Nice start to March 2023 😀
Day started out as an A+, went down to an F due to a MASSIVE stroke of bad luck, then back to an A because of an unexpected stroke of good luck! 😀
Okay, so I was having a great day at work, very productive, got all my stuff done, so on my way back it was snowing a bit so I went to Phovana to eat. When I was done, though, the snow got MUCH worse, and though I managed to get out of the Phovana parking lot, when I stopped at a red light, god damn! My car wouldnt drive again! I could reverse, but not go forward! I put on my hazard lights and folks were starting to drive around me, and I thought I was screwed and stuck and that I’d have to call AAA, but man! There was a friendly police officer driving along the road right at that moment, and he got out and asked me what was wrong. I said my car wasn’t driving, and he said the ice made it get stuck after a stop, like you needed to keep the momentum going, and that he could push me out. I got in, put the car in drive when he said so, and he pushed me out and I managed to get back home! Phew, what a close call, but man, I am REALLY glad I got lucky, I coulda been stuck in the middle of the road for hours if that policeman hadn’t been there. So a stroke of bad luck got evened out by some good luck, I’d say 😀 Like I always say, good things tend to happen to me when I’m in a major pinch. I just hope my good luck doesn’t end anytime soon…
A+ day! Weather was much better, did a good job at work, and read the next chappy of Delinquent Exorcist Reina–looks like our heroine isn’t dealing with a ghost but a paralell world where her childhood friend never died.
On the other hand, another loss…Shozo Iizuka, a great voice actor who played Ryu Jose from Gundam, Fudo and Heart from HnK, and a lot of other guys passed away. Still, at 89 years old and after a hell of a career, it’s not such a bad thing to go out on a high note.
Solid A day. Got in touch with the printer folks, they said the printer itself was damaged and its outta warranty. Fuuug…gotta get a new one in that case, oof. Hell of a cost but my clumsiness messed it up, just gotta pay the price.
A+ day! Went to Creekview, delivered a letter, played some games, all good 😀 Read the next chap of Kaiju no. 8, not all that much progress besides each of the hyper-monsters seemingly getting the best of the warriors they were sent to fight, because they were specifically designed to combat the best members of the defense force. Meh…
Solid A day, got a bit of work done, went to the Irishman pub, and read the next chappy of Musuko, just some humor with Chi chewing out Merii for inserting that humonculous thing into her lol.
A- day, didnt get much work done, just stayed home and played Phantom Brigade, and read another chapter of Musuko, not much else to say other than just more cute fluffiness :3
A- day, same as above.
GENERAL WEEK RANK:
Nother solid A, though I didnt get much relaxation down. I have some more work to do next week, so maybe the week after next is relaxation.
THINGS I HAD TO FINISH THIS WEEK:
Send another project email – done!
Shoppan – done!
Ask about printer repairs – done!
THINGS I HAVE TO DO NEXT WEEK:
Buy some stuff
Do some more project stuff
Email to a friend 😀
Phantom Brigade. The conceit of this game is that in some far future (implied to be a colony planet deep in space), an evil red country has invaded your peaceful blue country. Both sides fight with piloted mechs (along with tanks and crawlers), but you’re part of a special squadron that has super tech that allows you to predict an enemy’s move 5 seconds into the future. The evil red country conquers all of yours, but you and some of your soldiers and mechs manage to escape, and some time later launch a guerilla campaign to liberate your land.
The process of doing so involves fighting turn-based battles with your mechs, but the way turns work in this game is REALLY interesting. It’s not quite like Front Mission or XCOM. Rather, you and your enemies take each turn, which is exactly 5 seconds, simultaneously. However, you can see what your enemies plan to do and where they plan to attack, so you set up movement, your own attacks, etc. on a bar at the bottom of the screen, almost like video editing. You have to match up where you move with your enemies’ movement so you’re in the right place at the right time for your attacks to land. You also have to worry about weapon overheating, how each of your parts has its own HP and can be crippled (a la Front Mission), and so on. It is amazingly cool, a brief description can’t do it justice, but no other strategy game makes me feel like I’m actually piloting a mech, you’d have to get into actual action games like ZoE or Mechwarrior for that feeling.
The customization part is pretty cool too. Out of battles, you can assign pilots to different mechs and customize each mech too, just like Front Mission–body, legs, left arm, and right arm, along with 2 weapons (no shoulder weapons unfortunately :< ), as well as some other stuff like thrusters, reactors, etc. There is a HUGE variety of weapons: Front Mission’s rifles, shotguns, missiles, and melee maces, but also two-handed vulcan gatlers, railguns, beam weapons, slug cannons, and so on.
The grand strategy is also enjoyable. Sort of like XCOM 2, you operate a mobile base that can travel around the map, from which you need to both take important enemy positions and avoid patrols (if a patrol catches you, you need to win the battle or else its game over). Much like XCOM 2, you can spend resources gained from winning battles on improving your base, increasing its speed, the number of mechs you can deploy, etc. And since this is a guerilla war, your objective is to liberate your whole country, which you do province by province by ‘contesting’ provinces, which gives you a set of tough battles you need to get to and win within a time limit in order to assist other guerilla forces who are also fighting alongside you (the Home Guard) so that the province is totally cleaned of evil red country forces. You also have to be careful about losing allied units in battle, as they reduces your reputation with the Home Guard (making battles tougher if you can’t rely on them) and protecting civilian buildings in some maps, as destroying those reduces Hope, which gives you less time to do the liberation missions. It works pretty well.
