Haste Makes Waste

Green Waves Over Mt. Rainier

14 September 2022

Since I last checked in, I have: moved 2,900 miles, survived Covid, organized a series of mass protests, rioted in the streets, single handedly restructured my company’s SDLC, and made a pilgrimage to one of the last lesbian bars in the country. All of this has reaffirmed my belief that, yes, I am in fact superhuman.

What little free time I’ve had available has felt especially precious. So, I haven’t had the energy to devote to my usual critical analysis articles. I’ll compromise with photo journal of my adventures, and also share some of the media I’ve been into!

This post has no thesis; it won’t be super deep or scholarly, but I give myself permission to just be excited about stuff sometimes.

The Move

I’d been considering moving to Seattle someday for a while.

But in mid March this year something snapped; one anti-transgender microaggression too many, I suppose. I think I was at a grocery store, getting harassed by (yet another) clerk for having the audacity to be queer in public when I realized that actually this is an emergency now, I need to move immediately. Between the usual red-state mass bigotry, an impossibly small trans-affirming dating pool, the omni-present threat of being arrested for walking while trans, and the building deluge of anti-transgender legislation in the south, it just felt really urgent all of the sudden.

I was out of fucks, overcome with what I can only describe as gay yearning, and statistically, I knew I wasn’t going to find my human in North Carolina.

So, on a dime; I packed everything I owned, shipped it to Washington, picked out a new apartment, figured out how to legally transport my cat, and single-handedly moved across the country. I accomplished this in just 14 days.

View during the descent to SEATAC, pretty good airline food, and Chessie’s new territory.

Sometimes I’m really grateful to be a project manager, and this was one of those times. I genuinely don’t think I could have handled it if I didn’t coordinate things like this for a living.

This move has definitely been one of the most inadvisable, stressful, impulsive things I’ve ever done, but in a way it was also really empowering. I pulled this off, so I genuinely believe that I can do pretty much anything at this point.

And it turns out my instinct was right; after I left, NC started explicitly rolling back human rights. I ended up just missing it. But we’ll get to that.

Seattle Adventures

I learned from my time studying abroad that you have to force yourself to get out there right away when you move. Else, the new environment makes everything take 10x more energy, and you’ll just self-isolate to avoid it. So I ripped the bandaid off right away.

I went to a French restaurant / bar called Gainsbourg with Chaz and Hayden after I landed and got my new keys. I wasn’t really sure what French cuisine entailed, but it was really good and I eat here pretty regularly now. 1 For reasons that will be immediately apparent, the vibe of this place clicked with me. They have an old-fashioned film projector, and they screen old black and white films on the back wall.

The next day I took a walk around the block, spotted a theatre, and decided on a whim to watch a musical. Which is an experience that really just encapsulate why I moved to the city. I’ve been back a couple of times since, and love how much easier it is to get involved in the arts here. My favorite show so far has been, hands down, their production of Agatha Christie’s Black Coffee, which had such an engaging cast and amazing attention to detail in the set and props design.

According to Taliesin, this is called a “thrust” stage. It’s really immersive! I almost felt like I was in the scene.

I’d say I did something interesting, physically active, or touristy every day for the next two months? By now I’ve lost track of a lot of it, but luckily I took enough photos to jog my memory.

I took a pilgrimage to Wildrose, one of the last remaining (15!) lesbian bars in the country, where I met my partner Natalie. We’ve been exploring the land of tossed salads and scrambled eggs together. Here we are on a double-date with Chaz and Hayden, at a local escape room called Fox in a Box. The atmosphere was 💯 good shit 👌, btw, with engaging puzzles. It was probably the best produced escale room I’ve ever done. Would deffo recommend.

I’ve been trying to go back but the rest of their rooms are horror adjacent. Which, you know that’s my jam, but most of the folks I’ve met here aren’t into it. I really want to do the Zodiac Killer one, so I can thwart Ted Cruise once and for all. Ah well, someday.


This one was a cold-war themed nuclear bunker.

