Ding 60 – Outlands here I come

21 05 2010

I dinged 60 last night.

Now I know that other than sentimentality there isn’t really any milestone attached to 60 anymore but hey I’m nothing if not sentimental!

I remember the first time I ever hit 60, it was back in the vanilla days of  WOW and it was just a real sense of achievement, it really did feel like you had accomplished something. Luckily enough there was plenty to keep me grounded and stop me feeling like king of Azeroth.

Reaching the level cap or end game or whatever else you might choose to call it isn’t the ned, not by a long shot, if anything it is actually more of a beginning, everything else starts to feel like you were just training in order to reach this point.

I  got to experience that same feeling all over again when The Burning Crusade was launched and if anything hitting 70 was even more epic then 60, more or less the first drop that I got in outland was better than most of my gear that I had picked up in Azeroth and everything was just more polished.

Going back into Outland again probably isn’t going to convey that same buzz as it did last time but in a meagre ten levels time I will be ready to experience it all over again when I finally set foot in Northrend.

For those of you sad enough to care here is how things currently look in my armoury, I was stupidly pleased to get both Light Touched Breastplate and Bloodstained Ravager Gauntlets drop to me in just one run of hellfire ramparts.

Yeah I know the gauntlets are mail but the stats are better than my previous plate ones and besides I have been able to chuck a bunch of gems into everything and effectively give myself  a bit of a boost to my strength, crit and stamina.

Now to get that flying mount training 🙂





Home made pickled onions

19 05 2010

Ok well I have mentioned pickled onions before and now I have decided to impart upon you all my own method for making these delcious treats.

You will find some books/sites/people etc that will tell you that you have to brine the onions first and that the reason behind this is to help keep the onions crisp.

I am willing to go out on a limb on this and declare shenanigans.

Any time I have made pickled onions and brined them first they actually ended up being soggier than when I don’t brine them.  I asked an old friend of mine who also pickles things, too many things if I’m honest, and he agrees with me that the brining is really surplus to requirements and that in over 40 years of pickling he has never seen the need.

So here we go then, first things first you need the right onions, personally for me it has to be silverskins, they are the right size have a nice natural sweetness to them that goes well with the acidity of the vinegar. If you  want larger pickled onions or just can’t get silverskins then I would use small to medium sized shallots and just top and tail them to make them slightly rounder in profile.

Although I have before had some pickled onions that weren’t peeled I would never ever make these myself, it is fiddly and pointless for the person eating them, don’t be lazy peel the onions yourself!

For the viengar I find that it has to be proper dark malt vinegar, it is the only vinegar that gives that proper pub/chip shop counter taste that I look for in my pickled onions, or eggs for that matter. That said I have recently tried mixing things up a bit and have settled on a 80/20 mix of malt vinegar to good balsamic vinegar that is really very pleasant.

A quick note about the spices used, the measures given aren’t exact and really and truly it is a personal thing as to how much you want to add of something, if you like a hotter flavour add more chillis, if you want it sweeter add some sugar, you will know when it tastes right to you.

*all spice amounts are based on 1 litre of vinegar being used*

Onions

1 litre of vinegar for every kilo of onions – final weight of onions will be less after peeling etc

2 bay leaves

1 handful of mustard seeds

1 hadful of black peppercorns

4 pieces of star anise

peel of one orange

2 cinammon sticks

half handful of cloves

2 cloves of garlic

4 dried red chillies

1/2 nutmeg grated

1/2 handful of pimento berries/all spice berries

Add all the spices to the vinegar and simmer on a medium heat for about 5/10 minutes, this is really just to help the flavours infuse into the vinegar.

Whilst the vinegar is simmering pack the onions into jar that have been well sterilised. This means that the jar AND the lid have eiather been boiled or if you are lazy you can run them through the dish washer by themselves.

Once the vinegar has cooled pour it into the jars over the onions, fill to the brim and seal the jars. It doesn’t matter if you end up with chillies or bay leaves or cloves etc in the jars, in my view the more the merrier!

Wipe your jars down and make sure they are sufficiently clean.

Place in a cool dark place and forget about your pickled onions for at least 1 month,  I personally leave mine for 2 months minimum.

When they are ready open and enjoy 🙂





A quick WOW update

19 05 2010

Yesterday I had one of those days that leaves me with a smile on my face. Why the smile you ask well there are two reasons.

Firstly I finally got my hands on one of the weapons I have been after; Ice Barbed Spear. Even though it is only a rare (all be it quite a nice one) it has been a real pain in the arse to get hold of, mostly due to the fact that on my server the Horde suck donkey balls when it comes to Alterac Valley.

Still I have it now and I’m not giving it up easilly as it is a great weapon for Ret Pallys; the only time I won’t be using it is when I end up in some awful pug from the dungeon finder and end up having to play tank for a while, hate doing it though as I love seeing those pretty numbers lol.

