ultranos: kino standing, staring ahead (contemplative)
Hey all. I'm still not very good at this whole updating thing but whatever.

1. Finished first solo playthrough of Borderlands 2. Now have True Vault Hunter Mode open for Zer0. Next on the list is get through TVHM with him and to play through some more with Maya.

2. The above got put on hold when Mystery Hunt came up. And the team I was on (the one named [the entire text of Atlas Shrugged], because there was no character limit on the form and we're like that) actually won this year! Which is awesome! And now means we have to write next year's Hunt.

Here's to me avoiding leadership responsibilities.

3. Handed off the tabletop ruleset I'm writing based on Persona to DMark. He's now editing it (thank god), and helping me rebalance things I knew were broken but couldn't see how to fix because I'd been staring at it too long.

I'm going to need to figure out what to do with the damn thing once it's done. There's a tabletop a friend's running that's going to use it, but my goal is to make this fairly self-contained and playable by people who are not me and do not know me. It's, well, it's probably getting close to publishable. I'm just not sure if I should put my RL name on it, since it is copyrighted material. Fair Use might cover it (it is remixed), and I don't want to make money off it.

In any case, I'm considering uploading all the documents onto a website I theoretically maintain (although I haven't touched it since 2009). I'm unsure yet, and especially unsure about the name problem.

In some ways, it might be good to have it under my RL name, if I ever want to seriously pursue my parents' suggestion of somehow using my hobby of writing games to get into some career. I'm just a bit torn by it. I'd probably be less torn if it was 100% original.

Which is possibly another reason to go write the AtLA-inspired elemental-mages-and-weaponsmasters-wuxia system I've been tossing around since 2010.
ultranos: kino standing, staring ahead (contemplative)
*blows dust off*

Um, hi. I've been busy lately.

Birthday )

Fallout )

LARP )

Work )

You know, these updates won't be so long if I updated more often. Or something.
ultranos: cecilia adelhyde holding spell book (Default)
I recently acquired a new, somewhat expensive hobby. That would be obtaining and modifying Nerf guns.

It all started when I was fooling around with my old Scout IX-3 and thought "man, I love this little blaster, but it'd be great if it had better range". This was swiftly followed by "wait, I'm an engineer. I can rebuild it! Stronger! Faster! Better! I HAVE THE TECHNOLOGY!"

Because I am, as a friend described me, a "gigantic Mass Effect fan", I was inspired to do a cosmetic mod inspired by the M-77 Paladin.

It's my first cosmetic mod, and most of any talent is muscle memory from painting model rockets and cars as a kid. Still, I'm reasonably pleased with how it came out:

Saving your browser window size for fun and profit )

Most of the other mods I've been doing have been purely mechanical. I should take pictures of the Traveling Arsenal (housed in a large, unmarked, black duffel bag. I have already been informed that I am not allowed to take said bag to the airport) and the entire collection one of these days.

(On an entirely unrelated note: no, I haven't forgotten about the 15 character meme I posted last week. Just been a little busy with Fallout 3 and getting this game I'm writing ready to run next weekend.)
ultranos: XKCD comic: existentialism vs. super soaker. Super soaker wins. (existentialism is dangerous)
Shamelessly stealing from [livejournal.com profile] aurora_novarum:

1) Make a list of fifteen characters first, and keep it to yourself for the moment.

2) Ask your f-list to post questions in the comments. For example: "One, nine, and fifteen are chosen by a prophecy to save the world from four. Do they succeed?", "Under what circumstances might five and fourteen fall in love?", "Which character on the list would you most want on your side in a zombie invasion?"

3) After your f-list has stopped asking questions, round them up and answer them using the fifteen characters you selected beforehand, then post them.
ultranos: baby turtles on the shore with text: it's turtles all the way down (science has failed me)
As an explanation to the poll from last post, I have something of a pet peeve when it comes to reading fiction. In this case, I was reading the book Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines (which is about superheroes and the zombie apocalypse) when I came to the more in-depth introduction of the character Stealth, the local Batman expy. It got to describing how intelligent and not-taken-seriously-because-she's-attractive she is when it came to the phrase "got a perfect 4.0 and made the dean's list first semester at MIT". This threw me right out of the novel. Why?

a) MIT uses a 5.0 scale.
b) MIT does not have a dean's list.

and, for the record:

c) MIT does not have Latin honors or honors of any sort. You either graduate or you don't.

