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: cameron mitchell holding up "do not enter force shield active" sign to sam carter (always read the warning labels)
How to Write a Generic Sci-Fi Novel by Paul McAuley.

Includes such gems as:

Also include either a kickass woman who can do the unacceptable things that would make your hero unlikeable, or a wise old soothsaying woman who speaks in parables and knows things that can’t be found on the internet. See also: sidekick comedy robot.

and "No matter how technologically advanced your future society might be, its sociology and economics are basically those of the seventeenth century."

It's really "generic TV/movie sci-fi", BUT YOU KNOW. I need to now go and find Paul McAuley's books.
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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: cecilia adelhyde holding spell book (Default)
David Gaider is a lovely man.

(Warning I guess for stupid homophobia but worth it for the eloquent smackdown on the Privilege of the Majority by one of Bioware's writers. Of course, there may be Stupid in the comments, I didn't read them.)

This coupled with recent serious discussions I've seen on inclusiveness and intersectionality (racism! sexism! homophobia! We need to FIX THESE THINGS!) in the gaming world is starting to make up for years of stupid.
ultranos: ashley from Trace Memory (white-haired girl) sleeping (sleepy)
In a hilarious coincidence, a significant section of my social circle in meatspace apparently suddenly decided to also start watching Avatar: the Last Airbender. So I'm apparently not entirely late to the party, but somehow still playing catch-up.

It's kinda fun being able to bounce reactions off each other. And have other people going "my god, this is remarkably Asian".

Thoughts while watching up through s01e17 [partial list]: )
ultranos: naoto in glasses looking a bit skeptical (wait what?)
Finished Persona 4 earlier tonight (like I said, January 31, 2010 is really the perfect day to beat a Persona game. Only thing better would have been if it were Persona 3). Now I'm kind of sifting through my feelings for it while listening to the soundtrack on iTunes.

Which is causing interesting feelings in my chest as my heart clenches at certain moments with the music as I remember key plot points and battles. (Shoji Meguro absolutely outdid himself on this soundtrack. "The Genesis" is some of the most epic music ever.)

It's interesting, you know, how music can be tied into events in visual media, and how it's used to hammer home an impact. And how if it's used badly, it can totally ruin everything. P4's the latest in this string for me, but I can't help but want to kick some serious ass whenever I hear "Libera Me from Hell" (Tegan Toppa Gurran Lagann) or "Battle for Everyone's Souls" (Persona 3), or straighten up a little when I hear the "Imperial March", or a hundred other little things. (Oddly, I can't recall a leitmotif from the 'gateverse that really has the same effect.)

I don't know if that's a remnant from my (very slim) music training as a kid. Or rather, whatever that music training I got left is that I react very well to crazy electric guitar chords. I do wonder how it is for other people.

Anyway, I know that this seems odd for most people on my flist, to have such an emotional response to a video game. To a lot of people, it probably doesn't make much sense. I can argue that it's very much like TV shows or movies or books, that the games I'm fond of (RPGs, especially Eastern RPGs) can have engaging characters and stories, but it's possibly outside the realm of easy comprehension for a lot of people. How in the world can I have an emotional reaction and get attached to characters who exist only as a series of 1s and 0s on a disc? It's not the printed word, nor is it actors on a screen, or animation.

Maybe it's because video games are still a young industry. And that it's only been within the last 20 or so years that RPGs have really been trying for stories (Eastern, at least. Western still is more sandbox-y, but that's changing too). That's not a long time. And it's very different from other game genres, like FPSes (Half-Life) and platformers (Mario, Sonic).

But I just finished spending over 100 hours of my life with a group of characters, who were fleshed-out and had character development and grew as people over the course of a year in-game. 100 hours. That's more hours than Stargate Atlantis has.

So when I put down the controller and watched the ending, since the Protagonist is such a blank slate in this game, he really pretty much is you...I felt like I was leaving Inaba myself. And all my dear friends who'd been through so much with me, and grew stronger as people, were saying good-bye to me as well.

