth keeping yet =another= sauce container in the fridge so I'll probably just mix my own with soy sauce and some citrus juice.

I've actually been into Japanese style salads recently, like with onion slices and daikon sprouts and such, so perhaps at some point I'll try to figure out how to put one of those together (which...honestly seems pretty simple, just figure out the dressing and then put veggies together).

Anyways, pretty good experiment, all things considered.  I ended up cooking two duck breasts (came in a pack of two) which of course is way too much to expect one human being to eat for a meal so I have another duck breast which I guess I can eat tomorrow for lunch if it's still good.  Tomorrow night I actually have a quite fancy dinner outing courtesy of my family so that should be much more exciting than this, haha.

For those of you who are still looking for more foodie stuff to entertain yourself with, I've also been going back to making this Brie and Nutella Grilled Cheese sandwich recently as I realized I haven't had nutella in a long time (and nutella is delicious).

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Delta Rune Chapter 1

Took a bit, but I finished Toby Fox's new (demo?) game, chapter 1 of DELTARUNE.  I can't be bothered to write up a detailed review of it nor should I since it's so new, but some bullet points for those who are curious:
- It's definitely a spiritual successor (if not outright sequel) to UNDERTALE (there's a reason it's an anagram lol), if you liked UNDERTALE you'll feel right at home in terms of the gameplay as well as the humor and pacing.
- There are more than a few systematic differences though!  So it's got some twists on it...but you pretty much know what you're getting.
- It's not a full full-length game, no, but it's much longer than you may expect from a demo; long enough to stand on its own for an indie game, to be honest.  I did finish it in one day, but it did take two fairly hefty chunks of time.  You could probably go through it more quickly if you don't care about seeing everything.  Expect it to be significantly longer than the undertale demo.

Indie games are super inspiring haha.

Also, compo stats have been updated and are up to date now: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1D104s2Z4yGqPpfNFpikc3LFB0RSxGZkZoEaKmIdV0-I/edit?usp=sharing

Happy 44th Birthday to Hello Kitty

Originally posted on Facebook:

And now that it's past midnight -- wishing a happy birthday to Hello Kitty!


I won't hesitate to say that I've become disillusioned with Kitty's US presence as Sanrio US has seemingly moved away from the ethos of "Small gift, big smile" and towards more of a pop culture/social media presence with collaborations and food trucks and pop-up cafes (see https://www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/retail-shifts-hello-kitty-her-friends-are-moving-real-world-n877081).  When all of our Sanrio boutiques closed down one by one everything really was downhill from there.

I get it though; many people no longer live in a world where cute pencil pouches and memo pads are even used, let alone useful, and even as a plush and symbol of cuteness/comfort, people have moved onto other sensibilities (looking at you, Pusheen), and there is not a need to create these homey Sanrio store experiences when you can just order merchandise online.

Anyways, just wanted to make a small (okay, maybe big) post celebrating the side of Hello Kitty, and really Sanrio in general, that has always appealed to me most.  This wallpaper that I'm posting here is not drawn in a traditional Sanrio style, but I think captures some of that feeling that I think represents the meaning of Sanrio for me.  I'm sure this side of Hello Kitty is still alive and well in Japan, and among the hearts of many fans.

Hello Kitty can be different things to many people and has many different sides.  For example (https://www.martinhsu.com/fullscreen-page/comp-jdieeqo3/37edc6b5-fb5d-4051-ac93-3415868b85fc/14/%3Fi%3D14%26p%3Dd4v2p%26s%3Dstyle-jdpliw7z) is a painting I saw in person in Los Angeles during Hello Kitty's 40th anniversary.  It really stood out among all of the sparkly and gaudy Lady Gaga-style exhibits as something that reflected a more peaceful feeling.

I'm also glad that this past year Sanrio Danshi aired and despite the storytelling being really generic and mediocre (as far as I have watched at least), its heart is in the right place and it does send a good message.

Anyways, here's looking back at all the good times, Kitty!