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MarkN

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  1. MarkN

    Vegetarian / Vegan recipes

    Cheers. I'm pretty sure the Sainsbury's I work at doesn't have fresh mince, but I could have missed it (I work as an online shopper and people don't seem to order the fresh vegan stuff that often (although it is starting to pick up a bit recently). It's weird because the frozen vegan (and veggie) stuff is super popular - we pick loads of that stuff. It's actually annoying, because Quorn products all look the same, so it's hard to pick fast...) Will grab some from H&B next time I want some - will be interesting to compare, and I've really enjoyed the few other bits of Fry's stuff I've had (those sausage rolls - nom!).
  2. MarkN

    Vegetarian / Vegan recipes

    I'll have to try Fry's. Is that a frozen one? I don't think I've seen fresh on the shelves. The Naturli stuff I mentioned earlier in the thread is worth a pop. I've tried it a couple of times now, and I'm impressed with the texture of it (much wetter and more malleable than stuff like quorn, so can be shaped into burgers as well as being used like mince). I'm still a little disturbed because it's got a definite meaty taste to it (possibly a little lamb-y), which may or may not be what you're after (I'm still not sure, but it's not enough to be off-putting). Last time I used it was in a Chinese stir-fry thing, and it was really good. I think it's only available in Sainsbury's still (and lives in the meat aisle).
  3. MarkN

    My Time At Portia

    I've now got over 100 hours into this, and I'm still enjoying it, but slowing down a little. The building and commission stuff I think is great for the most part. The social side is a mixed bag. As usual with any game like this befriending people is horribly slow and has nothing to do with any kind of reasonable behaviour. For the most part the best way to gain friends is to find out what they like and then spam them with gifts relentlessly. This doesn't seem too batshit insane if what they like is food, but if they like a specific item of jewellery you end up in that loop of giving a person the same necklace every single day and them saying "This is perfect for me, how did you know?". NPCs also sometimes make requests for the things they like, which again doesn't look too odd with things like pumpkin pie, which the girl from the farm has requested of me half a dozen times, but the mayor has had at least 10 tea tables out of me, and keeps asking for more - it's ludicrous. It does some good stuff - befriending people also helps your relationships with their friends, so if you pick a few folk to concentrate on you will drag several others along for the ride. And you can also take commissions to boost people's favour - which makes far more sense than anything else here. (It would be much more sensible for the game to let you take on any number of personal commissions at a time, and let that be the prime mover for befriending people, because then you'd be behaving like a normal person doing a job that helps people out, and they'd really like you for it - but that's the kind of logic that doesn't fly with most game designers). One thing I really enjoyed early on, but am finding less time for is the mining. The problem here is that after a point you tend to have most of the ores you need or can buy them, or get them in other ways. The only things you need to mine for are the artefacts, and there you're likely to be screwed over by the random number generator. After a hundred hours I think I've managed to complete 4 relics out of probably dozens. I've got all sorts of bits and pieces in storage. Tellingly I have 5 or 6 duplicates of some parts, and I'm still missing 2 or 3 of the matching bits. The last time I went mining I managed to get in and do 4 or 5 big stints to try to complete a few relics, and only came out with about a dozen duplicate parts and a couple of bits for things I hadn't seen yet. It's complete pot luck, so I find myself not bothering to do it now - even though as a mechanic I found it quite good fun. And it's annoying because I've got silly numbers of things taking up inventory space, and a big old empty museum that I'd love to be filling, and yet it just seems like it's not worth the trouble. One other thing is there's a bizarre disconnect with the wildlife in the game. Much of it is benign and cute and just bimbles around harmlessly - and yet they all drop useful loot. So every so often if I've got a spare couple of hours I go out looking for cute fluffy llamas and I murder them brutally with a massive hammer. They don't fight back, they just die pathetically, and then some more respawn shortly after so I can murder them with a massive hammer too. (Actually the combat is really patchy across the game too - some critters won't fight back, some critters have attacks that track you in an odd fashion so whilst running away looks like it should work it won't, and most of it is really simple, crudely-implemented, and missing sound effects and polish - happily it's one of those elements that isn't that important in the scheme of things). There are all sorts of other niggles. The writing is largely terrible (but then the same is true for most games), the voice work is largely awful and badly-implemented (it's a relief that much of it is still missing), and as mentioned in my last post lots of things are underexplained. But it also has some great ideas that it's bought to the table that solve problems found in other similar games. And the thing it does best for me is still the sense of achievement on the big projects. I mentioned the bridge above, but the lighthouse is another example - you can see it from halfway across the world. As to comparisons with Stardew Valley. I love that game, but I don't think I'm quite as enamoured with it as some (it's my 3rd favourite Harvest Moon-style game). I do prefer SV to this, but perhaps only because the emphasis is so much on farming, whereas in Portia it's building (it's perhaps not that fair a comparison tbh). And whilst I love the building and the impact it has on the town, it doesn't have that same journey of starting with a tiny plot of land, and slowly building a hugely productive farm.
  4. MarkN

