Photobucket had recently made a very dick move by disabling all third-party embedded pics unless I pay $399. I've been blogging for 13 years and have 2000+ embedded pics across 650+ blog posts, which are now all unviewable. I'm working on moving my images to a new host, so until then, please do bear with me if you cannot view any images on my older blog posts.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Chp 588. Bitten by the Steam Sale bug


A wise friend once told me, "Always wait for a sale if you want to buy any games on Steam".

Truer words have never been spoken. How many of you regretted buying a game for 1000s of rupees only find out the same game is available later for 50 bucks during a flash sale? :P

I am definitely not an experienced Steam user, in fact it's not even been a year since I installed Steam (I'm just a level 2 user), and I use Steam mainly (80% of the time) to play "Team Fortress 2". That's it. TF2 is currently my favorite PC game. But I have a lot of friends who've been using Steam for 5-6 years, and I have seen the way they used to curse every time a game they've already bought is on sale :D

I may not have bought a lot of games on Steam, but I definitely have made my fair share of in-game purchase (microtransactions) on TF2, spending at least around 10k INR on cosmetics and special weapons/taunts so far, as I have mentioned in this blog post. And yup, it was indeed confusing when Steam recently changed the currency from USD to INR earlier this month. I mean, we were so used to comparing which games or items to buy in dollars that when it was suddenly changed to our own currency, we also ended up comparing the cost not just with game-related items but also with the daily commodities that we buy as well!!! :D



And so this morning when I walked into office, our whole gaming division was abuzz with excitement because of yet another ongoing Steam sale.



Some of the bundle offers were unbelievable. A Counter-Strike bundle which consisted of "CS:GO" (Rs. 475), "CS: Source" (Rs. 729), "CS 1.6" (Rs. 369) and "CS: Condition Zero" (Rs. 369) were all available at a price of Rs. 364! That's like, a huge savings! Of course if you already have any of the games above, buying the bundle may not make much sense, but to somebody who doesn't have any of those games on Steam yet, yup it was indeed a fantastic offer.

In fact I was about to buy that, when Sumeet shouted out from his cubicle to inform us that there was an even better offer! It was the Valve bundle.

And Holy Mother of Load, you should check out the Valve bundle!






Now the amount of savings mentioned above is from the already discounted individual prices. Without that discount, the sum of all the games mentioned above, according to my trusted calculator, is Rs. 9435/- So that is a savings of 8953 bucks!

I've just saved a one way flight ticket from Pune to Aizawl :P Yayyy, mama I'm coming home :)

And so of course, I bought the Valve bundle immediately. 24 premium games at 482 bucks, that's like 20 bucks per game :D





And suddenly, my Steam games inventory was packed! I could sense TF2 about to throw a jealousy fit, but I assured him that he's still my favourite and will always be my favourite. Daddy's just going through a midlife crisis, I assured. He understood I guess :P



Another reason why spending 482 bucks didn't pinch me that hard is because, like I mentioned earlier, we tend to compare things before buying them. And I just realized most of the game items I buy at TF2 are way more expensive than the cost of that bundle!

Like for example, these days I've been buying a lot of "Strange" weapons at TF2 community store that also have a "Killstreak" quality. And I always try to buy the top most level of Killstreak (Professional) if I can afford it, otherwise I go for the next level (Specialized). Just take a look at the cost of Pyro's flamethrowers that have strange and profession killstreak properties!


And since I main as Pyro in TF2, these are the type of weapons I try to get my hands on.

My current Pyro weapon (which I renamed to "Spawn Return Device") not only has a professional killstreak property (Incinerator with Agonizing Emerald sheen) and keeps a track of all my kills, it also has three additional "strange" properties embedded to it - Number of allies extinguished, Medics killed and Critical kills.


Now again, I spent a lot on those extra strange properties, but it helped me keep track of the way I play - "Allies extinguished" let me know if I'm being a good team player and extinguishing my teammates who are in flames or am I playing selfishly for the sake of conserving ammo, "Medics killed" let me know how much impact I'm making on the enemy team since medics are usually the ones who can turn the tide of a battle around, and "Crit kills" let me know how well I am utilizing the full potential of a Backburner since it's main usage is to ambush enemies from behind due to it's 100% crit damage from behind.

You might think 226 kills from a person who mains as Pyro is ridiculous. It indeed is, but I've only started using that weapon a week back, hence the reason for the low stats. Here is another weapon I purchased recently which I haven't got to use yet. Another "strange professional killstreak" flamethrower, the "Forest Fire", a mercenary grade from the "Concealed Weapon Collection". I really like "Projectiles reflected" strange counter as I'm learning how to reflect back rockets and sticky bombs properly and it will show me how much I'm improving my skills, and the "Posthumous kills" counter will let me know if my WM1 had been a success :P I spent 1200 bucks to buy it!


