I have not posted in over a year.

Life happens. By "life," I mean "sh*t."
Why I haven’t posted a new entry on over a year.

What can I say, other than “sorry?” Life happens. I often think of subjects I should blog about, but then think that nobody is going to notice or care anyway. And life continues to happen. I have all sorts of tentative plans in the works, such as:

  • Re-playing “Elite Beat Agents” on my Twitch stream
  • Ongoing Magic Hour/GamerParent shenanigans
  • A potential foray into cosplay for New York ComiCon
  • A proper chronicle of my fight against gross incompetence w/r/t obtaining health insurance
  • Other stuff I can’t remember right now

On top of all that, I really want to update the WordPress theme, which means I’ll have to do some tweaking to make it just so. Stick around, and I might get through one or two items by year’s end, ha!

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Tomodachi Life, Redux

Miitomo came out yesterday. It’s Nintendo’s first mobile app, and basically a port of Tomodachi Life. You make a Mii, and it interacts with the Miis of your Facebook and Twitter friends. It’s nifty, but I’m getting bored with it quickly, because I played so much Tomodachi Life in 2014.

However, I did chat for a bit about it on GamerParent’s Magic Hour Show before the fatigue set in.

Dee yukking it up with GamerParent in Miitomo
Dee yukking it up with GamerParent in Miitomo
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Fallout Shelter and the Cruel, Racist Experiment

In case you haven’t heard, Bethesda Games, makers of the Fallout series, have created a mobile spinoff game called Fallout Shelter. In Fallout Shelter, you oversee a nuclear fallout shelter. You assign residents, aka Dwellers, to different rooms to perform tasks vital to the shelter, such as maintaining the power plant, making food, or purifying water. You have to make sure your Dwellers produce enough of those three resources (power, food, and water) in order to survive the nuclear winter. You can also send Dwellers back out to the Wasteland to collect weapons, outfits (armor), and bottle caps, which are used to revive fallen Dwellers and pay for expansions to the shelter. You increase the amount of Dwellers in your shelter by broadcasting from a radio station, receiving Dwellers as prizes in your lunchboxes (this is where the in-app purchases come in), or the old fashioned way – having two Dwellers get some sweet, sweet loving.

Dwellers sure have some cheesy pickup lines. (Image courtesy of Shane the Gamer. )
Dwellers sure have some cheesy pickup lines.
(Image courtesy of Shane the Gamer. )

However, at the time I’m writing this, there is a maximum population limit of 200 Dwellers. When I saw myself nearing 150, I was having so much fun, I decided to delay my growth a bit. I encountered a Kotaku article about other cruel experiments people have done with their vaults, including kicking out all the men (except for one stud), isolation, starvation, and a caste system based on heredity and character stats.

An evil thought occurred to me: if you can treat dwellers like crap because of the stats they’re born with, why not do the same with race? Thus, my Blackout Shelter was born. I sent out all of my lighter-skinned Dwellers to the Wasteland. Those who were lower levels, I let die, and cleared their corpses instead of reviving them. The higher level ones, I kept around to retrieve stuff from the Wastelands, but I did not allow them to breed.

It was tough going in the beginning, because I ran out of caps for building enhanced rooms. However, as time went on, and I trained my lower-level (but darker-skinned) Dwellers to up their SPECIAL stats, production increased and I got out of my rut.

If there’s any lesson I learned from this cruel experiment, it’s that it’s the stats and levels that count, not the skin color. But I knew that already, since that’s how Real Life should be.

tl;dr: Racism is bad, mmkay?

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Recipe of the Week: One Pot Pasta (with meat sauce)

There are a bunch of one-pot pasta recipes out there. I’m not sure why I hadn’t heard of them until a few months ago, because it makes cleanup so much easier! No separate pots for pasta, sauce, and/or meat! You also don’t have to worry about draining the pasta after boiling, because it boils right in the sauce! Yum!

This week, I used a recipe posted on SheKnows, minus the peppers, and with a jar of spaghetti sauce instead of the canned pasta sauce (due to pantry supply issues). I’ve also done the Martha Stewart recipe with added mushrooms. Basically, whatever you’d add in your pasta sauce, add it, while giving enough time for the ingredients to cook to your liking. For example, if you use carrots, you might want to put them in right after the meat is cooked, and before adding onions/peppers, in order to get them to your desired softness.

One-pot spaghetti with meat sauce recipe

by Patricia Conte at SheKnows
Serves 4

Recipe inspired by Taste of Home

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 pound ground beef
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1/3 cup diced sweet peppers, seeds and membrane removed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 can (29 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 8 ounces uncooked spaghetti
  • Fresh basil as garnish (optional)
  • Pecorino or Parmesan cheese, shaved, as garnish (optional)

Directions:

  • Add the ground beef to a Dutch oven (or large pot) over medium heat. Cook until done, then drain, and return the ground beef to the pot.
  • Add the onion and peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic, salt, black pepper, dried oregano, red pepper flakes, diced tomatoes in juice, tomato sauce and water. Mix to combine.
  • Increase the heat to high to bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Add the spaghetti and cook until it softens slightly (just a minute or so). Add the lid, reduce the heat to simmer and cook for 12-15 minutes, or until the spaghetti is tender and cooked to your liking.
    Serve in individual bowls garnished with the basil and shaved cheese.

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Recipes of the Week: Foolproof Pizza and Sauce

pizza

Okay, I’m cheating a bit. I’ve made Serious Eats’ Foolproof Pan Pizza in the past. Since I’m a New Yorker living in New England, I’m a real pizza snob, and I’ve decided that the best way to get a decent pizza around here is to make it my damned self.

The thing is, I’m usually lazy. Even though the dough is made from scratch, it’s a really low-maintenance dough. This is a good thing for me, because I’m cursed; any recipe involving flour usually turns into disaster. However, I think that measuring by weight instead of volume has helped me out a lot.

Another way I’ve been lazy is that I’ve been using prepared sauce, either Classico Traditional Pizza Sauce, or Hannaford’s pizza sauce from the refrigerated deli section (Hannaford is a New England supermarket chain).

But today, I’m stepping it up, since I haven’t done a new recipe this week. A pot of Serious Eats’ New York Style Pizza Sauce is simmering on the stove as I type. I did not make any alterations to the sauce recipe, and the pizzas will be pepperoni/mushroom, and “Hawaiian” pizza (pineapple and ham), which is really a Canadian invention. Eh?

Oh, and because it’s not mentioned in the sauce recipe: you’re supposed to take the onion halves out after the simmering is done.

Ingredients

1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 medium cloves garlic, grated on microplane grater (about 2 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
pinch red pepper flakes
Kosher salt
2 six-inch sprigs fresh basil with leaves attached
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and split in half
1 teaspoon sugar
Procedures

1. Process tomatoes and their juice through food mill, pulse in food processor until pureed, or puree with hand blender. Puree should not be completely smooth, but should have no chunks larger than 1/16 of an inch. Set tomatoes aside.

2. Combine butter and oil in medium saucepan and heat over medium-low heat until butter is melted. Add garlic, oregano, pepper flakes, and large pinch salt and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant but not browned, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, basil sprigs, onion halves, and sugar. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to lowest setting (bubbles should barely be breaking the surface), and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by 1/2, about 1 hour. Season to taste with salt. Allow to cool and store in covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

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