Timelapse will be uploaded to my Patreon first!
I'm thinking Sculpey clay, since my recent Penny figure left some extra. This will also be the first one that I've planned out so thoroughly - my other 3D ventures have been on-the-fly intuition and guesswork. Hopefully I'll get the chance to make her before the holidays!
If/When I get around to starting work, I'll be posting regular updates to my Patreon for all to see (no paywall). I may also produce a timelapse of the work, which will also be on Patreon. As always, the final product will be posted here on dA.
Anyways. I'm excited! This will be adorable.
Update #1: "Well that was fast"
Update #2: "And now we wait"
A little late to the party, I guess, but I did.
Now, I'll be honest. I don't know the first thing about using it. I don't know what tumblr-users expect to see, what sort of content I should post, so on and so forth.
Please be kind, and teach me. Also, help me spread the word!
Oh, and if you're a dedicated dA user, don't worry - I'm still mainly going to be here. As in, art and 4komas and journals will be posted here first (or Patreon first, but yeah). Tumblr will be slightly behind in scheduling, as I figure stuff out. I will not abandon or move out from dA - this has been my home for a while, and will continue to be. But if you normally browse tumblr more often, well, here we go.
Kujira no Kora wa Sajou ni Utau (Children of the Whales)
An oddly animated show with a blend of traditional anime visuals and rich watercolor-esque backgrounds. The characters are diverse and well-balanced, and the use of 3D visual effects are minimal and barely noticeable. The story seems quick-footed and it has a nice momentum so far, hinting just enough at a wider perspective to keep you interested without giving away too much. Reminiscent of Suisei no Gargantia.
Kino no Tabi (The Beautiful World)
Sometimes distracting with quick swaps between 3D and 2D, and overall plain-looking. Story- and content-wise, it seems promising with each episode serving as one entire arc. Most things are explained as the main character learns about them, so there's no annoying omniscient narrator - just dialogue between Kino and her bike. I do particularly like the bike as a character, since it has no comical reactions or expressions whatsoever, and relies on voice only to elaborate his feelings. Has a Princess Principal feel to it, but far less intense and lacks the overarching story.
Mahoutsukai no Yome (The Ancient Magus Bride)
I think this one goes without saying. Good looking anime, with a slight shoujo appearance. Humorous but gritty all the same, it has some similarities to Shuumatsu nani Shitemasu ka? (WorldEnd) in that a character is suddenly brought into an entirely fresh world that they'd participated unknowingly their entire lives but never understood completely.
Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou (Girls' Last Tour)
Another 2D-3D blend, although it's a chibi-take on that theme. An incredibly cute and lighthearted take on what appears to be a post-war or post-apocalyptic world. The banter between the two characters is heartwarming and innocent. Unlike anything I've seen before.
Using Processing (the programming IDE) I set up virtual instruments that could read any MIDI file (with some fenagling). Turned out to be a lot of fun and a lot of pain as well. It's not completely finished, but I enjoyed the product of the latest render so much that I decided to share it with y'all. enyoy!
3D model of the environment in SketchUp Make. (~5 minutes)
Pencil and pen re-draw on top of the 3D model printout, taking perspective and proportions into account. (~1 hour)
Tracing the new sketch using my Surface Pro 3 as a lightbox (turned off the touch screen). No ruler used, all freehand. (~2 hours)
Final ink line art scanned at extremely high DPI. Mistakes are few and are edited digitally.
Base coloring using masks. (~2 hours)
Final lighting, details, and touchup. (~2 hours)
I'm currently on a little spree of writing an online trading card battle game. Unfortunately, the only platform it supports right now is Windows since the networking library I use is .NET based. In any case, I plan for it to eventually be ported into Unity and have actual, decent graphics. For now, it's a raggedy ol' thing.
Don't worry! I'm not asking anyone to program anything this time around. In fact, a lot of the programming is done already! The game is mostly playable, although somewhat a hassle to set up for multiplayer.
