Week Wrap-up: 18 March 2019 – 24 March 2019

A random smattering of notes from the past week:

  • Sleeping properly is hard as shit. What the hell.
  • There is Too Much Game in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Which’d be more chill if I wasn’t also playing it addictively. I wish I didn’t have such a hard time stopping after I start a play session.
  • I wish the internet would stop generating 500 thinkpieces about every little thing. I wish The Atlantic would stop publishing articles that are clearly clickbait with conflict-inducing titles. I wish the Internet would just calm down for a second. Somebody slow down the internet train, I want to get off.
    • Or maybe sites could start paying people for fiction instead. I would mind a lot less if there were hundreds of pieces of new fiction published every day, rather than hundreds of pieces of mostly navel-gazing.
    • Productivity article writers need to all stop reading the same 10 books and worshipping the same 10 people.
  • I’m having a hard time just starting anything lately and it’s wearing me out real bad, y’all.
  • I’ve been biking a tiiiiiiny bit, and it’s been good. Really need to work on my endurance. Also need to figure out how to get myself to do rides that end in Cap Hill, because holyshithills is enough to scare me off.
  • I have obtained flower seeds, and now I just need to plant them. But hopefully soon(ish) I will have California poppies! And lavender! Gonna fill my balcony with color and smells and such!
  • Xubuntu’s Japanese input system is semi-garbage, but due to looking up a key combo, I can now type in Japanese again. Why can’t I use the icon in the menubar to switch with the mouse, like I’d been trying to? I have no idea. But at least the issue is solved. Except for emacs, as I just learned. Oh well, close enough!
  • Fighting the urge to get rid of everything I own just because I’m overloaded mentally right now. I don’t think that’s what St. Kondo meant! XD

And that’s a (high-level, admittedly) summary of the last week or so. How are you all?

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Welcome to Starfleet!

Miles O'Brien from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Our patron fucking saint.

A short, silly piece of fiction for you all. Enjoy. 😀

We’re very excited that you’ve decided to enlist with Starfleet! We’re sure you will enjoy the multitude of career paths available to you, and we want to outline some of the exciting opportunities you’re about to have. Continue reading

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Let’s Play Max Payne: Episode 1

Hey everyone! I recorded a Let’s Play for Max Payne. At least the first episode of one. The game is super-melodramatic, to a ridiculous degree, so you get to experience a lot of painful (or funny, depending) writing in this one.

It’s currently up on Youtube and I’m working on getting it up over on Peertube as well. Hope you enjoy it!

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It’s March, I’ve Got Goals

A bike with home-made fenders made of old soda bottles attached, as well as a milk crate attached as a basket.

It’s March! WHO LET THIS HAPPEN???

Slightly more seriously, I thought it would be good to set myself some goals for this month. After all, I have a whole “Month To-do” section in my bullet journal and everything! Therefore, it must be something I should do. My bullet journal would never lie to me.

Bullet Journal: We have always been at war with Eastasia.

Me: Hush, you.

So, some goals, in no particular order:

  • Study hard for an interview that’s going to happen soon, hopefully
    • I have a lot of trouble concentrating on studying lately, but I think having a deadline and a few concrete things to study will help. I’m going to try and get through at least a good chunk of How Linux Works: 2nd Edition and do some exercises from Cracking the Coding Interview. Both really helped me last time, and this is an interview for the same kind of position. Plus: learning! Yay?
  • Make some D&D content
    • Looking at running a custom setting for some friends, using the 5e ruleset. So it might be fun to make some custom classes, items, or rules. It’s going to be in space! With boats! (Think Treasure Planet. And yes, I’m totally getting this idea from a tumblr post.)
  • Get together a portfolio of tech things I have done. I’ll probably put it up over at scrivian.com. I mostly need this to prove that I have, in fact, done technical writing before.
    • Speaking of, I’ve wanted to make a “getting started with Mastodon” series of posts, because Mastodon is hella intimidating and confusing to newcomers. So building that as a piece to include with my portfolio would be good.
  • Bike more places, even though right now the cold air is making the whole “good breaths” part of biking difficult. I figure I’ll get used to it? Plus my bike finally has fenders and a basket! Yay!
  • Finish reading The Republic
  • Remember to do stretching and such in addition to weightlifting
  • Continue to look adoringly at the lizards at every opportunity, because they are sweeties

That looks like a lot! So I’m going to leave it there, because someday I’m going to learn to not overload myself. This might be overloading, it might not, but it’s better than going “and also I’m going to take over the moon, and solve world hunger, and, and.” Progress!

Still, a “nice to have” goal would be finishing the Python book I’ve been very slowly working my way through, Python Crash Course. I really want to learn Django (the web framework) so I can see about building a backend for the Patreon alternative I was thinking about the other day.

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Thinking Out Loud: Patreon Alternative Edition

Jerry the leopard gecko peeking out of his hide with "I HAVE AN IDEA" written in large white text next to him.

This post is mostly just me thinking about loud about how building a Patreon alternative would worth. BUCKLE UP, BUDDIES.

Patreon has issues for a lot of people because it’s really geared for large creators, especially Youtubers. This is fine! But it leaves a lot of people out in the cold who have smaller fanbases, work in fields that don’t release output as consistently (hi, novel authors!), etc. Patreon is also redonkulously squeamish about adult content, making it difficult to discover (by unlisting the page) at best, which totally hoses another huge set of creatives.

There are a couple of alternatives out there, but they have their own issues. Liberapay, for example, doesn’t allow for locked posts due to the nature of being a nonprofit. Drip is apparently foundering right now, and no one’s really sure how that’s going to turn out.

So here’s the thoughts I’ve got so far on building an alternative: Continue reading

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Vampyr (2018) Review

Vampyr

A Beautiful Mess

A cutscene image from Vampyr with Johnathan saying "I know the answers I seek are hiding in our blood."

