Prepare for the lack of excitement.
- I could say that I spent most of the week recovering from my surgery, and I suppose that’s technically true, but honestly it simply hasn’t been a very big deal. I went from downing ~6 ibuprofen a day to 2-3 on Monday and stopped taking it entirely on Wednesday, and I’m not completely convinced that it was ever actually doing… well… anything in the first place. There’s still a bit of a twinge of pain when I sit down and stand up, but it’s extremely minor. I have a pretty sweet enormous bruise under my belly button now too that didn’t show up until Monday. But I also ran the roads, ate what I wanted, and otherwise lived a pretty dang normal life for me. Recovering? Ehh.
- Speaking of which, I immediately proceeded to eat a bunch of things you’re not really supposed to eat whilst recovering from having your gall bladder removed, because I wanted to know sooner rather than later if diet was going to be an issue. Given that I’ve now had fried chicken, spicy tortilla chips, deep-dish pizza, and tons of ramen, I think I can conclusively state that there’s been no meaningful change to what my body can handle. Except, of course, I don’t have gall bladder attacks any more. Woo!
- I’m pretty sure my Twitch experiment is done for, at least the more-serious daytime streaming I did that led me to finishing Final Fantasy III and Destiny of an Emperor. The combination of low viewership (which, I know I know, grows over time) and my desire to be “engaging” made it feel much more like work than like something I was enjoying. I’ll probably still do evening PS4 streams, because those are decidedly low-effort on my part, but otherwise I suspect I’m done. A shame, too, because my emotes are pretty sweet. We’ll see how long Twitch keeps me as an affiliate despite not actually doing anything worth, y’know, being one…
- We had a board game night at Fercott on Tuesday, which surprised the woman who runs the place, given how close it was to my procedure. It was a chance to introduce someone new to more complex games, and I used Dominion for that introduction, as I think it’s in a sweet spot of “simple core, complex strategy” that can act as a killer gateway to bigger-box games. I wrote about my trepidation regarding teaching games earlier this week; given that I was teaching a game I’ve taught something like a hundred times, though, it went just fine.
- I also played a ton of Dominion online via the official site yesterday, an even dozen of games over several hours with quite a few different people. (All friends, though; I don’t play with random folk.) All of the games involved Renaissance, which I continue to enjoy a great deal.
- I watched two movies on Monday: Aquaman, which was Just Fine, and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which may be the best superhero movie ever made. I don’t know that I can say anything about it that hasn’t already been said online, but: if you haven’t seen it, you should. It’s fantastic.
- I may finally be reaching the end of Picross 3D Round 2; the last couple of book completions (sets of puzzles in the game) haven’t made new ones appear yet. It’s been a long haul and, as much as I’ve enjoyed the game, I’m pleased that it will actually be ending. Maybe not soon–there are still a lot of puzzles to solve–but having an end in sight may motivate me to play it faster.
- Play of both Borderlands and Earth Defense Force 5 continues apace. I also started playing Live a Live, a SNES-era JRPG that was never brought to the States (but has a fan translation), as a follow-up to Destiny of an Emperor. I’m not streaming any more but will probably finish the game; it’s been quite interesting so far.
- I sure should be reading this stack of books I checked out from the library when I thought I was going to be a bit more convalescent than I actually am. Hm.
So far, a strong recommendation for removing failing organs from your body. A+ would remove gall bladder again.
Fifty sure is a nice, big round number, isn’t it?
- Wrapped up Castle Rock over the weekend. It ended up being okay but not great, leaning too heavily on past Stephen King works without establishing its own identity, and with some seriously incoherent bits. (Like, what happened to the forest fire?) I’ve also gone through the first four or so episodes of Superstore, which is a perfectly fine workplace comedy with an excellent cast; it’s nothing spectacular, but sometimes you just wanna watch something pretty funny for twenty-two minutes.
- I watched Solo: A Star Wars Story early this week. It was… fine? I paused it halfway through to watch a streamer for an hour or so, though, so clearly it didn’t completely engross me. Like Rogue One, it felt deeply inessential due to being a prequel where you know the end result, but for whatever reason I enjoyed Rogue One‘s grit more.
- Most of Tuesday and Wednesday were spent watching poker on Twitch, as mentioned here earlier.
- I’ve been playing Picross 3D Round 2 off and on for a long time, and went back to playing it more actively this week. The real big gaming thing is that I picked Shining in the Darkness back up after putting it aside for months; my hand-drawn graph paper maps were taunting me, and I want to play Shining Force sooner rather than later. I ended up sinking a bunch of time Thursday and Friday into SitD, and am pretty close to the end now. It’s a solid dungeon-crawler, with an impressively done difficulty curve that still keeps me on my toes without feeling insurmountable. If only the inventory system weren’t so awful.
- Lastly, I went over to an old coworker’s house for game night Friday evening. We played a bunch of new-to-me games. Quacks of Quedlinburg felt way too random for the length of time it lasts. I also had a strong negative impression of Azul, which led me to realize that there’s a whole class of board games (namely those with a bunch of take-that involved) that I really intensely dislike unless I’m playing them two-player; I had a similar reaction to Photosynthesis, although that’s a game I enjoyed quite a bit more mechanically. On the positive side, The Fox in the Forest seems like it might be the first two-player trick-taking game that actually works, which is exciting. I need to play it more to confirm that.
