This guy almost likes tea as much as I.
Arizona is one of the few states blessed with Ethiopian Food. Zemam’s in Tucson is best of class! They have high standards of cleanliness in a slightly run-down building. Also the tiny but amazing Babylon market gets the surplus Injera from Zemam’s so we can grab some and make our own meal! Phoenix has a couple that are not impressive, Lallibella is a vegetarian place with more traditional decor. Below is the Ethiopian Alphabet. Seems way too complicated for the amount of words in the language.
We were also blessed with the opportunity to visit Little Ethiopia in Los Angeles. Like Little Tokyo and other cultural minority areas, Little Ethiopia seems to be drying up and moving away. There were basically a handful of stores on one street about a city block long. We got lentils and Injera from each one as a sample. Here are our findings compared to Zemam’s:
|Messab||Second Hand Smoke permeated the room. Lentils at 9.50 were not edible. Injera was bland.|
|Rahel Veggie||Injera was way too sour. Lentils at 10.70 were more of a soup, not pleasant.|
|Nyala||Tried Kik Wat and split peas. They were watered with potato and had bland Injera. Lentils were 11.00|
|Little Ethiopia||Injera lacked a sour edge. Dark but not overcooked, possibly better Teff used? The lentils were good, and had spice. Garbanzos were undercooked and the chicken not edible. Doro 12 dollars, Kik 5.00|
|Rosalind’s||Injera was better than the others. Undercooked collards and the lentils tasted weak, but acceptable. Chickpeas were too oily. We tried a veggie sampler. The meatballs were scary. Overcharged Dinner prices at Lunch time.|
Turns out some of the words used in this song are offensive in nature. I do not use profanity but I need to post it since the webs are all wrong. Every page googling for Juno Reactor – Pistolero has a different answer for the Spanish samples. She is not speaking latino/mexican. It is a fluent Castillian accent, most likely from Spain. Notice how strong and precise the sound of the “j” is?
The first quote is English of course. “I hate robbing banks”
Then the two Spanish parts:
1. at 01:12 in the album version:
Quiera a mi pistola
Mas que a mi hombre
Translation: I love my Gun.. more than my man. (joke)
Dame el jodido dinero o te jodo vivo.
Translation: Give me the f***ing money or I’ll f*** you alive.
2. at 04:35 A distorted “I hate robbing banks” happens again. Followed by
Translation: How are you? I love you.
Tengo el jodido dinero y voy a sacarte de ahi.
Translation: I have the f***ing money and I am going to get you out of here.
Solamente uno esta bien. (laughs)
Just this once is enough. (laughs)
Easy Chocolate No-Bake Oatmeal Cookies
2 Cups Sugar
1/2 Cup Milk
1/4 Cup Butter
2 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder
1/4 Bar of Scharfenberger Chocolate with Nibs
COMBINE all above and bring to a boil for one minute stirring constantly (the goal is no granulated sugar but not burnt tasting).
Remove from heat and stir in:
1/3 cup natural smooth peanut butter
1 Tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp orange juice
3 Cups natural quick oats.
Quickly plop spoonfulls onto parchment paper and let them cool completely. The faster you do this the more glossy ones you get! Don’t judge by calories or appearance. They Heaven.
I had to write this somewhere before I forgot it:
It’s a short trip from impatient to inpatient.
MYTHOS IS OPEN AGAIN! mythos.com
My gunsmith Midget is awesome! I built a little room clearing machine wizard also. I stacked plus to Ember Nova on hit so much that I no longer use mana. I just run into the middle of the baddies and wait for them all to die. Remember it was developed in Korea. So far I have found that they changed my browser and bookmarks without asking (now there is a small checkmark to stop this), blocked the printscreen capabilities while the game is running (even if minimized) and spammed my email account. It does mean things to Windows Aero, but it does work. Who knows what other viral activities they are up to!
This list is for me to draw ideas from to find Diablo 2 (D2) clones. Basically pick a game by name from the reviews listed below and go research. It is ordered by what I like from least to greatest.
