If I’m not getting my life back, y’all are coming down with me

Oh dear, I’ve been sucked back into Shandalar.

Let me explain. Shandalar is a Magic the Gathering video game from 1997. MtG has had many other video game properties since 1997. Battlegrounds was weird, real time stuff. Didn’t work. Duels of the Planeswalkers (later known as Magic: Duels) was okay, just straight games with a story mode and deck builder. Sometimes neat little bonuses. Then that got discontinued. Magic Arena has been amazing. It’s like a streamlined version of Magic Online. It’s colourful with cool effects. The UI is mostly pretty well done. It’s free to play with in game currency. They’re hunting for their white whales, and the rest of us plebs provide a player base for them to battle. It’s a working eco-system and a pretty huge deal for the future of Magic. I’ve spent innumerable hours in the past year on this game. I love it to bits. It’s not Shandalar.

Shandalar is my forever mistress. It’s hard to escape, because it’s so fucking fun. For people who haven’t played before, I figure I might give some tips. First of all, if you want to play on Windows 10, here’s a really good tutorial from streamer Gaby Spartz. It’s an old game, there’s some finagling required. Okay, the gist of Shandalar is that it’s a MtG based RPG. You wander around a world map battling cronies of evil wizards, building your deck up over time. Eventually you battle the wizards and save the land. Sometimes you’ll find dungeons, which have old cards very few of us get to play in real life. Black Lotus, Ancestral Recall, etc. The game also features an ante system, which means you can lose your precious cards, or steal cards from opponents. The ante system, while heartbreaking in real life (and thus has been expunged from paper magic) actually makes the game really fucking exciting. You’ve got skin in the game, and you’ll feel super shitty losing a Mox Sapphire to some dork on a horse.

With that out of the way, here are some tips for the game:

  • Money. Money is a thing in this game. It helps you buy cards in towns, or from vendors. You can use it to buy food, which helps you keep a good speed walking around the map. Money is important.
  • Towns have different economies based on their size. It’s a good principle to buy cards you want from smaller towns. Or if something’s a good card in a small town, you might be able to flip it for more money at a larger town. Buy your food from small towns if you can.
  • Liquidate everything you’re not gonna use, and try to sell your more expensive cards at big cities. You’ll get a lot more for them.
  • Once you can consistently beat enemies, they’re a great source of revenue. Sometimes you’ll randomly get really powerful cards from them too.
  • Travel by roads. It’s faster and you can evade enemies.
  • The honest to god best thing about having money in this game is being able to pay off enemies instead of battling them when you’re trying to get around the world map. When you start out, your deck will be shite. A multi-coloured monstrosity. You can streamline it eventually. Before you do, however, your win loss rate will be pretty rough. If the choice comes between risking losing a good card to ante or paying 40 gold, the gold is well worth it. I mean, you’re in the game to play Magic and have fun, so do that too. Just don’t lose your key cards to errant druids.
  • The upside of paying people off is that it frees you up to do quests for towns. This will help you power up faster.
  • Quests: Take quests that give you mana links. Your life starts at eight or ten. Each mana link you get raises your life total permanently by one. Once you have 15-20 life, the game gets more reasonable and you’ll find yourself actually winning games.
  • Quests: At the start, do the dorky quests that just require you to take messages around in exchange for single amulets or mana links. When your deck gets good enough, you can start doing battle quests where you’ll get two or three amulets for defeating powerful enemies. It’s great. You can use these to buy new cards.
  • Amulet rates: Vendors sometimes sell cards by type and amulet colour. Rares cost three (very occasionally, four) amulets, uncommons cost two and commons are one. It’s a good idea to have multiples of three amulets whenever you open dialogue with a vendor. Once you choose to engage with a vendor, you won’t be able to engage with that same vendor again.
  • Contract from Below is in this game. It is fucking insane. Take a chance to play with it, because you’ll never, ever get a chance to play it in real life. The extra ante is irrelevant. If you’re drawing 7 cards for B, you’ll usually be winning that game.
  • There are different random locations that appear on the world map. Little mountain crags, sunken ships, graveyards, alabaster columns or little forest hovels. They’re random events, and usually have a more positive outcome than negative. Sometimes you’ll wander into a thieves den and they’ll steal half your amulets or gold. Mostly though, you’ll find cards, merchants who’ll sell cards for gold or amulets, or dungeon clues. Sometimes you’ll find a powerful monster with good spells up for grabs.
  • When you have a random encounter with a powerful monster, you usually don’t put cards up for ante. It’s risk free. You might as well take the battle and sell the cards, because otherwise the monster will just disappear for good.
  • Dungeons. Get dungeon clues so you know what you’re encountering. Life losses/gains are carried over between matches. There are dice that will give you a bonus of either extra life or a card to start with. You can accumulate life bonuses, but once you have something to start with, getting a new dice replaces that entirely, even if it’s another life bonus.
  • Dungeons, cont: The best practice in a dungeon is to entirely avoid battles if you can. Scope out every available hallway without taking dice if you’re able to. Leave dice scattered around, and once you have no choice but to battle someone (to get a treasure (which in this instance is always an amazing rare card)), collect dice until you have something good to start with. It’ll make the battle a lot easier.
  • You can run as few as 40 cards. Once you’re below 40, the game will start randomly adding in lands to your deck. Try to keep at 40-43 (in case you lose a battle out in the world and want to stay above 40 cards). You can run up to three of each card until later.
  • Worldmagics: There are a bunch of worldmagics. They’re not all created equal. The ones to get are:
  • The one that lets you walk through swamps faster.
  • The one that lets you walk through mountains faster.
  • The one that stops you consuming food when you’re walking through a forest.
  • The one that makes cities offer more cards for sale.
  • The one that lets you run up to four copies of each card in your deck.
  • MOST IMPORTANTLY: The one that makes the evil wizards require five conquered cities instead of three. It’ll give you so much more time

