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Nostalgia Sunday Music

Look, I remember getting No More Tears when it was new and I was in college, and, uh, 30 years that doesn't make any sense. Because that'd make me not young, but The Old, and I'm clearly not The Old.

What I'm Reading: Shadow Captain, Bone Silence by Alastair Reynolds

Shadow Captain follows the other, less crazy sister, as she tries to revenge herself on pirate Bosa Sennen, then keep their ship supplied, and gain clues about what Bosa was up to. Very much middle-of-trilogy syndrome, nothing happens that's necessary to the overall plot, but it's adequately more of the first volume. We find out a new behavior of the Quoins. ★★★★☆

Bone Silence is split between the sisters POV, and wanders between some excellent lightsail ship combat, a bit of urban treachery, and then pursuit by the… not Navy, but thugs employed by the bankers, so essentially the East India Company, and like the pride of the English, they're honorless scum. All to the good, except midway thru they split the party, one ship goes to town and the other stays to fight the thugs. The author fails to remember the many Chekov's Guns hanging on their fireplaces, and so this is much more of a struggle than it ought to be.

And here the plot turns into a summary, dozens of characters are introduced who have no further purpose or interest, an insurrection takes place in the sewers of an O'Neill colony, and impossible machinery is turned on. An alien explains more about the Quoins, except this is couched in superstitious nonsense for the monkeys and I don't know I believe any of it except the behavior we see. This part's absolutely disposable, but clearly Reynolds was tired of the setting and couldn't wait to get to the last bit. Where a giant precursor starship is approached… the Baubles use stasis fields, but the ship doesn't, even tho it absolutely needs it. The nature of the emergency is made clear but not why they're in that emergency. Rather preachy finale, bad guy is sent off to… smash into the habitat windows? He should be spaced, to make the punishment work, but he's not.
★★★☆☆ at first, then ★★☆☆☆ by end

Possibly better to make up your own 3rd volume than read Bone Silence. I'd still dearly love an RPG sourcebook (preferably for Traveller/Cepheus Engine) covering the mechanics of ships and Baubles.

The Death of iTunes

So, I was listening to my last playlist, and realized I don't own one of the albums, so I figure I'll grab it off iTunes…

No iTunes app. No "show in iTune Store" action on the album page (Share has since shown back up, because Apple Music is non-deterministic). There's an iTunes Store on my phone, but I want to download it here on my desktop. Fine, where's the store page. It's… missing. After some duck searches, turns out you have to open Apple Music Preferences, check "iTunes Store" in a little grid. I didn't deselect this, it came deselected, meaning NOBODY is going to see it.

Once that's done, Store is back in the sidebar, and clicking it shows the good old storefront, account links, etc. But how do you search? Search box just shows Apple Music (streaming). WAAAAAY up in the top-right corner is a selector for Songs or Store. Now I'm on the album. And it's $8.99. Yeah, there's no DRM, but you know, I can get this elsewhere.

So I went over to 'zon and bought a used CD (a little cheaper), because I can rip that lossless. At least they want my money.

And like that, with no announcement, Apple killed their store.

Machines That Don't Work Thursday Music

We had some good machines
But they don't work no more
I loved you once
Don't love you anymore
—Shriekback, Faded Flowers

Rick & Morty Season 5

Up to now, the long long wait for R&M S05 has been not worth it at all. I'm not quite at /r/rickandmorty levels of hate, but it's been pretty disappointing, like all the crap filler eps of past seasons put in one season. But E08 finally redeemed itself.

  1. "Mort Dinner Rick Andre": Good villain, plot's a tedious farce.
  2. "Mortyplicity": Random nonsense ep, without the fun range of activities of Interdimensional Cable.
  3. "A Rickconvenient Mort": I love Captain Planet and parodies of him, but both Robot Chicken and Don Cheadle already did this better, Planetina is squicky, Rick & Summer's interstellar fuck tour is gross.
  4. "Rickdependence Spray": Giant sperm, not too bad. There's some SF short story I read where the first male interstellar astronauts turn into giant sperm and impregnate a planet (the female astronauts are unaffected?), and this is less nonsense than that.
  5. "Amortycan Grickfitti": Hellraiser parody doesn't understand the point of Hellraiser (in Clive Barker's book & the first movie, they aren't "bad is good baby!", they're "we've done all the good stuff forever, we can only feel anything from the bad now"); new kid's crap, but AI car gets to do some weird stuff. Like 5-10 minutes of good stuff in the ep.
  6. "Rick & Morty's Thanksploitation Spectacular": Great premise, but Thanksgiving isn't for 3 months, assholes. Totally misses the mood.
  7. "Gotron Jerrysis Rickvangelion": Too much Voltron, not enough NGE. They should've had Rick as Gendo, Morty as whiny Shinji, Summer as Asuka, Beth clones as Rei & the Mommy robot, it would've made sense and been deep. Instead it's just robot ferrets & bugs.
  8. "Rickternal Friendshine of the Spotless Mort": First actual good episode in a very long time. Bird Person's memories of enthusiastic young adult Rick are hilarious, and kind of terrible in the way, you know, my own might be, or yours.

Mitrasphere Adventurers Guild

Just a minor note, the latest update to Mitrasphere has added an Adventurer's Guild, as seen in every cliché but amusing fantasy anime & game. So much better than just face-grinding mobs, there's a task board of mobs to face-grind (and other tasks sometimes, probably not including walking dogs).

I don't necessarily play a lot every day, but it's definitely building into a longer-term game.