Nat and I took a ferry to Bainsbridge, and toured a botanical garden called Bloedel Reserve. I saw a dog! And a boat! And a dog riding a boat! It was a boatdog. 2

We also visted the Museum of Pop Culture, otherwise known as the MoPOP. Apparently Seattle has some eccentric locals who collect movie props and instruments. There was a display full of authentic Riot Grrl ‘zines, a section dedicated to indie game development almost hidden away, and a really interesting exhibit on the history of hip hop! I could honestly sit in the auditorium and listen to music forever.

Whoever designed the horror section clearly had the time of their lives, though. I’d honestly like them to decorate my house.

I joined a couple of community events, like the apartments “July Flamingle”, an inexplicably flamingo-themed party where I met some of my neighbors. I found a nearby park that I really like, and I regularly bully kids off of the swings there. Somebody drew a little rainbow on the sidewalk, it made me smile.

Chaz, Hayden, and I made s’mores on the roof this summer, and then we ate eggs. Just like, raw eggs, crunched down on them like apples. Don’t ask, it’s best you don’t know.

I tried to join a kink event at a swingers club on, got all dolled up, felt the most attractive I’d ever been. And the event? Turned out to be terrible. Just absolutely dreadful. Totally vanilla, nothing kink related there at all. I remember asking them, when does, you know, the kink part start? And they said well it doesn’t, we really just put that on the invite to draw a different crowd. I tried to salvage it, ended up lounging on a couch for an hour and a half talking to one of the staff about the history of Microsoft. That was probably the highlight of the evening? LOL. 3

Nat and I went to an annual event here called the Fremont Solstice Fair. The main attraction is a naked bike ride which is pretty famous. Apparently public nudity is permitted in Seattle, which I did not know! It was a really welcoming atmosphere; there was so much creativity and diversity of body types. I think that’s around the time it really started to hit home that Seattle is just so much safer for people like me. I hadn’t noticed how on-guard I’ve had to be, until I didn’t have to be any more.

(Obviously, I did not take photos of the parade, but here’s a painting from a local artist I ended up taking home!)

This is basically a collage of my summer!

Nat introduced me to some friends at Canon, a bar downtown which serves really tasty novelty cocktails. I mean, they probably serve normal drinks too, but do you honestly think I’m going to pass up the opportunity to drink something out of an NES cartridge?

No, of course not. You put ketchup in that shit and I’ll try it at least once.

It’s a really small place, parties of four or less only, but p. classy.

Of the ones I tried, the most elaborate was a set of cocktails served inside of fake burgers, on an active grill. They were smoking and everything. Really cool idea. Unfortunately you can kind of taste the rubber, I don’t think I’ll order that one again.

The best cocktail out of all of them was either the bathtub (I forget the name) or Snow White’s Bong.

I’ve also visited both the Seattle Aquarium, and the Monroe Reptile Zoo. I forgot to take photos at the former, sorry! The latter is a herpetarium outside the city, a pretty decent drive, maybe an hour. A polycephalic turtle lives there; their names are “Pete” and “Repete”. Which is the kind of joke my dad would make but it did get a chuckle out of me.

The scale is hard to gauge from the photo but this alligator’s head is probably thicker than my whole trunk. Which is uh, humbling. That’s a bench under it, by the way. Weirdly, nobody seems to want to sit there today! Can’t imagine why.

Side anecdote: the previous champion on the throne for worst date I’ve ever been on has also been spectacularly dethroned in the last couple months, when a woman I had been out with for the day followed me home. Content warning for overwhelming cringe and consent issues.

I’d been volunteering earlier in the day, was utterly exhausted, and made it crystal clear that I wasn’t interested in continuing the (incidentally quite lukewarm) date, but I agreed to let her Uber back with me since she’d parked there. That seemed reasonable enough. But then she invited herself into my apartment, and tried to slip into the bathroom as I showered. Because I guess she thought it’d be sexy? It super wasn’t. For a second I legit thought I was gonna get murdered.

And because she apparently still couldn’t read the room, she was still waiting undressed for me when I came out. I usually try to give people direct and honest feedback when I don’t want to see them again but this situation seemed kind of dangerous so I broke my rule and ghosted after escorting her out. I will not be calling her back. She can just…figure it out.