Speaking of time, that’s all I have right now. If you’re into Magic I implore you to check this game out. It’s sincerely amazing, and despite (or even because of) the graphics, it’s a riot. It’s very exciting, gripping, and I don’t think Wizards of the Coast will ever make another game like it. It’s not a lucrative enough system.

Happy casting, friends.

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A cotton candy world sounds pretty sweet

I’m still thinking about that weekend.

I’m still thinking about that weekend because it was so unbelievably stuffed with treasured moments. There was something about being sequestered away from society, from societal pressures like time and propriety, that opened up some mental headroom. I could be as goofy as I liked, without fear of judgement. Whether I was doing absurd extended bits, ruminating and contemplating, or sharing genuine heartfelt talks with close friends, it all felt like each moment was bigger than itself. Each day as I sat down to write I tried to think of what was worth scribing, and felt weirdly overwhelmed. It’s not that everything needed to make it to the page, but that there were too many great jokes, observations and lessons that deserved a wider audience.

Though when I talk about this first joke, forget everything I said about deserving a wider audience.

I had this dumb recurring bit going on about the opening three seconds of Limp Bizkit’s “My Generation”.

Fred Durst, when his tour bus is stuck in traffic: “IF ONLY WE COULD FLYYYYYYY”
Fred Durst watching Liar Liar, and voicing his concern over the lead character’s predicament: “IF ONLY HE COULD LIIIIIIIE.”

It’s a relatively versatile setup, as long as you can keep finding words that rhyme with “fly”.

I made a number of stupid jokes, come to think of it. Like, “What would you call a dance popularised by the U.S. Boxing team for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics? The Haymaker-ena.”

I also had some pretty lovely moments. It was late (or early, depending on your time perspective), and I started giggling uncontrollably. My girlfriend asked me what was so funny, and I replied that I was so excited about a compliment that I was gonna give one of our friends, because I knew just how happy it would make her. She entered the room a little while later and I told her that I had a compliment for her, and I was biding my time for the right moment, but I knew it would make her day. As a comic, who rarely wants to be the butt of a joke, she got on edge a little. I knew that like comedy, I had to use timing and delivery to really nail it so she could get the most out of it. It was like a little mini-game. I waited for hours, and in the cool blue light of pre-dawn, while the two of us were in the kitchen, I pounced. Gently, of course. I turned to her and quietly said “I was thinking about the meal last night, and I’m already nostalgic for it. Everything was so delicious, and made it larger than life. I was also thinking about how you brought such clear intentions towards making it happen, how you asked people to take care of certain parts, and inspired others to bring their flare into it. When I sat down at the table I looked around and realised that everyone sitting there had contributed somehow, that it was a real communal effort and we were sharing in the bountiful results. Then I looked at you, and thought how you’d drawn us together for the meal. I sat in that moment and appreciated the hand you’d put in, knowing we wouldn’t be there without you.” She turned to me, overwhelmed, and gave me a hug, saying how nice that was. I pulled her close and whispered in her ear. And that’s the compliment I knew would make you happy. It was a very sweet moment.