Secondly I managed to go from 53 to 58 in one evening, that probably isn’t a lot for some people but I was damn pleased with myself. I plan on getting to 60 this evening or tomorrow and then chillaxing for a couple of days in order to give the Death Knight a whirl.

If you have been reading my ramblings for a while then you might remember that I moved away from WOW prior to WOTLK and have only just made it back, as such DKs,  Northrend, ICC etc are all refreshingly new to me and I am enjoying seeing what was changed since the Burning Crusade days.





mmmm meat candy not

17 05 2010

A co-worker of mine has been away in China for the past couple of weeks and came back to work yesterday.

We always bring back some sort of food stuff from trips and it has recently become an unofficial contest to see who can bring in the strangest thing.

I think we might have a winner or at least an incredibly strong front runner.

Chinese meat candies.

I like meat, I like candy and I like Chinese food so how bad can they be.

Well I will tell you exactly how bad they can be, it was a little bit like eating a sweaty sock full of garlic and chopped meat that had been crushed up into a tiny shite coloured cube mmmm delicious.

There was a spicy beef flavoured cube, a ginger pork flavoured cube and one which I actually believe to have been a lump of shrimp paste dusted in sugar and wrapped in fancy paper.

The pork and the beef were bad enough but the shrimp one was truly fishalicious, I was tasting that bad mother funker for about 3 hours afterwards.

If you ever find yourself with a pressing need to vomit you could do far worse then pop a few of these cubes of gastro-intestinal death.





My WOW wishlist

17 05 2010

I love games, it doesn’t hugely matter what type of game, I have played or would play more or less any type of game what so ever.

However due to being a great big geek of a certain age and disposition I have always had a soft spot in my heart for D&D style RPG, be it table top, text based scroller, Baldur’s Gate style PC fun or more recently MMORPGs.

As a result it  was more or less inevitable that I would end up falling into the life consuming black hole that is World of Warcraft, I first played about 4 years ago  now and needless to say I was impressed, there was a sheer sense of scale that I hadn’t come across before in a video game.

Times change and things move on, I grew dissillusioned with WOW and set out n search of other MMOs to pit my skills against.

I settled on Lord of the rings online by Turbine, I was very pleased with LOTRO and have been an avid player ever since I first set foot in the Shire.

 For starters the game is stunning and I don’t just mean for an MMO it is stunning compared to more or less any game out there that you care to mention! The story is also very well done and the whole game does feel plot driven, no mean feat considering that the game runs parallel to the story of the fellowship and other than crossing paths with the members occasionally runs completely separately.

The only problem with LOTRO is that it doesn’t have that same sense of  scale that WOW has and I’m not talking about the size of the world map. WOW has always felt sort of limitless and like there is always something that you haven’t quite managed to do yet.

LOTRO has lost that for me a little bit, some of  the end game content has been a little bit weak and the new expansion, Siege of Mirkwood, didn’t really add to the game in the same way that Mines of Moria did.

So I went back to WOW after a 2.5 year hiatus. A LOT has changed for starters Wrath of the Lich King has been launched and we are very rapidly approaching the launch of Cataclysm, the third expansion pack.

Backstory over.

I was day dreaming on Saturday about ways in which I would try and improve WOW if I could and I actually hit upon a few ideas that I thought were actually quite feasible and would add just that little bit extra to the game, the glace cherry on top of the already delicious cake if you will.

LOTRO players might notice a theme here so I am going  to come out and say it these are ideas that are implemented in LOTRO, they aren’t unique to there but I do feel that Turbine have implemented them particularly well.

So here in no particular order is my WOW wishlist:

1. Player houses.

A simple idea and some might say a extraneous one but there is something about having your own piece of in game real estate that just adds to the overall sense of immersion.

Imagine having your tree house in Un Goro crater or a mud hut to call your own in the Barrens! Also It needn’t just be a status symbol for you to decorate and show off, you could have additional storage that you could purchase and your own little mailbox right at your front door (I’m blatantly stealing at this point!)

This is saying nothing of guild halls, imagine if you will a starter guild with some drafty two room hall in Brill, it’s humble but for you and the guys its home, contrast this with the mini-fortress on the outskirts of Orgrimmar owned by a mighty raiding guild, the walls are festooned with trophies from their countless victories and a sense of pride and strength eminates from the very building itself filling all who enter it with a sense of awe.

2. An outfit system.

If you are a player on an RPG server or just someone who likes to have a bit of a backstory and make themselves that bit different what would be better than a change of outfit.

Maybe you have some comfortable “town clothes” you want to wear after a hard days questing, perhaps you love the stats on your armour but hate how it looks?

Well what if you were to have separate tabs on your character viewer, your main tab would have the armour and equipment that you are actively using and gaining stats from, the other tabs could have items dropped onto them that would simply display; are you a mage that always wanted to run around in full plate looking like a warrior go for it, you will still be squishy and dead but you will certainly look badass!

