Lockdown Day 5167: Noah Gives Up

Noah is a now a human snail.

As the UK lockdown goes on and on (although hopefully, it will end in a few months) Noah has had enough and has now decided he wants to live inside a basket.

I don’t blame the kid, life stuck in this little house has got very dull. If putting a basket on his head is his form of entertainment, then I’m all for it.

I’m tempted to have a go myself. At least it’s something to do.

Indie Game Pick: To The Rescue! A Dog Shelter Simulator

As well as all the other stuff I post here, I want to start using this blog to highlight things that you may not hear about on big media sites. I’m a big lover of indie games and I believe it’s important to support independent developers, so I want to start showcasing upcoming or already released games to help them get more exposure.  

To The Rescue! dog shelter simulator game

The first game is one I’m very much looking forward to, even though I’ve never actually owned a dog. Still, I’m a sucker for any simulation-type games and this sounds right up my street! 

To The Rescue! By Little Rock Games is a dog shelter simulator. Screw cities or theme parks, who doesn’t run to try their hand at running a shelter full of cute little puppies?  Check out the pre-alpha trailer from last year below.

Currently announced for PC, Mac and Nintendo Switch, To The Rescue! makes you responsible for caring for dozens of cute dogs who need a home. But running a shelter isn’t easy, and you’ll have to carefully manage your dog’s needs to maximise their chances of finding their perfect owner.  

A screenshot of To The Rescue! a dog simulator game.

Each dog has their own unique preferences, as well as negative traits. They can catch infectious diseases too, so you’ll always have to be on hand to ensure they stay healthy.  

Potential adopters will come into your shelter with specific preferences for their new doggy companion, so you’ll have to match dogs to these preferences in order to increase their chances of adoption.  

A screenshot of To The Rescue! a dog simulator game.

Over time, you can use any spare funds to upgrade the shelter by building deluxe kennels, adding communal play spaces, hiring more helpers and more.  

Unfortunately, running a dog shelter is also hard work. You’ll have to make tough decisions if order to keep caring for your dogs. This does mean that the game features euthanasia, and while the developers stress that it isn’t ‘glorified or presented as an easy way out’ it’s ‘an important part of the experience’ that real-life shelters have to contend with.  

A screenshot of To The Rescue! a dog simulator game.

Little Rock Games also says that 20% of the profit from all sales of To The Rescue! will go towards real dog shelters, which gets a big thumbs up from me! 

To The Rescue! has already been through the Kickstarter process and managed to raise $36,639 from 1,241 backers. There’s no word on a specific release date yet other than Autumn 2021, but you can follow progress on the game over on its website.  

Don’t Worry About People Who Don’t Like You

A framed picture with the words 'self care isn't selfish' written across the middle. There is a plant in the foreground.

One thing I’ve come to realise is that you can’t spend your life worrying about why people don’t like you. Because no matter how nice or friendly a person you are, there will always be people in this world who don’t like you.

Whether it’s a clash of personalities or they’re simply someone who has little time for anyone else. You can’t force them to like you, so why waste your time in trying?

Ask yourself why you’re even bothered. Do you really need the approval of someone who has no interest in ever getting to know you?

If you’ve tried with someone and there’s not been an ounce of give, just let it go and move on. 

People come and go from your life all the time. That person who couldn’t stand you at your last job should now be a distant memory. You don’t have to engage with them anymore because you don’t work with them anymore. They shouldn’t be living rent free in your mind. 

Sometimes, the people who you don’t get along with will always be around due to various circumstances. In this case, just be amicable and friendly in situations where you must be in the same room as them. There’s little point in confronting them about why they don’t like you, as it will likely just make things worse. At least if you carry on being normal, the situation remains neutral, and the stress of an argument remains distant.

You can’t change others, but you can change how you respond to them. Plus, who knows? They may come around to you eventually, because they might see you’re not as bad as their mind was telling them.  But sometimes people will never change. It’s not on you spend enormous amounts of energy on trying to get them to change.

It’s even likely that the person who doesn’t like you is doing it because they want you to bite. They want you to confront them, or they want you to start treating them badly back so that they then have an excuse to get even worse. Some people just thrive off the drama. Don’t take the bait. 

