ultranos: red stickman on fire (the burning!)
Guess who submitted their Master's thesis to the committee?
Now I just have to deal with the actual defense and a final project and ohgodwhywhathappening
ultranos: kino and hermes on a coffee break (i need a coffee break)
I keep putting off posting because I don't think I have anything substansial to let people know I'm still alive.

Anyway. My life has once again gone crazy and I'm just trying to keep up.

1.) Two PC game recs:

1a.) Transistor is really, really pretty. And it's fun and fairly clever. Reviews on the internet complain that the story is a little opaque, but really, it's because they did some interesting narrative tricks instead of laying it all out for you in a linear fashion. You figure it out by putting together what ephemera you find along with the (unreliable, biased) narrator is saying. It's made by Supergiant Games, the same people who made Bastion. And they got Darren Korb to do music again, so the soundtrack is excellent.

1b.) I accidentally 9 hours on Sunday playing Endless Space, which I guess is best described as Master of Orion-meets-Civ. 4X space game that's actually playable and doesn't feel overwhelming with micromanagement in real-time (it's turn-based). I hear the DLC expansion kind of sucks, though.

2.) I somehow got myself roped into staffing and being a plotwriter for a woods-LARP. As a corollary to that, I've found myself with the task of writing an entire critical mechanic system over the summer. Why I do this to myself, I'll never know.

3.) Trying to get my contract extended at work. This may or may not happen, depending on a grant. The probability of getting said grant might increase if I can manage to get a paper submitted. Which is where most of my energy is going. What's not going to that is going to the back-up plan, which is "find a new job". This plan is annoying. (On that note, anyone looking to hire a mechanical engineer with too much EE for her own good, who actually likes fluid dynamics, and has spent more time than one would think doing signal processing for biological systems?)
ultranos: red stickman on fire (the burning!)
1. That a song entitled "my long forgotten cloistered sleep" on repeat is what's actually helping me be insanely productive is somewhat hilariously tragic.

2. Yelling "FUCK YOU, WORDS" is not, in fact, a proscribed method of making more better words appear when you need them on paper.
ultranos: arisato minato listening to music in minimalist colors (welcome to the rocking grounds)
In case you were wondering, the US job market really fucking sucks for non-CS STEM right now. Especially non-CS STEM who are neither new graduates nor have 5+ years experience.

My mom said looking for a job was like having a second job. She's totally right. )

I've found myself mostly dumping any free time into Skyrim these days. At this point it's sort of mindless, or doesn't require as much brain as actually using the Planetary Annihilation alpha access I bought from Kickstarter would require. Which is unfortunate, but seriously. Not enough brain to alpha test. Totally enough brain to shoot bandits with arrows.

(My Dragonborn seems to have developed a personality in my head and will not leave me alone. I thought the Lone Wanderer was bad. I should have known what I was in for as soon as I started calling it "Fallout: the Elder Scrolls".)
ultranos: ashley from Trace Memory (white-haired girl) sleeping (sleepy)
Hi. Yes, I'm alive. There's been a bit of things that happened since my last post.

Health )

PAX East 2013 )
ultranos: kino and hermes on a coffee break (i need a coffee break)
I had an exercise in...frustration today that at one point left me wanting to murder EA, burn down their HQ, and salt the earth on which it stood.

It started innocently enough. )

Look, I am not a Steam apologist. I like the platform. I like it because it works and is the best currently out there that I've used. I would like it just as much if Steam had an actual competitor. (Things were great when AMD and Intel were hugely competitive.) But they don't, not really. And Origin is almost 10 years late to the party, does it worse than Steam, and acts like it's going to win this fight. I'm just not impressed by it. I wouldn't use it if I had a choice.

At least I have the game now.
ultranos: black on white safety stick-man getting a companion cube to the head (ow)
I am now apparently writing while loops in LaTeX.

Oh god, what has this game done to me, other than render me incapable of typing HTML? (seriously, I just tried to italicize with \textit{})

I am also trying very, very hard to not die. Or kill myself in the process, which falls under "not dying".
ultranos: lain is having techinical difficulties (argh)
Just so we're clear, internet denizens, I'm going to take this moment and just say that I'm probably going to go flat-out batshit insane for the next few weeks. See, I somehow thought it'd be a great idea to apply to grad school when I'm in the middle of writing a tenday. (I can't even blame the drugs for that brilliant decision, as I'm sick now and not 1.5 months ago. And for the record? Only I could get con-crud from a scientific conference. Why I thought grad students were healthier than gamers or sci-fi/fantasy fans I'll never know.)

And the first one is due in ten days, the next two 15 after that, and the last one 16 after that.

And then 20 days until the aformentioned tenday.

Oh my god, I am going to die.

