Author Archives: ikralla

About ikralla

I'm a guy who plays World of Warcraft quite a bit. Mostly as a warlock, though I dabble in other classes, mainly so I can transmog them into horrifying armor sets. By no means a hardcore player, I'm a pretty social/casual WoWer, in a guild with a similar mentality. We raid once a week in flex mode, by gum. We wanna move into normals, and the core members of our team have the item level for it, but we are ALWAYS a tank and a healer short. I must confess, ever since Mists was released, I've been obsessed with Pandaren, and how pretty they are. I swear once the new character models come out for the rest of the races, I'll post more pictures of them.

Twenty Eight

Today is obviously Ed Balls Day, the national day commemorating that time Ed Balls was urged to search Twitter for himself by an assistant, but instead of typing his name in the search bar, he typed it in the New Tweet box.

And thus a British meme was born. Ed Balls even recreated the tweet in the form of cake during his appearance on The Great British Bake Off back in 2016!

These may be weird times, but our weird country has weird ways of coping with it all, even if that’s celebrating a holiday that isn’t actually an official holiday. So send those Ed Balls Day cards, bake those Ed Balls Day cakes, hang up the Ed Balls Day decorations and perform the Ed Balls Day ritual dance!

LIST OF THE BEST BOND THEMES WITH NO REASONING

  1. The Living Daylights by a-ha
  2. The World is Not Enough by Garbage
  3. A View to a Kill by Duran Duran
  4. GoldenEye by Tina Turner
  5. Skyfall by Adele

Tinta Turnter. Also I once saw someone refer to Adele’s vocals in Skyfall as having “weak delivery” and AHAHA OKAY THEN.

OTHER THINGS

It’s the anniversary of this iconic moment too. What a bizarre world we live in.

Basically, Ken Livingstone, former mayor of London and member of the Labour Party, mentioned Hitler in a radio interview about Israel.

When Hitler won his election in 1932 his policy then was that Jews should be moved to Israel. He was supporting Zionism before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews

~Ken Livingstone on BBC Radio London

Shortly after saying that, there was a gaggle of reporters chasing after him asking him things, such that he hid in a toilet as they shouted questions at him through the door. Politics has never been quite as weird as that day.

FINAL FANTASY BRAVE EXVIUS: DARK VISIONS

So 5 days ago, a new event in my mobile game started called Dark Visions, where you fight various enemies and are scored for doing so based on these criteria:

That score was for my kill of the final stage, Dark Ramuh, and here’s the screenshot of the kill for posterity:

I find this event really fun, though it does expose the strengths and weaknesses of my roster of units (I’m great for physical damage, lousy for magic damage and elemental flexibility!), and being able to fine-tune kills to get a better score is something really cool to do. For instance, this was my second kill of Ramuh, and I did a LOT better this time around.

That was my first kill, so I went from 14 turns down to 4 by replacing Elephim with Sylvie (who can do the buffs of Elephim, but also buff my physical/magical mitigations too, thus helping me take less damage) and replacing Folka (a healer who was only here to bring charm resist, as Summer Fina & Lid have a 20% chance to inflict that debilitating status effect when they use their party-wide water imbue) with Cid (a finisher who caps the chain made by Aldore King Rain and Hyoh for massive damage). Hyoh took over the turn 1 charm protection courtesy of the Lakshmi esper.

I went from doing not much damage every other turn, to taking Ramuh down from 100% to 6% on turn 3! TInkering! Gotta love it.

Twenty Seven

I forgot to have the ceremony for the museum upgrade yesterday! Thankfully, I could have it today instead, and look, all my villagers are here! Though Bettina is very short and so only her ears are visible from behind Bangle, and a tree partially obscures Sterling.

Also Isabelle and I are standing in the flowers, because fuck Nature apparently.

Tom Nook secretly loves how much Blathers talks, he is just loath to admit it. You know what, I’d play Smash Bros if Tom Nook was playable. Or Blathers. They are my favourites! Smash Ike in the face with Tom Nook’s coffee cup, have Blathers throw fake art as projectiles. He only throws fake ones though, the real ones are too precious!

