Derik Badman's Journal

2022-05-05 07:58

Finished up Middlemarch on the last day of the month. I enjoyed it quite a bit, and it makes an interesting comparison to Bleak House (the former is later than the latter, published shortly after Dickens died). Dickens is a lot of plot and atmosphere, his characters tend to have a single quality that becomes their essence. Eliot, on the other hand, is much more about psychology, not a lot happens over the course of so many pages, but the characters are more fully realized, explicated more deeply. Eliot, not surprisingly, is much better with her female protagonists, too. Both novels involve major cases of characters having secrets that cause them trouble, both for the hiding and the reaction of society. In Middlemarch in particular, I just wanted the guy who was getting blackmailed to just publicly reveal his past, it seemed like the shrewd move, but of course he couldn't and then things get worse and he brings down others along with him. I guess that's the way the novel has to play out for there to be the drama.

Started then gave up on McElroy's Hind's Kidnap, about 100 pages in and I just wasn't excited by it and was finding the syntax of the writing rather confusing. I kept reading sentences and feeling like words were missing, or organized in a way to make the meaning more difficult to comprehend without my understanding why that stylistic trait seemed necessary.

Instead I picked up Olga Tokarczuk's The Books of Jacob which I'm feeling more optimistic about finishing (despite it's much greater length). It takes place in 18th century Poland (or what is now Poland and surrounding countries, my sense of the geography there over time is a bit sketchy), so the names are a bit of an issue (like in a Russian novel) and there are often words outside my ken (either because of the time or the place or the heavy religious content). Curious to see where it goes.

I probably watched some movies lately, but none of them have really stuck in my mind.

Last weekend, some of the guys came over and we spent the day on the porch playing Gaslands, which we hadn't done since back in August. It was a beautiful day out and I think we all had fun getting to play and socialize. I do regret I don't get to play games like that more often, as I enjoy the whole process of trying to work within the structure of the rules and setup to achieve goals, which I do pretty well at (I was the only one to not get to my second car in the game, which made me de facto winner).

Playing too much Elden Ring, which I was a bit nervous about going into, worrying it would be a waste of money/time like Sekiro was (because it was too damn hard), but so far (with liberal help from online sources) I'm not overwhelmed by it. From Software added a bunch of quality of life improvements to the basic framework of their games that go really far in making the game more playable. There is abundant and easy fast travel without having to get to a fast travel point to travel (except in dungeons, but they are all, so far, pretty small). There is a much more liberal system for summoning aid in big fights (you can basically collect summoning options), so you don't have to play online and try to find other real people. The extra summons in particular have made the boss fights much easier than previous games. I've gotten through a lot of them on the first try. That the game is open world also makes running away or circumnavigating enemies a lot easier/possible, which was almost never the case before, as does the addition of a mount you can call up to race and jump around... and oh yeah you can jump for real without having to do the stupid run/roll thing that I'd mess up most of the time in Dark Souls.