Another quiet week; I’ll try to be less blather-y than last time.
I finally finished Ash. It was definitely worth the read, even though I probably did permanent damage to my eyesight with that damn book. It’s hard to recommend, though, given its length… but I’ll recommend it anyway. Gritty, clever, and moving, it made for a superb read. And if nothing else it’ll take you ages and feel like an accomplishment when you’re done!
I’m now reading The Labyrinth Index, the eighth book in the Laundry Files series. It’s very good so far, although the setting is very, very bleak (for reasons that are pretty major spoilers for the series as a whole). Despite it being a much quicker read than Ash–how can it not be?–I find myself putting it aside constantly to do something else. It’s not the book’s fault; it’s that I’m pretty drained on the reading front. I’m gonna finish it in the next day or two, though.
As mentioned earlier this week, the puzzle stuff I’ve been working on with Krazydad went live on his site. We’re now working on… something else, that may or may not result in further puzzling goodness. Further news as events warrant.
I’ve continued to poke my way through Tametsi, which is fantastic but also intensely brain-burning. After uninstalling all of the free-to-play stuff on my PS4, I… basically haven’t booted it up since, other than to buy the new Williams pinball table pack for Pinball FX3.
I finished up a book of sudoku puzzles I had been working on off-and-on for, like, four years. Well, mostly finished. The last three puzzles suddenly required a bunch of advanced techniques that the other 209 didn’t; I know how to do those techniques, mind you, but I felt it was a betrayal of confidence in the structure of the magazine and called it quits. One down, a million to go…
I’m not really watching anything on TV right now other than keeping up with The Good Place. You are watching The Good Place, right? It’s fantastic.
This weekend looks to be very ugly here, with incoming snow-storms. I’ve prepped as much as is reasonable and am heading to bed early now just in case. Hopefully I just end up snowed in rather than, y’know, snowed in and freezing. We shall see!
After months of putting it off, I finally beat Let It Die late Sunday afternoon while a friend of mine watched through the magic of Sony’s “Share Play.” Monday morning, I uninstalled the game, likely never to play it again.
Total time spent in game: upwards of 560 hours. That’s a bit of a lie; there’s at least twenty or so hours there that were just the PS4 idling, for Reasons. But only a bit of one. I most certainly actively played the game for upwards of five hundred hours. The only thing I’ve ever played even close to that much is probably the MUD I ran back in the mid-to-late ’90s, sadly defunct now.
So, an important question comes to mind: was Let It Die any good?
I… think so. I’m not certain. It’s free-to-play, and while it has without a doubt the least scummy F2P mechanics of any game I’ve played–it actually hands out the premium currency often enough that you never need to spend a penny on the game–I’m also aware that the gacha/slot machine mechanics that underlie basically every F2P game have a nasty way of short-cutting people’s critical faculties.
I’ll talk about the bits I am confident of, though. Let It Die is an action RPG roguelike… thing, with a distinct sensibility in style and sound design that pretty much had to come from Grasshopper Manufacture, the company that Suda51 (of No More Heroes and Killer7 fame) started. It has, without a doubt, the best damn soundtrack of any videogame since Katamari Damacy.(The fact that you can’t buy the OST is frickin’ criminal.) And the combat in the game is extremely satisfying, in a Dark Souls-esque way; you learn how to handle just about everything with careful consideration (and the occasional death). Most of the enemies in the game amount to AI-controlled versions of your own characters, which at first seems a bit lame–where’s the variety?–but it ends up being a strength, not a weakness, as it gives you a sense of how each weapon works from both sides.
The ending, which I won’t spoil, was something of a disappointment, in that there was a fairly obvious “twist” I was expecting that didn’t actually happen. And the ending is actually no ending at all, nowadays; the game is fairly crammed with “post-game” content (and only now do I realize just how ridiculous that particular term is… how can anything in a game be, you know, post-game?), but after sinking the amount of time I did into the title I had no interest in pursuing those particular slogs.
It has crafting mechanisms, which are the main place that the gacha/lottery elements come into play, but other than a couple of particular grinds–expect to see a lot of a particular 21-22-23F run–it doesn’t actually feel that onerous. It has kinda-sorta-not really permadeath, but careful play (and judicious use of the freemium currency) can work around that too. And the asynchronous multiplayer PVP is an interesting design effort that I wish more single-player games would take a very hard look at copying.