OTHER STUFF

  • I’ve gone quite a few consecutive days with no fossils being accepted by Blathers, which I think means I’m getting close to completion! Exciting!
  • Tomorrow, I am going to download the Yakuza game I got for free from PS Plus a while back, because I have been meaning to play that for a while. I hear it’s a good series so I wanna jump in!
  • Spicy wedges.
  • I don’t have much to talk about today because I got home from work at 12:30, had lunch, then proceeded to have a nap for 4 hours. 4am starts combined with hayfever is slightly killing me.
  • I keep forgetting to take my anitihistamines in the morning help help.

T W E N T Y S I X

The Wild Area has no fog in the areas I want fog. I want fog because I want a Clefairy. Clefairy only spawns in 2 areas and they need to be foggy. It is never foggy. It is never goddamn FOGGY!

IN THE STYLE OF A CLUB SINGER

Back in the day, and we’re talking the 1990’s here, my parents introduced me to a comedic quiz show called Shooting Stars. Now, this was not a serious quiz by any stretch of the imagination, and it didn’t have prizes (well, not serious ones, you could win a can of drink, or a holder for toothpicks) or normal people, but famous people. It was basically a way of taking the piss out of them in a good-natured, British way.

Anyway, one round saw one of the hosts, Vic Reeves, sing a song “in the style of a club singer,” which basically was his version of a drunk gentleman’s club singer performing a song incomprehensibly. Par exemple!

And the contestants would have to guess what the song was, before he revealed the answer and then sung the song as it was meant to be, except the joke was it was as incomprehensible, if not more so, than before!

Anyway, this jokey style of singing is something I have been doing recently to amuse myself. It’s Not Right But It’s Okay in this style is actually amazingly funny to me, and I heartily recommend you give it a go.

TOO HOT TO HANDLE

This show, this fucking show. It’s trash, unmitigated trash, and I goddamn love it. Some of the contestants are kinda adorable, some of them are awful, but the real star of the show?

LANA THE CONEY COCKBLOCK. She’s watching, she’s got those receipts, she’s got the shovel and is ready to throw the money into the furnace if you do the naughty naughty.

Lana is a queen and we have no choice but to stan.

BUSHES!

MY SHRUB FENCE! IT’S AMAZING! Thanks Leif! Can’t wait for you to come back so I can get more! I need to decorate my village, as I still only have 2 stars. Gotta get KK Slider to come!

Went onto Redd’s little boat-shop today and got me some genuine art for Blathers! It arrives tomorrow, which is exciting.

Also Coco is still amazing, and I accidentally bopped her with a net when I tried to talk to her and I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry, PLEASE FORGIVE ME COCO!

She’s my favourite.

Twenty Five

THINGS THAT ARE GOOD ON THIS DAY OF OUR LORD SATURDAY APRIL TWENTY FIFTH TWENTY TWENTY

  • Yesterday, I had some of the most delicious Indian food I’ve ever eaten. I find a good judge of a place is how they do their tikka masala, so I had that with lamb, and it is the nicest tikka I have ever eaten.

  • It came from Celebrities, which is an awesome name for a restaurant. Despite it being among the nicest Indian meals I’ve ever had, it’s still only second to the Maharajah restaurant in Newquay. There, I have the lamb methi, a fenugreek-based curry dish that actually contains zero tomato! Great for me because of allergies and such.
  • We have a marinara sauce on slow cook right now, as there were meatballs for dirt cheap at work. Yay for price reductions! And 15% off!
  • I’m on part 2 of Fire Emblem Three Houses! I’ve been playing it for many many hours and part TWO has only just begun?! It’s still a fantastic game.
  • This picture, which amuses and delights me:

  • Going to use that as a reaction image to anyone I mildly disagree with.

