Some updates

The YouTube channel is dead; long live the YouTube channel.

I’m not deleting it, mind you, but after a couple of weeks of not updating, initially caused by Covid and then a couple of very busy weeks at home, I find that I don’t miss having to spend an hour or more every single day playing video games in a room by myself where no one is allowed to talk to me and where any noise or, God forbid, a bathroom break meant that I was going to have to spend more time after the video was done editing it. I want to spend some time just playing games when I want to and not worrying about some sort of schedule.

I’m not abandoning the idea altogether, mind you, and in fact I still have a couple of games I want to record. But I can tell already that Horizon: Forbidden West is, of all the games I’ve done Let’s Plays on, the one least amenable to the format I’ve chosen, and I want to just play it without having to worry about breaking it up into digestible chunks. The channel wasn’t making me any money and I was probably years away from enough subs to be able to make any money off of it, so I’m going to shove it back into the realm of “hobby” and stop taking it nearly as seriously.

Today was the first day of summer vacation, and speaking as someone who Does Not Know How To Relax, I feel like I used it pretty well. The front lawn is mowed, some cleaning was accomplished, weeds have been whacked, and I delivered some things to Goodwill that have been sitting around the house for a while. We need to finish clearing out my father-in-law’s apartment before June 1, so I’ll likely be up there tomorrow for a while, and then … well, who knows after that.

Playing around with the 3D printer continues apace; I have made five useless objects, one of which broke while trying to remove it from the print bed and another of which broke because of what I’m pretty sure was a design flaw in the model and not actually either user error or the printer being weird. This little axolotl I printed is pretty cool, though, and right now I’ve got it working on what will be a fourteen-hour, high-detail print of a hook horror from Dungeons & Dragons. The boy has announced that he wants a 3d print of every final-evolution Pok√©mon from Generation 1. There are, apparently, 81 of them. No word on whether he plans to pay for the filament, and I have to admit I’m also wondering what keeping this little nozzle at 200 degrees Celsius and the bed at 90 degrees Celsius for hours at a time is going to do to my electric bill.

This one’s a big deal: I had an interview scheduled at another school Friday afternoon, and was setting one up at another school for next week, and then had a long talk with the remaining members of my team Friday morning about next year. It is rumored that we’ve finally got a principal (and, to be clear, we have a name, not just a “they have found a warm body” rumor) and it’s amazing just what a difference the simple rumor that they’d named someone actually made. At any rate, after that conversation, I went back to my classroom, looked around, reflected on the fact that I’d been up very late Thursday night thinking about this interview, and emailed both the principals involved and cancelled. I will, for better or for worse, be returning to my current job again this fall, and I have closed out all of my various job-seekery accounts again for the time being. I’m about to go into year 19 of teaching. There is, unfortunately, a strong likelihood that my school will be closing at either the end of this year or the end of next year, and there is also a rumor that the middle school math teacher at Hogwarts will be retiring at the end of this year. If that happens, I plan to do everything in my power to get that job. But that’s a year away, if in fact it actually happens, and you best believe I’ll be keeping a close eye on it. But for now? I’m coming back.

I expect to regret this decision by September. We’ll see.

In which I may have made a slight mistake

I still haven’t really decided if I’m going to return to an hour of new videos a day once the Elden Ring series ends tomorrow over on YouTube; you would think that my use of the word tomorrow in that sentence would imply some urgency, and you might also think that the existence of a Let’s Play thumbnail right there on the screen might imply that I had, in fact, already started another series! I have. Sorta. I’m two episodes in, and then I got distracted by Infernax, which is more fun than it has any right to be, only that game is only like six hours long and I’m already most of the way through it and I haven’t been recording any of my playthrough because I’m currently kind of tired of that. So I need to finish up this game before I pick up that game and I already don’t remember where the hell I was or what the hell I was doing and did you know that the way the Xbox handles family accounts is bullshit? Because it kind of is.

There will probably be a whole post on that, once I figure out how they think this bullshit works.

Oh, and also Cuphead, which I’ve settled into a nice little boss-a-day schedule on, although I think my video game skills are going to top out before the game does. I don’t remember the last time I played a game and thought “I can’t beat this,” but this might be the one.

This is all to say that I have been playing Infernax pretty much nonstop since dinnertime and I have to write an assignment for my shitheads students tomorrow (I used the phrase “rude-ass child” to refer to one of my kids today, and when she threatened to tell her mom I told her to go for it and that the conversation wasn’t going to go the way she thought, and I don’t feel the slightest bit of remorse over it) and I probably ought to do that at some point. Then again, I get to work 40 minutes early most days. That’s plenty of time, right?

