Ignorance Is Strength - March 2023
It was so warm in February that flowers bloomed early and covered my car with pollen. But today we cower in fear of the Ides of March.
Or: What everyone else is talking about in gaming.
Destiny 2: Lightfall was probably the most-mentioned new game expansion in my circles. Wo Long launched, but I only saw one person talking about playing it. Hogwart’s Legacy continues to dominate the sales charts week after week.
I signed up for the Wayfinder beta, which is popularly memed to be like WildStar, but the game doesn’t look nearly as good to me as it does to everyone else.
I didn’t sign up for the Microsoft-backed Pax Dei alpha because I didn’t want to link my Steam account to a completely unknown third-party survey. Microsoft has their own ecosystem, they should use that, or just use Steam’s “request access” button like everyone else.
Former X-Play gaming media personality Adam Sessler has apparently been in trouble with gamers lately for saying bad things about gamers. It’s hard to imagine a more toxic relationship than the one between Adam Sessler, never one to mince words on X-Play or on Twitter, and the more entitled corners of the gaming community.
As for me, I finished a second playthrough of the Resident Evil 2 Remake as Claire Redfield. Some changes from the Leon story to keep you on your toes, but similar enough that it goes much faster. Better voice acting and storytelling with Claire. Now I know what that prison informant was talking about when he implicated Chief Irons! If you only wanted to play once then I’d probably pick the Claire story instead of the Leon story.
Supposed to play two more New Game+ times to see all the story, but yeah I don’t think I’ll do that.
Instead, I started the Resident Evil 3 remake. I played a free demo of it on the PS4 in 2020, which was the origin of my foray into modern Resident Evil, since the one time I had the PC version in the 90s. Honestly I’m not entirely sure anymore if I did play the PC version in the 90s… that might just be a false memory. If I actually did, it’s probably something I pirated and played for 15 minutes before realizing it wasn’t anything like Quake or Baldur’s Gate.
These modern Resident Evil remakes are nothing like the originals. They’ve turned them into blockbuster action movies, somewhat like a mashup of Uncharted and Tomb Raider (the new one) and Terminator 2 and Die Hard and Aliens. With zombies. Like the Resident Evil movies, now that I think about it. But also with the addition of old-school puzzles and extremely unforgiving inventory management.
Not much to talk about. Monitoring the daily YouTube upload scheduler. (I have to get new login tokens every week or so because YouTube hates small developers.) Finished with Lords of the Fallen, now uploading Resident Evil 7, which I hastily wrote some titles and descriptions for. Otherwise just playing games and running a Python script to build MP4s from the raw recordings.
The Last Of Us is over now. It was a very good show and did the game justice, but I felt like the game was a more impactful emotional journey. Bravo for getting Ashley Johnson in there for a surprise appearance at the end.
Speaking of Ashley Johnson, I’m still watching Critical Role, in the same way a retired person would watch NCIS, because it’s there and it makes a soothing noise in the background. I’ve long since lost any capacity for understanding the extended expositional barrages of random unfamiliar names they throw out every week in Campaign 3 with no concern for the audience. Having said that, Campaign 3 Episode 51 was one of the best episodes in a long time. It was the Campaign 2 Episode 12 of Campaign 3. Just kind of wish they’d gotten there in, you know, 12 episodes instead of 51.
My waning interest in UK light entertainment quiz and panel shows was reinvigorated by the discovery of Richard Osman’s House of Games, a show that I could easily imagine airing alongside Super Password or Pyramid on the daytime television I watched in the 80s with my mom during summers.
Additionally, the month of March began with a power outage for most of a night, so I started listening to the audiobook of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, which I think I got for free at some point. It’s another of those classics I’ve heard about all my life, understand most of the references, but never actually read.
WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH
It’s a good audiobook–the New Classic Edition, well-read by Simon Prebble. You don’t really think of books from 1949 as being edgy, but there’s some pretty graphic content in there. Tame by today’s standards, but definitely not what you’d call wholesome. (I would never call anything wholesome, because I think that word is gross.)
Apparently the economy has massive job growth, at the same time that the tech industry is laying off tons of people.
I’m phasing into a larger team where everything is different, all day, every day. It’s good to flip the tables on your career every couple of years and start over completely from scratch, right? Good character building, I hear. Anyway the new team’s projects are all Java, Python, and Typescript, instead of Golang. Golang was new to me 2 years ago. I haven’t really used Java much since, I don’t know, the late 90s? A lot’s changed for the better in Java since the 90s, but they still haven’t given up on the word “beans.”
