In which I express frustration in a calm and reasonable fashion

UnknownFuck Facebook.

I killed my Clark Kent personal account over there several months ago and haven’t missed it, and I keep side-eyeing Luther Siler’s account and in particular Luther Siler’s page, which has 245 Likes at the moment.  I don’t really do anything with the page other than use it as a reblogger for posts, and I discovered to my extreme displeasure over the weekend that that hasn’t been actually happening for several months now.  There are no relevant Help documents on either WordPress or Facebook that are actually useful; I found some dark mutterings on the WP site about how Facebook won’t allow auto-publication to a profile any longer, only a page, but the page is what I’ve been trying to post to and what every visible indicator tells me I have been posting to.

Except, no.

My big knock against dumping Facebook lately has been not wanting to lose the traffic.  Apparently I’m not actually losing any, though, since I’m not posting anything over there and therefore any clickthroughs that are happening are not happening from my posts.  The new problem is the number of conventions and events who seem to organize most of everything through FB.  It would be nice to be able to still keep an eye on those things, y’know?  I hate the site and I’ve literally hated it since the first time I ever heard about it, but I think I’m still stuck with it and its shitty design and its shitty everything.

It would be nice if the shit just worked at least a little bit like it’s supposed to.

In which I’m still going on about this

marvels-spider-man-villanos

Yeah, I know.  Another Spider-Man post.  Lucky for you, this website’s free.

I’ve quit playing this game forever at least three times now.  There are still a number of things about it that are enormously goddamned annoying, most of them related to the endless number of side tasks they put all over Manhattan for you to do.  Yes, I know I can ignore these things, but they’ve actually done a really good job of incentivizing hitting every stupid little glowy mark on the map and I’m enough of a completist that I have trouble ignoring shit like this even in games without good incentive systems.  I’ve got this game firmly slotted in Witcher 3 territory, another game I quit playing a whole bunch of times, where the shit that annoys me is just never going to stop being annoying and I need to focus on the stuff I like.

… which, holy shit, when this game is firing on all cylinders it is ridiculous.  And I got to a point last night where something happened that I absolutely wasn’t expecting to happen at all: the game surprised me.  Like, a lot.  At about the 70% mark.

That’s not a thing that happens very often.

It’s difficult to balance an open-world game properly, right?  These things must be utter hell to code.  You want your game to have some sort of main storyline, usually expressed with some sort of discrete mission structure, but you also want your players to explore, so you sprinkle a few dozen enemy bases and a few dozen side missions and a bunch of  things that you’ve scattered 40 of around the map for people to find and stuff like that.  This game has a mission where, no shit, you’re supposed to find and recapture a dozen pigeons for some random guy.  These pigeons fly at the speed of a military jet for some reason.  You gotta catch ’em all.

But the thing is, your “main story” missions have to be compelling enough that they get done, but not so compelling that players ignore all the other stuff that you want them to do.  You want them to be able to take a couple of hours and go hunt for backpacks or glowy orbs or whatever it is that you’ve scattered fifty of all over the place.  This will break immersion if your main missions have a ton of immediacy to them.

And up until the beginning of Act 3, I’d say Spider-Man wasn’t doing a bad job of straddling that line.  Do a mission, go find some backpacks, do a mission, clear out a couple of bad guy hideouts, do a mission, find some pigeons, take some pictures of New York landmarks, move on.

And then Act 3 hits, and the criminals at Riker’s Island all break out, and the criminals at the Raft, the nearby superpowered prison, all break out, and all the sudden Electro, Mr. Negative, the Rhino, the Vulture, the Scorpion and Doctor Octopus are all beating the shit out of you at the same time– not that it actually affects gameplay, but Spider-Man mentions fourteen broken bones the morning after escaping the beating– the whole fucking city is on fire and Doc Ock releases a massively contagious bioengineered virus that you quickly find out has already infected half a million people by the time the first mission properly ends.

Also, two of the six supervillains up there spend a big chunk of the game being mentors to Peter Parker, so there’s all kinds of personal angst wrapped up in suddenly discovering they’re evil.

Shit gets really darkreally quick, is what I’m saying, and all the sudden the idea that you’d stop doing missions to catch pigeons stops feeling like a fun diversion and more like criminal negligence.

I had to force myself to quit playing and go to bed last night, and I went several missions in a row back-to-back-to-back just because the conditions the game set up made it impossible for me to believe doing anything else was remotely reasonable.  Like, I hope shit goes back to normal soon, because there’s still a couple of pigeons out there that need catching.

(I hate catching pigeons.  But I’m going to do it anyway.)

Also, while I’d prefer to have a powered Miles Morales in the game, every single scene between him and Peter has been absolute gold.  This game gets Miles really, really well.  I want the sequel to star the kid.


Red Dead Redemption 2 came out on Friday.  The first RDR is one of my favorite games ever.  Reading between the lines of some of the early press, I’m worried that the sequel isn’t going to work for me. Part of the reason I’ve been playing Spider-Man so much this week is that I want it off my plate so I can play RDR2.  It would be deeply upsetting if I didn’t like this game, especially if I’m following my usual “I don’t like playing this game, and the whole rest of the world loves it” thing that I’ve been so good at for the past few years.

I will, of course, keep y’all posted, since it’s not like I talk about anything other than my PlayStation around here anymore.

