Finished Hades after a number of clears, including the 'true' (final?) ending. I'd be the first to admit that I'm not great at games, especially games like Hades, so I did need to run the game with a high God Mode to get there, but it was fun anyway. It took me forever to figure out how to reunite Achilles and Patroclus, though – I didn't realise you had to nectar/talk to Sisyphus' rock, of all things. All this brings me back to my teen years, when, for some reason, I was very much into the Iliad and the Odyssey because I had a gorgeous illustrated version. I don't even remember what the particular version is called now, but I do remember having Odysseus as my fave and disliking Achilles intensely. Funny how some great dialogue and character design could very slightly change my mind.
Ghost of Tsushima launched its free DLC, the Legends mode, along with NG+. For a free DLC, it puts a lot of paid DLCs to shame with its amount of content and level design. The raid content, Tale of Iyo, features what looks like new maps, along with a hell of a lot of groupwork challenges. I think we took 5 hours to clear Chapter 1, 5 hours on a failed attempt at 2 (stuck at Blood Ritual due to being under-levelled), then 5 hours for a clear of 2 when we came back at 110, then 2 hours or so on Chapter 3, which is just a boss fight. Huge fun in a group with friends, but I can see how frustrating it would've been to matchmake for it. It's definitely been one of the more challenging gaming experiences I've ever had.
As I write this, we're on our 10th day of 0 daily cases in Melbourne. It can be done. Glad to still see most of my fellow Melbournites masked up when out and about, even as the weather gets warmer. Hope everyone keeps up the good work over here. It'd be nice to have a meet up for Christmas, though it'd be a weird Christmas for me – this will be the first one that I won't be spending with my family, who are all in Singapore. It's been such a wild year. Speaking of which–
It's been an exhausting last few days, even here in Australia, watching the trash fire that is the US elections. Congratulations President-elect Biden. Great work everyone who voted, volunteered, or helped out in some way. It's depressing seeing how many people voted for the clown even after four long years of wtfkery, fascism, children in cages, and then culminating in a year of 220k Americans dying thanks to mismanaged pandemic responses. It's always been astounding to me what some Americans are willing to defend as exceptionalism, even as they live in a "first world" country with unaffordable healthcare, no liveable minimum wage, children having to run anti-shooter drills in school instead of having gun control laws, people getting randomly shot in the street by the police and more. It's frustrating knowing how much the US election affects us in the rest of the world.
The last four years have aged me ten years, I think. Sunday made me feel like I could briefly stop holding my breath. So tired. And no. No reaching out to people who lack remorse, or who felt that fascism was fine for any reason. Empathy should be a two way street, and there should be no normalising or "both-siding" people like that. Biden wasn't my ideal candidate by far, but I'm glad he won. May the clown and his posse of deplorables go to prison. Having only history judge their deeds will be insufficient.
Things I'm Watching
ICYMI – in case you couldn't make the Food, Diaspora, and Migration talk I was part of with a number of awesome and wise fellow Asian writers, it's up for a free watch over at the Carl Brandon Society. Check it out! Come for the food chat, stay for the cats.
Been slowly watching this. Gorgeously shot as usual for the Chef's Table series. Glad to see they featured Snow's, as well as Firedoor in Sydney. Makes you hungry.
It's back! The only thing I subscribed to Disney+ for. Still worth it. Sadly though, during the final fight of Episode 1, my ginger cat Pascal forgot he had a tail, and attacked the Thing on His Butt valiantly across the living room, bumping into furniture and things. It was far more entertaining than the Not!Dune Sand Worm Krayt dragon.
Things I've Read
Got more reading done in October than before. I think I'm slowly regaining some of my energy.
Claire G. Coleman | The Old Lie | I love Claire's books, and the Old Lie also packs a hell of a gut punch. Military science fiction with a dark twist, rooted in colonialism stories applied on a grander scale. Claire has such a great way of embedding the deep institutionalised trauma into her narratives. A tough, difficult, amazing read.
Charlotte Nicole Davis | The Good Luck Girls | This book is all I want out of a weird Western – heists, unwilling alliances, great worldbuilding. What a fun read, especially once the story really gets going. CW: sexual assault and trauma.
Jesmyn Ward | Sing, Unburied, Sing | A powerful intergenerational ghost story about the dystopia of life in Black America, with heavily institutionalised racial discrimination, drug abuse, incarceration, and despair. Gorgeous prose, gripping and difficult read.
Afia Atakora | Conjure Women | A visceral story set in the American South, both before and after the Civil War. Incredible effort, especially when you realise that it's a debut novel. Huge host of memorable, flawed, amazing women characters.
Jewell Parker Rhodes | Bayou Magic | Immersive read about mermaids, bayou living, and the effects of oil drilling and slow environmental and social collapse.
Bethany C. Morrow | A Song Below Water | YA high school read involving matters of institutionalised discrimination partly remapped onto Sirens, a mythical creature that as at the point of the book only occurs in Black women, and what that means in an urban fantasy set in America. Stayed for the worldbuilding.
A Final Note
Sometimes you just have to love Melbourne.