Rundown (1/01/2023) Natalie’s Back Home!

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This Week’s Topics:

  • Natalie’s out of the hospital and back home!
  • Another Activision Blizzard unionization
  • Mages. declares insolvency
  • Natalie read a trans novel

Rundown Preamble Ramble:
Natalie’s Back Home!

After 10 days at the hospital and a crappy rehab place, I have finally returned home! 

Okay, so how to talk about this… Most of my time at the hospital was spent laying back and recovering from my zero-depth vaginoplasty. Occasionally doing stuff on my tablet or phone and doing bits of physical therapy with stretches, breathing exercises, walking, and getting up to use the restroom. With a team of nurses and doctors at my call, I was comfortable starting on day two, when I could eat and drink again. I was cared for well, fed good food, and was in a good environment for healing. Overall, I have nothing bad to say about the hospital other than they had the weirdest interpretation of a veggie burger I have ever seen. It was some green stuff along with grilled veggies in a dinner roll… It tasted alright, but I would have preferred a Morningstar Farms garden veggie or something.

After five days there, I was sent off to a rehab place closer to home and… it was the pits. Not the Citrus compilation album, Pits Are the Pits (25 GOLD=RARE=DEBRIS 1992-2000). Which is one of my go-to ‘writing music’ albums. The kind of pits that suck.

I went from getting good healthy food to what I would describe as ‘Boomer slop.’ Stuff like bad steaks, Hungarian goulash, boiled canned vegetables, and fruit juices with added sugar. I went from getting anything within five minutes to care where I was lucky to get Tylenol after an hour. I was given zero introduction or explanation after the ambulance brought me there. And the place was… not dirty, but things were very sloppy. As in, there were broken beds piled outside of my door. Dining trays often had food or drink on them. And if not for my humidifier, my hands would have started bleeding from how aggressively dry everything was.

…Now, part of the reason for the subpar care is that I arrived the Friday before Christmas, so nobody was trying that hard. Still, being there was a terrible experience, and without my mother visiting me everyday, I would have gone nuts staying there.

On the 27th, I was discharged early and went to Chicago to meet with a doctor to get my catheter removed. For those who do not know what a catheter is, it is a bag that collects one’s urine via a tube that goes up their urethra. Getting it removed and learning how to pee with ‘girl parts’ was kinda horrifying. But it was over and done with soon enough and I got to return home. 

…Which brought with it its own problems. My doctor said that I should not sit or stand for very long, half an hour or so, and ahould be laying down for most of the day. This marked something of a problem, as I need to sit or stand to use my PC. But I found a solution in the form of a wheeled over-the-bed table with a monitor, long HDMI cable, and wireless keyboard and mouse combo. Which is going to be my main method of using the computer for the next month.

I could have just spent more money and bought a laptop, or brute forced a solution with my sister’s iPad, but… nah! This is the best solution for me, and I am still working out the kinks.

As for healing… I have been recovering so much better at home, and now that I don’t have that stupid catheter within me. I have been walking fine, moving around comfortably, and switching from positions with relative ease. My wounds have been recovering surprisingly well, thanks to the power of Mupirocin ointment and Neosporin. Showering gets easier day by day, and does a lot to help keep things clean down there. While peeing has been… messy. 

The muscles need to be retrained to pee properly, so when I pee, it dribbles out. But it’s nothing that a bit of toilet paper can’t fix. My body is learning how to respond to the urges to pee, things have been getting better and I’ll hopefully get past this phase of ‘potty training’ by next week. Though, that’s just a guess on my part.

As a whole, the worst part of surgery is the recovery, and with bottom surgery, at least the kind I got, a ‘full’ recovery takes about six weeks. However, just two weeks in, I am incredibly happy with my recovery thus far, and I am eager to see how good I’ll feel come February. 

Rise of the Proletariat
(Activision Blizzard Subsidiary, Proletariat, Seeks Unionization)

In June of 2022, Spellbreak developer Proletariat was acquired by Activision Blizzard to help bolster the World of Warcraft team. I presented this as a bitter story when it first ran. One where a small team was integrated into a faceless corporation. But now, nearly six months later, I have some good news regarding this team. They’re planning on unionizing! This would mark the third time a party within Activision Blizzard has sought unionization. Except whereas previous unionization efforts only affected quality assurance departments, this one affects everyone! Designers, animators, engineers, producers, everybody!

Assuming this unionization effort goes through, which it should, this will act as the first major union of game workers of all trades in the US. A landmark moment for game workers’ rights, and one that, hopefully, will set a precedent for other development teams to follow.

