Book Fight!

Hello! I’ve been meaning to post here about podcasts for the longest time. And so, let me ramble about … Book Fight!

I started listening to Book Fight! not long after moving to Dublin. Moving there was an adventure, but it was difficult, especially at the start. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit it, but listening to Book Fight! was a bit of a crutch for the lack of connection in my life. There’s an obvious and strong bond between the hosts, and I really needed that. I used to load up on episodes before going traveling, and rehearing some of them brings me back to walking around Cardiff, taking the train through the Scottish Lowlands, or wandering around Zurich.

Since moving back to Canada, I’ve continued listening, and support them through Patreon. I’m not all that fussed on them purposefully reading bad books for bonus episodes (that’s what I Don’t Even Own a Television is for), but they’re always pretty interesting.

Random points:

  • They have good rapport. They clearly know each other very well, and excel at the art of riffing.
  • Some of the books sound absolutely fascinating. I’ll probably never read most of them (especially at my current reading pace), but I still get a lot out of the discussions.
  • Every episode with a guest is gold.
  • I like the “Mike’s Fanfiction Corner” segments. Usually, anyway.

If all this sounds interesting, I’d suggest checking out the somewhat recent post on where to start. I really dug the old Writers Ask episodes, for what it’s worth. And the recent one on The Elementary Particles, by Michel Houellebecq was so good I … I left a comment (!).

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Riverdance

I saw Riverdance with my friend T– at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre back in April. They perform it every summer at the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin, I think; it’s something I meant to see before I left Ireland, but I didn’t. So when it came to town, I scooped up tickets as soon as they went on sale.

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Pride and Prejudice

I’m making a bit of an effort to read more lately. Jane Austen was one of my blind spots, so when I saw a copy of Pride and Prejudice at a used book store, I picked it up. And… I’m sure this comes as no surprize, but it’s a good story. The plot has fairly low stakes for most of it, but I got invested in the characters, and when the story does kick into gear it pulls on many plot threads it’d carefully laid and I hadn’t noticed. It’s a good book.

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Mass Effect, slayed

I bought Mass Effect for USD$10 back in late 2009. Nearly ten years later (roughly a month ago, now), I finally beat it.

Thoughts:

  • First things first, it has to be said that there’s a lot of wonkiness in this game. Most of the time the game is “fun” to play, aside from when you get hit with biotics and lose control of Shepard for a few seconds — it’s fair, the whole point of the attack is making someone an easy target, but taking away all control from a player in a FPS is almost painful. The inventory system is complete rubbish. It’s not often clear what choosing a particular dialog choice will do. Most of the planets you visit are entirely optional and feature tedious exploration. And yet…
  • It comes together really well. It’s a case where the whole is much greater than the sum of the parts.
  • The first few times I tried playing it I got bogged down in the Citadel. In retrospect the stuff that opens up once you reach the Citadel is available to you ’til near the end of the game, so you’re not really meant to spend hours wandering around talking to people and opening up side quests. So that’s kinda on me, but also on the game for not communicating it to me.
  • But the missions are good. They’re focused, interesting, and usually fun.
  • The side quests are OK. There’s a limit to how many times I can go through the same bases with different placements of obstacles and different enemies, but I didn’t get completely bored of them.
  • And it’s clearly an ambitious game. It doesn’t all work, but they tried so much.

After a bit of struggling, I got my copy of Mass Effect 2 up and running via Origin. Here’s my griping on Twitter:

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The general consensus is that Mass Effect 2 is a vast step up over the first game. I’m looking forward to checking it out. “Yarr” indeed!

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