KAMALA!!!!!!!!

Best piece of news I’ve had in a while?

Hell yes.

Now announce that Obama is going to be the first pick for SCOTUS.

#REVIEW: She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, Season 5

We finally finished watching the final season of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power last night, and the show has joined a very exclusive list: television programs that I started watching with the first season and then stuck with through to their conclusion. In fact, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is probably the only one. I watched all of How I Met your Mother, but didn’t get into it until the second or third season and then went back and got caught up. Everything else I’ve eventually bailed on.

Here’s the thing about this program: I loved– absolutely loved— the first season. Seasons 2 and 3 (which were basically one season, broken in half) and Season 4 were all good, but I wasn’t apeshit about them enough to write posts.

Season 5 is the show’s best season, and the only one that is even close is the first season. I don’t want to get into a lot of details, because if you’ve not taken my word on this in the past you need to experience the series for yourself, but the way it resolves all of the story and emotional arcs from the rest of the series without feeling like it’s ever ticking off boxes and without any filler episodes in insanely impressive. It’s a remarkable achievement in television, and everyone involved should be incredibly proud of themselves. If you have Netflix, this is what you’re paying your money for. Look past the name of the show if the idea of watching She-Ra in the first place seems weird to you; it definitely felt weird to me at first, as someone who never really knew anything or much cared about the source material (and even the He-Man stuff was never anything other than pretty ridiculous,) believe me, you’re gonna get over it. It’ll be okay.

You’re going to love this program. It’s magnificent. Check it out.


6:11 PM, Monday, May 25: 1,657,441 confirmed cases and 98,034 deaths.

On the zone

YES, I’m still talking about this.

I’m most of the way through my third playthrough of Nioh 2, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all to learn that I’ve got close to 200 hours into the game by now. This has been, for the one or two of you who cares, a switchglaive-and-tonfas build, and last night I finally got to the mystic arts fight for the tonfas, leaving me with only one more Achievement needed to platinum the game.

Let me back up a bit: you have the option of using several different weapons in Nioh 2, and toward the end of the game, if you have used a weapon enough and built enough proficiency with it, a one-on-one fight opens up against another user of that same weapon. If you win that fight, you unlock “mystic arts,” which are basically top-tier abilities for that weapon. There’s an achievement associated with each of them, but that fight can be brutal.

And the tonfas are the fastest weapon in the game, and the mystic arts fight is against Hattori goddamned Hanzo, who is a brutal bastard regardless of the circumstances. This fight is made especially difficult by the fact that my playstyle for this character has been significantly less aggressive and more methodical than usual.

And here’s the deal with Nioh 2, and with a lot of the games that I’ve been enjoying lately: if you fuck up, you’re gonna pay for it. So you are fighting the fastest boss in the game, with the fastest weapon in the game, and if you screw up even once during the fight he’s gonna beat you to death on the spot. I fought this bastard for an hour last night, on a playthrough where I’ve been dispatching most bosses on the first try, and most of my fights were ending with me still having heals left, because you don’t have time to heal if dude hits you once and you die. I had half a dozen fights where I got him down to maybe a third of his health bar and then boom bap dead because of one tiny slip-up.

And then … click.

And all the damn sudden I could see the Matrix.

And I beat the bastard and he hit me one time, and only because I very slightly mistimed what ended up being the killing blow and he clipped me for a tiny bit of damage as I was taking him out. One. Fucking. Hit.

After a solid hour of him annihilating me, over and over again.

I love this damn game.


10:59 AM, Saturday May 16: 1,445,867 confirmed cases and 87,643 American deaths. The death rate really has been slowing down lately, but we should have an idea by mid-week whether states opening up prematurely was as bad an idea as I think it was.

#REVIEW: ESCAPING EXODUS, by Nicky Drayden

Nicky Drayden has written three books, and I have read all three and at least briefly discussed each of them here. Her first book, The Prey of Gods, ended up being too much for me, and I actually didn’t manage to finish it because of how completely nuts it was, although I think it’s due for a reread sometime soon regardless. Her second book, Temper, was a much more assured novel but still wasn’t quite a home run for me. The interesting thing about Drayden’s work is that she is very obviously a writer with an enormous amount of potential, and even though I didn’t finish her first book and didn’t exactly love the second she was still very much an author I was keeping an eye on and was going to continue to buy books from.

And, y’all, Escaping Exodus is the book I’ve been waiting for. I was sooooo right to keep watching Drayden; this book is the payoff, and will end up quite highly ranked on my end of the year list, which is coming in the next couple of weeks. Drayden continues with her firehose of ideas and her intensely weird fiction; this one is about a Juliet- and Juliet-esque love between an heiress to a matriarchy and someone who is effectively a manual laborer, only they’re also traveling through space in a living generation ship while they’re doing it. Throw in atypical family structures (everyone has multiple sets of parents and multiple spouses, of both genders, and blending “matrilines” is a big part of the politics of the book) and a fascinating bit at the end where we find out that there are other spaceships out there and that the colonies on those ships have evolved, and cared for their ships, very differently from the characters in this, and … man, this is really something special.

My only gripe is that the end doesn’t land quite as perfectly as I’d like; one storyline that I was quite interested in kind of gets disregarded in the last twenty pages or so, which was a bit of a disappointment, but overall this is the book I always felt like Drayden was going to write eventually and I’ve finally got. It’s just much more under control than her previous work; you got the idea in Temper to some extend and to quite a large extent in The Prey of Gods that her ideas just got away from her, and that feeling is gone from this. This novel is tight in a way her previous work hasn’t been, and you should all read it. God, 2019 has been a great year for books.

So this happened

…for the first time ever, I have found my books on a shelf in a bookstore. Now, granted, it was the new Half Price Books that just opened on Grape Road, and the book was signed already to someone named “David,” but still– every time I walk into a bookstore I look in the S section just in case somehow magically one of my books is there, and never once has that happened until today. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again for the sake of completeness: not everyone keeps every book forever like I do, so it’s not a hit to my ego or something that David sold my book off; he may not have liked it or he may have moved or maybe he just generally doesn’t keep books for long; one way or another it’s no skin off my back. But I had a strong enough reaction to seeing my book on the shelf that I had to explain myself to the dude who was standing next to me. He seemed to genuinely appreciate how happy I was about it, too, and gave the book a courtesy flip-through before putting it back on the shelf.

(Which was also kinda weird; I thought about pointing out the obvious, which was that I wasn’t going to worry about it if he put it back, but that might have made it even weirder than it already was. Either way, no buzz-harshing on my end.)

The place is planning on doing author signings in the future, and I got a copy of the manager’s card, so chances are I’ll be doing an event there sooner or later. I will, of course, keep everyone apprised once that comes to pass. Until then, I’m just going to have to go there three times a week until someone buys that book. 🙂