I'm actually asking to see if anybody has some spare time and resources to create some visual assets. The stuff that I could use right now are characters to be displayed on cards. The original intention was to have characters and personalities from animes, cartoons, and perhaps video games as the characters, but since pulling actual artwork or graphics from the source material is a gray area in terms of copyright, I'd like to start with some images that are fanmade and preferably of OCs or the like.
So! Please! If you have a drawing of some character that you're proud of or think would be entertaining to see in a card game, or you have a friend on dA that's uploaded stuff and they're curious, please let me know.
If you don't really have the ability or collection but would still like to see the game, it will be available to test soon. I want to get a couple more things written in before I start sending this out to the masses. Oh, and you can be assured that a multiplayer server will be running so you don't need to worry about messy connections yourself (although you may need to set up port forwarding - I'm not certain yet).
Seriously, to me, seeing that number is still unbelievable. I remember the days when I had just hundreds of pageviews. I remember staring at 20k, 30k, and 40k for months at a time without any movement. I remember when 10 pageviews was a tremendous increase. So to see that number on my page today... and the fact that so many of the artists here that I look up to have reached this milestone... it's scary, a little bit.
I dunno. I'm just rambling at this point. You'll have to forgive me for not really knowing how to react.
A half-length series (12 min each) of basically the exact same gags from the manga. Matches the original perfectly, and I'm happy about the voices. Probably not everybody's cup of tea; I like it though.
Made in Abyss:
Very cute and beautifully animated show about an excavation project. I haven't looked up much of the plot so I know very little about the story, but so far it's caught my attention. No blatant 3D animation that I can tell as of yet - so extra points there.
Edit: Incredibly exciting and reminiscent of anime like Nausicaa and Laputa. A strong exploration factor tied with uncertainty makes the episodes feel too short for 20 minutes.
Not sure why it's called Principal, but the story is about a group of schoolgirls in steampunk London that are actually highly-trained spies. Intriguing to me because I like the mystery and detective genre, but the characters are well-balanced with each other and this is one of the few anime's that successfully merges 2D and 3D animation well.
Edit: By far my favorite of this season, although it's pretty close with Abyss and Aho. Super cute, actually interesting, and the characters are dynamic.
A slice-of-life romance anime - a genre that I don't normally watch - but the humor is well done so far and all other aspects of the anime haven't lost points yet.
Edit: It's a little too cringey for my taste. I had to skip forward past moments that simply dwelled on too long. Not going to recommend completely.
A stranger one on my list. It's got a lot of potential due to the mystery genre, but there's a lot of unnecessary flair in the form of 3D animation and the moe-horror theme. I'm following this one purely out of curiosity for now - it's interesting but I hesitate to say it's good.
Edit: Getting stranger, but not necessarily better. The mystery is lacking a bit, and it's becoming more about drama.
Still following -
I thought this was a single-season series, but I guess it's going to keep going. I'm not complaining. The story is moving towards the macro arc now, rather than smaller stories with various characters.
Atom: The Beginning:
I just love how we're starting to see the seeds of what make Astro Boy into the robot he is. Another show that mixes 2D and 3D well.
A future where rockets launch every single week is now in sight.
(Longer explanation: )
SpaceX has launched two rockets this weekend, and both have returned to Earth relatively safely. The first one was a refurbished rocket carrying Bulgaria's first comms satellite, and it landed on "Of Course I Still Love You", the droneship, in the Atlantic Ocean. Re-entry was hot and the shock absorbers were nearly all spent, but it's in good shape. The second carried the second batch of Iridium satellites that will provide a strong network of complete global coverage in communications. This one landed on "Just Read the Instructions", which sat in the Pacific Ocean amidst some turbulent weather.
Update 2 (36 hours later) (This came out late, the submission got saved into my drafts instead)
joeslak (a very new account, may I mention) has written a hilariously similar journal to this one, but attack me instead and using language quite inappropriate for public discourse. While I have been mean and used strong words here, they are outright swearing and attacking me ad-hominem, not to mention lying. I have already sent them a Note disproving several of their points, but go read it in any case. They want attention, they'll get it.
