109. V.M. Escalada, Halls of Law. DAW, 2017.
Read for review for Locus. Fun.
110. David D. Levine, Arabella and the Battle of Venus. Tor, 2017.
Read for review for Tor.com. What the hell sort of book is this?
111. Lee Kelly, A Criminal Magic. Saga, 2016.
Read for column. Good.
112-113. Sarah Kuhn, Heroine Complex and Heroine Worship. DAW, 2016 and 2017.
Read for column. Fun.
114. Spencer Ellsworth, Starfire: A Red Peace. Tor.com Publishing, 2017.
Read for review. Space opera debut. Fun.
115. Steven Brust and Skyler White, The Incrementalists. Tor, 2013.
Kind of a dude book. Not so great.
116. Claudia Gray, Defy the Stars. Little, Brown and Company, 2017.
YA. Space opera. Read for column. Ambitious, not necessarily all that successful.
117. E.K. Johnston, Exit, Pursued by a Bear. Speak, 2016.
YA. Really really good.
118. Elizabeth Wein, The Pearl Thief. Bloomsbury, 2017.
YA. Not as harrowing as many of Wein's other books. Really interesting. Girls kissing girls, too.
119. Ann Leckie, Provenance. Orbit, 2017.
Read for review for Tor.com. Really good. Different to Leckie's other novels.
120. Erica Abbott, Desert Places. Bella Books, 2015.
Lesbian romance between an attorney and a sheriff in small-town Colorado.
121. Stephanie Burgis, Snowspelled. Five Fathoms Press, 2017.
Read for column. Fun.
122. Cassandra Khaw, Bearly A Lady. Book Smugglers Publishing, 2017.
Read for column. Fun.
123. Cassandra Khaw, A Song for Quiet. Tor.com Publishing, 2017.
Read for review for Tor.com. Good.
124. Claire McNab, Lessons in Murder. Bella Books, ebook reprint.
Murder mystery with f/f elements. Solid, I think.
125. Claire McNab, Fatal Reunion. Bella Books, ebook reprint.
Murder mystery with f/f elements.
126. Jae, Falling Hard. Ylva Publishing, 2017.
F/F romance. Fun. Pretty good.
127. Erica Abbott, Taken In. Bella Books, 2017.
F/F mystery/suspense. Part of series. Fun enough.
128. Guy Gavriel Kay, Sailing to Sarantium. Roc, 2010. (1998.)
Well, Kay is certainly something, that's for sure.
129. Guy Gavriel Kay, Lord of Emperors. Roc, 2010. (2000.)
Second book in the Sarantine Mosaic duology. It's a pretty good duology.
And unless I'm forgetting something -- which is entirely possible -- that's the lot.
That will keep, though. Let me bring my Japanese adventure to a brief conclusion.
By my third day in Kanazawa, I was a bit fed up at not feeling well enough to take advantage (or at least enjoyment) of all the interesting things on offer. As I mentioned in my last entry, Kanazawa has really thrown everything into being a tourist-friendly city, and one side effect is that, much more than in Tokyo itself, I often had shopkeepers waiters, etc. talk to me in English, despite my best efforts to talk to them in Japanese. Often I went with the flow, but on Monday something in me snapped. Seeking a small amount of food and a large amount of cool air, I went into a restaurant that had its menu in both English and Japanese, and having said "Hitori desu" (in context, "Table for one") was led to table by a waitress who insisted on repeating that back to me in English, as if (being a gaijin) I might not understand the Japanese I had myself spoken. I don't know why, but I felt a miffed by this, so when she came to take my order I made a point of reading it in Japanese, kanji and all - only to have it translated into English for my benefit again. A little later, I asked a different waiter for a water refill ("Sumimasen, omizu wo okawari oneigaishimasu!"), to which he replied, as if explaining a grown-up concept to a two-year-old, "Water."
