duinemerwen: (fascinating horror)
2017-07-15 03:52 pm
duinemerwen: (Default)
2017-07-15 01:34 am
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by the way

By the way I've started a Game of Thrones fantasy league. Join up before drafting on Sunday.

Join here: http://www.fantasizr.com/joinleaguelink?league=6005360961781760&key=8Fe315d3fABca1bcD4CeDC70BcDA4D ;

 I suggest turning on autodraft in Settings > Draft Rankings. Your characters get points for being awesome, getting naked, or drinking (among other actions).

Info here: https://www.theverge.com/2017/7/7/15892436/game-of-thrones-season-seven-preview-fantasy-league ;
duinemerwen: (guh)
2017-07-15 12:01 am
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Fic rec: Unmanifest Destiny (Stargate Atlantis)

Title: Unmanifest Destiny
Author: Vain_glorious
Fandom: Stargate Atlantis
Pairing: None
Categories: Alternate Universe, friendship
Length: 8k
Warnings: None, PG-13
Summary: Following the events of 5X01, Team Sheppard goes to Earth and takes a roadtrip across the US. Goes AU after the infirmary scene in 5X01 with Sheppard and Teyla

My thoughts
Well, perhaps you are wondering exactly what makes this AU? Heh.

I won't spoil anything specific. This is an amazing fic about a road trip that the team takes. They get into some shenanigans. Rodney gets cranky, Ronon rampages, and Teyla visits museums. Sheppard feels it all ends too soon and the author managed to make me feel the exact same way, sad and a bit in denial and kind of desperate, and then it's all over. A fic has never made me feel the same way its protagonist feel before. The author is a brilliant, manipulative sadist. God damn, I'm not sure any other fic will ever make me feel this way again, but I'm not sure I could handle it.

duinemerwen: (Default)
2017-07-12 10:33 pm
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There are no more Stargate Atlantis episodes for me to watch.

But, I've figured out that I can filter out tags and pairings on AO3, so I've got that going for me now. 

And there's, like, four dozen "official" novels. 
duinemerwen: (garrus)
2017-06-29 01:54 pm

Fic: The Half Life of Element Zero

I'd like to take this opportunity to direct your attention to an excellent fic in progress, that I happen to be beta'ing.

Title: The Half Life of Element Zero
Fandom: Dragon Age and Mass Effect crossover
Pairing: Lady Inquisitor/Solas, Lady Inquisitor/Cullen
Categories: ADVENTURE
Length: 10k and counting
Warnings: Violence, swearing - nothing that would be out of place in canon.
Summary: After being discharged from the Alliance, Commander Helen Trevelyan joined the Andromeda Initiative, thinking to leave her personal tragedies and a psycho ex-boyfriend behind her. She expected to sleep for 600 years, and wake up in a med bay. Instead, she crash-landed on the side of a snow-covered mountain, ten-thousand years later. She is alone, confused, and dying from eezo radiation. And the only sign of civilization is an old church in the distance. A Post-Modern Girl on Thedas fic.

What I thought: God damn, fish-out-of-the-water crossover fics aren't usually my thing but this one is really good. The author does a good job of exploring the consequences of Helen's crash landing in Thedas. Balding, medieval-quality hygiene, translator problems, and culture shock abound. And there's a reason why an Andromeda Initiative biotic landed in Thedas, of all places. Problems are fully explored and not handwaved away with space magic. I particularly appreciate the author's Solas POVs.

[x] linguistic stick up the ass
[x] kinda racist
[x] obviously up to things
[x] not the only one whose friends are all dead

I'm a beta for this fic and I can't spoil anything but this fic is going places.

duinemerwen: (eowyn snark)
2017-06-22 02:42 pm
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Pirates of the Caribbean - Accidentally Genius

There's something special about the first POTC movie. I'm partial to the third one (is it the soundtrack? the finality? the wedding scene???) but this guy made a whole video about it. Worth a watch.

duinemerwen: (Default)
2017-05-14 01:24 am
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Riverdale and future fantasy aquariums

Riverdale aired its season finale on Thursday. That was some fantastic trash! I'm kinda excited it'll be returning in September but most of the actors are 20+, how many seasons will Riverdale have before the actors start getting Glee syndrome?

Also, this deleted scene... OMG I'm so glad they didn't keep it, but I wish it had popped up in a previous episode!

Also my thesis is like 23000 words long and I'm very happy that the finish line is in sight now, though I had to reestimate all my models again on Wednesday, but I've been much happier ever since I took out SVMs. They took 10x longer to estimate than all my other models put together.

Also, I want an aquarium. Thinking 15-20g with Java moss, some anubias, a Java fern, a betta, and 6-8 pygmy corys. Ah, but I killed my hornwort in 7th grade, so what do I know? 
duinemerwen: (that's not how the force works)
2017-04-24 12:31 am
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the vending machine

Last week all the snacks were replaced with Munchies snack mix and the bottom flap told me to smoke weed everyday.

