Blaugust 2023, Pathfinder: Kingmaker, blog site updates and microblogging, a nutritional reset, and more, in the summer heat.

The Imminent Blaugust - July 2023

2,606 words.

The Imminent Blaugust - July 2023

The Blaugust Plan

Blaugust begins tomorrow, relative to the publication date of this post. Which is tomorrow, relative to when I’m typing this.

Everyone’s talking about their Blaugust plans.

I have none. No planned topics, no pre-written posts. You get what you get. :)

Most of the fun part of Blaugust for me is the setup and preparation beforehand, the ideas to try writing a different way, the small improvements to the site in case anyone new shows up, the daydreaming that maybe this year will be the one where I won’t shame myself walking out on that shaky limb, because it won’t break this time (the eternal struggle of the artist).

And I’ve already finished all that. I put some new mechanisms and workflows in place so I could publish a post every day in a vastly easier way that fits in with my active lifestyle. Active in the sense that I actively can’t publish 1000-word blog posts every day. I mean I could, but they’d be bad and I’d feel bad, and I’d have a perpetually sore neck and back, too.

What I actually end up writing for Blaugust 2023 will be short bursts of whatever I think about during the days of August, and my standard two newsletter/journal/live-action memoir posts (that’s what this post is).


I haven’t played too much this half-month, but what I have played is Pathfinder: Kingmaker. There’s a weird tradition in TTRPGs where the adventuring party has to have a name, like they’re a band out gigging, so I’ve named my party Harwell’s Heroes.

Harwell’s Heroes currently consists of Harwell, the recently-annointed Baron of Harland–a Vivisectionist Alchemist, because it was by far the funniest-sounding class at character-creation time–Amiri the barbarian lady, Regongar the punny half-orc magus, Harrim the Groetus-loving dwarf cleric, the tiefling duality sisters Kanerah and Kalikke (from DLC, I think), and Ekundayo and Dog (a massively overpowered combo). This lineup of heavy-hitters has been going after the source of the Troll Trouble in my newly-established barony of the Stolen Lands, which I believe is the second act of the game.

I have no idea how far I’ve gotten in the game, but at the moment, after beginning the game in 2021, it feels like maybe one or two percent? It’s a complicated game, but it’s the kind of game I like to savor and record (when I’m up for it), because I get to immerse myself in reading a lot of text, which allows me to pretend I know how to verbalize complex thoughts like an educated person. [What the actual hell, ZeroGPT, the whole paragraph?? I’ve never seen an AI write a paragraph like that.]

I also bought Remnant 2, but I haven’t played it yet. If it looks like it’s just going to be a continuation of the same gameplay in Remant: From The Ashes, I might very well return it and wait for a sale. (Update: It was a continuation and I did return it.)

There was a Fan Fest or something for Final Fantasy XIV, in which a trailer for the next expansion Dawntrail was shown, creating some excitement among the remaining diehard nostalgic MMORPG-playing traditionalists.

But despite my lack of enthusiasm for late-stage MMORPGism, I went ahead and re-installed FFXIV. MMORPGs typically plummet off a cliff into a dark ocean of repetitive mediocrity after a couple of expansions, if they somehow manage not to launch that way (cough New World cough). But FFXIV has a modest chance of rekindling the occasional warm thought of nostalgia for the long-dead-and-gone historical era of the late 1990s and early 2000s.

I haven’t logged into FFXIV since I got 8 quests into Endwalker and realized it wasn’t as good as everyone said (there were also a lot of queue problems at launch). It’s a slog to get through FFXIV story content, the game’s biggest strength and its biggest weakness. As of two years ago, at least. The “graphical update” looked basically non-existant to me, and it appears to me they are continuing to limp along with a slightly upscaled, painted over late-2000s-era game engine that will inevitably implode from technical debt someday, the same way Lord of the Rings Online did.

Update: I did not play enough to finish a single quest in FFXIV.


Lots of tweaking to the blog and related properties, in preparation for Blaugust. I’ve documented the gory details in the brand new Microblogging section.

In a nutshell, I’ve added a brand new Microblogging section, to capture GoToSocial notes.

Expertly crafted observations like that are how you can tell this isn’t AI-generated.

As mentioned last time, I setup a container on my Unraid box running an instance of GoToSocial, which is a lightweight, generic ActivityPub server implementation with Mastodon-compatible extensions.

Since it’s running on my own home network, I wrote a script to pull my posts from the GoToSocial database and insert them into the blog as consolidated daily microblogging posts. It isn’t yet automated, but I hope it will be someday because I’ll soon stop remembering to run it manually. (It’s somewhat challenging to automate additions to a static blog, though.)

Syntax Highlighting

I saw some other developer blogs in the list for Blaugust, which inspired me to finally add the syntax highlighting bits to my Hugo templates. Part of my script looks like this:

with open("output.csv", "r") as file:
    csv_reader = csv.DictReader(file)
    for row in csv_reader:
        print("", file=f)
        markdown_content = html2text.html2text(row["content"])
            .strip().replace("\n", " ")
        pattern = r'\[(#\w+?)]\(https://gts\.endgameviable\.com.*?\)'
        replacement = r'\1'
        markdown_content = re.sub(pattern, r'\1', markdown_content)
        if row["content_warning"]:
            markdown_content = row["content_warning"] + 
                '. <span class="spoiler" onClick="toggleSpoiler(this)">' +
                markdown_content + '</span>'
        s = '<span id="{id}"/>[{time}]({url}) [#](#{id}) {content}'.format(
        print(s, file=f)

Spiffy. I don’t work with Python normally, so a lot of that came about by asking ChatGPT things like “how do you read a CSV file in Python” and “how do you do a regular expression string replace in Python” and then tweaking the results. ChatGPT is awesome for that.