I knew I was being a bit ridiculous, but it was beginning to feel like some kind of weird mind game. Eventually, not quite having been able to finish the food, I called yet a third waiter over, and said in Japanese that, although the food had been delicious, my appetite had recently been suppressed due to the heat and that I was therefore unable to eat it all. At last, this un-phrase-bookable little speech turned a key, and a suitable reply in Japanese was my reward, topped with the customary compliment on my linguistic skill (which, admittedly you get in many places if you manage to say "arigatou", but in this case felt like a crown of bays).
Vindicated, I set about paying my bill - but so dizzy was I with the twin draughts of heat and victory that I put down the wrong amount of money, and of course as soon as I got to the till all my good work was undone, as the woman kindly explained in English that "We need TEN more. TEN". In vain did I protest that my maths rather than my Japanese was at fault. In fact I was so flustered that didn't register the glass door at the entrance as I left, clattering into it and leaving an unsightly splodge of gaijin sweat at the level of my face - for which I apologised in good Japanese, I think, but by then that was no longer the point.
I hasten to add that this humiliating encounter was not typical. In fact, I had a recuperative episode an hour or so later in a small souvenir shop run by a very old, very small woman (she was 95, in fact, as she repeatedly informed me, deaf in one ear and blind in one eye). She told me all about her life - no nonsense about English here! And, to be fair, I've had a lot of interesting conversations in various places, usually with the owners of businesses where I was the only customer. I think of the bar in Nishiogikubo, learning (over a light tuna meal) why the owner threw it all up to become a whisky specialist; or the bar in Takayama where I drank iced coffee while the owner told me all about his motorbike obsession, which had taken him across Europe (Germany - land of beautiful cities and gentlemen - was his favourite, France - where people are "ijiwaru" - not so much, but for bike engines you can't beat Italy, apparently). On the whole, I think I've done okay, language-wise.
On Tuesday I caught a shinkansen from Kanazawa to Toyama, whence I rode a mountain train up, up into the mountains, past rivers, bridges, coniferous forests, dams, more bridges, etc. It was very beautiful, but I was happy to let the landscape slide by without photographing it. After all, most of Japan looks like this - trees and mountains, mountains and trees. The people live in the gaps in between.
My destination was the small town of Takayama, where I was booked in to a ryokan for a couple of nights. My appetite and energy still weren't back to normal (on returning to England I found that I had lost half a stone over the course of the month), and far from being treated to wafting mountain breezes, as had been my hope, the temperature in Takayama was still around 33 centigrade. Nevertheless, I really liked Takayama, not least because of its many rivers and streams, which criss-crossed the town in a way that made me feel quite at home (although probably no one else would have been reminded of Romsey). Anyway, here are a couple of boys looking at the carp in the river. I'm rather proud of this photograph!
As well as rivers, Takayama was replete with many old (i.e. wooden) Japanese style streets, most of which sold either sake, hida beef, or sarubobo. What's a sarubobo? Why, it's the mascot of the town, as far as I could make out, which exists in the form of baby monkey with (generally) a blank red face - although Hello Kitty versions also exist - and is meant to be a good luck charm.
The other big thing in the Takayama is the twice-yearly festival, which takes place in spring and autumn, and involves a number of ancient festival floats. Of course, I was there at the wrong time of year, but I did visit the shed where they are kept (I was almost the only visitor), where I listened to an English guide that was almost inaudible, though I forgave it for the honesty of the notice taped to its side:
The floats were interesting, though:
My last first in Takayama was entering a shared bath, something I'd not been in a position to do on my previous visits to Japan. There are many Youtube videos detailing the proper etiquette, and I was a bit nervous about committing some faux pas, but it seemed to pass off okay - at least, people were too polite to upbraid me if I did get it wrong...
Don't know what they're doing
But they laugh a lot
Behind the pink door
I won't bore you with my uneventful trip back to Tokyo, or the pleasant last meal I had with Miho, Mikako and Hiroshii, or even my overnight stay at the Hotel Sunroute, Higashi Shinjuku. By that time I was in travel mode, and all my efforts were concentrated on making a month's worth of Stuff fit into my two cases. Instead, I will leave you with the following cheery message, which I saw in a Takayama toilet. In Japanese, it reminds people to take their rubbish away with them, but its message to foreigners is far more welcoming:
Yes, Japan, I will keep bringing my trash! Hopefully I can bring some as soon as next year, but that depends on events still hidden in the mists of futurity...
