A Note on Bots, Admins, and Being Brave.

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[Context to this post: I’m an admin for an online community, and I had a very public blow up with someone over a bot I created after repeated instances of negativity. This is the blog post I made to the community after the incident.]

I figured this was going to be longer than an average message that I leave on this topic and I wanted to respect the fact that not everyone is going to want to read it. So in keeping that, I’m going to be leaving this in #general and #admin for those who want to know it. I would appreciate that people do take the time to read it, as the more time I take to think about it, the more I feel I have to say. So without further ado, let’s get started.

Let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way; how I went about dealing with the criticism that I’ve received from the bot was not mature or acceptable. I don’t make any qualms about it. I know I’m better than the behaviour that I rose to and I did rise to it. Not entirely, but I did give it my time and energy. More than, what some of you may think was required or acceptable owing to the nature of the complaints. Which is what they were, complaints.

Usually, and has been evident by my previous behaviour I have been fine with such criticism. But for those who believe my lashing out was due to lack of context, let me provide some that may not be a hundred percent abundant. I do not, and cannot code. Not in the “I’m a network engineer” or an “I’m a UX designer” kind of code. I do not code, it is not my day job nor my hobby. I used a tool that was designed to let non-coders like myself script something that would work within an environment like Slack. I filled a demand that was asked for by a community of technical people. I was so proud of myself for that little bot. It was something that functioned in the way I had designed it to after testing showed that DMing didn’t work. (mainly because the full details when someone creates an account doesn’t get to the bot, so it doesn’t go to @newuser) For those who still don’t understand the monumental achievement of this for me, I’m dyslexic and very dyslexic. This was a step forward for me. Personally, this was progress. I have been bashing my head off a wall of basic programming for a while and god it felt good that something I did finally work! For all those who have told me throughout my life that I have been “overselling myself” or put boundaries in my way, this was another piece of myself to encourage me that I’m always improving. That’s something I want personally for myself, to show all of these people that I’m better than that.

Don’t misunderstand me though, proud of it as I am, I know that it annoyed people. I was open to it changing, I did understand the hassle it caused, I did understand the perceived irritation it caused. However, it served a purpose, a purpose that was requested – not something I created out of my own volition. I filled a gap. I have always run by the philosophy of “If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” So this whole thing of people complaining about it, and yet not doing anything about it…after a few months, it really begins to grate on your nerves. It doesn’t matter if you’re just “voicing your opinion” at this stage – several months down the line – if you still don’t have a solution to the problem that you’re complaining about you really need to address your priorities. For me, that goes for everything if something is bothering you that much and you have the power to change it why don’t you? I can’t answer that for the people who did the complaining. Only they can, and I hope this serves as a point of thought for the individual who has. I hope we can learn from this that just complaining about the sake of complaining gets us nowhere. We are far better than this to be a digital Joe Duffy show.

It took me blowing up at someone over their behaviour to instigate change, and I really wish it hadn’t. I wish that you had just acted on the change that you wanted to see rather than insisting that the only way to get your point across is by belittling and degrading the work of others. Some of you may not see it that way, that “providing feedback” is the only way things improve. That I agree with, but only when it’s constructive and what happened that night was not but negativity. Which is something I don’t encourage here? We all have far more potential than just our complaints, and it really disheartens me that it took this to make a change. Change, that arguably for someone as skilled as the people reading this – took a max of 5 minutes to create.

I want to provide some insight into why I admin here and what my daily admin tasks are like. I admin here because I care about you. Every single one of you reading this and everyone that isn’t. I said to Colm once, when he asked me why I try so hard around here is that I care about the potential of this place. I care about the people in it, and I care about the sanctity of this location. I haven’t come across a community quite like this one (and I’ve been moderating and Admin adult forums since I was 14), and I want to ensure that what is right for this place always is put forward. This means, occasionally, getting in the way. I always try to be as level-headed and understanding when it comes to the many complaints that I get in this places daily maintenance. Not always daily, but due to the fact I’m nearly always here and very much present makes me both the go-to person and the person who is the biggest target.

