ultranos: sam and part of the derivation of navier-stokes (controlling the flow of ideas)
On July 25th, I ended my appointment at the MIT Media Lab after 3 years working there. I'd been searching for a new job for approximately the last two months.

I do have a new job. I did not actually escape the Institute, as I'm now working with two labs. I'm hoping I get the paperwork done next week so I can start getting paid and back in the system, although I think I started on Wednesday. If nothing else, one of the professors handed me the textbook of the class he's teaching in the fall and asked me to read and understand it within the next two weeks. So there's that.

This time, it looks like everything is already on the table for all parties involved as to what each of us expects out of this. Since it's pretty unilaterally "grad school", hopefully this time around I'll get in. It helps that I'm totally psyched for one of the labs' areas of expertise (microfluidics! Yes, I am insane.).

Looking back at all the interviews I went on (I spent how much in Zipcar rentals?!), I wonder if I gave off the impression subconsciously that I'm happier on the bleeding edge of research and development. It's true, no matter how much I tried to say it wasn't important. I wonder if despite my efforts, the impression got through anyway. I don't think I regret this.
ultranos: arisato minato listening to music in minimalist colors (welcome to the rocking grounds)
I went and saw Pacific Rim on Friday night. I ended up seeing it in 3D, as not all of the group I was going with could make the earlier showings in glorious 2D. That being said, the use of 3D in this movie did not feel gimmicky at all, which is the usual problem I have with movies with 3D.

But I've been sort of avoiding other discussions of this movie because I've been mulling it over in my head. I want to go see it again, but we'll make due right now with my initial analysis of one of the more interesting points of this movie. (I could write reams of meta on this movie.)

Pacific Rim is a giant mecha movie. )
ultranos: souji with his head stuck inside a tv (tv is eating my brain)
As mentioned in the last post, I have found myself in the position of figuring out what kind of Pokemon team Natasha Romanov would use. Granted, from the MCU, I have my own ideas of the theme of that team (Paper Rams and Lightning Bruisers), specializing in speed and weakness exploitation because the Black Widow does not do long, drawn-out fights and instead is a one-hit, one-kill type. (If this were a different type of game, I'd just build her as a dodgy DPS McFacestabby.)

So, comic book people, I need your help! How would you classify her combat style? Is it how I'm thinking? Or does she do the slugfests that other comic book characters do? (Am I completely off-base and she's the type who's actually slow but goddamn does it hurt when it connects? (I hate playing those fighters in games.))

I NEED YOUR KNOWLEDGE. Or your laughter. That's fine too. This entire endevour is inherently ridiculous.
ultranos: kino and hermes on a coffee break (i need a coffee break)
1. Some friends found various artwork of the Avengers with Pokemon teams. Because we are nerds, we started analyzing the effectiveness of the teams and found that they're pretty skewed so the more popular characters get the better teams. We decided this is clearly incorrect.

Which is the explanation of how I now have to figure out the other 400+ Pokemon beyond the original 151 because I need to make a team for the Black Widow. And why I have a copy of Pokemon Platinum in the mail today. Because we issued ourselves a challenge to create teams under a theme and then battle to figure out who's the best Pokevenger.

Guys, I think I'm living in a fanfic.

2. Speaking of video games, the new name for Skyrim is "Shit My Dragonborn Does". I'm pretty sure I don't actually control her anymore. I could write a lot about the ridiculousness she's putting me through, though. On the up side, I get to laugh at her. A lot.

3. Zipcar has been my new best friend. I certainly paid them enough on car rentals for job interviews. I think I am in the stage of job hunt where I twiddle my thumbs as I wait for companies to get back to me. Arrrrrggggh.

4a. I'm getting the urge to write fic again. The massive DA/ME crossover I started is scaring me, though. WHAT HAVE I WROUGHT?!

4b. There's a reason a friend asked me if the motto is "Three Drinks Minimum" or "Zero Failure Modes". Possibly also "I Regret Nothing".

5. In addition to the Pokemon game, I have a book on cocktails coming, because I basically threw up my hands and asked "Why not?" The problem here is that I'm still in the process of building a decently-stocked bar. "Problem" because I got educated by alcohol connoisseurs and my standards are...a tad pricy. See 3.

6. I need a new pair of Keens. My current ones are being held together by Gorilla Glue. I would like a pair that doesn't cost $100+. (See 3.) It's nice to want things.

7. Why is the Badger Song stuck in my head?
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: it's a duckcat (ZOMG DUCKCAT)
Continuing to move in a positive direction! Trying very hard not to dance around the apartment. Still need to make next step. Still remaining in "cautious optimism". *crosses fingers*

(I promise, if the next thing has a positive outcome, I'll explain. It won't be resolved, but it'll be in a state I can talk publicly.)
ultranos: arisato minato listening to music in minimalist colors (welcome to the rocking grounds)
Next week is going to be interesting.

