Underneath my yellow skin

The desultory approach to my life

it's ya boi, straid!
Straid, my mentor in evil and Pyromancy!

I’ve been out of sorts since I’ve finished Spiritfarer. I’ve played a bit of Dark Souls III, and I always forget just how fragile you are at the beginning. It’s because I spend so much time beefing up so that by the time I’m in the end game, I’m pretty solid. Having so little Estus is not fun at all. By the way, that’s one thing DS III has taken from DS II that I do not appreciate–having to find Estus Shards in order to increase the number of sips from the Estus Flask. I much prefer Dark Souls in which you have five Estus unless there’s a Fire Keeper–then you have ten. You can get the Rite of Kindling from the Catacombs to have the ability to increase your Estus to 20 per kindled bonfire.

I will say that DS II had an interesting take on healing. You had to find the Estus Shards to increase your Estus Flask, but there are also Life Gems of varying size. They are consumables, and they take forever to heal you. But, they also break the game because pretty soon in the game, you can buy unlimited amounts of Life Gems. It reached the point where I carried 99 (the max) Life Gems with me and would use them between bonfires. I saved my Estus Flask for the boss fights, and it broke the game. Did I feel shame? No. It’s in the game. did I feel it took away some of the pressing danger? Yes. But, this game is brutally hard in places,  especially the Scholar of the First Sin edition; I took whatever advantage I could get. Did I consider not doing it? No.

My niece is playing Dark Souls II as a pure mage. She showed me a pic, and she has enough intelligence (50) to use the best staff, the Staff of Wisdom. It’s Straid’s weapon, and he’s my best boy. He’s one of my fave NPCs of the game, and it’s really irritating that I have to use a Forbidden Branch of Yore to free him. They’re plentiful later in the game, but at the point when I meet him, it’s a choice between him and the other Pyromancy trainer. I don’t like her as much, but she has the basics that I need.

I’m watching a playthrough of DS II as well, and I kinda want to play it now. I have a game started in which I’m roughly two-thirds done, not including the DLC. The thing is, though, I have no desire to do the plat, but I know that if I play it again, I’ll get sucked into doing the plat. The plat for Spiritfarer was relatively easy because I was so thorough while playing, I only had to do a little bit at the end to clean things up. I was able to do it in one playthrough with a bit of fudging (had to use a prior autosave in order to get both answers to a question I was asked), which is not a possibility for any of the Souls games.

If I did do a not-plat run of Dark Souls II, however, I would have to do at least NG++, and I would have to dig out the old lappy to finish up a few of the achievements on old games. Actually, I already dug up the old laptop and installed DS II, so it’s ready to go. I just don’t know if I want to go through the grind. I’m still recovering from the DS III not-plat run, and I don’t want to do another if it totally kills my love for the games.

Let’s talk eggs. They are so delicious. They are not helping my cutting down on meat thing because my reason is ethical. I’m only buying cage-free eggs, though, so that makes me feel slightly better. What I like about them besides the deliciousness is that they’re so easy to cook. I either fry ’em up (one egg at a time) or make an omelet (with two). Then, I throw them on a sandwich/burger or noodles or in a rice bowl, and it’s delicious.

I’m really happy that I’ve taken the plunge in order to cook more than I used to–which was none at all. I’ve chosen really simple recipes (that I’ve made up) to start with, and they’ve been mostly successful. Variants on spaghetti, all kinds of ‘burgers’ (with fake meat), hot dogs, and eggs. The one thing that has freed me up is the thought that I can do whatever I want. I don’t need no stinking recipes! So, for example, on my burgers, I use an everything (GF) bagel with vegan butter and lactose-free cream cheese slathered on. Then, a slice of DF cheddar cheese on one half before nuking that for a minute. I fry up the burger, adding pepper at the end. I put that on one half, add whatever–spinach, harissa, bread and butter pickles–slap the other half on top, cut it in half, and there you have it. It takes maybe ten minutes total including cleaning up.

The only failure I’ve had so far is meatballs, and it’s because there’s more to making them than I had realized. It’s funny because the same ‘beef’ that makes great burgers does not work well for meatballs, and I’ve decided to forget about that for the time being. Oh! Another thing I’ve learned is that condiments make a huge difference. Sweet relish on a hot dog is the perfect addition, for example.

I might try fried rice next with eggs and the fake beef. And sliced up carrots. There are so many possibilities! All of them with eggs, of course, as they are my current go-to for protein and deliciousness. I still want to try shaksh(o)uka which is eggs in tomato sauce, basically. A Moroccan stew that looks delicious. More importantly, seems like it’s easy to make. Oh, and a bunch of spices.

Spinning to weapons, my teacher is going to drop off the Deer-Horn Knives next week and then show me the walking meditation. It’s been a hot second since I did it, so I’ll be happy to go over it again. I’m excited as fuck, and I can’t wait to learn it. This is something about myself that I’m constantly marveling over–my love for bladed weapons. It came literally out of nowhere, and now, it’s something that I consider a basic fact about myself. It surprises other people, which I understand, but it’s just a part of me.

I’m so stoked about graduating from the Sabre Form. I’ve realized, however, that in focusing on the sixth row, I forgot the fifth row. I did the whole form yesterday, and I couldn’t recall it to my mind. I’d practiced each of the first four rows so much, but not the fifth. In some ways, it’s a simple row, but that’s the issue. I tend to shut down my brain when I think something’s easy, which is why I had a difficult time teaching myself the easiest movement in the Sword Form on the left side. I did finally remember the fifth row, but it shouldn’t have taken me so long. For now, I’m going to practice from the last movement in the fourth row to the end as my daily practice.

I really want to learn the Double Sabre after seeing it at the demo. I don’t think it’ll be easy for my teacher to teach it to me on Zoom, though. It takes a lot more space than one saber, and there’s a lot of spinning. I want to be a human blender! I’m willing to wait, however, as there are so many other weapon forms that I can learn. Teach them all to me!

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