Another amazing moment came a few hours later. For some context, in the evening a few of us had walked down to the dock in the middle of the night. Fog was everywhere, rising as mist from the warm water into the cool air. It rolled off the banks to coalesce in the centre of the lake. It looked ghostly and spectral, these rolling hazy waves above the water. I walked back down at the first traces of sunlight to have a look. As I descended through the tree cover, I saw the surface of the lake as a gentle, purple pastel. I arrived at the dock, and took in a magical sight. Cotton candy pastel hues lit the sky and illuminated the rising fog. I realised, this was the other side of sunrise. While warm colours lit the rising sun, the shadows it cast across the sky left a glorious soft residue. I pulled everyone down, and we stood there speechless. I was overcome, and I cried from joy. Since I’d begun taking anti-depressants back in February, I’d been incapable of crying. No matter what happened, I just couldn’t shed a tear. Yet this sight stirred something in me, and I doubled over, gasping. It was literally breathtaking, like we’d ascended to a different plane of existence.

Come to think of it, maybe we did.

Just call me Tim the Toolshed Taylor

And so this cottage weekend has come to an end.

I’m sitting here at a table loosely populated by leftovers. A box of peaches with two remaining. The remnants of a smores kit. Half consumed cans of drink, and a breakfast plate that’s been picked at, but still has a sausage and eggs left to give. We’re in the process of tying things together. The floor has been swept, dishes drying, bags of rubbish sit outside the front door, read for their trip to the tip. Our first carload have left, bound by timelines. We’re the cleanup crew.

It’s been a stellar weekend. I think this is the closest I’ve ever felt to living in a commune. Everyone doing their part, helping out. We’ve had amazing meals, and I think it’s because people have been taking care of side dishes, doing their little specialties to enhance the meals. There’s been bountiful food, and I’ve eaten beyond my needs day by day. Outstanding. Cleanup has been effortless, with people tagging in on dishes, drying, setting the table, all without being asked. Stress hasn’t made itself known, and it’s testament to the people who’ve made this weekend what it became.

My friend and I had a fun experience last night with the new Tool album. We’d both been psyched to listen to it, and wanted to make it into an event. It’d personally been so long since I’d made a big deal of an album release, and it was neat to bring outselves back to a place that we used to inhabit. We went out to a little shed, put two speakers equidistant to get proper soundstaging. We turned off the lights, except for a small string of fairy lights. We both lay down side by side on the bed, closed our lines and listened. It brought me right back to being a teen again, taking in an experience with wide eyed enthusiasm. We lay there and took it all in, wordless expressions of interest. Heads banging, toes tapping. There were one or two moments where we both gasped with surprise at certain riffs and sounds. It didn’t instantly stand out as a classic album, but having that experience really shaped how I took it all in. I’d previously listened to a few of the tracks at work, real secondary or tertiary listening. By giving it my primary attention, I noticed so much more. I think without the listening party, I possibly would’ve heard the album a couple more times, then given up the ghost. Now, I think I’ll pay closer attention, and dig for those things that really stood out in the shed. Or “Tool Shed”, as our friend dubbed it.

This weekend has amassed so many experiences I didn’t know I’d appreciate as I did. We canoed out to a little island, made smores around a fire, shared heartfelt moments stacked atop one another. It’s been top to bottom wonderful. Everything I needed and thensome.

It might be coming to an end, but definitely a case of gone, not forgotten.

As the wise philosopher Justin Timberlake once said, “Bye Bye Bye”

Last day in this job. Finally. Here’s the leaving message I wrote to my team, with obvious redactions.

Hi team.

I’ve been waiting for this day for some time. As all y’all know, it’s been many years since I’ve felt challenged by this job or enjoyed it, and I’ve devoted most of my energy to trying to leave it. Fingers crossed I won’t be fired from my new job immediately and come crawling back. Given my hubris, that’s probably inevitable.