Update 1 (12 hours later)
knives4cash has now messaged me about lying and misrepresenting him. I find it difficult to see where I could possibly be lying within my statements, as most of his dedicated paragraph are opinions and otherwise fully-provable facts. It is interesting that I requested attacks on others be directly messaged to me, and he used that opportunity not to attack that of whom he had previously been, but are now attacking me once again. He also seems to believe this is a grudge against him - petty thinking and a little narcissistic, to think others care about you that much.
Gohan6425 attempted to continue his attack on Knives in the comments, which the comment I have removed at first sighting. The other content in the long comment was about other artists doing 'renders' and their work possibly being art theft. While I make no comment on anything outside the immediate situation, may I warn everyone that copyright is an incredibly difficult thing to judge, and that the only person that has the right to do anything actively about art theft is the original artist. If you believe someone is committing art theft, notify the original artist instead of taking matters into your own hands, or seek someone with authority, like the actual site admins of DeviantArt.
SlimPickensUK has expressed his willingness to administrate and maintain the group RWBYAwesomness, and I am glad that this is one positive change that has occurred today. It has also occurred that there may have been a lack of suitable information to have any action be taken in the past, leading to misunderstandings. Hopefully that does not happen again.
Okay - here goes nothing.
Recently, there's been a ton of drama going around targeting specific artists, deviants, and groups. I promised myself to let this sort of stuff blow past, but it's getting ridiculous. Being probably the one that is caught in the middle and also capable of purely objective perspectives, I think I want to make this thing end as quickly as possible so we, as a community, do not have to deal with this any more.
For those of you who do NOT know what is going on, the following will suffice as a brief summary - however, you are advised to stop reading if you don't want to get into the politics of art and DeviantArt.
It came to my attention that knives4cash is strongly accusing Gohan6425 of art thievery. It also appears that Gohan has created the puppet account YangXiaoLong3, although this cannot be confirmed exactly without entering legally gray areas. Gohan proceeded, using the Yang account, to create two groups: RWBYFans (which no longer exists) and RWBYGreatest, in an ongoing campaign to clear their name. The groups RWBY and RWBYAwesomness are also involved indirectly with this. Please note I have tagged all parties that should take note of this seriously.
Allow me, then, as a neutral party, to cast my judgement of the entire scenario. In no particular order, these are my statements about each facet.
knives4cash , your current actions are akin to a social justice warrior gone out of hand. Requesting a group remove artwork that you believe to be art theft is a righteous thing to do. Continuing to message the group, singling out admins and members and engaging them goes a step too far, especially since you are not directly involved with that group. To personally request me to remove my artwork because of your accusations is near outrageous, but I am one to respect the group you overtook and so I complied. Know that I am in no way supporting your attacks. Taking matters into your own hands, going to Yang, Gohan, and other deviant's accounts to leave messages is inappropriate, despicable, and wholly unnecessary. You are not better than anyone else, and being the administrator to a group does not give you the immediate ranking to pull over others outside your group. You may attempt to contact the proper website administrators, but vigilantism is destructive to the community. This is not the first time your behavior has caused an argument between us, as I feel one coming up right now. You simply cannot force your own judgments down others' throats.
Gohan6425, while I personally do not consider your work a blatant breach of copyright, your defense is in no way adequate. Your uploaded pieces are very simply mashups; you've taken other artists' work and put them together, while not contributing much effort yourself. Credit given or not, this is not a morally straight road. This is a petty thing to do, and while I do not agree with the amount of attention that has been given to you, your work is more suitable for a site like tumblr or other social media sites than a strictly art-production site like DeviantArt. Take, for example, the many artists that re-draw other deviants' work. While they copy it, they are also spending a lot of effort in creating the work, and learning from it. I cannot say the same for your work. I suggest revisiting your goals for using DeviantArt, and looking for a better place to host your work. Also, you have been actively disagreeing with Knives everywhere, and have also begun to stretch too far. Your desperation is unwarranted, because you have a serious grounds for reporting Knives for harassment - use this to your advantage instead.
YangXiaoLong3, again, I do not know if this account is a puppet or a true separate account, but know that it has not helped the situation at all. The fact that two groups have been created under this name, and are likely both to disappear soon, and that the purpose of these groups is only to retort against Knives, causes me to advise that this account be shut down immediately, and all groups also shut down.
