So I sent the photos of our haul at the foodtruck festival to my parents, and they were making appreciative noises at how good the food looked. So I checked their agenda, and I saw that the same festival was taking place in Eindhoven, near my parents, this weekend. So we invited them to check it out!
This Sunday was (and had been predicted to be) very hot: more than 30 degrees, and it would be held on an open field — so we were doubtful if we’d be comfortable enough. We decided to go anyway, and if one of us wanted to go, we’d just pack up and leave right away. We also went early on the day: the festival opened at 14:00 on Sunday, and we were there at 15:00. There was ample space, and we even managed to find a table and some (rickety) chairs with a little corner of shade — and as the sun rotated, all of us ended up sitting in the shade!
We started out with a tour of the site, to see what was on offer. About 50% of the trucks were also at the festival in Nijmegen, so there were some new options for us too.

My parents started out by sharing a ‘hotdog’ from the chorizo place where I got my starting hotdog in Nijmegen too — but they went for the less spicy option!

We started out by sharing a rendang sandwich. The bread was lightly toasted, which added a really nice crunch to the Indonesian beef stew.

Next round, we got duck confit on a hamburger bun. On the left the blue cheese variant (for my dad) and to the right the goat’s cheese variant that me and klik shared. We had this last year, and it was still as good as we remembered.

Meanwhile, my mom had been to the same Indonesian place to get a taster plate. She got extra because she got her food late because of a screw-up on their side. When I was there, I too noticed that they didn’t have their ordering process in order… But the food was very good — but since it was a large plate, my mom didn’t get to eat a lot after all that, even though we shared, and we didn’t touch the rice!

Me and klik shared a ‘crispy sushi’ roll. Came with a packet of wasabi paste and a pipette of soy sauce. The sushi itself was very mediocre, but the crunchy layer added a nice touch to it.

After sitting around for a bit, watching the people and having a few drinks, I went to get a serving of Thai-style satay. The meat was so tender! Really delicious, and I appreciated the pickles after all that bread and meat…

By then we were quite full, but we did get a portion of churros with caramel sauce to share!

We were back at their house at 17:30, and enjoyed coffee and tea before heading back home. Everyone had a great time, and it definitely wasn’t too hot. We’ll take them again next year — and next weekend, we’re taking klik’s mother to a foodtruck festival near her! I had to promise my mom to send photos of the things we eat there!

If you think about it, Raiders of the Lost Ark is the most Buddhist movie ever. Of course, Indiana Jones has a lot of desires — the one that drives the movie is his desire to stop the Nazi’s from getting the Ark of the Covenant. And he does suffer because of his desires: he gets shot at, stomped, slapped and kicked — he takes a serious beating throughout the movie in his pursuit of this desire.
And yet, if he had done nothing, the end result would have been exactly the same: the Nazi’s would have opened the Ark and got their face-melting and head-exploding just rewards anyway. So if he would have learned to let go, he would have suffered a lot less, and things would have resolved themselves in the best possible way.

If that doesn’t tell us that desire begets suffering, I don’t know what does.

Yesterday, I installed Fire Emblem Heroes out of idle curiosity. I’ve never played a Fire Emblem game — I do know that they’re tactical RPGs, and I did see someone stream Awakenings. I’m not big on tactical RPGs, because I tend to do bad at them, but surely a little mobile game wouldn’t be so bad?
The backstory of the game is nuts: the idea is that someone is opening portals to the worlds of all the different worlds where the Fire Emblem games are set, and all those heroes are forced to fight, in order to invade ‘our’ world/kingdom. You assemble teams of 4 heroes, and a battle is indeed a tactical fight, similar to the games — except much smaller in scope because of the reduced team size and because the map has to fit on a cellphone screen!
There is a lot of artwork, which I assume is all recycled from the games: all very detailed and with lots of the usual anime aesthetic. The sprites are quite cute too!
You can get more heroes by summoning them, which costs ‘orbs’. You earn orbs by completing maps, but of course you can also buy orbs — and of course I’m not doing that, they’re quite expensive!

So far, I enjoy it for some low-blood pressure games. I’m not sure how long it will keep me occupied, but we’ll see.