I am bred from playing Rogue clones Angband and Umoria. Since the warm amber glow of Xenix terminals I am an RPG hack and slasher, a crawler of all things dungeonic. Diablo 2 eventually became the standard by which all RPG Hack and Slash are measured. No time for RTS or grid base. I want freedom of motion and no menu systems or turn bars. If I click the baddie, he’d better die! If I click the NPC they’d better talk. I want a simple inventory and lots of tasty drops. I don’t want to farm, craft or micro-manage anyone. I like a replete but easy to move through skill tree. When I level up it needs to feel like a reward, not a puzzle box. Please rebuild the maps at random for replay value. Diablo is the game to play every five years. Until this go. For some reason my heart is not in it, maybe because I build my characters the same way. Maybe because the PS3 has spoiled me to higher video expectations. Time to search for a new standard, or at least comparisons for a good cheap dungeon crawler fix.
|Konung 3 Ties of the Dynasty PC – Not multiplayer. Lame 1C party offering, hard to navigate. Where to go? What to do? Died from the rabid dogs in half an hour.|
|Battle OF Mages PC – This is not Battle Mages (which is more of a third party group control game). Battle OF Mages is a crawler with outdated graphics, not up to Diablo 2 quality. Two bandits came and I naturally attacked, then I was told I acted impetuously and should have talked to them first. Has some fun potential, but the interface and graphics lost me. LAN multiplay was an option.|
|Silverfall PC – Very pretty, very flawed.|
|Avernum PC – Avernum has like 6 installments. Have not tried this one. Never can seem to download one before it vanishes from the Amazon store.|
|Daemonica PC – Have not tried this one either. Not sure if the too dark or too evil cover art scared me off. Kind of a hypocrite since Diablo means Devil.|
|Throne of Darkness PC – It has a few small remnants of Diablo 2 feel. Maybe a small fraction of the blizzard people were involved. Kudos for the Japanese styling of everything. You control a four party team of like eight total characters. When your wizard is injured he can swap out for the ninja or samurai. I did not have the patience for the whole choose a formation system and micro-manage all the characters and their respective inventories.|
|Summoner PC – Has a potentially cool multiplayer interface. I could not get the game to play smoothly. My interface glitched and jumped around like a fireworks celebration. The game itself looked better than the cheesy opening artwork, but I could not get the game to run smoothly. It cried about windows 2000 compatibility. (I was running XP.)|
|Planet Alcatraz PC – Kind of a space RPG, but fits in this list. 1C company party of four, but stuck with the Rambo style main character. Seems like a similar engine to A Farewell to Dragons, but I could not handle the voices, interface and story.|
|Hinterland PC – One player. Build your town bit by bit, attract and build up NPCs to assist you. Nice concept art everywhere. For adventuring you can choose your party size, but think about leaving the town protected. Not a crawler, more of a one level on the terrain surface. Feels almost like a really good flash game. No connection to other players with LAN or multi. You can probably beat the game in a couple hours; a better goal is try to make a dragon farm by upgrading to a keep and finding an egg. There were different titles online for Hinterland: Orcs and Adventure something, but they all seemed to be the same game. I would like a bigger and more robust Hinterland 2.|
|Beyond Divinity, Divine Divinity PC, Divinity 2 – … Divine Divinity is the best of the Larian studios lot. These are all quest heavy. I found myself playing the Elder Scrolls Oblivion instead. Too close perspective, more like first person. Not really in the class of Diablo 2 like. Dragon Age: Origins is pretty good also, but I had just burnt out on Oblivion when I tried it. While we are on this subject, Two Worlds 2 is very pretty in the same mode. I suppose Fable should go here also since it is single player.|
|Baldur’s Gate 2 PC – I remember unfolding all those discs with amazement. The amount of quests and material will never be forgotten. I prefer more simple crawling action, so I stuck with D2. A great game in its time.|
|Dungeon Siege 2 PC – multiple party members, supports multiplayer over LAN. Nice to have a mule for healing and storage but still over-complicated. I want to be able to jump into a game in minutes and not have to trial and error learn interfaces.|
|Dungeon Siege 3 – Not ready yet, but the lack of Microsoft’s evil stamps is a great thing. Anyone think they can compete with Diablo 3?|
|Gauntlet Dark Legacy PS2 – I pondered whether gauntlet games fit in this list or not. I suppose they meet the qualifications. Seven Sorrows is linear and graphically pretty. It is very short. It is worth a rent and once through for sure.|
|Conquer Online – Downloaded to my desktop and ready to install.|
