Saturday night chicken

So we found a whole chicken for €4. So we couldn’t really pass it up! Along with a load of frozen veg that will get us through at least 2 months, I’d say it was a good haul. 

Edit: I won’t give any advice for cooking chicken, as you should always follow the instructions on the packet! For this particular chicken (1.5kg) the instructions were to cook it for 1 hour & 10 minutes per 1kg. I left the chicken in for 1 hour and 40 minutes, as our oven is quite hot. I had it started off for the first 45 minutes at 180 Degrees, then lowered it to 160 for the rest of the time. 

So I decided stuffing the chicken was in order: 


Now my stuffing might look very green to you guys but it does have some power greens in it that has added vitamins in it- but doesn’t alter the flavour! You can buy it at any health food shop for about €20. Expensive, I know. However when you’re trying to boost your daily intake of food, you’d be surprised as to what one or two tea spoons of that in what you eat will do for your body!

I made the stuffing in the only way I know how:

– 1 large whole onion
– about 250g of breadcrumbs (I just use whatever breads that’s left over and freezed it)
– lots of Parsley
– lots of thyme 
– some Rosemary 

It’s a slightly unusual combination but I’ve never had any complaints about it!

I’ve also decided to base the chicken with honey every 45 minutes just to give it that crispy sweet outside
I’ll be sure to update you later on with more pictures and how it all tasted!


Updated: 12/7

It was absolutely delicious! The chicken was moist, and slightly sweet, which was a great offset to the ever so slightly bitter taste of the stuffing! (I may have put in too much rosemary, or it might not have been the freshest – I’m not really too sure which.)

I would show a picture of the final product, but I’m afraid it was that tasty that I ate it too quick to take a picture! ^_^ 

At least its the sign of a good meal.

We’ve got a good load of chicken & stuffing left over so we’ll have more for tomorrow. There are a couple of things I wanna do with the left over chicken over the next day or so, maybe some chicken and sweetcorn soup, or some chicken vol eu vans (sp?) 

Hopefully I’ll have some creatives alternatives for leftovers tomorrow! 

Saturday musings

I don’t know why, but once I get up early in the morning. I have to start doing stuff otherwise I feel like I’ve wasted half of my day. 

This morning for example I’ve been looking up NFC cards and kid friendly tablets that have NFC built into them. Which I’ve found to my surprise is a lot harder then I originally thought it would be. I’ve also been thinking more about a personal project that I’ve mentioned before about trying to get coding into schools without the politics. I’ve begun to realise that this is a far bigger concept and project then I thought. It’s slightly disheartening – the realisation that it’s just not making any traction or more that it’s not a physically tangible thing yet. It’s something I know will take time, because all of these things take time. I guess I just thought I’d be able to get things done quicker. 

I’ve got the details for another publication soon which I’m excited about but also a bit hesitant. Mainly because I’m out of practice of academic research. Took me a good half an hour just to pick out key words of texts that I’ve already read about a year and a half ago! So I feel rusty. I know it’s something that will get easier once I get into the swing of things again but it’s still disheartening! 

Myself and Splinter are thinking of heading to the Dun Laourigh festival today. But it’s only 9am, so we’ll have to see what we get done today in terms of house work. We’ve quite a bit to do before we go anywhere! 

Something really funny happened the other day while I was with Splinter. We were on the train home – I’d had a very nice day wandering around the art galleries of Dublin – and I saw a Pebble time on some guys wrist on the train! Now, evidently my mouth did not consult my brain before I shouted ” OMG PEVBLE TIME.” Now just for some context, he was on the phone at the time looked at me like I was crazy and then just turned away from me. 

Splinter has been giving me nothing but abuse since. But hey #NerdLife. 

Fallen London

Fallen London

It’s been a very long time since I’ve played any sort of free point and click/narrative game. I’d say its been as long as my Newgrounds & I Am Bored days. It’s a game thats very hard to explain, but I’ll give it a good go. 
 
First thing to know about Fallen London, and the very first thing that happened to me was that I died. Immediately. My gut reaction to this was “F this then.” But a friend of mine kept encouraging to persist with it, and its a game I fall very much in and out of love with. I ended up coming back from the dead and running around a very beautifully created world. 
 
