Cura, December 9, 2019

Note: The playlist embedded above will always be the most recent playlist and might not match the list below.

Cura is my Spotify mixtape. You can listen to it and subscribe here. I keep it as one playlist so it’s easy to subscribe to. I update it fairly frequently, but I also keep an archive playlist so you don’t have to miss a thing.

I hope you like it. I made it for you.

Here’s the track listing for this week:

9/12/2019 · Mixtapes

Logbook, December 2-8, 2019


My Stuff



The watch, Plus: an unspecified amount of time at the farm with Mando and Baby Yoda in last week’s The Mandalorian’ (37:57).


TV Shows

Letterkenny S5, Watchmen S1, My Hero Academia S2

Video Games

So I bought the Sega Genesis collection on sale this week, which included a nutso amount of games:

And then Nintendo decided to update the SNES and NES collections:


Good Tweets

8/12/2019 · Logbook

Game Finishing Season: Untitled Goose Game

Untitled Goose Game is a good date. Buy it for less than $30 and spend four hours with your significant other being very happy and causing nice mischief with the goose. It is a game you pick up once and probably never again. I would very much like video games to be more like this and less like that they generally are. Why spend 80 hours doing something when four will do? That’s fucking delightful.

I’m tempted to say that Untitled Goose Game is the game of the year, not because it does video game better than anything else, but because it respects the player’s time. No other game does!

Here are several very smart and funny things about Untitled Goose Game:

There. A short list of nice things. This game has taught me.

4/12/2019 · video games

November 2019 in photos

2/12/2019 · photos

Logbook, November 24-Dec 1, 2019

Mulder it’s Me By Grace TaylorMulder it’s Me By Grace Taylor

My Stuff




TV Shows

Watchmen, Would I Lie To You S10, Letterkenny S5, The Mandalorian, Mr Robot, Bob’s Burgers S10

Video Games

I’m playing Fire Emblem: Three Heroes. But I took advantage of an eShop sale and picked up Ape Out, the Sega Genesis collection, and Transistor.


Good Tweets

1/12/2019 · Logbook

Logbook, November 18-24, 2019



My stuff:

Good Tweets

25/11/2019 · Logbook

Game Finishing Season: Super Smash Bros Ultimate


I know, I know. You can’t, like, finish a fighting game. Fighting games are like disciplines and some people go their whole life mastering a single character. It’s insane. I have no idea how anyone has that kind of focus.

What you can do, theoretically, is finish the single-player content in a fighting game. Usually that’s a tournament or a tower where you beat all the characters vaguely related to your own, and then you beat the boss that may or may not be a playable character. In Smash, that big bad was a hand, which stands in for you, the player, or God, or the player in reboot. It’s murky, Smash.

In Smash Ultimate, the single-player mode is a gauntlet of hundreds of specialty matches called Spirits. Each match turns up or down dials in the same. Some matches are faster, slower, harder, easier, windier, on fire, upside down, etc. It’s the classic Nintendo approach: take one simple concept and then mutate it over and over until you’ve wrung the whole thing dry. This takes a long time.

I imagine most people do not finish Spirits.

Using other characters

You begin Spirits with just Kirby, because he’s the best. Over time, you unlock everyone, and as soon as you unlock them you can play them. There’s nearly 100 unlockable characters but you’ll likely only use a few. Some matches require a stronger or faster character, and I ended up using a mixture of Toon Link, Richter Belmont, and Kirby as needed.

Endless Mode

It took me thirty hours to finish Spirits. There are apparently 936 matches in this mode. God, that’s a lot. Probably too much. I remember very few of them individually. They really blend together. I liked that I collected the spirit after each battle, and they have their own strengths that help in subsequent battles. Near the end, I felt invincible. But I can’t say it wasn’t a slog at times.

The Story

There’s a light god and a dark god. I figured the whole thing was just about the light god, and figured after 13 hours or so I was done. And then I wasn’t, and that was annoying! It’s ostensibly about balance in the universe, but I kinda didn’t get it? The ending was an emotional let down. Maybe I don’t understand the lore here enough.

The last level, however, was great. Difficult, fun platforms and timed spots that I wish they’d done way more of.

Built for 5 minute sessions

I do not have the discipline to be a Smash player beyond casual parties. I’m ok at it at best, but the buffet of Nintendo and video game nostalgia is really what I’m here for. Smash is silly, but also amazing at times. It’s maybe impenetrable, like the story in Spirits. Don’t come here.

21/11/2019 · video games

Nintendo Switch Pro Controller Macro Photos

I’ve been playing around with this trick I learned. If you take off the lens of a DSLR and flip it around (and hold it properly), you can get some pretty cool macro shots. Here’s some practice shots using a Switch Pro Controller as the subject.