(Keeping neboat's advice in mind: "Don't think about it. Don't think about after. You know what you need to do. Just do it.")
ultranos: it's a duckcat (ZOMG DUCKCAT)

(Sorry for the cryptic, I'm just really, really cautious right now. Just...*crosses fingers*)
ultranos: it's a duckcat (ZOMG DUCKCAT)
The phrase of the day is "cautious optimism". Lest it be crushed under "existential dread" and the possibly-inevitable "crushing disappointment".

But there might have been high-pitched noises involved.
ultranos: cameron mitchell holding up "do not enter force shield active" sign to sam carter (always read the warning labels)
I need to remember that taking time out to do gaming-related things approximately every night vastly improves my mood and quality of life in most ways.

This reminder is brought to you by Path of Exile, a F2P point-and-click hack-and-slash that clearly was inspired by Diablo 2. They're in Open Beta right now, so I've been informed to not get terribly attached to my build, as it might get reset at any moment when they patch things. That aside, it's a lot of fun. I mostly became enamored with their skill tree, which is more of a skill web. They also did this crazy thing and got rid of in-game money, making it all barter. It was actually enough to make me forgive only having two female PC options (witch and ranger).

What also helps make the last bit forgivable is that the game is voice acted and is absolutely 100% completely free. Grinding Gear Games, the developers, consider paying actual money for power to be an anathema and have sworn that their only microtransactions available are purely cosmetic only. It's been working out really well for them so far.

There's also co-op, although I haven't tried that yet. Maybe later this weekend.
ultranos: rastler has no victory parade, holding his sword before an army (i could have been king)
I am pretty close to drunk at this point, but whatever, it's kind of a "holy fuck, the boys and girls in blue got the asshole alive" and "fuck yeah, we're alive!" night.

So, because I'm drunk right now, I'm going to run my mouth on Unpopular Liberal Opinions right now.

Hi, yes, I spend most of my day indoors, unable to go to work based on the MBTA shutdown, the MIT advisory against staff coming in, and the stay-in-place advisory for Cambridge. After getting dinner/drinks with some people displeased with that, I respectfully tell them to stuff it. Yeah, okay, the militarization of police is a concern. The fact that there were MPs at T stations this week: also concerning! But guys, maybe it's just me, but as an MIT alum, I wanted the goddamn asshole taken alive. I was quite happy to comply with police and the state government asking me to stay indoors, even though North Cambridge is at least 3 miles from where things were happening in Watertown.

They killed one of ours. And sure, call me an asshole or whatever because I only got this worked up after the MIT officer was killed instead of thousands of other human beings every day. I don't care. Officer Sean Collier was one of ours. And he died to keep my campus safe. I don't know if people realize that the MIT Police are actual cops. And they're actual cops who will and do go to bat for students against the Cambridge PD, saying that some things are an internal issue and will be handled by the Disciplinary committee. Or that the CPs are honest-to-god more concerned about student safety above all. I've dealt with them before, and even when we complained about it, some of the best people we could have looking out for us.

And if staying indoors would help police and government agencies catch Sean Collier's killers, than I was more than happy to comply. Even beyond "oh shit, there's people with no compunction against hurting hundreds with guns and explosives running around". Yeah, even where I was, I heard the grenades and explosive ordinance these assholes were throwing around.

These people, as a whole, give so goddamn much to keep us safe. And yeah, they fuck up sometimes, and we call them on it. But we don't say "thank you" enough. They do so much for us, but we only recognize them for their failures. We don't tell them "thank you" enough for the times they succeed.

And I don't give a shit if you say that "only 4" people were killed in this shit that went down this week in Boston by these two, and that maybe I should pay attention to the rest of the world. A comment on Twitter I saw today sums it up: "Homeboy killed an MIT cop, now being hunted by machines built at irobot by MIT-trained engineers."

Officer Sean Collier was one of ours, and he died keeping my multi-national community safe. Martin Richards was 8 years old. Krystle Campbell lived in the next city over, which in Boston terms, is probably about 10 minutes away by car. Lu Lingzi died so far away from home, coming to our shores to make the best of herself.

And tonight, I drank to the dead, and I drank to the living. And when the entire bar busted out singing along to "Sweet Caroline", we were singing and drinking to the city as well.
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ultranos: lain is having techinical difficulties (argh)
My city is bleeding.
ultranos: kino and hermes on a coffee break (i need a coffee break)
As I mentioned earlier, I do have a game design blog on Blogger at Sufficiently Advanced Handwaving. I've started updating it again, and I'm going to try to do it with more regularity. (Which will be something of a trick, considering how often I update this thing.)