Which is high praise for a soley text driven narrative. The writing in any game can often dictate involvement and engagement within the game. A game like this has to strike a balance between engagement and not being too text heavy. Which is a balance that 90% of the time the game gets right. 
 
Its a game you play the way you want to, in the missions you get, you choose how you want to play it. Watchful, Shadowy, Dangerous, Persuasive; these are the main points that you gain from completing missions certain ways. There is always choice in Fallen London for how you want to play the game, and at the minute I haven’t gotten myself into too much of a box.  
 

 

Traveling around Fallen London is easy with its intuitive fast travel opens, you will get notified where you can or cannot go in a certain story line or if you just want to go off exploring. There are certain places you can’t go at the very start of the game, as there are certain quests you have to complete, or you need to become a person of note to gain access to these levels.
How you interact with the game is a minamilistic screen and the icons for each task and deck has been revamped lately which gives a needed breath of fresh air to the stylistic challenges games like these face.
 
The games mechanics are fairly simple to explain. You have 20 actions that get refreshed every 10 minutes. There are some micro transactions, but they aren’t essential to playing the game and more importantly they’re not pushed in your face. They’re something there as an option to unlock something called Fates. Fates unlock items or specific story quests or options within a specific story line. You do get some at the start (or at least I did when I first started playing) which I’d advise keeping until you feel you really need it. There is also options in game to earn Fate without the expense. In my playing of the game I have only come across these a rare few times but I guess that is by design.
 
Please keep in mind this isn’t something you’re going to be sitting down and spending hours straight playing, the narrative is engaging and interesting enough for you to play in 10 minute stints and be able to walk away from the game without feeling like you’re missing anything. Its a great compromise for gamers on the move who want a fully engaging RPG like adventure but don’t have the time to sit down. The experience on mobile devices (I can only talk about iPad and iPhone 6) translate very well, and with the new edition of the Fallen London app that is due out this year it will make a very welcome addition to my gaming family.
 
I fully recommend this game if someone wants a casual gaming experience while they’re meant to be doing other things! 
 
 
 

Yoshi’s Wooly World

Without a Doubt Too Excited for this

This is going to be a game journal to tell you what I’ve been playing and how i’m getting on with it. What I like about the game play, design and what I don’t. I won’t be giving any scores or anything like that, this will just be a running update of my thoughts while playing the game and to see if it was worth the €59 I spent with the amiibo plushy! (Which is super cute, although I am sad I didn’t manage to get a blue one!)
 
Full coverage will probably start tomorrow so keep an eye on the blog!
Update 4pm on the 7th:

 

 
I have come to the conclusion that if you don’t like Yoshi’s Woolly World you don’t have a soul. 
 
In all seriousness, the game is beautifully crafted and stunning to play. The only gripe I’d have about it is the fact that I didn’t expect the amount of loading screens. While these aren’t very long, they are enough to take you out of the world in which they are trying to create for you. 
 
Otherwise, the level design I find challenges both the little ones who this product is aimed towards and veteran platformers. It reminds me of the old Kirby games from the SNES how there are multiple ways of progressing through a level and the more skills you master the different ways become available to get to things and explore the levels.
 
 I feel right now after playing up to 1-5 the pacing of the levels are well done. I don’t feel like they’re too long or too short and I don’t feel at the minute that the levels are too repetitive. That may change however, as the case with Super Mario World 3D, it became difficult late game to keep things fresh. I get bored easily.
 
 

10 minute Dinner on a Monday Night

For the unaware, I’m very interested in my food and how its cooked. Its a passion I’ve developed since I’ve moved out into my own home and have had to cook for someone else. These are going to be the exploration into the food I cook daily or nightly. If you’re vegetarian this is not going to be a  post for you. As I like my mean way too much to be doing many vegetarian options. 
I try to keep my dinners as healthy as possible, cutting down on fat and making healthy substitutions as I go. 