18/11/2019 · photos · video games

Logbook, November 11-17, 2019

The Society Dude




NABOKI is a fun fidget cube of a puzzle game.

My Stuff:

17/11/2019 · Logbook

Fran’s Not Here 44 - Party Hard

Listen to or download episode 44

Recorded live at the Free Times Cafe on November, 2019.

The French probably have the best porn or whatever.

Fran’s Not Here is a show about Toronto, co-hosted by Sawyer Paul and Robert Pilgrim. Read blog posts about each episode. Subscribe via

15/11/2019 · podcasts · fransnothere

Cura, November 14, 2019

Note: The playlist embedded above will always be the most recent playlist and might not match the list below.

Cura is my Spotify mixtape. You can listen to it and subscribe here. I keep it as one playlist so it’s easy to subscribe to. I update it fairly frequently, but I also keep an archive playlist so you don’t have to miss a thing.

I hope you like it. I made it for you.

Here’s the track listing for this week:

14/11/2019 · Mixtapes

Series on Disney+ I’d probably watch

12/11/2019 · TV

Logbook, November 4-10, 2019

November 4, 2019

I watched Masahiro Sakurai’s Bizarre Approach to Final Bosses | Boss Battle Breakdown.

Game Finishing Season: Final Fantasy IX

I’m so proud of this series @activeadultmale and I have been doing. Our next one is Wednesday! It’s the art on the bottom right. Listen at

I read Work Sucks.

November 5, 2019

XKCD: Software Updates.

I read The Golden Age of TV Is Over.

If I were to recommend a computer for my mom

Game Finishing Season: Chrono Trigger

November 6, 2019

October 2019 in photos

I read My Maximalist Lifehacks, and My Minimalist Lifehacks.

November 7, 2019

Game Finishing Season: Bye Bye Box Boy

I read Here’s How To Use A Bullet Journal For Better Mental Health, and recommend you read Media Accounting 101: Books, Apps, & Attention.

I read Watchmen Recap: The Great Beyond.

November 8, 2019

I bought some games in an eShop sale: Ape Out, The King of Fighters 2000, and The King of Fighters 97

November 9, 2019

I watched Spider-Man: Far from Home, 2019 - ★½. There’s a good idea here. A bad guy takes advantage of a hero vacuum using CGI because people have seen so much fake shit they can’t tell the difference anymore. This is a good idea. I hope someone uses it again in a good movie.

November 10, 2019

Podcast recommendations:

At November 10, 2019 at 10:00AM I went to Old Book and Paper Show.

I read The Case for Piracy in the Age of Streaming Domination.

11/11/2019 · Logbook

Apple doesn’t do hidden fees.

I typed Apple doesn’t do hidden fees,” a line from a blog post at Daring Fireball, and the neural network auto-completing website Talk to Transformer gave me this:

You are probably a lot smarter than the average person,” she says, laughing.

A woman comes on stage, in a red gown. Behind her, more women.

The women in the red dress don helmets to disguise their identities.

I got an email from an agent at Microsoft saying they’re offering me a very small amount of cash!” she yells.

The video on the screen is of a woman screaming.

I don’t know if this is real or not,” she says, to the woman on screen.

Is this real? Are you really that stupid?” the woman asks.

Yes!” the woman screams.

Yeah, I’m real. They’re going to see this!” The woman screams, in the video.

Are you kidding? We were just in the store in the mall. Did you see this? It could be real!” the woman screams.

The woman screams that the company promised to deliver the iPad.

I love it.

10/11/2019 · neural poetry

Game Finishing Season: Bye Bye Box Boy

I love a good platformer. I love clean design and well-thought-out experiences. I love a game that doesn’t waste your time. So Box Boy is perfect.

In Box Boy, you are a little square that can make more squares. The number depends on the level and the set of puzzle-obstacles in front of you. If you need three boxes, you can spit out three boxes. You never wonder if you need more because that’s all you have.

There’s a bunch of levels, more than you’d think, but it does not wear out its welcome. You never don’t feel clever. The levels are never too hard. If they are, there are hints, and you can restart any level at any time.

Bye Bye Box Boy is the third game. There’s a fourth one, on Switch, that I’ll buy soon and probably love.

In Box Boy, you can finish every level in less than 60 seconds and if you finish faster, you can get a new hat. The hats do nothing. It’s the one bit of flair in a game with literally no flair. It might as well be in black and white.

I finished Bye Bye Box Boy in, what, four hours? Yeah. That’s perfect. It cost seven dollars and was worth more.


7/11/2019 · video games

Game Finishing Season: Chrono Trigger

So, like I said in my last post, I bought Chrono Trigger for the DS in 2009, and it remained unopened in a drawer for ten years. I had every intention of playing the game. I knew I’d love it. It was just a matter of getting through some other stuff first. Like adulthood, I guess.