BUSINESS BUSYNESS

So, about this image in my work Facebook group:

  • My department, Dotcom, is the online shopping department. You order online, we pick and deliver it. I’m a picker, meaning I’m the one substituting your cauliflowers for turnips or whatever.
  • Our single department, over the last six days, has taken sales that total more than ENTIRE STORES have, including a store comparable to our own in size, and we’re a fucking BIG store.
  • I’ve been starting work at 4am, meaning I wake up at 3am, because of this pandemic. Hours have changed, new staff have come in and out, everything is in upheaval. These are… not necessarily difficult times, but odd. Odd times. I’m operating mostly the same as normal, albeit shunted 2 hours earlier. I wake earlier, I work earlier, I finish earlier, I sleep earlier. But other than that… things are the same for me?
  • Apart from the fact I can’t raid at the moment, which is honestly my biggest upset right now. We raid from 20:00 to 22:30, and I’m having to go to bed at like 20:30 to 21:00.

The world is weird right now.

Twenty Four

People who have shared Facebook accounts terrify me. I have this mental image of them speaking in one voice in unison whenever I see a joint account post.

WE ARE DOING GREAT. HOW ARE YOU, MORTAL?

*shudder*

IT’S ANIMAL CROSSING TIME, KIDS

Remember that island I was waiting in the queue for in our last installment of Panda Steve Writes Stuff?

Honey, I be a bellionaire now. I will use my funds wisely of course, by MAKING MY HOUSE THE LARGEST ON THE ISLAND.

Anyway, to today. Blathers was saying yesterday that he wanted to show off art in the museum, and guess who’s on the island today?

IT’S ISABELLE. Oh wait she’s here every day. Of course, she’s talking about Crazy Redd, that cunning fox we all love and hate in equal measure. We love his art, we hate the fakes!

Before I saw Redd though, I saw Teddy ruminating on whether to leave the island or not, because apparently his house is so untidy, it’d take just as long to clean it as it would to pack up and move away! I told him he should stay though, because he was an original islander on Halfhill, and he’s totally adorable.

Crisis averted, and I head to the secret beach and look! A sketchy boat! Not sketchy like the Take On Me video by a-ha though, sadly.

Lo and behold, the sketchy owner of the sketchy boat. Redd is here, finally, and he sells me a “dynamic painting” for just under 5,000 bells, though I had to talk him down from ONE THOUSAND TIMES that price. Crazy indeed.

Before I took the painting to Blathers, I decided to go and find my villagers and talk to them, let them know they’re awesome and should never leave. Bangle loves my new flag, which is basically Tom Nook’s face, so that says more about her than I needed to know, honestly.

Lopez, meanwhile, was paying a little visit to Kitt! Probably to snoop her design choices, Lopez is a smug villager who’s very concerned with looking good, and Kitt ALWAYS looks good.

Besides that creepy doll on the fireplace what the FUCK.

Petition to make NIntendo let us see Blathers with his hard hat and toolbelt on, sledgehammering an art display into place.

The four fossils I brought him were duplicates! Third day in a row! Must be getting close to completing the exhibit!

Then naturally I sped home, minding my flowers and marvelling at the growth of the shrubberies, to change my outfit and write this blog post. Now I leave you with the wise, wise words of the wonderful Boyd:

Twenty Three

Day 31 of the lockdown, and I’ve still resisted the urge to modify my hair, and it’s not because all the hair dye in work is still sold out weirdly. Although it partially is.

We’re even sold out of this, the hair dye with the most 80’s-looking aesthetic, both of the model and the box she’s on. I’m fairly certain I’ve seen that hairstyle on a Princess Diana commemorative plate.

Speaking of, I remember when the bf and I went on holiday to Cornwall, we went into a charity shop and saw a Diana commemorative plate. It was so glorious that we had to buy it, it featured her in the most 80’s skiing getup, something like this:

But with larger sunglasses and bigger shoulders. We gifted that plate to a friend who loves kitschy crap even more than we do, but I wish we had taken a picture of it beforehand, as it was just a sight to behold.

TURNIPS TURNIPS EVERYWHERE

And not a native sell price above 70 bells this entire week. Thanks Timmy and Tommy. So again, I am forced to the Turnip Exchange site, because doing it last minute on a Saturday was annoying. Might as well get it done now!