Damn if that doesn't hurt.

I haven't had this feeling from a game in a very, very long time, if ever. (Maybe the closest was Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete) In fact, I don't recall having this feeling for any form of media in a long time.

Well done, Atlus. You now own my soul.
ultranos: hurt edge with text: the stupidity pains me ... i need an advil (make the stupid stop)
Made it home yesterday and hauled suitcases through 6 inches of snow up since the sidewalk wasn't shoveled yet. All before 11am. Then proceeded to be completely out of it for the rest of the day.

Watched a fantastically bad post-apocalyptic sci-fi movie called The Last Sentinel, which taught us that any explosion can be escaped with nary a scratch, as long as you jump into at least 6 inches of water. It also contained Katee Sackhoff as the principle female lead, and got the credit "Girl". Yes, no actual name. (Was BSG on hiatus or something around 2006?)

It was hilariously bad. Not to mention the sniper scope had an AI that would not shut up. I mean, I should have known something about the, um, quality of what we were about to watch seeing as it came in a four-pack of sci-fi movies for $5 Yarmond picked up at Target. But we seriously weren't expecting Prince of Fallout: The Sands of LA. I WAS ALMOST EXPECTING HEADCRABS.
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ultranos: souji with his head stuck inside a tv (tv is eating my brain)
I occasionally read Joystiq. Not nearly as often as I check out Engadget or RPGamer, but I do. Anyway, in my obsessive drive to avoid schoolwork watch P3P trailers endlessly find out if an English release date for P3P has been announced, I stumbled upon the following:

New 'Gaymer' Survey Explores Sexual Identity, Interest in Games

I haven't looked at the survey yet, but, holy shit you guys, it could be the exact opposite of SurveyFail! The guy who wrote the survey is himself a member of the community he's surveying! And his goal here is to make things better because he's a baby game designer!

Anyway, I'll probably take a look at the survey at some point, and I really, really hope it isn't full of Fail. But these excerpts from the Joystiq article are promising:
Excerpts: )

(And yeah, he totally has a point about the pain female gamers have gone through with the industry trying to "reach" us. Oh, the stories I could tell...)
ultranos: lightning in freefall for a shot (girl's got a gun)
Went and saw GI Joe: Rise of Cobra last night. I hadn't watched the trailers or anything, so when I was bored last night and people were going, my questions really were "Is there mindless violence and explosions?" "...yes." "Okay then."

My inner twelve-year-old was extremely happy.

The movie itself was pretty much 2 hours of toy pr0n, with lots of gadgets and bad science ("uh, I'm pretty sure particle accelerators don't work that way"), questionable design decisions ("your nanobots do what? And there's how many killswitches? Oh this has zero failure modes."), and some general goofy camp. The combination of bad science and gadget envy pretty much culminated in the plane sequence when my brain went: "I want that plane. Science I'm pretty sure doesn't work like that. I WANT THAT PLANE."

It's not the greatest comic book movie ever, and I think I still like Iron Man better, but it wasn't a waste of $11. I'm glad I saw it, because sometimes you just want a action flick with explosions, and at least this one had the bonus of a plot and humor.
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ultranos: ashley from Trace Memory (white-haired girl) sleeping (head down go to sleep)
-Crack fic has broken 10k words. I haven't even finished Part I (really, Act I) yet. I'm vaguely worried about how the hell I'm gonna post this thing. Vaguely. I'll figure something out when the time comes. (Er, sorry if this seems like all I'm talking about lately. It's just seriously eaten my brain.)

-Speaking of brain nomming, I've apparently found myself writing a SIK game based on the Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 'verse. Why, I don't know. But I made a fusion table! Hurray for d20s.

-We will NOT speak of how my character for my friend's Persona-based tabletop seems to be influencing the crack fic development. She is accomplishing this mostly by looking sad and pathetic at me in my head and why can I not resist a character's puppy-eyes?!

I swear there is something wrong with me.