Playing a 3DS in 2019

Apparently this is the preferred way to play this game anyway. It’s been released on iOS and PC, but both of those ports suffer annoying alterations that have left the fanbase cold. So I played it more or less the way it’s meant to: in standard definition on a Nintendo console.

Because it’s a DS game on a 3DS XL, I had two viewing options: pixel-perfect or blown up. Holding the start button while booting the game loads pixel-perfect mode, which leaves a pretty large amount of the screen black. It does look crisper, though. I spent about half the time in one mode and half in the other. I’m old, man. Sometimes I need things to be a bit bigger.

Playing Chrono Trigger ten years after meaning to

There were lots of games in the last decade I should have not played so that I could have played Chrono Trigger instead. That’s on me. I should have gotten to this sooner. But games like Chrono Trigger are why some of us have backlogs to begin with. If not for games we know will be good when we get to them, why would we keep things in a que at all? I know how to read a review.


Chrono Trigger is a turn-based RPG where you select your attacks from a menu and wait. You wait a little bit less in this game because you can select fast” in the settings for battle speed. What that really means is that you wait less but so do the enemies. It was fast enough that I had to really move in the menu lest I get pancaked by a heavy. I saw the game over screen a bunch.

I was satisfied with the ending I saw. Apparently there’s lots of them and you can only get the true ending if you play more than once. Chrono Trigger is a game about time travel, so having multiple endings makes a thematic sense here that’s lacking in other games. That may mean I only played some Chrono Trigger and not all of it, but life is too short for multiple endings. I have a backlog to get through.

Trios Combat

Chrono Trigger’s battle system is fun enough to keep you trying new things. Each character gain new abilities over time, just like in any rpg. The twist here is that some abilities require two or three party members, so you get this great juggling of extra power or extra turns. It helps that each battle is a little different. Enemies are either really resistant to certain attacks or just get pulverized by them, and this alternates with frequency. It doesn’t want you to get bored with menu-based combat, so its battles trick you into thinking you are both smart and buff. That’s what a video game should do!

Satisfying Classics

It took around 25 hours to beat. I probably missed a few side-quests but not many.

Everyone is right about Chrono Trigger. It’s a touching story that isn’t too saccharine. The characters feel just fleshed-out enough that you trust them and want them to succeed. I found no main character so annoying as to never want them in my party. That’s extremely unusual for this kind of game.

10/10, would do the time warp again.

5/11/2019 · video games

Game Finishing Season: Final Fantasy IX

Here’s a weirdly common problem: I own lots of games I’ve never finished. Until recently, I didn’t actually know the number but I figured it was in the low double-digits. They’re mostly from Steam sales, 3DS impulse-buys, and the Switch’s incredible port backlog, but some are games I bought at full price with every intention of enjoying. True story: I bought Crono Trigger for the DS in 2009, and it remained unopened in a drawer for ten years.

First up, Final Fantasy IX. I originally bought it for the PS1 in 2000. I think I got about halfway through. I don’t know why I didn’t finish it then (maybe I had homework?), but I eventually sold my PS1 and gave it to my brother.

I did play a little bit of it on iOS, though that’s really not the place to let yourself get lost in 50-hour epics. Finally, I bought it on Switch in 2019 for $20 or so.

The Princess Bride of the Final Fantasy world

This game’s story is so sweet. It has none of the gen-x whatever feels of the previous two Final Fantasy games and feels like it belongs right next to 80s fantasy stories like The Princess Bride or Dark Crystal. These heroes just want to do the right thing all the time.

Playing Final Fantasy IX on the Switch

I completely see why people bought the PSP now. Playing Final Fantasy games on the go has always been awesome (shoutout to Final Fantasy Adventure on the Game Boy), and people still carry around GBAs for FF6. I’ve really come around to the port everything to switch” bandwagon.

Here’s a creaky-old-man lifehack with the Switch. You’re on the subway with both elbows holding up the console. You can just take one joy-con off the side and lower one arm for a while and still play. That’s just nice.

Playing Final Fantasy IX in 2019

Final Fantasy games are turn-based RPGs that go back to 80s text adventures. There’s a lot of text. There’s a lot of menus. There’s a lot of running around and holding down the attack button for a while. But in 2019, all that’s optional. There are quality-of-life improvements here that let you speed up the game, give yourself boosts, and even turn off battles. This was the feature that encouraged me to play this game. I’ve always meant to go back and experience Final Fantasy IXs story, but I absolutely do not care about its combat. I barely got good at its fighting style. I’m not sure I ever figured out its tech system. I’ve heard that it’s fine. Take all that stuff out, and it’s still a 20-hour game.

If there was a secret mega-boss like in VII and VIII, I missed it.