Yes, there are a couple of really nasty difficulty spikes in the game, but they’re nothing that can’t be overcome with good equipment and deilberate care. Above all, I feel like its design is scrupulously fair, which is basically something that is never ever true for free-to-play games.
This is all very disjointed, so let’s circle back around to the question. Is Let It Die any good? Yes. Yes it is. But I uninstalled it.
That said, I uninstalled all the other free-to-play games the night before, right after I beat Let It Die, with no sense of loss. And right now I’m glancing at my PS4 controller, wondering whether I should install LID again and make another run at the Tower of Barbs.
But will I?
[Let It Die is also available on Steam nowadays, for those of you who don’t have a PS4 and want to check it out. It’s free there too. But don’t say I didn’t warn you as to how much time it may absorb.]
This is just a quick note: the puzzles that I’ve been working on with Krazydad–Ripple Effects, as made not-very-famous by Nikoli–went live this evening! You can even solve them online, no need for a printer. The online version can be found here, and if you’re the sort that would rather print them out and solve them the old fashioned way, the PDFs are here. I will definitely be doing a Phil’s Puzzle Primer on them soon, so stay tuned, but there are instructions in both places that will help you get started. Enjoy! And you may even see more collaboration the two of us in the future. We’re currently discussing a new puzzle type of my own devising. We’ll see what happens.
This week was even more low-key than last week, with one major exception. And that’s fine by me.
I’m still reading Ash: A Secret History. It’s very, very good, and also very, very long; I’m on page 716 as I write this, which is almost precisely two-thirds of the way through the book. Most days I manage somewhere between fifty and a hundred and fifty pages. It’ll be done soon, and it’s likely the last (physical) book I read this year; I’ll jump to my Kindle, because…
…the power went out at my house Saturday morning at 3am and was off until around 2pm. It was cold. I ended up bundling under two blankets on my recliner and starting the second Wheel of Time book on my Kindle, which was half-charged. (Thanks, battery pack I still have from my job! You kept my phone and my Kindle going.) Fortunately the power did come back on before I had to find somewhere else to crash for the evening.
Most evenings have been spent watching Twitch, and specifically NickCapricorn, a small streamer who has been playing various classic games. I do mean small; it’s not uncommon for there to only be one or two of us active in his chat. But he’s a nice guy and he keeps up conversation… and he’s currently playing StarTropics, one of my favorite old NES games, for the first time. It’s been a delight watching him do so very badly at it.
I continued working with Krazydad on the Ripple Effect implementation, by which I mean I wrote a bit of code and did quite a lot more test solving of puzzles while he messed with a bunch of parameters. I suspect the new puzzle type will be going up on his website relatively soon, which is pretty exciting. They’re not quite as good as human-made ones… but I now have code to generate an infinite number of them for the rest of my life, so that seems like a reasonable trade-off.
I’ve also continued to solve paper puzzles during the day, mostly as a break from reading Ash. I’m only eight puzzles away from finishing this dang Sudoku book I’ve been working on for years. (Of course, those eight puzzles are the hardest ones, and they generally take me half an hour or so to solve, so there’s still plenty of time left in there…)
And on the videogame side, I was turned on to Tametsi by folks in a puzzle-related Discord. It’s basically “extremely hard Minesweeper,” and is very very good. Also very cheap ($3). I’m excited to work my way through it. (It says that it’s Windows-only, but tametsi.exe is actually a Java JAR file, so if you know the proper incantations it’s perfectly playable on both Mac and Linux “natively.”)
I also put a lot of time into Let It Die this week, and particularly today. No, I still haven’t beaten it, because I know when I do I’ll stop playing, and I still really enjoy the game hundreds (and hundreds) of hours in. But I think I’m really, truly going to push to beat the game before I head home for the holidays.
After being a good boy for Thanksgiving, I utterly exploded the diet on Monday with some delicious pizza. Well, lots of delicious pizza. I ended up fasting for the rest of the week, breaking it this morning, which will hopefully help me get back on track. I’ve already written off the holidays–in fact, I spent time yesterday figuring out which snacks I’m going to have shipped to my Mom’s house before I get there–so the better I do before then the less catastrophic my time home will be. And then it’ll be back to the grind come January… but isn’t that what Januaries are for?