-We will also not speak of how the Atlantis d20 rulebook has stalled. All I need is flavor text on NPCs, an intro, and damn vehicle stats. It's really just grunge work that I keep being a lazy ass about and putting off.

-I should really buy my Chicago con tickets at some point. And I guess autograph tickets so I can get the Core d20 book signed, because I am a dork.

-Leverage makes me happy. We just finished s1 last night. We're savoring it, like a fine wine. Okay, actually, we're well aware that once we catch up, getting our fix is going to be less immediate.
ultranos: lightning in freefall for a shot (girl's got a gun)
So, uh, I finally got around to watching Leverage.



Have I ever mentioned I have a weakness for heist films? Ocean's Eleven. The Italian Job. Sneakers.

This show...it's feeding RIGHT INTO IT. It's like pure crack.

I can't tell if Parker or Hardison is my favorite. Parker is awesomesauce. Hardison...is a man after my own geeky heart. Had both me and Yarmond laughing at the antics and just sheer cleverness of some of the steps in the job.
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ultranos: rastler has no victory parade, holding his sword before an army (i could have been king)
Have been mainlining Sarah Connor Chronicles. I just finished 02x12. I have found that I can barely talk about this show without resorting to capslock and mad flailing on the keyboard. This will prove to be problematic when I have to write 10 pages about Terminators and AI and what it means to be human and and and... YOU GUYS. EVEN THE CHARACTERS WHO SHOW UP FOR (PROBABLY) ONE EPISODE ARE AWESOME.

spoilers for 02x12: Alpine Fields )

Why are my monitors not spontaneously-combusting from the awesome? (Er, not that I'm complaining, because they were expensive)

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ultranos: daniel jackson stares at coffee mug and wonders "who drank my coffee?" (need caffeine; this is unacceptable)
Yes, I know I should be writing/debugging hardware code right now, but my brain is absolutely fried. (And this project is due by 8:30PM, so I'm trying really, really hard not to be utterly screwed and just pushing myself to the limit because I don't even remember the last time I had 8 continuous hours of sleep.)

Anyway, once I make it to midnight, my week suddenly looks a lot better and I can actually think about some of the other projects I have. One of which is for my sci-fi/fantasy class. The first half of the class is reading/watching classic examples of cyberpunk. The second half is student-driven, wherein we present topics of our choice to the class. So, I need to find a topic. The requirements are "a) in sci-fi and/or fantasy, and b) you can write 10 pages on it".

I just might have gotten convinced by a friend of mine to do a paper on artificial intelligences and extremely humanoid robots/androids in sci-fi.

Have I mentioned said friend has absolutely no idea of my fascination with a certain Stargate villain and, in fact, has possibly never even seen Stargate?

So anyway, dear flist, I need sources for this paper. Hit me up with some recommendations for books/movies/essays/tv shows/video games with interesting humanoid robots and/or artificial intelligences (specifically not including Blade Runner, The Matrix, and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, as those are covered in class already)?

(My current list includes:
TV: Stargate SG-1, Stargate: Atlantis, The Sarah Connor Chronicles, and newBSG (which I may or may not include, as I have not watched it and I do not know if I'll have the time to mainline it prior to the paper being due).
Movies: Terminator
Games: Wild Arms, Xenogears, Portal
ultranos: daniel jackson stares at coffee mug and wonders "who drank my coffee?" (need caffeine; this is unacceptable)

  • One of the hardest things about writing this rulebook is not actually having to crunch numbers and figure out stats for pretty much everything. In the 5 years since I first started playing the d20 system, I've gotten a lot better at seeing what things work and what don't. No, the thing that's really hard is trying to make everything that happened in SGA (and SG-1) at least plausible in the d20 system. (Okay, a lot of it requires an unholy number of critical successes, but we are just going to bloody handwave that.) This means determining internally consistent rules for how weapons, ships, random computer tech, Wraith weirdshit, Ancient weirdshit, etc all work.

    Yes. I am trying to hammer in consistency into the 'gateverse.