Bought a couple of books, O’Reilly’s Software Engineering at Google, and High Performance Java Persistence, both recommended by co-workers.
Watched some PluralSight training on Kubernetes, which I got for virtually nothing in a Humble Bundle some time ago and is now relevant to my new team. (Humble Bundles sometimes have good IT training material and music production assets, but the vast majority of their games are uninteresting to me.) It looks like a very cool product for building out scalable software infrastructure. One of my personal software development areas of interest is automating the build and deployment process, which I think is critical to the success of any long-term project, particularly if rapid changes are required.
Snagged a free O’Reilly Learning account from my organization and have also been watching some stuff about the Java Spring framework. It’s way better than random searches on YouTube. My experience of YouTube tutorials on programming topics lately is … let’s just say they’re hit or miss, filled with copied-and-pasted content, and–how can I put this delicately?–sometimes challenging for an English speaker to understand.
Health and Wellness
A trendy category for certain.
Dentist visit for a routine cleaning. They also did a full set of x-rays and measured my gum depth, which is the thing where they repeatedly stab your gums with a very sharp instrument. Still putting off going to the endodontist for a new-fangled mouth CT scan they do now to see what’s going on with my roots.
Doctor visit to check on some pain in my groin area that’s been around for a while now. The doc (who, it turns out, was someone that I saw in the 2000s for a kidney stone) found nothing life-threatening, but I have a followup ultrasound later this week to double-check.
It occurred to me I shouldn’t put this at the top of the post and immediately turn off readers within milliseconds. However I can report that this part has very quickly turned into my favorite bit to write.
In the news:
- I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that one of the most popular water cooler technology topics around the world so far this year is ChatGPT, a Generative AI product with the uncanny ability to write better than a significant percentage of the world population–good enough for most business needs.
- A rare bipartisan story of interest in the U.S., Alex Murdaugh was sentenced to life in prison for murdering his wife and son. Readers probably don’t know who that is, but somebody somewhere is trying desperately to mythologize the Murdaugh case just as much as the OJ case: He has a Netflix special, and he’s on my Twitter news timeline every day now for some reason.
- The U.S. Department of Energy caused a stir by announcing they believed COVID likely leaked from a Wuhan lab, angering Democrats, who have always believed that anything a Republican might say about COVID has to be wrong.
- Scott Adams finally went too too far* in the alternate reality of the culture wars.
- Trump appeared at CPAC 2023 instead of DeSantis, for those following along with the “which vindictive Republican demagogue has a realistic 50% chance of being the next president” game show.
- The New York Times and The Washington Post both reported that the Nord Stream Pipeline was sabotaged by a pro-Ukrainian group, angering Germany, but also nobody, because nobody in the U.S. cares about the events leading up to World War 3 when there’s mob justice for minor everyday inconveniences to mete out.
- Tucker Carlson, using exclusive video footage given to him by Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, created an extremely predicable amount of controversy about Jan 6* for the sake of ratings and FOX News stock prices, angering Democrats, but delighting topical comedians.
- The Silicon Valley Bank collapsed on a Friday and dominated the news cycle over the weekend as everyone on Twitter freaked out trying to either create or calm mass banking panic before Monday, which could have affected SVB bailouts and/or other banks, because the entire modern economy is based mostly on wishes and dreams and The Average Consumer’s confidence that banks actually have the money they deposited. By Monday, the Biden administration announced a plan to protect uninsured SVB deposits, proving once again that perception is way more important than reality.
- Daylight Savings began in the U.S., so I now have to put
-05:00in my blog post dates. Incidentally, a bill to make Daylight Savings time permanent in the U.S. passed the Senate last year, but has yet to go before the House, which is currently laser-focused on the important forward-thinking governence work of rampaging vengeance against Democrats, wokeness, and Anthony Fauci.
- Everything Everywhere At Once won the Oscar for best picture, but there was no celebrity-on-celebrity violence this year, no doubt a direct benefit of changing the red carpet to dingy biege. Also the kid that played Short Round won for best supporting actor, which was pretty cool.
* Finding an apolitical, just-facts-with-some-context report on controversial U.S. politics news–one that half the U.S. population won’t immediately discount on sight as fake–is quite difficult, but I stumbled on the English version of The Indian Express which I might use as my go-to citation source from now on, because I and most U.S. citizens have no knowledge of any reporting bias they might have.
P.S. I should add that most world news doesn’t actually reach the U.S., so when I say “World Context,” I mean just the bits that I actually hear about.
P.P.S. You won’t believe this, but I did actually remove a lot of editorializing from this post.
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