It’s a new year. Imagine if someone counted them wrong. Ha. Anyway, I see a lot of predictions for doom and gloom but I predict this year will be substantially similar to last year. My methodology is this: Perception is reality, so if I simply say “it’s just another year,” then nothing bad will happen, and I can just focus on doing my thing. Easy peasey.
I mean except maybe for that whole collapse of society into Mad Max anarchy looming in November.
I woke up this morning in a panic because I wasn’t anywhere near finished with this post, and it’s the 15th, so I have to post it anyway, but then I found out it’s a company holiday! And they said it was going to be a bad year.
The big news is I finished Baldur’s Gate 3 early in January. The worst part is that I didn’t get an achievement for Tactician because I went back to Balanced for some hours in the middle, and they didn’t warn me about that. Anyway, the complete story of my playthrough in video descriptions is 30,000 words long.
Then I started some Honor Mode games. I died in four of them, but remain alive in two others. But I’ve been slowly weaning myself off of BG3.
I started playing Warhammer 40k Rogue Trader, from Owlcat, the same people who made Pathfinder: Kingmaker. It’s yet another isometric CRPG in the style of the original Baldur’s Gate (except, thank god, it’s turn-based combat) that will probably take me years to finish. (I started Pathfinder: Kingmaker in 2021 and remain in Chapter 2.) They’re fun but they’re also quite meaty chunks of game to get through, what with the 50 million words of text to read because of the minimal voice acting.
It’s a jarring return to reality after Baldur’s Gate 3–a return to the real world where most all games are not really that great, just okay, just copies of other games with different graphics and sound effects.
I also tried a couple other new-ish CRPGs, Wartales and Colony Ship and Hard West 2. They’re all okay, too, but they’re also no Baldur’s Gate 3. For some reason, I’m determined to continue to buy new CRPGs instead of continuing with the older CRPG games that I haven’t finished yet. I must have dozens of partially-finished ongoing CRPG games at this point.
I did, however, force myself to play one more session of Pathfinder: Kingmaker, continuing slightly further into the Troll Lair Depths.
Speaking of half-finished games, I’m trying to update my scripts to upload a rotating schedule of all these half-finished CRPGs I’ve recorded in the last couple years. The ever-present spectre of last year’s NAS crash, and the loss of a big chunk of unfinished video series from 2021, looms over all things related to video files now.
For the record, I used up two 4 TB external USB drives to hold video files for the games I played last year. I’ve just started onto another one.
I really don’t know what to do about these CRPG games. It would be a lot faster and easier to play through them if I didn’t sit around reading every line of text out loud. And these low-budget games really pack in the text, don’t they? Anyway. Maybe I need to consider the possibility of not reading every line of text out loud, so it takes 45 minutes to complete 5 minutes of gameplay. But then the videos would really suck, you know? Game videos where you can’t listen only are the worst kinds of game videos. And once I start a series a particular way, I have to finish it the same way I started it. What a production nightmare.
Maybe I’ll play Lies of P or Lords of the Fallen just to give myself a break.
Watched a Taskmaster New Year’s Treat and the third Taskmaster Champion of Champions.
Watched a bunch of Taskmaster New Zealand episodes uploaded to the official Taskmaster YouTube channel, which I had already seen before, but the New Zealand version is almost better than the original, so it’s worth seeing again.
That led me to find episodes of Guy Montgomery’s Spelling Bee shadily copied to YouTube, which I illegally watched, since I’m not allowed to legally pay for New Zealand television. Guy Montgomery seems like the New Zealand version of Norm Macdonald.
A comedy spelling bee is a hilarious idea. I’m personally fascinated with the way every New Zealander was apparently taught to pronounce the letter R like a pirate. “A. Arrrrrrr. Arrrrrrr. A. Y.”
That led me to re-watch the one season of Taskmaster Australia again, which has one of the best tasks in Taskmaster history (the one with the roses and passwords). The main takeaway from Taskmaster Australia, in terms of cultural appropriation, is the term “ute.”
Anyway the point is now I know everything there is to know about Australia and New Zealand. A sentence that would be really funny if read in the style of Norm Macdonald or Guy Montgomery.
Oof. Back to work. In the first sprint of the year I did some some python data transformation work, which I mostly hated, but there wasn’t much else to do. Python is a chaotic abomination and a stain on the software industry, and it’s unsuitable for application development. But other than that, it’s fine. Luckily ChatGPT is good at providing answers in Python. Things like, “What the holy hell are these functions that start with two underscores?” (The answer is, unironically, magic. Magic is definitely something you want in a rigid, strict programming language.)
