Sooooo sleepy all the time. I barely do anything and then am so exhausted by it. Feeling pretty down about that, but oh well, it is what it is. I was hoping maybe it is just allergies on top of everything, but I'm not usually allergic to everything forever, and I haven't been getting less sleepy. On the other hand, it seems to be a truly epic year for allergies across the board, judging by how hard it is to keep my antihistamine section stocked at work, so maybe that is it. I'm like, pregnancy-level sleepy, although thank god that is not the cause. (I love my baby and I am never doing that again.) Feeling down about my finances as a tangled-up part of this; I keep trying to pick up extra shifts - in fact I have one this very week, I have absolutely not learned - and then getting smacked down immediately by how weak I am for days afterward. Sigh. I did a big round of expense trimming and feel a bit better about things, but my travel budget is not very... er... existent. Things will improve a bit next year I think, when my tax returns catch up to reality and I qualify for more government this and that. And I'm going to sign up for the Please Pay For My Mental Health Medication I Am Broke But You Want Me To Take It Trust Me program, which will incidentally pay for my expensive migraine pills, since they are also used for various psychiatric issues. Nothing's all that bad, but a lot of things are not great and getting my pollyanna on is something I have less and less energy for. Thank god I have cats.
I am, no surprise, still loving having cats again. It's not exactly the unconditional love of an animal that appeals - it's super conditional, I totally feed them and they love that! - plus I feel lots of unconditional love from my family and friends, I am blessed. But I never have to explain or do emotional labour about my migraines to them. It's... it's amazing. I spend a lot of exhausted time trying to hide how much pain I am in, or trying to wade ahead through awkward answers to "How are your migraines?" "How are you?" "You're doing so much better!" etc, or trying to soothe people who have gotten a peek at what exactly I'm used to - being in pain 24/7, expecting to be in pain, being glad when the pain is not as bad as it sometimes is, stopping for meds every 4 hours - that stuff keeps me busy and I don't really want to spend more time going "No, no, it's okay, I've got this. I mean, I recognize that it's awful that I've got this, that there's a thing to get, just... let's talk about the weather, hey?" And yet I have the same impulses when people I love are in pain or in a lingering bad situation and I get the helpless need to reach out and show my shared horror / sympathy / disapproval etc. I'm not sure what to do with the irritation at how much emotional labour it is. Trying to come to view it as a symptom of my illness rather than a behaviour other people are doing to me. In some ways the societal downplaying of how bad migraine can be because it's predominantly a woman's disease comes in handy, helps me get away with "Fine thanks how are you!" when light is hurting me and sound is hurting me and my head is throbbing and moving hurts. It's... complicated. I've settled on usually answering "Oh, medium." when people ask how I'm doing. Most people seem to interpret that as "not in the mood to talk about it, but not brushing you off," which is about what I want I guess. Sick of this shit; still no hall pass; oh well, heft the backpack, here we go. But cats. Cats are an outlet of affection and amusement that involves none of this social illness role math. It's nice.
Splatoon 2 just came out and I ADORE IT. (Splatoon 2 had a line item all by itself in my cramped little budget. Tentacles: essential.) I can't stand to play for more than a few matches in a row because the sound hurts and also like, staying awake is harrrrrd, but BEING A SQUID IS STILL GREAT. Greg is very excited to watch me play. He would also like to play, but he's not getting his hands on my expensive, fragile Switch until he can come up with the gameboy I just bought him like six months ago which is lost inside our apartment somehow. This is not as ridiculous as it sounds, as our floors are constantly a disaster - he's six and I can't easily bend over to pick things up because of my bad knee and the way my head hurts if I do - so probably there are LOTS of interesting treasures hidden in the drifts of clutter here. But no getting jam on my new console until I confirm the previous one hasn't been stepped on or something. I might cave and let him play Splatoon 1 on the wii u, since let's face it, it's already well-jellied.
