Running Commentary 3/1/2021
It’s warmed up a bit and I’ve been out birding again. Don’t discount the winter season when it comes to birding. They’re still out there, and you might even spot some birds that don’t live in your area in the summer.
The eighth episode of WandaVision released last Friday. We break with the sitcom format to explore Wanda’s backstory. SPOILERS!
- There was a lot of heart to this episode. Real heart, not the contrived stuff from the ’80s episode. That one line about grief from Vision has gotten a lot of attention, for being either really deep of really cheesy. The difference was made by Bettany’s performance, which sold it. Marvel acting often doesn’t get enough credit, because of all the sci-fi action. WandaVision has been a nice showcase for it, not having as many of the big battle scenes.
- We aren’t following up on the end credit scene from last time just yet.
- Hayward has rebuilt Vision. It might be that the Vision body with S.W.O.R.D. and the Mind Stone-construct Vision in the Hex merge by the end, if Marvel wants to keep the character around.
My bracket didn’t get a great start Thursday night when Shatter defeated Lock-Jaw, who I had winning since I thought Shatter could be out-driven, and Donald Hutson is a top-tier driver. But he pretty much kept driving straight into Shatter’s firing line, took a lot of hard hits, and lost by knockout.
Then Jackpot, who I also had winning, lost because they ditched their self-righting mechanism for more armor and then got flipped over. Between it and Beta, it’s getting hard to fill a bracket when bots keep making self-sabotaging design decisions.
Also I had Copperhead defeating Mammoth, but a weapons malfunction saw them lose a judge’s decision. I’d complain about that, but Bloodsport, who I had winning, won a significantly more baffling judge’s decision, so I guess that’s a wash.
Endgame, as I predicted, did not lose to Perfect Phoenix a second time. Sawblaze defeated Kraken, though not as decisively as I would have guessed. Fusion lost to Tantrum, which was a correct prediction that I made at random. That was the funniest fight of the night.
Witch Doctor broke Skorpios’s weapon early on, and won a unanimous judges’ decision. I had hoped Skorpios would do better. By the end of the night, I had four fights correctly called, four incorrectly.
We had our DevStream for the month this past Friday, looking forward toward Railjack 3.0 and Update 30. There wasn’t a lot of really new things mentioned, but we found out a lot more about what we’ve known is coming.
- The changes coming to Railjack all seem really good. I’ve always liked Railjack, even in the bare-bones state it was at launch (and still is, to a large extent). But there’s no reason for it to have been made so distinct from the rest of the game, and I’m glad to hear it will be made more Warframe-y. The Harness system…I’ll have to see more specifics. I get the theory of it, certainly; it seems wise to allow you to bring some of your progress aboard other player’s ships, rather than either always host or hope the host invested in good upgrades.
- There will be some rebalancing across weapons classes, which, as many have noted, is needed because melee weapons are so much better than ranged weapons, especially primary weapons. This could be a simple numbers adjustment (a rough doubling of damage done by most rifles would not be unwelcome, really) but it seems like DE will be changing up some playstyle things. Namely, they’ll be slowing some of the melee weapons, and maybe putting in some sort of combo on guns. Changes like that will really affect the whole game, and I can’t really comment more until I get more details.
- Sevagoth’s two forms will be separately-moddable and colorable. I wonder if the same might be done for Equinox sometime in the future.
- Zephyr Deluxe looks…weird, in-game, but I’ll still be getting that for the other things it comes with.
- We didn’t learn much else about Update 30, other than that it will release probably in May, and it will have a big lore quest in it. There were referenced to some sort of resolution to the situation with the Lotus, which might be that or might be something later. Lore fans were promised “a good year”.
- They’re thinking that the third Orb on Venus might be a way to bring back raids. I actually got into the game just as raids were ended, so I haven’t really been clamoring for them as much as the rest of the fanbase has, but I’d be happy to try anything new in terms of the open world bosses.
In other news, I don’t have Octavia Prime yet, but I am farming her.
Bird of the Week
Our bird this week is a common backyard (or “garden”) sight throughout Europe. Like their North American relatives, the chickadees, the European Blue Tit is quite acclimated to humans: in Britain, it is nicknamed “Little Billy Biter”, for their tendency to land next to people and peck at their outstretched fingers. In the days of door-to-door milk delivery, blue tits were known to pry open milk bottles to eat the cream stuck under the lids.
The name “tit” has been applied to this family of birds in Europe since the 1500s, when “tit” meant anything small. The blue tit’s scientific name, Cyanistes caeruleus, refers to its blue color. Originally Carolus Linnaeus called it Parus caeruleaus, with “caeruleaus” meaning “cerulean”, a shade of deep greenish-blue, and “Parus” being the Latin name for tit. In the early 1800s, the blue tits (there is an African blue tit, with a black, rather than blue, crown) along with the azure tit of Russia and Central Asia were reclassified into the genus Cyanistes, whose name comes from the Greek word for dark blue.
Taming the Wild | Evan Ratliff, National Geographic
Human beings have been breeding other species to better get along with us for our entire history. Sometimes we think of that process as something done long ago, but it still happens. For National Geographic, Evan Ratliff looks at the history of animal domestication, from ancient goat-herding to modern attempts to breed pet foxes.
Selling Out the Newspaper Comic Strip | Luke Epplin, Los Angeles Review of Books
Profiles of Charles M. Schultz and Bill Waterson, authors of Peanuts and Calvin & Hobbes, respectively, focussing on their differing approaches to comic strip marketability.