It’s only two more weeks before I’ve been doing this for a year. That’s a crazy, sobering thought.
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…
I had a couple of conversations yesterday evening about my blog; I was at a social going-away party thing that had a lot of people I hadn’t really talked to since before I retired. And it made me realize that in some ways, yeah, this blog is exactly the sort of obligation I’m trying not to have this year. I’m not gonna lie. Sometimes it’s hard to come up with something even semi-interesting to write about, and I feel that as a sort of weight around my shoulders. But I also realized that a little obligation, a little “hey, you need to do this at least a couple of times a week” is actually a good thing. Never mind the practical, useful side of it, the fact that writing here is good de-rusting for whatever future tippy-tappy endeavors I embark on. A tiny bit of discomfort that results in something that others seem to enjoy? That’s the best kind of obligation.
- I don’t think I even cracked a puzzle book once this week. That might be a first since retirement.
- It’s because almost all of my time has been spent reading. After finishing off King’s The Outsider, I immediately put his “crime trilogy” on hold at the local library. It was a long weekend, so I couldn’t get them until Tuesday, but snag them I did. I’ve already finished the first two and plan on spending the rest of today reading the third.
- I got them in large print, too. It’s nice. I had already jacked the font size way up on my Kindle back when I read the first Wheel of Time book, and having something much like that in a physical volume is handy. Unfortunately not a lot of my favorite genre (science fiction) gets large-print editions, so I’ll have to enjoy this luxury while I can.
- I didn’t really watch TV either. I did play some video games, but it’s mostly the usual free-to-play suspects.
- Keto’s going well. I still haven’t weighed myself, but I had the most important signifier Friday morning: the shorts I had been wearing off and on the last few weeks were loose enough I had to hitch them up repeatedly at Walmart. Woo!
- I saw Deadpool 2 with some good friends from work last Saturday. It was… exactly what I wanted out of Deadpool 2. If you saw the first, and thought of it as “a comic book movie cranked to 11,” then Deadpool 2 was the same thing cranked to 13 or 14.
- No further movement on the “getting rid of boardgames” front to report.
- Dove deep into reading about modern abstract boardgames again, which happens every six months or so. The result this time was some code changes to Giles to make one particular game more flexible. The desire to implement a whole new game or two has mostly passed, unfortunately, but even this little bit of programming felt good.
- Still no actual prose on a page, although stuff is aggressively percolating. Soon. Soon.
Soon. (Man. That doesn’t even look like a word to me now.)
Sorry for the late update; last night was a bit rough and I had a friend over today.
- Keto is going well. I fit into a couple of pairs of shorts I haven’t been able to wear in a while, just in time for the hot summer months.
- I finished up The Punisher, which was Just Fine. Time to start Jessica Jones season 2.
- I actually watched a couple of movies recently; specifically, I caught up on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, watching both Black Panther and Spiderman: Homecoming. Both of them were great in different ways.
- Still slowly reading Scott Westerfeld’s Afterworlds, which hasn’t grabbed me the way most of his books do. After that I’ll go back to the Wheel of Time series, at least for one more book.
- Did a bunch of puzzles, including the single largest Kakuro I’ve completed. It took me about six hours (!), although at least two of that was because I screwed up and had to erase over half the puzzle. Ugh. I persevered, though, which made me happy; a younger Phil would have scratched through the puzzle and moved on.
- Speaking of puzzles, my latest order of Japanese magazines came in. I also ordered a pair of books for the daughter of one of my friends, who has done a bunch of Sudoku but not much else. It was fun walking her through some of the different puzzle types. I gifted her one of my precious Zebra M-402s. She’s aware that’s the only one she gets.
- My wrists are behaving way better than they had been, which is good, because my old braces finally gave up the ghost. I ordered some new ones just a few minutes ago, actually.
A pleasant, quiet week overall. I’m almost done with all of the first round of the Great Value flavor enhancers; expect to see an up-to-date review/ranking sometime this coming week.
A quick one this week, being not at home and all.
- Watched several movies with Mom, a few that I had seen already (Get Out, Hidden Figures) and a few I hadn’t (John Wick 2: The Legend of Curly’s Gold, Lincoln).
- Finished up Matter, which came close to crashing my Kindle thanks to the weird table at the end. (Great book, though.) Next up is Surface Detail.
- Lots of puzzles. I even got my mother an introductory book for sudoku, which came in today, and I plan on showing her how it works this afternoon.
- Several meals with family at yummy local restaurants, because if you’re in south Louisiana and you’re not eating out on the regs, you’re doing it wrong. Also, y’know, family.
- I brought Concordia with me from North Carolina and managed to get a game of it in on Monday. I hope to make it happen at least one more time before I leave.
- Not a lot of videogaming, although I’ve managed a bit more Let It Die than usual.
- Being allergy free is awesome. And the weather’s great too. But it’s a short-lived period here in Louisiana, this spring, and I got lucky with my timing.