    Tombstone - The Western Film Genre

    I love the slow build - Costner and Duvall work superbly together here, and it does that whole thing of showing the other side of Western life that Unforgiven did just as well I think (the godawful weather, the quirky humour, the decent folk caring for each other, the awful woundings and unpleasantness that actually occur when guns are fired, rather than nice neat deaths). It does end in a brilliant shootout (if you've got a decent sound system it's a monster - the gunshots are like cannon-fire). If it had one more shootout in the middle to liven things up I think everyone would rate it an absolute classic. It just chooses to keep its powder dry until the end, I think. Also - realised I hadn't chimed in on Tombstone yet - and oh boy! That's a cracker of a film. So, so good. Epic moustaches, so many great lines, Bill Paxton doing the kind of role anyone who loves him loves him for, and Val Kilmer knocking it out of the park with a part that may well have been written for him. It's ace. Guilty pleasure (mentioned earlier once I think) - The Quick And The Dead. It's daft, but very watchable. It's High-Noon style duelling turned into a sports movie, with an A list cast who're happy to go along with that premise. If it was on telly now I'd be watching it again for the umpteenth time, rather than commenting here...
  5. MarkN

    Tombstone - The Western Film Genre

    Open Range is much more than okay, IMO. One of my very favourites. It's long and quite slow and all the better for it. Lots in common with Unforgiven I think, and whilst not quite as good as that, it's still pretty damned great. I still have very fond memories of seeing the original Django back on the magnificent Moviedrome back in the day. No idea how I'd receive it today, but Alex Cox was a great judge, so I reckon it's a good'un:
  6. MarkN

    Vegetarian / Vegan recipes

    My favourite noodles by far are Nongshim Shin Ramyun and Shin Cup. They're proper nom (quite spicy too). You have to be careful though because some variants have anchovy in (possibly only sometimes - I swear I've had the regular sized cup ones without anchovy, but last time I bought some it included it in the ingredients). The Shin Ramyun that I currently have (which doesn't come in a cup) are veggie, as was a large-sized bowl I picked up from Morrison's recently. Will try to remember to check the regular ones again next time I'm somewhere that sells them (Sainsbury's, Morrisons and Tesco all have them near me). EDIT: Just checked - and they still list anchovy in the regular cup size, whereas the large bowl and loose packets don't. Bizarre! So don't buy the one pictured below, but the exact same package design in a packet or large bowl is fine. Another one I eat fairly often is Ko-Lee Go Extreme. These have a veggie seal on the pack so are definitely OK, and despite the name aren't super spicy. Not as good as Shin Cup by some distance, but can be picked up for 28p a pack in Morrisons. They're a bit more of a faff to prepare because alongside a powder sachet there's also one with oil in, and getting that out can be messy (I tend to slice 3 sides open, and then chuck the sachet in the bowl, pour the boiling water on, then fish out the plastic at the end). There's also a chow mein variety which is pretty good too (although Morrisons don't seem to stock them so I have to pay top whack for them at Sainsbury's (40p a pack)).
  7. MarkN

    Comedy timing

    It's not quite what I was after, but I pissed myself 3 times watching it, so it'll do. Edit: I was wrong. After a re-watch when he asks "Do you mind if I smoke?" - that's just spot on. Absolutely perfect. I mean - the rest of it is brilliant, but purely from a timing point of view that is top notch, for me.
  8. MarkN

    Comedy timing

    That punch is an absolute belter. You know that hurt. Possibly another thread there - best punches in film history. I'd start with The Last Boy Scout, but this one's a shoe-in.
  9. MarkN