*Cat Stevens’ “Father and Son” starts playing* (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8W5U2tIFQI)
ANYWAY. It hasn’t been all doom and gloom. We had some good times. Despite my big mouth getting in the way, I’m probably on good terms with most of you. I’ve seen many people come and go. It’s been odd, mostly.

I’m not gonna give words of wisdom, ‘cause that sounds like weird, condescending posturing. But here are some things I think could help in the job, take or leave them:

  • The 5th floor usually has the best free food. Take a walk up there sometimes just to check. It’s worth it.
  • The 5th floor also has the only freezer I’m aware of in the building. It’s in that narrow kitchen on the Eastern side of the floor.
  • If you’re ever unsure, ask questions. There’s no need to feel embarrassed to not know something. We’re all just faking it and hoping nobody notices. If you ask, you learn, then you know.
  • If you’re asking questions, don’t be afraid to ask for the “why” as well as the “what”. There are a lot of rules in a corporate environment, and it’s helpful to be able to discern which ones make sense, and which are totally arbitrary.
  • Email is great, but it also can lead to a lot of passive aggressive bollocks. It’s one dimensional conversation that lacks intonation or facial expressions. If it’s not important to keep a paper trail, and you can either call or talk to someone in person, you can often avoid a 15 email chain to get a simple answer. Also you get to chat with people, which is neat.
  • If you’re frustrated by another department, it can often help to ask them what their process is, so you understand why things aren’t working out. Oftentimes they’re just as frustrated with something up the chain and it’s not their fault.
  • Everyone we’re dealing with is just trying to do their job, and they’re all human beings. Don’t be afraid to be friendly. If we humanize one other, it’s a lot easier for us all to judge people by their intentions than actions. It often goes both ways, and will make your job flow that much better.
  • Mental Health is important. Take care of yourself. If you’re frustrated or need a breather, go for a walk. Have an hour nap in those green half-couch things in the atrium. If you want to have a bitch session with a co-worker, book a meeting room on another floor and vent. Don’t hold that shit in, it’ll only make you feel worse.
  • To that end, don’t be afraid to take sick days as mental health days. If you Just Can’t Do It, your managers will understand. They’re people too. Sometimes it’s all a bit much, and it’ll mean you can come back in fighting shape the next day. At absolute worst, they’ll ask you to come in, but maybe spread some stuff around to lighten the load.
  • Talk To Your Managers. You can be honest, and I’m sure it’s appreciated. I had a ton of mental health struggles this year, and mine was incredibly helpful with working around them.
  • I know that formal hierarchies and status differentials can be intimidating, but please remember that someone does not become a more functional human as they earn more money. It’s all bullshit, we’re all people, and everyone’s a unique mess.

That’s probably a long enough lecture for now. I’d shed a tear or two, but being stuck in this job made me miserable. I went on anti-depressants and the one side effect is that I can no longer cry. It’s strange, but better than struggling with the weight of the world every day.

So long!

Mel Gibson ain’t a fan. But who needs fans like that?

What’s Ned Flanders’ favourite brand of sunglasses? Okillys!

For no good reason, today I remembered something from high school. There was this girl that we all had a crush on. She was super cool and disaffected. Really pretty, long brown hair and almond shaped eyes. When I say that we all had a crush on her, I mean it. You know that stereotype of teenage girls excitedly tittering about the quarterback? We were those tittering teenage girls about her. ZOMG it’s mufti day, did you see what she’s wearing? That kind of stuff. Anyway, we were doing speeches for English class. She wasn’t in my class, but one of my friends told me he saw hers. She did her speech on Nelson Mandela, which was a neat subject. He was a cool dude. But she did a real half arsed job and didn’t really know how to finish. Instead she played Destiny’s Child’s “Survivor” on a boom box and danced a little bit. Weird, and maybe more than borderline inappropriate. Incongruent enough that as soon as my friend told me, my crush on her instantly died. Simple as that. No more tittering.

In writing that out, I didn’t think I’d type “tittering” half as many times as I did.

Ugh, I used to love doing speeches at school. It was by far my favourite assignment. I was big into public speaking, considering that I spent all day talking shit in class anyway. I think I mostly liked making jokes, and it was an ideal opportunity to do so. I don’t fully remember my speeches from primary school. I did one about books that I kind of phoned in. It wasn’t my proudest work. I do remember getting a kick out of writing my barmitzvah speech, and figuring out metaphors with the rabbi. The friends I invited didn’t understand anything about Judaism, but they did enjoy pelting me with candy as I walked the Torah around the room. As is tradition.