|Runescape, Mabinogi Online – Kids seem to eat these up like chocolate Dove bars. Not sure why. All the basic elements are there: inventory, quests. Even minigames for members and such. Runescape has pets and cool summons. Mabinogi has mounts. For some reason it just doesn’t appeal to me.|
|Lord Of the Rings Online – Nice massive online. Have not played it enough for a good review. Why do I run from online environments? The flood of ads or 10 year olds? Hmm.|
|Guild Wars Online – Played for a short time and almost got hooked. Travel time in the world got old quickly, and when the first realm is over and the whole world turns to destroyed mode I lost interest. It was more fun to dance in town than actually play.|
|Loki – Choose from Norse, Greek Egyptian or Amazonian Mythologies. You will start in different realms and quests for each. Makes for good replay variety. Similar to Sacred in quality, reasonably quick to pick up the interface and controls. The game supports multiplayer over LAN and supposedly online servers. Install artwork was nearly NSFW and didn’t match the game.|
|A Farewell to Dragons PC – Almost a decent party rpg. No multiplayer. 1C company makes lots of straight download games. This one is an interesting blend of modern with past. Some gun and steampunk elements are blended in. It takes a while to get used to the right-click as primary button. I keep waiting for the dragon mentioned in the title to kick in.|
|Drakensang PC – I played this for a while as a female pirate class. Can’t remember why I gave up on it. Looks pretty good.|
|Avencast: Battle of Mages – PC. Avencast is a good looking high resolution interface, no multiplayer. Complicated navigation systems where both hands are required for WASD movement. Lots of castable spells and pet summons. Of course all of the complexity comes with a list of keys to remember and cast. It starts slowly in the Neverwinter Nights style with basic training and talking to teachers before advancing.|
|Fate, Fate: Undiscovered Realms, Fate: The Traitor Soul PC – Perfect one player only dungeon grinds. Wild Tangent made these widely distributed and well-known. We played separately and longed for the ability to join games. Bragging about finds and stats just isn’t the same as co-op adventuring. I especially like the fishing and the pet transformations. Items are well presented and the Traitor soul installment can play as Orc, Steampunk, Elf skin and not just Human. In fact this latest one is all about re-skinning everything. There is still a bug that happens on my psycho gaming machine when the in-game sounds repeat like ten times. It allows projectile baddies to fire ten shots instantly also. Our other computers don’t have this problem.|
|Untold Legends, Dark Kingdom PS3 – Snowblind quality it is not. Playable? Very. It is a decent looking full widescreen on a ps3 where the Norath PS2 game options are in hard to see 4:3 shapes. Jumping is a hit and miss operation. Exp just goes to whoever is closer to the fallen baddie. I am a support mage and fall way behind the warrior in xp and essence (gold). Lots of jumping into battles with no story. Example: How do you kill the skeletons that keep re-spawing? Through trial and error you are supposed to throw them into the progress barrier. The next set of re-spawing skeletons? Just beat them a lot in the circle. Occasionally you will stick to the many trees, or the really tall buildings and branches full of leaves will block the whole viewpoint. The point assignments and equipment seem to not really affect much. The skill trees do not develop down a path well. No reason to focus on an element like fire or ice. Still very fun and playable while we wait for Snowblind to make a dazzling PS3 option. By the way the camera makes the game almost unplayable in single player mode. Get a buddy for this one.|
|Dungeon Runners Online – the multiplayer massive online and free all factor into a great but temporary dungeon crawl. The camera worked reasonably well. Art, inventory, interface and graphics were decent. Rainbow drops were actually exciting for a while. It gets old and grinding to mine Rotgut becomes a chore or a favor to another player.|
|Magicka – PC. Awesome combination of 8 elemental skills. Mana management is replaced with which spell or combination of spells should be used. Each mage can do havok to baddies as well as selves/co-op players. Don’t count on saving, expect some bugs. It is a great multi-crawl. There is a vietnam expansion as well. The psycho wizards showing up in the kong is funny.|
|NOX PC – love this game. You will think you are playing D2. Bummers are that it is not as complex for character/item development and that it is a linear path. No auto-generation of dungeons. I had some of the best multiplayer map fights in this game. With chained teleport traps and temporary invincibility my wizard was unbeatable.|
|The Chosen: Well of Souls PC – Single player adventure with impressive graphics. Camera can be easily controlled by WASD and the mouse wheel rotates. Smooth playing game and interface. Nice blend of Guns and magic. You end up with a golem and a flying gadget. The spoken English dialogue is torture.|