I've been going to church lately. I feel all sheepish about it, after being various flavours of atheist all these years. (While also being a church-going unitarian for many of them - but that's different in a lot of important ways.) But the Wednesday healing service at the local anglican cathedral is so lovely. It's so CALM and quiet and soothing, and they pet my head with blessed oil, and all kinds of muscles in my head and neck untense as the liturgy flows past. And then church ladies make me coffee and gossip about nursing homes with me. (As a pharmacist I am totally up on all the nursing home gossip.)
I have recently devoured two Neal Stephenson books and loved them: Reamde and Seveneves. They are both very in your face speed-reads (despite their great weight) rather than dense fruitcake like the Baroque Cycle, I am happy to report. I mean, I read all of the baroque cycle (I alternated it a chapter at a time with Vorkosigan books to keep myself going,) but it's more the kind of thing you do to put on your resume rather than for pleasure. I'm a little afraid to pick up his newest, DODO, because it looks like a bit of a return to historical twee-ness. I might give it a few years and then peep nervously at reviews.
Righto, back to sleep. Here are your journal entries for the next three weeks: CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS
( This is something I posted on Facebook about the new Doctor Who and I feel like it's still a good summary of where I stand. )
I have played 31 KEMCO-published games (25 to completion), virtually all of which cost me $1 or were free. That's on the order of 270+ hours of gameplay for around $25. Completed games average around 11 hours each, and Adventure Bar Story was the only one to crack the 20-hour mark.
KEMCO publishes games from four major developers, and though they're all retro-jrpgs, they each have their own style and evolution, which I've conflated in some places and becomes clearer as I've played more of their games.
EXE-Create made the Asdivine and Alphadia series, as well as the contents of the second KEMCO Humble Bundle (Fanatic Earth, Illusion of 'Phalcia, Journey to Kreisia, Revenant Saga). Their games tend to be longer, have multiple difficulty levels, rely less on IAP, and have the best translations. That said, their characters tend to be identical and the plot sequences, sidequests and worldbuilding don't change much from game to game. They have been steadily improving; I should probably try a few of their most recent offerings.
Hit-Point tends more towards games with monster companions and a variety of ways to grind. Several of their offerings (Crystareino, Justice Chronicles) were on Amazon Underground and I bought several others in their holiday sale (Soul of Deva, Chronus Arc). If you need to grind for materials to craft weapons, it's a Hit-Point game. On the other hand, they're most likely to to put actual puzzles into the dungeons. Their IAP is usually there to reduce grinding time. A bunch of their games were in the Humble KEMCO x HyperDevBox bundle, so it'll be interesting to see how those function without IAP.
Magitec tries the hardest to get creative with their plots, often to the point of cramming in too many twists. They also had a bunch of Amazon Underground games (Grace of Letoile, Soul Historica, Dead Dragons) and a bunch I got in the holiday sale (Covenant of Solitude, Chrome Wolf, Shelterra the Skyworld). They tend to go in for class systems, mission-based plot sequences, and very standard space-filling dungeons that have the same half-dozen styles (take the long way around to hit a switch; one-way doors/traps; sliding ice/walkways; damage floors you need items to avoid, etc). They'll often have cool stuff in their IAP, though sometimes it breaks the game more than others.
WorldWideSoftware provided the first KEMCO Humble Bundle (Eclipse of Illusion, Aeon Avenger, Fortuna Magus, Silver Nornir, Symphony of the Origin, Eve of the Genesis). They're most likely to hide story content behind IAP (if you aren't playing a Humble version), and their translations are sometimes rocky. They've gotten better at designing dungeons in later games, but it's not hard to improve from three open screens with two arrangements of enemies, which was the standard in their earliest offerings.
I suspect I'll continue to play games from a variety of the developers, but I'll likely seek out the WorldWideSoftware or later EXE-Create ones when I next go looking, unless I'm really in the mood for a decent plot and willing to handle the Magitec style to get it.