Not your average Steak and Chips

This was a serlion steak enough to well fill two people, I oiled the steak with extra virgin olive oil and then put it on a hot pan for 10 minutes total. 5 minutes each side. Myself and splinter prefer out meat Medium Rare, so for a steak that thick that was the minium we cooked it for. 
People give frozen veg such a bad rap but when you’re busy and broke frozen food is often you’re best asset in getting your daily requirement of veg. Today I used pretty good chunks of frozen sweetcorn and baby leaf spinach. Throw them both in a pot of boiling water for 5 minutes while the steaks cooking and jobs and gooden! I always like to throw in after the cooking process and the water is drained adding a teaspoon of Flora into the pot and melt it through, gives everything a bit more taste. 
I’ve been really interested in adding supplements to our diet. I’ve been using the Linwoods Mini Variety Healthy Food Packs. Admittedly its a running experiment to see how everything tastes and I’m happy to report that I’m liking it so far, its something subtle that you won’t really notice. Though as its something I always throw in on top of the plates or towards the end of the meal you do have to remember to put it in. But that is what I find the biggest obstacle is. Other then that, the tastes are very palatable and can add a great layer of dept in the texture of your food without making the experience jarring. The one thing myself and mark can report from using them, is that we do feel noticeably fuller after eating a meal. So we’re not binge eating as much or eating out of boredom. 
This is the final product, which I’m happy to report was very tasty. Slight miscommunication with Splinter about the chips, but sure it was still tasty with the addition of chips. 


Chips makes everything taste better.

Books, Publications and iGBL

Professional Stuff

Book Publication

So first things first, I’ve published a book! Yes, me of all people! 

I’m pretty proud of my achievement considering I’m not long out of college now, and I’m already a published author its not something to be sniffed at. The link is up there for anyone who wants to have a read or take a look at it. 

iGBL

Happily I got the opportunity to present at this years iGBL in Dun Laoghaire IT for the 5th annual iGBL symposium. It was my first symposium & my first time presenting at a conference of that magnitude so I was quite surprised when I got the message saying that I had been short listed then selected to present. I presented on part of my book and it was titled “Video Gaming & Language Learning: The Untold Story.”

I was about as terrified as you’d presume you’d be starting out in something like this but on the whole I don’t believe that I did too badly. Anyone who I talked to after the conference commented upon how well I did given the interruption of people arriving late and the crowd that gathered for the talk. So I’m personally pleased with how I did, so I can at least chalk it up to experience. I’m not going to lie however, I didn’t enjoy the public speaking and normally I am fine with it as I just go for it. Nerves got to me though and I stumbled and stuttered, but hey! Alls well that ends well. 

There were a lot of things that I’ve been thinking about since the event. I’m still stunned about the disconnect there is between educators and the technical/gaming market as to what are the realistic limitations of what can be achieved on both ends. 

 Before I continue, I’m gonna be discussing somethings’ I witness when I was at the conference and some things people said. I’m no way labling teachers or gamers as them all being the same. Ok? Cool. 

Something that struck me was that while there was a showcase of Project Spark a teacher piped up in the back about how as a geography teacher he was going to be unable to teach different rock formations with this tool. If you click on the link for Project Spark you’ll see that he’s right. Its art style does not lend itself to realistic formations, however, that was something obvious from observing the game from it simply loading that this was not going to be something hyper realistic. It does have other uses for sure. For example, a dedicated english teacher could run simulations of Shakespear plays if they had the time and the same could be said for history teachers. (However games like Age Of Empires may cut out a lot of that work load.) I couldn’t ignore the fact that in that teachers mind he though that this was going to be the solution to his problem.

Here is a fact for all educators out there; if anything claims to be the be all and end all solution to your teaching needs they’re lying. How do I know they’re lying? You still have jobs. Teachers have a very crucial role to play in terms of society even outside of learning. I could never be a teacher, I don’t like kids and I’m not that patient. So I have a lot of time and respect for those who are dedicated to their field. 