|Lord of the Rings – War in the North PS3 – The name says Snowblind but I do not believe it. The game keeps reminding me of Gauntlet Seven sorrows. The range shooting and distance magic are possibly the best ever in an RPG. The camera works well, and is easy to bump where needed. Wait.. what happened to my save?? Something is messed up with the quest engines. If you don’t talk to some NPCs then you will fail later on. Someone forgot that I talked to them, and now the quests are not able to be completed. My accomplishments all zero’ed out. Where is that stupid dwarf crawling off to now? He has a tendancy to kill baddies, rob your XP and bring baddies to you. You can’t shut him off. As a co-op it could be super fun, but the broken junk ruins it. 12 hours in I gave up and am praying for a patch.|
|Baldur’s Gate, Champions of Norrath, Farewell to Arms PS2 – these are the closest D2 clones for a console. Well presented interface. Simple and easy to navigate inventories. Skill trees that are fun to develop into one path. Nice drops and story lines. Great Multiplayer options with same-screen camera that actually works and rarely sticks.|
|Lionheart: Legacy of the Crusader PC – great potential, nice looking graphics. Multiplayer over LAN to 4 players. If a couple of us use a spell with lots of particles, the game will chunk and lag a bit. There are a ton of class/alignment/skill options. Chose one of three spirit guides. It takes some time to get to the grind. Seems like the drop rate is the same no matter how many players. Some don’t get any gold. Don’t run out and collect baddies right away, get your gear in order first.|
|Titan Quest PC – looks are everything here. Multiplayer over LAN to 6 members is supported. It is a very fun linear path. The main baddies are large as life and impressive. You will be hooked the first time you kill a blackbird and see the feather shower. Should be a requirement for every RPG gamer to do a one time through. Iron Lore released an Immortal Throne expansion chapter before sadly closing its doors.|
|Torchlight PC – Absolutely wonderful dungeon crawler. Still a one player only deal, but Runic games is nearing a Torchlight 2 which will finally bring my multiplayer hopes to fruition. While Torchlight is still in the isometric view, there are better depth perceptions built in. Baddies are often below or above. Maybe there is an elevator or something underneath you. Still has the fun diversions like the fishing and the pet transformations. Inventory and item combinations are well interfaced. Horadric-like gem building is rewarding.|
|Sacred and Sacred 2 PC (PS3 Xbox) – Very fine games. Sacred 2 is beautiful. All of my family could join in and become whatever they wanted. A vampire that gets hurt during the daylight and is stronger at night? No problem. A lightning fast Seraphim? If it weren’t for the stupid speed caps I could have outrun the horse mounts. The sheer amount of quests and the overall size of the system is impressive. They also are the downfall for me. One glitched quest and the perfectionist in me has a stomp fit. There were many such problems. How about an unkillable wyvern quest near the town? No way to end his tiny life. Is it because he is over the water? Sigh. Play Sacred 2 for sure.|
|Mythos Online – The Flagship studios built this game as a test for something in Hellgate London. It was a massive online multi-player Diablo like game and every pixel had more character and life than Hellgate. Great crafting, great chat system. Excellent inventory and storage. I really enjoyed the class choices being so unusual like Cyclops or gun-slinger. Towards the end of the trials the developers started listening to the masses (WOW heads) and following a shaky path of expanding the town and leaving us on the surface more. They apparently also forgot to manage the bills since it went to the Koreans. The redbanana team has been putting a closed beta back up. Watch for it on mythos.com How I long to Mythos once again!|
Not intending to brag, this list is for others to swap titles with us if desired.
- 3D Dot heroes
- Assassins Creed, AC 2
- BlazBlue – Calamity Trigger
- BlazBlue – Continuum Shift
- Demon’s Souls
- Eternal Sonata
- Final Fantasy XIII
- Just Cause 2
- Katamari Forever
- Lego Pirates All 4
- Lego Star Wars – Complete Saga
- Little Big Planet
- Lord of the Rings – War in the North
- Little Big Planet 2
- Portal 2
- Ratchet and Clank – A Crack in Time
- Ratchet and Clank – Tools of Destruction
- Rayman Origins
- Soul Caliber IV
- Super Street Fighter IV
- Toy Story 3
- Untold Legends – Dark Kingdom
Cause and Effect – Artificial Construct – Part Two is out at least in digital form. This is a brilliant marketing move, release half the songs on an EP and then release the other half. CD in our hands faster and more money for the artist. I like how he is more soulful in this. Its like he was listening to ML Gore’s slow songs for a year. Also hits a couple higher notes than usual. Risky but I like.