(Washington D.C. was lovely, by the way. If only I hadn't had sucky internet so I could have actually done work instead of, uh, conferencing and goofing off. And sleeping.)
ultranos: kino and hermes on a coffee break (i need a coffee break)
I've spent the last day or so looking over test prep materials for the GREs, which I take Tuesday. And, okay, the verbal reasoning section is the one that looks a bit tricky, because the examples they give are really fucking weird, but I'm fairly certain as long as I read the question carefully, I'll be fine (the example seems to be an exercise in writing the most opaque questions ever). The math I'm only worried about if I get stupidly cocky, because this is math I did in high school. And I hate that I can say that, because it sounds arrogant, but it's really kind of an odd idea that you can have a general test for grad school, that's supposed to be applicable to History students and to STEM students.

So the plan is to take off Tuesday, vote in the city election, drop my stuff off at the office on the way to the test center (because apparently they have absolutely draconian policies about what you're allowed to take into the building, so no smartphone for me to find the damn place), and then take a test. And hopefully not be too much of a cocky bastard but also get into my zen place for it.

Then I've got two days before I head out to DC for 5 five days for a neuroscience conference. Whoo. I'm hoping I'll get some amount of time to chill out while in DC. When I'm not frantically taking notes, revising application drafts, and writing the damn Guild game running at the end of January.

In other news, I've somehow got the xaos children and that old Iron Man/SG fusion fic starting to nibble on my brain again. Which I'd normally be all sorts of happy about, except of course it happens when I'm fucking hosed out of my mind.
ultranos: black on white safety stick-man getting a companion cube to the head (ow)
Last weekend was the big moving weekend for us, so all that's left really is to clean the old apartment. And not a moment too soon as while we're almost set up at the new place, so we won't be having to haul furniture in a hurricane. We're supposed to get hit by Irene on Sunday. Note that this is following the earthquake on Tuesday. Yes, I live in Boston.

I'm really, really sorry about all those natural disasters I played with in SimCity and SimEarth as a kid. Is this the Sims getting revenge?

I think my plan is to go grab a few non-perishables from the grocery store tonight and see if I can't rescue my bike from the old apartment tomorrow. (It's handy living with someone from Florida right now! He tells me how to not be dumb.)
ultranos: balthier holding out his hand (come along with me)
My tabletop campaign starts tomorrow. I'm a little nervous, despite the fact I've been prepping for it for the last 2 weeks. My current plan is to have the sandbox ready, let my players do whatever, and then figure out where I need to build sandcastles for them to storm. We'll see how this works.

Somewhat relatedly, since I'm running an ASoIaF campaign, that's where my headspace has been. And I have friends who encourage crazy ideas. And there was an image macro and now I found that I really want the IM/ASoIaF crossover where slight spoilers )

I am not alone in this. Internet, why does this not exist yet?

I am also in the process of moving. When did I get so much STUFF? I remember when I could fit my entire life into 5 rubbermaid containers, 2 suitcases, and a duffelbag. Then again, that was 7 (!!) years ago, and I lacked critical possessions. Like a bed.
ultranos: greyscale photo of laptop and coffee mug filled with some beverage (coffee and data)
I noticed that Bahamut was behaving oddly sluggish when using Firefox yesterday morning. I didn't deal with it then, figuring virus scan was running in the background, so left for work. When I came home, I noticed that it was still laggy, and then checked the RAM usage, which was logged in at just under "slightly ridiculous". Which, okay, it's Firefox 3.6.xx, which we all know leaks RAM like the Titanic. So I restart the program and Chrome, and that makes it somewhat better.

Then I start trying to play League of Legends, and holy hell, thank god that was a bot game because I was getting maybe 10 seconds of play every 30. It was choking on the game that much. (It says something about the quality of the bots that despite this, I was STILL winning against it, with my only deaths being accidental tower-dives. Or, you know, that it's because I was playing Teemo, and Teemo is awesome. This led to some amusing moments of "ultranos has killed an enemy!" "I did? When?! HOW?!") I closed just about every other program in the hopes that it was a memory leak somewhere, but no such luck. So, reboot time.

Apparently, that was my first mistake. (My zeroth mistake was mentioning my computer was acting strangely over Teamspeak with DMark, which means he thought about it, which means problems were going to start occurring.)

Long story short, my computer is over, the 1TB HD with the OS has a bad sector and needs to be RMAed because it's still in warranty (thanks, Seagate!), and all my data has to be transferred off of it before I send it in. Most of my critical data is stored in multiple places, so the only thing I'm grumpy about with regards to that is trying to figure out how to rescue my saved games (like the 90-hour unfinished game of DA:O...). I might also take the time to grab an SSD off Newegg and install the OS on that. Mostly, though, this is just a pain in the ass that I don't really want to deal with, but have to, because I do love Bahamut, even when it is a problem child.