There have been plenty of instances on here, where people have been trying to publically berate me for making an example out of me. Which I find more humorous than anything else because conversations usually stem from a “don’t you know who I am?” frame of mind (In fact, someone did say that to me once!) and I have to laugh. Sure, I do. The difference is I don’t care. If you’ve broken the ToS or been open harass, I’m gonna be on you like dip on a chip. Most of my time is taken up with the #jobs channel, which I do my best to keep as safe and as diplomatic as possible. Sometimes that isn’t always possible. Recruiters have always been a big hitting point for people. For reasons, I have endeavoured earnestly to understand, and I honestly can’t say that I do. However, my stance will remain with what I said before. I will not let anyone pass through here fearing that their profession, race, gender, sexual preference, hobbies will be used against them. It infuriates me. Those who have been in #jobs will know this. That I don’t get in peoples faces, but if I need to, you will know about it when it happens.

welcome

Some of you may ask Why? What gives me the right to tell other people what to do? Or from a more empathetic side why should I care so much?

I’m gonna quote something that my mentor shared with me recently:

Make decision even if they are wrong,

Make promises.

Make promises to yourself now.

Big crazy signs.

To help others, care about things, never apologise, try new things and most importantly be the person that people can rely on in the future someone that cares.

Promise that you’ll be the person that is there to share your skills and expertise when the next group of awesome people need help.

Those promises and the time you spend on yourself and the things you care about are the only real things under your control.

So why? Why am I trying to guide? Why am I trying to protect? Because I should. Because no one else is going to. Even though its right to do these things. Protecting people is correct. It is good for them to want to feel safe and equal. It is fair for people to want to search and discover themselves. People preach so much here about being vegan/veggie/wasteful/first world problems/privilege. Yet you can’t even be civil people in your own circles. I want to show you all that there is nothing to fear by showing kindness and encouragement of others. This isn’t some SJW bullshit either, it’s humanity 101. A lot of people here have a serious problem with empathy, apathy and hope. If you look for everything that is wrong with you constantly, of course, you are going to get cynical. It is far harder to inspire and be hopeful. I deliberately choose the more difficult path, not case it puts me on some sort of moral high ground. But to show others that it can be done and it can have an impact.

There is, of course, a time and place to be cynical and pessimistic. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohrQCzZsgIw&index=5&list=PLwxNMb28XmpckOvZZ_AZjD7WM2p9-6NBv) (there is another magnificent school of life video around the importance of being sad and how not everything can be resolved with being cheery) I’m not claiming I know everyone’s story here or what has brought them to this point. The same way you all don’t know mine. All I know is that for that negative and pessimism; it is important to listen to it unconditionally and support its origin. In that way, we’ll try and hopefully find it in ourselves to not push that onto those around us.

In saying that, I pull a lot of aggro around here. I have my own theories behind it. Like the way, I notice Colm and Oisin tend to be listened to a lot quicker around here than me. For those reasons, I’m happy to keep pulling the aggro. I’m glad to keep being vocal and keep being me, because how can I justify to the women and men to come that I didn’t do anything for them? We, as a community, have a problem with diversity here. I’m 1/3 active admin both men and I’d say that a high stat for the actual levels of conversation here. Bar one or two other women I see here on occasion, I’m the only active one. Is it representative of tech in general? Who knows, that’s a bigger conversation. But my gender was always going to be brought into this, so I’m going to take it up first. With this confirming statement.

They may fear you, but I don’t.

I don’t want to stand in the year where so much has happened in the world for everyone to sit back and remain the same. I will eventually get asked by people: Where were you? Did you fight? Was I fearful or fearsome? What did I regret not standing for? What did I do, not just for women, but for people in the year that it was time? The path I’m helping to forge, what did it cost me and did I do enough? I know the answer to most of that is no, and I’m working on changing that.

I want to be able to help change your thinking too, not just for how many dollars you have in your bank accounts or your RAID arrays. But, what did we do for each other when it really matters. Are you going to stand at the sides in silence? Or will you speak?

It’s what I’m afraid of. After all, that happened, not that voices weren’t heard cause they were and I’m glad. But on the side that was under-represented, did you feel harassed by it? For those who didn’t speak at all, more importantly, I implore you to consider why you didn’t? Did you believe people spoke for you? Did you believe what was said was enough? Cause I can assure you, from the bottom of my heart, for those who didn’t speak, I wish you had. I wish your voice were heard. I wish you spoke with truth and honesty, with all the noise you have to give because your voice is just as strong as mine or anyone else in this place. Don’t let what happened here deter you otherwise. It’s so important to speak if you disagreed with either side or didn’t think anything about it at all it’s important.

Cause this is a community full of people, and your voice matters.

I hope that you’ll use your voice to impact the individuals and communities you care about in 2017.

With love and sincerity and all that I have to offer,

Specious.

