Wheee

Power outages when it’s pitch-dark outside at 5:30 are super fun. #postingfrommyphone

In which I need a gas mask

A true fact about this cat, who suddenly figured out laps this afternoon and spent about an hour cuddling with the boy, who has been home sick from school for a couple of days: his shit stinks worse than the shit of any other pet, of any species, that I have ever had, and it not only fucks up huge chunks of my house to the point where I feel like we’re going to have to renovate our HVAC system to provide for greater air movement where we’ve got the litter boxes, it clings to him afterwards for a while, so if he uses the litterbox and then runs into the living room to demand scritches you will be able to tell where he has been. It is monstrous and terrifying and we are well beyond the point where I can chalk it up to him having been an outdoor cat and eating rats to stay alive. Dude’s been in the house for like two months now, there ain’t nothing in there but kibble and Fancy Feast. The other cats don’t stink like this. Not even close.

(The other cats are also female? I’m not sure if that matters. He’s fixed, at any rate.)


Today was the first day of this semester that I would characterize as a bad day. Not, like, by historical standards, or anything like that, and I mean a bad teaching day, as opposed to a bad my-mom-just-died-and-I’m-fucked-up-about-it day, but it’s actually surprisingly good news that it took this long. That’s all I have to say about it; there aren’t any interesting stories, really, but I thought I’d mention it.


In other news, in addition to fantasizing about writing another book (a short story! a microfiction! Fucking anything!) at some point in the future and fantasizing about eventually doing a podcast, a desire I have had for a couple of years now without the slightest inkling of a good idea for a podcast crossing through my brain, I have now decided that I want to do Let’s Plays for YouTube. I will never do this; to do it the way I want (discrete episodes, not livestreaming) requires far too much investment into equipment– I am fairly certain I’d need an entire new computer, for starters, because I don’t think there’s a good way to do video capture through my iMac, although I could be wrong– and frankly there is absolutely no demand for 43-year-old video game streamers. So I’m not going to do this, but it’s fun to toss it on the pile of other random creative bullshit that I’m not working on and watch it fester.

Meanwhile, I’m playing through Nioh again, because my career as a YouTuber should definitely start with games from four years ago, right?

Sure.

In which I don’t wanna do this and I also don’t wanna not do this

All right. So, we’ve got our tickets. We’ve secured the services of a babysitter, and we’re going to see it at 4:45 on Saturday. I should probably be avoiding spoilers, and reviews are starting to hit, but … damn, it’s amazing and deeply depressing how little I care. The Force Awakens has slowly evolved into my least favorite Star Wars movie, and while I haven’t turned on Last Jedi the way I did TFA, I also never watched it again after that initial viewing in the theater. I would like to watch it before the movie on Saturday, but who knows. I actually pulled it up on Netflix an hour or so ago and upon realizing that I would be watching it until 9:30 I turned off the damn TV instead. Maybe tomorrow, after my last teaching day of 2019, or Friday, when I get home (probably early) from my no-students teacher record day. We’ll see.

I just don’t trust JJ Abrams as far as I can throw him, and in general I don’t like any of the broader decisions this trilogy has made. Frankly I’m still not at all sure why there needs to be an Episode Nine, as I thought TLJ tied up basically everything we might need to have tied up from TFA. The two movies made a decent duology; I’m just not sure what the hell you might do with this third movie to make it a meaningful trilogy.

Meanwhile, there are two episodes of The Mandalorian left, and … well, I’ve watched them all, and I’ll watch the next two, and then I’ll forget the show existed until the next season comes out, because it’s settled nicely into a “this is moderately entertaining but utterly forgettable” sort of rut, and Baby Yoda has morphed from something that was initially at least adorable and intriguing from a story perspective into a Goddamned albatross. We’ll see if they pull anything together with this episode and the finale, which airs Friday, I think, but I’m keeping my hopes muted.

I dunno. I don’t want to be One of Those Star Wars fans, but I’ve been souring on the fandom since the prequels and I’ve grown gradually more disinclined to call myself a fan of the “saga” aspects of the entire thing since Disney took over. The books mostly aren’t even worth reading any longer; all of the good Star Wars material seems to be in video games and comic books lately. I’m not going to start ranting about anyone beating up my childhood or anything like that but I’m going into this movie expecting to come out deeply disappointed, and I really wish it was anything other than that. Hell, even mad would be better, as I suspect that would generate an entertaining blog post– I just don’t think it’s gonna happen.