Health and Wellness

Last week I did a hard reset on my diet. I suddenly realized I felt bad all the time and didn’t have any energy. The usual stuff for me. It’s not always the case but frequently it turns out that I’m simply not eating enough nutritionally useful food.

I usually don’t mention this, but I have a strong proclivity for under-eating. I’ve never encountered anyone who relates to this, and most people laugh and say, “Boy I wish I had that problem!” and I have to pretend to laugh along while I’m secretly dying inside because I’ve heard it fifty thousand million billion times, and wondering if that person would really enjoy feeling like they can barely stand vertically against the Earth’s gravitational pull for days on end.

The point is, it’s a constant effort for me to eat enough of the basic nutrients that a human body needs to function every day.

The root cause of this problem is that I hate wasting time eating and don’t care the slightest bit about food. I live by myself so there’s no social structure in my life around meals. Like a child, I frequently forget to eat because I’m too wrapped up in whatever cerebral activity I’m working on to stop, until sometimes I have to stop because I suddenly feel light-headed.

So lately I’ve been making a concerted effort to avoid buying pre-prepared foodstuffs or too many snack foods at the store, and instead buy basic unprocessed building blocks of meals (eggs, chicken, bread, vegetables, fruits) I can prepare myself to eat throughout the week.

It helped immensely, almost immediately. After a few days in a row of simply getting more basic protein in my diet, I felt a thousand times better.

It’s not very popular to say this within nerd culture circles, and I personally hate that it’s true, but tweaking my dietary intake unequivacoably has a major effect on my daily physical and mental wellbeing. Particularly as I’ve gotten older.

But, like I said, it’s a constant battle to keep on top of it due to the above-mentioned lack of interest in food. I have to find things that are incredibly easy to prepare and eat. At some point I want to start a “Recluse Recipes” series.

Day Job

In this sprint … wait, hold on a second. Why do they call them sprints? The term “sprint” really makes it sound like it’s a high-octane adventure, doesn’t it? Sort of exhausting? Usually it isn’t, though. But it’s not a great term. It’s a term that makes it sound like the work is supposed to be exhausting, like it’s supposed to wear you out and leave nothing leftover for non-work time. But sprints (the races) are supposed to be one-time events, not recurring one after another ad infinitum.

Anyway, in this sprint, I worked on storing X509 certificates in Hashicorp Vault, and more Java code to extract data from AWS SQS messages and store them in a database.

I was feeling some burnout (before I adjusted my diet, at least), so I’m planning to take the whole week off before Labor Day.

Media Consumption

Less television in the latter half of July.

Critical Role, and the Max series Full Circle. Full Circle is interesting, but the constant handheld camera work makes it feel like you’re watching a cheap indie production.

Watched the second part of The Witcher season 3. Like a typical modern television production, there were 5 or 10 minutes of good content there. They really wrecked that show when they decided to try to chase the Game of Thrones audience. It’s no wonder Henry Cavill wanted out, after they disavowed the source material starting in the second episode of season 2. The first season is an excellent prequel to playing the games, the rest is mostly gibberish.

Winding down on Netflix true crime docudramas, because they’re running out of titles to show me. The remaining selections are in foreign languages, and you can’t listen to those while you go about your day, unless they’ve taken the time to dub them in English.

Improving my diet (see above) has the added benefit of improving my energy in the evenings, so I’m less inclined to sit around staring at a television show.

The night before press time I watched a cool documentary on Netflix called Unknown: Cosmic Time Machine about the launch of the James Webb Telescope. I feel bad that I wasn’t more aware of it’s construction and deployment. It’s possibly the most remarkable engineering feat in human history. Discounting the Salad Shooter, of course.

World Context

  • It’s hot. Wikipedia doesn’t cover July, but dangerous heat warnings around the country are in the national news almost every single day. I read somewhere this July is on track to be the third year in a row where July is the hottest July in “Earth’s history.” (In this context, Earth’s history is understood to have begun around 1850.)
  • Twitter actually went through with rebranding to X.
  • In actual news of importance, Israel voted to reduce judicial overview, a subject that’s way more complicated than any headline could ever explain.
  • Niger, that one country that white people have to be incredibly careful writing and saying, is undergoing a leadership crisis. I didn’t look closely at the news, I just wanted to write a dumb joke.
  • And, of course, it wouldn’t be that depressing post-2015 world we all enjoy if Trump wasn’t in the news pretty much every day. It’s a real will-he-or-won’t-he (go to jail) situation right now with the federal Trump indictment. But don’t get too excited, we live in the timeline where his potential incarceration a) realistically, probably won’t happen and b) probably wouldn’t effect his chances of winning the primaries or getting elected president anyway. We’re still right on track for that 50-50 split vote in 2024 that comes down to whoever does or doesn’t get caught cheating, either by actually cheating, or by fabricating a cheating claim, in a handful of swing counties. Good times ahead.
  • Celebrity deaths: Kevin Mitnick (hacker), Tony Bennett (singer), Randy Meisner (Eagles bassist).

That’s it for now. Stay cool in August, kids. Good luck with Blaugust!

P.S. I got this post down to a mere 3% chance of being generated by an AI.

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