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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Motown

Gavin kindly invited me to go watch Motown when it was in town, and it was good. There’s a story there about Berry Gordy and his life, and breaking black music to white America, and racial strife; but to me it was mostly an excuse to watch performances from all sorts of famous acts (done by imitators / actors, of course). I generally like Motown, so the show mostly worked for me. Huzzah!

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Year in Review: 2017

Previously:

Personal Deets

Nothing too much to say. I used the phrase “settled down” for my entry about 2016, but in truth I remained unsettled for most of 2017. I don’t talk about my work much because it’s internal, but suffice to say I spent much of the year working on a project that hoovered my time, and my other internal work goals remain unfulfilled. Also, as of November I finally got over leaving Ireland. It took two years, but all those conflicted feelings finally subsided. Now it’s moving back to Dublin that would put me through endless uncertainty and regrets and discomfort. 😀

Travel

Trip to Australia
That didn’t happen. It was going to be my big “I’m travelling again!” vacation, but work got busy and I didn’t take the time off.
Victoria, BC
I took some time off at the start of summer and hung in Victoria for a while. I went to the Royal BC Museum, toured the BC Legislature, visited UVic for probably the first time since 1999, and hung out with some friends I don’t get to see too often.
Vancouver Island
I visited my parents again… but this time my siblings came, children in tow. Much “uncle” time was enjoyed. We also went to the Filberg Festival in Comox, which was grand.
Staycation
I took a week off in October to deal with personal stuff and got sick, boo.
… OK, I still had the week off, so technically it should count, but BAH.
Christmas in Cowtown
Family Christmas in Calgary.

Events

The Critical Hit Show @ The Rio (repeatedly)
“But for the purposes of this show, we are no longer in the Rio Theatre in Vancouver, British Columbia. No, we –” and now the audience joins in “– are in my parents’ basement in North, Delta. (pause) Where I currently reside.”
The Gentlemen Hecklers @ The Rio (occasionally)
Let’s see… I went to Hackers, The Wizard, the original The Planet of the Apes
The Museum of Vancouver
Yes, I finally went. After some ten years in Vancouver. They have a nice section on the original Musqueam village that Vancouver displaced.
The Celebration of Light
As a West Ender, I pretty much have to deliberate choose to not go see the fireworks, and even then it’s so noisy that I might as well wander down to the shore.
VanDusen Botantical Gardens
Again, after having lived in Vancouver for ten years, I finally checked out VanDusen. Great guided tour, lovely gardens.
VCON
For the first time, I skipped. I’m still not sure how I feel about that.
D– and H–‘s Wedding
Huzzah!
The Broadway Chrous – Honey, I Shrunk the Chorus
Good times, eh!
The East Van Panto – Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
More good times!

Misc

Spelunky
I started playing after I moved back, and finally beat it. Such a good game.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
I bought a Switch in March and spent the rest of the month obsessively playing this game. I had to lend out the system just to stop playing it. So good.
Books
I reread William Gibson’s “Blue Ant” trilogy. I’d read the first two shortly after they were released in the 2000s, and they were nifty books, linked mainly by the presence of a particular character and the Blue Ant advertizing agency. The third book, however, pulls on characters introduced in the previous books, and when I read it in 2015 I was a little lost. So I reread the series, and yes, they’re very good.

There was also quite a bit of Terry Pratchett, mostly because I’ve been lending the books out to one of my coworkers.

Irish
I started taking Irish lessons via Duolingo. YES, I KNOW, it’s foolish thing to do some two years after leaving Ireland; no, it’s not because I miss Ireland (not entirely, anyway). I started doing it as a lark, and it’s really interesting and so different to English. I’ll see how long I can keep it up.

Summation

It was a quiet year. I think I finally rebounded, and I think I’ll make some plans for this coming year.

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