There's an RSS feed account on Dreamwidth now, at [syndicated profile] sah_game_design_feed. (Damn you, character limits! *shakes fist*) I just made it, so it might take some time for data to propagate.
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ultranos: kino standing, staring ahead (contemplative)
Current project is designing an entirely ground-up tabletop system and setting. I'm considering doing a productions journal-type thing, similar to the Atlus Production Diaries. Current mental debate is on a new journal (DW or Blogspot), repurposing my old blogspot Suffciently Advanced Handwaving for it, a filter on here, or Tumblr. I'm leaning towards the repurposing.

Hive mind: any thoughts? Would any of you even be interested in it?
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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 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 and hermes on a coffee break (i need a coffee break)
I returned from visiting family on 12/30. It was nice, and I did have fun (sometimes more than I thought I would. It's funny how sometimes the people you felt awkward with as a kid are now the people you feel most comfortable with as an adult.) but I'm glad to be back. I really can't live there anymore. I'm now officially the "kid living farthest from 'home'" on both sides, as my brother moved back for grad school.

In other news, TB somehow convinced me to start watching Community (it really wasn't that hard once he set up his Hulu Plus account on the PS3 for common use). Normally, I'm not much of a sitcom fan, but this show has won me over. Hell, it made me like it just by not having a laugh track. I really hate those things. Anyway, I'm only a few episodes in, but have been promised good things, so we'll see.

Despite making out like a bandit during the Steam Holiday Sale (picked up FTL, Spec Ops: The Line, Dark Souls, and Skyrim (yes, finally)), I've still mostly been playing Borderlands 2. Still somewhere in the middle (?) of my first playthrough with Zer0. I started up a new character with two friends to play co-op with, choosing Maya this time, and promptly fell in love with her Phaselock ability. Dear god, where have you been all my life?

I suspect Borderlands 2 is going to be my new SupCom until Planetary Annihilation comes out. I'm not going to be able to put this thing down for long.
ultranos: souji with his head stuck inside a tv (tv is eating my brain)
I am getting really terrible at posting to this thing. (I try to read it every day. Post, not so much.)

I started Fallout: New Vegas. I got about 15 hours in, at which point the Steam Thanksgiving Sale started. And Borderlands 2 went on sale. Now, I'd been waffling over purchasing it since before it came out because I hadn't played the first one. And I'm really sensitive to the head-bob in FPSes. (I couldn't play more than 20 minutes of Deus Ex: Human Revolution before being too nauseated to play.) So I was wary of dropping $20-$60 on a game I couldn't play. (A friend had an extra copy he offered to let me buy off him if I wanted it.) So Yarmond sits me down at his computer and let's me start up a new character and try it out. Three hours later, I'm completely hooked and have my own copy.

At this point, my life has been completely eaten up by Borderlands 2. I'm mostly playing solo right now, since the people I'd normally play with are late in their first playthroughs or in their 2nd. So my plan is to try to get a decent ways in the plot with one character (currently Zer0) and then start a new game with a character for co-op play (probably Maya).

Yes, I started with Zer0, even though I don't usually play FPSes, and he's a bit more complicated to play. And pretty squishy. I die a lot at some fights until I figure out the trick. But I'm enjoying it a lot. The comedic sociopathy and black humor of the game is just really apparently what I needed after the drama-heavy Mass Effect series and Fallout 3.

I'm playing it on Steam, since I've since been converted that FPSes on PC are the way, the truth, and the light. (Seriously, aiming is so much better with keyboard and mouse. And these days, I don't get my fingers tangled in rapidly swapping between WASD and extra controls.) But that means that when I go visit my parents' place later this week, I won't have my PC with me, so I'm going to go through withdrawl. It's bad enough that I'm wondering if my parents' new laptop can handle it. *headdesk*

I'm hopeless.
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 might have said a month ago that I got suckered into signing up for NaNoWriMo. Yeah, uh, about that. That happened...not so much. Mostly because about 2.5 weeks ago, another friend came up to me and asked for help on getting a tabletop system a mutual friend wrote to work with what he wanted. And so I basically wrote a tabletop system instead of a novel this month. (It's in draft form. Once I finish the GM guide, it's going to need to be playtested. And I'm still not sure I'm entirely happy with the high-level progression. This is why people write splatbooks, isn't it?)

This really only could happen to me.
ultranos: arisato minato listening to music in minimalist colors (beat of a different drum)
Uh, I seem to have accidentally NaNoWriMo. It might be because of an agreement with a friend that I'll attempt to write this damn fucking huge Mass Effect/Dragon Age crossover in an attempt to provide relaxation right before finals and whatever stupid her PhD program throws at her. Because I have no sense of self-preservation.

We're still without power, or at least, that was true when I left for work this morning. We're going to have to do a massive fridge purge already, and it's only a matter of time to see if we'll need to do a freezer purge as well. Yarmond pointed out that we could have the best haunted house, because it was dark! And...something. Flashlights. There's only so much sitting in the dark or reading Kindles by flashlight you can do.

Oh, and yesterday's Three Panel Soul was entirely accurate.


ultranos: cecilia adelhyde holding spell book (Default)

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:


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

-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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