We’ll see, I guess. One way or another I’ll try to not be too much of an ass about it.

In which I don’t know how you got there or what you’re doing

An interesting phenomenon, at least to me: I’ve noticed that the older I get the more annoyed I get by bad worldbuilding in my video games. This isn’t a story concern, necessarily; what I mean is that I need things like levels to make basic physical sense and seem in at least a cursory way to be things that could exist in the actual world the game is portraying.

Why yes, I am playing Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order right now. How did you guess?

It’s been a running joke for a while, at least among my immediate family: my wife works in occupational health and safety, so we notice these sorts of things: Star Wars doesn’t have OSHA. Everything, everything is positioned with no railings over a bottomless pit or, if there is a railing, there’s not a chance in hell it would keep anyone from falling over it or, uh, being thrown:

That shit is not safe. And don’t even get me started on this bullshit:

So I’m used to the idea that in a Star Wars video game there are going to be some fall hazards. The idea doesn’t bother me. It doesn’t make sense on a fundamental level, but it’s pre-established in the world. But here’s my problem with Fallen Order: you unlock your Force powers as you travel through the game, and you use them extensively to get where you’re going on whatever planet you’re on– particularly the wall run ability, which is used constantly.

So if I had to use half a dozen Jedi wall runs, had to Force Pull a convenient vine over to myself to swing across a huge gap, had to use Force Push to break through a conveniently weak area of wall, and — oh, right — had to exterminate hundreds of incredibly dangerous examples of the local fauna in order to get to an area, how the hell are there two dozen Stormtroopers already there when I get there?

(“Why the hell are the Stormtroopers so much less dangerous than this space goat” is another question relevant to the game, but not the one I’m discussing at the moment.)

This shit gets to me, guys, it really does. You don’t have Jedi powers, Stormtrooper! How the fuck are you here? How did you get to the top of this wroshyr tree on Kashyyyk that I’ve been climbing using my magic Jedi abilities for twenty minutes? Did someone drop you off there in a ship? Why did they do that? Are they going to come get you? Are you here just in case a Jedi shows up? Because they’re supposed to all be dead.

How did any of these chests get here?

Remember these goddamn things?

Random huge pieces of machinery with no clear function whatsoever that seem to exist only to impede player progress are starting to get on my nerves. There are tons of enormous machines everywhere (on abandoned planets; who built all this shit?) that serve no purpose other than to kill you if you don’t figure out how to properly avoid and/or slow them down (Oh, also: Jedi slowing powers. I had to slow down a huge fan and sneak through an airduct to get here! How are you here, Stormtrooper?) and I just want to know what they’re for. Why are there giant spinny blades with holes in them in this area? What’s this thing, that just slams back and forth but doesn’t seem to do anything? Who decided that these catwalks needed to have places where you had to jump over holes? Because every fucking catwalk has holes, and they don’t all appear to be damaged. Some of them just aren’t finished. Why? Is the Empire suing the shit out of their contractors? Because they need to be suing the shit out of their contractors.

I’m having a lot of fun with the game– don’t get me wrong. But Jesus, the level geography is like they deliberately tried to make no damn sense at all.

This is the week that never ends

This … hasn’t been a bad week, exactly? I mean, Monday was kinda rough, but other than that things have gone pretty smooth, and even somewhat positively? But this is like the third day in a row that I was somehow convinced just absolutely had to be Friday, and yet somehow none of them have been Friday so far, and now that Friday is supposedly actually tomorrow I’m not at all convinced that it’s really going to happen.

In other news, this is how Pete Buttigieg eats a cinnamon roll:

And, like, I already went through the weird soul-searching why the hell does it matter to me that Pete Buttigieg doesn’t eat cinnamon rolls right thing on Twitter, followed immediately by why do I live in a world where this is something I even have to know about, followed by what is life, but fuck it the picture’s funny and the dude is still my mayor for another couple of months (Pete’s dweeby little handpicked successor won, roughly 63-37, I believe) so I still get to make fun of him if I want.

I’m tired, dammit, and I still have a big pile of grading to do tonight. So it’s absolutely time to play video games now.