26/02/2017

Defiance, the computer game

by Marissa on

DefianceLately Rob and I have been looking again at an online game that is already around some time, the game named “Defiance”. Yes, this game is based on the TV series with the same name. We played this game when it was just released.

The game was released in 2013 and is available for PC, Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. The game went in 2014 to free-to-play and you really can play it without buying in-game things, but to be honest spending a little money makes the game more fun and more enjoyable.
Rob and I upgraded the game to the Gold Edition that contains all the downloadable content, some nice vehicles, outfits, weapons and other cool stuff (to be honest, Rob bought the upgrade as a gift for me)

Defiance

There are three playable races, humans, Casrithans and Irathients. Casrithans and Irathients belong to the races that came from the Votan solar system).

The game knows 4 origins a character can have.
Veterans: After the Battle of Defiance inspired the end to the Pale Wars, many soldiers were left trying to find a new identity on the new earth. Their combat experience, not to mention innate need for that adrenaline rush, make ark hunting a perfect career path for there men and women.
Survivalist: Not all Humans and Votans were interested in war. Some found themselves on the fringes of society, living solely off the newly transformed earth. After Armistice, a handful of these survivalists found that their explortative talents made them impeccable ark hunters.
Outlaw: For many trying to survive the violent post-Arkfall world, criminal activity wasn’t a choice, but a necessity. As the Earth Republic and the Votanis Collective helped society regain its footing, finding legitimacy became imperative for these outlaws. The gritty, and sometimes unethical, life of an ark hunter was the ideal fit.
Machinist: After the Defiance movement led to Armistice, the factories of war were shut down, leaving many skilled Human and Votan machinists adrift. Some became cityscape scavengers, hocking thier makeshift wares at markets, while the elite foragers were able to graduate to the much more profitable vocation of ark hunting.

Defiance

In Defiance every player is an ark hunter, a specialist in survival, combat and tracking who braves dangerous frontiers to locate and retrieve lost relics of alien or advanced origins in return for great financial rewards.

Ark hunters are specialists at salvage. Valuable alien minerals and technology scattered by the orbital destruction of the Votan planetary arks now encircles the earth in the Ark Belt. This debris occasionally rains down in dangerous events called arkfalls. Ark hunters must fight off other competition both human and alien if they wish to claim the rare minerals and Arktech from the heart of an arkfall for their own. The life of an ark hunter is exciting, dangerous and profitable … while it lasts.

Noted for their uncanny skills at finding Arktech and renowned for going where others fear to tread in search of their prize, ark hunters are greatly admired and employed by those who require their specialized talents. Many ark hunters work alone, searching for that valuable Arktech discovery that will allow them to retire to a comfortable life in Antarctica; others contract their services to individuals or corporations for a hefty fee, using their resourcefulness to locate specific items or information for their employers. Their expertise at finding nearly anything and surviving in the most dangerous situations and locales makes them valuable allies and formidable foes.

Defiance

To travel through the world of Defiance there are a number of vehicles available, as cars and 4-wheeled motors. Personally I like the Raptor (in the picture) a lot. It is fast and very flexible in steering and moving around.
Distances can be big, so an vehicle is really needed to move around. It also offers a way to get fast away from dangerous situations, as when you for instance run into a foe that you can not handle yet.
Apart from that, it is fun to race around the roads or going off road.

Defiance

Of course Hellbugs are also around.

Hellbugs are a mutated form of a rather harmless insect species from the Votanis system. Samples of these creatures were brought aboard the Arks on the voyage to Earth. During the Arkfall disaster, their DNA rained down upon the planet, only to be reconstructed by the terraformers and twisted into a new and dangerous form of life. Hellbugs are vicious predators that live in large collectives, usually within underground caverns in the terraformed frontier.

Hellbugs come in a variety of shapes. The smallest are Skitterlings – baby Hellbugs that are nimble and deadly when attacking in swarms. Warriors, Archers, and Monarchs comprise the soldiers of the Hellbug army. At the top of the food chain is the Matron: a single momma Hellbug found in each nest who is the progenitor of the species. Rumours persist of an even larger form of Hellbug – the Hellion. If the stories are to be believed, Hellions are several stories tall and carry an army of smaller Hellbugs within their own bodies.

Hellbugs produce one of the most powerful forms of fuel on the planet. They ingest gulanite ore as a digestive aid, which is transformed inside their bodies and excreted. Hellbug shtako (waste product) contains unrefined petrohol – the main fuel source for rollers and other vehicles in the new frontier.