… right?

Sure.

Just confirming

I still hate Cuphead, but I’m going to go play for another couple of hours to make sure.

In which I need to be clear

Fuck, and I cannot express this any more sincerely, Cuphead.

I’m just kind of screwing around with my various video game systems while I’m waiting out the Elden Ring series, and after five years of sitting on the fence about it I finally downloaded Cuphead.

Two reasons for the delay: one, the game’s visual aesthetic borrows extensively from 1930’s era Fleischer cartoons, with all the racist history that that era and that style of animation brings with it. And if I’m being 100% honest I feel kind of dirty about it. I dropped $20 on the game; I may make an equal or larger charitable donation somewhere appropriate and see if that eases my conscience at all. (To be clear, I haven’t noted anything directly problematic with the game itself, and you should read the articles I linked to, both of which make a nicely nuanced case about the game, but … it’s squicky. That’s a scientific term.)

Also, not for nothin’, it’s hard as hell, and that’s coming from me, a certified Fromsoft Guy. Worse, it’s hard as hell with short chapters, so there’s tons of swearing and immediately jumping back in going on, all the while insisting that I’m going to quit after this fucking stage kills me one more time. I mean, you win a stage in like a minute and a half if you’re playing well, probably faster once I get better at it. But I’m not going to get better at it if I end up throwing the Series X out a window, now, am I?

(Subject for a later post: I hate the Xbox Series X’s UI, a whole fucking lot.)

I devoured John Scalzi’s new novel, The Kaiju Preservation Society, over the last couple of days, and it was exactly what I wanted from it. Kaiju might be the John Scalziest book that John Scalzi could possibly write, and given his description of how the book happened (he spent 2020 beating his head around a novel that was decidedly out of his comfort zone and ended up bailing on it, and then this novel jumped into his head more or less in its final form and he wrote it in barely two months) it’s not hard to see how it ended up that way. Now, I love Scalzi’s style– my writing at its very best approaches Scalzi’s command of his tone, and I think I’m flattering myself by saying that, to be clear, but this is someone I look up to– but it’s turned up to 12 here, to the point where he almost feels like he’s parodying himself a little bit. Like, not every single conversation needs to be quippy. Sometimes people can just talk. If you’re not already a fan this isn’t going to be the book that convinces you (I’ll hand you Redshirts for that) and if you’re a fan you’re going to enjoy it. The rest of y’all? Smart, sarcastic, accessible science fiction and giant monsters. The word Kaiju is right there in the title; you know what you’re going to get. Go grab it up.

In which I am inconsistent

Do you know what I did when I got home from work today?

Well, okay, I ate a pile of Arby’s. But after that?

Yeah, I fired up fucking Elden Ring again. I only played for a few minutes, but there was this one minibus I hadn’t killed yet, and … well, I wanted to, so I did. I am currently trying to decide whether I want to go ahead and dive into New Game + or hold off in hopes of being properly leveled for the inevitable DLC, which hasn’t been announced and probably won’t be released for months yet. I think the answer is probably “dive into New Game+,” except for … everything I said yesterday, which is all still true even if I’m apparently too dumb to act like it.

Today went well, I suppose; there are 31 days of school left as of right now, and I’m being observed tomorrow. I should probably figure out what I’m having the kids actually do during said observed lesson. I’ve never actually done an observed lesson by the seat of my pants, though, and if there was ever a time to do that just for the hell of it, the last month of my boss’ time in the building is probably it. He’s not going to give me a bad observation. He’s just not. I know this, which allows me a certain amount of freedom. That, and the fact that even if he did give me a poor evaluation I don’t think it would actually matter to anyone.

(I’m not going to do that. I’ll come up with something. We’ll see what it is, though.)

Let’s see, anything else? I wrote a post about the Expanse series a month or so ago, and while looking for books to compare the Expanse to, I commented that I’d never read any of Iain M. Banks’ Culture books. That wasn’t 100% true, as it turns out; I have owned the first book, Consider Phlebas, for long enough that my single, aborted attempt to read it doesn’t show up on Goodreads anywhere. I decided to take another shot at it and finished it the other day. The good news: I can’t figure out why I put it down all those years ago; the bad news: that doesn’t mean I thought it was especially good. I’ve heard that Phlebas is among the weaker Culture novels if not the weakest, so I might go ahead and try the second book anyway. Anybody out there have any observations to make? If I didn’t like the first Culture book, should I continue on anyway?