I know this is purely for the sake of vanity but it isn’t as if this would be a first look at the whole collection of vanity pets out there that not only do people go nuts for but they pay RL money to get em. Blizzard could so much money off of this it would be nuts, we are talking fat stacks of paper just for giving people imaginary clothes.

3. Legendary Weapons.

In LOTRO there is a class of weapon that makes everything else look like a blunt fruit knife by comparison, Legendary Weapons.

Basically these are a better class of wepaon that becomes available to you late on in the game, they have a variety of different sockets – nothing new there, they can be enchanted – again no great shakes but they gain xp .

The more you use them and the more badass mothers you take down the more xp your weapon of choice gains and as we all know points make prizes, when you reach certain levels of xp you can add points to the various stats on your item.

There are even two types of NPC just to support legendary weapons; lets say you find a new legenday axe, you need to identify it before you can use it, so off you trot to an expert and find out that this particular axe has x,y,z stats, don’t like these stats? Well in that case pop next door to his buddy and melt the axe down, on melting it down you will end up various relics, gems and runes that made the axe what it was that you can either slot into other weapons or combine together to make even more powerful relics etc.

Personally I don’t like how frequently legenday weapons drop in LOTRO but I can see it working in WOW, imagine being able to have a completely customisable sword or axe or staff that would grow with you, we aren’t talking some all conquering death bringer but it would certainly be a damn damn fine weapon.

Maybe it would be a class of weapon that would only be available at end game and would add yet another face to what is available to do whilst waiting for the next expansion to come out, maybe they would be PvP only and you would get the relics etc by looting the corpses of your HKs, to my mind there are a whole range of possibilities.

Well that is it, I’m spent, I’m all wished out.

Feel free to suggest your own ideas or tear mine into shreds, healthy discussion makes the world go round after all 😉





Belgo Centraal

14 05 2010

I am still trying to work through my slightly incoherent notes from my recent trip back home to London, this isn’t proving to be the easiest task as a lot of my latter notes are affected by the copious amounts of beer that were being consumed.

However I did stumble across one sheet of paper on which I had simply written the word Belgos and drawn and very amateurish trappist monk getting chased by a mussel.

This childish drawing was actually surpsingly helpful as notes go, it encapsulates a lot of what Belgo is about.

Mussels, Belgium and Beer – lots of beer,  absurd amounts of beer.

Let me start at the beginning, Belgo is a chain of Belgian restaurants with several locations  throughout the capital, Centraal is on Earlham Street in Covent Garden and is just over the road from Neal’s Yard.

You walk into the restaurant at ground level and it is a little bit like entering an industrial inspired nightclub, lots of steel walk ways and warning stips lead you towards a greeter who announces your arrival and how many guests there are through a large walky talky.

If you look down and to your right you are actually over the kitchen and can see a brigade of chefs beavering away busily.

The dining area is downstairs and the first thing you notice is that all of the serving and bar staff are dressed like trappist monks…

The star of the show in terms of food has to be the moule et frites, they do several different selections of mussles however for me it has to be the classic Moule Mariniere, you can even get a 1 kilo pot of mussels for a very reasonable 12 quid!

The rest of the food is also excellent with wild boar sausages with stoemp another favourite of mine.

But of course I don’t just come here for the food, Belgo has one of if not the best beer list of more or less any restaurant in London.

Whilst they might not have my usual choice of cask ale this is one occasional where I just don’t care!

There are proper lagers, there are blonde beers, there are wheat beers, there are a range of fruit beers to die for, there are trappist beers, there are abbey beers, they even have the mighty 11.5%  Deus Brut des Flandres at a whopping £32.95 for a 75cl bottle.

It’s a little bit like dying and finding out that heaven has great beer on tap and a never ending supply of mussels.

It isn’t the worlds greatest or poshest restaurant, hell it doesnt even come close but the food is very good (reasonable too) and the beers are to die for.

If you like food and beer then visit.





Children raping children, stop the world I want to get off.

12 05 2010

I must admit to being fairly hard to shock these days, I’m not saying it’s a good thing in fact I wish it wasn’t the case, but somethings are so horrific and terrible that even someone as de-sensitised as I feels absolute physical revoltion on hearing of them.

I was looking through the home page of the BBC news when this particular headline came around on the cycle:

Girl, eight, ‘raped by two 10-year-old boys’ in London

What the fuck is wrong with the world that we live in.

The “alleged” attack took place  whilst the youngster was playing with her even younger sister and a group of friends near to her family home.

The two boys who were known to the girl took her to a nearby block of flats where they then raped her.

She was found with the boys by her mother after her younger sister returned home without her.

The two boys are both being tried at the Old Bailey with two counts of rape and two of attempted rape on a person under 13 years of age.

In order to better facilitate the needs of the defendants the judge is seating at a lower level where the clerk of the court would normally be seated and court is in session for a shorter amount of time each day.

Well excuse me for being inflammatory  but fuck the needs of the defendants. They in no way took into account the needs of the poor girl they brutalised.

If this is the world today you can keep it.

If you want to read the original BBC article click here








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