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.

 

Eighteen

Today saw a frantic scramble as I desperately attempted to offload 1440 turnips onto an unsuspecting pair of raccoons from overseas, given that my own Timmy and Tommy were offering a mere 27 bells per, a fair bit short of the 107 bells per I paid in the first place! Thankfully, I found, after several hours of using it, a seller on Turnip.exchange! 215 bells per turnip, and “tips not necessary but greatly appreciated!” so I gave them a Nook Miles Ticket, as I saw those are in high demand by other sellers, so I figured this gal could use it!

In other Animal Crossing news, I have villager #10, and he’s a cranky one!

His name is Boyd and I love him already. He’s evidently not a fan of fishing, but that won’t stop him trying! This means Boyd joins Diva, Teddy, Coco, Rodeo, Lopez, Bangle, Sterling, Bettina, and Kitt on the idyllic Halfhill!

Currently I’m at a 2 star island rating, so I’m gonna start sprucing up the joint, maybe move houses around so there’s an actual neighbourhood area of sorts, rather than a disjointed “wherever I can shove them” scheme going on. Could do with some more bridges and ramps too. Throw money at the island and see what sticks!

In other news, I made a PSA:

Catch every wasp the safe and easy way!

POST-EASTER BARGAINS

Yes, it’s that time of year where supermarkets realise they have entirely too many Easter eggs, and so have resorted to slashing their prices by up to 75% (in the case of where I work at least), meaning I am getting 6 small eggs for 96p, large eggs for a £1 each, Lindt bunnies for a mere 50p!

Not only that, but as a valued staff member and very important key worker or whatever the buzzword is, I get a further 15% off! I knew there had to be a perk to going outdoors in this crisis!

Nah, truth be told, I’ve had a fairly easy time. I’ve had to point out to a few customers that we have a one-way system in the store, and I’ve pointedly backed off from people who invade my personal space, but shit I’d do that anyway so this is not a new sensation. It does help that I start at 4am, 4 hours before the store actually opens, so I’m not really facing customers for a long time, and occasionally, you get customer messages like this:

That always warms the heart to see! (it’s a shame that we had sold out of that particular item so I had to subsititute it for a way more expensive one, but thankfully they pay the cheaper price of the two items)

Anyway, it’s time for some Fire Emblem.

XVII

Today, a tier list.

This is not a ranking of the strongest characters in the game, but a ranking of characters based on how I personally feel going up against them (either when the bf plays as them, or online).

There’s a tier at the bottom of characters I don’t really have any personal data on, as I’ve so rarely stumbled upon them online, and the bf doesn’t play as them.

THE ONES I PLAY AS

They have a special tier of their own, because I have such immense joy in a potential mirror match! I’ve always been a fan of grapplers, and these two are absolutely my cup of tea. Mika, she’s one of those characters that is very momentum-heavy; once she gets going, she’s kinda hard to stop, and E Honda is just the chunky muscleman sumo king, with the best stage in the series.

HATE

Balrog and M Bison are here because I find it immensely difficult to find gaps in what they do, and they hit REALLY damn hard. Balrog in particular, one wrong move and he’s taking you to the corner whether you like it or not. Guile is much the same, in that it’s hard to find the gaps, but he’s less of a powerhouse aggressor, and more a defensive wall. FLASH KICK FLASH KICK FLASH KICK. Ugh!

G is a well-known problem character for a lot of people. He’s decent, then when he gets his V Trigger, he’s a fuckin’ juggernaut. The comeback king (or president I guess) of the world for sure. Rounding off the tier are ol’ Chunners, Karin, and Rashid, who all attack at weird angles that I find it hard to react to.

The boyfriend likes to play as Balrog and Bison. I encourage this, because they’re very much my weak point and I NEED to learn how to beat them!

DISLIKE

Yes I don’t like the Brazilian electric duo, sue me. More weird angles and oppressive rushdown, much like Vega. He’s flying about the place, he’s poking at you with the claws, he’s rolling on the ground!

Dhalsim, much like Guile, is one of those pokey zoners, and it’s a very valid playstyle and I support it. Don’t have to like it though! Unless I’m the one zoning of course.

Cammy, Ed and Akuma just seem to have very good ways of keeping me off them, whether I’m Mika OR Honda, also Akuma’s hair is silly and off-putting. He looks like Mufasa.

LIKE/LOVE

These are characters that I don’t necessarily see as a free win (apart from you Ryu, you suck!), but I just personally enjoy playing against. Maybe they make me work for the victory in such a way that’s affirming and great when I win, but not frustrating to lose to (Zangief, Abigail, Gill, Cody), maybe I just rarely see them so it’s nice to see them blowing out the cobwebs (Kolin, Ibuki, Birdie, Sagat), maybe I just love their theme tune (Kage, Sakura, Ken)! Okay, Ryu’s theme is alright too I guess, and we all love that Hot Ryu costume.

I also kinda feel, matchup-wise, that I personally fight better vs Zangief, Sakura, and Ibuki, though when they get me, they get me GOOD. Not uncommon to see me take three SPD’s in a row.

He is the spinning Russian man
No-one can defeat his plan

SEIZE

What I love about the French language is how their numbers work. Ninety four is “quatre-vingt-quatorze,” or “four twenties plus fourteen.”

I did GCSE French at school back in the day, did better in it than I did in English (lit AND lang), then when I went to college, promptly forgot literally everything bar the basics (hello, bye, where are the toilets), and here I am now. A while back, I started learning German in Duolingo, but I keep forgetting to go back to it, to the point where I got that pass-agg message from the accursed owl.

Still, learning a language, however slowly I do it, is fun and I really should pick it back up.

CALCABRINA

I said I’d do it and I did! I ended up swapping out Qin for Locke, and in the end I went with Nagi over Gilgamesh, as she can do AoE physical attacks, which trigger a load of counters that Warrior of Light can cover and evade! The sheer amount of magical counters Cecil was taking on previous attempts that all chained together were killing him every turn, and I needed Folka to be able to do more than just plonk Reraise on him constantly.

Bye bye creepy dolls. What’s next?

OTHER STUFF

  • I have work tomorrow.
  • They wanted me to start at 2am, and frankly, no.
  • 4am is my limit!