I have two big caveats, though. First, though you can customize your pilots’ looks, the only stat any of them have is HP (as sometimes the pilot takes “concussive” damage from enemy attacks and can be knocked unconscious rather than killed, you can also do this to enemies, which gives you more salvage). They don’t have any ranged, melee, etc. stats, and no skills like in Front Mission. Secondly, there is no plot whatsoever. Though there is some voiced dialogue, you’re given no explanation for why the red country invaded, no heads of state for either side, and hell your own country doesn’t even have a name. In fact, as I mentioned above, the only hint I had the game takes place off-Earth was a mention in one random event that a meteor shower was caused by the planet’s ring, aside from that I couldn’t tell you if it took place in an alternate isekai world! Most games of this type like Front Mission sell themselves on the quality of the narrative, and even the Battletech strategy game and XCOM 1 and 2 sort of had narratives where you learn more about the alien forces as you progressed. There’s absolutely none of that in this game, which is a big shame and a sizable ding against it.
Still, the battle system is SO good that I absolutely must recommend it. I hope this game does well enough they make a Phantom Brigade 2 with more plot!
Dunce Upon a Time by BC Woods.
This is more than just a collection of funny stories from an amateur writer. This is actually a slice of mid 00s to early 10s Internet history–making it meaningful for me personally, but of interest to cultural historians of that subject generally.
Back in that era, as plenty of people had personal websites and as blogs were starting to surge in popularity (Livejournal was big back then, though as the time of this writing it’s long been superseded by WordPress, Tumblr, and now subscription-based writing sites like Substack and Medium), one of the most popular and culturally influential “brands” was that of the misadventurous raconteur. The appeal of this type of guy to a very wide audience was that he (occasionally she) kept getting into bizarre but entertaining situations, typically ending in some degree of humiliation or even legal trouble, but always in a very humorous way, often due solely to how absurd (for the audience) it was. Tucker Max was the most famous and influential of these guys, his various romantic misadventures (collected in “I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell”) forming one of the early inspirations for the “Pick-Up Artist” community, but there were a bunch of others. BC Woods’ site, Dunce Upon a Time, and Azrael’s Gaijin Smash site were my favorites from back then, in my early college years.
I think Azrael is long disappeared, but at least I was able to find this collection of Woods’ stories of his bizarre life from his blog. I don’t want to give too much away, but suffice it to say that this was some of the funniest stuff I’d read back then, and it’s still hilarious today, though as the author himself admits, to our modern sensibilities it’s quite offensive at times. Still, all that stuff is just a bit of dirt over a core of gold that’s been buried for ages. What makes this collection so meaningful to me is the sense of humanity and virtue underlying it all–the same thing that attracted me to Azrael’s blog, with his Moeko’s Owl story. Despite his incredibly dysfunctional family and the bizarre events that form the source of the humor he gives us, you can often see how firmly the author holds on to his sense of ethics and compassion. He shows empathy for his nemesis Mike from Ponape, noting how the man’s miserable childhood contributed to the dysfunctions he heaped on his stepfamily, his devotion to and stalwart attempts to do right by his friend Breanna from highschool mark him as a man of the highest quality, and his love for and perpetual efforts to keep on the right track his younger siblings is heartwarming any way you cut it. If there’s one thing this collection of stories proves, it’s the resilience and glory of the human spirit. A man can be born in the strangest and arguably most wretched of circumstances, but at the end of it all he can remain not only a man but a funny, intelligent, and admirable man.
That’s a lesson this book teaches well, and it’s a worthy one. I can understand why it’s not available anymore–I think Mr. Woods might have wanted to leave that part of his life behind him as he grew older–but even so, I’m glad I was able to get my hands on it before it disappeared entirely forever. BC, if you’re still out there–thanks for both the laughs and the inspiration. It may be a small thing, but not only has your writing made me bust a gut laughing for the first time in ages, but it made me want to be a better man too.
What I said above.
BUCKET LIST PROGRESS
1: Finish up a second big project – About 60% done with this, actually
2: Get Dragonar onto its BDs-Gonna have to work on this again in a few weeks…
3: Maybe finish up a 3rd big project related to Berserk-This will be on hold for a loooong time while Mori-sensei finishes it up.
4: Obviously, get all my affairs in order–will, etc.
5: Finish a FOURTH big project I’ve had thoughts about for a while. Won’t say much more about it other than it involves Visual Novels.
6: *maybe* finish up a fic I’ve always wanted to put out. But this is really extra.
7: Read the end of Girl Genius. At least I got to see Lucrezia kicked out of Agatha’s mind, so that’s something.
8: Play Front Mission 5.
9: Play Brigandine: Grand Edition. I think I’ll work on these emulation related things when I get a new computer–a new deskie, I mean. I do have a new deskie, though, but I’ll hold off on the fun stuff until I’m done with everything else.