This sort of thing keeps happening when I read fiction, and the author is trying to establish how intelligent a character is. And 9 times out of 10, they get the details wrong. (The place isn't a typical college. I could probably write a FAQ on the damn topic.) But as I was grumbling, it occurred to me to wonder if the actual truth was more unbelievable. Would having a character get above a 4.0 seem even more super-special, even though it's what actually happens? Hence, the poll.

So what have I found out? Both are pretty unbelievable. So really, writers should probably just stay away from GPAs.
ultranos: souji with his head stuck inside a tv (tv is eating my brain)
Question for the hive mind: is there a comm on DW for crackfic ideas free for the taking?

See, I have this problem where I generate a lot of utterly cracktastic ideas that would be awesome to see done. From plots that are off-the-wall to crossovers that seem to be the result of throwing fandoms in a paper bag and drawing two out. And really, a comm should exist for this kind of thing. Either so people could go "hey, I'd totally write that!" or "oh god, that idea is hilarious". Because it'd be completely not serious and low-key.

Does anything like this exist already?
ultranos: lightning in freefall for a shot (girl's got a gun)
I somehow stumbled into reading Black Lagoon by Rei Hirone. Let me tell you, this manga is hitting some of my narrative weakpoints: couriers on the wrong side of the law, smuggling, modern-day pirates, and kickass women. You know it's something crazy when the Chinese-American female gunslinger (who is also completely crazy) takes out a fleet of gunships with a submachine gun and a grenade launcher.

No, I'm not joking. Yes, it is awesome.

I'm also impressed by the diversity of the cast, which makes sense seeing as how the main characters are pirates whose main base of operations is out of Thailand. And it takes place in the real world, roughly around 1995, so issues like the results of the collapse of the Soviet Union years later, the wars in the Middle East, etc. all show up. It's a seinen manga, so these things are obviously not dealt with in an...idealistic light. Pretty much everyone, except POV Protagonist Rock, is a criminal and a killer and shows little to no remorse about this fact. That being said, the series is Every Action Movie Ever Turned to 11, so there are definitely moments where everything's running on Rule of Cool.

I'm really just waiting on getting enough cash on hand to buy the official translations right now. It's a good series, if you like this kind of stuff.

I'm also debating on what to watch. I mean, I could go watch anything that happened after the s4 finale of Doctor Who or, say, anything past the middle of s1 on Sanctuary. I guess. Or I could watch Baccano! (non-linear, Prohibition-era mobsters, thieves, and other pulp fiction), Durarara (gang wars and other dark urban things, complete with a female headless horseman riding a motorcycle and committing acts of vigilantism), Toshokan Sensou (aka Library War), Kara no Kyoukai (most likely a mind-fuck supernatural story), or Eden of the East (which also looks to be a mind-fuck, only with technology).
ultranos: kino standing, staring ahead (contemplative)
I have been online, actually. I just really don't have much to say.

I'm not feeling particularly "fannish" about anything. Despite that, I uploaded a few stories into AO3, finally. The importer there is pretty clever, so I'm moderately impressed. (Okay, look, I hang out with CS PhD students and people who aren't CS who are nevertheless programming a RTS game using orbital mechanics. I get this by osmosis.) Anyway, I should play around there more. I should also double-check if they have places for original works, now that I think about it.

I have a couple of original universes in my head that I play with. And the older one has been busy getting a drastic overhaul, which I never really intended. I believe it needed it, but it's interesting because this 'verse was created when I was 14, and I can see my old thought processes from that time as I mentally overturn the foundations. It's like mental archeology.

(TVTropes, amusingly, has been a impressive source of help in this regard. "Yes, rework this trope into that trope works much better. Oh, inserting this trope adds more stability here."

TVTropes: McMaster-Carr for writers.)

Anyway, to facilitate this, I have an...odd coping mechanism. See, I want to read things, but when I need my brain to work in a certain way, I absolutely cannot afford to let it latch onto something else and turn fannish about it. The way around this, I found out, was to read fic in fandoms I am completely unfamiliar with. Yeah, I don't understand it either. But hey, the method got me through my thesis. I don't even know what the hell I read in the last week, other than mostly fic of questionable quality, but that's because I pretty much used FF.net as a dartboard.

Oh, and to round out the special brand of weird I'm dealing with, I got a phone call on Friday afternoon that was apparently a surprise phone interview from a company who found my resume online and would like me to come out for an interview. Yes, surprise phone interview was surprising. Go me?
ultranos: balthier holding out his hand (come along with me)
So, I decided against Yuletide for a number of reasons (including, but not limited to, time, current headspace, and the current politics of what was going on with the exchange). Maybe I'll just rewatch Serial Experiments Lain, or go finally watch Eden of the East, Toshokan Sensou, and Byousoku Go Senchimētoru.

