ultranos: ashley from Trace Memory (white-haired girl) sleeping (sleepy)
*tap tap* Is this thing on?

So I haven't exactly been posting lately. I've been reading, but it's a lot easier to read than post and/or comment. Most of why I've been busy is the new job. Working between two labs is crazy, guys. But it's the good kind of busy. Even if it does mean I'm running between campus and hospitals. ("I need to go to Longwood." "What?! Are you okay!?" "What? OH, FOR WORK. I AM GOING TO LONGWOOD FOR WORK. EVERYTHING IS FINE.") 9 and 11-hour days make scheduling ridiculous, as I need to not work overtime or else the admins will get grumpy so I have to do some creative accounting to make sure everything more or less washes out in aggregate. (I don't actually want overtime. My current theory is lying about that will get me what I want in the long run.)

I am also assuming that I'm currently doing an acceptable job as both labs just keep stacking more things in my lap as I've apparently proven competent and more papers to read as I've apparently proven capable of understanding things.

In other news, apparently the fall TV season started or something. I'm out of the loop. Instead, I found myself reading manga again, and fell head-first into Shingeki no Kyojin / Attack on Titan. I'm currently describing it as post-post-(post?)-apocalyptic survival horror. Really, though, I was sold when Isayama introduced Mikasa. I will have words with you if you don't like Mikasa. (DMark has already declared he will ragetableflipquit the series if she ends up dying. Along with the rest of us.)

I also picked up from Amazon the RPG sourcebook Don't Rest Your Head on Kindle. It looks to be a neat little system, enough that I shelled out for the PDF supplement book Don't Lose Your Mind directly from Evil Hat. System looks to be strongly focused on roleplaying and narrative, rather than mechanics. The mechanics themselves are extremely simple, but the way they serve to bolster the story for the players/GM is quite elegant. I think I need to try it, perhaps running a one-shot or short campaign. I've got some ideas. I also want to see how it fits my theory of narrative torque in RPGs. (Which also reminds me that I've been meaning to run a Kuro campaign for approximately the last six months. Go me.)

Speaking of games, I spend part of the day playing through a nifty little browser game: A Dark Room. I highly recommend it. It's a great example of minimalist game design, where every mechanic and piece of text serves to contribute to the story and world. It's also great in that it'll run in a browser tab and only demand your attention every once in awhile. You actually need to ignore it and let it run for awhile to finish it (resource generation).

Next time in this space: More game talk? Maybe I'll read a book that's not a text book? WHO KNOWS.
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: 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: 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: ashley from Trace Memory (white-haired girl) sleeping (sleepy)
I seem to be battling insomnia again. I do not remember the last time I got a solid 8 hours of sleep. The world is starting to go kinda fuzzy at the edges, and yet, here I am. I do not know why this keeps happening. I thought I was done with this ridiculousness after I graduated. SOMETIMES, I'M WRONG.

So, last post I mentioned that friends were trying to rope me into running a tabletop. Probably in no small part of the aformentioned sleep-deprivation, they succeeded. Now I find myself trying to cram the rules for a system I've never used before (nor have my players) into my head before the first session in less than two weeks. Apparently, there's a d6-based A Song of Ice and Fire roleplaying game. Fascinating!

Yes, I'm running a ASoIaF campaign. It takes place "20 minutes post A Dance with Dragons", meaning news of the events of the later chapters hasn't entirely propagated nor is the status of the later chapters in stasis. The premise is minor spoilers for ADwD )

In further evidence that my life revolves around gaming, when I've not been focused on that, I've been working on the IAP tenday I'm supposedly running. I am trying not to let panic and despair set in due to the realization that it might be inevitable that Synchronicity gets compared to HP: Year 7. Because there are fundamental differences in the type of games that mean that Synch really can't live up to Year 7. Mainly that Year 7 had this established world so didn't have to do as much world-building to establish with players what to expect. That and it's kinda wish-fulfillment: seriously, you got to pretend you were a Hogwarts student. How many years have some people been waiting for that? Meanwhile, Synch's a Guild original, and I don't know if we're going to get that level of immersion and favor. I don't know. It's kind of needless panic, but in the dark hours of the night, it eats at me, because I want to run the best game possible.
ultranos: cam reaching for a sword, with text "guys, you DID check for traps, right?" (TRAP!)
I seem to be on a classic games kick. And by "classic games", I mean I've found myself utter fascinated by go, shogi, xiangqi, mahjong, and hanafuda. (Strangely, chess isn't doing it for me) This, of course, has led to a in-depth search for game sets that don't actually break the bank. (Hanafuda was easy; I knew Tokai down the street sold sets of cards) Because there are some really beautiful wooden shogi sets, let me tell you. And a goban and stones can easily set you back $100.