Anyway, Leif is here and he’s selling shrubberies! So naturally I dismantled my Bunny Day fences and planted shrubs around my flower patch.

Buy my weeds, you adorable sloth! Sell me your flowering bushes! Blathers also told me he’s expanding the museum to accept artworks, so I assume that’s the Crazy Redd trigger, and he’ll arrive soon! How exciting! Now all we need is a coffee shop!

DELIVER UNTO ME MY CAFFEINATED ROOSTER.

In villager news, Rodeo was thinking about leaving, but I convinced him to stay because how dare he leave?! Not allowed, he’s one of my favourites!

Soon…

OTHER STUFF

  • Today was my second day off, my Sunday if you like, so naturally I went to work for a bit of overtime because YAY MONEY. Only four hours mind, so I was done by 8am.
  • Jerk chicken for dinner tonight. Mighty.
  • We have a Tassimo machine, and recently I bought some hot chocolate pods for it, Milka brand, and while the drink itself is nice, it’s also absolutely tiny, like it fills half a mug. I expected more to be honest.
  • Might try the Cadbury one next.
  • I’m still #4 in the queue wtf, Joe Huge has been there 10 minutes, this is a travesty.

Twenty Two

If I have to see one more condescending post on Nextdoor mentioning Anne Frank, I’m going to find the person and throw books at them. People cope with things differently, Karen, just because you’re old and have no interest in doing anything beyond sitting in a chair and reminiscing about “the good old days” doesn’t mean that’s what all of us are like.

FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD

I’ve spent a worrying about of time today looking at the Slimming Hurled group on facebook, which takes the food people proudly show off on those slimming groups despite the fact that they look like literal warzones.

This looks like a before picture, as in before cooking, but no, that’s some raw leaves, raw cucumber and raw mushrooms with no seasonings or anything to prevent major dryness, and a pitta bread cut in half. YUM.

Individually these things might be nice. Add them all together and… what. Also I dislike the use of “fakeaway” here, as in “just like a takeaway meal, but healthy!” because honestly, if I ordered a meal from a takeaway and it arrived like this, I’d be taking pictures of it, sure, but only so I could @ them on Twitter and go “what the fuck is this monstrosity?!”

Also, isn’t an aspect of dieting about portion control? Like, I get that these foods, according to the Weight Watchers or Slimming World rules, whichever, have zero “syns” but that doesn’t mean you can eat INFINITE AMOUNTS of them, they still have calories and fat and whatnot to burn off.

THAT IS NOT A CHEESECAKE. THAT IS CEREAL WITH SOFT CHEESE ON TOP. WHAT THE FUCK.

what. the. actual. You know what, I will swipe, I’ll swipe this “kebab” off the counter and into the fucking bin, what were you THINKING?!

WE SHARE OUR PAIN, SO WE MAY BECOME STRONGER

Look, if I have to countenance this stuff, I’m taking you with me. Misery loves company after all.

FIRE EMBLEM: THREE HOUSES

This game has been out literal months so beware spoilers here I guess.

I’m plodding through the game happily, it’s very good! I’m the professor of the Golden Deer house, I’ve finally got Byleth into the Swordmaster class (33% chance of success in the exam because I only have B+ in swords trololol), and I’ve got a fairly crit-heavy playstyle going on with him. Killing Edge+, Critical Ring, high STR and DEX, Sword Crit +10 all add up to him doing this a lot:

I’ve also got Claude as a sniper (level 26), Lorenz as a paladin (level 23 and dealing out SERIOUS hurt), Raphael as a grappler (level 22 and dodging everything thrown at him!) and Lysithea as a warlock (level 24, learning faith skills too) as the core of my party, and I generally bring Marianne as a healer, Hilda as a dancer (extra turns!) and then whoever I feel like building support with.

Trying to get cool characters to join my house too, so far I have Dorothea and Linhardt, working on Ashe too. I don’t know who I’m going to aim for an S support rank with yet, I see there’s a few dudes I can do it with! How exciting! I doubt there’s going to be children from the future running around the place though like in Awakening, doesn’t seem like the story’s going in that direction.

