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The Forbidden Codex of The Pink Beyond - A Sqrl's Journal

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August 31st, 2015

01:41 pm - Impossible Request: Be Yourself
I went down to the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles today to obtain myself one genuine state identification card, suitable for things like "Obtaining Mass Health benefits and other insurance", "Registering to vote against Donald Trump", "Reminding me who I am when I forget" and other such sundry purposes and uses for which it is handy to have an ID card.

This failed. My documentation is invalid. My out of state IDs are invalid because they are expired. My birth certificate is invalid because it comes from a hospital, not city hall. My signature is invalid because I write "Gordy" instead of "Gordon", and as I have never signed any document with my Legally Binding Truerunes this is unacceptable.

In spite of residing in this state for something along the lines of 14 years, I am still an unperson who does not actually live here. I could handle that except I would really like that ID card. So. How do I produce documentation that doesn't exist?

Birth Certificate - My mother was quite clear on the subject: The hospital certficate is the only one she's ever seen. That's all right. Even if it doesn't actually exist, the Maryland State Department of Vital Records will provide me with a brand new freshly printed birth certificate (far more legally binding than a junky old one I've had for 33 years) if I provide them valid state-issued photo ID, or various other signed documents, including a letter from the government of another state asking me for an official birth certificate.

Hm. I'll have to irritate the Massachusetts state government into writing me a letter then.

[EDIT] On the suggestion of a bunni I phoned my mother on this one. She's familiar with the place, as it issues death certificates as well. She'll be hitting that on Wednesday. That's a partial success!

Signature - Clearly I'll just have to start signing things Gordon. The earliest chance to do that is the lease renewal forms, which I'll have to have them change my name on before they print. This at least is simple.

But wait: I have to use the lease form for proof of residency, to show that I DO live in MA. This was the one part of the documents they actually accepted, but if I use it to prove my signature it becomes invalid for proving residency, as Hammurabi chistled in the ancient codex of law. Let's see what else they accept, according to the site...

"Current OR expired ID with photograph and applicant's signature issued by a state (or state agency)..." Why, that's exactly what I had!

It's almost like this entire process is bullshit or something. Well, perhaps it will work if I simply present it a second time. Trying things twice always works well with government agencies.

Nonexpired Picture ID Card - This is going to be the difficult one. First I'll have to find someone who looks somewhat but not entirely like me and steal their ID. Then I'll have to find a black marker and carefully draw a mustache on the picture on their ID card. Next I'll need a black cat, from which I will collect hair to fashion into a dark mustache. Wearing the mustache will render me indistinguishable from the ID photo, which I'll show briefly before tucking it back in my pocket.

If they ask to see that one a second time, I'll say no.

I have no reason to believe this will end badly.

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August 29th, 2015

01:04 pm - Mass Effect 2 Goofiness
I believe you can fly
I believe I can punch that guy
I think about it every night and day
Kick your ass, you fly away

I believe you can soar
You missed me coming through an open door
I believe you can fly
I believe you can fly ooo-hoo

...So, yeah I'm enjoying Mass Effect 2 so far.

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August 26th, 2015

04:47 am - Recordkeeping: Mass Effect 1 COMPLETE AGAIN
In my ongoing quest to do the worst things possible to myself, I've decided to replay the entire Mass Effect trilogy. When I say "Replay", I mean I've played Mass Effect 1 and all its DLC before, I've played Mass Effect 2 but only one of its DLC (Zaeed), and I've never played Mass Effect 3 at all due to various reasons.

So, Mass Effect. My god, but I love this game. I find it infinitely replayable, and every time I feel as if I've learned or discovered something new. There's a sense of exploration and discovery, a sense that you're a small part of a bigger world, making strong bonds with a small close-knit crew. All things that decrease in the sequels, but are extremely big here.

Also, there's the Mako. No other Mass Effect game lets you haul your delightfully awful Spider-Van out to the surface of some shithole blizzard planet and just careen up and down slopes looking for mineral deposits. I love the goddamn Mako.

That's not to say I can't pick nits and criticize, but I don't actually want to. I'm 1/3rd of the way through my journey now. Mass Effect 2 is going to be interesting. I made a lot of what I feel were "mistakes" last time I played, although they were just alternate routes. I'm going to see about adjusting things this time -- but I've also got the DLC to play through and I have no idea how any of that goes.

Then there'll be Mass Effect 3, with its legendary fanbase-obliterating ending. That's not why ... no, that's HALF of why I'm afraid to touch it. The other half is that after bonding with the cast for two games, I know horrible things will happen to them in ME3.

I don't know specifics, but there's at least one heavily-foreshadowed death (AND he's my favorite romance choice oh god) and the implications and ambiant spoilers have hinted to me that making certain choices result in the universe being a better place at great personal loss. That's going to be hard to deal with. I am absolutely 100% positive that I am going to cry SUPER HARD during Mass Effect 3. Maybe just some scenes, maybe I will spend the entire game giving out great heaving sobs as I play.

Isn't that a terrifying mental image? I am SCREWED UP.

Anyway... Mass Effect 1 re-completed as Emily Shepard, irritable but soft-hearted mostly-Renegade Vanguard. Good job, me.

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August 21st, 2015

01:07 pm - Recordkeeping: Dishonored COMPLETE.
Well, this was a delight. Such a delight I appear to have marathoned the game in only a couple of nights. Oops. I rather loved it, having played through on Normal mode. It reminds me a lot of Thief and Deus Ex, in that it's designed to be an immersive exploration-focused game.