I don’t understand why I attract people like this. But I guess even this is still preferable to the transphobia in North Carolina’s dating scene.

ANYWAY dating pro tip DO NOT DO THIS

This has been a public service announcement from the Ministry of Common Sense.

The Chessie Zone

But I know what you’re all really here for: content of my cat.

Chessie’s settling in just fine. ❤ She was really scared of the city sounds for a couple of weeks but seems to have adjusted to them. She hunts cars at the windows as if they were squirrels. Among other inanimate objects.

And one of these days, she’ll get them!

And then just in case you need some more dopamine today, here’s a of video of Chessie playing with a tape measurer.

Sorry, I’ve just been informed this was definitely a snake.


I’ve also been pretty deep in the protest scene lately.

The writing was on the wall regarding Roe v. Wade, even before I moved. I connected with a local chapter of Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights shortly after I landed, and started volunteering my time as a project manager.

I’d been to protests before, but only in a participant’s capacity. I brought some homemade signs, showed up to a gathering at Seattle Central College, and didn’t really have a plan on what else I could contribute.

In a way, I have to thank the group of counter-protesters for gassing us. It got me involved.

The organizers were already shorthanded, and having trouble physically carrying the sand-weighted banner for the march. I was just filling in for somebody to give them a break for a minute; they were still teaching the crowd the chants and prepping when some fascist in the crowd set off what must have been an expired canister. Somebody screamed “tear gas”, the air got a bitter taste, folks started to scatter, and Rise Up made the call to start the march right there so they wouldn’t lose participants. I volunteered to help rally folks behind the banner, and we just got to work. By the end I didn’t want to put it down again.


Every single person in the crowd is rad as hell.

The crowd was smaller, and the march route exhausting, but the energy that day was incredible. I left Rise Up with my contact details, asked what else a PM could help with, and the next couple of months were a whirlwind. 4

The event got a decent amount of coverage on social media, though not all of it was good. There were a couple of alt-right pundits passing around footage of unaffiliated groups burning flags as evidence of us being a violent and dangerous Antifa mob. (Incidentally I thought defacing the American flag was a great idea and it may have inspired some of my later props work you’ll see in a minute, I only wish I had thought of it first ;P) I was already well aware of the alt-right disinformation machine, but I’d never gotten to see it working up close on an event I had personally witnessed before. It was an interesting experience.

Oh, and I ended up on the fliers and promotional materials we used. It was… surreal seeing myself on light posts throughout the city throughout the summer.

For the next couple of months, I ran the volunteer tent. Event planning, coordinating with folks to pass out materials for upcoming marches, troubleshooting electronics, doing setup and teardown, leading chants during the march, and eventually giving speeches. It turns out activist events need force multiplying staff just like any business.

I also tried my hand at props work for a while. We had a lot of materials for die-ins that otherwise was just sitting in boxes during events. Chains, bloody aprons, that sort of thing. I started using them to decorate protest zones before events, with the intent of making appealing targets for photography / video coverage. We ended up on the news a few times and I caught journalists interacting with them so I think it was a good strategy.

I’m honestly kind of surprised I didn’t get arrested?

The crowds got huge, too. We went from a scale of a hundred or so to thousands, shutting down traffic downtown just by virtue of moving from one place to another. There is truly nothing more powerful than a sufficiently large and motivated group of citizens. I will never forget that.

Eventually I started making new props after work. Some of them turned out well, some of them not so much. I don’t know a lot about physical art, I’m more of a photoshop person, so this was a learning experience. But I will say, it was an absolute blast to work on. I asked Chaz and Hayden for some supplies, they ended up bringing a fucking torch and we just sort of…played. It was really fun. Definitely one of my favorite memories I’ve made since arriving in Seattle. Thanks for your support, fam.

I still have one of these hanging up in my home. It makes me happy when I pass it, but I also see like ten things I could do even better next time. I kind of want to deface another one? Have to be careful or I might catch the painting bug.

I was a mess after this and so was my apartment. I still find paint sometimes!

