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Other Pursuits, February 2023

Hi all my buddies, I am sleepy from staying up too late looking into alternate writing systems for Klingon, because the defacto pIqaD system is gross and the roman orthography for it is…problematic. But look what I found! Some honorable son of a gun put together a Tengwar mode for it! Quv tej, I think we can all agree.
(Note: you may notice that the chart below has notations for both ‘q’ and ‘Q’, indicating–correctly–that they are separate letters and make separate sounds; how, then, can you tell which one I meant above? Welcome to the problems with Roman Klingon orthography.)

Besides the below-noted, not much has changed since last month’s round-up; still enjoying Disco (though I did stop watching SNW just until I could catch up to where it spun off, and let’s just say Disco‘s second season didn’t, ah, speed itself along for me until the very end), still watching M*A*S*H* nights, still playing mostly the same things and reading stuff you’ll hear about in the Books Read list. February was just a nice chill li’l month, and I’ll take one of those, slip you a fiver and tell you to keep ’em coming.

(Obligatory reminder to subscribe to my once-monthly newsletter here, which rounds up everything I wrote in the preceding month, grants access to a curated members-only Spotify playlist, and includes a piece of exclusive bonus collectible content I will NEVER repost anywhere else, ever!)

Paddington (Netflix or wherever)

(Not to be confused with Paddleton, also on Netflix or wherever, which is about Ray Romano and Mark Duplass making pizza, watching kung fu movies, and making a road trip for one of them to commit assisted suicide after receiving a terminal diagnosis. It’s really sweet and funny in a small, very human way, but as you might also imagine it is a destroyer.)

I fully admit I am late to the Paddington train but now that I’m aboard (abeared???) I am NEVER DISEMBARKING (DISEMBEARKING???).

There’s nothing not to like about it, it’s a masterpiece of wholesome goofs and a Nicole Kidman who has finally found her type of role, but my favorite thing (and why I prefer it to the sequel, although the sequel is probably a better movie) is the constant acknowledgment that Paddington is a bear but zero inquiry as to the why/how of him being a bear, leading to the moment I knew this fucking picture had me hooked:

Poker Face (Peacock)

Poker Face is the only thing you’ll have heard about in the past month from all of your friends who are really into cardigans and soup, and have an unreasonable number of murder mysteries whose titles had to be changed because they gave too many children barfing-nightmares. Poker Face is (quite literally) Knives Out: The Show except the setting changes every week and instead of Benoit Blanc you get a dirtbag she-Columbo on the run from the mob who can tell when people are lying the way you can tell if they’re on fire, but can’t see why they’re on fire any more than we can. Poker Face is about an idiot who kicks the asses of murderous ex-hippies, accidentally eats fake blood on her toast, and once doomed a man by lending him a DVD of Okja. Poker Face is the best television I’ve seen in years and whatever Peacock wants you to pay to watch it, it’s a bargain, go do it.

“Careful! John Darnielle is in this episode and if you drop me he’ll write a bittersweet acoustic elegy about my ass hitting the floor as a metaphor for Christ’s love hitting mankind! You’ll put it on your sex playlist anyway!”

Resident Evil (PS5)

Ah, the PS5 port of the PS4 HD Remaster of the Gamecube remake of the PlayStation classic! Mmmmm, convoluted.

This is my very first experience with the Spencer Mansion WHAT THE FUCK, SOMEBODY ON TV SAID ‘SPENCER’ RIGHT AS I TYPED THAT, THAT SHIT’S BEEN HAPPENING WAY MORE OFTEN, WHAT THE HELL. Sorry, that was weird. Anyway, I’m a huge horror fan but have never been much for horror games aside Dead Space (look, SOME OF US were RPG snobs until relatively recently) and thought I should pay a visit to the paterfamilias (or at least Trope Codifier) of the genre. It’s great! And genuinely terrifying!

Honestly the best part about playing REmake–and this probably won’t be something you can recreate unless you have access to my home that I should know about–was playing it with my wife, and the memetic goofs we created in the process, such as:
1. Every time we used a key for the last time and it asked if we wanted to discard it, choosing yes and chanting “EAT. THAT. KEY.”
2. Referring to various kinds of ammunition as (e.g.) “shotgun food”
3. Being pretty tickled that the Tyrant, the enemy with the absolute coolest name in the entire game and who we were TERRIFIED of until we actually saw him, turns out to be a…guy with a fucked-up arm, and creating a theme song for him to the tune of Theme From Goldfinger, which goes: “The TYRANT…he’s the man…the man with the FUCKED-UP ARM, he’ll cause you HARM”
4. This bit:

All in all, it’s been a magnificent experience and I can’t recommend it enough, especially when the Very Bad Frogs attack you but it turns out they have an elemental weakness to Shotgun spells, that rules.

(Aside, the Boss Fight Books entry on the title has added immeasurable value for me, and is well worth your time and its meager cost; just as an example, the author points out that the game is famous for its epistolary qualities, it’s lousy with journals and files and notes detailing just what the fuck went wrong in this mansion, and as a function of the typewriter-as-save-point mechanic, you assemble one of these yourself as you progress through the game, making you, the player, a character in its doomed narrative. A little hifalutin and self-pleased? Maybe! Also: absolutely delicious.)

Taking Notes Makes Gaming More Fun (Polygon)

This is a super neat article and video about the apparently not-so-lost art of jeu et journal. The replies to the tweet are filled with some hella cool pictures of notebooks that people have dedicated to entire games, and thanks to this as inspiration we were able to solve the table-lamp/pool-ball/keypad puzzle in Resident Evil without so much as warming up our modem! The link in the header for this entry takes you to an article posted featuring many responses to the original video below.

Teamworking Day: Elden Ring (1900 Hotdog)

I’ve spoken–like every person over a certain age who likes jokes on the internet–at length about The Tragedy of, and while I’ve managed to follow a couple of its scattered creators individually (particularly Jason Pargin and his amazing John, Dave, & Amy and Zoey Punches The Future In The Dick novels) I only recently discovered the joy of 1-900 Hotdog, where many of them and a few likeminded newbies have been gathered like some kind of dick-joke Avengers by a Nick Fury who won’t stop doing four kinds of fake karate and yelling at them about puzzles that get you sent to jail if you finish them. It bills itself as the Last Comedy Website, and its then-current coverage of Elden Ring as we all succumbed to its shining embrace and dissolved into a shower of ghost-wolves and finger-wizards is some of the most insightful, on-point analysis of the thing that absolutely everybody did for the first six months of 2022:

Mele Kalikimaka: Why You Can’t Say “Merry Christmas” In Hawaiian (Tom Scott)

This cat is news to me and it’s clear I’ve been missing out, because like the SCP Foundation I sent this video to some of my more likeminded friends and they all already knew about him AND YET SOMEHOW DIDN’T SEE FIT TO CLUE A BROTHER IN. They excused their cowardice by saying that they “couldn’t imagine a world in which I didn’t know about him” and “suspected I might secretly be him”; these paltry evasions did not pacify me, but their fear did, its iron bite blending nicely with the sweet tang of the orange chicken they brought me as an apology/peace offering/bribe.

Anyway this is exactly my shit, it’s fascinating and you can get it watched in an average commercial break that somehow snuck into all of our streaming services when we weren’t looking.

And to save all our lives you’ve got to envision
The fiery crash

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