I also went a bit crazy on Amazon on Thursday, after I found out Viz has a new Imprint, and has other translations beyond a new and better version of Takami Koushun's Battle Royale. Which I bought, because I loved the story, crappy translation and all, the first time around. But this means I also picked up Usurper of the Sun (Nojiri Housuke), All You Need is Kill (Sakurazaka Hiroshi), and Parasite Eve (Sena Hideaki).

And, yes, friends, I do intend to work on the other awesome fic I've promised you all. Because you all seem to love the idea of the Adventures of Assassin!Sam and Handler!Elizabeth. (I seem to be on an assassin kick. First Wintermarch, now this. The Wintermarch kids are being hilarious.)
ultranos: ashley from Trace Memory (white-haired girl) sleeping (head down go to sleep)
I started reading DOGS by Shirow Miwa on my Android phone. And then, next thing I knew, the five volumes currently out in English are in my Amazon cart and then on my doorstep. I...I'm kind of in love with this manga right now. It's set in a post-apocalyptic dystopia where it's always winter (something screwed up the seasons). Genetic engineering exists, and is used for everything from making weapons to interesting prostitutes to cater to every fetish. It takes place in the underworld, with mobsters and assassins and violence and corruption.

It's also very bloody. Heine is axe crazy and idea of a Plan A is "shoot everything", Badou has no luck (and is only axe crazy when he runs out of cigarettes), and Naoto...okay, look. I apparently have a thing with stoic and somewhat-grumpy female protagonists named "Naoto". Especially when they are terrifying packages of destruction.




COMPLETELY UNRELATEDLY, I'm eyeing this "Yuletide" thing. I mean, I've been fruitlessly searching for fics in small and/or obscure fandoms for approximately forever. And since I theoretically have this magical thing called "free time", I'm...tempted. I should figure out when fandom nominations are due. My current list is

Kino no Tabi (Kino's Journey)
Persona 4
Shin Megami Tensei Devil Survivor
Alan Campbell - Deepgate Codex
Haibane Renmei
Final Fantasy Tactics
Final Fantasy V
Wild ARMs 1
T:SCC

Which obviously needs to be pared down. And, yes, it is full of video games and anime.

This is obviously a terrible idea.
ultranos: sam carter looking up, text: "oh crap, the retroencabulator needs a new marzelvane." (technobabble handwave)
1.) A combination of theatre teching for 5 weeks and a salvage attempt at work that had me using vice grips to poke +100 0.02" holes into copper and aluminum with 0.02" steel wire has left my wrist a little busted up due to stupid torque points. It's current wrapped (along with part of my hand) in sport tape, because a wrist brace leaves me with not enough freedom of movement and an ACE bandage is too elastic. Oh, RSI...

2.) Speaking of work, it is awesome. I got to feel like Serious Researcher today, because we're now moving towards finding better ways of making the fiber optic neural implant arrays the researchers use in their experiments. We reached the limits of milling out the metal baseplates, so the next step is going into microfabrication. Which makes me really glad I took that nano/micro fabrication processes lab last semester, because, get this: I get to spend time in the clean rooms! With a lab coat and everything! Combine this with the amber-tinted laser safety glasses I sometimes wear, I look like a crazy scientist/engineer.

Not only that, but we're going to be talking with some people in the Media Lab to see about designing and building our own mills. Where the person building said mills would be me.

3.) I'm still getting used to the idea that I am the go-to person in my lab for "making things". I still don't see myself as any sort of expert, despite the degree.

4.) I'm apparently writing a 10-day LARP. I'm starting to wonder if I'm a masochist and/or have a god complex.

5.) I might have discovered religion last week. It's called Grooveshark, a music streaming site like Pandora, except you can actually pick the songs you want, upload songs, and build playlists and the like.
ultranos: girl in gekkougan uniform with monsterous shadow (casting shadows)
1) Anyone got any decent resources on Jungian psychology and archetypes? My brain wants to run full-tilt into a particular windmill for a project, and while I'm distracting it with gnostic interpretations of technology in the modern world (whyyyyy?), I'm going to lose this fight and I might as well bow to the inevitable.

1b) Oh hell, my brain just added Xenogears into the mix. SEND HELP NOW. (Oh, Xenogears, you who taught me much of everything I know about Freudian psychology and the gnostic tradition. For the uninitiated, Xenogears is 80 hours of really trippy mindscrew)

2) Finally joined the party and saw Inception last week. It was very good. I like thinky movies. Is it the be-all-end-all of cinema? No. Is it better than 90% of the stuff out there? Yes.

