Texas Sunset Snapshot at the HEB

Photo info: motorola moto g(6), 3.95mm, f/1.8, 1/620 sec, ISO100
“Texas Sunset” Cedar Park, 2020

Today’s photo is a snapshot of a very common sight (at least for me). It’s a sunset from the HEB parking lot. I guess it’s just timing and the really cool clouds we have in Texas, but I get a ton of these shots. I’m very happy about this. 😀

Speaking of HEB (technically H-E-B), I think its near legendary status in the Twitterverse is rightly earned. When I first moved to Texas 20 years ago, I would have said… nah. But now when I travel back to Los Angeles and visit a Ralphs or Vons… wow, those supermarkets just cannot compare to HEB. Not only are HEBs bright, clean, usually with wide aisles, and renovated regularly, but their own brands of food are awesome, especially the Mi Comida line. My HEB has so many Mexican cheeses that are unfamiliar to me, but are all great. And the HEB “Creamy Creations” ice creams are generally awesome.

They also have a reputation of being a good employer, and their community outreach programs are also well-regarded, like their relief efforts after Hurricane Harvey and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of these factors, I’ve definitely joined the legions of HEB fans!

Enjoying Dragon Age: Inquisition

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2, 1/100 sec, ISO640
“Dragon Age: Inquisition” Cedar Park, 2020

A couple of weeks ago, I received a notification that Dragon Age: Inquisition was on sale, so I quickly bought it and installed. Several years ago I played Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II and finished both of them, which is rare for me with video games. I really enjoyed those two games. When the third game was released, my computer system was too underpowered to play it, so the game slipped off my radar. That was a full six years ago, and in that time, I have upgraded to a more powerful computer which has no trouble running the game at high detail, and I am absolutely loving Dragon Age: Inquisition!

The class/professions I choose for my characters vary, but for years my go-to race/gender in whatever fantasy RPG I play is a female elf. I think they just look the coolest (except in the Elder Scrolls games). This time, I went with a rogue-assassin for class, and I am having so much fun. I tend to play ranged characters (archers or mages), so playing a melee class is new, but I haven’t looked back.

What’s also great about playing a rogue as opposed to a mage is that the armor and weapon design is really cool. Dragon Age has always excelled in this respect, and it’s neat that the armor, weapons, and your character’s customizations all make it into the cutscenes. It’s like magic. I guess I’m old enough to remember when cutscenes were generic and not dynamically generated so this game design is still really neat to me.

What makes Dragon Age so fun for me is not so much the story, but the interactions with the other characters that you pick up along the way. You can have up to three companions in the group (and can switch up the line-up pretty much anytime) and while adventuring, they often have conversations amongst themeselves. Since each character has their own extensive backstory and distinct personalities, it’s fun to listen in on what they say to each other. It also adds to the plot and backstory. so I pay close attention to these conversations. I really love this aspect of the Dragon Age franchise.

Anyways, I think I am still pretty early on in the game, but things just keep getting more and more interesting with the plot. It’s so good. If you have never played Dragon Age before, I highly recommend picking this classic up!

Watching Paris, Texas

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/100 sec, ISO3200
“Nastassja and Harry Dean” Cedar Park, 2020

What a great movie… I can’t believe I haven’t seen Paris, Texas before. Harry Dean Stanton is fantastic in it. What I love about it is that the characters are normal. There’s no gimmick here. I was always on edge that there was going to be some sort of disturbing scene, but that never came. And when I was watching the credits, I was thinking about how amazing it was that a movie can be so engaging without the violence, action, or intense characters that so many of today’s movies rely on.

Matching Couple

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 19mm, f/4, 1/40 sec, ISO6400
“Three Seikos” Cedar Park, 2020

I noticed that my new watchband is the same color as my Traveler’s Notebook. They make a nice couple, don’t they? 😆

Last Letter / ラストレター (2020) – Movie Mini-Review

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 19mm, f/5, 1/75 sec, ISO6400
“Last Letter” Cedar Park, 2020

I watched Shunji Iwai‘s latest movie Last Letter (ラストレター) this afternoon and loved it. I’m a huge fan of both Matsu Takako and Hirose Suzu, so I knew that even if the story wasn’t so good, I could at least enjoy their acting. But I was captivated by the plot, which unfolded beautifully and culminated in a satisfying and emotional ending. (Have the tissue box ready 😭)

And I found the cinematography to be fantastic… a lovely film to look at just for the visuals, but combine that with a great plot and incredible actors, and Last Letter is a winner.

I love melodramatic movies, and this one fits the bill for sure. Recommended if you can find it! My rating is 8.5 out of 10.