Also, Bioshock Infinite was not the game I needed to play last week. Its themes of american exceptionalism and nationalism are, how say, a lot more relevant now than they were in 2013. And I already knew the ending but this time I found it impossibly hopeless and demoralizing because sometimes things never change.

There are a million million worlds. All different and all similar. Constants and variables. There's always a lighthouse. There's always a man, there's always a city... I can see them through the doors. You...me, Columbia, Songbird... But sometimes, something's different...yet the same.
duinemerwen: (Default)
2017-04-18 12:44 am
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I finished Mass Effect Andromeda...

... and the ending made me very happy! 

Unfortunately there was still far too much filler in the game and though I may try it again later, skipping all the side quests and exploration, but only when Bioware patches the bugs.
duinemerwen: (Default)
2017-04-03 01:33 am
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More reasons to be sad

 - The neighbour cut down their tree in the front yard. There was nothing wrong with it. They just didn't want the roots creating lumps in the driveway.
- Gotta socialize at an industry mixer today. I don't really want to...
- Need to write several pages about machine learning techniques. I'm not qualified to do that. Profs should have hired a fourth-rate CS grad student instead. 
- Reyes Vidal. 
duinemerwen: (garrus)
2017-03-29 01:45 am
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Mass Effect Andromeda - initial impressions

 Reviews for Andromeda have been mixed - ranging from "it's pretty good!" to "it has some technical problems" and "AN AAA GAME UNDER 80 ON METACRITIC IS A FAILURE, EVEN DRAGON AGE 2 GOT 82/100" - so I was pretty wary of spending 90 buckaroos on a game. 

Well Shivani and I went splitsies on it and I'm happy to say it doesn't suck. I like it a lot

- It definitely feels like Dragon Age Inquisition IN SPACE but somewhat less tedious because movement speed is faster.
- Planet scanning is somehow back with even longer animations which is annoying because there are A LOT OF PLANETS
- Combat is great! The jumping is great! The scenery is beautiful! 
- All the jumping and lack of being able to direct squadmate powers at a single target anymore though means that combat is a lot less tactical than before :( 
- Driving the Nomad is. Alright. It's a lot better than running around a forest in Dragon Age Inquisition, for sure. 
- Love the Tempest and the crew. Great ship layout. Squadmates are great too. I don't hate any of them. 
- I miss the more "Renegade"-flavoured options but I'm sure the protagonist will grow into them. 
- I tried to style my PC as ginger Negasonic Teenage Warhead with red hair but I ended up with Tommen Baratheon again. 
- I'd like to play on insanity but the save system (no saving during priority missions...) often means going back to loot a container several times because I died. So, I've been playing on hardcore instead. 
- The "banter bug" from DAI is back :( 
- I'm not done yet but the sequel is gonna be awesome 

As a $45 (with the friendo discount) this is great. Is this game worth $90? Maaaaaybe, if they'd fixed the banter bug and shortened the planet scanning animations. 
duinemerwen: (pretty ok)
2017-02-02 12:44 am
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Things I am doing this week, in order of increasing enjoyability

- Making the training set for my thesis work :(
- Finishing the minor revisions on That One Paper (... There is only one paper)
- Finishing Adam's X-Wing (why won't he try it himself?) 
- Visiting Justin and eating Justin's food
- Betaing a Solas/Trevelyan kinkmene fill (It's going to be, like, 10000 words long and it's really good so far!) 
- Climbing into probably some SEWER TUNNELS to get a D5/T5 geocache! 
duinemerwen: (Default)
2017-01-28 02:39 am
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- 2016 was so awful that Closer made #1 on Todd in the Shadow's top 10 hit songs of 2016.

- I'm making my own list of favourite lines in songs (it's mostly empty) and I've filled in two slots.

One is the "Call me up just to break me like a promise/ So casually cruel in the name of being honest" from All Too Well.

The other one is "Most people take out the trash, they don't bring it home"

The entire 2 and a half minutes of this is great, but I think the artist could stand to sound less pretty. The song is too serene. I derive all of the emotion from it from the beautifully contemptuous lyrics but she only seems to feel it when her voice turns down on the "I don't want to wash the sheets, I want to burn the bed." If she's at the point where she wants to burn the bed she should make her questions sound less hurt and more rhetorical. Still a great song
duinemerwen: (hip late night)
2017-01-27 01:07 am
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Riverdale - episode 1

Ever since Archie comics shook off the Hays comic code they've been doing some interesting things, chiefly Afterlife with Archie, but now also Riverdale. I have some small thoughts about episode 1 - river's edge:

- I like the casting! Veronica (Camila Mendes) is an excellent pick, for sure and she has the best material this episode. Archie (K. J. Apa) looks like a slightly younger Andrew Garfield and Betty (Lili Reinhart) looks like Heather Morris from Glee. I guess it's worth mentioning the cast diversity, relatively speaking. On paper everyone (except Chuck and Nancy) look white as mayo, but Josie and the Pussycats are clearly set up as Destiny's Child, Reggie and Dilton are now the Cool (douche) Asian and Asian Nerd respectively, and Veronica is now Latina. So, this is very cool! 
- That being said I still think it's very weird for actors in their 20s (... Cole Sprouse) to play 15 yr olds. Is it normal for 15 yr olds to be ripped? 
- It's also very odd that Miss Grundy looks nearly the same age as the students... and I can't believe she's in that romance subplot. Squick. What the hell? 
- the dialogue is pretty stylized, but after all, Riverdale is more Brick than Mean Girls. This is not a bad thing. 