How it Feels to Finish Final Fantasy IX after 20 years of meaning to

I’m glad I bought it on Switch and played it. It holds up! It was a retro effort in 2000, which helps future-proof it. But because it’s got a timeless appeal, I don’t feel like I missed out by leaving it until way later. It’s like it was designed to be put on your shelf for decades.

Final Thoughts

I dug how each character had unique convictions. There is a whole world-ending god/calamity thing, but it was much less interesting to me than these seven people figuring out the proper way to care for one another. That’s the good stuff.

Final Fantasy IX is great, but I’m not sure how good a video game it is. I’m all here for the story, but nothing else really mattered. Square shouldn’t do it, but someone should pay them loads of money to turn this one into a three-season TV show.

4/11/2019 · video games

Logbook, October 28-November 3, 2019

Slutty GhostSlutty Ghost

October 28, 2019

Fran’s Not Here 43 - Doug

October 29, 2019

Exorcist fog. #toronto #iphonexr #weather

I watched Your Best American Girl.

God I miss Awl.

I went to Therapy.

Meditation is harder with a cold.

I read The Magic Keyboard.

October 30, 2019

Every pundit.

The Simpsons grown-up Halloween song remains a banger.

I watched Parasite, 2019 - ★★★★½. I saw things coming until I didn’t. And then I did. And then I didn’t.

October 31, 2019

I watched Horror is the Best Genre (and here’s why).

Hey I loved that one

Evergreen tweet:

November 1, 2019

It’s just going to rain forever


Do we have enough streaming services now where we could just subscribe to them for one month each in the year?

I love @letterboxd

Cura, November 1, 2019

How dare I see the new Microsoft Surface Pro X at a store before @MKBHD has had it for three months and is ready to tell us what he thinks.

Why is this always true

I watched The Art of Self-Defense, 2019 - ★★★½. Devon Banks from 30 Rock definitely goes to this dojo.

I read What’s happening at Deadspin is a travesty.

November 2, 2019

At November 2, 2019 at 10:00AM I went to Haircut with Paula.

I watched Stan & Ollie, 2018 - ★★. Genuinely nice. Dull, but nice.

I read Toronto’s very dumb smart city” project.

November 3, 2019

I recommend you read It’s so much more than cooking.

Total play time #NintendoSwitch

3/11/2019 · Logbook

If I were to recommend a computer for my mom

I’d tell her that computers cost more than they did in the early 2000s, or even five years ago. You can’t get a good computer for 500. You couldn’t then, either, but we didn’t do as much with them anyway. Now we do everything. If your phone used to cost 300 and now costs 1300, it stands to reason other kinds of computers cost more too. The Canadian dollar is also super weak and that sucks but what can you do?

Still, computers today are incredible. They’re well-built, super fast, and will last a long time.

I’d prioritize:

In my mind, there are only two computers right now that do these things. Every other computer on the market is either heavier, more complicated, or has other serious drawbacks.

Surface Pro 7 - $1800, tax included

I’d buy the brand new Pro 7 with 8gb of ram, 256gb storage, and the i5 processor in black. That’s the middle of the road option. My mom already knows how to use a Surface, and this will feel like a major upgrade from her 2014 model.

Why this configuration?

You can save money on getting less ram and storage, but it will make the computer slower now, and way slower in the future. While I’d rather splurge on the 16gb of ram, it is likely that my mom’s computer usage wouldn’t actually require more than 8.

Keyboard and Mouse?

She has a good mouse. And because my mom’s last computer was a Surface 3, she can still use the keyboard and pen, so that’s a few hundred dollars saved on accessories. A new keyboard would be about $200 with tax, and a new pen is 150.

iPad Pro - $1,624.94, tax and keyboard included

I’d buy the 1-year old 11-inch iPad Pro with 256gb storage in silver. My mom already knows how to use an iPad, and the extra screen, pro features, and extra storage here will make it feel like a primary computer replacement. It should be, because it costs the same as one.

Why this configuration?

While 64gb of storage on an iPad is probably stingy these days, 512gb is overkill. It’s likely my mom will download movies and TV shows from apps, but those are all pretty good at auto-deleting files over time. The iPad Pro may be the easiest computer in the world, file-management-wise. It’s a way better deal to just get 2tb of iCloud storage than to pay for more local storage.

Is an iPad a real computer now, though?

Yeah. There’s a file app and USB-C and you can connect it to a monitor and use a bluetooth mouse. It runs Office 365 and you can connect it to an external hard drive and a server. It’s not really missing any major PC features anymore. And since it does a whole lot that a regular PC can’t, it’s actually the device I’d recommend for anyone not stuck with some legacy app they can’t live without. My mom is not one of those people.

Keyboard and Mouse

Yup. That’ll be $250 for a Keyboard Case from Apple. It’s a good keyboard, though, and arguably a much better typing experience than any Mac.

3/11/2019 · tech

October 2019 in photos

1/11/2019 · photos

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