Screaming about Neal Stephenson and wolves in the middle of the night

A crescent moon. Photo by Haseesh Rahithya on Unsplash.

As I write this, it is 1.30am, and I cannot sleep.

Inside me, there are two wolves, and the wolves are locked in an eternal battle.

The battle is because one of the wolves thinks Seveneves by Neal Stephenson is great, and the other wolf thinks it’s shit.

This war has been raging for two years now, ever since I read the book, and it still drives me to distraction on a regular basis, and so here is a blog post to try to settle this furious internal disagreement and make the wolves shut up.

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New Year, new me?

I am a bit of a New Year’s girl. I’m not talking about New Year’s Eve, with the idea of parties, champagne and midnight kisses (or, more accurately for me, some board games). I mean the first day of the year, where you have a fresh 365 (or 366) days to look forward to. It feels like a nice blank slate. A fresh start. All the stress and buzz of the holidays has passed, and I feel like I can settle into a groove again.

But my favourite part of the New Year has always been New Year’s resolutions. “This is it,” I tell myself. “This is the year when I will really sort my shit out.” For the self-improvement addict, New Years is kind of like Halloween – who do I want to go as this year? Maybe I’ll pretend to be someone who does life drawing, works out regularly, and has a consistent morning routine. If I wear the costume long enough, I may become it.

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What’s cheering me up right now

Oh yeah, I have a blog. As you might have guessed from my drop in posting, the last few months have not been so great. A lot of shitty things have been going on and unfortunately that currently shows no signs of stopping.

But I don’t really want to write about any of that right now, and one of the reasons I started this blog was to have a space to just geek out about stuff I’m enjoying, so let’s talk about some of that instead.

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The saddest Pokédex entries

Pikachu crying

“Cubone pines for the mother it will never see again. Seeing a likeness of its mother in the full moon, it cries. The stains on the skull the Pokémon wears are made by the tears it sheds.”

“It stands in front of a mirror, trying to fix its broken neck as if its life depended on it. It has a hard time getting it right, so it’s crying inside.”

“It is virtually worthless in terms of both power and speed. It is the most weak and pathetic Pokémon in the world.”

Actual Pokédex entries

In gym class, this Pokémon was always picked last. It has a recurring skin infection which it feels very self-conscious about.

This Pokémon is tormented by headaches, but it doesn’t have any psychic powers. Just headaches.

As a child, it dreamed of becoming an artist. It is now known as “the call centre Pokémon”. It thinks about doing a life drawing class, but can’t afford it.

This Pokémon’s mother didn’t like it as much as its sibling, and she thought nobody could tell, but everyone could.

On full moons, this Pokémon can be seen doing strange dances by itself. When it runs out of wine, it has a breakdown and looks up its ex on Instagram.

This Pokémon is cursed to haunt the Pumpkin Café at Swindon railway station. As if that isn’t enough, it’s also named Pooplybloots.

An orphan, it once threw a birthday party and nobody came to it. Also it looks like a crying turnip or something. That’s what this Pokémon’s deal is.

Remember your beloved childhood pet who your parents said went to the farm? They actually put it down. Now its ghost is a Pokémon and it hates you.

This Pokémon is just absolute trash. Scientists are currently researching why it sucks so much so they can feel better about themselves.

Known for its red and white stripes, this Pokémon was relegated for two seasons running. This Pokémon is Sunderland AFC.

Return of the Obra Dinn is a ship-shape seafaring death puzzle

Screenshot from Return of the Obra Dinn, showing the ship's main deck in moonlight

Lost at sea in 1803, the Obra Dinn suddenly reappears outside Falmouth years later. None of the ship’s 60 crew and passengers remain to tell the tale of what happened – every soul aboard is either dead or missing. There’s only one person who can solve the mystery of this ghost ship… a determined insurance investigator.

Return of the Obra Dinn is a puzzle game from indie developer Lucas Pope, best known for releasing the ultra-depressing immigration simulator Papers Please. While Obra Dinn isn’t as soul-crushing as Papers Please, it also centres around an administrative task, and a morbid one at that: your job is to identify everyone aboard the ship and what their fate was.

Boarding the ship, you’ll quickly spot a single skeleton on the deck, just outside the captain’s quarters. It’s time to whip out every insurance investigator’s favourite tool: a magic pocketwatch that lets you travel back to the moment of that person’s death.

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