On The Road to Recovery Part 1

I promised myself hat once I had something to update you all regarding my period then I would. So here I am, with an update that I have found a consultant who is willing to stop my periods. I intend to try and keep a more active log of my journey of how I’m getting on with things, as there are a few things that are happening that I know an outlet of stuff might be a safe space for me to create and a journey to share with you all.

My periods, as you all know, have been dreadful as I’ve chronicled in posts past. Through an incident at work that caused me to haemorrhage suddenly and I had to go straight to a doctor I had another altercation with a GP about my periods. She assured me while shaking before her that I would not get seen by a gynaecologist due to my previous disputes with my last gynaecologist. Openly asked me if I would consider psychiatric care to continue down the lines of asking for medical professionals to deal with my uterus. Nonetheless, she sent a letter away for me to go and see another private consultant. I got a letter back with an appointment 3 months away, which I thought odd. Usually going private here means that you get seen fairly quickly, but this was unusual.

Going to the appointment made me nervous, after all, going through so many consultants who didn’t listen to me and I wasn’t optimistic about giving myself to the process again only to be ignored. She, amazingly, didn’t have any of my previous history notes, said she didn’t need them. That she wanted to start fresh with me so I told her everything and she took detailed notes. We arranged for my blood test results from the Haematologist to be sent to her as we’d already ruled out a blood disorder. She immediately scheduled me for an MRI and talked to me about being put on a GnRH analogue with add back hormones but that we’d try and talk through the other options first. As a hysterotomy/laparoscopy may be required as well. She was going to take my file and bring it to her review board, as my case was super unusual and then a letter would be sent out to me with the results of the discussions along with the next steps. In the meantime, I was to call the nurse at 8:30 am for my results from the analysis. I left with a prescription for 2mg of oestrogen that she hoped would help ease some of my period-related symptoms – it had some effect. It certainly slowed the rate of the bleeding and some of the pain but I had it for a longer period of time, and I couldn’t tell in an 8 week period if that was my body adjusting to the new hormones or not. I figured it was related, as I broke out quite a bit with the new hormones. So I knew myself an adjustment period would be required. I would get super greasy everywhere for those first few weeks. So the adjustment wasn’t terribly smooth, cosmetically or internally.

By the time I got around to calling the nurse, she couldn’t tell me much on the phone. Just that the discussion happened and that she couldn’t say yes or no that my scan was clear. Needless to say, that’s worrying. A week later, a clerical error resulted in my letter being sent to my GP, and I wound up being called by a very concerned sounding doctor from my GP’s clinic asking if I could come in to talk to her. It was about my letter. I went in the next day to collect my letter and was greeted with my doctor who just asked me if I was ok with what was in the contents and I said yes at the time, but I wasn’t. What does “essentially” normal mean? That’s not the same as clear? Why do you want to stop my periods immediately and put me on the GnRH analogue? Wasn’t that meant to be our last resort?

I called the nurse to try and talk through the letter that I received. Turns out my uterus is very deep set in my body, usually so apparently and that it’s anteverted. An anteverted uterus isn’t anything to be concerned about but sometimes added pain is cause enough to look for things like endometriosis and other things. I was initially reluctant to go on the GnRH analogue as I thought that it was a last resort, and the nurse said since I had so many questions that I should go and talk to my Gynaecologist about it, but she was unsure if she could get me in before Christmas. I debated it, for me it was all very sudden.

However, what sealed the deal for me making the jump to the GnRH was the fact I had one of the worst periods I had in a while. Vomiting, and having diarrhoea on top of the loss of blood and period pain I experienced was horrendous. Splintor and I sat on our bathroom floor while I wept and told him I had to take the prescription, that I couldn’t endure this anymore when there was a solution in a bottle somewhere for me. I know he supports me in whatever decisions I make about my body, but the prospect of putting myself into a “fake” menopausal status at 26 is terrifying. If I’m honest, I’m not certain which I fear the most, a life without my period or the fact I may like it.

Nothing sums up the feeling better than a quote from “The Great American Game” by Levi the Poet

Yeah, it’s painful, but it’s familiar – so habit breeds comfort, and I don’t know what I’d do without him.

I’ve existed for most of my life with this as a menace, but I don’t know what a life without it is like and as much as I often wish for nothing more than for it to end. I fear what it means to have that be a reality. Reading the warning labels on the bottles would have anyone running scared, but for something so expensive simple, could this really be the solution?

I don’t know. I’m on the nasal spray (2 pumps. One in each nostril) and the oestrogen supplement nearly a week at the time of writing, I feel no different. However, I’m due a period in the next 2 – 5 days, and I’m not sure when it’s meant to take effect. (I didn’t get a set date from my gynaecologist when to take the spray – my periods are sporadic at best, so I don’t think in this instance it would have mattered when I started it) If I get a period will this be my last one? How do I feel about the potential of that or what if it doesn’t work and it’s not my last one?

