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?
This was a week that even I found surprisingly quiet.
- After over a month of off-and-on effort, I finally managed to order a bunch of back issues of Akıl Oyunları, a Turkish puzzle magazine that comes highly rated from several people. It’s basically impossible to get in the United States without some serious shenanigans. Whether they’ll actually arrive successfully at my house or not is another matter entirely…
- I actually watched a tiny bit of television this past week, namely two or three more episodes of the second season of Jessica Jones. It definitely got better from the first, rather dire, one. I’m still not sure it’s good, and it definitely comes across as particularly weak after the fantastic first season, but I’m going to finish it off… if only so that I can watch the second season of Luke Cage.
- I even watched a couple of movies, another rare event for me. The Avengers: Infinity War was pretty much exactly what I suspected it’d be; I don’t want to talk about it too much, for fear of spoilers, but I can imagine some people who aren’t aware of comic book tropes were Real Shook Up by that ending. I also watched A Quiet Place, which was excellent. It had a couple of silly bits, but overall it was a finely-crafted bit of horror. It’s basically Signs but only 5% as stupid.
- After working on it off-and-on for well over a year, I saw the end credits of Picross 3D Round 2… which unlocked a whole other set of puzzles. Heh. This wasn’t surprising to me, as that result had already been spoiled… and I hadn’t gotten the final score emblem yet even though I’ve received a perfect score in every level. I’m taking the post-game easy, though, as I solved a lot of puzzles in a rush to get there, and it’s one of the few videogames that actually hurts a bit to play, due to the weird claw grip you have to hold the 3DS in.
- I’m not playing this one, but Landail is: he’s made it to Panzer Dragoon Saga, a game I played back in the late ’90s or early ’00s on a loaned copy from a friend. It goes for over a thousand bucks now (!!). I was a bit worried that it wouldn’t hold up to my memory… but, no, it’s still a beautiful, well-designed game. Phew. Sometimes it’s not Happy Sappy Delusion Syndrome muddling your memories of the past. It’s been a blast to watch.
- I actually made more-than-single-line changes to Giles over the past week. Nothing too exciting, mind, but it required me to actually look at some Python documentation, which is more of a commitment than I had made to programming in quite a while.
As is often true for a quiet week, I still somehow figure out how to write several hundred words…
Hey, look, I’m actually writing this on Friday for a change!
- I finally, finally finished up Diablo III‘s Platinum trophy on my PS4. I promptly uninstalled the game afterwards. I need to write a post at some point about how unhealthy “trophy culture” is, particularly because just about every game has one or two absolutely idiotic trophies that make what is otherwise a delightful experience miserable. For Diablo III, that was the “do 500 bounties” trophy: it was a tremendous amount of boring busywork. Fortunately…
- …I did many of said bounties while watching Twitch. I still watch Landail on the regs, and I’ve also started watching quite a bit of Sinatar, who mostly plays old PC RPGs, for much the same reason: a chill pace and a sense of actual community in chat.
- With Diablo III done, I picked Shining in the Darkness back up again with some more seriousness. I’ve made quite a bit more progress in the game, and am still very much enjoying the act of mapping the game on actual graphing paper. There’s something deeply satisfying about looking at the stack of maps I’ve drawn that staring at a map on GameFAQs just doesn’t match.
- I’ve been reading a lot too. In fact, the only thing I picked up on Prime Day was a shiny new Kindle Paperwhite. I’m not a huge fan of it being touch-only, but I can’t deny that it is a lot easier to read thanks to the LCD backlighting. Getting all of my books onto it was a hassle, since they’re spread across my Amazon account and my computer (yes, before you tech people ask, I use Calibre), but I got everything back up and running the way I like it. That said, my current efforts are geared towards a fat stack of books I checked out from the library, including a whole lot of Christopher Moore that I missed out on in the last fifteen years or so.