Platform Played On: PC
Developer: DONTNOD
Publisher: Focus Home Entertainment
Year Released: 2018

Vampyr wants to be a lot of things. An action-RPG with branching combat styles. A deep story game with important moral choices that affect the fates of everyone in London. A functioning, non-buggy game. And it clearly tries its best, and to its credit, it mostly succeeds. Emphasis on mostly.

You play as Dr. Jonathan Reid, just returned from serving as a doctor for the British Army in France during World War I. Things are going to be rad. You’re going to go home, see your family, and study some medicine.

You wake up in a mass grave, stumble out, and drain the blood out of the first person you see. Things kind of go downhill from there. Continue reading

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Updates: Miscellaneous

A bunch of succulent cuttings, potted in plastic and glass containers, surrounding a jack-o-lantern colored piggy bank.

Succulent friends!

Hey everyone, it’s been a minute!

Life continues to proceed at a pace of about one second per second, with the usual margin of error accounting for the variability of reality. So, without any regard to order, life updates from the past few weeks:

  • Received a bunch of wonderful succlent cuttings from my friend Erin C, that have now been potted and will hopefully take root!
  • Finally decided on a new phone, a Nokia 6.1. It was a bit of a struggle to order everything I needed from Not Amazon, because the future sucks, but I got the phone from Newegg and the accessories (case, charging dock b/c docks are great) from eBay. It should all arrive in the next couple weeks. I’ll have a phone with a working onboard mic again! Oh, sweet luxury.
  • I didn’t end up going with the little Unihertz Atom because I realized that at least right now I do a ton of texting, and I wasn’t sure how my already-inaccurate touch-screen typing was going to do on a wee little screen.
  • Both Jerry and Jabberwocky have Done a Shed. Jabberwocky is still looking scruffy, but she’s gotten most of the big pieces off. Jerry had his day ruined by me getting stuck shed off his toes. Little drama bean.
  • I’m working on a new short story, some sci-fi set in the Nautilus universe. I’m also realizing I have no idea how to write horror, so if anyone has recommendations for great horror short stories, I’m all ears and you should leave them in the comments.
  • I finished Vampyr, the latest game I’ve been playing through. It was good, though I felt a little trapped at the end due to feeling a semi-compulsive need to play it and finish all the side quests and stuff. It’s a tricky game, in some good ways and some bad. I’m planning on writing a review of it soon to unpack my thoughts. A+ romance dialogue writing, though, which is really impressive. Though I shouldn’t have expected anything less from the Life is Strange writers.
  • The next game up on my list is Papers, Please, because I want to feel sad, I guess?
  • Been doing some work on learning Python. Whitespace-sensitive languages are so confusing, coming from Java.
  • I’ve been having a huge urge to make a video game and have no idea how to channel it, so that’s fun.
  • I am still trying to read The Republic, which is probably a mistake but I want to get through it! It’s just not quite fun enough that I’m like “oh boy let’s sit and read for an hour!” So I have to develop A Habit, it looks like. I’m also listening to an audiobook of The Conquest of Bread by Peter Kropotkin, which is simultaneously very good and somewhat depressing. (This book came out in 1892! We’ve had 120 years to get our anarcho-communist shit together and instead we live in a capitalist hellscape, boooooo.) I do really appreciate how much emphasis it puts on the logistics of revolution, though. “Remember to see to people’s basic needs” seems like it’d be an easy thing to remember in revolutions, but ((historically) apparently not!
  • The job hunt continues. Currently wrestling if I’m at a place yet where I consider Amazon jobs a valid option.
  • I’ve been rewatching Futurama, and overall it’s still amazing.

And that’s it for now, I think! What have you all been up to? If you leave a comment, I gain +10 life points, and if I get 100 of those I can get some awesome stickers.

Posted in Personal, Pets, Technology, Video Games | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Oh No Phones

Audrey Hepburn sitting in a chair, talking into a landline phone.

Shit like this makes me miss landlines. They were reliable, dangnabit! Source

Well, this sucks.

My reliable Blackberry KeyONE had a new issue within the last few days, where it shut down and then got started in a reboot loop. It would barely boot, get to the Blackberry logo, and then reboot, get to the logo, and so on and so forth. Not ideal. I eventually managed to get it to boot up all the way by pressing all four buttons at once in some sort of combination force-reboot and 1994 SNES cheat code, and wrote it off as a random thing that happens sometimes with phones. They hit a bug, they get confused, you force reboot it in a way that gets it to dump whatever was bugging out of memory, and off you go.

This is called hubris, friends. Continue reading

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None Power With Left Anxiety

The author squinting slightly at the camera and looking tired while in a dark room.

Hard to take a good selfie when the power’s out. Also this captured the mood pretty honestly.

I’m writing this in the middle of the third power outage we’ve had at my apartment this year. Because maybe the power will come back as soon as I complain about it. Continue reading

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Emacs Resources

The other day (by which I mean like three weeks ago), I asked for advice on learning emacs over on Mastodon. I got a bunch of really nice results, and wanted to put them all in one place both so I don’t lose them and so maybe someone else will get use out of them someday.

Thanks so much to everyone who contributed! Maybe someday I’ll get the hang of this thing. 😀

Sources:
1. https://pleroma.site/objects/f4bb937b-4e96-49a4-8889-d7c92a1a6a0e (Since that link doesn’t seem to work, here’s a link to Matthew’s account page, instead: https://pleroma.site/users/starbreaker)
2. https://icosahedron.website/@zge/101425106538741872
3. https://mastodon.social/@hs0ucy/101426312714263030
4. https://mastodon.technology/@metatron/101429681547673958
5. https://ruby.social/@dekkzz78/101431102023523206

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