It could also be that the universe is telling me to spend the weekend finishing A Dance with Dragons, as I'm 40% of the way through it, and it is currently breaking my heart. SO GOOD. Even if the book ended where I'm at right now, I'd be happy. Well, joining the fandom in crying for more, but happy. (Damn, with Bahamut down, it'll be harder to make the ASoIaF icon set I was planning. Oh well.)
ultranos: ashley from Trace Memory (white-haired girl) sleeping (sleepy)
1. On Saturday, my lab had it's annual BBQ, which was potluck style, so there was entirely too much food. This was exacerbated in that it was actually 2 labs, so everyone brought lots of food. I contributed to this excess when it looked like not many people were bringing things to put on the grill, so volunteered to bring chicken. And since I'm me, I hit up McKinnon's with $15. Which, because it's McKinnon's, netted me 40+ chicken wings and drumsticks. Even more awesomely, the recipe I got from Dad was a huge hit, not only with the lab, but with the other party later on Saturday night I dumped a tray of chicken on. Huzzah for simple yet tasty dishes!

2. My housing situation is...complex. Long story short, it feels like our landlord pulled some shenanigans, and we don't feel like playing the game anymore, so we're taking our money and toys and going elsewhere. Which means I have to pack up all my stuff soon. (When did I acquire so much stuff? Why?) I need to remember to go through all my old clothing and set aside all the ones I haven't worn since freshman year for charity.

3. I drank the Kool-Aid and got a pair of Vibram FiveFingers last Monday. I think I'm in love. My knees haven't hurt all week.

4. I might do a longer post on my feelings about the first season of Game of Thrones, but suffice it to say that after the season finale last night, my thought process went:
"Holy crap...wait, SPRING 2012?! ... ...TO THE KINDLE-MOBILE!"
Which means I'm possibly reading two highly-depressing books at the same time.

5. I think it's official that I'm addicted to League of Legends. I have over 100 games I've paid for on Steam alone, and all I want to do is play the Free-to-Play RTS. *facepalm*

6. Typing this up has been difficult due to the fact that I'm talented and nearly sliced off the tip of my left thumb with a chef's knife while prepping dinner. Cut through about 1.5mm of flesh, thus cutting halfway through the tip of the nail. (I've managed to cut the nail worse with a set of nail clippers) So now the thumb is wrapped up in gauze and athletic tape to the first joint. Like I said, I'm talented.
ultranos: ashley from Trace Memory asking why do you make my life difficult? (life on hard mode)
So, because apparently the trees trying to kill me (it's their annual assassination attempt) wasn't enough, I woke up this morning with my left kneecap apparently misaligned. You know, that wonderful grinding, crunchy noise of bone against bone when I attempted to move it. And tiny shots of stabbing pain every time I tried to walk on it. I seriously feared it'd give out on me after I made it down the stairs and to the down the street for a new brace (because apparently gremlins hid my old ones in my room somewhere).

I dislocated my knee twice, once at 18 and the other at 21, and it's never quite recovered. I can't run on it, and I visibly limp even when I try to jog. I can't do a lot of lower-body weight training exercises because of the injury. I really fucking hate it because I used to play soccer, fence, and practice jiu-jitsu and then that got taken away from me. And to add insult to injury, I get people telling me I need to be more active [so I can lose weight, I guess, or just "be healthy"], but they neglect to remember that vast majority of things they do, I physically can't.

It's not that I want this old injury, but I'm running low on ways to fix it when I have ~no money for PT or a gym membership (thanks, student loans) for specialized equipment. Anyone have any ideas on something that can strengthen quads (apparently, my hamstrings are the only thing keeping me upright) that's low-impact and does not require much extra equipment?

Between this, the near-migranes I had to push through this week, and the allergies starting up again? I want my own secret lair and sweet robot legs.
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: girl in gekkougan uniform with monsterous shadow (casting shadows)
1) I still need to finish Avatar: the Last Airbender, because, really, 6 months as a break is getting ridiculous. (Yes, [personal profile] abyssinia, I promise I will finish it soon.) That hasn't stopped me from either looking for fic or from writing it. And I realized I have a slight problem.

Maybe it's distance, or maybe I'm reading too far into it and misinterpreting, but I've studied a bit of Chinese and Japanese history (much more Japanese, I admit freely), and I, you know, very much see things in A:tLA where I go "hey! That's [foo] Dynasty!" Or "That's [bar] Period!" And maybe it's wrong of me to and think that if I want to figure out the socio-economic intricacies of the various nations, I go and read up on the relevant periods of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean history. Because that's what I'm doing.

And so I've discovered that it drives me absolutely up the wall when I keep seeing Western interpretations of social hierarchies and historical/cultural artifacts and practices that have no logical reason to exist in the Avatar-verse. I'm starting to wonder if something's wrong with me.