Gone Home - Katie arrives home after a year in Europe to find that the door is locked and her family is gone. First-person exploration of the giant, creepy house tells the story, and it doesn't turn out how you might expect. I quite enjoyed this; I found that the story played out reasonably well and the game didn't outstay its welcome or throw up any ridiculous barriers.
Eternal Senia - An action-rpg made with RPGMaker, that was an “impulse play” because it was free on Steam. The battle system is similar to the early Ys games, where you're mostly trying to ram enemies before their projectiles hit you. The engrish is pretty terrible. But there are some decent puzzles and a nice progression—this was clearly someone's labor of love.
Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs – Mithrigil recommended this to me because I like puzzle games and horror exploration games. I'll admit, I was hoping for a bit more "point and click adventure" and a bit less "first-person stumble around and get killed." You seem to be playing an amnesiac man--a butcher-turned-investor, perhaps?--who is searching the mansion house for his children. This house makes the hotel from The Shining seem tiny, mind you. The paintings are one-way viewing portals from the secret passages. The desk drawers and cabinets (and there are many) are all full of bottles. There might be a deep mystery here, but it’s too big for my patience and there’s too much actual danger for my skills.
Goat Simulator - It is everything that I heard it was, and more. You play an immortal, incredibly strong goat and can roam the world smashing and jumping on whatever you want. The physics take "ragdoll" to new heights (people flop around in the most absurd ways). The design philosophy was clearly "if it doesn't crash the game, leave it in." It also qualifies as "a game for the whole family", in that ARR was delighted to watch me jump around smashing stuff,* and Jethrien provided color commentary. There are actually a surprising number of things to find and things you can unlock--I had kind of expected it to be stupidly simple, but for a glitch-filled bunch of craziness it's shockingly deep. Oh, and despite all the things that didn't back up on the Steam servers when my computer crashed? My saves for this bug-ridden monstrosity were just fine. It got old after a while, but I had lots of fun with this.
Besiege - A construction-set puzzle game of absurd destruction. Each stage has a goal, and you need to assemble a siege weapon from an assortment of generic parts to accomplish it. Of course, that's never as easy as you might hope, because you can't take for granted things like “steering” or “aiming.” I suspect I was “really” suppose to destroy a house on the other side of a wall by using a catapult, but I opted to build a crappy makeshift airplane and crash that into the house instead. This is still in Early Access, so I'll likely want to revisit it once the later stages and features are implemented.
Quote: “It's okay; I'm a goat.”
( Read more... )
Overall: The season was uneven, with some bits I really enjoyed and some that were kinda dumb; and the overall arc got tiring by the end. But I still like the show and I'm still on the hook for the next season.
Today, after landing and a cab, and an alarming phone call from the mobility scooter rental place asking when I was going to pick it up (it got sorted out and they delivered the scooter promptly) I went up to the desk... and they wouldn't check me in. Because my name wasn't on the godamned reservation. I checked my bag, sat down, and cried. I got maybe four hours of sleep last night and chock-full airplanes are not calming to me.
I got myself together and had a Slim Jim and a granola bar, used a wet wipe on my face and hands, and felt a little better. A lady came up to me. "Excuse me, I'm sorry, but I saw you crying a little while ago. Is everything okay?"
I explained what had happened and that I was mostly just tired, having anticipated a nap upon arrival.
"Do you have something to eat?"
"Yes, I have a bag of snacks, thank you so much." I squeezed her hand.
Little glimmers of hope and caring when you're feeing low are priceless. It will be my privilege to try to pass it on in a convention where so many can get swept by the wayside.
Sunshine was allowed out of her cage and wanted to get out of the room as well. A new cat is named Freud (above), and he is indeed a joy. He was very friendly with both Virginia and me.
Ce n'est pas un chat. I kept looking at that cushion and thinking it was a sleeping cat, or maybe a tribble.