    Comedy timing

    I honestly haven't seen that before, and halfway through I was tempted to sack it off as not relevant (and actually something I'd rather not watch). But I stuck with it - and it's exactly right. It wasn't funny to me, but it became a bit funny, and then it became funnier, and then it became magnificent. I mean it's bloody horrible, but it's still properly fucking funny. And it's that same kind of "piling it on" thing. It's only really funny when they have the courage to take it far too fucking far for comfort.
  10. MarkN

    Comedy timing

    Just been reading through the Alan Partridge thread, and something made me go and search for this sketch from Vic and Bob's House Of Fools, which for me is just a masterpiece of timing - the pauses between mug falls, the rate at which they happen, the fact that it goes on for longer than you think it should at first, but then only gets funnier - for me it's note perfect: Would love to see other folks examples of great comedy timing - should be a fun thread to return to.
  11. MarkN

    Vegetarian / Vegan recipes

    Woah! That milk separation sounds like madness - unless you mean the long-life versions of milk, which are always kept separate (in my store they're nowhere near the baking ingredients though). But yes - the assumptions is (I believe) that vegans don't want stuff that tastes like meat, because they don't eat the stuff. You can point out until you are blue in the face that the reason they don't eat the stuff is the "death and killing and cruelty" and that most veggies and vegans have meat products that they actually really enjoyed but can't eat any more, but that doesn't seem to register. It's not the flavour and texture that's the problem, you muppets - it's the cruelty and death. If you can do one without the other then we're sorted. (My personal favourites are all weird shit like corned beef and chicken liver pate which no-ones going to bother make veggie-equivalents of for a bastard long time yet, so I'm screwed.) I genuinely believe we're getting there on this one though. The progress in the last couple of years has been incredible. It will take some people some time to catch up, and some time for the marketplace to sort itself out too, but I really think this is heading properly in the right direction.
  12. MarkN

    What’s the worst film you have ever seen?

    The worst film I remember paying to see at the cinema was Interview With The Vampire. I can't remember much about it now other than wanting to leave for the last five hours (that what it felt like, at least). Doesn't seem to review that badly - but it's etched into my memory as tedious as hell. To be fair - it wouldn't have been my choice of film, so I probably tagged along with friends, and then felt obliged to sit through it to the end. I couldn't give a toss about vampires, but you expect them to at least be half-way interesting. I remember being bored witless.
  13. MarkN

    Vegetarian / Vegan recipes

    The idea of putting the meat-free burgers in the meat aisle is that they're not aimed at vegans. The assumption (rightly or wrongly) being that most die-hard vegans don't want something that tastes like meat. They're aimed at people who want to cut down on meat, so they're put next to it to show folk the alternatives. It's one of those decisions where it's easy to think they've got it wrong, but when it comes to making money I trust big business to know more about this sort of thing than I do. If they thought they'd make more cash putting it in the veggie section then that's where it would be. It's not a hipster decision, it's a money decision.
  14. MarkN

    Vegetarian / Vegan recipes

    I do usually add the spices at the end of frying and stir them through for a minute or two - I should have mentioned that above. I think I held off because when I went to check the name on the packet I read the example recipe, and it said add them after the liquids, so I wondered if I was doing it wrong. But my own method has been aggregated from the silly numbers of cookery shows I've watched, which is my usual way of doing anything (if I want a recipe for a dish I tend to google it, read 6 or 7 different ones, and then make one that's based on the lot, rather than follow one slavishly). Cheers for the confirmation though.
  15. MarkN

    Ape Out - Aesthetically goshdarned lovely smash-em-up.

    I'm kinda enjoying this, but also not. I love the art style, and I really like playing by seeing through it (makes sense when you're on the dark levels). But I think it fails as a decent game. I'm not getting that much better at it, regardless of how much I play. I'm muddling through at best. It's one of those games where if the random number generator is against you then you are absolutely fucked. And if that happens twelve times in a row you are going to have a miserable time of things. Just running through the level trying to find the exit seems to be a more valid tactic than actually engaging with the level mechanics a lot of the time. I've probably finished at least half the levels I've completed that way (after dozens of more controlled attempts failed miserably). Then again, maybe I'm just a rubbish gorilla...
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