Defiance

There is very nice story-line with many quests that has to be done. Some simple, some funny and some very challenging. Apart from the story-line there are many side-quests that can be done.
And if you want to see how you are doing, there are many time- and skill-based challenges all over the game.

Also big events as sieges and huge ark falls with many extreme strong enemies are part of this game. I love the big ark falls where you with many other players fight the foes, which can be a real challenge at times.

All these quests, missions and challenges help to raise your skills. But they also bring better weapons and equipment. Specially the ark falls are a very good source to get better things to use through the game.

Defiance

But above everything, the game is a lot of fun to play. Specially when you play it with someone who fits your gameplay and who it is challenging to play with. And, as within so many other games, Rob is the perfect person for me to team up with.

Defiance

And oh, some times you run into people that may look familiar… you will meet people from the TV series. And at times they will be part of the quests and missions that you are doing. Fun, fun, fun… *SMILE*

Marissa

 

 

(Credit screen shots: Marissa)


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Basil (or in Dutch “Basilicum”)

by Jennifer on

As people may know plants, herbs and flowers are my big passion. A part of the garden and the green house behind our house is reserved for herbs. It is great fun and very satisfying to grow herbs. Specially when you have, like us, a green house so you can have certain herbs all through the year. This to great pleasure of Miranda, who uses many of the herbs that I grow in the kitchen. I wanted to tell something about a well known herb called Basil (or in Dutch “Basilicum”). As said, a well known herb and yet there is so much to know about this plant.

Basil

Basil (Ocimum basilicum), also called Saint-Joseph’s-wort, is a herb of the family Lamiaceae (mints) that is often used in the kitchen. The herb is also called the “King of Herbs” (Dutch: “Koningskruid”). The name “basil” comes from Greek βασιλικόν φυτόν (basilikón phutón), which means “royal/kingly plant”.

Basil is possibly native to India, and has been cultivated there for more than 5,000 years. It was thoroughly familiar to the Greek authors Theophrastus and Dioscorides.

Basil

Basil, in particular the species Ocimum Basil is an herb often used for cooking. It has a strong odour and flavour and is mainly used in the Italian cuisine and tomato dishes. Basil is used to make pesto.
But as Miranda always says: Use your fantasy and dare to try. You may discover wonderful combinations with a great taste. And if something really has a bad taste, it is a lesson learned and nothing more then that.

But talking about tomatoes, it is said that it is good to grow basil together with tomatoes. Basil would keep pests and diseases away from the tomatoes. In my experience this is correct.

Basil

Traditionally basil was used for skin problems, for colds and other infections, cough, headache, nausea and as an insect repellent, but also to calm the mind as well as improve mood.

Today, many of these applications are also scientifically explained and we know which components provide certain medicinal effects. See here the top 5 health benefits of basil:

  1. Basil is due to the high amount of eugenol an excellent anti-inflammatory and suitable to kill bacteria and to expel insects.
  2. Good for the heart-and-vascular system because of the high content of carotenoids and antioxidants which protect the cells against the damage of free radicals. Furthermore, the large amount of magnesium in basil it stimulates a good blood flow and healthy veins.
  3. The antioxidants in the form of flavonoids and carotenoids in basil protect the body against certain forms of cancer.
  4. Several essential oils in basil are effective in the treatment of a dry skin, acne and psoriasis.
  5. The tannins present in basil have a germicidal and wound healing effect on mouth, nose, and stomach, intestinal mucosa. Basil is therefore also ideal for use in all kinds of digestive disorders and inflammations in the gastrointestinal tract.
Basil

But whatever the positive effects of Basil and how a nice plant it is to grow, I am afraid that the main use here in our house will be food :-)

Jennifer
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Rob and Marley

by Marion on

Rob and Marley
Today I found this photo of Rob and Marley on my private laptop. Some time ago Rob made a backup of some old photo’s on my laptop (with my permission). That backup is still there and it was fun to look through those photo’s. And one of these photo’s was this photo of Rob and Marley.
Marley was Rob’s horse. Rob told a lot about Marley (Marley was from before the time I got to know Rob). Marley was big (1m76 on the withers), proud and stubborn, honest and a good sense of humour (as can been seen on the photo).

And look at Rob! Not as grey as he is nowadays. And his belly slimmer! I think this photo must be over 15 years old. And yet, I don’t want Rob any different as he is nowadays, as he is now he is “my Rob”.