Anyway, after much irritation, I finally gave up and ordered a slightly-questionable shogi set from Amazon (there's some confusion as to whether the tail side is painted red or not. In the case of the latter, it's nothing some Testor's paint won't fix). Because apparently, shogi sets are really hard to find in the US if you don't like eBay (which I don't, for long and complicated reasons). It's enough that I was tempted to hijack the laser cutter at work after-hours and make my own, but that's a little more effort than I want to commit at this point. In any case, I should, I don't know, actually learn to play the game.

The go set, that's a little more complicated. Go sets are apparently easy to find. Go sets that are a) reasonably portable, b) quality, and c) not wallet-breaking are apparently only used by dragons and other creatures of questionable existence. I really don't want to drop $60 on a go set when I'm just learning how to play.

(Yes, my life is hard.)

Anyway, this all explains why I got the hilarious (read: stupid) idea I got to tease my mother when she and my dad show up next week on her birthday. See, my mom is really, really good at Chinese checkers (which I found out has nothing to do with China and was actually invented by a German company. THE MORE YOU KNOW). Except the set at home is from sometime before 1980 and is missing most of the pieces. She has also tried many, many times to teach me how to play Chinese checkers. This has had varying amounts of success, mostly because it usually goes this way:

Me: *stares at board* *tentatively picks up a piece and moves it*
Mom: *immediately takes piece and jumps over like 10 of my pieces*
Me: *stares*
Mom: Why did you do that? Didn't you see that coming?
Me: ...
Mom: Well, why not?
Me: ...

ANYWAY, I thought it'd be really funny to show up at their hotel and pull out a brand-new Chinese checkers set as a birthday present. So I got a set. And I'm reasonably sure that I'm probably dooming myself to playing many, many futile games, but the shit-eating grin on my face when I present it to her next week is going to be totally worth it.
ultranos: kino and hermes on a coffee break (i need a coffee break)
1) Had a wonderful birthday on Wednesday (one of my uncles forgot I was turning 25. "I lost 2 years?!"). Highlights include my dad calling me while I was at CBC with 15 other people

(Dad: "Why is it so noisy? Are you out somewhere?"
Me: "Yep. I'm sitting in CBC, with a burger and a tower* right in front of me."
Dad: "That is exactly where you should be."
Me: "I thought you'd approve.")

and Alex, who was sitting next to me, typing away on his smartphone when the waitress was collecting plates. Now Alex always pulls out his smartphone and types on it when we're out eating, and I've just become so used to it that I don't even pay much attention to it anymore. Which is why I didn't notice when he typed on the memopad "BIRTHDAY -->" and aimed the arrow at me and showed it to the waitress.

And thus I was duly surprised by the slice of chocolate cake, scoop of vanilla ice cream, strawberries, and a lit birthday candle.

2) Last night was the other part of what has become something of a tradition for my birthday, which is find a bunch of bad movies, pile onto the couch, order pizza, and watch them. Sans alcohol, because we are masochists. This year we managed two: Sharktopus, the terrible SyFy made-for-TV movie from ~2 weeks ago (OH GOD, THE PAIN) and Battletruck (Warlords of the 21st Century), which was not actually terrible, just had terrible pacing (and had a very nice explosions budget).

The field trip to J.P. Licks for an oreo ice cream birthday cake made it better, followed by Tales from 3.091 First Exam from DMark, who's a TA this term. OH CHILDREN.

3) Why am I considering NaNoWriMo? Is it because I'm not in college any more? I'm already writing a tenday LARP and a DnD 4e mini-campaign. I guess this could be an excuse to get one of my original fic or fanfic epics done. I'd have to decide whether I want to do one of the xaos books (crazy science-fantasy space opera-ish, I guess. It's complicated and has been kicking around for over 10 years in my head), or Wintermarch (semi-low fantasy where magic is weirdshit and the protagonists are former child soldiers-now-adults mage mercenaries after the war is over. Since the titular "Wintermarch" is somewhat based on the holdings of the Matsumae clan, there's probably going to be a heavy influence of Japanese, Chinese, and Russian legend, myth, and culture. Yaay research).

4) I'm going back to ToV next weekend. I have yet to decide if this is a good idea or not, because right now, I'm not incredibly enthusiastic about spending 3 days LARPing in the woods in western Massachusetts. This will probably change over the week. (Unless this sporadic cough actually turns into an illness, at which point, uh, suck.)

5) I have Monday off! *dances* Yay Institute holidays!

*Tower = 100fl oz of beer in a cylinder with a tap at the bottom, so many people at the table can share.


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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