(As a side note, I managed to finagle the right bits to go to my old job’s holiday party one last time, mostly thanks to the efforts of a friend who still works there. I’m looking forward to it; the party itself is always pleasant, but I started a tradition of playing card games and other fun easy group games in the lobby of the hotel until the wee hours of the morning after the party, and getting to do that one last time will be nice. That’s not for a couple of weeks, though.)
…for a week where not a lot happened, I sure wrote a lot. Huh. I’ll try to be more brief next week. Maybe my fingers just wanted to type a bunch again, now that NaNo’s over?
On the face of it, that might seem like an absurd thing to say. Crosswords are the only type of pencil puzzle with more widespread appeal than sudoku, and they’ve been around a hell of a lot longer. (Word searches are certainly a thing, but most serious puzzle people don’t take them very, well, seriously, for reasons we may explore some day.) But in the same way that I was once told by someone I otherwise respected that they had “moved on” from things like ’80s pop music to more serious auditory pursuits, it’s easy to find people who–while they may have, once, seen the appeal–find no interest in the 9×9 grid of numbers that comprise this most common of logic puzzles.
Like Mr. Too-Good-For-Depeche-Mode, they are wrong.
Sudoku looks like it’s about numbers, but it really isn’t. I had a discussion with my mail carrier a week or so ago; I had ordered some sudoku magazines that shipped in clear plastic wrap, so you could see the cover, and she admitted to me that she had never done a sudoku, had never even tried, because “it has something to do with math?” You know exactly the face that she was making while she said that, too. So much of our population is genuinely intimidated by math, which is a damn shame, but that’s yet another subject. Anyhow, I explained to her how it actually works, and she lit up. “I understand how it works now!” She said that with the sort of shocked pleasure usually reserved for finding a forgotten fifty-dollar bill in a jacket pocket.
So, just in case, here: To solve a sudoku, you must put the digits 1-9 in the empty cells of the grid, such that each row, each column, and each 3×3 box marked out with the thick black lines has each digit exactly once.
That’s it. That’s all there is to sudoku.
Of course, that’s not even remotely true. Sudoku can be trivially simple, an exercise of writing in numbers as quick as you see the missing values, or it can be extremely difficult, requiring convoluted logic (and, in the worst cases, just flat-out brute force “let’s try everything” methods) to make even the slightest bit of progress. And that’s not counting the roughly 1.21 giga-variations of the puzzle. Those range from the most basic (a 6×6 grid, say, or a 16×16 ones) to bewildering mashups of multiple complicated rulesets. Interestingly, while vanilla sudoku make no use of the fact that the symbols are the digits 1 through 9, many variations actually rely on that fact… bringing math back into the whole thing.
If there are tragedies behind the worldwide explosion in popularity of the puzzle type, they have nothing to do with the form of the puzzle itself, which can be infinitely fascinating even in its most-basic form. The first and ultimate tragedy is that the creator of the puzzle type, a Mr. Howard Garns, passed away in 1989 before the craze became multi-national. He would no doubt have been delighted at the proliferation of the puzzle on bookshelves and in magazines around the world.
The second tragedy is more insidious, and is part and parcel of many modern puzzle types: most of the sudoku produced in the world are computer-generated, and it shows. They have boring solving paths, or ones that are too tightly constrained, requiring one specific deduction to make any progress at all. And there is an enormous glut of these boring puzzles, crowding out the good ones from easy availability. It’s always cheaper for a computer to churn out a thousand puzzles than to pay a human to make twenty, after all.
Here’s a confession: I used to look down on sudoku. Although I strive to be an anti-hipster in all of my tastes, I was–I say this with shame–a puzzle hipster. Sudoku was the super-popular one; my personal favorites, like Slitherlink and Fillomino, went basically ignored. So clearly they were superior; clearly sudoku was for weak-minded fools who couldn’t bother to learn how to do interesting puzzles.
Don’t worry. I got better.
That said, it’s very common for people to like it and, well, no other puzzle types, really. I personally think that that’s something of a shame–there are so many good puzzle types out there in the world–but if you’re going to pick a puzzle type to focus on, you could do much worse than sudoku.
Getting started with sudoku
If you’re totally intimidated by the format and you want a physical book, start with Djape’s Sudoku for Kids (Amazon). They’re computer-generated, but they start out at 4×4 and get bigger from there. There are also several variations in the book (even-odd and X, primarily), which is a good primer on some of the more common alternate sudoku types you’ll see in the wild.
