The Prefect by Alastair Reynolds

Read The Prefect by Alastair Reynolds by Alastair Reynolds (goodreads.com)
4/5:
Book cover for The Prefect by Alastair Reynolds
The Prefect by Alastair Reynolds

I finished reading “The Prefect” by Alastair Reynolds yesterday. It took me a little while to get into the book, as is the case with many of his books. Once I did, though, I really enjoyed the book. It’s set some time in our future, around a planet called Yellowstone. It’s a detective story, with a pretty healthy dose of well thought out scifi. It’s also my introduction to the Tom Dreyfus character. I like this character, and I’ve already started reading the next in the series.

I’ve read a few of Reynolds’ books, and his Revelation Space series is well worth reading. If anything, for its intricacy, imagery, and the story-lines that seem to be woven into many of the books in some form or another.

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A terrific way to spend a weekend

Liked The weekend Starts Here (Photos by Om)
007717-R3-002 Made with Leica M-A using the Leica f2/50mm Summicron (version V) and Kodak Portra 400. Shot wide open at f2. Shutter speed 1/250th of a second. Related Posts Life is a Beach A Bird’s eye view A Morning on Ocean Beach Flying Home

This looks like an awesome way to spend a relaxing weekend, actually.

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This article about Agatha Christie looks like a great read!

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And my Pottermore house is …

It’s almost time for the Automattic Grand Meetup. This year we’re all gathering in Orlando, and it looks like we’ll have an opportunity to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™.

In preparation for this, and the gifts my family will be expecting, my wife has suggested that we all be sorted into our respective houses so I can return with appropriate souvenirs.

I went through the sorting process on the Pottermore site, and it turns out my house is … Gryffindor!

Now we just need to sort the kids, and we’re all set!

Take your keyboard to warp

This LCARS keyboard appeals to me for so many reasons!

Sunk costs as gifts from our past selves

Listened S 2 E 13 Ignore Sunk Costs by Seth GodinSeth Godin from S 2 E 13 Ignore Sunk Costs
The green iguana Sunk costs in mice  Cruft Hall wikipedia on sunk costs Seth's blog and sunk costs

I don’t remember where I came across a recommendation to listen to Seth Godin’s podcast, Akimbo, but I’m glad I did. I really enjoy his episodes. The first one I listened to is titled “Ignore Sunk Costs”.

He talks about sunk costs as gifts from our past selves, and it’s up to you to decide whether to continue using this gift, or to decline it and embrace a new set of possibilities. I like his example of having invested in years of study at law school, followed by years of practice as one such sunk cost.

If you decide that being a lawyer is no longer for you, it’s up to you to stop using that “gift” of that education and work experience, and embrace something new. I feel like I had a similar choice when we moved to Israel, even though I didn’t think about it quite in these terms.

This is a great podcast to subscribe to, if you’re interested in different perspectives on challenges you may be facing. Plus, I really like how he has a featured non-profit segment in his shows.

Fighting Waterblight Ganon in Legend of Zelda is like Groundhog Day

Played Zelda: Breath of the Wild - Waterblight Ganon boss fight strategy and how to get Mipha’s Grace by Matthew ReynoldsMatthew Reynolds (Eurogamer.net)
How to defeat the Vah Ruta dungeon boss.

My gaming experience in Legend of Zelda was going so well, until I found myself facing Waterblight Ganon in the Divine Beast Vah Ruta. Defeating this creature requires a level of coordination that seems to elude me.

Waterblight Ganon in Legend of Zelda
Waterblight Ganon, right before it smites me for the nth time.

I’m slowly getting the hang of jumping out of the way (although in some rounds, my special skill seems to be jumping into the path of Waterblight Ganon’s spear), but when it comes to switching to an attack, or using my runes to smash incoming blocks of ice, I just seem to hit the wrong buttons. And die. Repeatedly.

😫

Apparently this creature is the easiest of the four Divine Beast monsters, to boot. Hopefully this isn’t a case of me simply being the wrong generation to handle a dozen or so buttons on a controller. I don’t know how kids can be so coordinated.

Thankfully there are guides with tips on how to defeat these creatures. Unfortunately, you still need a level of skill to execute. My wife helpfully suggested that I just get my son to do this level for me. I’m tempted.

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Legend of Zelda tops Fortnite for me

Two of the games we’ve been playing on our Nintendo Switch lately are Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Fortnite. I’ve been playing both games, and I think Legend of Zelda has become my favourite of the two games.

Fortnite is fun, for sure

My son is a huge Fortnite fan, and has been waiting for an opportunity to play the game since it launched. He started playing the game when it was released on Android, and really got into the game when we bought the Switch. I wasn’t that interested, initially, but started playing on the Switch.

If you’re not familiar with Fortnite, it’s a fun tactical shoot-em-up game where you can go play in a variety of game modes including 50 v 50 (where you are part of a group of 50 players going up another group of 50 players), a sniper shoot-out, you versus everyone else with the last player left alive winning the match, and even a playground mode where you can explore the space and hone your skills.

The game is more fun than I thought it would be. Sure, you spend your short time in the game shooting at other players, trying not to be killed by others, and escaping a lethal storm that creeps in from the edges of the island you on. On the other hand, it’s a very tactical game that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

Games tend to be pretty short, and each game is a different opportunity to pick up new gear, improve your skills, and play with your friends. In that sense, it’s also a weird sort of game. My son could play for hours if we let him, and at the same time it’s also been a way for him to spend more time with his friends.

As for me, I’m still figuring this game out. Quite frankly, I’m terrible. I don’t build structures that tend to be highly recommended to protect you from other players, I can barely hit a moving target (which is problematic, obviously), and on the few occasions I’ve won the game, it’s been because I ran in the wrong direction.

Of course, I’ll improve when I play more. The thing is, I’ve become more of a Legend of Zelda fan so that’s where I spend more of my time.

Legend of Zelda is a varied adventure each time

Legend of Zelda is a quest game, basically. You start off having woken up from some sort of slumber, and slowly discover who you are, what’s been happening in this world in the century that you’ve been asleep, and what your ultimate goal is.

Unlike Fortnite, you play Legend of Zelda on your own. My kids and I each play the game. My son and I are quite a bit further along in the game than my daughter, and what amazes me is how much thought has gone into this game.

In Fortnite, you have pretty much the same landscape as your battlefield. Your task is collect better weapons, kill everyone else, and have fun in the short time you play each game.

Legend of Zelda feels like an open world that continuously surprises me. The initial quest seems pretty simple: collect a number of special objects, and then head off to fight the Big Bad. Except it isn’t.

Completing the initial quest is just the start of an expanded quest with increasing variations, surprises, twists, and turns. There seems to be something new to explore in the former kingdom of Hyrule each time I return to play.

This could be returning to a forest I ran through, only to discover hidden treasures all over the place. Or, perhaps, a whole new adventure sparked by a conversation with some random villager, or taking a different path to the last time.

Then there are mysterious shrines scattered across the land, each with a different test or puzzle to overcome. This game is pretty much what you make of it. There’s no straight line to the Big Bad, only degrees of complexity in your journey.

To add to that, the way you play will give you a very different experience of the game to another player. I’ve seen this when I watch my son play. He’s taken a very different direction in his game, and his experiences have been just as different.

What I don’t have, is the sense of watching my future game unfolding by watching him play. Sure, I gain some insight into other regions of the world that I haven’t explored yet, but my experiences will vary from his because I have different weapons, equipment, and a pretty different path.

Even though there are two expansion passes, I have a feeling that I’m going to be playing this game for quite some time before I need to add more complexity to my game.

Fortnite, on the other hand, is fun to play with friends, but lacks the intellectual challenge, and sheer diversity of options that Legend of Zelda delivers.

If I want to play something with my son, I’ll dive into Fortnite (he’s much better than I am, and enjoys taking me out with rocket launchers). When it comes to settling in for a couple hours to explore a world, kill monsters, and find cool weapons, I’ll head back to Hyrule.