- I went to a dinner thing Thursday night. The company was good and I got to play board games for the first time in something like a month, which was a pleasure, even if they were all very casual games. The Mind continues to be fascinating, and I got to play CrossTalk for the first time, which plays a lot like the old TV show Password, with the key twist being that the other team guesses when your team captain gives clues. This makes the game a fascinating game of chicken on the part of the captains. It was a lot of fun and way more interesting than even I had suspected it would be, and that was without the advanced “gamers’ rules”.
- The dentist was was fine. Expensive, but fine.
It was a pretty good week, on the balance; I cleared a couple of irritating things off of my plate and got to play board games with people, so, y’know: pretty peak retirement living.
Hey, I adulted this week! Just a bit, but still.
- Nearly a thousand dollars of work on my car–four new tires, new front brakes, further brake work–but hopefully that’s all it’ll need for the next couple of years. I’ve been driving my Scion xD now for a decade and it’s never had a single actual mechanical problem, knock on wood. Let’s keep that trend going.
- More Transparent and The Expanse, although I’m almost done with the latter. I’m delighted that they finished the adaptation of the first book halfway through the second season; they let the material breathe more with those extra episodes, and it paid off.
- Still playing way, way too much Let It Die. I need to beat it so I can put it aside.
- I’m over 60wpm with Colemak. Improvements are much slower now, but I’m already a faster typist than the majority of the world, so I’ll take it.
- Turns out that montelukast (brand name Singulair) actually works when Claritin doesn’t, so I have a sense of taste again. That’s nice.
- Watching a lot of Twitch. Mostly Landail and catsonurhead still, but also one of my old coworkers who streams Spelunky on Thursday nights, and…
- …various folks streaming Prismata. I backed it on Kickstarter years ago, and it finally hit Steam Early Access yesterday. Several biggish streamers have been sponsored to play it; those streams are generally awful, with lots of people whining about the streamer not playing Gwent or Hearthstone or whatever. What’s been much better are the random small streamers jumping in and having fun. It’s been neat to see this from the side of someone already very familiar with the game.
I’m overdue for a longer form retrospective, given that I’m five weeks in. I’ll try to write one this coming week, along with a bit more besides. I still haven’t figured out a review-discuss format I’m happy with, which is stymieing my writing some, and as I’ve mentioned before my life isn’t exactly action-packed, so it’s hard to come up with topics that won’t bore most of you out of your skull. I’ll work on it, though.
I continued to make a good go of minimizing the amount of adulting this week. In fact, I was rewarded for doing so; I got the notice in for getting my car inspected so that I can update its registration. This means that the maintenance procrastination I’ve engaged in for the last month and a half retroactively became time-saving genius. Good job, me!
I’m up to 42 words per minute of typing with Colemak. Median typing speed according to Google is 41, so in less than a week of using a completely new keyboard layout I’m already at a functional level. It’s a painfully slow and error-ridden functional level, mind. I’m actually at an ugly point where I’m still not great at all with the New Thing, and my ability to do the Old Thing is much worse due to overwriting those synapses in my brain. I’ve taken to doing a few QWERTY typing tests every day just to make sure I don’t become a hunt-and-peck typist when I sit down at any keyboard that isn’t mine. Thankfully the keyboard that is mine supports changing layouts on the fly in the hardware, so I don’t have to mess with operating system jankiness when I bounce back and forth. I haven’t had to do that much either; it’s just long passwords that are more muscle memory of patterns than actual characters I remember that send me scurrying back to QWERTY.
Other than that, I’ve:
- taken to watching both catsonurhead and Landail on the regular on Twitch; the former is a super-friendly speedrunner and the latter is on an insane quest to play through every console RPG ever;
- started streaming on Twitch myself at http://twitch.tv/sunfalltoennien, mostly Let It Die but also some random other stuff that no one watches;
- finished the fifth season of The Americans and the second season of Transparent, both of which were amazing;
- gone to dinner twice with old coworkers at the same restaurant, because it has bacon wrapped cheese stuffed jalapeños and is therefore automatically the best restaurant in town;
- used the whole slow typing thing to push off coding and writing yet another week.
I also played some board games early in the week, which I already wrote about here. I both do and don’t look forward to giving gaming in a public space another try.
Lastly, bored status: still definitely no.