We only started organizing more urgently after Roe v Wade fell formally.

I was in the news a couple of times during this period. I was included in a Seattle Times article, and I was even on TV at one point. A journalist asked me for an interview after a march once, too, but couldn’t provide me with their credentials so I declined. It seemed sketch, and I had already seen some of Andy Ngo’s distorted coverage. None for me, thanks.


I bought a ballistic vest earlier this year for Pride, given the current political climate. Because that’s the world we live in now, I guess?

Rise Up had applied for a place in the Seattle Pride parade this year, but after all the coverage were offered a spot right in the front. I think we were 3rd in the convoy? Margo asked me to speak with her on the intersectionality of abortion rights at Seattle Pride, and I presented at the main stage just before the parade started. Like, to literally all of Seattle Pride.

I still can’t believe I did that. It was wild.

I wish I had video of it but I was too busy coordinating that day and it slipped my mind. It’s probably out there somewhere though. Hopefully nobody noticed I made a mistake in my court case names when quoting Justice Alito. LOL.

Fun fact, I also got reported at work for my activism. It didn’t work!

As a director, I like to make sure I’m seen taking time off, and living as my authentic self. It builds trust that I, and by extension the rest of the company, will support them in their identities, or if they need to take care of real life. I’ve done this since I was an IC, actually. You can’t just tell someone they’re safe, they have to see it to believe it. And I think it’s doubly important on a topic like this, which disproportionately impacts the health of women and our gender nonconforming peers.

So I communicated on a couple of occasions that I was taking PTO, like normal, in order to protest. Apparently somebody made a complaint to HR to see if I could be disciplined for talking about politics at work, and HR told them to get over it. I only found out about it later, and got to focus on organizing.

I have a lot of respect for our HR team after that.

Software Development

While all of this was going on, I started a new job. I joined a neuroscience tech startup called Rune Labs, which is based in San Francisco, as their first technical project manager, and literally built the entire discipline from the ground up while single-handedly restructuring our SDLC.5

When I arrived, engineers were being individually tapped by stakeholders to work on massive, completely undocumented projects, pivoting daily. There were zero product requirements, and no documentation of expected behavior, no design repo, and no point at which any new feature request was vetted, discussed, or refined. Nobody owned anything, so in effect everyone owned everything. It was the software engineering equivalent of the Wild West, absolute chaos.

I’d been doing exec work for tech companies for a while without being recognized for it, so in a weird way I was really excited to take this challenge on with the support and authority of an organization for once.

I did not receive that. LOL

But I still got it done.

Here are some photos from my work trip to California this summer. I ran the first day of a workshop to re-norm the team on a new, more agile way of working and teach them industry best practices. As a goof, I built them some model skateboards to accompany a talk on skateboard theory, since scope management and testing hypotheses regularly were weaknesses for the organization. I thought I’d get a groan out of it but the team liked them way more than I was expecting and played with them for the rest of the workshop.

I also learned that in California they’ll give you bacon with your whisky! Neat. ♥ 6

While this workshop was going, I was also organizing documentation for the FDA to get our watchOS app formally certified in the measurement of symptoms for Parkinson’s disease. This was completely new ground for Apple hardware, and the deadline was incredibly tight. I was context switching like a mad lass to provide traceability documentation, which in most cases I was creating myself for the first time, while also teaching the company how to efficiently build software.

It was really tough, super stressful, but it worked! It was a really big deal for us.

I later received the best feedback I’ve ever gotten in my entire professional career from the CEO, which was, and I quote, “without Val this company would not have survived”. So, yeah, I’m feeling pretty good about my contributions.

I could write another three articles on the growing pains of managing startups (this is my second one). I’ve learned a lot in a really short amount of time, and have solved some incredibly difficult technical and cultural challenges.

Someday I’ll share my experiences. But I’ll need some time and distance, so I can file the serial numbers off. Gotta keep it professional, you know.

Unrelated to my work in healthcare, I’m also still volunteering off and on with Empathable.

The iOS app is up for beta testing and is almost ready for the app store. Since I’m no longer working with WillowTree, my role has been limited to refinement and requirements management in my spare time. I’m really excited to see what the team has done!