In an industry as rife with abuse as the games industry, unionization is among the best ways to secure more rights for workers. And while it is unlikely that the majority of the games industry will unionize anytime soon, every little step helps paint a better and more equitable future for the industry.

Mages. Lost It’s Magic
(Science Adventure Developer Enters Insolvency)

Mages. is one of those oddly expansive Japanese companies who dabble in various mediums. However, they are mostly a visual novel developer, specifically of the Science Adventure series. A series consisting of Steins;Gate, Robotics;Notes, Chaos;Head, and so forth. 

Originally, they were a subsidiary of Kadokawa— which is part of the reason why Spike Chunsoft took on their localization duties— but that changed a few years ago. Back in 2019, Mages. Was acquired by Chiyomaru Studio. With Chiyomaru being the creative force behind the Science Adventure series. 

I viewed this as an odd decision at the time, and one that was supported by the somewhat flimsy promise of more fast and flexible decision making. However, it still marked a developer gaining independence, so I couldn’t hate the move. Then, in 2020, Chiyomaru was bought by Colopl for about $15 million, for some reason I still do not understand.

Now, 2.5 years later, Mages. announced their insolvency, being about $4.6 million in debt. What the hell happened? Well, the simplest answer is that Mages. just released Anonymous;Code in Japan earlier this year, and the title did not sell particularly well. With the title barely scraping past 10,000 physical units during its first week.

So, what does this mean? Well, not much honestly. A subsidiary can have a bad year and be insolvent so long as the parent company is doing well, and Colopl very much is. However, there is some concern that Anonymous;Code, the latest Science Adventure game, sold so poorly. Perhaps it was timing or marketing, but these sales figures should be higher, and I can only hope that an upcoming international release helps this game develop longer legs.

So, not a problem at the moment, but still not a particularly good look, as it were.

Dread Ye Naught
(Natalie Rambles About Dreadnought)

The past two weeks, while recovering from bottom surgery, I began reading through Dreadnought by April Daniels. A young adult novel about a15-year-old transgender girl who gets superpowers and her ideal body after a Superman pastiche, Dreadnought, passes away in front of her.

Normally not the sort of thing I would be super into, but Tranformistress went on an impassioned rant about the book a few months ago and I decided to add it to my rinky dink reading list. Overall, I thought the book was okay. Home to a handful of excellent scenes, but not something I would be chomping at the bits to recommend. And for three core reasons.

One, I’m such an old and bitter crone that I do not find stories about teenagers that compelling or relatable. This is the case for the protagonist, Danny. She’s 15 and she… acts like it. She is emotional, self-loathing, and considers herself stupid and awkward, because she thinks people aren’t all stupid and awkward. She is denied freedom and control from her parent-age adults. And while she wants to be learning how to use her powers, she also needs to deal with tests and homework.

Being a teenager sucks… but it is also is not a big deal. I do not care what personal experience one can highlight, the whole ‘being a teenager’ element is not a good or unique conflict. It is relatable, sure, and I’m sure this is why she is so young, so readers can better relate to her. But as an adult… I just want to tell her that it gets better and how to recognize teenage bullshit as being bullshit

Two, the story presents Danny as an inexperienced kid who struggles through a web of conflicts… Yet it also ends by showing her as more competent and capable than every adult featured in the story, including her predecessor. I don’t want to spoil things… but she encounters the biggest threat ever faced by humanity and beats them… less than a month after getting her powers. Also, millions died last time this treat emerged, but with Danny? A few hundreds or thousands died. That’s it. The story cannot decide if Danny is competent or inexperienced, and it makes for a final few chapters that just feel phoned in. Like this should be the end of a trilogy, instead of the end of the first book.

Three, and this came as a surprise to me, but I dislike the concept of superheroes. This is a preference egged on by my recent ‘radicalization’ of becoming more political, but I view superheroes as a representative of a lot of different ideas common around right-wing circles. The idea that some people are just inherently better and more special. The idea that humanity can and should be divided into a moral binary of good and evil. The idea that history is defined by the actions of great men, rather than as sea of millions and billions of people fulfilling replaceable roles. 

Then there is the concept of a few people having immense power to shape the world. This concert is a HORRIFYING one. …Because that is the modern world. A couple thousand people hold all the power. They just hold it in different ways than they do in other comics and comic movies. 

…So, from this lens, I can’t help but view the world of Dreadnought as a deeply bad one. And I have to question how good this world truly is if it features so many evils of the contemporary world… but also people in capes who can fly. Hell, I’d say it is quantifiably worse than the real world because at least terrorists don’t have mech suits…

I am working on getting things done for January at the moment. Namely the Pokémon Violet review and the re-edit of The Malice of Abigale Quinlan. Those will both take a while so until then… see ya!

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