Also Byleth’s dad was just killed, so I’m anticipating a roaring rampage of revenge soon. Monica’ll be seeing that critical cut-in soon enough!

Twenty One

My brain is frazzled today, this being my Friday (I work 5 days a week, Friday through to Tuesday), so rather than concoct a blog post on the fly like normal, I’m going to do one of those “tag a blog” thingies. Many thanks to Endalia over at Princess in a Castle and Narratess for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award!

The Versatile Blogger Award

Again, thanks to Endalia for nominating me for this, especially as it helps fill a gap in my mind right now! There’s a whole “tag 15 other bloggers” type thing but I’m going to socially distance myself from that and not do it, partially because I’m lazy, and partially because every blogger I know has probably been nominated already, given that I was nominated 15 whole days ago! However, if you see this and wanna do it yourself too, then consider yourself nominated, I BELIEVE IN YOU.

Gonna copy/paste the “rules” for this thing.

If you are nominated, you’ve been awarded the Versatile Blogger award.

  •  Thank the person who gave you this award. That’s common courtesy.
  •  Include a link to their blog. That’s also common courtesy — if you can figure out how to do it.
  •  Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly.
  •  Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award — you might include a link to this site.
  •  Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.”

POWER

SEVEN THINGS ABOUT PANDA STEVE

  • I was born two days late, which means I was meant to be an April Fool baby! No idea if that has some sort of significance in supersition or whatever. I doubt it does.
  • My grandfather was a refugee during World War 2 from Lithuania. Not sure if he was fleeing the Nazis or the Soviet Union, perhaps both. As a result of this ancestry, my mother’s maiden name is one entirely unique to our family; no other family in the UK has it (I’ve looked it up!). It’s not overwhelmingly common in Lithuania either, which means it’s a perfect security question for literally any website, hence why I will not reveal what it is.
  • I have a terrible intolerance to raw tomatoes. It’s something specific to the acid in the raw fruit that makes me feel awfully ill within about two hours of eating them. Tomato juices also trigger rather severe dermatitis in my hands, so that’s joyful. Preparing the tomatoes in some manner that neutralizes the acidity level can help prevent it, but a high enough concentration of tomato can wreck me no matter how prepared it is.
  • My favourite font is Helvetica.
  • I have watched a single Star Wars movie in my life. It was The Phantom Menace, and I hated it. Never watched another once since, and I don’t plan to either.
  • I used to live in the same town as Stonehenge. Like, I could easily walk to it from my house. Great for celebrating the Summer Solstice! It’s one of two notable things about Amesbury; the other being that it’s the oldest continuously occupied settlement in the whole of the UK.
  • While I don’t play first or third person shooters often, when I do I very much favour a sniper playstyle. Set up, shoot, move, repeat. Sneaky Skyrim archer, Infiltrator in Mass Effect, heavy TTD sniper in The Outer Worlds!

There you have it. Seven things about me. Again, not tagging 15 people, but feel free to share seven things about yourself! I’d love to get to know you!

Zwanzig

Sometimes, Final Fantasy IX still hits me in that emotional part of the brain. Recently in the mobile game I play, Final Fantasy Brave Exvius (FFBE), there was a FFIX event, and the second part of it was Pandemonium, and the song playing the WHOLE time through it?

This song. This fucking song. It still gets me, even now! Hits me right in the heart! The point where the ever-cheerful Zidane is broken by Garland, and the other characters have to try and pick him back up again, all while THIS SONG plays. It’s a gut-wrenching, beautiful moment and it still gets me.

Well, in the Japanese version of FFBE, there’s another FFIX event, and this time, it’s not the music causing the emotion, but the actual summonable unit. There’s a new version of Garnet, and, well. Remember this scene?

With that absolute iconic image?

Garnet’s limit burst (FFBE’s limit break/overdrive/trance/etc) has this animation:

When I first saw that, I GASPED and went wide-eyed! It’s amazing! It’s one of the most memorable moments in FFIX and it looks absolutely stunning here.