Krúttlegasti raunveruleikaþáttur heims.
an odd word ~ "Krúttlegasti " by its self is "curious'
Krúttlegasti raunveruleikaþáttur heims.
trumps translater did this.
The most real reality in the world.
I see NuttyMinn
our tv stations were gone
the tree tried to hug the antenna- it was rotated directly south.
to day M got on the roof and cut branch end off.
we trimmed the branches the mother tree were supported by they
didn't go back up and were hitting him on the lawn mower.
the baby thrushes were gone the other day
they only stay in the nest 9 days!
naked to flying is amazing
the nest in the bird house still had babies to day
too high to look in but I got a great scolding.
They're going to do dad's other eye tomorrow.
note to self, do not hold cat till 6:30 pager test happens.
storms seem to be poofing to nothing at the Minnesota boarder.
hoping that will keep up.
trashing my big toe
think it was set off
by eating Cherries?
oy vey that is contrary.
apple cider vinegar made it awful,
baking soda on the other hand helped.
avoided red meat, white flour and alcohol.
made fruit sherbit and lemonade.
it was to a dull roar two days later,
I could walk this morning but I think
I over did it- making burgers.
I thawed out a huge batch of hamburger
its celebrate the mothers BDay
so I was volunteered to do the meat
mashed in a batch of bread crumbs & formed them.
started up the barbecue and mike cooked them.
they looked great. I tossed some pork in crumbs
and he barbecued them too. I grabbed 2 of the tiny bits
they turned out delicious. I will be doing it again.
took a batch of funny money and glued them down
on a canvas in a quilt pattern, was thinking I'd drill holes
and sew "Happy Birthday" in it, instead I found I had
some cut-out letters and glued them on top of the collaged money.
they weren't easy to see so I painted them white.
the nephew gave her a wonderful card.
2 snowfolks and the fellow is telling his wife
the cake tastes like boogers- her nose is missing
and it is carrot cake. and mom's favorite is carrot.
people do say if you go on will you come back
and tell me what I know? why are they not receptive
when they do? but susan claims her grandparents are devils.
mom don't tell her she'll try to chase them away. jealous bitch.
yesterday Mike replaced most of the plumbing
under the kitchen sink, they have accordion elbows now.
lily and Mike offered us a newish counter with the plumbing
this mess had me wishing I'd said yes to it- Mike automatically says no.
then I push. Now he loves the recliner,
he had refused to help me get in the house.
i smell like barbeque
old norse scruples
time for more water
i'm going to float away
(as posted here) is not a good conflict resolution.
If you're unable to reproduce the bug, that just points to it being intermittent. Fair enough. Doesn't mean you should stop looking. However, you have the stats: you can compare pokemon activity and gym rewards, and if they don't match what they should be, you can fix.
Trainer of a Pokemon which stayed in the gym for 10 days, got fed a lot of berries, was kicked out this morning, and brought home 0 pokecoins.
new civilian shot
by a cop happen.
this time it was a white woman
and a new black cop who's
from somalia. she was actively
working against genital mutilation.
I think it was a set up, and intentional
he used the excuse I was afraid a fire work went off.
but he and his partner turned off thier body cams
and he shot an unarmed civilian through the side of the car.
she was not a threat.
the officer is under investigation for 2 other incedents
with women and violence.
I wrote this on FB and a man demanded Prove it.
I went looking for news stories and wrote why,
he then attacked me and started in on insults.
WTF?! I wrote you asked for the reasons behind
my theory and you could have done the same for your position.
it was tempting to tell him he did not trump my theory.
I almost gave him this link. but I though it rude like him.
the part that bothers me is this forced
the lady cheif of police ot resign
think she should get to the bottom of what happened
then resign if she must-seems a bit premature.