Empathable recently asked if they could pay me to work on it part-time, and I considered it, but for now I’m just staying on as a volunteer. My reasoning is I’m already spread really thin, and I’m kind of expensive? I’d rather they conserve their runway.

Good luck, fam!

Health Stuff

I finished out the remainder of my gender confirmation surgeries early this year (FFS and top surgery). I am incredibly pleased with the results.7 Here I am on bandage day doing my best Phantom Pain impression:

Basically my transition timeline.

Surprisingly, I would say FFS had the most difficult recovery for me. I was blind for the first couple of days, as my eyes were completely swollen shut. Not being able to control or see when nurses where touching me was difficult, as was the self-care when I got home since I didn’t have anyone to supervise this time. Top surgery was comparatively super easy, I went back to work almost immediately.

So with that, my IRL transformation sequence is complete. AMA.


In other news, I managed to avoid it for over two years, but your girl finally caught the ‘rona. I guess that’s no surprise, given the sheer number of adventures I’d been going on.

Fortunately, it was a fairly mild case; I’ve been really careful about keeping up with my boosters since I’m immunocompromised. I was out of action from the fatigue for maybe two days, which I actually worked through remotely. Looking back, I wish I hadn’t.

The rest of it amounted to a few weeks of sore throat. I’m grateful it wasn’t worse. It did take a long time to test negative again, though. I was going a bit stir crazy by the end.

What does concern me a bit is that I never really shook the fatigue. Short bike rides still wipe me out. It’s hard to tell how much of it is COVID recovery, and how much is being sedentary from a year of surgeries. We don’t really know much about the severity or duration of “long covid”, and it does seem like our healthcare systems have given up. Frankly, I’m infuriated with the CDC. 8

Anyway, hopefully that’s something that passes.

Never Tell Me the Odds

I do want to take a moment to appreciate how incredible it is that I did any of this.

At the height of it, I was organizing protests twice a week, while working 60 hours, carrying a company on my back, and throwing myself into social activities and nightlife in every space in between. I was chronically double-booking myself at some points, but somehow made it work.

All of this, despite:

  • Two simultaneous pandemics
  • My country’s descent into fascism and a literal coup attempt
  • An active genocide of the transgender community worldwide
  • The looming threat of World War III
  • The planet’s irreversible destablization by climate chaos
  • Battling uphill through depression, PTSD, and ADHD.
  • Being alone, in a new state, with no support network, and no therapist, by nothing but my own power.

This is not normal. It is nothing short of a miracle that any of us get out of bed these days at all.

So to accomplish multiple, simultaneous human’s worth of work, across every sphere of my life, while living through an impending apocalypse is fucking incredible.

I am so powerful.

I can do, without exception, absolutely anything.

It has been objectively, scientifically proven to me at this point.

And nobody on this god forsaken Earth will ever be able to convince me otherwise again.

Which is all well and good, but…

Let Me Level With You For a Sec

I have to stop.

Because I’ve never been more productive, but I’m completely burned out. It’s not sustainable.

Recently my friends have been reaching out to me asking me to scale it back a bit. Like, out of genuine concern for my health. It took a while to catch up with me, but I have to say they’re absolutely right. My body is falling apart.

And to be honest with you, even after all of these adventures, I feel profoundly lonely over here. Not for lack of trying; as you can see I’ve been really putting myself out there, exploring, doing cool shit, meeting excellent people, and getting involved in the community. Even when it’s hard or I don’t feel like it.

But I’m still really struggling with this sense of isolation. I could be in a room full of people and feel like the only person there. I can tell I’m depressed, even though I’m constantly moving at 300% speed and getting lots of shit done. I’m sleeping all the time. My house is a mess. I haven’t cleaned in weeks. Do you know how weird that is for me?

So I’ve decided that I’m going to spend a while being utterly, unfathomably lazy.

I’m serious.

As of this moment, I solemnly swear that I’m going to accomplish as little as possible.