I don’t have the answers to any of these questions, either for myself or you. Though, I do intend to keep you informed of my progress as my thoughts form about it.

The Nutrilent Challenge!

The real people at Nutrilent (Hi Seyit!) have given me some samples of their Soylent Alternative.

FULL DISCLOSURE: They gave me some samples of their banana, vanilla, strawberry, chocolate flavours and provided us with two shakers. I only paid for shipping for the items! All together I paid E12

For those who don’t know what Nutrilent is

Nutrilent Super Food contains the perfect amount of every single nutrient your body needs. Every protein, fiber, vitamin, mineral, carbohydrate and fatty acid your body needs on a daily basis, packed into 3 tasty and easy shakes. You can live on Nutrilent for the rest of your life and you would probably be super healthy. We, however, envisioned it as the perfect meal replacement for the moments in life where you don’t have time to cook or eat.

So that’s it! You get 3 meal bags to last you the day. I’m personally a bit wary of doing something like this, mainly cause I like solid food. But, due to me getting married in the next while I feel it might be time to see if I can feel fuller without always picking at unhealthy alternatives to food. (I’m drinking way too much hot chocolate!) Bouncing around from contract to contract means I’m always moving from different places. Particularly when I am atm there aren’t good healthy alternatives for food, nor does the building I’m in mainly cater for people to bring in their own food. So, this may prove to be a good alternative for me to feel fuller, lose a bit of weight and remain healthier.

So Splinter and I decided we’d give it a whirl, you may be able to find his own thoughts about the process there! (I don’t know for certain if he’s gonna blog about the experience) We started by pouring the contents of the meal packages into the shakers that were provided for us along with our preference for milk. Being the more hesitant of the two about the whole process, I decided that starting off with a chocolate milk I liked would be the best way of proceeding.

The process was as painless as you can get. Pour bag into a cup, pour milk into a cup. Shake cup. Put in fridge. They recommend you leave the nutrient overnight, so that’s what we did.

After letting it chill and taking it into work, I can definitely report that it doesn’t taste bad. It’s far more chunky than I anticipated though, and I haven’t quite decided if the texture is for me. But it’s for more palatable than I thought it would be, so I’ll keep you up to date with how I’m progressing throughout the day!

UPDATE 17th of March 2016:

So after my first day of nutrient, I can safely say it didn’t go all that well. I found myself not even making it through the first meal bag. (as its now day 2 and I’m finishing off the first package! )

The main thing I felt about it was that I felt so thirsty while just sipping it throughout the day that I felt a reluctance to keep going with it. So while I felt full and satisfied, I most certainly wasn’t expecting it.

Now in saying that, this may be a personal thing as Splinter drank it in one go and was no different thirst wise throughout the day. So maybe it has something to do with the way my body is absorbing the nutrients . So I’ll see if I can get through what’s left of my meal bag for today and see how I feel for the rest of the day!

An Unexpected Hiatus

I’ve nothing to say for myself and for the neglect of the blog other than life just got in the way. It’s a pretty poor excuse for not being around. Or giving this blog the time it deserves, but I think that with everything that has happened, losing my dad and then subsequently losing my home, I don’t believe there was ever a right time to let you all know whats going on with me.

I know that has its pro’s and con’s, but I’m finding myself trying to distance myself. I’m aware of the distance and the space that I’m working to create for myself, Lord knows my friends haven’t seen or heard much from me since Dad died. Part of me thinks that while it’s apart of the course of grieving but there is another that’s just realised I’m not the same person after the experience.

I desperately want to leave Ireland now. I don’t feel like there is much of life that I can create for myself, I feel out of place and unsettled. I also want to prove to myself that I want to start living because I’m afraid to now that Dad is gone. This is because I knew that it didn’t matter how badly I fucked up, Dad was always there to get me out of whatever trouble I got myself into. Doesn’t mean that I was reckless, but I had that safety net. I no longer have that safety net, and I’m caught between paralysing fear as to my life vs. the sense of I need to prove to myself that I can keep going. I guess it also comes from a greater sense of feeling like if I don’t go now, I never will. Which is a kind of weird statement to make being 25 but I just have a feeling that I can’t shake off “I need to go.”