I'd fallen asleep on a
a pillow it was awful.
straighted out and slept the pain away.
got a call from Lily.
one less dog in Barking Howler
the neighbor had to help her bull dog die.
gus inherited treats.
found out via her son who was drunk
and there at the night of the fiasco-
drunk they screamed it was their right
to blow up fireworks, and I had no say.
turns out the fireworks they were shooting
in dad's & susan's yard are illegal, the Deputies told them.
think they got a verbal warning.
those expensive buggers that leave the ground.
That's the reason they've not been shooting off more.
I tried to talk to them
I could have called the cops.
and reported 'criminal' activity by a convicted felon.
it takes a weight off me.
but I won't try to talk to them, no apology.
no more trying to be a good neighbor-
they are not friends just selfish drunks.
M has done rescue runs for them-
he'll go back again but no help from me.
they probably went into shock wondering why they
could buy them if it's not legal to blow them up.
probably written in the small print.
the fireworks stores won't tell them that.
Mom called to give mike dr's appointments dates and times.
Stressa was told to stay home from work
her blood pressure was too high making her sick
she's cutting out drinking Coke.
This is other half's favourite McGonagall poem :o)
The Funeral of the German Emperor
YE sons of Germany, your noble Emperor William now is dead.
Who oft great armies to battle hath led;
He was a man beloved by his subjects all,
Because he never tried them to enthral.
The people of Germany have cause now to mourn,
The loss of their hero, who to them will ne’er return;
But his soul I hope to Heaven has fled away,
To the realms of endless bliss for ever and aye.
He was much respected throughout Europe by the high and the low,
And all over Germany people’s hearts are full of woe;
For in the battlefield he was a hero bold,
Nevertheless, a lover of peace, to his credit be it told.
’Twas in the year of 1888, and on March the 16th day,
That the peaceful William’s remains were conveyed away
To the royal mausoleum of Charlottenburg, their last resting-place,
The God-fearing man that never did his country disgrace.
The funeral service was conducted in the cathedral by the court chaplain, Dr. Kogel,
Which touched the hearts of his hearers, as from his lips it fell,
And in conclusion he recited the Lord’s Prayer
In the presence of kings, princes, dukes, and counts assembled there.
And at the end of the service the infantry outside fired volley after volley,
While the people inside the cathedral felt melancholy,
As the sound of the musketry smote upon the ear,
In honour of the illustrous William. whom they loved most dear.
Then there was a solemn pause as the kings and princes took their places,
Whilst the hot tears are trickling down their faces,
And the mourners from shedding tears couldn’t refrain;
And in respect of the good man, above the gateway glared a bituminous flame.
Then the coffin was placed on the funeral car,
By the kings and princes that came from afar;
And the Crown Prince William heads the procession alone,
While behind him are the four heirs-apparent to the throne.
Then followed the three Kings of Saxony, and the King of the Belgians also,
Together with the Prince of Wales, with their hearts full of woe,
Besides the Prince of Naples and Prince Rudolph of Austria were there,
Also the Czarevitch, and other princes in their order I do declare.
And as the procession passes the palace the blinds are drawn completely,
And every house is half hidden with the sable drapery;
And along the line of march expansive arches were erected,
While the spectators standing by seemed very dejected.
And through the Central Avenue, to make the decorations complete,
There were pedestals erected, rising fourteen to fifteen feet,
And at the foot and top of each pedestal were hung decorations of green bay,
Also beautiful wreaths and evergreen festoons all in grand array.
And there were torches fastened on pieces of wood stuck in the ground;
And as the people gazed on the weird-like scene, their silence was profound;
And the shopkeepers closed their shops, and hotel-keepers closed in the doorways,
And with torchlight and gaslight, Berlin for once was all ablaze.
The authorities of Berlin in honour of the Emperor considered it no sin,
To decorate with crape the beautiful city of Berlin;
Therefore Berlin I declare was a city of crape,
Because few buildings crape decoration did escape.