Alternately, install Simon Tatham’s Portable Puzzle Collection (Google Play Store | Apple App Store | Desktop) and you can dial the puzzle difficulty however you like it, from trivial 4x4s to diabolical 16x16s. They’re computer-generated, so will never be great, but they have the distinct benefit of being free.
Getting good sudoku
…is actually quite easy despite the enormous numbers of cookie-cutter computer generated puzzles out there in the market.
Nikoli’s Original Sudoku series is easily available in the US (Amazon) at any major book-seller. They are the company that originally popularized the puzzle, first in their native Japan and then elsewhere, and all of their puzzles are hand-made.
If you’ve done a ton of vanilla sudoku and want to stretch out a bit, Djape’s Loco Sudoku (Amazon) and its sibling Cuckoo Sudoku are full of variety, including 5-puzzle “Samurai” grids like the one above. I’m also particularly partial to Thomas Snyder and Wei-Hua Huang’s Tight Fit Sudoku (Amazon), which has the distinct advantage of being cheap and small enough to fit in a purse.
If you feel like you’ve tapped out the vein of regular sudoku for being too easy, well, have I got the puzzle magazine for you: 超難問ナンプレ&頭脳全開数理パズル (Amazon.co.jp), which roughly translates to “Super Difficult Sudoku & Math Puzzles.” The first puzzle in a typical issue starts at 4-star difficulty (out of five), and they go all the way to 6. No, don’t ask me how that works.
The best overall sudoku-focused magazine that I know of is also Japanese; it’s ナンプレファン (Amazon.co.jp), or Nanpure Fan; or reasons I don’t want to get into, sudoku is called “Nanpure” in Japan by everyone but Nikoli. Each issue has a good mix of classic sudoku and a bunch of different variants, along with a dash of random other logic puzzles.
Ahh, the sweet return to normalcy after the pressure that is NaNo.
I don’t allow myself to read while I’m writing in November; it has a habit of over-influencing what I put on the page. So, with the novel knocked out, it’s time to dig back in, right? Well, yes and no. I still had an enormous stack of books from the library that I had been renewing as I wrote, and when I was in the middle of reading the second post-NaNo one I realized that I kept glancing at that stack with trepidation, and (worse) I wasn’t even enjoying the book I was reading. Not that it was a bad book! It just felt like an obligation rather than, you know, the pleasure that reading should be. Ugh. So I bit the bullet and brought almost everything back to the library, knowing that I can check them out again in the new year at a more leisurely pace. The only one I kept is Ash: A Secret History, which is famous for being the longest single-volume fantasy novel ever written. It’s so long that the US printing is actually four books, but one of the libraries in Cardinal has the single-volume edition. It weighs three or four pounds, easy. So, yeah, I’m reading, and this is still a lot of book to finish in the next three weeks, but it’s just the one.
I’ve also jumped back into the puzzle books full-force, which has been nice. I’m so very close to being done with a book of sudoku that I’ve been poking at off and on for something like four years, and my goal is to knock it out before I go back home for the holidays so I can swap it out for a new one. Hopefully it won’t take as long.
As mentioned earlier this week, I’ve even been doing some programming, which has been nice. I still want to jump into the rewrite of DXV’s Dudes of Stuff and Things, but I’m going to hold off on that until the new year, since I know I’m not going to work on it when I’m back home for the holidays.
Oh yeah, it was Thanksgiving this week, wasn’t it? I went to a coworker’s house for the evening and made the (very hard, given my predilections) decision to not meaningfully stray from my diet, even though there were so many delicious carbs there. So many. But I felt better afterwards for staying strong, and I still got to hang out with friends for a while, so it all worked out. (We also played CrossTalk, which is a fantastic family/party game.)
On a meta note, it seems like most of the problems with the new Gutenberg editor in WordPress have been fixed. That’s nice!
The time when I travel back home for the holidays rapidly approaches. I’m looking forward to it, to be sure. If anything, Thanksgiving made me kinda excited to go back and see family and some of my old friends. Soon!
For the last two days, I’ve been working with someone on a program.
This came about because they run a rather famous puzzle website, full of puzzles of tons of different types that they generate via computer. That site has a puzzle type that is close, but not quite, like one of my favorite Nikoli types, Ripple Effect. And their site has a bit that says “Don’t see your favorite puzzle type? Let me know!”
