In which I brag about meaningless things

This motherfucker right here …

I’ve mentioned I’m playing through Dark Souls 3 again. This was my third playthrough. The first one, I hit a wall and had to stop playing because I couldn’t come even close to beating any of the game that was left. The second was as a strength-focused build and, while I beat the game, there was still one boss I couldn’t come close to killing no matter how hard I tried. He was optional, though, so I could just skip fighting him and still beat the game.

I was playing as a sorcerer for this run, for the first time. Playing as a sorcerer in Dark Souls 3 is kinda strange. You’re frankly just not that tough for most of the game until all the sudden at the very end you turn into a monster. My wife went to bed early last night, and I’d gotten to the point where I had three bosses left to beat the game– Lorian & Lothric, who I’d beaten once with the strength build, the final boss (ditto) and the fucking bullshit-ass Nameless King up there and his bullshit-ass dragon that he rides in on that you have to kill first. I had never beaten the Nameless King. Never even really come close. I told my wife I was gonna take a couple of stabs at the last couple of bosses and then come to bed, hoping that I’d get through one of them in half an hour or so and then make a sensible decision.

I beat Lorian & Lothric on my second try, and frankly I only lost to them the first time because I got overconfident and sloppy, and Dark Souls is a series where the most basic enemy in the game will demolish you if you stop paying attention for a minute. It took over an hour of trying on my last build to get through them and I still felt like I’d gotten kinda lucky at the end there.

“Screw it,” I thought, “I’ve been playing for less than ten minutes and I’m still not ready for bed.” (In my defense, it was barely nine– I wasn’t kidding when I said Bek had gone to bed early.) “I’m gonna give the King a try.” Now, this was dangerous– I know what I’m like, and it was entirely possible that I was sentencing myself to a night where I was still up at Goddamned midnight frustrated and tired and still losing to this annoying-ass boss and his annoying-ass dragon over and over again. Because, again, I’ve never beaten this bastard.

And then I demolished his ass– over half my health reserves left– on the first try. And everyone else in the house was in bed, so the proper response to an achievement of this magnitude– tearing my pants off and running around the house yelling swear words while waving said pants over my head– seemed inappropriate. So I just sat there in mild disbelief for a moment, thought “Ah, fuck it,” and went and beat the game. Which also took two tries, but mostly because the last boss does something halfway through the fight that I’d forgotten about and I got way too close and he wasted me.

So, yeah. If you’re a Dark Souls fan? Try a sorcerer build. It won’t come together for a while, but when it finally does? Holy shit.

In which I’m playing Dark Souls 3 again

…because God forbid I do anything especially useful with my last day of winter break, right? So I started another DSIII playthrough last night. I’m playing through as a sorcerer this time. I think I need to just play through the Dark Souls/Bloodborne/Nioh games in a cycle forever and stop spending money on these things. That’s five games; it’s enough, right?

While I’m talking vidya gaemz (and I hope you weren’t hoping for a long post on, again, the last night of break) several random thoughts:

  • The boy got Smash Bros Ultimate and Mario Kart 8 for Christmas. We’re playing a fair amount of both but MK8 is getting a lot more play. It’s frankly a lot easier for everyone and makes more sense in general. I’ve finally lost the feeling that Smash is nothing but bright colors in random places but it’s still not nearly as much fun as I feel like it’s supposed to be.
  • A pleasant surprise: Hollow Knight, which I got for like $11 on sale. It’s a Metroidvania, and a good one. If the word Metroidvania means anything to you at all and you haven’t played this, you should check it out.
  • I finally lost interest in Red Dead Redemption 2. It’s an amazing achievement on a lot of levels, but just isn’t as much fun or as absorbing as the first game was, and that’s sort of the most important level for it to succeed on, isn’t it? I was never even close to as tied up in this game as I was RDR1. I can go back and finish it whenever I want, but … well, I just started another Dark Souls 3 playthrough. So you can probably guess how long that will take to get done.

I’m crossing my fingers for a simple, easy first day back tomorrow. I will probably not get it. But we can always hope.

In which I watch commercials for movies and talk about them

So this came out yesterday, luckily just in time for me to catch it during my last-minute Twitter readthrough on my phone before going into work Friday morning.  

This is a thing I do, by the way.  My son has to be at school quite a bit before I do.  Every morning I take him to school, go to McDonald’s, get a Sausage McMuffin with cheese and a large coffee with five cream and five sugar, then drive to work and sit in the parking lot and surf my phone and eat my McMuffin.  I am weirdly invested in the idea that I don’t just get out of my car and go to work just because I’ve arrived at work.  I decide that it’s time to go into work.  It’s an active choice.  It’s a weirdly empowering thing.

Anyway, I watched this twice on my phone and then went inside, somewhat surprised that I wasn’t as buzzed as I thought I’d be.  I mean, part of it is the tone; it’s hard to get super excited about a trailer that is so clearly deliberately designed to be a downer.  But in some ways this is the only trailer they can actually make right now– this has got to be the hardest movie to do early promotion for ever, because so damn much about it counts as a spoiler, and even just showing most of the characters on screen is going to reveal substantial things about the movie that the filmmakers clearly don’t want us to know.  

I note a couple of things that intrigue me:

  • Clearly there’s a timeskip.  If Civil War was “years” ago, there was a timeskip.   I know we all suspect time travel is going to be a part of this movie, but I love the idea that we’re going to even temporarily see what the world is like after the Snappening.
  • Thanos is limping and missing most of his pinky finger.  
  • I want to see Shuri as the Black Panther.
  • There’s some griping online about the subtitle?  I dunno why.  It’s fine.
  • So, do you think that Pepper Potts is going to be suiting up as Rescue and collecting Tony, or is this where they introduce Captain Marvel?