First in the procession was the Emperor’s bodyguard,
And his great love for them nothing could it retard;
Then followed a squadron of the hussars with their band,
Playing “Jesus, Thou my Comfort,” most solemn and grand.
And to see the procession passing the sightseers tried their best,
Especially when the cavalry hove in sight, riding four abreast;
Men and officers with their swords drawn, a magnificent sight to see
In the dim sun’s rays, their burnished swords glinting dimly.
Then followed the footguards with slow and solemn tread,
Playing the “Dead March in Saul,” most appropriate for the dead;
And behind them followed the artillery, with four guns abreast,
Also the ministers and court officials dressed in their best.
The whole distance to the grave was covered over with laurel and bay,
So that the body should be borne along smoothly all the way;
And the thousands of banners in the procession were beautiful to view,
Because they were composed of cream-coloured silk and light blue.
There were thousands of thousands of men and women gathered there,
And standing ankle deep in snow, and seemingly didn’t care
So as they got a glimpse of the funeral car,
Especially the poor souls that came from afar.
And when the funeral car appeared there was a general hush,
And the spectators in their anxiety to see began to crush;
And when they saw the funeral car by the Emperor’s charger led,
Every hat and cap was lifted reverently from off each head.
And as the procession moved on to the royal mausoleum,
The spectators remained bareheaded and seemingly quite dumb;
And as the coffin was borne into its last resting-place,
Sorrow seemed depicted in each one’s face.
And after the burial service the mourners took a last farewell
Of the noble-hearted William they loved so well;
Then rich and poor dispersed quietly that were assembled there,
While two batteries of field-guns fired a salute which did rend the air
In honour of the immortal hero they loved so dear,
The founder of the Fatherland Germany, that he did revere.
The yurei and obake of Tonjo ignored me, happily, but I felt that fever took me pretty close to "Pitable Foreigner" status, had I not been able to pull out of the dive for my last evening in Tokyo, merely scraping the tops of trees and getting bits of bird's nest in my cleavage.
I was particularly glad, because this was the day that Satomi, her mother and her friend Chiaki (who as luck would have it works in a kimono shop) were coming to do yukata-related things with me. Our original plan had been ambitious - to go to Kanda shrine and watch rakugo. Gradually, though, with the temperature being in the mid-30s, this was reduced to eating some nice desserts at my flat, then walking elegantly around the grounds of Tonjo drawing admiring glances from all who beheld us. Anyway, here are some of my favourite pics from the occasion. There are quite a few, but feel free to scroll past:
Obi Wonky Maybe?
Of course, I only included that last photo so that I could use the caption.
Then it was on to Miho's place in Nakano, where my appetite returned on cue, and I had a wonderful meal cooked by her husband Hiroshi, a fine chef as I remember from last year. (Unfortunately, he wasn't feeling well himself, for much the same reasons as me before, and had to retire early.) Satoshi Kitamura, whom I'd met at the Mexican embassy, was another guest at supper, and we had a very good talk about the varying degrees of (in)directness one might expect in different cultures, which issued in the following Buzzfeedish joint declaration (apologies for the national stereotyping, but sake is no friend to fine distinctions):
If an American thinks it's a bad idea, they'll say, "That's a bad idea."
If an English person thinks it's a bad idea, they'll say, "That's a very brave suggestion."
If a Japanese person thinks its a bad idea, they'll say, "The weather's been hot, recently, hasn't it?"
We had drunk quite a bit of sake by that time. Afterwards we walked fifty yards to the local festival, the other reason for being yukata-clad. It's a small affair but a popular and traditional one: Miho reminisced how the sound of the festival music used to excite her when she was at primary school (she's a little older than me), and she'd run home to change, ready to dance. As is typical in such affairs - not that I'd seen one before in real life - a temporary tower had been built in the centre of an open space, with a small stage surrounding it. At the top, a taiko drummer accompanied a set of maybe half a dozen tunes (each of which had a different dance associated with it), which were basically played in rotation throughout the evening, and from the tower strings of lanterns radiated like filaments from a web. There were various food and drink stalls (though not goldfish scooping, sadly!) around the edge of the area. Some people were watching, some were dancing - the dance involving (whatever the tune) a slow, anti-clockwise circuit of the tower, done in conjunction with various combinations of arm gestures, claps, turns, and forward and backward steps. Not too hard to learn, if you've had enough sake, and I followed Miho and gave it a go. I am no dancer in any idiom, but I remembered the lyrics of the Awa Bon Odori:
The dancers are fools
The watchers are fools
Both are fools alike so
Why not dance?