So I did. I even sent them photos from a puzzle book I just got this past Saturday, that I’m in the middle of solving, which happens to have some Ripple Effects in it. They said that they’d take a look at it, and honestly I thought that that would be the end of the whole deal.
Then they contacted me, asking: are you willing to transcribe some puzzles, so that they can be used as test cases for the solver?
Here’s a (puzzle) thing: I like to transcribe puzzles. I’ve done so for the tiniest fraction of the number that I’ve solved over the years, although if I had infinite time and energy I would put every single puzzle I’ve ever solved in a computer-readable format. That probably sounds really stupid, but I feel that puzzles are a fascinating form of entertainment, and one we treat entirely too ephemerally, tossing the magazines once we’re done with them. I fully realize that I have a biased view here, but is it so crazy to think that in 100 years someone wouldn’t want to try and solve a full issue of, say, Nanpure Fan in the same way that I sometimes enjoy leafing through old advertisements? It’s not like the type of puzzles I do (i.e. non-crossword-y ones) have an expiration date. That sudoku will solve just as well in 2118 as it does here in 2018.
Anyhow, of course I said yes, and set about immediately to transcription. Well, no. It turned out that the format that was being suggested was actually a bit of a pain to write by hand, and I thought of a way to make it easier, so the website’s author sent me the code he was using and I ended up banging on it to suit my will.
As of today we’re sharing our work in a Github repository; I’ve mostly done transcription (of course) and some code cleanup, and he’s been working on the actual solver and friends, since this is all based on code he’s been the master of for years.
If the generated Ripple Effect puzzles actually get published, I’ll link them here, but even if not it’s been nice to work on some code for the first time since I retired. And it’s been nice to collaborate, to bounce ideas back and forth on how to do a thing. That’s definitely something I miss from the job.
And, if nothing else, it got me to preserve at least a few more puzzles from a couple of books I have. Probably no one else cares, but perhaps one day they can be used to reconstruct a puzzle book, to be solved by our ancestors who may have never touched a physical magazine at all, to be experienced all over again.
This one’s a day late, but there’s a reason for that.
I did it! My sixteenth(ish) NaNovel, Ex Urbes, is done, as of about three minutes ago. I wrote 50,214 words according to wc, and a few more than that according to the official NaNo word counter. (They actually used to use wc as well, so it kinda bugs me that they don’t any more.) It was an interesting experience, writing while retired, quite different from the way I’ve written NaNo before; I didn’t feel a lot of time pressure, so found it hard to do much more than 2-3K a day. Yesterday put me at 38K, though, and I decided that I was gonna finish this weekend come Hell or high water… and when I woke up this morning I went, no, I’m finishing today, dammit. And so I did. 12,369 words in one day is less than half of my peak, but it’s a pretty sizable chunk, roughly fifty pages or so of a typical book. Not bad.
What is bad? The novel. It’s terribad. But I’m glad it’s done.
Ways I’ve wasted time this week while not doing NaNo:
I continued to watch an episode of both Last Man on Earth and Brooklyn Nine-Nine each day. I’m almost at the end of the first series and the end of the last released season of the second, so that’ll be over soon. I… should probably watch more Sabrina, but as an hour-long show it felt like too much of an indulgence this week.
I also did a bunch of puzzles. I got another order in from Japan on Monday, and it included the latest Nikoli “Penpa” magazine, a superb variety mag they put out once a year that’s always my first recommendation to anyone who says they want to branch out and try things that aren’t sudoku. I’m doing the book in round-robin format, doing the first puzzle of each type, then circling back to the start of the book to do the second, and so forth. It’s been a nice variety. (I skip Numberlink, though. I hate those puzzles.)
Lastly, I’ve been watching Twitch sporadically. I no longer really watch Landail, due to some creepy sexist stuff that goes on there that I decided I couldn’t really be part of any more, but catsonurhead is still awesome, and I’ve started watching some native Spanish-speaking streamers who also manage English better than I ever will their language. The number of watchers on their channels are low, so it’s got a nice community vibe.
We also had an extended game night this week at Fercott Fermentables. We played Antike II, and I won, although for most of the game I was strictly mid-pack. That game is absolutely fantastic, and it sang with five players. I look forward to bringing it home for the holidays and playing it (along with Spirit Island) with my next-door neighbors.
