The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

Archive for the ‘Non-Gaming’ Category

Recent Media

Let’s see ….

  • I finally saw Stop Making Sense (the concert movie). Hypnotic and excellent.
  • The Good Place is starting its final season. Finally hooked up my fire stick to watch it (Amazon discontinued support for my TV).
  • The Spy (starring Sacha Baron Cohen) worked as a slow burn period piece.
  • Read a Jack Reacher book. It was Make Me (the 20th)  but I’m not sure it matters. Pulpy fun. Picked up a second one (the bridge club also has a giant rotating library of books people are done with).
  • I just started Mad Men, which is decent.

I also enjoyed the Invader Zim movie (“Enter the Florbus“) on netflix, despite not watching much Invader Zim back in the day. It’s the right combination of stupid and stupid.

Written by taogaming

October 10, 2019 at 6:15 pm

Posted in TV & Media

Some Media for your Summer

I finished Neal Stephenson’s latest (“Fall; or, Dodge in Hell“). I usually enjoy his logorrhea  (I re-read Anathem a month or two ago), but this was not worth it. I was saddened to learn that the title related to the character Dodge (from the unmemorable REAMDE) and more annoyed when Enoch Root showed up. The ending was actually reasonable and the last 75 pages moved at a pace that — had it been kept for the first 800 pages — would have cut the book down to a nice brisk 200-300 pages.The twist/hook was M. Night Shamalayan obvious.

I now noticed that I missed his last book, so I may check it out. How is the D.O.D.O. title, if you’ve read it?

Exhalation — the latest short stories by Ted Chiang — is excellent. Only two collections of short stories (that I know of) and practically every one is powerfully stunning. One story (“The Great Silence”) was originally text on a video art installation you can see on YouTube. His stories (3-100pages) are clock work masterpieces … Twilight Zone or Black Mirror episodes, but sometimes hopeful and inspiring. One of the blurbers put Chiang on par with Poe, Kafka, etc …. and if that’s a stretch its a small one.

Get Out — Finally saw this. A decent flick.

A Quiet Place — Excellent.

Annihilation — OK (but excellent looking).

Good Omens (TV) — Amusing.

Toy Story IV — Great.

Just started Aggretsuko S2. It’s a fast watch, but I’m probably over this.

Written by taogaming

July 14, 2019 at 3:51 pm

Posted in TV & Media

But you know that I know…

The Rueful Rabbit — for all of his flaws — does quite well at bridge. Mostly due to his amazing luck, but also because he knows an important fact: what is good for declarer must be bad for the defender.

If you throw in R.R. to let him cash his winners (for a suicide squeeze), he declines to cash them. “After all,” he’ll later say, “Papa seemed quite keen for me to win my tricks, and he’s quite a good player you know. So while I couldn’t quite work out exactly why, it seemed right to not do it.”

And then the Hog will chortle about Greek Gifts.

To imagine that I never heard the story about why the Soviet Union built a space shuttle (tip of the hat to S.S.C.). (Actually I had no idea they built one at all).

The short answer — the Soviets figured that NASA was grossly wrong about the cost-benefit analysis and assumed that there must be a really cool (military) use that they couldn’t figure out. So — in order to not be caught flat footed —  they figured they’d build a copy just to be ready.

(Of course the actual answer was that NASA was just engaged in routine overbidding).

Vhojha Moi!

Also of interest (albeit technical), a model of how increasing competition can lead to reduced merit of outcomes (but also on how pool sizes matter). One of the more meta-game-theory things I’ve read recently. This also had a link to the Blotto game, which I have played (in some forms) but never knew had a name. And — bonus! — the author is a boardgamer (who sadly rarely writes about such things).

But I did read his (spoiler-ific) review of The Three Body Problem trilogy, which I read last year, and which contains the following worthwhile advice, which brings us back full circle to his Ruefulness.

If your opponent is doing something that makes no sense, whose purpose you can’t understand, which you have no explanation for why they might do it, assume it is highly dangerous. They are the enemy. They have a reasons they chose to take this action. That might be ‘they are an idiot who is flailing around and doesn’t know anything better to do.’ Maybe. Be skeptical.


Written by taogaming

February 2, 2019 at 9:13 pm

Posted in Linky Love, Non-Gaming

Fall Media

The “Still excellent” category includes Better Call Saul, BoJack Horseman, and hopefully The Good Place (which needed a few episodes to find it’s groove in S3, but I think it’s got it). (I started to listen to The Good Place, the Podcast as background during Factorio).

Two episodes in and I like the 13th Doctor, but the show? It’s OK.

I gave up on Iron Fist S2. Then Netflix gave up on it. Watched a few episodes of Daredevil S3.  Will continue.

I actually enjoyed Norm MacDonald has a show. (Yes, it has some of his weird anti-humor (and I skipped the David Spade episode) but it had interesting conversations. Also watching the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina which is just all over the place and not great but I’ll probably finish. I want to see Castlevania S2 and Big Mouth S2, but they are lower priority.

I’m also rewatching Babylon 5.

Written by taogaming

November 1, 2018 at 4:57 pm

Posted in TV & Media

Some of my odd ideas go to BGG

But I’m sure you knew that.

Written by taogaming

August 11, 2018 at 9:07 pm

Bonus Media

John Mulaney — Kid Gorgeous at Radio City may not be the best standup special I’ve seen, but its damn near perfect.

Written by taogaming

May 3, 2018 at 9:50 pm

Posted in TV & Media

Media of 2018 (so far)

Been a while, so let’s see —

I have not, in fact, progressed past S2E1 of Stranger Things, so I guess I’m done with that. At least for now. Other series that are in my queue without motion include GLOW, The Dark, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (I found my limits on cringe comedy), Black Mirror (and cringe SF). I like many of the new series in theory more than in practice.

I did binge Better Call Saul S3 and the latest Father Brown season (6), but those are known quantities. (Better Call Saul is, in my mind, the best show on the air, one of the few doing interesting things with shots and letting action build tension. It does sometimes rely on the audience’s foreknowledge, but often it subverts it).

Retsuko — the netflix anime about a 25 year old red panda working as an accountant for a large company, and doesn’t it say something that shows like this get made? — surprisingly amusing and short (10 episodes of 12-15 minutes).

I watched Mindhunter S1 and finished it, but don’t really recommend it.

In the “Media is more than just Netflix” department — I read the entire Three Body Problem trilogy. Recommended.

Written by taogaming

April 26, 2018 at 6:44 pm

Posted in TV & Media