Our personalities aren’t always compatible. That’s what makes humans so wonderfully unique. But we all just have to learn to get along with each other. I’m not saying be a door mat and let someone walk all over you. If someone is being intentionally nasty to you, it’s time to consider cutting them out of your life for good. There’s a difference in being civil towards someone who doesn’t really like you but doesn’t act nasty towards you, and someone who is clearly a toxic person who is never going to be a good influence on your life. In the latter case, other people usually start to notice that too. Someone like that will be on the fast road to having nobody around them. 

Someone once told me that the best revenge is a happy life. Focus on yourself and your family. All that effort you’ve wasted on winning someone over who is never going to have much of an interest in you could be better spent on yourself and the people who do matter. Focus on living a good, fulfilled and happy life. Focus on looking after your family.

By worrying about whether someone likes you, you’re only wasting your energy. This is energy that you could be spending on more important and fulfilling things. Once you realise you don’t have to get everyone to like you, it’s much easier to focus your attention on those who do.

Further reading: How not to care when people don’t like you – Lifehacker.

Categorised as My Life

Book Review: Bloodlines By Chris Wraight

Bloodlines by Chris Wraight book cover

I’ve been reading the Warhammer 40k novels for years. It’s a gigantic universe with a lore so deep that you could read about it for days and still not be done. But it does tend to focus heavily on space marines and bolter porn, as well as a Horus Heresy series that seems to be going on forever. It reminds me of Star Wars in that there are so many tales to tell, but it was always a bit too focused on the Skywalker clan. I don’t mind reading space marine novels, but I want to see how the common person lives in this brutal universe. I want to get down on the dirty streets. That’s why I loved Bloodlines by Chris Wraight, as it shows a side of the Warhammer 40K universe that we rarely see. 

Review: It’s The Golden Goo-Beer-Lee Creme Egg Beer

It's The Golden Goo-Beer-Lee Creme Egg beer
It’s darker than a Creme Egg.

Just when you thought the craft beer world couldn’t get any weirder, Goose Island Beer Company make a Cadbury’s Creme Egg beer. The Golden Goo-Beer-Lee Creme Stout has been brewed in collaboration with Cadbury’s in celebration of 50 years of the wonderful Creme Egg. What a time to be alive.

Before I give you my thoughts on what it tastes like, I need to point out that you won’t be able to drink this unless Goose Island changes its mind and decides to make more. 

It was an extremely limited supply, limited to one pack of two per person. The first batch, available last week, sold out within a couple of minutes. The second and final batch, released yesterday at 11am, only had 500 available and, again, sold out within a couple of minutes. Goose Island says that’s the end of it and they won’t be making anymore, which is a shame and has led to a lot of pissed-off responses on social media from people who didn’t manage to buy a pack.  

But I was one of the lucky ones. I made sure I had the website open before 11am and created an account. I also had my payment details saved so I could instantly check-out, which is likely why I managed to grab one before they sold out at 11:02am. 

The Creme Egg beer can.
The marketing team at Goose Island did a great job with the name.

The two beers arrived this morning, but obviously I put off trying one until I’d finished work for the day. The can design features the famous Cadbury purple, as well as the yellow and red that make up the Creme Egg colours. This being Goose Island, you also get a giant goose that’s done in the style of the yellow egg-splat we see on every egg. 

Golden Goo-Beer-Lee Creme Stout is made of a blend of malted barley, oats, wheat, milk sugar (lactose), cacao nibs and vanilla beans. It’s supposed to have a rich and creamy texture, just like Cadbury’s famous gooey chocolate egg.  

After I opened it, I gave it a quick sniff and was met with a sweet chocolatey wave. But you’re not here to read about the smell, so what did it taste like?

The taste was heavy on chocolate, which was more bitter than I expected. You’re also left with a creamy after-texture. If you’re expecting it to taste exactly like a Creme Egg then you’ll be disappointed, although Goose Island did point out that this beer didn’t contain actual Creme Eggs. It could also have done with being a higher percentage, as 4.5% for a stout leaves it tasting quite thin. 

Back of the Creme Egg beer can with a giant yellow goose.
The back of the can is full-on goose!

