Sunday, September 1, 2013

Five Guys and Minecraft

Burgin' so hard

Five Guys opened a few stores in the Montreal region recently. I was walking down St-Catherines street on Friday, burging and wondering if I felt like McDonalds or Burger King. Then what would happen to cross my sight but the big red "FIVE GUYS" sign.

Fuck it, said I, I'm gonna see if all the Americans I talked to are right about this place.

The burgers themselves are nothing super magical; the meat is good, the buns are fresh and nicely toasted on the grill. The toppings are numerous and free, and more varied than even what you can get at Harvey's. If you want grilled onions or mushrooms at any other burger place, it generally needs to be on a special (and generally limited time) burger. Here, it's always avaible and always free. That, in of itself, secures Five Guys a place in my stomach. The wait is longer than at most fast-food places, but seeing as how you seem them slap the patty down fresh for your burger, and come off sizzling from the hot plate, I'm willing to forgive.

The burger texture and taste (and slop) is not something I'm used to from our local (and province wide) burger joints. I can't quite describe it, but it's different and surprising. At my first bite my eyes widened and I mumbled (around a mouthful of beef, bacon, cheese, onions and mushrooms) that this is what all those damn American TV shows mean by "juicy burger". It was pretty damn good.

The friest, however. Ye gods, the fries.

I don't know what sorcery they use, but they are the best damn friest I've had. Maybe it's the peanut oil (higher frying temp, bigger crisp, less oil-soakage? that sounds good, lets go with that), maybe it's the skin they leave on... But they are crispy, delicious and taste not a whit of grease or oil. I didn't even have to use any of my extra salt packets that McDonalds or Burger King has trained me to pour on top of my flaccid, flavourless potatoe mush.

I am for sure going back, and I hope they spread around some. This is the kind of fast food place this city needs more of.


Minecraft is keeping it's on again, off again love affair with my spare time. I've sometimes found myself delving in the dark depths for hours at a time, just carving out a series of mining tunnels and collecting ore before I stumble into an unexplored cavern complex. I'd go off, adventure for a bit, then die. All my precious equipment, ore and valuables falling into a pit, or surrounded by a writhing mass of enemies. I'd swear and just quit to desktop, too pissed off to return to the game for weeks or months at a time.

Last time this happened, I had a dozen diamonds in my pack when I was unceremoniously dumped into a lava flow by an archer. I flipped off the screen, shut it down, and started playing Icewind Dale again.

When I did finally decide to go back, I started a new world to go through. I'm petty like that.

This current one isn't so bad. I have a small (poorly mad saddly) keep surrounded by torches. I have a good set of pumpkin farms going, and just recently started on my underground wheat and sugar cane farms. I started those late, because I was busy hunting pigs (to near extinction in my close-area) and getting enough iron to make a golem.

I got my golem, but my iron reserves are so low. As are my woodstocks.

I need to go out for a while and just clear-cut the forest surrounding my keep. It'll help clear some land so I can expand my castle, and make it easier to spot enemies. As it is, I can barely see through the dense foliage from my (admitedly tiny) watch tower.

Being in a winter Biome is nifty for some things, but makes setting up outdoor farms a pain in the ass. I should make a greenhouse, and I have a huge desert close enough that it shouldn't be trouble grinding up some sand for it, but... Effort. Time. Annoyances. I want to get at least a small sustainable growing farm happening in my mine before I start anything bigger.

Plus I need some fucking wood.


I find it kind of amazing how deep and complex Minecraft is, for such a simple game. There's no real plot, no real in game hand-holding... And yet it grabbed my interest from the moment I started playing. That it doesn't keep it for huge lengths of time at once is more of how I game than a problem with the game itself. I tend to get frustrated if something goes awry, and I've been known to just drop a game entirely if it annoys me too much.

It's one of the reasons Dragon Age remains unfinished, three years after I purchased it. I got pissed off at a mage-filled battle and just sword a blue streak, and nuked it from my hard-drive. Fuck those mages.

Same thing with the Witcher. Though, in that case, it's the second chapter which is just long, meandering and in an irritating and difficult zone. I should really just power through it to get to the better parts afterwards.

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