This has been my motto throughout the trip, and to be honest it's not such a bad one for life.
If you want a flavour of the sound and movement of the thing, please click through to the video below:
That marked the end of my Tokyo stay, and the next morning I boarded the shinkansen to Kanazawa in the west of the country, a town famed for fresh seafood, for the garden of Kenrokuen, and for putting gold leaf on so many things that it would make a rapper blush.
The first thing that fascinated me, though (because I am a Big Kid) was the fountain at the station, which was also at times a digital clock. Cool! (I'm sure they have these kinds of things elsewhere too, but I've not seen one.) The station itself is pretty impressive. This huge structure at its entrance seems new, and I suspect may have been erected to celebrate the arrival of the shinkansen line from Tokyo a couple of years ago, after which Kanazawa put itself on a no-holds-barred tourist footing.
I'd put myself up at an air BnB for three nights in Kanazawa, to justify two nights at a proper ryokan in Takayama afterwards. It was my first Air BnB experience, and while it was nothing special nor was the price I paid for it. The room was pretty bare, but everything promised was present, and at least I had this as the view from my window:
I have to say that, throughout the next few days, my energy and appetite, briefly resurgent for the Nakano matsuri, went back into abeyance, so I don't think I was able to do Kanazawa justice. However, I did put the miles in! First stop was the impressive fish market (which looked delicious but prompted no appetite in me at all, alas), followed by the castle park. Of course, no one knows whether samurai armour was originally modelled on the appearance of Japanese castles, or the other way round. What is certain is that in the feudal period, once two castles spotted each other they were apt to convert (much like the Transformers of our own day) into mechanised fighting machines of ferocious violence and battle it out until one of them was a flaming heap (which was then officially blamed on earthquakes). The sight so disconcerted the shogun that he ordered that castles should never be built within 4 ri of each other, an ordinance still in place today.
Actually, that may have been the fever writing. Interesting as Kanazawa Castle may be, it's actually less famous than the adjoining garden, Kenrokuen - so called because it's a park (en) containing six (roku) features (ken) thought notable - although I'm not sure which six they had in mind. I saw a lot more, personally. Even for someone with low energy levels it was a very pleasant place to walk around, and oddly reminiscent (in its penchant for sudden prospects, islands with "fake" temples, sinuous walks, water features, and commitment to "nature methodised"), to the kind of thing that was being done in English landscape gardening over the same period. (I wish I had the knowledge and vocabulary to expatiate on this.)
Naturally, after wandering in the heat for a while, you want something to help you cool down. As I mentioned earlier, putting gold leaf in, or on, pretty much everything is a Kanazawa speciality. Want yourself a gold-leaf face mask? We've got you covered. Sweets or soap or sake with bits of gold leaf inside? Of course. Actually, why not just buy yourself an ice cream cornet covered in a single sheet of gold leaf?
Oh, okay then.
trying to figure out
the fone number mom needed.
first she said it was the dentist
but the position of the shop
was the eye dr.s
never heard back.
made waffles and strawberries for breakfast.
then mini pizzas for dinner.
I've been working on peice work.
went to the dog yard and a bunny was in it?
bigger than the dead one sirius let me.
I've been listening to "the elementals"
and the grandmother says "don't you have any scruples?' that made me wonder-
what does a scruple look like?,
Can you gather scruples and put them in a bag
to give them out to people who don't have any?
Can a person gather too many scruples?
when does a scruple become a vice?