RWBY, while as a group may administrate the work submitted to your group and also request work be submitted, have no jurisdiction outside of your circle. You may sever connections with other groups, but to attempt to enforce your own rules on other groups is degrading to the members you represent.
RWBYAwesomness, it has been brought to my attention that your administration acts slowly and without engagement. In order to maintain a well-oiled group, this must change.
That will be all that I have to write for now. Many facts are still unclear, but I hope that both sides, knives4cash and Gohan6425, can retract their blades and allow this series of unfortunate events and arguments to pass over.
Do not, I repeat, DO NOT comment on my journal with attacks on ANYONE other than yourself, if you feel the need to respond at all. If you MUST speak poorly of others, do it privately instead. You may Note me directly, but if you do, I warn you now: I will not be as reserved as I have been, and I will share a piece of my mind with you regardless of whether you care.
Living Record of Oracle G-9-6 Designation B-ten, Tarikun
Main story by 042lej (currently unreleased)
While there are many moments from the time I first learned of Mindewyn till now that I had the opportunity to speak with her at length, a few conversations remain well-seated in my memory. We never spoke of simple matters, and while I think a good amount of that can be attributed to the fact that she is often quite confused when it comes to the things I say, I like to think that she and I have a mutual understanding that the pursuit of knowledge is more important than idle chatter.
Take, for instance, the first real conversations I had with her.
She was fresh out of her world, stepping foot into this strange and wonderful place, and Jayden was still running around like a headless goose. I mean, he was certainly in a lot of hot water at the time, but that’s no reason to ditch your newfound girlfriend. I was then given the task of humanizing us – telling her stories of each of our adventures, our histories, and most of all, the friendship that binds all of us together.
Of course, I’m not taking credit for her relatively quick adjustment to life on Altera. Sephiya does wonders, and Anori – well, she has her good side, too. But it certainly isn’t out of the question that we share a unique bond; I am the one to go to for recollections of our pasts, simply because I am the one that sees it all.
I am an Oracle, you know. In the battlefield, I am the one that watches everyone, guides them to victory, and greets them without breaking a sweat when they return. Not an effort is imparted on my side during combat, so I have time to listen, to watch, and to remember. Some of the newer Travelers and trainees look upon me with distaste – they think I don’t notice, but it’s only natural when you’ve spent the last few years watching everybody. One of these days, they will learn the importance of having an Oracle on your side; a monstrous beast waiting to pounce or the collapse of a building sometime in the future will shake them up enough to never trust diving without one.
I’m going off on a tangent, though. I wanted to talk about a conversation that Mindi and I shared, along with Anori, Sephiya, and Jayden. It all started with a very simple question:
“Tarikun, what’s a glik exactly?”
I look up from my riceball in surprise. “A gleek? Like, an accidental discharge of spit when you open your mouth? Where’d you hear that?”
Mindi gestures her hand furiously to dispel that thought, a movement likely from superstitions from her home planet. “No, glitk – g-l-i-t-h-c?”
Sephiya sets a small tray of candies and jellies onto the table between us. “You mean a ‘glitch’, right? Did you see that come up in one of your books?”
She nods, and looks back at me expectantly. Even Anori, who had been daydreaming about something, redirects her attention. “Yeah – I’m not that sure what a Glitch is, either. All I know is that you and stupid-face over there talk about them all the time.”
Stupid-face was lying on a couch on the other side of Sephiya’s room at the time, and a well-thrown pillow smacks the bad-mouther square in the face with a resounding fwoomph. “It’s basically what happens when too many console commands have been used, or when a certain energy level exceeds what that particular area is capable of supporting – something like that.”
I finish the last few specks of sticky starch on my fingers, and wave my finger around in a conical fashion for dramatic effect. “That’s the general explanation, and for you, Mindi, it should be adequate to say it’s a very bad thing to ever have happen.”
Pillow-face proceeds to poke me with the pillow while grabbing at more snacks with her other hand. “Well then, mister genius Oracle, why don’t you tell us the real explanation?”
Sephiya joins in as well, settling down next to Mindi with a cup of freshly-brewed tea. “It’s been a while since I’ve done any reading on them, too, and it’s always such a joy hearing you lecture,” she says with a cheeky smile. She knows that her charm doesn’t quite work on me – what affects me most is her rage, and otherwise negative emotions. “Enlighten us!”
“Jayden, wanna come over and help me out with this?”
“You did this to yourself,” he huffs. “And I’m too tired to think right now.” He remains lying down, arm over his forehead to shield his eyes from the lights.
Very well, then. I rub my hands together as I prepare my impromptu lesson on Glitches – a topic that I have done quite a lot of personal research on.
“In order to understand what a Glitch could actually be, we have to first understand what our entire universe is.”
“Universe?” Mindi pipes up.
“Altera, Phelaia, every single world we know of that can be visited by us – they inhabit these huge structures in the sky known as ‘galaxies’. Billions and billions of stars, each with a handful of planets, each capable of holding a world with life. The ‘universe’ contains billions and billions of these galaxies. We are merely a speck-”
“Enough philosophical musings – get on with it,” pushes Anori, which elicits a light flick on the forehead from Sephiya.
“Moving along. Our universe is this incredibly massive but sparse collection of things. In a way, we can think of everything as information, too. For example,” I point to a painting that I know is hanging on the wall behind me, “without looking, I know that painting exists. Even without physical evidence, without touching it, I know it is there. If we then consider that some extremely large memory storage is the thing that remembers where everything is, we could extend the thought to say that nothing really exists around us. Instead, the universe is simply a memory somewhere.”
Mindi looks like her head is literally spinning already, so I give her a chance to digest the abstractions. In the meantime, I reach for a jelly tart colored light cyan from the tray – a concoction made with a special powder and water, sweet and moist to the mouth and cool but dry to the touch. I notice Anori has eaten about five of them already, and a slight smile can’t help but form.
I snap back to reality upon realizing that both Sephiya and Jayden are grinning at me slyly, their gazes boring a hole through the side of my head. Mindi, on the other hand, is starting to return to a state of awareness, so I continue with a slightly redder face.
“S-so. Ahem. Considering that we are a memory, or to be precise, a thought that is being held at the exact moment, something must also be accounting for everything we do. If I lift my arm, if Jayden dives, something must be keeping track of that.
“The theory then continues to say that after this long of keeping track of the universe, which by all calculations are billions of years, if not longer, whatever is doing it does this very well in general. For example, take the mental prowess of Jayden. Oi!” I direct at him, and he turns to look at me. “Mental chess. Where did we leave off, last time?” At the same time, I pull up the same game on my slate, which we use to keep track of pieces in case either of us make a mistake.
Jayden proceeds to rattle off every piece on the field, including their primary and secondary orientations – altogether, forty-nine pieces on the grid. Sephiya and Mindi studied the board as he listed each entry, nodding with each piece. Mindi ends up lightly applauding his efforts, and the grins are now directed at his angry blushing.
“Now, look. If I was to ask Jayden to consider the next three levels of moves, he would have a little more difficulty doing it, but I’m certain he would eventually be able to plot those out as well. It simply takes time – we have to wait.
“The universe, on the other hand, cannot wait. Too many things depend on the precision of time to wait, so everything must occur exactly as intended, exactly on time. Whatever is keeping track of us faces this problem. I, for example, won’t ever cross paths with trillions of planets in my lifetime. The mind knows this, so it doesn’t need to care about it.
“Jayden, like we demonstrated just now, can recall a lot of information and play a game relatively quickly. But now imagine if as he plays, the pieces start yelling at him to do things and he has to obey them.”
Mindi giggles slightly at the thought of the castle-wall pieces growing mouths and speaking, whereas Anori seems to have completely tuned out already. Sephiya is still listening intently, although she allows a small smile to break through.
“All of a sudden, Jayden has to keep track of a lot more things going on, and these are things that don’t normally make sense. The wall can only move once every five turns and can only move one space, yet it keeps screaming to jump two spaces. The huntsmen ask for lightning to strike – something that isn’t even in the game. This keeps happening, over and over, in a very specific place – this chessboard.”