3) Mainlined Scott Pilgrim in approximately 2 hours. Now I can't wait for the game when it comes out on Tuesday (16-bit style multi-player sidescroller! EEEEEE!), and the movie I have on good authority will be awesome.

4) Trying to get my hands on copies of the Rebuild of Evangelion movies that are currently out. Bonus points for subtitles that are NOT IN SPANISH. *facepalm* Between NGE and Xenogears, I'm starting to wonder if my brain suddenly decided it wanted to be 16 again. DO NOT WANT.

5) Need to datamine mythologies again. I guess it might be time for me to actually read Joseph Campbell's Hero With a Thousand Faces. *sigh* Not that I'm sure it will help.

6) There is no 6.

7) Need to play more P3P. This "being a Real Person" thing is cutting into my gaming time. *pout* Akihiko, whyyy are you SUCH A DORK?! :D

8) Sadly, I know of the coherent thoughts running through all of these, tying them all together. What this says about my mental state, I'm not sure I want to know.
ultranos: faris dances to the non-existant victory theme (cue the victory theme)
Well, my [community profile] 36_stratagems fic is officially overdue, which is kind of embarrassing since it's my own damn ficathon. However, I do, in fact, have a good excuse.

That is, if "interviewing with and ultimately getting hired by the MIT Media Lab's Synthetic Neurobiology Group as a technical assistant" is a valid excuse. :)

I swear to god, I can't escape this place. Granted, I'm not trying very hard.
ultranos: kino standing, staring ahead (contemplative)
Reading some of the reviews for "The Last Airbender". (I do love the taste of spite.) Let me just say that if my best friend, upon watching the series for the first time when his only previous knowledge came from Penny Arcade calling out the racefail in passing, said within the first five minutes: "They think these characters are white?!" Let me just say that another friend, probably the most calm and rational guy I know, can get into a cold rage about the film.

People, this is why I have the best friends ever.

On the other hand, one of these days, I should really write the primer on anime and manga, specifically the history, as it would really refute some of the stupid misconceptions people have about it (especially the infuriating "but they look white!" bullshit). You know, since I actually studied it.

In semi-related news, I've started actually learning Japanese. I'm still trying to figure out the best way of memorizing the hirigana and katakana. And trying to get my tongue around "itadakamasu" yesterday was rather embarrassing in its complexity.
ultranos: ashley from Trace Memory (white-haired girl) sleeping (sleepy)
1. I just came back from helping take a friend of mine on a bar crawl. The white ceiling is incredibly interesting right now. (Actually, I'm just sleepy. Although I still apologize for any typos and incoherency.)

2. I've somewhat made it my goal to apply to at least 4-5 different positions every (week)day this week. I met that goal, but damn does this suck a lot. Every place keeps wanting "2+ years experience", which, well, thanks for listing the job as "entry level". Dammit. It's really annoying, because I know, intellectually at least, that companies in the industries I'm looking at will be wanting to hire soon, since a lot of people are retiring (it's just that time in the cycle). But if they keep wanting "experienced" people, I'm screwed. I swear, if I don't find something I'm truly happy with in a year, I'm going to try to run back to academia, consequences be damned.

3. I have an idea/plot for [livejournal.com profile] 36_stratagems! It is utter crack. It is comedy. I don't think I actually care.

4. I'm playing with the idea of a (collaborative) food blog. Yeah, I need to get hired soon.

5. I'm considering teaching myself Python to stave off the boredom. Relatedly, the project I should use to teach myself Python should possibly not be a script to do half of sg1debrief on it's own.

6. Poing.

7. I could start writing homebrew tabletop systems again. And LARPs. I suppose that might be a worthwhile use of my time. In case you haven't noticed, I've survived approximately 1 week without some kind of pressing...thing...due in my near future. I don't actually know if I can survive 2. Apparently, I suck at vacations.
ultranos: Actual MIT hack of roadsign. "MASS AVE BRIDGE CLOSED / SUNDAY 04/22/07 6AM-3PM / TO APPEASE GODZILLA" (have you appeased godzilla today?)
Things I Did Today:

-Graduated.

Yeah, that's...really sums it up.