I drank the beer straight from the fridge. A few people who had already tried it and logged it on Untappd suggested that leaving it to warm up helps unlock the flavour. I did this and can confirm that it did have a much creamier texture once it had warmed up to room temperature, which I enjoyed a lot more than when it was cold. 

Goose Island suggests biting the top off a Creme Egg, licking out the goo and using the chocolate shell to drink the beer out of. I didn’t end up trying this, but I have another can, so I’ll have a go next time and then update this post. 

All in all, it’s not a bad chocolate stout. Am I disappointed that it didn’t taste exactly like a Creme Egg? Not really, because that would have led to drinking something that was overly sweet and sickly. Instead, you get an average stout that goes down easy, with a nice creamy texture that lingers on the tongue.  

Related reading: My current obsession is craft beer

Book Review: James May Oh Cook! Cookbook

James May has done a cookbook? The James May of Top Gear and The Grand Tour fame? Yep, that’s the one. Not only has he made a cookbook, he’s also got a TV show of the same name on Amazon Prime Video. James May Oh Cook! Is described as ‘60 easy recipes that any idiot can make’ and, as Mr. May himself shows you on the show, he’s right! 

James May Oh Cook! cookbook
As you’d expect, it’s in hardback form, but it’s not as heft and thick as those giant doorstop cookbooks that gather dust on your shelves.

It’s perhaps not all that surprising that James May has gone down the cooking route, given that May founded FoodTribe, a spin-off from DriveTribe, with his The Grand Tour co-stars Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond. It’s also the third show he’s done for Amazon, with the other shows being The Grand Tour and James May: Our Man In Japan.  

The show itself was a fun watch. May isn’t exactly fond of the way that cooking shows are normally filmed, so he fills the time with his usual brand of random facts about things like history and his life. He also likes to show you the bits of television production that you normally don’t see, so you’ll see him talking to the crew and complaining about how long they’re taking to get the perfect shot when he just wants to eat the food he’s managed to cook. 

Shakshuka recipe from the James May Oh Cook! cookbook
This turned out pretty good!

The whole point of the show, and the accompanying book (which, as May points out in the introduction, was written after the show was filmed), is to teach people who can’t cook the basics of making a satisfying meal. May himself says he can’t cook, often calling for the help of Nikki, a ‘home economist’, who appears from a cupboard (a joke that quickly gets old). But, to be fair on May, he does a pretty good job for someone who supposedly can’t cook. 

Curry night chapter from the James May Oh Cook! cookbook
We all love a good curry night!

Each episode of the show is dedicated to various categories of meals, and the book mirrors this. For example, chapter one is all about brunch, so you’ll get recipes for a classic omelette to shakshuka. Chapter five covers curry night, while the final chapter is all about store-cupboard saviours. This latter chapter has recipes involving things such as Spam and sardines, to give you some ideas of what you can make from leftover basics in the cupboard.  

Unlike other cookbooks where recipes can be complicated and involve a thousand different ingredients that your local supermarket doesn’t stock, May does his best to keep things simple. He stresses that while fresh ingredients are obviously better, you don’t have to use them if you don’t want to and can use packet or frozen ingredients instead.  

I’m not a regular cook myself, as my wife is much better at it and we’ve got into the habit of her doing most of the cooking while I handle most of the cleaning. But this book is perfect for the likes of me, when I do get around to trying some of the recipes myself. However, my wife has done a great job at trying out some of the recipes, and most of them have turned out to be pretty great.  

Black pudding hash recipe from the James May Oh Cook! cookbook
This was the best recipe we’ve tried so far.

Highlights include the very tasty black pudding hash (I only tried black pudding in the last few years, in Edinburgh of all places, and I’m a little annoyed that I avoided it for so long), the shakshuka and the sticky buffalo wings. We also tried the boiled egg with avocado and prosciutto ‘soldiers,’ but this was a disappointment. Nothing can beat toast soldiers dipped in egg. 

If you’ve watched the show and want to try the recipes out for yourself, then the James May Oh Cook! cookbook is a no-brainer. But even if you haven’t watched the show and you’re just someone who hasn’t cooked much and wants to get to grips with the basics, this is the perfect place to start. 

You can buy James May Oh Cook! On Amazon through this link*. You can also watch the show by signing up to Amazon Prime Video*. 

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