Friday, December 26, 2008

Steam Sale is On

The image says it all. After a nervous few days thinking that it might not be happening at all this year, the Steam holiday sale has finally started. There's at least 10% off everything and lots of even better bargains on offer. If I didn't have them already, I'd definitely grab Portal (€3.74) and Beyond Good & Evil (€3.74). The id Super Pack is also superb value at €34.99, but I was looking for something on the cheaper side and I wasn't disappointed. Here's what I picked up:

Ultimate Doom (€0.99)

I never owned a PC version of the original Doom. It was finally time to right that wrong. The cheesy midi in this is so much better than the serious ambient soundtrack of the PS1 version.

Doom II & Master Levels for Doom II (€0.99)

I've always loved Doom II, so I thought I'd check out the Master Levels add-on. To my surprise it came bundled with the original game.

Half-Life: Opposing Force (€0.99)
Half-Life: Blue Shift (€0.99)

Believe it or not, I only played Half-Life for the first time last year on the PS2. I really enjoyed it, even though the used disc I was playing was scratched to hell, leading to all sorts of bizarre audio glitches. I've wanted to pick up these two ever since. No time like the present.

BioShock (€4.99)

I've heard lots of good things about this and for a fiver how can I resist? I'm not sure if it'll run too well on my PC but I guess I'll find out when it finishes downloading. Sometime next week. :D

EDIT: It plays okay at the very lowest settings, but it ain't pretty. Time for a graphics card upgrade, I think.

So there you have it. Five games (and an add on pack) for €8.95. Now if you'll excuse me, I have some things to shoot.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Cooking: Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese

If you're looking for some comfort food for these miserable winter days you can't go wrong with a bit of macaroni and cheese. Let's make some then!


8oz macaroni
8oz cheddar cheese (EDIT: On second thought, this is an illegal amount of cheese to be adding to this. :D You can totally cut this by half or maybe even three quarters without drastically impacting the flavour)
16 fl oz milk
2 Tablespoons flour
2 Tablespoons butter

  1. Cook the macaroni and drain it with a strainer. Press down on the pasta a little with a fork to get out more water if necessary.
  2. Grate the cheese and set it aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to about 180ºC/350ºF
  4. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the flour, mixing it into a smooth paste.
  5. Cook the mix for a few minutes, stirring to keep it from burning.
  6. Add in the milk and stir until the flour and butter paste is dissolved.
  7. Cook the mixture until it thickens. keep stirring it in case it starts to burn.
  8. Now, add in the cheese and stir the mixture until it's melted.
  9. Mix the cheese mixture and macaroni together in a suitably big casserole dish.
  10. Put the cover on the casserole dish and pop it in the oven for 20 minutes.
  11. Eat it, dammit! (EDIT: Ugh.)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Indiecater Records

I always say that you find the neatest things on the internet by accident. Last week, for example, I stumbled upon Indiecater Records, a little record label releasing compilations and deleted indie albums on-line for insanely low prices (€3.50 for albums, €4.50 for compilations). Better still, you can have a listen to the albums in their entirety before you fork over anything, using a flash-based player on the site.

After checking out some tracks, I really took a shine to "Friday Night" by The Brilliant Trees and decided to grab it. The album came in a RAR file, which I thought was a bit unusual, at least for a legal download ;) . Inside you get the tracks as 256kbps DRM-free MP3s, plus JPEGs of the front, back and sleeve of the album. I'm not sure if the images are at a high enough resolution to print, but they're nice to have anyway. The album itself is great, sounding kind of like a cross between The Super Furry Animals and The Stone Roses. I especially like the opening track, "The Perfect Crime".

Overall, I'm really impressed by my first experience with the site and with such good value on offer, I'll definitely be back for more soon.