A lot of people get my inclination to leave, moving back home, having my grandad get sick, Splintor’s grandmother passing is all a lot to happen in a short space of time, and things keep changing. My contract with work shall be ending soon so I will need to eventually find a new job soon. But work is a whole other kettle of fish, something that may be left for another blog post when I’m long since gone!

So I have a lot to consider, and I have a lot of balls in the air presently regarding jobs and PhD as its something I still want to chase.

Wish me luck, I’m going to need them over the next while!

In Memory of my Father (Brian Fagan) – 1st of September 2015

It has been a long few weeks for me, with lots of things going wrong. I didn’t get my PhD place, my laptop broke, had other issues, been struggling finding projects to collaborate on, and my health hadn’t been the best of late. 
All of this pales in comparison to the fact that my father (Brian Fagan) passed away suddenly on 1st of September. 
 
It was a very sudden loss, he died in his sleep – the ultimate way of leaving this earth. After all is what most of us can only wish would happen to us. However, at 57 years old, it was far too soon for anyone to be comfortable with, particularly for myself and my mother. 

I was determined when my godparents arrived at myself and Splinters home at the early hours of the morning when we were told the news that I was going to do my Fathers eulogy. It was something that I knew that if I had done nothing else during that time I had to stand up there and do that. 

If I’m honest, I wound up doing more than I thought I would be able to. Mainly because I saw how profound of an impact his death had. Not just to his immediate family but to the people he engaged with on a day to day basis. I knew I had to step up to honour that, not just his memory and his gift to the world but to continue to reiterate the sentiment that he shared with the world.
 
Dad was always one of those people who was remembered. Everyone had a story to tell about Dad. Good, bad, happy, sad. Everyone had a memory and a story. He was that kind of person, and he was beloved by everyone. That’s without a degree of bias too, considering the sheer volume of individuals who turned up at short notice from all corners of the globe, and even more so from the corners of the planet who weren’t able to make it. I’d been talking to dad’s colleagues and friends from Europe, USA, and Canada – all sharing their stories and wanting to be apart of this. For those who I’d met all told me about how much my father inspired them. For some he was a mentor, others he was the inspiration to venture into fatherhood, or just known as “Mr Cool.” 
 
Our entire family was devastated, even those who I would have personally thought would have “pulled it together” – couldn’t. I was in touch with my Dad’s close friends, the strong silent type of Irish men. Who openly admitted they went and sobbed over the loss of my father. That’s when I knew that the ramifications of my dad’s death had a wider impact than just the immediate family. 
 
My Father never had any regrets, and he actually enjoyed his life. He believed in following your heart – but always having a backup plan. To say yes to the ignorant people – and doing what you want anyway. To being there for your friends and never stepping over people to reach your goal, because the good will always come to those who work for it. Success without limits stems from being true to yourself. 
 
Dad’s funeral was never going to be a sad description of a man’s life but a celebration of the life that we got to share with him. I don’t think he would have wanted it any other way. After all, particularly for myself and my family, it’s the memories that will endure, and in that way, Dad will never actually leave us. 
 
This was the point that I honestly reiterated in the eulogy. I didn’t need to stand there and tell them what they already knew because they all knew my Dad was a great man.  What was important then, and what is still important now is that we remember all the good and the bad. Most of the time immediate family generally aren’t able to do the eulogy, but I’m proud to say I did it and did it well. Even the undertakers made a point after the funeral to tell me how impressed they were – as did many of my father’s colleagues. So I’m proud I was able to do what I set out to do.
 
Now is the hard part: Enduring. For those of you who I haven’t gotten back to for whatever reason, or for those who are wondering why I suddenly fell off the radar, there is the reason. In light of that, however, I’d like to ask for your help. 
 
I’m trying to get back into the process of getting into research projects for Video Gaming or anything to do with Gaming to help get me on the ladder again. As I feel ready to do some things again and I know I need to start doing things again. 
 
Most of my credentials can be vouched for, all you need to do is check my linked in, about.Me  or twitter but I’d appreciate any and all help or even kind words and positive vibes.
 
Hopefully, my posts will be a little bit more regular once I get back into the swing of things too!
 