I still have a stack of books to read, many of which are close to being unrenewable, so I’m going to get cracking on those tomorrow. But for the rest of tonight I plan on vegging out and watching Twitch. I think I’ve earned it.
As of last night, I’ve written a bit over 25,000 words on Ex Urbes. That’s the halfway point in terms of NaNoWriMo, although I don’t feel that I’ve reached the halfway point of the story itself at all. Given how… not very good the story is, though, I’ll probably be pulling it to a stop at the 50K mark, wherever that ends up landing story-wise.
I’m not much of a plotter or outliner, and so my stories tend to be written very much “in the moment”: this happens, then this, and oh, this other thing as a consequence. This style of writing has its upsides and downsides. First, a few of the negatives.
Complicated plots are hard. If there are a bunch of stories interacting, with characters moving between them, you’re going to want to have at least an outline to work with, tracking where everyone and everything is so that you don’t have massive continuity issues.
It’s easy to get lost in the weeds. My stories have a bad habit of turning hard into tangents, as some idea takes me away from the actual thing that is happening for a while, until I fumble around and go, “oh yeah, I’m supposed to be writing about that.”
Length ends up being pretty random. Sometimes what feels like an epic story gets told rapidly, because I haven’t thought up enough detail to make it the length it should be; other times, what should be a short bit of detail ends up a rambling diatribe. (See above.)
There are quite a few positives, though:
My stories surprise even me. For example, I thought this particular one was going in a very specific direction; I even “stacked the deck,” so to speak, in an attempt to make that happen. But as of this most recent chapter, the main characters involved basically told me: No, that’s not what’s going to happen here. Instead, this. Which is fascinating. There are several stories I’ve written where I put something in early, for whatever reason, and then it ended up vital to a later part of the tale through no conscious planning on my part. That feels like magic when it happens.
The plot tends to feel organic. Oftentimes the parts I have planned beforehand have to be tinkered with because, once you get to them, it turns out that they don’t fit; characters have revealed their motivations to be different, the world is turning out slightly differently than that particular beat needs, and so on. Because I do as little of that as possible, though, the path through the story ends up feeling very natural on rereading. Which makes a lot of sense, because it matches what I was doing in the moment when I was writing: following the most natural path for the story itself.
It is very well suited for NaNoWriMo. I expect that I can write a well-plotted lengthy story, but that sort of thing takes care and effort that I don’t really have to give during a month-long sprint to the finish. Making it up as I go along? That I can do. I’ve only ever managed to write one heavily plotted NaNovel in the 14 years I’ve been doing this, and it was terrible. The plot also ran out less than a third of the way through, so I ended up having to wing a huge chunk of the story anyway.
Every writer is different and every story is different. I mostly write for myself during NaNo; I know that the quality of my output is hampered by the constraints, and so don’t concern myself overmuch with how consumable the end product is. I think that’s a smart decision, but I can also see how it’s holding me back. I really need to work on a story without those constraints, one that holds together from the start, and NaNo just isn’t the place for me to do that.
Writing, huh? This is writing, right? This is gonna be a short one, given what’s going on.
It’s NaNoWriMo. As of just a few moments ago, I cracked 16,000 words on Ex Urbes, the cyberpunk thriller I’m writing instead of Sharp because I had a lot of trouble with that story, as I wrote about. Ex Urbes isn’t any good, but it is easy to write, so that’s been working pretty well. I haven’t yet had one of my typical “amazing days” that help me knock out the novel sooner rather than later, but I’m ahead of the standard month-long pace, and am likely to continue pulling ahead even if I never have a burst-writing day.
One of the problems with NaNo, though, is that I feel like I can’t do the other things that I like to do, because I should be writing. I still have a big stack of books that I need to read, but I can’t read, because I should be writing. I’ve barely touched my puzzle books, because I should be writing. What that actually means is that I end up watching Twitch and browsing too much stupid stuff on the Internet, because those are lower commitment, but wasting more time than I would if I allowed myself the other things. Ugh.
I have been watching a bit of TV, though. I finished up Orange is the New Black, and intentionally haven’t added another drama to the list. I also haven’t watched Sabrina past the fourth episode. Mostly I watch a single episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Last Man on Earth each day, plus The Good Place on Hulu the day after it airs on TV. That feels like little enough to be messing with NaNo.
I need to finish up this novel so I can put books back on the agenda. I’m going to aim to do that over the next week, but we’ll see if that happens.