Looking For Quacks In The Pavement

Category: Media (Page 1 of 34)

This is a container category for media reviews and related drivel.

Who Wrecked Their Flying Fortress Better?

I just finished watching the end of the Fractale anime for the 2nd time. I watched it weekly as it originally aired, and now I own it on Blu Ray. (It was on dirt-cheap sale.)

While processing the show’s ending my brain made a very silly, very random connection between Fractale and something else I watched recently: The Black Widow movie.

There’ll be spoilers (of a sort) after this point, just so you’re warned.

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Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao

I don’t remember why I pre-ordered this (via Powell’s, by the way, not the “large river monopoly” website) except a vague sensation that several people whose opinion I trusted were very excited at its impending release. And, hey, the elevator pitch (anime-style giant-mech action in a strongly historical-Chinese kind of setting) is nothing to sneeze at.

Let me get the recommendation part out of the way right now: If the aforementioned elevator pitch intrigues you, buy this book. If a story of a young woman realizing that a great deal of what she’s been told about How Things Are Supposed To Work is Just Plain Wrong and then proceeding to wreck everything in the process of Doing Something About It sounds like your idea of a good time, buy this book. If you want a “YA” tagged story where the romance bits both do and do not go the way you mostly expect, get on board this shiny mecha, folks.

More thoughts after the break. Here, have a pull quote:

“What I have learned through this madness is that you can absolutely solve your problems by throwing money at them. If you can’t, you probably don’t have enough money for that particular problem.”

IRON WIDOW, Xiran Jay Zhao
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Satisfactory – So Much Work For Shinies

While I’ve not been writing about the game much, I still play at least once per week on my own game and usually once per week in a cooperative game session with my son. I’m at what could be considered the “late” stage of the game, having sent off the third big Space Elevator shipment and unlocking access to the aluminum and nuclear tiers.

This is where things go from “moderately complex” to “rather fiendishly complex,” and the scale gets to the point where you can’t simply expect to make a variety of products from one resource node, let alone one group of resource nodes.

Case in point? Crystal Oscillators.

So much work, so much time, for a couple of little odd-looking devices every couple of minutes per manufacturer.
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The Summer of Our Discount Tent

I bought a “light tent” some time ago in order to get portraits of the various duckies (as well as, potentially, anything else we want a Very Nice Picture of) but I noticed something after the first couple of sessions that bothered me a bit. Due to various circumstances mostly having to do with living in a pandemic and not wanting to deal with much of anything, I didn’t get around to trying a solution until this week.

The problem? The LEDs at the top of the tent leave a bright glare in the photographs of any smooth, shiny subject. The solution? Buy some kind of light-diffusing material and find a way to “mount” it in the tent.

Let’s see how that went, shall we?

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Oh, right: Content

I got through the birthday week okay, but getting older and hitting the anniversary (yesterday) of the last day I worked in my office (which no longer exists, since the company reduced the space on the lease in our building) kind of took all the energy I might have had for posting stuff here and… vaporized it, really.

My son and I are now doing a weekly Twitch stream of co-op Satisfactory, and that’s going well. I did, in fact, finish the train line I was building and edited together a little 2-minute clip of the route:

I originally planned a voiceover for this but my scripts kept coming out terrible, so I bailed on that idea.

Other than that, I’m just keeping on at keeping at it as best I can. (And hoping to get a vaccine appointment some day.) What else can one do?

Satisfactory: Rail Guide Addendum

I’ve been working on a railroad. Not all the live-long day, mind you, but I did put in a lot of hours over this past weekend on a very silly project in Satisfactory. You see, I just shipped off the third Space Elevator bundle and unlocked Tier 7… but the forthcoming game patch called Update 4 is supposed to do exciting things to the tech at that level so I don’t want to actually build anything from that tier yet. Either I need to shelve the game for the duration (yeah, right) or find something to work on that doesn’t involve new tech.

Spoiler: It involved more trains. Because trains are cool.

I decided, “Oh hey, let’s spend our vacation week doing a silly rail project.” (I’ll have more on that later this week.) Along the way I worked out a couple of useful techniques that I thought I’d share with the group as a sort of follow-up to the previous big post about the game’s monorail tech.

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