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the Phantom Hourglass has eaten my life - helen-louise
the Phantom Hourglass has eaten my life
Argh. After using Happycow for over 5 years, I finally registered so that I could tell the American who was complaining about smoking inside Eat and Two Veg that if he went there after 1st July 2007 and there was smoking inside, the owners were breaking the law and he should report it. Then I got so obsessed with writing vegetarian restaurant reviews (which I almost typoed as "vegetable restaurant" reviews) that it got too late for us to go out for dinner :/ I have, however, finally found an Indian restaurant in London that explicitly says what on the menu is vegan, so I hope that I'll be able to avoid random poisoning by stealth dairy in the future.

It's funny how in some restaurant circumstances I'm able to be extremely outspoken about my dietary needs, but in others I can't be. In particular, there is some... mentality that I get into in South Asian places where I get intimidated. I think it's because they are always staffed entirely by men. I can't actually think of an "Indian" restaurant that I've been to that has any female staff at all. And I guess it pushes the part of my brain that is indoctrinated in South Asian culture. Which is particularly weird, because I'm famous for being feminist and refusing to obey indoctrination about A Woman's Place. Huh. This requires some poking.

Lately I have been not online much due to an extreme shortage of spoons. Still not really "over" the virus I had, but pretty sure this is post-viral exhaustion & snottiness due to asthma and pre-existing chronic fatigue problem, rather than still being ill with something infectious. Have been playing a whole load of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (on the DS). Apart from the fact you have to walk using the stylus (rather than the D-pad), its control system is totally intuitive. And I've been AMAZED to discover that it has a variable difficulty level built in. In the boss stages, if you die and hit Continue, the boss becomes visibly easier. There was some aspect of me getting better at it, but in addition the bosses slow down and don't attack as often, and you get more hearts to heal you as it happens. Which is something that Insomniac built right into the Ratchet and Clank games, and it's even in the Spyro games that weren't produced by them - but in general is very lacking from the video gaming experience. I like it.

You see, I love playing video games but am actually not very good at them. Any hand-eye co-ordination that exists in my body has been painfully trained in through years of being bad at video games. I can do puzzle-solving, no problem - I have a brain! But I have virtually no co-ordination, and SUCK at fighting. With most games, when it gets to a major fight sequence, I'm used to dying over and over and having to give the game to someone else to get past that part. For example, I never actually finished the Minish Cap, because I did the very final boss of the whole game something like 12 times on 3 separate occasions, and simply COULD NOT get past it, even doing exactly what the FAQ said I should do. (My problem in games is almost never figuring out what to do.) So it's really rather pleasant to find the game making itself easier for me so I don't have to give up.

Also, some of the dungeons in Phantom Hourglass have been tricky, but they've been almost entirely brain-taxing rather than physical ability-taxing. Again, this is unusual. I'm so used to sitting here looking at games going "well, I need to jump on this moving platform and then jump off just before it gets to the top so I get onto that other little ledge rather than falling down into the gaping chasm", and then spending half a freaking hour on that one part before luck strikes and I manage the timing. Whereas here, I've been having to draw all over the in-game map, and write myself notes, and deal with weird little hints. Even to do something as basic as open a chest, you might have to work out the timing of hitting the switch and getting through the spikes before the timer stops - but there will be a way to do it easily using one of your tools, and the brain part is in figuring out where to stand. I just did a part where you had to talk to 6 characters in the game and work out which of them was lying before you could unlock the next part of the plot. That rocked! There have been quite a lot of logic puzzles, and not too many incidents of me falling into gaping chasms.

So... yes. Will be back when spoons exist again and the game has stopped eating my life :)

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nou From: nou Date: 17th February 2008 01:10 (UTC) (Link)
Oh, we should have a chat about RGL some time! I'd thought you knew about it - sorry. julietk is our main vegan test case at the moment. I thoroughly recommend Kastoori for Indian veg food. Chai Pani sounds rather good; thanks for the recommendation.
baratron From: baratron Date: 19th February 2008 16:45 (UTC) (Link)
I knew about it, but thought it extended only as far as pubs and steak - things I'm not overly interested in.

Chai Pani appears to be dead. We went there on Sunday (braving the non-existent trains), and it was clearly not open. What we couldn't work out from the outside was whether it was permanently or temporarily dead. The information outside the restaurant and on the web site both suggested it should have been open on a Sunday at that time. It may be they no longer open on Sundays for some reason, it may be that the restaurant is closed for owners' holidays or the Pakistani election, or it may be that the restaurant no longer exists. All the tables & chairs still seemed to be inside, though.

So then we had to run across London to get to Drummond Street before all the restaurants there stopped serving. Diwani and Ravi Shankar were rude to us, as ever, but Chutney's gave us very nice food which didn't make me ill. I was impressed by how un-greasy and tasty the food from Chutney's was considering that a) it was buffet food and b) it had already sat on the buffet for several hours by this point. I love spice but don't like heat, and too many "Indian" restaurants go for the British way of making curry with TOO MUCH HOTNESS and NO ACTUAL FLAVOUR. I prefer lots of taste and no burning sensations.
nou From: nou Date: 19th February 2008 18:04 (UTC) (Link)
I knew about it, but thought it extended only as far as pubs and steak - things I'm not overly interested in.

Yep, that's how it started out, but it's not actually limited to that any more (in fact our steak coverage has completely failed to keep up with everything else; I think we have more about yarn than about steak right now). We've got about 30 vegan-friendly places listed at the moment, and one of my projects is to improve that - I want to go and visit every totally-vegan place I know of in London, and hunt out any extra ones I don't know of. I'm not sure when it's going to reach the top of my priority list, but I hope it'll be some time this year.

(The last major project was the photo-adding one, which was a great success. I'm currently concentrating on improving our coverage of the areas of London that don't normally get written about - we've just finished a bit of a blitz on Brockley, and I'm visiting Sydenham tomorrow and Ilford on Friday.)

Chai Pani appears to be dead. We went there on Sunday (braving the non-existent trains), and it was clearly not open. What we couldn't work out from the outside was whether it was permanently or temporarily dead.

Oh, how annoying. I hate it when that happens. (Actually, I'll be in its vicinity on Thursday afternoon - will walk past and see if I can glean any clues.)

I prefer lots of taste and no burning sensations.

I'm with you on that, though sometimes I like the burning sensation too. It's just good to have a choice.
aquaeri From: aquaeri Date: 17th February 2008 02:20 (UTC) (Link)
I might have to look for Z:PH, sounds like it might be my kind of game.
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