    May god have mercy on my soul.

  • I found myself on Friday trying to teach myself CSS. I learned how to do HTML 10 years ago, so I guess I figured I might as well try to join the 21st century in terms of web design. Verdict: it's cute, and it's a nice way to cut down on all the bloody FONT tags, and I suppose it can save time. On the other hand, I am incredibly minimalist in my views on web design. So.

  • MetaFilter had an interesting link the other day: Pilot School. It's the drafts of the premiere episodes for a bunch of different series, such as Farscape, The West Wing, Firefly, Star Trek: TNG, and the Battlestar Galatica miniseries. Since these are the drafts of the pilots, you can see where the differences are between them and what actually aired.
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ultranos: sam can kill you with her brain (I'm secretly amused actually)
Link finally picked up Continuum yesterday. However, I was elsewhere by the time he got home, so I got told by him and Yarmond that they had "approved it for my viewing pleasure". Thanks guys. Really appreciate that.

We watched last night's SGA as well. Cut for commentary )

I have some pictures of various toys in my room that I'm working on uploading. I'd post them now, but they're on a server linked to my rl name, so, uh, I'm working on a separate solution. :) Default is I throw them onto Flickr. In the meantime, here's some plastic army men:

Plastic Army Man Theater )
ultranos: daniel sleeping on a nuke (even my sleep is dangerous)
We managed to get the second group of Dr. Who watchers through the end of s1 of New!Who this weekend. Well, except for one who left 3 minutes before the end of the season 1 finale, so we're debating on how mean we want to be and not let him watch the last few minutes just so we can see him be all confused by the appearance of David Tennant and lack of Christopher Eccleston.

Yes, we are bad people.

I also managed to get Torchwood foisted upon me, mostly because we (the first group of watchers) can't see the last 4 episodes of s4 until next week. And the mastermind behind all this needs his fix. Well, when he's not playing Titan Quest.

I did manage to get copies of the first few episodes of In Plain Sight, so maybe eventually I'll understand what everyone is talking about.

I'm still blaming Splash )
ultranos: cecilia adelhyde holding spell book (Default)
Saw Iron Man (finally).

Quick Commentary. Here there be spoilers. )
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ultranos: daniel sleeping on a nuke (even my sleep is dangerous)
TV Tropes

To be fair, I have come across this before. I just managed to resist its power then.

This time, however, I was so damn bored. So it became an exercise in this.

Oh hey. Maybe I should go watch the new SGA/work on fic/finish FFV. (Concerning FFV: if this continues, I swear to god there is going to be pirate fic. Balthier, Faris, sky pirates, sea pirates, space pirates with SG, something. I am not kidding.)
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ultranos: black on white safety stick-man getting a companion cube to the head (ow)
Okay, the writers' strike needs to end soon. Why? Because I just sat through Beowulf again. The one that makes no sense (post-apocalyptic medieval steampunk?), has horribly inappropriate music (techno), and acting that makes Sci-Fi's Original Movies look Oscar-worthy (is his facial expression supposed to look like that?).

Highlight of the movie (well, one of many):
"Hey, that guy in chainmail looks like a Jaffa."
"Oh god, you're right."


"Dammit, now I can't watch him without thinking 'Kree!'"

Even Later...

"Okay, Beowulf looks like he's trying to be Jack O'Neill and failing."
"I don't see it."
"Come on. Black shirt, white hair, and Grendel looks like an Unas."
*After the fight, Beowulf has on a dark olive collared shirt over the black t-shirt.*
"Okay, now he looks like Jack O'Neill"

After the movie, we looked on IMDB to find out what other things the actors, writers, and directors had done. We found out that one of the people in charge of the screenplay was also responsible for Dungeons & Dragons and the other did an episode of He-Man and the Defenders of the Universe, which explains so. much.. Also, the actor who played Grendel? Was in 3 episodes of Stargate SG-1: "Beast of Burden", "The First Ones", and "Thor's Hammer"...as an Unas.

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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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