I’m slashing every single obligation that I have. I’m taking a break from organizing. I’m walking away from extra-curriculars at work. I’m going to let every request and invite slide off of me like I’m covered in grease, and it is going to be glorious.

I’m going to reclaim all of the energy I’ve been burning on professional growth and personal achievements, on productivity and external validation, and spend it on absolutely fucking nothing. Just hoard it like a dragon.

And then, when I’m feeling good and rested, I want to create something. Maybe I’ll burn it when I’m done. Who cares? I miss creating art, for me. I miss writing, and drawing comics, and making shitty Unity games and playing Wonderwall incorrectly.

I’m not just going to take a vacation; I’m going to steal one.

Media I’ve Been Into

Ladies, gentlemen, enbies and assorted fam across the gender spectrum, it’s the part of the blog where I dump all of the cool stuff I’m been reading, watching, playing, and learning about!

It’s been a long time since I’ve done one of these so they’re gonna be a little spread out in regards to release date and topicality.

And this is still precisely the kind of list I’d love to read myself, so if you know someone else who does stuff like this please send them my way.

Video Essays:

Defunctland - Disney’s Fastpass: A Complicated History

What starts as a historical account of the creation of Fastpass becomes an experiment in price discrimination and exploitation under capitalism. I don’t want to give it away, but this is a video essay with a twist in it, in the same way that a mystery novel or film might. I think it might be more memorable than most of them, too. I highly recommend this one.

Gravel Institute - The Murderous Police Gangs of Los Angeles

The tone in this video is a bit different from the rest of the Gravel Institute’s work. It’s more of a down to earth journalism piece than an abstract explanation of a social construct. The TL;DR is that far-right terrorism groups have formed in California’s police force. (Though I’d make the argument police forces are inherently those anyway).

Shaun - Response to BBC Transphobia

Part one of what would become a series of four as of writing, Shaun goes back and forth with the BBC complaints department dismantling the dishonest arguments of a transphobic article published earlier this year, and the equally dishonest attempts to dismiss those complaints. He urges likeminded viewers to file complaints along with him. The issue is still ongoing but it’s apparent that the campaign is applying real pressure to the organization.

Philosophy Tube - Violence and Protest

An excellent piece about who gets to set the terms on which forms of protest are considered socially acceptable. Related reading includes How to Blow Up a Pipeline.

This video came out at the perfect time for me, since Roe v Wade was still in a legal limbo. After watching it I had to reflect on just how much media I had consumed over the course of my life which affirmed when and where political violence was acceptable, and whose interests that serves.

It isn’t mine.

LegalEagle - This Video is a HIPAA Violation!

I found this video amusing since I work in healthcare, as nobody on the internet seems to understand how HIPAA works (or how to spell it). It was kind of cool to watch a Legal Eagle video where I already had a first-hand understanding of the subject matter. It’s kind of like that feeling when you watch Jeopardy and you know the answer to a high-value question?

Jeopardy is still a thing, right? People watch that? I dunno.

Literally All of the January 6th Hearings

Okay these are technically not video essays but I’ve been watching and enjoying them in exactly the same way. I’ve been really impressed by them.

I noticed they had planned to do another one of these in September after the break, but then after the whole Mar-a-Lago thing, silence. Dare I hope for an actual indictment? 🤞

Shows & Films

First Kill


Let’s get this out of the way: this show is garbage. I really, really liked the pilot, and wanted to like the rest of it. I tried so hard. But it’s just unsalvagable.

It starts out as advertised: basically wlw Twilight. It sets up a little murder mystery, interesting vampire family dynamics, and clear stakes (maintain the masquerade or vampire hunters will kill you). It maybe overdoes it a bit on the licensed music, but its heart is definitely in the right place.

And then halfway through the season there’s a fire alarm in the character’s high school, except it’s not a fire alarm it’s a monster alarm because they neglected to mention that there is no masquerade in this setting and everybody knows monsters exist and society has already adjusted to this. Which could be fine, as a premise, but it contradicts a great deal of the preceeding episodes and opens up wild plot holes. The writing, which had been tolerably shaky up to this point, just nosedives into “the CW Drama” territory after this episode. It never recovers.