A series of unfortunate events

I’m sorry for not being able to keep up with my blog as much as I’ve liked to over the past while but there’s been a problem with creating lengthy posts. 
I may have set my laptop on fire recently. Basically I caused a power surge in the house and caused a small fire with the extension cord. Thankfully I was ok and the flat was ok, but unfortunately the extension lead, battery pack and laptop were not so fortunate. 
Splinter took the laptop apart when he came home and confirmed that the motherboard was completely fried, and what happened was: after the spark and the bang from the extension lead into the battery charger for the laptop it transferred directly to the PC. So either way RIP laptop. 
So I apologise in advance for the lack of formatting and lack of anything lengthy or good. Until I can afford a new laptop there will only be posts from my iPhone’s blogger app, which is, (let’s be kind) minimalistic. 
It’s come at a bad time too for me professionally as well as personally, I had been doing a project for the Education side of my blog and I’d been doing my paper for that journal article. Let alone another piece of news which I can’t mention yet, but am probably going to miss my deadline for as a result of not having anything to type on. Also with the results of if I got my scholarship or not it’s all a bit of bad news bears. 
The problem unfortunately won’t be rectified any time soon. We’re low on finances so getting anything that will do what I need it to do (run databases & do analysis as well as gaming) won’t happen any time soon cause things are silly expensive. 
So that’s the news and as to why I haven’t been as active as I should be but hopefully something will come up for me soon.
As the old saying goes “when one door closes open a window!” So when I end up finding my window I’ll be sure to let you know!

Mix & Match: Left overs – Turnabout Pastabake! (Anyone get the reference?)

This is something I’d wanted to try for a while, how to utilise a combination of canned food and left overs to make a new dish for dinner. 

So this is what I came up with. 



I’d previously cooked before a tomatoe sauce with lentils and chickpeas and I wanted to see how I could make it into a pasta bake for the following day. 

I cheated quite a bit with this, I’ll be the first to admit. Relying on only canned produce as its the end of the month so making every euro stretch is important.

Next time I promise to take photos of the cans but to make the sause was the following:

– 1 can of chopped tomatoes 
– 1 can of lentils 
– 1 can of chickpeas
– 1 can of cream of tomatoe soup 
– 4 slices of bacon 

I fried up the bacon first till it was crispy then deglased the frying pan with the chopped tomatoes so it retained all the deliciousness of the cooked bacon. The trick here was to not cut down the chopped tomatoes too finely as you want to give the sause some added texture. After that I threw in the lentils and the chickpeas cooked them down till they became infused with the tomatoe and bacon, it takes only a few minutes. Then I added the tomatoe soup and cooked it down for 10 minutes before turning it off the heat and chopping up the bacon and throwing it in towards the end. 

Canned tomatoe soup may seem odd but it’s packed full of the things you’d want out of a sause. That touch of creaminess, the preseasoned touches you find in soups that give an added taste and texture with little effort. 

For someone who generally hand makes their own sauses (which I do mainly cause I’m a stickler for what’s actually in ingredients) I was reluctant to actually trust canned ingredients but once you look at the labels (Pro Tip: in Ireland you’re looking for all green logos at the bottom.)

With these ingredients 

Basically you want all of the green labels and the ingredients to be exactly what you actually want. So for instance, carrots, you want there to be in a can: Carrots, water. The antioxidants bit I don’t mind as much, it’s a fairly common thing in natural perservatives. Be aware of something that says its just Carrots or peas and has a reem of red labels and more ingredients then just the carrots. It’s why in a lot of cases frozen food is a good way to go. But that can get a little boring! However I digress. 

I poured some pre blanched pasta ( basically some semi cooked pasta) everything into a casserole dish along with some breadcrumbs with mixed cheese (red & white on top) cooked it all for 30-40 minutes at 180o with a fan oven. 

A table spoon of this over the top of the dish and that’s the dinner! 

There are empty plates all round so can’t really complain about how it went. So ultimately we can consider this experiment a success! 

Brown Thomas: Restaurant Treat

Sorry for the lack of posts on this particular section; as I haven’t been eating a lot of food/skipping meals due to my sleep schedule. I find myself super lethargic during the day, and I’m not too sure what’s causing it.

Anyway Splinter and I decided that after a trip to the dentist we should treat ourselves (I also had to resist the urge to buy an ice cream making kit. There would be no such thing as moderation if I brought it home.)
Now while I don’t usually go for salads, and it was an expensive salad at that (€15) I was genuinely surprised how filling it was. Even now, several hours later I’m still full from my salad & don’t think I’ll be making dinner tonight!
It’s completely changed the way I’ve looked at salad & I’m a die hard fan of the phrase “if it’s not meat it’s not a meal.”

