J. Martin

August 7, 2022

Vacation Diary | Week 1

The first week was off to a rocky start thanks to another COVID scare—a friend whom my SO had met last weekend called in on Monday to tell us they were positive, which meant checks and being hyperalert to every real or imagined physical irregularity until we could be sure we didn’t catch it after all, which was around Thursday. Things brightened up considerably from there!

I spent a lot of time on the balcony and tried not to work, except for household chores I’d put off for months years quite some time. Besides cleaning windows and stuff, I finally got around to upgrading my Sonos system from the discontinued ZP80 to Sonos Port. Guess what—it was every bit as pain-in-the-assy as expected, with factory resets, reconnects, and recalibrations for literally every component in every room. I had high some hopes it came with an upgraded database, but no. It’s just as crappy as it was twenty years ago, capped at 65K entries where longer tags will spill over into subsequent fields. So if you have a well-tagged classical/art music collection *and* a substantial popular music collection, this “premium” system can’t handle it. It’s consistently been the Sonos system’s most complained-about issue since 2002, and they give even less fucks today because, hey, these days you can stream shit from extortionate internet services you have no control over instead, can’t you!

What else did I do? Oh yeah, I’m reading a lot! From a book on building an entire computer from first principles and a source/archaeology-based history of math to pulp sf magazines from the 1930s, a Revelation Space re-read from scratch, and Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House from 1959. In the comics department, I read 30 Days and Nights, 1000 Storms, and barely legible digital scans from the original 1939 Sandman comics. I also listened to a lot of music and played games, including Detention, The Unfinished Swan, and a few Unreal Tournament matches in between to keep in shape.

I also played through a PC build of the term project Rotosaurus, a cute little mobile puzzle game you can download from Google Play, which would also be my game recommendation this week.

No blog posts! Yay! Writing is work! But there’s a new album with seven shots from Yeouido in South Korea on Flickr and two new re-edits on Glass, one from Shinjuku’s Kabukichō district in Tōkyō, Japan, and one from a churchyard in Pingyao, China. Plus, one post each at my betweendrafts and voidpunkverse Instagram accounts.

For your enjoyment, here’s a brand-new 3D doggy in Shibuya; a life hack how to cuddle your dog and work on your computer at the same time; and the Oregon Zoo’s water melon day. Bonus fun: A Junior Developer Fixing Bugs!

Now you have to excuse me, we have a little trip on our schedule which includes looking at nice stuff under the sun and having a lot of ice cream. But maybe we see each other tomorrow! It’s show time again for the online lecture series on narrative design and game writing; tomorrow’s topic, presented by my former colleague Linda Breitlauch, is “Narrative Design: Designing Environments for Narrative Gameplay Experiences.” (It’s probably in German language, though.)