Anyway, emotions. Gotta love them.

OTHER THINGS ABOUT FINAL FANTASY IX THAT I LIKE

  • Quina. I know I know, blue mages are weird and generally kinda bad and Quina has the added factor of having to catch a shitload of frogs to power Frog Drop enough that it does max damage, but I have a massive soft spot for Quina, who just wants to travel the world and eat all the things! They receive barely any character development because, as mentioned by Quan later in the game, they don’t NEED to change. Quina is the only character who starts off, and stays, content with exactly who they are.
  • Superboss is a ball. Heh, balls. He’s also capable of killing himself with Doomsday if he’s low on health and you did the (easily missable and lengthy) sidequest with friendly enemies.
  • Kuja’s possibly the most successful of all the Final Fantasy villains, in that he does gain ultimate power, and ends up using what remains of his (by design) dwindling lifespan to devastating effect.

  • Really, he attains every goal he set out for, even when he starts to go off the rails, and the only reason he didn’t destroy the universe when he destroyed the original crystal is because literally NOBODY saw Necron coming. Kuja may not have caused the apocalypse, but he came damn close, and awakened the being that would easily have brought it about.

I exist for one purpose… To return everything back to the zero world, where there is no life and no crystal to give life.

  • Chocobo Hot and Cold! Best mini game!
  • You face General Beatrix at numerous points in the story, and each time you put up a decent fight, she takes off the kid gloves and wipes the floor with you because she’s motherfucking General Beatrix, and you are nothing. Then later in the game, she has a change of heart and even briefly joins the party as a playable character. The best thing about this? She is EVERY BIT AS STRONG WHEN SHE’S ON YOUR SIDE. All those Shocks and Climhazzards that were fucking up your day? Well, now you can fuck up everyone else’s day.
  • It’s rare that a game lets you use a fully powered character like that. Normally when a bad guy turns good, they take some sort of accidental power degrade to go with it. Not Beatrix!
  • That ending scene. God damn, that ending. Another of those glorious emotional hits.

  • GO GET YOUR MONKEY MAN, GARNET!

Nineteen

I’m the kind of guy who gets his hair cut like, once every 6 months or so, and I had mine done literally a week before everything “non-essential” shut down, so I’m not sitting at home contemplating hair-ruining decisions. That said, I do wanna dye my hair again, and I was thinking silver, which does seem like it might be a lockdown fever move.

The weird thing about this whole business is that in my store, we obviously keep running out of hand soap/sanitizer, pasta, loo roll etc, you know, the usual things, but the unexpected stock shortage we have? Hair dye. People are literally buying it in droves right now, probably so they can keep their roots under control and make sure their tints stay tinted, but I like to think it’s people going “FUCK IT, NOBODY’S SEEING ME FOR MONTHS ANYWAY” and experimenting.

If you’re thinking about it, then fucking go for it! If this isn’t the perfect time for fashion experimentation, then I don’t know what is. Plus! It keeps our minds off of this TERRIBLE GLOBAL CRISIS.

AND NOW, A LIST

Here is the official list of the 5 worst games I have ever played:

  • Unlimited SaGa
  • Call of Juarez: The Cartel
  • Two Worlds
  • Hotel Mario
  • Bart Simpson’s Escape From Camp Deadly

I will not elaborate on why these bad games are bad. They just are, and you should not play them, or any game in their series, should they have one. Thanks for coming to my TED Talk.

INTERIOR DESIGN QUEEN

The official Animal Crossing Twitter account put out a Tom Nook design, so of course I am going to use it for everything I can, because I idolize that little raccoon and his work ethic. Now begins the laborious process of getting my town to three stars, although I’m at two already and all I did was plant a few fruit trees.

I also took down the Bunny Day items for now, because they are garish and do not have Tom Nook’s unblinking, eternal gaze beaming out at me, ensuring I am doing everything in my power to pay him back. A constant reminder that it is he who brought me to this world, and it is he who can remove me from it.