If you play the game too, send a Friend Request to ID 2742473216. Not sure what that actually does, but I’m sure it’ll be fun.

Hacking Tachyon Squadron

I backed the Tachyon Squadron Kickstarter for 1 dollar, which gave me immediate access to the text-only version of the rules. It’s called “text-only”, but it is a fully laid-out PDF which looks gorgeous. There are empty spaces where the art will go, but other than that, it’s the complete game. A pretty good investment!
And it’s really good: lots of good systems to emulate dogfights in space, like we know from movies and TV series. I also note that in the list of inspirations Robotech is mentioned… The only drawback is that it uses the FATE Core system, which I like in principle but had not gotten to ‘work’ in my own campaigns. And looking at the play examples, the players are busier with the mechanical aspects than with the fiction. And it’s the fiction I’m interested in…

So maybe I could port those excellent systems to the narrative dice system that FFG uses in its Star Wars games? Or maybe the Apocalypse World Engine? The Star Wars games obviously already have space battles, so I might read up on those first.

Last year, we went to the ‘Trek’(*) foodtruck festival in the city and had a great time (and great food)! This weekend is this year’s edition, and we invited babarage to come with us. We still had the (branded) hard plastic ‘glasses’ they use for the drinks over from last year, so we simply swapped our glasses for new ones when I went to get drinks. Good to know that those glasses carry over from year to year.
We did a circuit of the grounds to take stock of what was on offer, and manage to score two little crates to sit on. We installed babarage there, and then we went on various foraging trips!

First course: I had a chorizo ‘hotdog’ (though much larger than a regular hotdog) which was delicious! The others had an asian tasting platter to share.

For the second course, we shared a grilled steak sandwich with the three of us. The people selling it warned me that someone with an allergy to nuts shouldn’t eat the sandwich, but babarage ate some of the steak pieces without any ill effect.

For the third course, we shared two steamed buns filled with grilled duck with hoisin sauce. Delicious!

Fourth course: a taster with pulled pork, pulled chicken, brisket and a miniscule amount of coleslaw…

Finished up with banana/caramel/sea salt pancakes![/spoiler]

So much food, and there was more delicious stuff that I would want to try, but by the end we were quite done with eating! We’ll be sure to come back next year.

Lillies

This year is the first time when one of the lillies in our pond is not producing any flowers. But the other one is making up for it by having four flowers! This is the first year it has more than one, too.

Descent

I’ve let the Dungeon World ‘campaign’ that we played with my university friends lapse, and it is now defunct, tossed and forgotten. We haven’t played with this group for more than a year now, I think. So when one of them sent out the call to play something together again, everyone was chomping at the bit. So yesterday, we went to visit him and we played Descent, a “board-RPG”. Everyone plays a character with their own attributes and class, and you get to choose a specialisation. So kitted out, you enter a scenario, consisting of a board layout (set with a grid for tactical movement), a ‘mission objective’ and several monsters that seek to keep you from fulfilling said objective.
Then there’s movement, attacking and special abilities, all the while keeping an eye on your fatigue and hitpoints, and of course you can combine your character’s abilities with those of your teammates to create spectacular chains of mayhem! Finishing a scenario yields XP, which you can use to get additional abilities. You can loot equipment caches and find gold, which you can use to buy equipment from a ‘store’ in between scenarios.
We had a lot of fun, and since the scenarios are linked into a campaign, it’s easy to just set up and go. So much fun to discuss who is going to do what, and how that would play into another character’s abilities.

My character, with its miniature. She’s an Elven Fighter, and I chose the Knight specialisation for her.


Our bard and our wizard tanking it up against a band of goblin archers. The wizard gives each monster within 3 squares a -1 on damage, and the bard stuns all the white monster miniatures (which are the ‘normal’ mobs) at the start of their turn, rendering them effectively incapable of attacking! We’ve made good use of these two abilities all throughout the game, sometimes to the frustration of the ‘overlord’, who manages the monsters!


A goblin archer luitenant having a very bad day, surrounded by three heroes and our Shadow!


End state of my character at the end of three scenarios. We will pick up where we left off next time!