“Sheighst,” comes the cry from across the room. “I’m not even playing and it sounds annoying.”
“Exactly. Somewhere along the line, Jayden will lose track of what is happening, and a mistake will happen. The orientations might get mixed up, pieces disappear, reappear, float, disintegrate, and so on. Some requests take a while to happen, others do completely different things.
“That, in essence, is what a Glitch really is. Rather, what it could be. It’s an unproven theory, but then again, it is quite impossible to prove that because of various logical fallacies- I’ve lost you again, haven’t I?” I ask Mindi.
She shakes her head slowly, but her furrowed brows are nodding furiously. This might be harder than I thought. Luckily, Sephiya chimes in to help explain.
“Mindi, you had a bazaar or something of the sort, where you came from, didn’t you?”
“Yes. I went there often.”
“Imagine hundreds of people, each shouting for you to give them one of a thousand different types of vegetables cooked in one of three ways.” Mindi’s eyes glazed over as she pictured the hordes and screams. “Maybe you would get some of their orders right, but you’d mess up, right?”
“Ah, I see. So this god that is remembering everything is listening to all of us and making mistakes?”
I nod approvingly, and she seems delighted that she finally understood. “Of course, that god doesn’t listen to all of us. You need to know how to speak to them, and the way we know of today are the console commands. By asking the console, or the god, to perform a command, or task, we give them something extra to do and consider.”
Anori snaps back to attention, surprisingly. “Then what about Glitches forming in places with high activity? Even if we don’t use console commands, there’s a definite increase in the instability of that area, right?”
“Yup. That’s because we are being sent there through some archaic console commands as well, and as long as that is in effect, we are still affecting the mind and memory of this omnipotent being. In addition, the more people gathered and the more chaotic an area becomes, the more difficult to keep track of it.”
The lecture ends there, at a rather unimpressive point. The room stews in silence as the Travelers consider the weight of the new information they have just heard.
“Of course, all of this is theoretical, like I said. It may be completely wrong.”
Silence, except for the occasional sound of chewing. Mindi seems content about her understanding, and is happily enjoying her orange jelly cup. A satisfied pupil? How nice, for a change.
Mindi is much brighter than you’d think. The fact that she was able to keep up relatively well with the entire lecture was surprising to me, especially since I have a sort of track record of being a poor explainer of topics such as this. One day, she will be the one to teach Jayden, not I. I can only wish that he finds peace with himself, and finally allows himself a proper companion for the ages. Not that it isn’t fun to poke fun at his inability to be normal; in fact, I think even Mindi enjoys it.
She’s quite the interesting character.
The chicken preparation was mostly simple, just a bit of chopping of vegetables and stirring in seasonings. What I am keen on writing about are the things I changed up a little bit. First off, the recipe called for "crispy rice" which meant cooking it, then baking it, then re-mixing it. Reading through the recipe card, I felt that was a lot of work for a little bit of extra texture that didn't matter anyways, so I forwent that step and opted to simply fry the rice a little bit instead. That did not go exactly as planned, since the pan I was using was far too small to toss the rice properly, so it ended up a little mushy instead. It wasn't porridge, so that's good, but it could have been a little more fluffy.
Flavor-wise, it was delicious. I am a huge fan of turmeric, so the rich flavors were welcome. My cutting board got a little stained but that will wash out in time.
Then, for dinner, I decided to cook something using the leftovers from the Steaks recipe. My plan was to fry/roast the potato fingers, steam the rice with the asparagus to kill two birds with one stone, and then sear up a nice hunk of meat.
The result was satisfactory, but not great. I left the potatoes standing for just a minute too long and they ended up charring rather badly (but not super burnt - the taste was relatively unaffected). The rice, once again, was a little watery because I ended up adding extra water to help steam the asparagus. The meat came out well-done (as intended, I wanted some toughness). Overall, it was nice knowing that I could pull stuff together. Learned a few things as well about timing, which my mother is always poking me about when imparting knowledge on work in the kitchen. My sense of flavoring/seasoning is improving as well; I didn't need to add extra salt or pepper nearly as many times as before.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the last entry for this box of Blue Apron. I've set up my schedule to skip every other week seeing as I won't have time to cook while I have classes to attend - so more will come in another week! In the meantime, I'll see if I get confident enough to buy my own groceries and make up my own recipes.