Marley died in a terrible way. Most likely scared by fireworks close to his stable he pranced in his stable, hit his head against a wooden beam which caused a cerebral fracture, which was fatal.

Even with the sad story about Marley, I like to see these old photo’s. They tell stories about Rob’s life from the time before I got to know him. And by these photo’s Rob shares his memories about them with me and that is very nice (although there are also bad memories and experiences).
Luckily there are many more old pictures in this backup on my laptop *SMILE*

Marion

 

 

(Credit photo: Rob, private collection)


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In less as 200 days Marion and I travel to Lesvos again. I know, it is still quite some time, but it sounds so much better now it is below 200 days …. and it will sound even better when it is below 100 days! *SMILE*

Lesvos is an island that has so much to offer, that it is good to do some planning. Last year we did this with our close friends who travelled last year with us.
This year Marion and I will go with the two of us again. On Lesvos we meet up with Mel, who will join us for the biggest part of our vacation and that is great. Apart that Mel is a very nice and bright person, she also knows a lot about Lesvos. She can tell in a great way about the history of Lesvos and she knows all the nice spots to visit.

200 Dyas Lesvos

So today we started to plan what we would like to do and where we would like to go. Marion has Mel on Skype on her laptop, so while having a lot of fun we can discus our upcoming vacation. As guiding line we used the map of Lesvos that we used now for years. Most of the locations we where have been already are marked on that map.

200 Days
This year we will be staying close to the town of Petra again, which is very convenient. Mel lives in Stipsi, a town not far away from Petra. Aside from that Petra has a very nice beach and it offers nice places to enjoy the wonderful Greek food.

One of the things we want to visit for certain again is the Isle of the Holy Georgios, also known as Rabbits Island. It is just outside the coast of Petra. Last year we spend there with the group a night together. And that was quite an experience and we want to go back there because of the memories.

200 Days
There is another thing I really would like to visit again: The ancient watermills of Petra. Last year we have been there and it is really beautiful. But the day we went there Mel had to work and it turned out that we missed a very nice part of it, the abandoned settlements. So this year a new visit there with Mel.
Also I would love to make a walk through the valley of the ancient watermills, up to the other side of the valley. It must be awesome to stand at the bottom of the valley and see at both side the mountains rise high into the sky.
Good and strong walking shoes will be required, as lots of water to drink.

200 Days

There is another place Marion and I would love to go back. It made Mel laugh when we suggested this. We would love to go back to the small beach all way down south of the island (way below the city of Mitilini) and spend there one day.
A very nice small beach where almost no tourists come, but is very popular with the Greek people of that area. Just one day to enjoy the beach, the very clear water and the awesome food from the restaurant there.
We really enjoyed our visit there last year, only it was way too short.

200 Days
We own now a number of books about Lesvos. Some are very good and informative, but this book is the most useful of all. Last year we did some of the walks that are described in this book and they are great and brings you along some very awesome places. So this book will be for sure part of our luggage.
Mel ordered this book as well (there is also an English version of it), so she can check on forehand if all the walks are still valid. Last year one of the roads of a walk described in the book was blocked by a fence and there was sadly no way around it.

Also we will be visiting Mel’s mother. She wanted to meet these “weird people from Holland” her daughter told about. We know this is in a way an honour, so we accepted the invitation. We are looking forward to this, because this is all about the real Greek life.
We also will be introduced to some other people of her direct family. Some aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews. Although I wonder a bit about what “some people” is, I do know that Mel’s family is very large. When I mentioned this to Mel, she grinned knowingly… that should be a warning *SMILE* .

There are also new places that we would like to visit and are placed on our “wanna go” list.
The ruins of the Temple of Aphrodite is something we would like to go. The temple is said to be very beautiful and the area around is great to make some nice walks in a very peaceful area.
Already planned for last year was a visit to the abandoned town of Klapados, where in 1912 the last fight with Turkey soldiers took place and made the liberation of Lesvos a fact.
I would also like to go snorkelling again. Mel knew some interesting places, where we haven’t been yet, to do this. And Marion would like to go to the top of mount Olympus.

This “planning sessions” are fun. It more about exchanging ideas and suggestions then making a real planning. None of us wants a strict planning. We want to be flexible in what we do and just see day by day what we are going to do.
But it is good to know what the possibilities and preferences are. Next month we do such a meeting again :-).

200 Days Rob

 

 

 

(Credit detail map: Google Maps
Credit photo’s: Rob)


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