(The things currently making me howl are the number of fics containing foot-binding, which makes no bloody sense for numerous reasons, and the portrayal of the Bei Fong family as nobility or "high-born", despite being merchants. As far as I know, merchants were kind of at the bottom of the polite social society until the 1600s at least in both China and Japan.

This knowledge is making me slowly want to gnaw my own arms off as I keep reading fics that run contrary to history. Somebody save me.)

2) My collection of books by Japanese authors keeps growing. I'm currently reading Housuke Noriji's Usurper of the Sun, which is full of science and a neat, brilliant female scientist protagonist. In a hard-SF book! With the fate of the world in the balance! Oh, and ALIENS. But not yet.

It's making be grin a lot.

3) I need to remember how to play Dominion and Settlers of Catan really well, because my current mad plan involves taking both home with me and attempting to get my family hopelessly addicted. My mom seems receptive to the idea.

4) Maybe someday, I will be able to go a week without calling my mother 4 times a week. :/ Then again, yesterday, she told me "thank you", because she totally knows what I'm doing.

5) I hate migraines. Especially low-grade migraines that don't completely debilitate me so that I feel guilty if I try to take it easy and generally feel like I'm slacking. Why yes, I've had 4 of these in the last 2 weeks. My current drug regime isn't really working, and only the "oh god, make it go away" pills seem to work.
ultranos: ashley from Trace Memory (white-haired girl) sleeping (sleepy)
1) So, for about the last 3.5 weeks, I haven't been able to sleep more than ~5 consecutive hours. Now, I've been able to get, say, 5 hours and then 3 hours, but not more than 5 continuous hours. This might not seem terrible, but it's leaving me absolutely exhausted and bone-tired.

Because, see, while this is occurring, I'm operating heavy machinery (work) and, oh, the theatre production I'm on production staff for is opening Friday. So I'm doing things like hauling around lumber, climbing up and down balconies, building sets, running around like a crazy person, and cutting metal. It's not exactly something you can be non-alert for.

It's really frustrating because I'm starting to forget certain things, I'm failing at English more often, and I would not be surprised if I started hallucinating. And even when I'm just exhausted like this, down to my very bones, I know I'm not going to sleep all the way through the night.

Bah.

2) I started taking a bento for lunch. In my highly-sleep-deprived state, 30-60 minutes every night prepping lunch is Hard. However, my inner cheapskate is incredibly pleased with how much money this saves.

3) There are frosh on campus. I feel old. And confused. Mostly confused.

4) OMG theatre production opens on Friday! AAAAAAAH! *runs around in circles*

5) Hilarity of the day: while browsing through Metafilter, I came across a post on an article on 30 Cool College Labs from PopSci. There was a comment in the post about how "cool" is kind of relative, because there are certainly labs doing really awesome research that aren't flashy. And then the poster went on to list my lab (specifically my boss) as the first example, with my project as the cool thing.

Comment (paraphrased): This lab at MIT makes multi-electrode fiber optic arrays that can be used to activate parts of the brain in a mouse that's been transgentically treated!
Me: *spits out coffee*

Yeah, guess what I make all day. My fine-motor control is getting to be phenomenal.
ultranos: ibuki maya sitting at laptop in shorts and a t-shirt, eating a cookie, with prompt \\ "Rocks fall; everybody dies." (this would be much simpler)
I'm pretty sure I mentioned this before, but I've seriously fallen back into old fandoms (I guess SMT counts a new fandom for me, but whatever). I've found myself rereading old favorite NGE and FF(IV, V, VI, VIII) and Xenogears fic. This may or may not be related to how I'm hunting down the last two volumes of the NGE manga, ripped my NGE CD for archiving purposes, and that a bunch of us are watching Rebuild of Evangelion tonight.

I have no idea why I'm doing this. Additionally, this is leading me to play with some of my original fic universes. Which is slightly frustrating, because I have this giant pile of 'gateverse WIPs that I can't even be bothered to poke at right now. Which then makes me feel guilty.

MY LIFE, SO HARD.

Speaking of my life being so very difficult, I just realized that my next 4 or 5 weekends are approximately completely devoured, because the show I'm Master Electrician for (Jesus Christ Superstar) runs the first 3 weekends in September. So that also means all my available free time after this week is going to fly away.

So, you know, my life will feel like it did 3 months ago.

(I kid. I actually do love JCS as a show, and I've got a bunch of friends in cast, and it's reminding me of some of the best times I had in high school.)
ultranos: lain is having techinical difficulties (argh)
I need to keep reminding myself that it's not the end of the world that I don't have a job right out of college. I also need to keep reminding myself that I will find something and to not get discouraged.

But goddamn does the job market suck. Why didn't I do software again? Oh right, because I hate it.
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.

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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