In which I am charmingly incompetent

mblile-72dpi-1500x2000First, an oops moment: my book Balremesh and other stories has been free on Amazon since this morning, and will continue to be free until sometime late Monday night, and I, dedicated to my career as I am, completely forgot to mention it to anyone until just now.  So, uh, there’s some cool stuff in there?  And you should probably go snap it up, and then tell everyone you know to also go download it.  I haven’t had a free giveaway in a while, so I’m sure you’ve made some new friends since then, right?

I am absurdly tired right now.  It has not actually been a bad week by any objective standard; I’ve been busy, like I always am, but not to the point where I should be getting home at 4:45 seriously considering going straight to bed without dinner, which is what happened tonight.  Of course, it’s 8:00 right now, because I had to spend a couple of hours working on a training I’m doing tomorrow (which I’ve known about for weeks and haven’t managed to have ready yet) and now I’m blogging and if I get really nuts it’s possible that I’ll finally get a Goodreads page up for Click tonight.

(There is no chance of that happening.)

I dunno, maybe I’ve got a low-grade flu or something.  I had a flu shot, and I’m in Mainline Vitamin C All the Goddamn Time mode since it’s fall, but stuff sneaks through, y’know?  But man, the last time I was this tired all the time was back when I was going on brain drugs for the first time.  And I swear I am on no unorthodox medication of any kind at the moment.  I’m just begging for sweet oblivion.

By which I mean sleep, of course, not death.

Anyway, like I said, go grab a free book.

In which the Great Old One emerges

IMG_7694It looks like it took the cat just over six weeks to realize that the dog is really, truly dead and is not hiding somewhere in the house waiting for her to lower her guard.  The dog, mind you, never gave a damn whether the cat existed or not, and they’ve lived together for over ten years regardless, a length of time that you would think might convince the cat that the dog was, if not a friend, at least something not to be constantly feared.

BUT!  Witness, my friends, as my 20-year-old asshole cat Mizu takes the Sam Gamgee-esque single step that places her as far as she’s ever deliberately been from our bedroom, which you would be able to almost see the door of were hte picture at a slightly different angle.  We have been living in this house for seven years.  See that one paw on the grey flooring in our dining room?  it is literally the first time she has ever set foot in that room.  In seven years.  Not once.  A moment later, she went into the family room, which is to the left.  She’d never been in there either.

Five or six years from now, when my son is in middle school, she might allow him to pet her.

In which my day is foretold by prophecy

rs-242887-prophets I walked into the building this morning, dropped my bag off in my office, ate whatever sausage thing I had brought for breakfast, picked up my coffee, and headed down to the gym/cafeteria area to monitor the kids before the first bell rang.  In the gym, I saw our security guard, a guy I know from one of my previous buildings.  We chatted for a moment.

“I’m about to say something I’ve never said in a school before,” I said to him.  “As of right now, I don’t really have anything to do today.”

He knows me, so he laughed.

“Someone will come in and drop something in my lap in the next five minutes,” I predicted.  “This isn’t gonna last long.”

It took, in fact, less than one minute before the principal summoned me to the office, and then we were off to the races for the rest of the day.  Yesterday was calm and sedate.  Today was not.  It was productive, don’t get me wrong, but holy shit I did not stop moving once all day long.

(Checks, discovers he walked four miles at work today)

(Is surprised it’s that low)


So it’s the end of the day and we’re shoving the very last of the stragglers out the door and to their buses.  I am closing the doors behind them so that they can’t decide they have something Very Important That They Need Right Now and dash back into the building.  Someone tugs on my sleeve.  I turn and see someone who is much too young to be at my building looking up at me.  She is, maybe, in third grade, and I’m guessing probably second.

“Do you have a student named Aaron at your school?” she says.

oh god what did I do to deserve this

“We probably have a lot of Aarons at this school, sweetie,” I say.  “What is his last name?”

“She’s a girl,” she says.  I wait.  She does not elaborate.

“Do you know Erin’s last name?”

She thinks carefully and says a last name.  I repeat it.  She thinks about it some more and says that that’s not the right name.

“What’s your name?”

She answers me.  I ask if Erin has the same last name as her and she says no, but she can’t remember Erin’s last name.

“Who brought you here, sweetie?”

“My te-te.”

“Okay.  Can she come into the building and then we can go to the office and look for Erin?”

“She can’t come in.”   Note that this response comes immediately.  She doesn’t have to think about it at all.  It’s at this point where I realize I don’t have a radio and can’t buzz the office about this conversation.

“Why can’t she come in?”

“She’s not wearing any pants.”

I blink, slowly, a couple of times.  I notice that there’s a teacher standing behind me, just inside the building, and that that teacher is listening to the entire conversation I’m having and is laughing her ass off at me.

“Did you just say that she wasn’t wearing any pants?”

“Yeah, she just drove me here but she can’t come in ‘cuz she’s not wearing pants.”

I am not going to ask you can’t make me ask nope no way I am not asking

“Okay.  Let’s try one more time, real hard, to remember Erin’s last name.  I can have the office call for her to come out this door.  She’s supposed to be out by now anyway, so she’ll probably come out soon anyway.”

She thinks and gives me a name.

“Are you sure?”

She nods vigorously.

“Okay.  I’m gonna go to the office and tell them to call for Erin to come out, okay?  Where’s your te-te’s car?”

She points.  I don’t see a car. Auntie apparently didn’t figure out not to pull up by where the buses were.  At that moment I hear an all-call behind me for the name that this little girl has given me, so apparently Auntie got tired of waiting and just called the school.  I point out that they just called for Erin and the little girl runs away.

All right then.

Glad I could help.
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