November 2021

Happy Thanksgiving, happy Hanukkah, and welcome to the days of the winter holidays. I’ve had a calm and relaxing November, and I hope yours was good, too.


Here’s this month’s playlist!

Just as an aside — I’m going to change the format of my music posts a bit, and just focus more on the playlist instead of writing blurbs for each track.


Other than a little bit of toy code I wrote — including a little module for managing 2D arrays in anticipation of Advent of Code — I got a small amount of work done outside of work.

This is an extremely minor thing to view as a feather in my cap, but I successfully navigated the processes involved in getting authorized to use Amazon SES; I am now ready to send even more email.

My microblog framework now has an improved user auth flow; I also added a text editor, and the ability to save and parse markdown.

I’m reading Ruined by Design by Mike Monteiro — more to come when I finish it!

I also started a phpBB forum! This involved a very low amount of “programming”-like things — almost entirely server configuration. I’m having a great time belonging to an actual forum again. Please let me know if you want the link!


M and I got one of the last Xbox Series Ses off the shelf at a rural GameStop, so I’ve started playing a few more games! I’ve been playing the occasional round of Fortnite; I played some Rocket League as well, but I uninstalled it after realizing that I just wasn’t having any fun. I played through the Titanfall tutorial before I realized it was a dead online-only game with no campaign.

I started playing Control, but wasn’t a huge fan. I appreciated the art style, but could not get engaged with the storyline. I didn’t get far enough for the game to become challenging in any way, and every indication pointed to this game either never being challenging, or just being hard because of a lack that exists in the mechanics somewhere.

I’ve also made quite a bit of progress on Middle-earth: Shadow of War, which is very similar to its predecessor in a lot of ways, but there are a few things that are surprisingly different, namely: the way the plot interjects itself into the gameplay, the way your character progresses as you level up, and the overall “density” of the gameplay. The first game — though it’s been quite a while since I’ve played it — felt a bit more like a wasteland that you kind of slashed through, with the occasional interjection from the game; this one is far more on rails, and there are orcs everywhere.


First, I wrapped up The Golden Fool by Robin Hobb, the eighth book in the The Realm of the Elderlings epic. This book sits in the middle of the third trilogy; as “PeruseProject” Regan wrote,

for a book with arguably not a lot of plot, I could not stop reading it lol

After a bit of dithering, I decided next to just go ahead and dive into Fool’s Fate. As the ninth book in the series, this one served as the capstone for a lot of plot elements; it’s like Hobb had set up a long series of moves in a game of chess that finally got played through. In the end, I was deeply entertained by how Hobb created the constraints for the story she wanted to tell — without giving any spoilers, there were two moments for me where characters were moved into (or out of) place like pieces on a game board, and instead of it feeling clunky or weird, I actually found it really entertaining. Ultimately, this was a great book:  those authors who are worried that their work which wraps up all that they’ve been building toward — though, yes, I still have six more books in this series to go — could learn a lot from this series.

Finally, I am now reading The Algebraist by Iain M Banks — more to come when I finish it!


This month, failbetter published:


  • I typed 610,000 keys and clicked 89,047 times.
  • I listened to 833 songs (almost certainly more than that, with some “private session” listening happening this month).
  • 4 albums escaped from the Album Gauntlet.
  • I wrote 22,740 words in my personal journal.