"Now what?"
ultranos: rastler has no victory parade, holding his sword before an army (i could have been king)
So, uh, apparently, I'm graduating tomorrow. It's just really starting to hit home now. ("Today is the last day my Rat will be worn this way! ACK!", for an example of my thought process this morning)

When I think about time after tomorrow, it's this...big, blank nothing. I don't know what I'm doing next, I've been "a student" since I was 2 years old. I have no idea how not to be a student. I know I need to find a job, and that's scary, because apparently this piece of paper I'm getting tomorrow means something, and there's maybe a degree of responsibility generated by the names on that piece of paper that's starting to settle down on my shoulders. There are expectations now, and I'm scared, I think. Desperately scared of not meeting them. Because I'm human, not some super-awesome superhero. Maybe I'm thinking too much. Maybe I'm so used to having pressure put on me that I'm putting imaginary pressure on myself and it's all in my head, and if I don't stop, I'll only end up hurting myself.

Maybe I'd feel better if I had a job, and knew what was next. I don't know. I'm already pondering grad school in a few years, because I don't think I want to end with an SB. (That expectation and pressure thing again, I think) But not now. For the first time, I'm honestly and truly stepping out into the great unknown. And it's scary, and exhilarating, and so much bigger than me.

There is something special about seeing "Degree: SB2A (awarded)" on my Undergraduate Degree Audit, though. (Oh my god, this is actually happening. What. The. Hell.)
ultranos: kino and hermes on a coffee break (i need a coffee break)
The recent talk about crossovers over at [livejournal.com profile] sg_fignewton's got me thinking (always dangerous). And I'm trying to figure out my headspace, because I'm stuck in a blend of old and new and trying to figure out what's what. And my head's overfull with creative things that need to get OUT somehow.

Which means we're in a recipe for The Crazy.

Why are there only 4 crossovers for Kino no Tabi/Kino's Journey on FF.net? (Let's ignore the fact that it is FF.net. I'm looking at quantity, not quality at the moment)

If ever there was a work designed for crossovers...

Of course, the terrible idea here is to write a series of loosely-connected crossovers detailing Kino and Hermes's crazy trip through the multiverse. (Because couldn't you just see SG-1's reaction to a talking Brough Superior motorcycle?)
ultranos: ashley from Trace Memory (white-haired girl) sleeping (head down go to sleep)
My headspace is currently incomprehensible.

One of my friends has suggested that it's like post-show for theatre kids. Only replace stupid, drunken sex with ennui.

Also, dayshifting would be fantastic.
ultranos: ashley from Trace Memory (white-haired girl) sleeping (sleepy)
1. My sleep schedule is utterly screwed up.

2. Oh hey look, I passed that class I was vaguely worried about. Oh holy shit, this really does mean I'm graduating. *runs off to gibber in a corner*

3. No really, I mean it. I don't even know what time zone my body thinks it's in.

4. I seem to be writing a fic with extensive notes. Like, research notes. I half want to put these in as footnotes, but can't figure out a graceful way of doing so. Since they are actually relevant to the plot of the fic. Any suggestions, or should I just shove them all at the end? Or just advise the reader to have a tab open to Wikipedia open at all times?

5. Dear voices in my head:
Please stop trying to make me relive Age 17 again. Really. It sucked enough the first time around.
-The Management

6. FEED by Mira Grant is so far really, really good. "You got nuanced socio-political commentary about the nature of media and the news and the complications of living in a culture of fear in my zombie novel!" (Why yes, I very nearly had a minor in Comparative Media Studies, why do you ask?)

Profile

ultranos: cecilia adelhyde holding spell book (Default)
ultranos

Memoranda from the Usual Suspects

Media List:

Currently Watching:
-- Supergirl(hiatus)
--Pitch (hiatus)


Currently Playing:
--[null] (PS3)
--[null] (PS2)
--Fire Emblem: Awakening (3DS)
--[null] (PSP)
--[null] (XBox360)
--Endless Legend (PC)
--Fallout: New Vegas (PC)


Currently Reading:

Manga
-[null]

Fiction
-The Rook, Daniel O'Malley
-Fortune's Rising, Sara King

Nonfiction
-Ratf**ked: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America's Democracy, David Daley


------------------

"So she's good cop, he's bad cop, you're morally-questionable cop, and I'm set-things-on-fire cop."

"Sounds about right."

--------

"WARNING: When attempting to be clever, make sure you not actually just being stupid."

--------

"Did you remember to sacrifice the goat before burning the ISO to the DVD-R?"

"Crap! Um, I've got a charred piece of meat here."

"That's called a steak. That's dinner. What about the sacrifices?"

--------

"I escape through quantum-tunneling. What do I need to roll for that?"

--------

"Why is it called a 'Monkeylord'?"

"Because it looks like a spider."

--------

"I have a moral objection to this problem. It implies microwaving a steak."

--------

"Did you eat the crazy cookies this morning?"

--------

"The GPU goes 4 by 4, hurrah, hurrah."

April 2017

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