Morals fall into the same category, as scruples.
if you have a sampler for a moral what would it be?
would you add your scruples to it?
are people sticklers for scruples?
what shape of critter would a scruple take?
time to crash
sweet dreams world
thank you for the rain
its starting to look like a jungle.
you are beautiful stars
come back moon
don't be shy
we miss you <3
Barter Books, a haven for book lovers with log fires a-plenty, coffee, tea, cake and.....
Then there are the secondhand books as well as...
...the obligitory chaise longue.
My photos don't do this former railway station justice. Unfortunately it was packed with people...
.....which meant that I was limited in the photos I was able to take.
274,696 words, including scene titles, placeholders, and 'the end', so call it 275K.
It will be either two or three books, though I am tending towards two, since there's a definite change of pace/location in the middle. This thing started as a comedy-of-manners, and was my go-to book for a while when I wanted something light and fluffy.
( About the book and the writing of it )
And now it's half a day later and the book is still done: of course it will need a second draft, and I need to sort out the timeline, and I'd love to know how all of the loose threads will work out, and I am holding my breath just a little whether [redacted] will double-cross [redacted] but it's over, the characters have moved out, and while they might visit from time to time, the book. Is. Done.
After spending literally years with the compulsion to write down so many seemingly unimportant events in my protag's life (which all came together in unexpected ways), there is an empty space in my head now, and it feels weird. Other characters will move in - I have a fragment which isn't as complete as I thought it would be, so I'd like to write down the extra bits I know before finishing _something else_, but for now, I am WIP-less, and that's just a weird place to be.
Thanks for sharing your life with me, Firtal. I wish you all the best.
I'm somewhat in awe of this project - that's more algorithms than I could have listed, even with some research, and the discipline of implementing a new one every day for months is impressive.
However, it also shows a systemic weaknesses of programming: understanding the problem domain. I can't say much about the other 99 - some of them are algorithms I've never heard about, and at the very least I would need to make an effort to understand the python code and read it carefully, if not implementing the same thing in Swift, but this one, I spotted immediately:
Day 18; Monopoly
Some time ago a friend of mine asked me to help him with this problem.
Playing Monopoly, what is the probability that you step at position #24 during the first round?
Law of total probability says that the chance to step on certain position is sum of disjoint events of how we could get there. In this case, we get at #24 if we tossed 1 while standing at #23, or we tossed 2 while standing at #22, … or we tossed 6 while standing at #18. This leads to a recursive formula.
Any of my genteel readers who have ever played Monopoly will spot the most obvious problem here: You play Monopoly with two dice, so you can throw 2...12, so this is someone who hasn't done the most fundamental homework.
The less obvious problem is that you're trying to specifically solve _Monopoly_, rather than 'a board with x fields throwing 2D6'. Monopoly has a couple of extra rules: if you throw a double, you get to go again, but if you throw three doubles you go to jail (field 10); once you come out of jail you get another chance to land on field #24; and you have a chance to step on several fields where you may draw a card that moves you to a different field (named or 'three fields back'; IIRC that could even end your round!). In other words, the probability for 'step on field x' is partly determined by the dice, and partly by the game and its very specific rules; if you wanted to give an _precise_ answer, you'd have to calculate by how many routes you can reach each field including the 'go to jail' mechanism which gives all fields after 10 a higher probability and which means that there are ways of reaching #24 from every field between 2 and 35 (double-one, double-one, double 1...6, jail, and try again.) Heck, you could even go to jail several times until you run out of starting money, but if you get _both_ get out of jail free cards....
This also illustrates why board games are not just the sum of straightforward probabilities: once a system becomes complex enough that you cannot simply do the rough calculations in your head, it becomes much more interesting, surprising, and, at a certain level (and given an appropriate mechanic), that rarest thing of all: a creator of narrative. It's no longer 'then I drew card x and rolled y on the dice' but 'so here I was, going about my business curing sick sheep and setting broken limbs when those pesky elves turned up right in front of me and–' (Terry Pratchett's The Witches. Brilliant short game for 2-4 players.)