ultranos: kino and hermes on a coffee break (i need a coffee break)
1) neboat got me addicted to Two Steps from Hell last week. I've been pretty much listening to them and only them since. It has the interesting property of making absolutely anything you do Epic. Highly recommend it for music while writing. (Two Steps from Hell is a group that writes original music for movie and game trailers. Brushing your teeth has never felt this badass.)

Current favorites are "Heart of Courage", "Black Blade", "Protectors of Earth", "After the Fall".

2) I seem to be writing an original fic. What is this I don't even

3) Finishing the Mass Effect series flipped something in my brain, and I seem to be desperately craving gritty space opera. Possibly, more accurately, a reconstructed space opera ('ware, TVTropes). Or sci-fi assassin/spycraft stories. I dunno. My brain is demanding something to chew on like those two (I've been reading a bunch of spycraft and information handling lately), or else I'm going to lose the battle against replaying the damn series.

This is slightly annoying because I have a giant pile of games right now, and other than Bastion, I haven't been able to convince myself to play any of them. Bastion, by the way, is excellent, and is currently the bonus game in the Humble Indie Bundle V. All the games in the bundle are excellent, available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, and proceeds go to the developers and charity (Child's Plan and the EFF), depending on how you want the split. In any case, if you're interested or curious, check it out. Or ask me if I think you'd like it if you're not sure. It's for an excellent cause.
ultranos: souji with his head stuck inside a tv (tv is eating my brain)
So, on Monday this past week, over lunch, DMark managed to convince me to download League of Legends so that we all could play against the internet. (Because we actually tend to be pretty good at that) What is LoL? It's a PvP RTS sort of like Demigod: control a character on a team, level him or her up throughout the game by beating minions or other players, and then destroy the other team's base. Unlike Demigod, LoL is a) free, b) has 1 map, and c) has about 80 characters, 10 of which are free any one week (and then they rotate through the 80). So there's a lot of mechanically interesting characters to play.

In case it's not completely obvious, I'm sort of addicted.

(It might have been decided that there's a specific character that I have to play when she's needed, because otherwise, the namespace collision makes life too confusing on TeamSpeak. This would be the identical namespace collision I ran into for FFXII that had me twitching during cutscenes for the first 20 hours.)

Today, a bunch of us piled into a car and drove out for really good Chinese noodles and Gaming Underground, an awesome used game store with arcade machines and systems and screens to rent so you can play old school games right there. I was convinced to finally try DDR, and to my utter surprise, I found that I like it. I absolutely suck right now, but I like it and I was able to play without utterly fucking up my knee again. (This involves keeping a grip on the back bar the entire time so every jump and twist is supported by my arms.) So yay me. I CAN SORT OF JUMP AGAIN!

Speaking of gaming, I finally finished reading Jane McGonigal's Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World, which I bought back in March. (It took me so long because I mostly read it in 10 minute chunks on the subway on my Kindle, and there was a month I chose to read Black Lagoon manga instead) It's actually a really good argument about how aspects of games and game design can influence and affect the real world in very positive ways. From Chore Wars, the ARG that convinces you that chores can be fun, to Folding@Home, the protein-folding distributed computing program that comes on every PS3 sold to further scientific research, McGonigal gives examples of how positive games have been in small ways in reality. And argues the point that my generation is a generation of gamers, and that gamers have a huge, mostly-untapped potential to do a world of good. It's certainly an interesting read, and sort of makes me want to hand a copy to my parents who said that gaming would never help me in real life.

(And now, since apparently I can't deal with that much optimism, I'm reading what might be one of the most depressing books I've ever read. And my high school lit classes were awash in shining examples of depressing books.)
ultranos: kino and hermes on a coffee break (i need a coffee break)
1) Saw Sucker Punch on Friday with the Usual Suspects. I suspect this is a movie that people will either enjoy or hate. Me, I enjoyed it, but I completely turned off my brain after the last trailer ended and was highly sleep-deprived. If you think about it too hard, you will probably be disappointed. It probably also helped that I had zero expectations beyond "stuff exploding". Which happened! And there were clockwork Nazi zombies. So, you know.

