I finished up the second act of Alex tonight. It seems like I've been slacking a lot lately on working on this book, and it still feels like it's coming along at break-neck speed. I've got about 70 pages left to write. I'm thinking 50 or so for Act 3, and 20 or so for the denouement. That's just my early estimate.
I do enjoy crunching numbers. It makes me feel like I'm getting somewhere. So to put it another way, I've got about 52,000 words now, and only about 28,000 to go. My guess is the first draft will be finished before summer is over.
Here's hoping Star Wars: The Old Republic doesn't come out before that. It could probably do quite a bit of damage to my schedule.
As it is, I got next to nothing done last week because of Portal 2. I finished the single-player game this week, and my wife and I started on the cooperative 2-player game. I've been really, really impressed with the game for the most part. The only thing I disliked about it is that - spoilers ahead - you never really get out of the compound. I was hoping from the previews and early trailers that it would be a little more "open" than the last game. I was looking forward to using my portal gun in wacky ways, in the great outdoors. Instead, if anything, it felt even more enclosed than the first game did. That was disappointing, but everything else about the game was fantastic, and ultimately that nitpick isn't enough to keep me from recommending it.
I also got a copy of Kirby's Epic Yarn as a belated birthday present on Easter. It is incredibly cutesy. But that's neither here nor there.
I wanted to try it because of all the things I'd read about it on Penny Arcade and elsewhere. It sounded neat. The basic premise is that you are in a world made of string, and you need to peel back patches to get power-ups and unravel enemies, and such. The graphics do a good job of capturing this feeling - you do feel like you're in a world made of string. But I was expecting the game to make more use of the Wiimote (like pointing at string and "pulling" on it, for example) and that doesn't really happen - you actually spend most of the gameplay with the Wiimote held sideways, ala New Super Mario Bros. That's all right with me. I'm finding more and more lately that using the Wiimote in its intended way is actually really annoying. It wasn't designed with big TVs in mind.
Other than that, I've been playing a lot of Dokens lately. I made B rank again with Ryu, after having been downranked back to C+ twice now. This time I seem to be holding my rank a bit better. You hit B rank at 5000 battle points, and I've dipped below that again, but my slide down to the 2500 mark (where I would be downranked yet again) has been arrested and reversed several times. I've realized the trick, for me at least, is to really try and get the points out of my head and focus on the match. If I go into a match thinking, "Oh god, if I lose this match I'll dip below 4700," I will definitely lose it. But if I go in thinking, "Okay, this is Akuma, dash under air fireballs and pop a Tetsu on standup because he'll try to teleport," then I do much better. I've also resolved to quit making the same mistakes over and over in a single match, and to change strategy mid-stream if something is not working. Yeah, that sounds obvious, but so far, a conscious focus on it has been making a big difference. It's a long road to B+, but I'm hoping to finally traverse it.
Anyway. Yeah, Act 2 is done. Further bulletins as events warrant.