So yeah, considering all that, I think I really had a great deal buying the Valve bundle for 482 bucks. I guess I have a lot of gaming time coming up ahead with all the new games in my inventory, time to kick some ass. Do add me on Steam, user id: Mizohican. Cheers! :)





Sunday, November 29, 2015

Chp 587. Sunday lunch: Assamese food in Pune.


I know I'm in the middle of my "Stomach Chronicles" series of blog post, but even though this blog update is about food, I'm not including this one in that list as this is not one of the regular lunch or dinner I've had in Pune.

So today, I was extremely excited to get an invitation from renowned Assamese chef Gitika Saikia to attend her exclusive food fest here in Pune! I have attended Gitika's food event back in Mumbai, which I blogged about here - North East cuisine in Mumbai, and that was awesome.

This time, the event was held at Prem's restaurant here in Pune, organized by "The Secret Chulha Pop-ups", who regularly organize this monthly (the last Sunday of every month) food event, catering to different Indian cuisines and communities.

Tying up with Gitika's PakGhor this time, the menu for the event was -


Non Veg

- Phool Gobi Fry (Cauliflower dipped in egg wash and fried crisp)
- Gahori Maan Dhoniya (Pork with Assamese Herbs)
- Gahori Khorisa Aru Bhut Jolokia (Smoked Pork, Bamboo Shoot and Bhut Jolokia gravy)
- Til Maas (Fish with Black Sesame)
- Pithaguri Murgi Khar (Chicken with Rice Flour and Alkali)
- Plain Rice + Panch Phoran Dal with Cherry Tomatoes
- Desserts: Black Sticky Rice Pudding


Veg

- Koldil Til Pitika (Banana Flower with Black Sesame Mash)
- Rongalau Paleng (Pumpkin with Spinach)
- Xewali Phool aru Guti Alu (Potato and Night Jasmine Flower)
- Ool Kobi Aru Motor (Kol Rabi with green peas)
- Jika Kosu (Ridgegourd with Taro)
- Plain Rice + Panch Phoran Dal with Cherry Tomatoes
- Desserts: Black Sticky Rice Pudding



As you can see, it was going to be yummmm.

Prem's is just 5 minutes walking distance from my apartment here at Koregaon Park, and I reached the place around 2 PM. My friends and I were taken to this special area within the iconic outdoor restaurant, designated only for participants of this particular event.

[Click on all pics to enlarge to a new tab]


As we waited for the food to be served, beer and wine were served to us as aperitifs.


Meanwhile, the restaurant crew got ready with the food preparation…



As always, you can't miss out Gitika's trademark home-made pickles, which were available for sale at the venue itself - Bamboo shoot pickle and Bhut Jolokia (aka Raja Mirchi or Naga Chilli) pickle.


Soon the food was served. First up, the egg-dipped crispy fried cauliflower, which was utterly delicious and crunchy.


Then came the others like the pork cooked in Assamese herbs, along with Assamese chicken and rice and panch phoran dal, which literally means it's made of five spices.



The fish was excellent. Slowly cooked with black sesame, my friends who were foodies themselves really loved it as it was not something one could easily find in restaurants here in Pune.





And finally, the main dish I was eagerly waiting for - the smoked pork with bamboo shoots cooked in bhut jolokia gravy! Yummmm it was so good and oh sooo spicy.



We helped ourselves to more servings as we enjoyed the unique northeastern delicacies soothing our stomach. The service was extremely good too, as more items were served to us before we could even ask for the next helping.

[With Richa, founder & owner of "The Secret Chulha Pop-ups" along with her husband Sandy Singh]

Apart from enjoying the awesome cuisine, we also had a fruitful discussion with Richa, where she promised the next such event will take place in a round table format where everyone will get to sit together, rather than making it feel like a segregated event.

As the royal feast came to an end, each of us were gifted this complimentary bhut jolokia pickle.





Below are a few more pics from their Facebook page - The Secret Chulha, I took permission to post their pics here on my blog. Do like the page, especially if you are a foodie here in Pune. Here are pics of the food we had today…


The people -








The food served -















Looking forward to such foodie events from "The Secret Chulha Pop-ups" again. And from the looks of it, that's gonna happen pretty soon too. Thanx Gitika and Richa for organizing such an amazing event.

Cheers! :)