I looked into it, and as best as I can explain it; the show was based on a short story, and every episode had a new writer. Once they ran out of source material, they threw a bunch of stuff at the wall with no consensus and nothing stuck.

There are some cool ideas foreshadowed, and plotlines I was really interested in. But Netflix pulled the plug on this one just two months after release and honestly? I get it. I’ll be disappointed forever but I get it.

I’d def watch more of a show like this with the tone of the first two or three episodes, though.

Knives Out


Yeah, yeah, I know, I’m late to the party. But I just got around to watching this, and honestly, it’s now one of my favorite movies I’ve ever seen! (Not that it means much, given how rarely I watch films)

As far as murder mysteries go, this one is excellently paced and kept me guessing up until its final moments. I was jumping up and down with excitement at the finale, and when the credits rolled Nat and I just sat there talking about it for like an hour. I absolutely adore Daniel Craig’s attempt at a… what was that, spaghetti western cowboy accent? I dunno, but whatever it was, was delightful.

Benoit Blanc is a delightfully eccentric character, so I was thrilled to learn they’re working on a sequel, called Glass Onion. I’m definitely going to see it, and I refuse to watch the trailer in case it spoils anything.


Loop Hero


Somewhere between Cookie Clicker and a deck builder, Loop Hero is a roguelike which mostly plays itself but has just enough decision making to keep it interesting. The titular hero walks circuits along an ever-shifting road, in a world with object-permanence issues after being unmade by a lich.

Your interactions are limited to pausing time, laying down map tiles with unique effects, and equipping your hero with weapons, armor, and perks. If you survive long enough, you fight a boss, and probably get wiped out. Between attempts, there’s a light town-building minigame which provides you with persistent bonuses for your subsequent runs.

It also has a story, which I haven’t quite gotten to the bottom of yet, and is sufficiently mysterious. It’s perfect for playing on a second monitor in between spawns of a multiplayer game.

Neon White


Lots of games develop speedrunning communities over time, but Neon White is actually just a speedrunning game. I would say that even more clearly defines its genre than first-person-shooter, which I guess it technically still is.

The premise is that amnesiac sinner “White” is selected to participate in a contest to quickly and efficiently wipe out the most demons, which have infested Heaven. The winner is permitted to remain in Heaven for one year until the next contest. White tries to recover his memories and learn what his relationship to the other contestants was in life.

The dialogue can be a bit cringey but its stylish as hell and fun to play. And this is coming from someone who has never participated in or consumed much from the speedrunning community before.

Troubleshooter: Abandoned Children


At the risk of being reductive: this game is Korean anime X-Com. If you’re the kind of person this game is made for, you’ve already stopped reading and are downloading it now.

The translation is rough, but it has a shocking amount of content and is clearly a labor of love by the developers. There are things it reproduces from its inspiration directly, down to specific camera angles when calculating shot probabilities. But there’s just as much that’s all its own. They’ve clearly put a lot of thought into the setting, and packed an absurd amount of mechanics into character customization.

It has a pre-established cast of characters, too, so there’s an actual plot. I think I prefer that to randomly generated ones.


As usual, I’m not going to provide summaries for these because you obviously know how to read.

Alright, that’s it for me. I’m off to go accomplish exactly nothing for an indeterminate amount of time. Later fam!

  1. To mess with the server I called the confit “duck confetti”. I’d Googled it beforehand so I knew what I was getting into, but he was a good sport about it and explained it anyway. It was also helpful to show my friends that you absolutely cannot take me anywhere

  2. This joke is just for me. 

  3. I’ve never objectively been too cool for a party before, but yeah, I left that one early. 

  4. It turns out that if you want to get involved, all you really have to do is show up and ask somebody with a clipboard what they need. 

  5. I believe I was employee #20? We’re hovering at around 80 now. 

  6. No pun intended. Okay, maybe a little intended. 

  7. Suddenly I’m hot af. When did that happen? 

  8. Don’t even get me started on how they’ve handled the monkeypox outbreak. We’re literally repeating the HIV playbook again, and I suspect we’ll do this every time the queer community needs healthcare.