Two weeks ago, I talked to Virginia about getting scratched by cats, and Ladyslipper immediately scratched her. Last week I said I hadn't been scratched myself yet at the shelter, and this week Ladyslipper put an end to that record as I was cleaning a shelf next to her. I'd better be careful not to give her any more ideas.
Joni Mitchell was adopted. I hope her temperament is better in a home where she isn't surrounded by lots of other cats in close quarters.
- Class, Episode 5. I forgot a bit about where we were last time but oh, yes, and that, and I really like this show. And I'm bummed that it doesn't look like it's going to get a second season.
- Orphan Black Season 5, Episode 6. We're now rapidly careening toward the series finale with twists galore (some of them foreseeable, others less so) and the heart of darkness finally starting to blow up. I'm going to miss this show when it's gone.
( Read more... )
Overall: Short and by-the-numbers KEMCO/Megitek jrpg; the challenge level was reasonable and it didn't outstay its welcome. Not bad, but nothing amazing.
First, a…well, a disclaimer, if you will. Some of you may be aware that Alice (my eight-year-old Maine Coon) is not doing very well. I am thus more than a bit of a mess, and while I will still be attending the San Diego International Comic Convention (SDCC) this year, I may miss any specific program item with little notice. You have my sincere apologies for this fact. I wish things were different.
I will be roving the floor on Preview Night, and may have prizes for those who find me early!
Sixty Seconds with SFF Authors, 1:30pm, Horton Grand Theater. Come see Paul Cornell try desperately to herd cats through this comic game of never shutting up. Signing to follow.
Signing, California Browncoats, 2pm.
Signing, Penguin Random House booth, 5pm. (Also swing by the booth for totally awesome and unique Toby Daye collectable boxes. They’re for sale, and they’re awesome.)
Signing, Penguin Random House booth, 2pm.
How to Create Your Own Novel, 10:30am, Room 8. I get to sit on a panel with David Gerrold. Let’s see if I vibrate myself to death. Signing to follow.
Fantasy Novels, 12:30pm, Room 8. I live here today. Signing to follow.
The Alien-Predator Expanded Universe, Room 5AB. …and now I’m on a panel with Alan Dean Foster, I can die happy. Signing to follow. Then sleep. Glorious sleep.
See you in San Diego!
( thinky )
Oh, and, technically I am taking a vacation next week, except that the occasion is a weeklong visit from my mom, so it's not exactly downtime even though it will be fun times! Hopefully some extra downtime for Etrace though, if he can chill at home while we take Aria and go run around/pay social calls.
There was a third opening act but doors were at 6:30 and we got there at 7:15. Tears for Fears started at 7:17.
Tears for Fears were on fire. I didn't think I knew their oeuvre as well as it turns out I do, including songs I probably hadn't heard in 25+ years and could sing from memory. Their voices were strong, their instrumentation and playing were excellent, and while it doesn't look like they're putting out new material, I'd buy it if they were. Plus they win the prize for most on the nose cover with Creep.
Hall and Oates weren't bad, but it was hard to live up to what Tears for Fears was doing. They didn't really get into the music hard until the encore (which was basically a long second set). And Daryl Hall is almost 70 if not more than, so his upper register is shot and the rearrangement of the songs is a bit disorienting. Especially when the audience is singing along to the radio version.
I'm glad we saw Hall and Oates but Tears for Fears was the clear winner here.
Animated Shorts, Tosca Quartet, Austin Chamber Music Festival at the North Door. July 14. 2017.
We've been to the North Door for shows before and this was clearly the worst configuration for it. The seats were too close together, the AC wasn't working properly to the point where Michael had to leave, and the door was around the back because of construction on Fifth. The music was lovely, including the bandoreon player who gave a great intro to his instrument, and the shorts were nice enough, but we'd seen most of them because more than half were from Fantasia and Fantasia 2000.
I'd like to see another program like this in a better venue with a better selection of animation. The idea was sound, but not the execution. At least the company was good.