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m still hugely excited about this movie.  There’s little that’s going to change that.  I’m just not bouncing off the walls about the trailer like I thought I would.

Meanwhile …

Now now now now now NOW NOW NOW GODDAMMIT NOW

*cough*

So, yeah.  I’ve clearly got some enthusiasm left in me somewhere.  

Silflay hraka, u embleer rah

I don’t talk about it all that often around here, but Watership Down is one of my very favorite books of all time.  I mean, anyone who has been reading me for a while can probably list some things I’m a fan of, right?  Star Wars, various comic books, etcetera.

I have a Watership Down tattoo.  I don’t have any superhero or Star Wars tattoos, although the inscription on the One Ring from Lord of the Rings is wrapped around my left calf.   I’m enough of a fan of this book that I have a tattoo of El-Ahrairah from the 1978 movie on my left shoulder blade.  So I’m gonna be paying very close attention to this BBC miniseries.  I am … cautiously optimistic about the first trailer?  The animation’s not great.  It may not even be good, if I’m being honest.  Okay.  It’s hraka.  But maybe it’s not done yet.  

But a shiver went down my spine at the line all the world will be your enemy.  And right now that’s all I need.  I’m in, guys.  But I hope y’all did this right.

(If you’re wondering if I have anything to say about the other trailer that came out yesterday, yes, yes in fact I do, but I’m hoping to combine that with the Avengers 4 trailer that supposedly is coming out later this week.  We’ll see.


I had two different people look at me today and say “Is it always like this?” in reference to my job.  One was my boss.  The other was a student.  The answer was yes.  Yes, it is always like this.  Every day.  And y’all are lucky that I am the greatest gatdamb multitasker on the planet, or shit would never, ever get done.  And that’s all I have to say about that.  It was a very, very, very long day, but it ended with Chipotle and I have something to look forward to soon, so hell with it.  Tomorrow’s new comic book day.  Let yesterday burn and throw it in a fire.  

#Weekendcoffeeshare: Sweatpants Edition

If we were having coffee, you’d either be in my house or witness to just about the first time I’ve left my house since getting home from my dentist appointment on Wednesday.  This, if you’re me, constitutes a certain type of pure bliss, and it has been a lovely, wonderful long weekend, one where I have mostly not been wearing pants and yesterday I did not bother to shower until just before bed.  

Let’s talk geek shit, then, because at the moment it’s what I’ve got.  Again, I haven’t left the house in a few days.

ITEM THE FIRST!  I abandoned a book this morning, R.E. Stearns’ Barbary Station, when it became clear that despite starting off with an absolutely scandalous amount of potential the writing was never going to click for me. This book is about a duo of lesbian engineers who steal a colony ship and present it to a gang of space pirates, hoping that the gift will get them into the gang, because the galactic economy has gone to shit and “find a job with a pirate crew” is, under the circumstances, a sound plan.  They then discover that the pirates living on the station are sort of trapped there, because the AI running the place has gone rogue and has decided Kill All Humans is the right way to deal with things.  

I mean, come on.  I can’t resist a single thing about that premise.  This was bought the second I knew it existed.

One of them is a hacker, and hacking is presented as this drug-induced, hallucinatory metaphor-space, and the idea is fascinating.  In fact, damn near all of the ideas in the book are fascinating.  Everything about it is fascinating.  What it isn’t is good, unfortunately.   The writing is clumsy at best and the book is at least one solid editing pass and a new draft away from being a good read.  I don’t normally like to slag on books I didn’t like here, especially if they didn’t piss me off in an entertaining way, but part of me kind of hopes that someone will read the premise and decide I suck at deciding if things are good and buy the book anyway.  I need R. E. Stearns to sit down with a really good editor for her next book, and then to reissue this one.  Major disappointment.

(I’m not alone in this assessment.  The book currently has the worst overall star average of the nearly 600 books I’ve reviewed on Goodreads– only 3.19/5.  It’s tied with a Chuck Wendig book that was the victim of a prolonged and stupid review bombing.  That’s bad.)

Also, the font the book is written in is borderline unreadable.  I thought I’d get used to it but it was still pushing me out of getting lost in the book before I bailed.  With a better-written story, it might not have mattered, but with a poorly-written one, it was just One More Thing.  

That was unpleasant, so let’s talk about ITEM THE SECOND! which is Red Dead Redemption 2.  I actually took that picture by pointing my camera at my TV, because I got to the top of that mountain and looked off over the edge and thought Jesus, when I started playing video games, I was playing Asteroids, and now this.  Because you can go anywhere you can see in that picture.  

I will have a lot more to say about this game later, believe me, but for right now I just want to bask in how outstandingly beautiful the game is, and how it got me to spend a couple of hours this afternoon not bothering to advance the story at all but just exploring and hunting, which is kind of a ridiculous way to spend your Sunday before going back to work.  There are things I don’t like– the control scheme it starts you with is terrible, and once you fix the terrible control scheme you’re still left with something that will lead to you occasionally firing a gun in a crowded tavern by accident or punching your horse.  Both of those activities are kinda frowned upon.  

I’ve done more geekery this weekend, but the one other thing I wanna talk about is going to get its own post, I think.  So … wanna go hunt moose with me?  Because I kinda want to bag a moose today.  


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