It was video game movie. Those are always terrible, but at least this was entertaining, which puts it a cut above most. Sucker Punch does not exist as a game, but I watched it and kept thinking "I played that in Dragon Age, and that in Time Crisis, etc." I was left with the desire to go play Ninja Gaiden or Bayonetta afterwards. Especially Bayonetta.

2) Went up to NH today on a whim and ended up at one of the Borders' closing sales. Where I happened to score the first season of TSCC for $15. Win.

3) BlazBlue continues to be fun. I need to figure out which characters are the lightning bruisers or fragile speedsters, because that's my play-style for fighting games and until I find them, I will suck. The game is also fairly challenging even on Beginner mode, which is cool. I'm less excited about fighters where I can buttonmash and end up winning arcade mode (Soul Calibur 3, I'm looking at you).

4) I finished Usurper of the Sun by Housuke Noriji last night. I might do a more thorough review later, but it was quite good if a somewhat hard-SF novel about first contact that follows the female protagonist from age 16 to age 40+ as humanity tries to figure out how to deal is the kind of thing you like. Which I do.
ultranos: red stickman on fire (the burning!)
Seeing as how the end of 2010 was marked by Crazy Rapid Spending on my part (damn you Steam and Amazon Student! *shakes fist*), my List of Games To Play and List of Books To Read are both rather long. And in an effort to make me actually, you know, not have made this a complete waste of money and make me play/read them, would people be interested in reviews of either or both?

Books to Read in 2011 )

Games to Play List )
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: Actual MIT hack of roadsign. "MASS AVE BRIDGE CLOSED / SUNDAY 04/22/07 6AM-3PM / TO APPEASE GODZILLA" (have you appeased godzilla today?)
1) I seem to have signed up for [livejournal.com profile] fandom_stocking. Mine's here. Um. I'm not quite sure how this happened. I blame the dullness of watching solder melt.

2) My job got exciting again! And...I actually can't really talk about it too much. *kicks the ground* Cutting edge research means you actually kinda do need to practice information security. But it might involve rail guns. Maybe.

3) I suddenly want to buy a lot of Nerf guns. *stares at the Longstrike and the Stampede* I wish the Longstrike actually acts sort of like a sniper rifle, with a much better range than other guns. I was very disappointed by the Longshot's range.

4) Why did the not-really-awake part of my brain decide this morning that writing a sequel to "Tilden's Law" would be a really good idea? The sane and rational part of my brain is already gibbering in a corner.

5) I STILL WANT HOT POT. [personal profile] abyssinia, I'm torturing myself over here.

6) I got myself addicted to some indie games on Steam recently. Chief among them is a shmup called Beat Hazard. It uses your music files to generate weapons, ammo, power-ups, enemies, and bosses.

My music is literally trying to kill me. And it is AWESOME.

7) I finished All You Need is KILL by Hiroshi Sakurazaka. It was good. I posted a review on [livejournal.com profile] book_buzz, and I'm starting Usurper of the Sun by Housuke Nojiri, which is also very good so far. I'm really impressed by the Haikasoru Imprint books so far, and have a pile of books in translation I'm chewing through, with more to come. As I said, I'm planning on posting reviews on book_buzz, but would people be interested in me crossposting the entries here as well?

I just figure there are probably people on my flist/circle who would be interested in Japanese sci-fi and fantasy. (Sci-fi with characters of color! Written by non-Western authors! With strong female characters! I'm actually dead serious about the last one.)
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: cecilia adelhyde holding spell book (the world in my hand)
I stumbled across a book series I loved as a youngish teen while surfing Amazon (don't ask), and in a moment of weakness brought about by nostalgia, I've managed to track down and order copies of William Nicholson's Wind on Fire Trilogy.

This is one of those series I mourn the lack of fandom for. Kestrel eats awesome for breakfast. (And I possibly nearly developed a crush on my mental image of Bowman by Book 2, Slaves of the Mastery) Am I the only one who remembers reading these books? Because seriously, they are/were awesome.

Speaking of books, I might give up on The First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie for the moment. I'm just not in the correct mood for it. I think I'm going to start Across the Nightingale Floor (Book 1 of Tales of the Ootori) by Lian Hearn next. Probably.

As I'm at it, anyone got any particularly interesting book recs? I hear I have a membership to a certain library on campus...
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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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