I distinctly remember doing a fun speech during my ‘campaign’ for Deputy Head Boy in highschool. We all knew who was gonna win, so I tried my aim for silver strategy. I spent the whole time doing basically a stand up set. I leaned heavily on my best friend’s suprise campaign-

Which went a little like this:
“Hey bud” he said to me as he arrived at my front door to walk to school “I put up the posters”. I blinked. “Posters?” “Yeah” he replied “for your campaign”. Cue me walking into school, people coming up to me saying “oh man, love the posters. I’m voting for you for sure.” I saw one of the posters containing the image of an elderly Hasidic Jew and in bold: I’D VOTE FOR A JEW. WOULDN’T YOU?

-and really talked up my latent Judaism. I harped on about losing the Nazi votes, but hoping I could make it up with people proving they weren’t Nazis by voting for me. I didn’t win. Maybe I should’ve ended that one with Destiny’s Child’s “Survivor” and a little dance. Who better to claim the title “Survivor” than the Jews?

If I retconned every memory I had of giving a speech to have ended with that song, would that be the Mandela Effect at work?

Block-busted. Little Leon Lays down the Law

Children are not the most discerning viewers.

I mean, most viewers are not the most discerning viewers, kids even less so. I remember as a child, being part of a discussion about the Fair Go ad awards with my family. Okay, let’s step back a sec. Fair Go was a TV show about consumer rights, etc. They’d also run annual awards for creative advertising. NZ has always done an excellent job with clever ads, and I’d eerily patriotic about it. So I was a child, and The Adults Were Talking. I heard what they said, then impulsively barged in.

“I think the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers toy ad should win. It’s a toy ad and they show all the toys. The toys look really fun, so it’s a good ad.” I was wrong, perhaps because my metrics were off. At least I gave it some thought.

Like I said, not so discerning. It’s probably why shitty kids movies made to push toys continue to exist. Their audience laps them up without complaining, and it puts adult bums in seats. Then, of course, the real money comes from the toys being sold. Ugly Dolls, Transformers, Trolls 1 and or 2. Plus ça change, eh? That said, here are some movies I thought were shit, even as a non-discerning kid:

Super Mario Bros (1993)

Look, a bunch of these are likely to be video game adaptations. The medium has suffered shitty storytelling, contrived plots and low level talent for years. Sure, gaming is a massive industry now, but in the 90s it wasn’t such an all-encompassing entertainment juggernaut. Super Mario Bros was a big deal. It was the game that people thought of when they heard the words Video Game. The movie, however, was a total fucking shitshow. A bizarre plot where Earth was suffering a planetary overlay from some dinosaur planet. All of the game’s goofy/cute looking monsters were retconned into dinosaurs. Even Yoshi, who may well be a dinosaur already, didn’t fair so well. Look how they massacred my boy.

This film actually had talent involved, but even as a kid I could see the lack of coherence. It just made no fucking sense. And why were goombas so fucking creepy? Did Bob Hoskins actually know what he’d signed up for? Looks like maybe not. I watched it again a few years ago, and may have developed an ironic soft spot that was beyond me at an age where I didn’t know what irony was. Have some drinks and watch, but please leave your expectations behind. Super, it ain’t.

Street Fighter (1994)

As a precocious little seven year old, I guess I was finding my pretention too. This movie was yet another shitshow. Once again, they massacred my boy. Why was US Colonel Guile played by renown non-American, Jean Claude Van Damme? Why did esteemed actor Raul Julia waste his final performance on this piece of arse? I’m not the first to wonder. I hated it, but didn’t know why. I was so thirsty for video game film content that I tried to watch it many many times to see what went wrong. I just kept finding more things. Where were the Hadoukens? Sonic Booms? Shoryukens? Why wouldn’t they just do something awesome and animated (they did. It was awesome. Here’s the entire thing on Youtube)?

Wild Wild West (1999)

This one’s fresh, ’cause I just went to a screening with live commentary by local Toronto drag queen Allysin Chaynes. It was a blast. As a child though, it was a rough movie to watch. Why were all the characters so patently unlikeble? How could a giant mechanical spider be boring? Why was the movie significantly less exciting than the audacious and oftentimes riotous full seven and a half minute music video? Will Smith throws his hat across the room to himself in a full white suit. It’s badass. I think I may even still like the song, especially Neil Cicierega’s brilliant rearrangement. I thought this film was gonna be super cool, and instead it was kinda boring, the jokes didn’t really land. It was a slog.