There is something to be said for computer literacy in the wider role of education that has to be addressed though. This is coming from someone who in my group of friends (20 – 31) roughly 3/10 of us are computer literate. Now, the golden question here is what do you define as computer literate? I can pretty much promise you we don’t have the same definition of what computer literacy is. To me being computer literate isn’t about who can use Word processing software or Excel spreadsheets, but who can keep a computer up to date and they’re daily computer life safe. I am someone who tends to my friends PC’s constantly, because they don’t know how to do basic disk cleanups or run antivirus, antispyware or maliware cleaners on there PCs. This comes from people of my age group – a generation who are meant to be renound for their tech savvyness. I can promise you for the most part its an illusion created by the media and a misunderstanding about technological advancement. That however, is for another blog post. 

What I was surprised to learn in terms of computer literacy is how little time is given to teachers of all levels to engage with technology let alone the ones who want to be able to implement this technology in their classrooms with the ability to inspire others. They are given maybe 1 day of training for basic literacy – which I was stunned to learned was not compulsory. Then if they did, god forbid, want to go and learn something to bring into the classroom they are still given that one day to do so. That’s just not realistic whatever way you want to look at things. So its half a problem with the ways we get to assist our teachers and half an interest to want to be able to utilise this technology in the first place. 

Its not a solution that is going to fix itself and it’s something tragic that its ultimately not going to inspire our learners or our educators. It’s always easy to blame our system, I personally can’t talk about it, as I was someone who the system failed dramatically. But if we can’t give the power back to the teachers and educators to teach the things that are relevant and important to industry and commerce we’re never going to progress and have the quality of Engineers and Programmers that we’ll need in our ever changing economy. The government and others are going to realise its too late that just having Computer Programming and the such like at college level is not going to be sustainable for much longer. 

I hope they are going to learn these lessons before major technological industry begins to move out of its own accord. I’ve my own ideas about how to implement these things bypassing all the politics, so its not as if I’m standing here on my soap box complaining and not adding something to try and solve this issue. However, its not something I can expand about too much presently. Lots of emails have yet to be sent and even more things need to be discussed before I can post in many ways about the concept that I have put together to help get coding into the hands of kids in a safe and innovative way without any determinant to normal schooling hours & activities. 

If anyone argues, that it sounds like putting a bandaid on a stab wound I’d probably tell you its an accurate analogy but right now, its better then there being nothing there at all. People also need to realise that technology is not as wide spread in schools as people would like to think. I have worked in Desh schools where there is a Windows 95 in each classroom and thats it. That’s all they’ve got. It’s trying to come up with a reasonable solution to give every child a chance at finding an interest and a passion. Thats what I’m trying to achieve!

So wish me look with it. I’ve a long aul road ahead for the project but I’ll be sure to keep you all updated when I have more to talk about!

Chronic Illness & Good Stuff

There have been several things that I’ve been wanting to accomplish with this blog but I’ve always hit the usual wall of not knowing what to write and finding a way for my first post to be compelling!

Personal


So I’m gonna stop over analysing and just start telling you guys what has been going on with me lately. Chronic pain is a nightmare and today has been no exception to that rule. Specifically for my illness its very difficult to explain to people what it is about without getting into frankly gross detail which people can be spared. Or can they? I’m always of the opinion that people are never going to know what’s going on unless you’re honest about it and what comes from it after that is the other persons business and not yours. It gets complex to explain to people the finer delicates of what this does to someone; not just physically but psychologically. Don’t get me wrong, I consider myself one of the lucky ones as I don’t have to live with it 24/7 only 2/4 weeks of the month. It’s enough for it to be medically considered chronic so that’s the definition I’m running with. I find myself getting more withdrawn and I don’t know if its just what I’m going through or if its a combination of things that I’m going through right now. It’s probably a bit of both. 


Wedding Stuff


In happier news though I’m now engaged to Splinter of [http://nevertrustthecat.wordpress.com]

This is it for those of you who are interested in what I got. Its a very unique ring & we’re very happy with how it turned out and in general! 

Only problem we’re presently having is with the hubub that comes with getting engaged and the fact that it’s all were going to be talking about for the next two years. Which neither of us are best pleased with, we feel people, mainly family are getting way too ahead of themselves. We have our own thoughts about how we wanna handle it and what we wanna do about it. We know for a fact that it doesn’t matter what way this is gonna go down – we’re gonna wind up upsetting someone & no one is going to be 100% happy with what we’ve decided. But we’ve just gotta roll with the punches with it.