No Carrot, No Stick

Storm with carrot

Storm inspects the carrot. He is unimpressed.

Storm went to the vet recently for his regular shots and vet recommended that we add fiber to his diet since his anal glands weren’t fully expressing on their own. Being the dutiful dog person that I am, I went forthwith to the store and purchased a bunch of organic carrots and brought them home for the dogs. Cory occasionally has the same issue, so I figured carrots all around. Since the dogs are fairly small, I split one carrot between the three of them. Cory and Hetty ran off with theirs like they were the happy, crunch prizes I intended them to be. Storm eyed his suspiciously, as I knew he would. This after all could be the very moment I’ve decided to poison him. He carried it around a moment and abandoned it. The girls greedily went for it. He didn’t bother to defend it.

The next day I tried a second carrot. This time I peeled it thinking perhaps the outer skin was slightly bitter and he didn’t care for that. Alas the result was the same. So I guess we’ll move on to pumpkin for him and let the girls finish the carrots. At this rate, Storm will continue with the same problem he started with and the girls will be constipated. Typical.

Coffee of the Month Club: Guatemalan

Guatemalan

Guatemalan

All good things must come to an end, and this month marks the end of my Trager Brothers Coffee Coffee of the Month Club subscription, kindly given to us for Christmas by our friend DC Jen, not to be confused with our friend New York Jen (who lives in California) or Fish Jenn or Tennessee Jen. If you were born in the late 60s/early 70s approximately half of the women you know are named Jennifer. As an aside, half of the men you know are named Michael. But that’s another post.

I was sad to see the end of my coffee subscription. Although I haven’t always agreed with Trager Brother’s roasting choices, I have appreciated the quality of their product and the timeliness of their shipping. On the months my coffee post seemed late, it wasn’t their fault, it was mine. With my last bag of beans came a lovely note, hand-written, thanking me and letting me know the subscription was over. These guys are a class act.

This month’s selection was Guatemalan beans, which had me pretty excited until I remembered our roasting issues. As usual, I felt they were heavy handed with this month’s selection, although they didn’t roast them dark they are a shade darker than I feel Guatemalan beans should be, but I quibble. This was a fine cup of coffee far more to my taste than some of the darker roasts they’ve sent me. It’s a happy note to go out on. If you’ve never done a coffee subscription and you’d like to explore more of what coffee has to offer than what can be found in a K-cup, I highly recommend it. Coffee subscriptions are a great way to try new things and an easy way to share what you find. If you are like my sister Joan, and love a dark roast, you should try Trager Brothers Coffee of the Month Club. You will really like it.

Are There Any Actual Oranges in This Gelatin?

Jello

Jello

I recently spent an unfortunate twenty-four hour period in the hospital, but that’s not interesting. Instead, I’d like to address one of the “food” items on my clear liquid diet. The so-called food was orange gelatin. Normally, I would say Jello and other gelatin products are fairly benign. After all, that’s why they serve them in hospitals, right? So I ate some of the orange gelatin and I dropped a tiny piece on my hand. And it stained. In the two seconds it took me to get a napkin and wipe it off, it stained my knuckle orange. Later, when I was finally able to brush my teeth, the entire inside of my mouth was orange. What on earth are they putting in that gelatin? Nothing natural that’s for sure. Should hospitals be serving food with so much dye in them that they stain whatever they touch? Was I mistakenly fed something meant for someone needing contrast dye for an MRI? I don’t know, but it was disturbing. For future reference, keep an eye on the Jello.

*Image courtesy of Keerati at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

World’s Pickiest Gamer

Having worked reviewing games for Game Industry News for many years, I’ve played a lot of video games. Some were good, some were great, and some were dreadful. Many were just so-so. Given all the different types of games I’ve played and enjoyed over the years, it shouldn’t be hard for me to find something I like but it is.

Work vs. Play

When I get a game to review, that’s work. I review games fairly based on their merits for what they are. For example, I don’t expect a casual iPhone game to meet the same requirements as I would a massive open-world RPG on a game console.

When it comes to personal play time though, I’m very, very picky. I like a specific type of game. It must be open-world. I don’t like to be constrained to a single through line. I like side quests. I like wandering around looking for ingredients to craft with. I like collecting things. I like random encounters with strangers with interesting stories, and I like a good fight. I like games that have sneaking as part of combat. I like long range weapon options like sniper rifles or bows and arrows. Ideally, I like to build my own characters. And last but not least, I like a first person point of view. I find it more immersive than third person. There are some great third person games out there, but they aren’t my games. Then there are just my own weird hang ups. For example, I LOVED Mass Effect II, but can’t bring myself to even play MEIII. Why? Some of it is that I got spoiled for the ending because of all the controversy and now I don’t care to play because I know how it ends. The other stickler for me is I like to play by myself. I don’t like MMOs. If I want to hang out with people, I do that in real life. Game time is me time.

With all that in mind, the Elder Scrolls games (with the exception of the MMO version) are just about perfect. I love them so much I have the game maps for ESIV: Oblivion and ESV: Skyrim professionally framed on my living room wall. It’s not in anyway an exaggeration to say that I have played those two games for hundreds of hours. Here’s the Honest Trailer for Skyrim. It’s hilarious and sadly accurate in so many ways. So, so many.

Alas, even Elder Scrolls games can be played out and I have done so. This leaves me in a bit of a pickle.

Games are relaxing in an engaging way that television and movies just aren’t. When I’m in the mood to play, nothing else provides that kind reward. A few weeks ago, I bought Far Cry 3. It hit most of my must-haves and now I’m done with it. Okay, I’m technically 99% done with it. There is one skill and one trial I didn’t complete, but I doubt I’ll bother. Now I’m looking for the next thing. I picked up a used copy of Far Cry 4 and I’m contemplating getting the Witcher 3. I know I’ll like Far Cry 4 well enough, but since I just played FC3, I’d like a little break in between. The Witcher 3 is getting excellent reviews, but it’s a third person over the shoulder game, and I just don’t know that I’ll like it.

*sigh*

When does Elder Scrolls VI come out?