I watched last night after a bunch of drinks and, egads. It’s fucking terrible. Not only does the script suck, but the characters do too. Salma Hayek is reduced to an accent, pair of boobs and a role as a plot device. The script has an unforgivable amount of racist and ableist jokes. It’s altogether many kinds of hateful. So many non-plot literal devices (it’s steampunk all over) serve no real purpose in the plot. And of course, Smith turned down the role of Neo in The Matrix to play Jim West, which is always notable.

Look, I’m no prodigy. I watched my unfair share of terrible movies. These are just some of the few instances where I realised it.

Getting dente-mental

I did it. I actually took a sick day. Are y’all proud of me?

That said, it’s hard. I’ve never been good at relaxing, and it’s not getting easier just ’cause I’m unwell. I managed to get back to sleep after taking meds, emailing my boss and feeding the cat, but it took a while. I miraculously remained in bed until after 10am, which is huge for me. I’m old, I’m decaying, I’m trying my best. I’ve only checked my work emails three times today, which feels like some kind of restraint. I played some magic, did dishes, applied for a job, put washing on and now I’m trying to get writing done so I can… get back to trying to relax? What am I supposed to do? Read a book?

Actually not a terrible idea. I put a reservation on my library app months back for Marlon James’ Black Leopard, Red Wolf. It’s finally come in, and I’m realising that my chances of finishing it are pretty damn tiny unless I put effort in. The book is 640 pages. It’s hardly slim pickings. It’s supposed to be a stupendously ambitious fantasy novel by a Man Booker Prize winning novelist. Thing is, I’m a lazy reader. Of books, anyway. I’m mainlining online articles all day. I use reading as an escape on commutes, and I probably get a solid hour of good reading time each day. By the time I started reading, a few days had passed. I’ve been working from home and/or sick this week, so there’s a bunch more potential reading time lost. It expires in two weeks, and since it has a huge waitlist, there’s no chance I’ll get to renew it. Chances are that I’ll get halfway through, then have to wait another 6 months until I can read the other half. Non-ideal. However, if there’s anything an abundance of half-arsed Minion memes have taught me, it’s that the power is within us all to create change in our world. And that lots of old people still find hilarity in “you won’t like me without my morning coffee” jokes.

I’ve been trying with the food too. Been salt gargling, keeping up the kimchi, had some banana and peanut butter toast, licorice tea, and all sorts of comfort foods. I even had Kraft Dinner last night. Okay, I grew up with KD variants, and loved it as a kid. I got older, and my cravings extended to actually making macaroni cheese bakes. I’d do it all homemade from scratch. I’d toss in all kinds of spices and ingredients, then bake that bastard in a big dish covered with breadcrumbs. Crispy top, loaded with cheese and assorted goodness. Ideal comfort meal. I don’t eat much pasta anymore, because I’d only ever cook and eat Too Much Pasta. I don’t know that a substantive serving size is for pasta. It’s usually however much fills you to bursting, and then some. Now that I’m a 32 year old crone, I have to try and take care of myself, or elsewise combust. Toning down on the pasta has helped my body continue to function, instead of my internal gears (oh, did I not mention my cyborg state?) grinding to a halt while trying to process complex carbohydrates and a brick of cheese.

I was sick, wanted comfort food, and KD seemed to fit the bill. I wanted to throw in sundried tomatoes and pickled jalapeños, but I thought I’d be responsible and steer clear of agitative (I looked it up, it’s a word, apparently) foods. This also meant skipping the gratuitous quantity of tomato sauce I used to soak it in. So instead I piled in fresh garlic, kimchi and a little ketchup flavoured popcorn seasoning (which we have on hand because my girlfriend is a popcorn fiend. It’s basically the same stuff as KD flavour sachets). Also, obviously, copious cheddar. It was… fine? I guess. I don’t know what I was expecting. The kimchi somehow wasn’t bold enough to stand out amongst the other big flavours, and the macaroni may even have been a little “over dente”. I had the leftovers today for lunch with a little tuna, which worked much better. I think next time I’ll stick with the grown up stuff and bake my own.

Enough writing, it’s reading time!!!