 

That’s what I had taken directly from the menu itself. I’ll place a link down below for anyone who wants to check out the menu for themselves.
Upon taking my first bite I had my reservations, it tasted extremely vinegary.
Once you started combining the textures & flavours of the bacon with the lettuce and pine nuts or the exceptionally well-cooked chicken (still remaining moist well after it was cooled) with the croutons and tomatoes. It became a harmonious melody of flavours and combinations that was always refreshing every time you took a bite and was brave with the taste changes.
The one complaint I’d have about it is that my palate may have been a little too confused. When I got to midway through my salad and had run out of a drink. I didn’t know what I should drink to complement the salad. I only didn’t know, which was unusual for me. I think it had to do with the flavour combinations that I was putting together where just one pairing may not have worked 100% of the time. But that’s a small enough gripe for something that was so substantial. Everything about the food was superb. 
 
For those who are interested Splinter had the steak and eggs with soda bread.
 

 

Now eggs are one of the things I cannot eat. I just don’t like the taste or smell of them, which arguably would make me a poor food critic but how and ever. I just think we all have things we don’t like.

I can happily inform you that the soda bread which I tried was incredible. Whoever does the baking in The Restaurant should be incredibly proud of themselves, it’s how proper soda bread should taste. Had all the pop flavour but yet was still rustic but soft. To me the personification of perfection.
Splinter also reports that the steak was “excellent” and the egg was “Epic, beautiful and funny as soon as I cut into it.
And I’m afraid that’s all the food critique you’ll ever get out of Splinter.
For those of you who frequent Dublin City regularly, and want a good meal for two without a massive price tag but doesn’t skip on quality: then we’d highly recommend The Restaurant. The atmosphere is very pleasant, the staff are warm, and the pricing is overall for the quality of the food you’re getting very reasonable. Including drinks, the food (including a side of fries for Splinter) it came to €46.

 

WB : Please Understand.


I’m gonna talk about something that has seen a lot of controversy and outrage in the past while both about the leaked trailer for Suicide Squad & the PC edition of Arkham Knight. I’m more going to be discussing how they handled it, rather then why they decided to handle it the way they did. 

The Leaked Trailer


There is an old saying that “there is no such thing as bad publicity.” Well, in this case maybe there is. There seemed to be an overwhelmingly negative response from WB about the leak of their trailer. 

“Warner Bros. Pictures and our anti-piracy team have worked tirelessly over the last 48 hours to contain the Suicide Squad footage that was pirated from Hall H on Saturday,” said Sue Kroll, president of worldwide marketing and international distribution for Warner Bros. Pictures. “We have been unable to achieve that goal. Today we will release the same footage that has been illegally circulating on the web, in the form it was created and high quality with which it was intended to be enjoyed. We regret this decision as it was our intention to keep the footage as a unique experience for the Comic Con crowd, but we cannot continue to allow the film to be represented by the poor quality of the pirated footage stolen from our presentation.”

To most people, this may seem like a tad bit of an over reaction. I’m inclined to agree. While I do agree with all the statements they made about the above, that it is stolen property and all the rest, the response to the stolen trailer was overwhelmingly positive. So here in lies the argument; did it actually cause any real harm? 
Personally, I think the only real damage they caused was to themselves in how they responded themselves. Marvel, from a PR standpoint, handled it with the upmost humor saying:

Dammit, Hydra.

I impressed by the way they handled it. They could have easily taken the same response as WB which was to be angry about it. What WB don’t seem to understand is that nearly everything leaks at a Con like that, let alone the biggest Con in the world. Is that a good thing? No, but you can’t control fandoms. Fandoms are a law to themselves, and the fandom worlds have an understanding that not everyone will be able to attend a Con in their lifetime. WB ultimately need to understand the you cannot control how someone can love a product. Marvel seem to understand this, and more importantly where it comes from.

This is where the lines get blurred, the “theft” was not out of malicious intent – but love. Love of the product, love of the industry, love of everything it represents. It could be argued that it didn’t steal anything at all, only added to the hype and the joy that it caused the people at the Con to take a copy of it. It could be argued that the person who leaked it wouldn’t gain anything financially from the theft, so did they really gain anything at all? 

I tend to think of theft as someone taking something from someone else so someone has suffered a loss because of it. Thats my personal opinion on theft, a loss of financial revenue, a loss of product, or a loss of opinion. None of which I feel has happened to WB on this occasion, people will still watch the HD edition regardless of the leak. So it’s hard to see how there will be financial loss from this. 
When you break it down like that, it’s hard to truly justify WB’s response to this. It’s not something we’re going to ever get a truer explanation as to why they feel this is the appropriate response. 

So really this is the only plea I have to make on behalf of the fans : Please understand. This didn’t come from a malicious place, and try to understand that with such harsh curtailment of media and excitement you will only end up slowly suffocating what makes this industry so strong.  