Thanks for readin'! We'll see you after the break.
This particular time, I did not cut myself in any way - the pain came mostly from little specks of oil flying out when frying the fish. I timed everything much better this time, although it certainly helped that the main dish was the curry, so I could let that sit and simmer for a long time while I waited for the fish to fry. My pan was too small to fry both fishes at the same time (the fillets were quite generous) so it took some time.
I realized as well I don't have a peeler, so I had to 'peel' the carrots by carefully running my knife along the length of the carrot. It works, but I may have also cut off more than I intended. I'm starting to feel that I need an actual kitchen knife as well - the puny thing I have is probably more suited towards cutting fruit and the like. I also didn't have a can opener for the coconut milk, so I had to carefully stab the can several times to get the fluids out.
In the end, the fishes fried beautifully, the curry was flavorful (but not spicy enough for my tastes - curse you, Asian tongue) and I cooked up an extra bowl of rice (also gifted by my cousin) to go along with curry. Because let's be honest - you can't enjoy curry without either rice or bread.
All in all, today turned out much better than yesterday's cooking time. I wasn't as rushed, the food tasted better, and I'm more satisfied.
Armed with a small selection of pots and pans and a very inadequate knife, here is a recollection of everything that happened.
First off, I had to do two biking rounds in order to get everything I needed. The first was to my cousin's apartment where she gifted me some of her extra and unused pots and pans. I returned to my apartment in anticipation of starting, but realized quickly that I also needed salt, pepper, and olive oil. I furiously biked (uphill!) again towards my marketplace, and got the needed ingredients.
Hands trembling slightly from exhaustion, I prepared the ingredients. The provided servings were for a party of two, so I divided everything in half except the meat, which was packaged in a single bag so I had to cook them both - which I allowed myself, seeing as my sore legs demanded some sort of prize. The chopping was fine - halving and quartering was no problem with my knife. But then it asked for me to finely chop and smash the garlic and chop parsley, which was an impossibility given that my knife was not a chef's knife. The blade width is maybe an inch. I gave up and used a fork to squish the garlic instead, and did my best with the parsley.
The potatoes went in the oven no problem, and the meat seared nicely. As I waited, I noticed my finger hurt - turns out I had cut myself at some point, but there was no blood nor any indication as to when I had made the mistake. All I know is there's a light, stinging cut on the inside of my left index finger, about an inch long. I grabbed a quick bandage (I knew it might happen so I had some out and ready) and continued to cook.
After that, I came rather close to burning my veggies while they sat in a pan (but I rescued it and they turned out crispy and delicious). The potatoes came out of the oven golden and nicely browned, with a little bit of crisp. The sirloins were just slightly undercooked - I was aiming for medium, and they came out perfectly medium-rare. The inability of my knife to smash garlic left the salsa verde with much to be desired, but the capers were lovely.
In the end, the dish was good but I also learned some things;
1. Timing. I left the sirloin 'resting' for a little too long so they cooled more than I'd like. Next time I probably should keep them near the heat, and also be reading ahead of the recipe more.
2. Extra bowls. I didn't have extra bowls to hold prepared ingredients, so I had to shuffle things around a lot, which definitely contributed to the slower times.
Some things that I was trying to do and ended up working;
1. Heat control. Knowing I was slowing down, I turned the heat down significantly for both the oven and the stove to not overcook. That ended up working well, although I still had some close calls.
2. Searing. I turned the steaks on their side to seal up the edges, and they turned out beautifully. Tinges of brown on the top and bottom, but overall looking solidly cooked.
Watching Adam Savage prepare steaks on his Youtube channel Tested helped with judging the timing, so I was able to come out not overcooked (I don't like well-done), and videos of Gordon Ramsay cooking served as inspiration. I highly recommend the Tested videos on cooking.
Next time: Catfish!