The system itself is a toned-down version of Fantasy Flight Game’s Genesys system, which they also use for their Star Wars tabletop RPGs, with successes/damage and advantages/surges separate and determined by the roll of different types of dice together. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that one of the first expansions for their generic Genesys core book was Realms of Terrinoth, a sourcebook for the world of Descent — it’s a nice up-ramp towards full-fledged pen-and-paper RPGs. But it’s also a lot of fun in its own right!

“Fun” spaces

One thing that I noticed with most streamers with a large audience that I watch (mainly CohhCarnage, Sacriel and P4wnyhof) is that they have a rule to not engage with “politics” on their channel, because they want their stream to be a “fun space” that we can get away from all of the stuff that’s happening outside of our door. And I get that — you’re providing entertainment, you don’t want to set off a flame-war in your chat. And for professional streamers, your income is also dependent on the continued support from your community: every month, your subscribers can decide to take their support elsewhere. So you don’t want to be too controversial, I guess.
But refusing to talk about politics is a political stance in itself. It normalises (and therefore reinforces) the status quo. And that makes it automatically less inclusive, because the current state of things is far from balanced. That is extra problematic when you look at the streamer demographics: most are white males in their 30’s — a most privileged group. It makes sense: streaming equipment doesn’t come cheap, and you have to be in a place with a great internet connection too. And in the case of people trying to make it as a professional streamer, you also need a support network — you need time to grow your community, during which period you won’t earn any income off of it. Only people who are already nicely set up can do so.

So they’re all in their bubble of privilege, and if they are aware of the plight of others, they make a point of not making a point out of it — because it’s not “fun”. That reasoning is also used as a weapon to exclude others. “I don’t want gays in my entertainment, I’m just here to have fun, not to get all political!” is one of the things that were commented when Paizo introduced homosexual NPCs in some of their modules. In other words, this commenter doesn’t want non-heterosexual people to be in that space and enjoy the same things they enjoy. It’s used to exclude people, and if you want to discuss this (or even mention it), you are accused of bringing in “politics” into a “fun space” — it could even get you banned!
This is also how people who have suffered abuse are punished by bringing it up: they are harshing the mellow of the “fun space”! But if you have an abuser in your space, then that is the problem, not that someone is pointing it out. Alas, it seems that not everyone has realised that fact.
I’ve had a shitty white dude (somehow, the shitty people in this context are always white and always male) shout at me because, while he was ok with a world literally created by the dreams of dragons, having a female mayor for a farming village was somehow “unrealistic”. If you’re ok with fantasy but somehow not ok with gender equality, then realism is not the problem there…

When someone mentioned the repeal of the 8th amendment in Ireland, CohhCarnage told his audience that he definitely had an opinion, but that he was not going to share it on stream, because it is so “political”. And sure enough, abortion is of course a hot-button issue for a lot of people. Do you really want an 11.000-person flamewar in your chat?
On the other hand, he could have just answered the question that was posed to him. Because in his channel, he is in a position of power, and he had a chance to speak out to his viewers, and thereby move hearts and minds into the right direction. And he didn’t take that opportunity. None of those big-name streamers do.

That disappoints me. It really does. I think a position of privilege gives you the moral obligation to try and be more inclusive. It is certainly something I keep in mind when deciding who and how to support the streamers whose content I enjoy.

Now, don’t get me wrong: none of these streamers will tolerate bigotry on their channels. Racial slurs, homophobia and other things that bring other people down will get you banned in their channels. I’m not saying they are bad people — they are not. It’s just that they actively dodge the chance to make a positive difference.
Luckily, there are also streamers that are explicitly inclusive — but their audience is a lot smaller. Take for instance AdamKoebel: he is explicitly queer and advocates for minorities at every chance he gets. But he has 40.000 followers, and CohhCarnage 962.000… There is a definite difference in impact.

(OK, this has turned into more of a partially-coherent rant than I had intended, but this is all that I have to say at the moment.)

Rose knows best

I guess the rosebush in our front garden doesn’t need us to tell it how to grow. We haven’t done anything about it for all the years we live here — no trimming or cutting or anything. The rose knows best how to grow big.