Arkham Knight : PC Edition

I’ll be the first to admit, the only game that I’ve liked out of the Arkham series was Asylum. I loved its fluidity and the way it used new ideas to create the world of the Asylum. The implementation of scarecrow is arguably one of the best implementations of fear that I’ve ever seen constructed in a gaming narrative. Let alone the tools and equipment and the sheer diversity of combat, but it still being the smoothest thing I’ve ever seen running…majestic. 

I hadn’t played anything past it mainly because I was fine with the experience that I had. I’m a bit weird like that, once I had what I considered to be the best experience I was happy to walk away from it at that point. Call it self restraint or call it denying yourself, whichever. I never felt at a loss for not playing Origins or City or Knight. Seems like in some regards at least, I was right stopping where I was. Opinions will always differ in this regard, so its not something I’m going to talk about. 

What I do want to talk about is the PC edition. The game on PS4 and Xbox One has gotten overwhelmingly positive reviews on the whole. Except for the odd complaint that you spend too much time in the batmobile, people seem to really enjoy it. Which is great! Awesome. Except for one small thing. 

For those who play on PC the experience was not in any way acceptable, indeed for those who bought it on steam the reviews for a time were still negative. (At the time of writing this article the reviews on Steam say Mixed) For such a release to happen, for one of WB’s biggest gaming franchises is unheard of and rather startling. 

Not only were there graphics missing, things needing to be capped and system requirements being changed just before release : but they felt it was in an acceptable condition to sell. I’m at a loss to justify this, as it seems impossible to me as a player that something could be shipped in such a way. 

WB did something unprecedented after this, which was to pull the game when they understood that the controversy around it was escalating. It’s now nearly a month since the game got pulled with no sign of there being a resolution for the PC yet even though DLC has still be released for the other editions. 

I don’t believe this is particularly fair to the PC gamers who genuinely feel short changed by the whole experience, let alone the fact that there is DLC being released for some players and not others. Now, while I don’t think there is a resolution that works for everyone – I do feel like those people who preordered the DLC or bought the DLC afterwards should be reimbursed for both at this stage. This may be an option for those who can get a Steam refund, but I’d still be a bit annoyed about the fact that the DLC pack is still up for normal standard sale on the steam website (at time of writing) 

You are left to wonder how WB could have possibly not known about the issues they faced if they have to take this long to fix a product, and why they didn’t just delay the release date for the PC edition and just be honest about the fact that it wasn’t ready.

Of course there would have been angry people, but I’d wager you’d have significantly less angry people if you were just honest about the fact development was hitting some hitches. If companies were less concerned about the what that may look like, then producing something that doesn’t work as intended, perhaps we’d all be better off as a result. 

In saying all this though, I think WB did right by pulling the game and admitting to the fact that it was not an acceptable condition to sell it in. I just wish there could be an understanding reached on all sides. 

Without Iwata-san what now for Nintendo?

http://m.ie.ign.com/articles/2015/07/13/nintendo-ceo-satoru-iwata-has-passed-away

I’m devastated by the news that Mr Satoru Iwata has passed away at the age of 55 due to a bile duct growth.
Being someone who grew up with the original Gameboy, Nintendo has been a part of my life. Nintendo products have accompanied me through all states of my development – even well into my adulthood. I’ve always been very fond of Mr Iwata as a developer before he became president of Nintendo. I knew deep down that Iwata would have a lasting legacy that would continue well into the mid 2020’s. It’s such a tragedy that his life was cut so short.
Mr Iwata was known for his friendly attitude to fans along with his openness. As one of the first major corporations to peel back the curtain into the inner workings of the gaming industry, he became a much respected and loved figure of modern gaming.
Being such a force of good for Nintendo, bringing around new consoles and the revival of handhelds. Questions now appear as to what’s next for Nintendo at such a precarious time.
Nintendo have recently had a bit of controversy over their new partnership with Japanese mobile developers DNA, sparking debate and concern that the much loved franchises might in someway be diluted for the smartphone market.
It comes at a time where Wii U sales are still low & with the announcement of the NX and a new ecosystem of products that all connect – it’s hard to think of who is going to lead Nintendo through this transition.
I’ve no doubt that Nintendo have had some preparations in place, and some plans for the future. All eyes will be on Nintendo to see what is next. For us fans, it is now time to mourn the loss of a great leader in Video Gaming.
This world would be a much more lonely place without Nintendo, I hope that for a company over 100 years old that they will be able to maintain the course set for being around for another 100 years.