It also reminds me of Thief and Deus Ex in that people grossly misrepresent and overstate how intensely challenging it is because they've forced themselves into a handcuffed playstyle. It's kind of ironic given how much those games are about player choice. For years now I've been reluctant to play Dishonored because of reports that it's stealth-focused to a fault, that if you kill too many people you're locked into a terrible ending, that it's just a reload-the-game festival.

I can only assume a recording of MY methods, which included taking hand grenades and a pistol loaded with incendiary rounds to a fancy dress party and more than a few chase scenes that were kind of Benny Hillian (if Benny could teleport at will to rooftops and down storm drains), would cause these people to have some kind of bladder explosion. Also I got the super-low-chaos You Made A Golden Age Look How Wonderful Everything Is ending, so ... like, if MY dipshit antics successfully golden-ending'd this game, you can too.

(The secret is: Sleep darts, and when you don't have sleep darts you run like hell until the guards lose track of you. And that's it. Look at you, you're nonlethal again! Right up until you stop time and apply creative use of land mines to make someone's butt explode!)

I dunno. I just keep hearing that Ghost-style, no traces, no deaths ever, no windburst-slamming dudes face first into a fireplace for comedy value is the Only Way To Play These Games. And if that's fun for you, excellent. But if you're only doing it that way because you have the impression it's Wrong to play any other way? Stop it. There's too much awesome stuff to dick around with here.

You can be The Invisible Angelman on your SECOND playthrough.

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August 20th, 2015

01:52 am - Recordkeeping: Counterfeit Monkey COMPLETE.
Emily Short is a great treasure in games-writing and in writing games, and if interactive fiction was still something Average People did, she would be mentioned in the same breath as Infocom for her achievements in parser-based fiction and puzzlework.

Counterfeit Monkey is the story of a international spy investigating a new advance in linguistic technology. There are a few Big Interesting Things about this game, and one of them is a spoiler you learn moments after the title screen. The first, however, is your starting toolkit: You come equipped with a letter removing device. It is all the tool you need, since you're very good at using it.

When I say letter-removing device, I mean a device that actively modifies a word. Take a card, for example. Remove the d, you have a car. Take an x from 'box' and you have a handy combat staff. And so on. Depending on the quality of the starting material you'll get better results.

That's your STARTING tool. By the end of the game you have an array of them accessible and a world of interesting new possibilities is open to you.

It is here I will pause and offer a link to the game: here. You'll want to download glulxe to run it with. Don't be scared of the name, it's programmerese.

Now, the second thing:
Is a spoiler.Collapse )

I don't play many games like this anymore, not out of disinterest but because I have so many bought, paid-for games that I feel awkward detouring into free stuff. Like, if I start counting "games people have released onto the internet" as part of my backlog, I am going to think for a minute about what I have left to play and then I am going to die screaming and my head will explode.

This was worth the detour, though.

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August 16th, 2015

08:58 am - Nightmare Log
At least this was a DIFFERENT nightmare, not involving anyone I know except me. Still, uhm... don't read this. This is just logged because I log these things. Don't.
If you must. Warning: Gore and disturbing stuff.Collapse )

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August 15th, 2015

07:31 pm - Recordkeeping: Etrian Odyssey Untold COMPLETE.
I immersed myself in this one pretty hard. I love dungeon-crawling and map-making and such, after all... which is what this game is about. It's probably the best Cartography Simulator on the market today. I played 9/10ths of the game in the default difficulty mode until I finally just wanted it over because I was fatigued, then dropped it to easy and pounded through.

There's... a lot more going ON in this game than is seen on the surface. I don't feel like dropping the spoiler bombs, but by the end I was sort of like... "Wow, how did this have sequels EVER?" Apparently they... ignore the implications? I don't know.

Now I really want to play Might & Magic or Wizardry again but the interface on those games is like aaaaugh.


Also, hello. I am fine. I am not sad or depressed. Mostly I'm ANGRY.

Keep having nightmares that are like... eight solid hours of arguments with my father, including all the wonderful logic-terminators ("I'm not ARGUING with you, these are just the facts, it's not my fault if you're too dumb to believe them.") and emotional trampling ("Oh, now you're UPSET, you wah-wah baby. Who gets UPSET over TALKING?") that he deployed at a hat's drop.

When he died I wanted to hear LESS from him, not MORE. But no, it seems like the voice in the back of my head that makes fun of all my choices and shits on everything I do is his now. Glorious. This has made it pretty hard to get a solid sleep, I feel exhausted a lot.

Aside from that, I am fine.

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August 11th, 2015

11:10 am - Well, that's it.
My father's dead. I feel like I should have a story or an anecdote or a long rambling speech but I've done all those. I'm just glad it's over, I suppose.

Normal service will resume eventually.

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August 7th, 2015

08:07 am - Sqrl Math
Because pain and I have a very odd relationship, I decided to grab something gamewise to help me work through the whole "father dying" thing. After some thought about various games, I decided to Etrian Odyssey.

They're good. Map-drawing-based old-school Wizardry-esqe FPRPG dungeon crawlers where one poor step means MURDER FOR EVERYONE. So I look and there's three choices: Etrian Odyssey 4, Etrian Odyssey Untold 1, and the brand-new and expensive Etrian Odyssey Untold 2.

I then notice on the eShop that EOU1 is much cheaper than on Amazon, but I'd need a new SD card for that. My current 4 gig card is full. Fair enough. The price for a card plus the game is still cheaper than EOU2.

Actually, the price for EOU1 + SD Card + EOIV is cheaper than EOU2.

...and that's how I looked at "I will buy one game to cheer myself up" and ended up with two games and a bigger SD card.

Sqrl math is bugged, please patch.

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August 6th, 2015

04:51 am - Depressing RL things again.
More about my father. Careful if you're sensitive.
Under here.Collapse )

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