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Thursday, 6 February 2014

New Experience Challenge Week 5: Video Games

This was a week of new tastes. On Wednesday I tried a chai latte for the first time.

I was meeting with the directors of a play I'm involved with called Square Peg to discuss the lighting setup. They asked me if I wanted anything and I just asked for my usual water, because that's basically all I ever drink. The two directors ordered chai lattes and you know what, I don't know why I'd never noticed that drink before. It was so inviting with its sprinkling of cocoa on top and its wonderfully sweet aroma. I chased the waitress down and ordered one for myself. I did have to scull the ice water she'd already given me, and that hurt my brain. But I was excited, I felt like it would be worth it.

It was. It was the best coffee-or-tea-based beverage I'd ever had (I've had four). When I was done I licked the froth out of the inside of the cup, which I'm not sure the waitress would have appreciated. The rest of the night was half filled with talk about lighting and the other half with questions about how a chai latte is made.

'So if we give it a blue wash here-'
'How do they make it taste so sweet?'

'We should just go with our standard indoor lighting for this scene.'
'I agree... When they use the leaves, do they infuse it with the spices first or add them later?'

'We should use chasers, it's a pretty upbeat song.'
'Do people usually chase a chai latte down with something?'

To their credit, they were fine with all the questions.

On Thursday I was at work in Woolworths (Safeway for those in America). I work for a promotional company that promotes products for clients. A lot of the work I do involves food sampling in grocery stores, and that's what I was doing today. It's Chinese New Year this week, so they had a display of popular Chinese foods at the front of the store. Have you ever tried dragonfruit? It's this weird thing with thick red skin and insides that look kind of like cookies and cream. One of the staff members decided to cut one up and give me a piece. It tasted weird. It was like some sort of squishy melon. Took some getting used to, but it wasn't bad.

On Friday I actually went looking for something new to eat. I was at Kelsey's house with the boys and we went out to get some dinner. The boys went for pizza, but as I've mentioned before, I look after what I eat. So I went across the road to Woolworths with Mitchell. It's actually harder than you might think to find something at a grocery store you've never eaten. I ended up going for this tiny bottle of strawberry smoothie. I'd left my wallet in the car, so Mitch ended up paying for it. That meant I hadn't paid for any of these things so far this week.

This was my reaction to drinking it.

On Saturday I tried an invention that Kelsey calls 'garlic toast' it's just toast infused with garlic oil. It was amazing. From now on I'm eating only that with my chai latte.

And on Sunday I made this weird wrap with a filling on sausage, tomato sauce, scrambled egg, cheddar cheese, salt and pepper.

I think it looks better than it sounds.

I also tried a couple of video games  at Kelsey's house that I'd never tried before - Madden 2012 and Grand Theft Auto 5.

GTA5 came first. We were just cruising around seeing how many wanted stars we could get up. All those people who say that violent video games are bad influences... I totally see it now. I never, ever thought I'd scream the words 'Now shoot the hooker in the back of the head!!!' We were sadistic! We'd run over people and then back up over them to finish the job. We'd challenge each other to get the biggest blood splatter from a gunshot. We became completely different people and I was scared. But anyway...

Two definite highlights of that game. Jason was out the front of a building waiting for more police to come with his machine gun at the ready. At one point he goes,
'Hey Kels, what's this dog?' He was referring to a big grey dog that was cantering towards him from the distance. Kelsey takes a look and says,
'Oh, it's your dog! What's it doing here?'
'Maybe it's protecting its owner! I said as we all got excited at the thought of having an attack dog on hand.

As the dog reached the building and started bounding up the zig-zagging stairs to get to him, I remember thinking "It's climbing those stair very intently. It's almost as if it's hunting Jason." The dog finally gets to the top of the stairs and barrels into Jason, taking a huge bite out of his stomach and killing him instantly, to which Kelsey said,
'Oh wait, maybe that's a police dog.'

The other highlight was when our Peruvian friend Juan had commandeered a motorbike and gone on a search for the highest point on the map - a place that I think was fairly close to the Vinewood sign and had a lookout post on top. The intention was to take the motorbike and jump it off that point, see how much airtime he could get. After a 10 minute search to find this spot, he gets off the bike to do a quick kill of everyone who's there, gets back on the bike, moves to get into position, slips off a ledge and crashes head-first into a little valley 2 meters below, dying instantly.

I'd never played American football on Playstation, but I follow the sport and know all the rules, so in Kesley's mind, that made us even. In reality, it didn't even come close. I was playing with my favourite team the Dallas Cowboys and Kelsey played with the Giants. The game went something like this...

Giants kickoff.
How do I catch it?
Rolls over for a safety.
Cowboys' ball.
How do I hike it?
Time violation.
1st & 15.
Hike the ball.
Hike the ball.
Hike the ball.
How do I punt it?
Goes way out to the right and out of bounds.
Giants have it at the 50 yard line.

It was 0-14 by the time I figured out how to complete a pass, and even then I still had trouble figuring things out. I was forced to go for a field goal when I wanted to take the risk on the fourth down. It would run when I wanted to pass and pass when I wanted to run. At one stage I recovered a fumble and ran it over for a touchdown, but then the referees reviewed it and decided it wasn't a fumble, it was an incomplete pass. When I finally did get a touchdown, making the score 9-14, I suddenly found my team lining up for a two-point conversion and I'm like "Hang on, I didn't want that!"

Nevertheless I did get more and more control over it as the game went on and I got another touchdown at the two minute warning to make it 15-17. And this time I did decide to go for the two-point conversion. I converted.

I was immensely proud of myself for wrestling it back to a draw after being so far behind on a game that I had only played for the first time. And later on we discovered that the controller I'd been using was broken. The left analog stick wouldn't work when it was pushed down. So pretty good effort, huh?

Didn't do so well when we played FIFA though. Lost 7-0. Well, you can't win 'em all...

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