Health and Wellness
Remembered to go to the eye doc appointment this time, and put in my order for new computer glasses which will probably arrive by the end of the month. My old computer glasses were more for reading, for which they worked fantastic, but they annoyed me when working with computers because I had to lean too far forward to read a computer screen. Lately I’ve had to rely on them more and more because…
I already knew this, but it was confirmed again that I do indeed have a cataract growing in my left eye. It’s big enough now that it interferes with the picture they take to check your retina. It’s what they call a PSC cataract, growing from the center outward, so there was a blurry spot right in the middle of the retina picture, which is the exact place that you don’t want a cataract in your eye. This accounts for why I’ve had no choice but to use those prescription reading glasses more and and more lately, or suffer immense headaches at a computer.
I had to have a cataract removed from my right eye back in 2018. Well, they don’t so much “remove” the cataract as “replace” the whole lens with a cataract-free implant. Anyway my eyesight has been a burning hellscape of inconvenience ever since, since one eye is far-sighted and the other is near-sighted. Implants are always far-sighted, because normally they’re replacing the lenses of 80-year-olds, which are almost always far-sighted.
Now one eye is far-sighted and one is near-sighted with a blurry spot in the middle. I’ll probably have to get it fixed relatively soon. It could remain tolerable for years, or it could suddenly get worse and need treatment. But I imagine by next year I’ll be wanting to get rid of it.
It wasn’t really a big deal to get the cataract surgery, by the way. It sounds like it will be horrible, but the procedure took roughly 20 minutes in the morning and I was walking around seeing a thousand times better by lunch time. Whatever horror stories we used to hear from our grandparents are in the distant past.
Also, your guess is as good as mine as to why I have cataracts some 30 years before I’m supposed to. The usual explanation for cataracts in younger patients is steroids, but I don’t take steroids. Other than that, every eye doc I’ve talked to has just shrugged and said, “Yeah it just happens sometimes, we don’t know why.” Eye docs don’t really seem to be an inquisitive lot as a whole.
Incidentally, while I was waiting to talk to someone about new glasses, the television was playing an episode of Guess A Number with Howie Mandell, otherwise known as Deal or No Deal. I can’t be sure but I’m almost positive I remember seeing the exact same episode the last time I was there, with some blond-haired pregnant woman. (It was this one, which is apparently a famous episode.)
It made me chuckle because American game shows are nowhere near as entertaining as the UK Quiz or Panel Shows that I’ve found myself watching a lot the last few years. I mean it’s such a lavish, expensive production on Deal or No Deal, and the audience is constantly losing their minds like they’re watching the Superbowl. I can’t even imagine what kind of cocaine derivatives they give to all those people before filming. Maybe there’s some kind of chemical pumped in through the ventilation system. I found it highly entertaining to imagine creating a spoof of Deal or No Deal that was literally just contestants guessing a number from 1 to 25 with the same raucus energy, and it was quite difficult not to laugh at my own wit in the waiting room, which is something you generally want to avoid in most situations.
I had a Bluesky invitation sitting in my email since the beginning of December that I just activated, and the first thing I did was follow a News feed. It’s a very terrible news feed, and rarely reports anything relevant, but hey, it’s something. Occasionally there’s even a news item that isn’t hyperlocal to some obscure European town. It’s getting to where I might have to actually log into my real name Twitter account on their web site just to see news.
- With the start of 2024, daily news reports seem to be putting presidential politics in the top headline, moving Israel into the back seat.
- An earthquake hit Japan.
- A leader of Hamas was assassinated by drone strike in Lebanon, raising fears of the Israel Hamas War expanding. Border skirmishes continue to be reported.
- Jeffery Epstein’s “list” was released, shattering the widely-held belief that rich people with power are just like the rest of us.
- Republicans enjoyed listening to themselves yelling at Hunter Biden in a meaningless Congressional hearing that nobody watched.
- The 2024 Iowa Caucus begins right after press time, so stay tuned for the exciting conclusion to the first primary for the 2024 U.S. presidential election, and to see how many accusations of cheating and undermining the democractic process will occur. (There’s no doubt whatsoever who is going to win the Republican nomination. Seriously, it’s never been so lopsided before. Then again, we all thought it was a foregone conclusion that Clinton would be the Democratic nominee in 2008.) Incidentally, we don’t know why Iowa is so early, either, or what a “caucus” is. They still think it’s 1837 over there in Iowa I guess.
- Ongoing Trainwrecks of the Year: 2024 Presidential Election, War in Israel (since 10/2023), Nigerian Coup (since 7/2023), Sudanese Civil War (since 4/2023), War in Ukraine (since 2/2022), Myanmar Civil War (since 2021).
- Celebrity Deaths: