jverkamp.comhttps://blog.jverkamp.com/Recent content on jverkamp.comHugo -- gohugo.ioen-usSun, 14 Apr 2024 00:00:00 +0000The Quantum Magicianhttps://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/04/14/the-quantum-magician/Sun, 14 Apr 2024 00:00:00 +0000https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/04/14/the-quantum-magician/A con man called Gander had once taught him that there were only three bets. Sometimes, you play the cards. Sometimes, you play the player. Sometimes, you just throw the dice. The Quantum Magician is &hellip; not what I expected. I&rsquo;m sure at one point, I read the blurb, but I&rsquo;ve slept since then. So all I had to go on when I picked it up just now was the title.The Haunting of Hill Househttps://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/04/11/the-haunting-of-hill-house/Thu, 11 Apr 2024 00:00:00 +0000https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/04/11/the-haunting-of-hill-house/<blockquote> <p>No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.</p> </blockquote> <p>A haunted house? Let&rsquo;s do SCIENCE!</p> <p>Well, that&rsquo;s the claim. Mostly, it&rsquo;s a vehicle to get all our main characters in one place, plus a bit of conflict later on.</p> <p>Other than that, we have character introductions. They&rsquo;re some weird folks&ndash;the best kind for these stories. And then the house as character. It&rsquo;s impressive how you can get such a feel for a place with only minimal (initial) description. And then the caretakers of the house. Quite the characters those two are.</p> <p>And then&hellip; things get creepy. There&rsquo;s little jumping out of the page to scare you. It&rsquo;s not that sort of story. But it&rsquo;s creepy nevertheless. Perfecting that evermounting sense of dread. And at that, it&rsquo;s quite well done.</p> <p>I think that I enjoyed this book more having listened to the audiobook. It&rsquo;s a slow burn and&hellip; hard to describe just why it&rsquo;s so intriguing?</p> <p>Worth a try.</p> <blockquote> <p>Journeys end in lovers meeting; I have spent an all but sleepless night, I have told lies and made a fool of myself, and the very air tastes like wine. I have been frightened half out of my foolish wits, but I have somehow earned this joy; I have been waiting for it for so long.</p> </blockquote>The Voyage of the Basiliskhttps://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/04/07/the-voyage-of-the-basilisk/Sun, 07 Apr 2024 02:00:00 +0000https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/04/07/the-voyage-of-the-basilisk/<p>The third book of [[The Memoirs of Lady Trent]]. First she went to studing dragons in rocky mountanious islands&ndash;and almost died. And then she spent some time studying river dragons deep in the jungle&ndash;and almost died.</p> <p>And now she&rsquo;s off on a voyage around the world&ndash;akin to Darwin&rsquo;s <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voyage%20of%20the%20Beagle">Voyage of the Beagle</a>&ndash;to study dragons. Only to almost die not once, not twice, but at least three times. Assuming I didn&rsquo;t miss any.</p> <p>Oh, and have all manner of other adventures along the way.</p> <blockquote> <p>“I have never attempted to hide that I have had two husbands in my life. I have, however, neglected to mention that in between them, I had a wife.”</p> </blockquote> <p>In <em>any</em> case.</p> <blockquote> <p>“That should be my epitaph when I die: &lsquo;she did not have to do it&rsquo;.”</p> </blockquote> <p>I&rsquo;m still loving riding along with the titular Lady Trent on her adventures and learning all about how dragons work in this world right along with her. And this time, she&rsquo;s actually bringing her son along, which gives a whole new dimension to the journeys&ndash;for the most part.</p> <p>A fun book. I expect if you&rsquo;ll like the first two, you&rsquo;ll continue to enjoy this one.</p> <p>Onward!</p>Mooses with Bazookas: And Other Stories Children Should Never Readhttps://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/04/07/mooses-with-bazookas-and-other-stories-children-should-never-read/Sun, 07 Apr 2024 01:00:00 +0000https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/04/07/mooses-with-bazookas-and-other-stories-children-should-never-read/<p>That&hellip; is a very weird and very silly book.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s got a frame story of one Wally Warmbottom. He&rsquo;s shipwrecked on an island far from anything&ndash;but luckily, he&rsquo;s got lots of paper and bottles to send out letters.</p> <p>And some of those bottles have other stories in them. Such as the titular mooses and bazookas. And another about rocket(s). And a few others.</p> <p>It reminds me of <a href="https://blog.jverkamp.com/2023/03/20/on-the-edge-of-the-dark-sea-of-darkness/">On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness</a>, with the same overwritten funny because it&rsquo;s saying the same thing a bunch of times in a row sort of humor.</p> <p>It gets old.</p> <p>Or perhaps I got old.</p> <p>My son seemed to enjoy it well enough though.</p>Jade Legacyhttps://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/04/06/jade-legacy/Sat, 06 Apr 2024 00:00:00 +0000https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/04/06/jade-legacy/<blockquote> <p>“You&rsquo;d think it would be easier to face death as you get older, but it doesn&rsquo;t work that way. You get more attached to life, to people you love and things that are worth living for.”</p> </blockquote> <p>Wow.</p> <p>I first read <a href="https://blog.jverkamp.com/2020/10/04/jade-city/">Jade City</a> and <a href="https://blog.jverkamp.com/2020/11/06/jade-war/">Jade War</a> a few years<sup id="fnref:1"><a href="#fn:1" class="footnote-ref" role="doc-noteref">1</a></sup> ago&ndash;before the third and final book was out. So when I finally got a chance for a re-read (re-listen this time), I figured I&rsquo;d give it a chance.</p> <p>And oh, does this book ever deliver. If you&rsquo;re like me and have read the first two and not this&ndash;what are you waiting for?</p> <hr>Solving Sokobondhttps://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/04/06/solving-sokobond/Sat, 06 Apr 2024 00:00:00 +0000https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/04/06/solving-sokobond/<p>Another solver that I&rsquo;ve been working on, after <a href="https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/28/a-good-snowman-is-hard-to-...-solve/">A Good Snowman Is Hard To &hellip; Solve?</a>. This time, we have <a href="https://store.steampowered.com/app/290260/Sokobond/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Sokobond</a>! It&rsquo;s a <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sokobon">Sokobon</a>&hellip; but with chemical bonds! Yeah, that&rsquo;s a really good title.</p> <p>The basic idea is you have a field of elements with (chemical accurate) free electrons):</p> <p><img src="basic-image.png" alt="A basic level"></p> <p>Here we have 4 hydrogens (1 bond each) and a carbon (4 bonds). It should seem pretty obvious that the carbon should end up with a hydrogen on each end. The one last bit of interest: the element with the dashed border is the one we actually control, that will never change.</p> <p>This eventually gets more complicated, adding:</p> <ul> <li>Modifiers that are placed on the map between squares: <ul> <li>One that strengthens bonds, turning a single bond into double into triple</li> <li>One that weakens bonds, turning triple to double to single or breaking single bonds</li> <li>One that rotates bonds as you move by it</li> </ul> </li> <li>More elements, eventually hydrogen (1), oxygen (2), nitrogen (3), carbon (4), and helium (0)</li> <li>Solutions that require forming multiple elements at the same time</li> </ul> <p>It&rsquo;s a pretty neat puzzle game with 144 levels of increasing difficulty. Perfect to solve.</p> <hr>Ms. Marvel, Vol. 10: Time and Againhttps://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/04/04/ms.-marvel-vol.-10-time-and-again/Thu, 04 Apr 2024 00:00:00 +0000https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/04/04/ms.-marvel-vol.-10-time-and-again/A weirdly weak ending. It felt like they were building up to so much more&hellip; but this is the end of this particular run. I suppose it&rsquo;s time to find out where/what is next. Comics are confusing yo. One Night Only Sleepover! Of course things go wrong. Over and over again. And then… Right. It’s about time. A cute story. Short though. The Ratio SCIENCE time with Bruno! You know, given that Ms.Ms. Marvel, Vol. 9: Teenage Wastelandhttps://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/04/03/ms.-marvel-vol.-9-teenage-wasteland/Wed, 03 Apr 2024 00:00:00 +0000https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/04/03/ms.-marvel-vol.-9-teenage-wasteland/<h2 id="teenage-wasteland">Teenage Wasteland</h2> <p><img src="https://blog.jverkamp.com/embeds/books/attachments/ms-marvel-2014-v9-textbundle-109a07.jpeg" alt=""></p> <p>Ironic that.</p> <p>A whole Ms. Marvel story about when it’s all too much and Kamala steps down.</p> <p>It’s such a cute story. Some friends step up to (try) to take her place. Some (try to) track her down … for a sandwich. It’s what friendship is about.</p> <p>Oh. And somehow the Inventor is back. But that’s not really the point now, is it?</p> <p>I really liked this one.</p> <hr> <h2 id="something-new">Something New</h2> <p><img src="https://blog.jverkamp.com/embeds/books/attachments/ms-marvel-2014-v9-textbundle-6ced1f.jpeg" alt=""></p> <p>Baby!</p> <p>But that’s… totally only the first few pages. After that, we get Bruno back (for a visit? Or more?), a new kid at school… that can crush lockers with her bare hands, and oh so much relationship drama.</p> <p>It’s a good time.</p> <p>I wonder of Bruno shows up in any Black Panther issues while he was there.</p>Ms. Marvel, Vol. 8: Meccahttps://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/04/02/ms.-marvel-vol.-8-mecca/Tue, 02 Apr 2024 00:00:00 +0000https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/04/02/ms.-marvel-vol.-8-mecca/Mecca K.I.N.D.—or anything but—is in town. Rounding up anyone that ‘doesn’t look like they belong’. 😃 No, not quite like that. It’s a good one. Northeast Corridor And then… People are good at ignoring things, but even that’s a bit obvious… A cute enough story though.Ms. Marvel, Vol. 7: Damage Per Secondhttps://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/04/01/ms.-marvel-vol.-7-damage-per-second/Mon, 01 Apr 2024 01:00:00 +0000https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/04/01/ms.-marvel-vol.-7-damage-per-second/Election Day Politics! Get out and vote! Man single issues are short. Damage Per Second Troll! Or computer virus. Close enough. Ready to reveal all the big bad secrets of the world. Sometimes people are clueless. But sometimes Zoe is right on. She’s a fun side character. It’s a cute story. Expected weird/sappy solution. So it goes. Meanwhile in Wakanda And as an aside, Bruno! In Wakanda! That’s a fun one.2024 Book Bingohttps://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/04/01/2024-book-bingo/Mon, 01 Apr 2024 00:01:00 +0000https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/04/01/2024-book-bingo/Let&rsquo;s do it again! Previous years: 2023 Book Bingo 2022 Book Bingo 2021 Book Bingo If anyone I know wants to read along on any of these, drop me a line. Love to chat about books! 😄 Rules: Must be speculative fiction (SF, fantasy, horror with speculative elements) Limit the number of novellas (fewer than 40k words or defined by the author as such) or combine them A book of short stories counts Graphic novels/manga should be treated as novellas Web novels count (if they&rsquo;re long enough) Audiobooks count Official threadA Good Snowman Is Hard To ... Solve?https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/28/a-good-snowman-is-hard-to-...-solve/Thu, 28 Mar 2024 00:00:00 +0000https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/28/a-good-snowman-is-hard-to-...-solve/<p>I enjoy puzzle games. I especially enjoy letting computers solve them for me 😄. Once upon a time, I set up a <a href="https://blog.jverkamp.com/2022/10/16/stateful-solvers-and-iterators/">framework for solving random things</a>. Let&rsquo;s solve some more.</p> <p>Today: <a href="https://store.steampowered.com/app/316610/A_Good_Snowman_Is_Hard_To_Build/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A Good Snowman Is Hard To Build</a></p> <p>It&rsquo;s a <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sokoban">Sokoban</a> about making snowmen! You can push snowballs of three sizes around, collecting snow if you roll over it. You can push smaller snowballs onto bigger ones, stacking them. Or back off, in order to get around one another.</p> <p>And that&rsquo;s really it.</p> <p>There are some interesting twists (multiple snowmen, the ability to leave and re-enter levels, and even a whole second &lsquo;hard mode&rsquo;), but at a basic level, it&rsquo;s just pushing.</p>Ms. Marvel, Vol. 6: Civil War IIhttps://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/28/ms.-marvel-vol.-6-civil-war-ii/Thu, 28 Mar 2024 00:00:00 +0000https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/28/ms.-marvel-vol.-6-civil-war-ii/<p>High school athletic competition! New Jersey vs New York! Kamala vs…</p> <p><img src="https://blog.jverkamp.com/embeds/books/attachments/ms-marvel-2014-v6-textbundle-69fae4.jpeg" alt=""></p> <p>Miles? Oh my.</p> <p>Haven’t seen him for <a href="https://blog.jverkamp.com/2023/07/25/ultimate-end/">a while</a>&hellip;</p> <p>So that went well.</p>Ms. Marvel, Vol. 5: Super Famoushttps://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/27/ms.-marvel-vol.-5-super-famous/Wed, 27 Mar 2024 00:00:00 +0000https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/27/ms.-marvel-vol.-5-super-famous/<p>And… swap. Continued volume numbering, new issue numbers. Same writer, new artists.</p> <p>Onward!</p> <p><img src="https://blog.jverkamp.com/embeds/books/attachments/ms-marvel-2014-v5-textbundle-e06382.jpeg" alt=""></p> <p>Whoa, wait a minute. Less onward. More context!</p> <p><img src="https://blog.jverkamp.com/embeds/books/attachments/ms-marvel-2014-v5-textbundle-3f430a.jpeg" alt=""></p> <p>Okay, so six months have passed. And it’s not just we the readers who missed everything—apparently Kamala’s been flaking hard as well.</p> <p><img src="https://blog.jverkamp.com/embeds/books/attachments/ms-marvel-2014-v5-textbundle-044ab1.jpeg" alt=""></p> <p>lol.</p> <p>Also, Tyesha!</p> <p><img src="https://blog.jverkamp.com/embeds/books/attachments/ms-marvel-2014-v5-textbundle-ae6ea7.jpeg" alt=""></p> <p>Which makes everything even more super busy! So of course…</p> <p><img src="https://blog.jverkamp.com/embeds/books/attachments/ms-marvel-2014-v5-textbundle-99be6a.jpeg" alt=""></p> <p>Yup. Bad idea.</p> <p>So good.</p>Ms. Marvel, Vol. 4: Last Dayshttps://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/25/ms.-marvel-vol.-4-last-days/Mon, 25 Mar 2024 00:00:00 +0000https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/25/ms.-marvel-vol.-4-last-days/<p>The world… is ending.</p> <p><img src="https://blog.jverkamp.com/embeds/books/attachments/ms-marvel-2014-v4-textbundle-724339.jpeg" alt=""></p> <p>Or at least that’s how it feels.</p> <p>Didn’t she know him for like… a couple days? I suppose it’s not that unusual. First times are so much bigger.</p> <p>But still.</p> <p><img src="https://blog.jverkamp.com/embeds/books/attachments/ms-marvel-2014-v4-textbundle-c5a44b.jpeg" alt=""></p> <p>Bigger problems.</p> <p>Also, the dream team up!</p> <p>It’s fun and exactly the sort of thing Kamala dreamt about! Even if the scale of it all… doesn’t really make sense. The end of the world looms and they’re starting with the looting?</p> <p>But getting to the part of the story we saw in <a href="https://blog.jverkamp.com/2022/07/23/ms.-marvel/">the show</a>? “I know.” That’s the story I’m interested in!</p> <p>A chaotic delightful mess of a story.</p>The Tropic of Serpentshttps://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/23/the-tropic-of-serpents/Sat, 23 Mar 2024 00:00:00 +0000https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/23/the-tropic-of-serpents/A Natural History of Dragons set out an interesting world. It&rsquo;s more or less our world (although with all the names rewritten, so you&rsquo;re always playing a game so is &lsquo;xxx&rsquo; just like &lsquo;yyy&rsquo;), but with dragons. And of course the titular Isabela Trent just wants to study them, like any Natural Historian would! Give me dragons any day; I understand their ways far better than those of my fellow human beings.Dark Queenhttps://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/22/dark-queen/Fri, 22 Mar 2024 00:00:00 +0000https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/22/dark-queen/<p>Well, that was an awful lot.</p> <p>Who are we kidding, we&rsquo;re 12 books into a series, but not quite at the end.</p> <p>So if you&rsquo;ve gotten this far, what are the chances that you&rsquo;re going to stop now&ndash;and you <em>really</em> don&rsquo;t want to, just in case.</p> <p>And if you&rsquo;re looking ahead to the end of the series before reading it to see if it&rsquo;s still worth it&hellip; well, so far it is!</p> <p>All that being said&hellip; man that was a lot.</p>Ms. Marvel, Vol. 3: Crushedhttps://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/21/ms.-marvel-vol.-3-crushed/Thu, 21 Mar 2024 00:00:00 +0000https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/21/ms.-marvel-vol.-3-crushed/<p><img src="https://blog.jverkamp.com/embeds/books/attachments/ms-marvel-2014-v3-textbundle-0c1f99.jpeg" alt=""></p> <p>…</p> <p>Well. As far as hooks go, that is most certainly one of them.</p> <p>Pity it’s only got one volume.</p> <p>Other than that we get the introduction of Kamran—instant meetcute with Kamala, what can possibly go wrong—inhuman strife, and… a S.H.I.E.L.D. crossover?</p> <p><img src="https://blog.jverkamp.com/embeds/books/attachments/ms-marvel-2014-v3-textbundle-94662b.jpeg" alt=""></p> <p>Looks fun. Maybe I’ll read that one next.</p> <p>Anyways, everything feels like it’s flying by, in the way of comics. It takes too long to illustrate an entire volume, so everything gets crammed together.</p> <p>Onward!</p>Ms. Marvel, Vol. 2: Generation Whyhttps://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/20/ms.-marvel-vol.-2-generation-why/Wed, 20 Mar 2024 00:00:00 +0000https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/20/ms.-marvel-vol.-2-generation-why/<p>You know all those rumors about pet alligators flushed down the sewers?</p> <p><img src="https://blog.jverkamp.com/embeds/books/attachments/ms-marvel-2014-v2-textbundle-34caa9.jpeg" alt=""></p> <p>Yeah, they generally fail to mention the freakin laser beams.</p> <p>Comics are weird. Volume 2 and we’re already with the crossovers (hallucinatory Avengers don’t count). So many crossovers. But they’re cute! And it’s still mostly Ms. Marvel calling the shots.</p> <p>A solid volume 2! Onward!</p>Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normalhttps://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/18/ms.-marvel-vol.-1-no-normal/Mon, 18 Mar 2024 00:00:00 +0000https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/18/ms.-marvel-vol.-1-no-normal/<p>Ms. Marvel! I watched the <a href="https://blog.jverkamp.com/2022/07/23/ms.-marvel/">TV show</a>, so this should be about the same right?</p> <p>Right?</p> <p><img src="https://blog.jverkamp.com/embeds/books/attachments/ms-marvel-2014-v1-textbundle-8f46f0.jpeg" alt=""></p> <p>Well… things get weird. Mostly due to an origin not entirely in the movies. So it’s a bit different.</p> <p>But the feel?</p> <p><img src="https://blog.jverkamp.com/embeds/books/attachments/ms-marvel-2014-v1-textbundle-e10d87.jpeg" alt=""></p> <p>It’s still street level, teen girl, dealing with being from a Pakistani family/Muslim born in America.</p> <p>It’s a fun start!</p>Star Wars Vol. 13: Rogues and Rebelshttps://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/15/star-wars-vol.-13-rogues-and-rebels/Fri, 15 Mar 2024 00:00:00 +0000https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/15/star-wars-vol.-13-rogues-and-rebels/<p><img src="https://blog.jverkamp.com/embeds/books/attachments/star-wars-2015-v13-textbundle-02b2d1.jpeg" alt=""></p> <p>And now everyone’s back together for one giant showdown. Champions, rock monsters, and all!</p> <p><img src="https://blog.jverkamp.com/embeds/books/attachments/star-wars-2015-v13-textbundle-fbd41f.jpeg" alt=""></p> <p>It’s all quite exciting in all the best science fantasy sorts of ways Star Wars has to offer!</p> <p>Quite a way to end this particular series. Whatever could be next?!</p>Infinite Craft Bothttps://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/14/infinite-craft-bot/Thu, 14 Mar 2024 00:00:00 +0000https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/14/infinite-craft-bot/<p>You&rsquo;ve probably seen <a href="https://neil.fun" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Neil.fun</a>&rsquo;s <a href="https://neal.fun/infinite-craft/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Infinite Craft</a> game somewhere on the internet. If not, in a nutshell:</p> <ul> <li>You start with 4 blocks: <code>Earth</code>, <code>Fire</code>, <code>Water</code>, and <code>Wind</code>.</li> <li>You can combine any two blocks, for example: <ul> <li><code>Earth + Water = Plant</code></li> <li><code>Plant + Fire = Smoke</code></li> <li><code>Smoke + Smoke = Cloud</code></li> </ul> </li> </ul> <p>That&rsquo;s&hellip; pretty much it, from a gameplay perspective. There&rsquo;s not really any goal, other than what you set yourself (try to make Cthulhu!). Although if you manage to find something no one has ever made before, you get a neat little note for it!</p> <p>So wait, what do I mean by &lsquo;something no one has ever seen before&rsquo;?</p> <p>Well, if two elements have ever been combined by anyone before, you get a cached response. Barring resets of the game (no idea if / how often this has happened, but I assume it has), if <code>A + B = C</code> for you, <code>A + B = C</code> for everyone.</p> <p>And here&rsquo;s the fun part: if you find a combination no one has ever found before: <code>Neil.fun</code> will send the combination out to an LLM to generate the new answer. The specific prompt isn&rsquo;t public (so far as I know), but essentially what that means is that you have a basically infinite crafting tree<sup id="fnref:1"><a href="#fn:1" class="footnote-ref" role="doc-noteref">1</a></sup>!</p> <p>So of course seeing something like this I want to automate it. 😄</p> <hr>Star Wars Vol. 12: Rebels and Rogueshttps://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/14/star-wars-vol.-12-rebels-and-rogues/Thu, 14 Mar 2024 00:00:00 +0000https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/14/star-wars-vol.-12-rebels-and-rogues/<blockquote> <p>All of our lives, we have fought this war. Tonight I believe we can end it. Tonight is not an accident. There are no accidents. We have not come here by chance. I do not believe in chance. When I see three objectives, three captains, three ships. I do not see coincidence, I see providence. I see purpose. I believe it our fate to be here. It is our destiny. I believe this night holds for each and every one of us, the very meaning of our lives.</p> </blockquote> <p>Wait. No. Wrong franchise.</p> <p><img src="https://blog.jverkamp.com/embeds/books/attachments/star-wars-2015-v12-textbundle-e31864.jpeg" alt=""></p> <p>It doesn’t help when that’s their disguise garb.</p> <p>Luke’s off to lure some imperial probes away, Han and Leia are going to try to trick criminals (and perhaps an old ex) into fighting a war for them, and Chewie and C-3PO? Well, they have a planet to blow up.</p> <p>What could possibly go wrong?</p> <p>A thrilling… part one!</p>Star Wars Vol. 11: The Scourging of Shu-Torunhttps://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/12/star-wars-vol.-11-the-scourging-of-shu-torun/Tue, 12 Mar 2024 00:00:00 +0000https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/12/star-wars-vol.-11-the-scourging-of-shu-torun/<p>Princess Leia has a plan! Economic upset on a massive scale&hellip; and if it happens to come with revenge against a certain recent traitor to the Rebellion? All the better.</p> <p>What could go wrong?</p> <p><img src="https://blog.jverkamp.com/embeds/books/attachments/star-wars-2015-v11-textbundle-7a366e.jpeg" alt=""></p> <p>(It&rsquo;s even better, as Luke was just looking for them&hellip;)</p> <p>It’s quite cinematic. Fetch quests, exotic locales, a crazy multipliprong battle with stakes both huge and personal…</p> <p>I quite enjoyed this one.</p>Star Wars Vol. 10: The Escapehttps://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/11/star-wars-vol.-10-the-escape/Mon, 11 Mar 2024 00:00:00 +0000https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/11/star-wars-vol.-10-the-escape/<p><img src="https://blog.jverkamp.com/embeds/books/attachments/star-wars-2015-v10-textbundle-743363.jpeg" alt=""></p> <p>Well&hellip;</p> <p>What if what could happen were more akin to a forced vacation? Stranded alone on a world with a strict isolationist policy. No transmitters. No traffic in or out other than every six months.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s a neat story. Interesting to see which of our heroes adapts to the quiet life&hellip; and which very much do not.</p> <p>Plus, hints of the wider Star Wars universe. Lightsaber proof shields. Massive beasties to hunt&ndash;in defense of the town. A Jedi in love. And maybe a way away from all that war&hellip;</p> <p>A good one.</p>Taskmaster: Series 14https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/10/taskmaster-series-14/Sun, 10 Mar 2024 00:00:00 +0000https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/10/taskmaster-series-14/<p>That&rsquo;s such a delight of a season, mostly due to Fern Brady, although I enjoyed the entire cast.</p> <p>The contestants:</p> <ul> <li>Dara Ó Briain - Goes about the weirdest things with a smile on his face.</li> <li>Fern Brady - Fern is delightful. She&rsquo;s a fun one to look up her independent work.</li> <li>John Kearns - He constantly had the look of &lsquo;what have I gotten myself into&rsquo;. Really the whipping boy for this season.</li> <li>Munya Chawawa - Zimbabwean ___. Hda a fun way of working around the tasks.</li> <li>Sarah Millican - Alternatively delightfully dry and actually angry at times.</li> </ul> <p>One more!</p>The Beginninghttps://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/09/the-beginning/Sat, 09 Mar 2024 00:00:55 +0000https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/09/the-beginning/<p>And it ends.</p> <p>And a new day begins.</p> <p>This isn&rsquo;t really a book with much action (although there is some). It&rsquo;s really more of an epilogue. How things wrap up and what happens next. It&rsquo;s not always something you get in a series and I appreciate it.</p> <p>The end of the end? Weird. Undoes a bit of the closure. But in a way, it fits?</p> <p>The Animorphs were an amazing read when I guest found them years (decades?) ago now. This is my third time reading them. They may be dated at times, but oh, they hold up.</p> <p>A story of teenagers growing up far too fast. Fighting a war. Saving the world. And paying for it all in blood.</p> <p>Well worth the read.</p>The Ellimist Chronicleshttps://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/09/the-ellimist-chronicles/Sat, 09 Mar 2024 00:00:54 +0000https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/09/the-ellimist-chronicles/<blockquote> <p>My full name is Azure Level, Seven Spar, Extension Two, Down-Messenger, Forty-one. My chosen name is Toomin. I like the sound of the word, which is all the reason you need for a chosen name.</p> <p>My &ldquo;game&rdquo; name is Ellimist. Like Toomin, it doesn&rsquo;t mean anything in particular. I just thought it sounded breezy. Never occurred to me when I chose the name that it would follow me for so long, and so far.</p> </blockquote> <p>A world of flying crystals. Searchers, flying to the stars. A living moon. And all along, games. Games at an unimaginable scale.</p> <p>Perhaps my favorite book of the whole series&ndash;although it&rsquo;s for the most part completely inconsequential to any of the other books. It explains a few things (that were acceptable not to explain) and builds more worlds (perhaps connecting things too much). Still, I quite enjoy this one. And it&rsquo;s at a good point.</p> <p>The beginning.</p> <p>And the end.</p>The Answerhttps://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/09/the-answer/Sat, 09 Mar 2024 00:00:53 +0000https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/09/the-answer/<p>My name is Jake.</p> <blockquote> <p>My name is Jake Berenson. The days of secrecy, of lurking in the shadows are over. The Yeerks know my name. They know my height, weight, eye color, Social Security number, and favorite foods. At long last they know the word Animorph, Marco&rsquo;s word for us.</p> <p>I&rsquo;ve fought them for more than three years. I was just thirteen when I started. I&rsquo;m sixteen now, though that fact, like so many facts, has been deliberately obscured in the secret accounts we&rsquo;ve kept.</p> <p>I&rsquo;m a sixteen-year-old kid named Jake Berenson, and I am the leader of the Animorphs.</p> </blockquote> <p>More battles, bigger than ever before. Characters we&rsquo;ve met long ago, back where we&rsquo;d never expect them. And choices. Choices that could charge the whole galaxy.</p> <p>It all comes back to the power to morph.</p> <p>And the choices the Animorphs will all have to make. And live with.</p> <p>Or die by.</p> <p>One more book.</p>The Sacrificehttps://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/09/the-sacrifice/Sat, 09 Mar 2024 00:00:52 +0000https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/09/the-sacrifice/<p>The Yeerks are in the open now. Rounding up people by gunpoint and sending them by subway to the Yeerk Pool.</p> <p>The Animorphs need to do something about it&hellip; but at what cost?</p> <p>Add on to that, it finally comes out. Cassie stopped Jake from killing Tom&ndash;and that&rsquo;s why the Yeerks can morph now.</p> <p>Ax&rsquo;s reaction is&hellip; interesting. We often get fairly alien beliefs from him and other Andalites. But this one, this is interesting.</p> <p>But really, it all comes down to this:</p> <blockquote> <p>None of us are adults. The others are now of the age to be attending what humans call &ldquo;high school.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>Man. They&rsquo;re so young.</p>The Absolutehttps://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/08/the-absolute/Fri, 08 Mar 2024 00:00:51 +0000https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/08/the-absolute/<p>The National Guard is mobilizing! It&rsquo;s time&hellip; to kidnap the governor?</p> <p>Everything escalated <em>so fast</em> in these last few books.</p>The Ultimatehttps://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/08/the-ultimate/Fri, 08 Mar 2024 00:00:50 +0000https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/08/the-ultimate/<p>The Animorphs tried adding to their number <a href="https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/02/08/the-discovery/">once before</a>.</p> <p>It went poorly.</p> <p>But nothing is going well any more. So now, perhaps, it&rsquo;s time for some reinforcements.</p> <p>The only reinforcements the Animorphs can universally assume not to be Controllers.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s quite the idea&ndash;and quite the risk, both for the Animorphs and for Applegate.</p> <p>But as Jake said, it&rsquo;s our planet. <em>All</em> of our planet.</p>The Diversionhttps://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/08/the-diversion/Fri, 08 Mar 2024 00:00:49 +0000https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/08/the-diversion/<p>Another step further.</p> <blockquote> <p>&ldquo;No, Rachel. We retreat,&rdquo; Jake answered. &ldquo;A tactical retreat. Save the army. Live to fight another day. But a toothbrush would be good. And extra deodorant. We&rsquo;ll be out there a while.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>It&rsquo;s like a series of heists. Barely planned, absolute chaos.</p> <p>Almost all successful.</p> <p>And still things escalate.</p>The Never Tilting Worldhttps://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/07/the-never-tilting-world/Thu, 07 Mar 2024 00:00:00 +0000https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/07/the-never-tilting-world/<p>Well that&rsquo;s a lot of world building. Start with elemental magic, nothing <em>super</em> new there (although acid is always a fun one). Add in an ancient prophecy and twins where only one can rule. Still not that unusual.</p> <p>And then defy the prophecy and <em>literally stop the world spinning</em>, leaving one side a desert scorched by a never ending noon, the other frozen in perpetual night.</p> <blockquote> <p>We’re chasing a dying sea under an endless sun that kills us with a thousand little cuts every day. There’ll be nothing left soon. Nothing but sand and bone.</p> </blockquote> <p>Now that&rsquo;s pretty cool worldbuilding, especially for a fantasy world (it&rsquo;s something you see slightly more in sci-fi).</p> <p>Now on top of that, you have a ruler in each world, each with a daughter. Well, you can guess what probably happened and who these two are (remember those twins I mentioned?), but none of them know that.</p> <p>So you get a fascinating ride as each realized just how screwed up their own corner of the world is, falls in love (there is more than a touch of romance in this book)&hellip;</p> <blockquote> <p>If the choice is between me risking my life and losing you, I’d choose the first.</p> </blockquote> <p>&hellip;and sets off on a journey to set things right.</p> <blockquote> <p>When the dead find words, the goddess and the Devoted son will meet atop a fish not a fish, on a sea not a sea. It is she who travels to the endless Abyss, and it is he who guides her.</p> </blockquote> <p>I quite enjoyed this book. It takes a bit of getting into and the leads are&hellip; more than a touch Young Adult/&lsquo;chosen one&rsquo;ish, but it&rsquo;s still a fun read/listen.</p> <p>Onward!</p>The Returnhttps://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/06/the-return/Wed, 06 Mar 2024 00:00:48 +0000https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/06/the-return/<p>Nightmares within nightmares.</p> <p>Among all the Animorphs, they&rsquo;d all say that there&rsquo;s only one who might be truly sad if the war ended tomorrow: Rachel.</p> <p>But even the most gung ho fighter is eventually going to burn out. Perhaps <em>especially</em> them.</p> <p>An intense book with all the surreal uncertainty of the worst nightmares.</p>The Resistancehttps://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/06/the-resistance/Wed, 06 Mar 2024 00:00:47 +0000https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/06/the-resistance/<p>Things continue to escalate.</p> <p>The free Hork-Bajir under attack, willing to die to defend their homes. With some Animorph help.</p> <p>And two hundred years ago, but not all that different, Union soldiers under attack, willing to die to defend their homes.</p> <p>With some freed slaves willing to help.</p> <p>In the end, it&rsquo;s the same battle, time and again. And the same people&ndash;black, white, and Hork-Bajir alike&ndash;willing to step up to fight</p> <p>It&rsquo;s a neat structure, interweaving the two battles. A solid read.</p>The Deceptionhttps://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/06/the-deception/Wed, 06 Mar 2024 00:00:46 +0000https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/06/the-deception/<p>Things continue to escalate&hellip;</p> <blockquote> <p>Finally, Jake spoke. His eyes were dull but his voice was firm.</p> <p>&ldquo;Things are different,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;From now on, we take what we need. We do what we have to do. No matter what the consequences.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;Jake . . .&rdquo; Cassie began.</p> <p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s only one morph that will get us thousands of miles out to sea in the time we have left,&rdquo; he added. &ldquo;Human.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>It&rsquo;s kind of amazing how out in the open/direct thins things are getting. We have less than ten books left, but still. It&rsquo;s a lot.</p> <p>An intense book. And more to come.</p>The Revelationhttps://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/05/the-revelation/Tue, 05 Mar 2024 00:00:45 +0000https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/05/the-revelation/<blockquote> <p>&ldquo;What are you calling your discovery?&rdquo; I heard Nora ask.</p> <p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t really know,&rdquo; Dad said tentatively. &ldquo;What can you call something that is nothing at all?&rdquo;</p> <p>There wasn&rsquo;t anything on TV. An old Star Trek. A new Star Trek. My life was plenty sci-fi. How about some Real World?</p> <p>&ldquo;What could you call it?&rdquo; Dad continued. &ldquo;Zero, I suppose. Zero-space.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>Uh oh.</p> <p>And so we&rsquo;re really in the endgame now. Things are falling apart. The Yeerks have all the power. And the Animorphs&hellip; well, they have that they&rsquo;ve always had.</p> <p>Hope.</p>The Unexpectedhttps://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/05/the-unexpected/Tue, 05 Mar 2024 00:00:44 +0000https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/05/the-unexpected/<p>I feel like Unexpected could really be the title to about half of these books. Maybe more.</p> <p>One thing leads to another, everything goes wrong, and Cassie is off to SYD-South Something Dakota. Right? Right&hellip;?</p> <p>But hey, kangaroo morph!</p> <p>There&rsquo;s basically no impact on the greater Animorph&rsquo;s story, but sometimes that&rsquo;s all right. And it&rsquo;s interesting to get a fairly straight forward Cassie story with the existential dread.</p> <p>No worries.</p>The Testhttps://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/05/the-test/Tue, 05 Mar 2024 00:00:43 +0000https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/05/the-test/<p>Man, Tobias doesn&rsquo;t get a break.</p> <blockquote> <p>&ldquo;Civil war is coming, Andalite,&rdquo; she began. &ldquo;Yeerk versus Yeerk. We&rsquo;ve had enough of the petty Visser fights, the favoritism, the punishments . . . the Council makes us sick.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>And all that from a rather unexpected source.</p> <blockquote> <p>&ldquo;No,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s wrong. I won&rsquo;t. I don&rsquo;t want to judge you guys, but you&rsquo;re talking about strategy and risk like this is some computer game. Like there aren&rsquo;t others involved. Have you forgotten that we&rsquo;re supposed to be in this to save lives?&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>Now it makes sense. Totally a trick. But how? When? Why?</p>The Journeyhttps://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/04/the-journey/Mon, 04 Mar 2024 00:00:42 +0000https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/04/the-journey/<p>And&hellip; Helmacrons. Again. We just saw them in <a href="https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/01/the-hidden/">The Hidden</a>.</p> <p>Still not <em>nearly</em> my favorite alien species in these books. At least this time, they get to go all Magic School Bus!</p> <p>So it goes.</p>Medusahttps://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/04/medusa/Mon, 04 Mar 2024 00:00:00 +0000https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/04/medusa/<p>Swallowed by a sperm whale.</p> <p>That&rsquo;s quite the introductory seen. Starts with whaling, full on Moby Dick (I should read that at some point). It&rsquo;s an interesting story, with just enough weird science to see where it&rsquo;s going in the &lsquo;present day&rsquo;.</p> <p>A Corona Virus.</p> <p>This&hellip; felt all the more real in this post Covid world. And a sign of how it could have been so much worse&ndash;if only we didn&rsquo;t have weird ocean life and a super well funded, run, and liked NUMA to save the world. 😄</p> <p>A Hermaphrodite third triplet as a big bad.</p> <p>That&rsquo;s&hellip; just lazy. The Chinese Triad / mafia stuff, pretty cool. This reveal? Meh.</p> <p>So, at this point? It&rsquo;s Clive Cussler. The books are enjoyable enough, but I want to listen to something else for a while. So I&rsquo;m moving on to something else. Perhaps one day I&rsquo;ll return.</p> <p>Onward!</p>Cold Reignhttps://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/03/cold-reign/Sun, 03 Mar 2024 00:00:00 +0000https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/03/cold-reign/<blockquote> <p>“Janie, we need to get this guy out of the cage. Suggestions?”</p> <p><em>Am Beast. Not Jane.</em></p> <p><em>What am I? Chopped liver?</em></p> <p><em>Do not need liver chopped. Have fangs and claws to chop liver.</em></p> </blockquote> <p>I do so enjoy the Jane/Beast dynamic. By far the best part of these books.</p> <p>Otherwise, we have vampires coming back from the dead again that never should have, the Euro Vamps actually showing up after how many books, a crazy supernatural storm, and oh some many more timey whimey shenanigans. I&rsquo;m still not entirely sure what to think about it. It&rsquo;s unique, for sure. But oh, it&rsquo;s <em>major</em> power creep on Jane&rsquo;s part. I suppose we&rsquo;re getting on towards the end of the series and that&rsquo;s to be expected.</p> <p>Other than that, my other favorite part of these books is the every growing Yellowrock clan. I never would have guessed it when I started this series, but the found family dynamic is so wonderful to read. They&rsquo;re all interesting and I&rsquo;ve grown to care for them all at least some fraction as much as Jane does. I&rsquo;m &hellip; not looking forward to some inevitable betrayals/deaths. :(</p> <p>Other other than that, there is one problem I think I&rsquo;ve been having with this series:</p> <blockquote> <p>Gee was a bird, an Anzu, a creature once worshiped as a storm god. We had recently hunted together, both of us in Anzu form. I’d had a good long look at Anzu DNA when I shifted into the form, and that DNA was not from Earth, but it did look a lot like arcenciel DNA.</p> </blockquote> <p>When&hellip; did this happen? I don&rsquo;t think I remember it. There are about a billion short stories, so perhaps in one of those, but it feels kind of weird to have the mainline novels not more stand alone than that. Is it just me? (Or did I just forget something?)</p> <p>But really, it&rsquo;s a wonderful series and I&rsquo;m looking forward to where it goes from here!</p>The Familiarhttps://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/02/the-familiar/Sat, 02 Mar 2024 00:00:42 +0000https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/02/the-familiar/<blockquote> <p>I fingered the suit, and then it hit me.</p> <p>Of course!</p> <p>I knew what was going on here. It had finally happened.</p> <p>I knew it was only a matter of time, what with the pressures of leadership, the violent battle, the endless fights against a strengthening enemy.</p> <p>I&rsquo;d finally been driven to a complete psychotic breakdown.</p> <p>I&rsquo;d gone crazy.</p> <p>And this was my padded cell.</p> </blockquote> <p>Not &hellip; exactly?</p> <p>That&rsquo;s a very weird book. A what if sort of future and even at the end, it&rsquo;s not entirely clear what&rsquo;s happening.</p> <p>Especially back to back with <a href="https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/02/back-to-before/">Back to Before</a>.</p> <p>We&rsquo;ve done this sort of thing before, but usually with at least some small amount of closure.</p> <p>Not my favorite.</p>Back to Beforehttps://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/02/back-to-before/Sat, 02 Mar 2024 00:00:41 +0000https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/02/back-to-before/<p>What if&ndash;instead of walking through that fateful construction site&hellip;</p> <p>The Ellimist and Crayak/the Drode are at it again. Giving Jake a chance at a normal life.</p> <p>But all is not as it seems&hellip;</p> <blockquote> <p>&ldquo;Oh, I see it now, I see it now,&rdquo; the Drode said, ignoring Marco, ignoring all of us. &ldquo;Subtle as always, Ellimist. Your meddling came before, didn&rsquo;t it? How could we not have seen it? Elfangor&rsquo;s brother? His time-shifted son? This anomalous girl here? And the son of Visser One&rsquo;s host body? A group of six supposedly random humans that contains those four! You stacked the deck!&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;Did I?&rdquo; The Ellimist laughed. &ldquo;That would have been very clever of me.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>You know? So far as justifications for the coincidences that make stories just work&ndash;that&rsquo;s actually a sneakily good one. The Animorphs are talented and more than a little lucky. But all along, someone (something?) has been stacking the deck to help them.</p> <p>I like it. More than I expected.</p> <p>Onward!</p>The Otherhttps://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/02/the-other/Sat, 02 Mar 2024 00:00:40 +0000https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/02/the-other/<p>An Andalite on TV! Almost right on the heels of <a href="https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/01/the-arrival/">The Arrival</a>. Bit weird that.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s an interesting look into Andalite preconceptions though:</p> <blockquote> <p>&lt;No. The Yeerks would have no use for his body. He is completely useless as a host.&gt; Ax waved his frail hand in a dismissing motion. <Without a tail blade he cannot fight. And it is obvious this vecol is incapable of morphing or he would have restored his tail from his own healthy DNA.></p> </blockquote> <p>And&hellip; is directly contrary to the idea that your original body doesn&rsquo;t heal (mostly recently in <a href="https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/01/the-hidden/">The Hidden</a>.</p> <p>So&hellip; how does the DNA know your age? Or current haircut? Or if you got a tattoo? Or the progress of a genetic disease&ndash;even if the disease is in your DNA, why is the damage has already caused.</p> <p>In any case, it&rsquo;s an interesting look into another portion of Andalite society.</p> <p>Also, we get:</p> <blockquote> <p>Tobias glared. &lt;Okay, I&rsquo;m getting a complex over here. I&rsquo;m a nothlit. A freak. Whatever. My best friend is an alien with blue fur. My girlfriend is human - when she isn&rsquo;t in morph. How about we don&rsquo;t talk about &ldquo;normal&rdquo; anymore. Or &ldquo;average&rdquo; or &ldquo;natural.&rdquo; Please.&gt;</p> </blockquote> <p>It&rsquo;s an interesting book.</p>The Hiddenhttps://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/01/the-hidden/Fri, 01 Mar 2024 00:00:39 +0000https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/01/the-hidden/<p>Helmacrons. Not my favorite when they showed up in <a href="https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/02/12/the-suspicion/">The Suspicion</a>, not much better now. At least it&rsquo;s only their tech though&ndash;the ability to track morphing energy&hellip; and the blue box.</p> <p>An interesting enough plot, but there&rsquo;s a spoilery twist (see below) that &hellip; I just didn&rsquo;t think worked. it didn&rsquo;t quite work with the established world building and I doubt will be used again.</p> <p>So it goes. Onward!</p>The Arrivalhttps://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/01/the-arrival/Fri, 01 Mar 2024 00:00:38 +0000https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/03/01/the-arrival/<p>The Andalites have arrived!</p> <p>Sort of.</p> <p>Things go well.</p> <blockquote> <p>Rachel whirled around. Her face red with anger. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m through taking orders from you,&rdquo; she said through clenched teeth. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m through with Marco and his stupid jokes. I&rsquo;m through with Cassie&rsquo;s hypocrisy.&rdquo;</p> <p>Cassie took a broom from the corner and began to sweep up the glass. &ldquo;Count me out, too,&rdquo; she said softly. &ldquo;If this war is unwinnable, how do we justify killing Hork-Bajir? Basically, they&rsquo;re prisoners of war. Innocent victims.&rdquo;</p> <p>Marco thrusts his hands into his pockets. &ldquo;Guess I&rsquo;m out, too. I&rsquo;m going to enjoy what time I&rsquo;ve got left. Acquire a surfer dude chick magnet. Hang out.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>It would be nice to meet some fine upstanding examples of Andalite society.</p> <p>Today&hellip; is not that day.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s a solid story. It&rsquo;s a nice contrast to Ax&rsquo;s earlier conflict between his people&hellip; and his people.</p>Factorio Achievement Hunting: Lazy Bastard / 100%https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/02/29/factorio-achievement-hunting-lazy-bastard-/-100/Thu, 29 Feb 2024 00:00:00 +0000https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/02/29/factorio-achievement-hunting-lazy-bastard-/-100/<p>And here it is, <a href="https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/01/11/factorio-achievement-hunting-there-is-no-spoon/">a month and a half later</a>:</p> <p><img src="assets/00-all-done.png" alt="all-done"></p> <p>We did it!</p> <p>This time, I had a quick save game in order to crank through a train in 90 minutes (that was actually closer than the 8 hour run, believe it or not) and then it&rsquo;s time for the long hall. I have two achievements left to achieve:</p> <ul> <li>Mass production 3 - produce 20M green chips (I had ~13M before this run)</li> <li>Lazy bastard - win the game with no more than 111 hand crafts</li> </ul> <p>It&rsquo;s &hellip; actually not <em>that</em> hard, just long. There are guides out there for what your 111 hand crafts can be. With recipe changes, you only need 103. Then you can turn off hand crafting permission (<code>/permissions</code> is allowed) and&hellip; just do everything by hand. You don&rsquo;t even need biters on.</p> <p>All together, it took about 28 hours to set up my rocket for Lazy Bastard&hellip; but I wanted that one to be last.</p> <p>It may have taken another 30 hours to complete the remaining 7 million circuits&hellip;</p>The Weaknesshttps://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/02/29/the-weakness/Thu, 29 Feb 2024 00:00:00 +0000https://blog.jverkamp.com/2024/02/29/the-weakness/<p>Oof. Two in a row I don&rsquo;t overly care for.</p> <p>This time around, we have Jake out of town&hellip;</p> <blockquote> <p>&lt;A vote,&gt; Tobias said. &lt;It&rsquo;s the only way.&gt;</p> <p>Marco snorted. &ldquo;Beautiful. Let&rsquo;s see. We&rsquo;ve got Rachel&rsquo;s best friend and her bird-friend and Ax isn&rsquo;t voting . . . forget it, man. I&rsquo;m out.&rdquo;</p> <p>Marco turned to me and bowed. &ldquo;Congratulations, your highness. Your wish is my command.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>And for some reason Rachel steps up. I don&rsquo;t mean to agree with Marco too strongly here&hellip; but this is a bad idea.</p> <p>Hit and run, almost get killed, learn a lesson.</p> <p>And away we go!</p>