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Looking For Quacks In The Pavement

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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In Search Of

I’m looking for something to do, something to get into, something to give me a bit more purpose and energy than my current routine of Doing Almost Nothing Day After Day is providing.

General status update: Left-side shoulder (and upper arm) still hurts like hell. Blood sugar numbers aren’t great, not terrible but not great. Next doc appointment is nearly end of month. Later this week I should be able to play the Diablo II high-def remaster, which is money I kind of feel bad about spending considering the Blizzard/Activision shenanigans but dammit, I need something to look forward to and playing one of my all-time favorite games in glorious high resolution and detail counts, you know? Job’s stable (long may that continue to remain). Home life, same (and, same). Looking forward to the next season of anime, given that the summer season was almost devoid of quality material.

Hmm, maybe an anime post is in order. (Later.)

Gaming has mostly consisted of Fire Emblem: Three Houses but I’m also feeling a bit burned out now that I’m close to the finishing line on my fifth play-through. Satisfactory? I’m still waiting on that map-changing “Update 5.” Nothing else has caught my attention, except for a game on the Switch that I can’t really play because it uses my left arm so much that I end up in pain after a little while.

Getting older: It’s not for wimps.

There are some books and records coming out over the next couple months that I’m cautiously optimistic about. Maybe I’ll talk about some of that here soon.

I should… absolutely start using this site again. I know: I’ve said that so many times in the last decade. So. Many. Times.

We’ll see.

Is this the one?

As of late May I’m officially “fully vaccinated” against COVID-19 with the Pfizer product.

For what that’s worth, given that breakthroughs are a thing and mutations like Delta are a thing and even without the variants (ha ha, Loki humor) the vaccine was never a sure thing, never mind the uncertainty about the duration of the protection overall. So now, every time I have to go out among people, especially now that so many people have simply decided that masks are “for morons,” I find myself asking: Is this the one? Is this the breath that inhales the virus and gets me killed?

Not a healthy mindset, but it’s the only way my brain knows how to operate, so here we are. I absolutely do not get out much, no. And after a year and a half or so of this, I’m breaking down faster than ever.

But what else can I do? Ignoring reality isn’t the option. Blissful ignorance isn’t my style. So, here we remain.

Hopefully.

In Limbo, In Progress

Let’s see… I’m not playing Satisfactory lately because there’s a glitch in the drones system they introduced with Update 4 and it won’t be fixed until Update 5 (some time this fall… or later). I’m winding down on my Fire Emblem: Three Houses playing (about to finish Silver Snow, the only route I hadn’t done yet) and then I’ll be taking a break from that. I’m working on a physical therapy regimen for the shoulder that got rather ouch-y right after my 2nd Pfizer jab, so I’m in pain a lot. I’m trying to collect blood sugar readings as per my doctor’s request but the glucometer and I aren’t getting along very well so it’s more pain than gain. I’m still working from home and not going out much because the Delta variant of COVID-19 is… worry-making. The high-definition remaster of Diablo II isn’t out yet. The current anime season doesn’t have anything that’s really grabbed my attention. We’re between MCU Disney+ shows (Loki was meh, What If is coming up next month). My last few music purchases were okay-but-not-great.

I’m still here, I’m just not really doing much of anything beyond surviving.

Hot, Hotter, Hottest

Saturday afternoon, Portland Oregon set a new all time high temperature record of 108F.

Sunday afternoon, Portland Oregon set a new all time high temperature record of 112F.

Monday afternoon, Portland Oregon set a new all time high temperature record of 116F.

Our apartment is fairly new. The complex was built only a year or so before we moved in, and while it’s kind of cheap as these things go, it’s still moderately well built overall. This includes the insulation, which is great at keeping us warm in the colder months.

Turns out, sadly, that it’s also incapable of shedding heat in the worst of summer. We’re on the top floor and we get a lot of the afternoon & evening rays before sunset, which ensures that the building’s outer structure is good and warm for hours and hours afterward. Result? Two portable air-conditioning units running full-tilt all afternoon, evening, and overnight couldn’t get the air below 86F inside the apartment, other than for the two small spheres of space directly in front of the units themselves. This last weekend was a brutal, joyless slog and I never want to go through that again.

Since it’s only June, however, and the hottest months of the year (normally) are ahead of us… I’m not going to hold my breath.

(The only upside is that I’d put in for a few days of vacation time, which included Monday, a couple months ago, which turned out to be lucky timing because having my computer on in order to do work yesterday was not gonna be happening.)

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