Sakurada Reset violates the second. The animation quality is slightly sub-par for me, with a lack of exciting action and an overabundance of chatter. The characters may appear slightly dis-proportioned, and their designs and appearances aren't particularly stunning. The premise is cliched and common, and the character tropes are old and simple. In general, there is nothing about this anime that should have appealed to me. Having said all that, it is likely one of my favorite animes for this season.
Slightly spoilerish territory incoming.
The premise is that members of a small town known as Sakurada have special abilities. I believe it was said that everyone here had some power, although it appears only select few do. Our main character has the power of constant and unremovable memory; his sidekick has the power to reset the world to any point in the previous three days in which she has consciously saved. Various other characters, including one who can negate an effect, one who can replace memories, one who can broadcast messages into the future, and so on, are tied into a story about trying to solve certain mysteries while being a part of the Bureau, a management system of these powers. I won't go too far into plot, since like I mentioned before, the plot is not outstanding in any way.
Instead, I want to talk about our main character, Asai Kei. He is what I would call a god-character. It is quite apparent that he is the self-insert of the original author, who longed for some special ability and wrote themselves having one. (Either that, or the author is female and wrote herself as the sidekick, Haruki Misora - either way, it is a self-insert of the most obvious sort).
A series I have read many times is Asimov's Foundation series, where a man is dedicated to discovering and refining the science of predicting the future. The science is known as psychohistory, where knowledge of the past, the current social movements, and the inertia of the masses can help plot the path of humanity. Again, not going to go into details, but that's the gist of it.
Kei appears to hold this sort of ability to a incredibly fine level. In that sense, he is able to predict exactly what certain people will do under very exacting circumstances, and act upon those guesses. During every altercation, he is not one but five steps ahead of his opponents, as he takes advantage of the reset ability of Haruki to prepare certain moves later in the game. Most characters like Kei are unbearable, unrelateable, and thoroughly unlikable simply because they are god-characters. They have no flaw, they are never at a loss, they never fear, they are not defeatable from any direction. In a sense, they defeat the purpose of having a story about them written at all.
For some reason, by some weird twist, Kei is none of these things. While impossible to defeat, as it appears so far, he also maintains certain common tropes like clueless boy-friend and physically average-skilled. There are moments he brings in a touch of standard comedy and romantic tragedy, and times when he acts like a slice-of-life character. These traits lend him the benefit of being a curiosity, as we never know exactly what to expect. Of course, in every 'battle' scene, the flow returns to "of course he knew that would happen, of course he would set that up," but it maintains a strong enough surprise factor that the audience is also caught off-guard. In a sense, the audience has the point of view of the adversaries, rather than the hero - which provides an interesting and rather engaging point of view.
Having sung praises, I must follow with critique. Like mentioned before, the plot is uninteresting at best. As a pre-defined god-character, there are no burdens that we share with Kei, and so he becomes more distant to us than necessary. His victories don't feel impactful, simply because there was no struggle. His foes end up siding with him, almost immediately after losing, and he always offers the compassionate hand out towards them. The story revolves centrally around the two perfect-match characters, which gives it one strong but shaky support; one inconsistency and it all falls apart. The story is like a jigsaw puzzle - all pieces must be perfectly aligned, or it won't fit. To further that point, it could be described that every character is specifically written to play a very specific part, and thrown aside when not needed. Various arcs involve certain people, and never does a character appear where they may be less-than-useful. This isn't particularly bad - it's certainly efficient - but it diminishes the sense of accomplishment. One highly intelligent student solving a problem is not as impressive as four sub-par students figuring it out together, even if they end up at an incorrect solution.
Honestly, I'm pretty confused myself about Sakurada Reset. There are funnier, brutal-er, lighter-hearted anime out there, and in comparison to the other series I follow today, Sakurada is a dull stone among diamonds. Yet, somehow, it entertains me and I find myself eagerly waiting for the next episode. Any normal anime with a description I have given above would have been abandoned by episode 2, yet here we are.
If you've bothered to read all this, and you haven't watched the series, give it a shot. Maybe you can identify what I cannot. In any case, I will recommend it simply because I like it for no apparent reason.
Bad everything but somehow gets the job done well. Individually dis-likable but put together, the traits are engaging.