My personal predictions, which i will update as time goes on: 
- Betty is going to go completely off the chain by the end of the season, out of stress, and... extenuating plot factors that force her to grow a backbone. Also, I can't see her accepting what Archie was up to that summer. 
- Miss Grundy is going to die. 
- It's jarring that Kevin acts so flamboyant in an adult way at the tender age of 15. IDK it felt a lot more subdued when Kurt in Glee was camping it up. I wouldn't be surprised if they reveal that Kevin did the wild thang for the first time when he was 13, is extremely traumatized on the inside, and pulls a Brandon from Easy A. And dies. 
- Cheryl didn't commit the murder. That's too obvious. But they're definitely incest twins. That's a known fact. She is going to survive and be very unhappy. 
- Veronica is going to die, because she's currently my favourite character. And she's not really reformed right now. 
duinemerwen: (Default)
2017-01-16 11:42 pm
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The Lyre Thief

 I finished The Lyre Thief. Book 2 in the new trilogy is coming out in March 2017.  This is exciting to me; I don't remember the last time I was this excited for a book. I don't think Helen is excited though. Actually, I don't think she remembers actually reading the Demon Child trilogy at all. That's OK. 

In the meantime I'm going to keep checking out used bookstores to fill in the missing installments in the series I already own, and maybe find something else to read. I haven't decided what yet, though. I was GOING to read The Mists of Avalon, but then I spotted a comment about the author at the bottom of the goodreads page, read too much about that, and now I don't feel like starting :/ 

So I'm thinking about the Crown of Vengeance; I heard it's better than the Phoenix trilogy. Or maybe The Name of the Wind (unlikely), or The Time of the Dark (more likely). 
duinemerwen: (Default)
2016-12-21 01:27 pm
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Fic: Scenes from an accidental courtship (SG-1)

Title: Scenes from an accidental courtship
Fandom: Stargate SG-1
Pairing: Sam/Daniel
Categories: Friendship, romance
Length: 25k
Warnings: None
Summary: "No, not that way. We were really, really good friends." And maybe just a little bit more. Season 7 behind-the-scenes friendship and romance.


What I thought:

OH MY GOODNESS, I don't think I've had so many FEELS to deal with since, like, Kirk/Spock.

This fic hits soooo many points for me. I didn't even know I shipped Sam/Daniel until I read this fic. But what do I know? When I started out reading HP fanfic I was only into canon pairings. And here, having only touched the tip of Stargate fanfiction, I thought that the SG-1 team members had the sexual chemistry of four pumpkins all spaced a polite distance apart from each other. I've tried a few shippin' fics already but none of them have really SOLD their pairings to me yet, y'know?

Well, the characterization of this fic is believable. Which makes the friendship component believable, and the friendship component of this fic is what makes it goes down smoothly. If the friendship aspects of the fic are believable, it's only a gentle slide down to being open to the romance aspects of the fic. But thank goodness the fic is only rated T because I might have not have been able to suspend my disbelief otherwise. Maybe another time, yes? But small steps first.

I also love way that Sorrel draws out the friendship aspect of the fic to add tension so that every time the romance aspect steps it up, I'm more than ready to accept it. Also, UST is delicious.

The last two paragraphs are a kick in the teeth. There is a sequel (Winter). I need a sequel between this fic and Winter in my life, but there isn't one!!!

Anyways I now find Sam/Daniel utterly obvious and natural and all other pairings are ruined for me temporarily.
duinemerwen: (Ampersand)
2016-12-18 03:35 pm
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Fic rec - Pieces tossed aside

Title: Pieces tossed aside
Fandom: Firefly
Rating: R
Words: 9230
Characters: Mal, crew. A touch of Mal/Simon and Kaylee/Jayne, although I would consider this genfic more than anything.
Summary: Paquin goes radio silent. Everything else follows. AU. Set after the TV series.


Why I liked it:

This is the best apocalyptic Firefly fic I've ever read. In this fic, the apocalypse is quiet - where you watch worlds go silent, one at a time, and no news is bad news.

This fic is a perfect blend of despair and hope. By that, I mean it's mostly despair and any hope I picked up on was magnified by own denial about how bad the situation actually was. Also, the end was fantastically ambiguous. I want a sequel but Pieces tossed aside is perfect the way it is. 
duinemerwen: (that's not how the force works)
2016-12-08 02:11 pm
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Stargate SG-1 - Season 3.

Same deal as before.

1 - Kind of an iredeemably rubbish episode.
2 - A bit rubbish but with at least one sufficiently cool part.
3 - A solid episode.
4 - A memorable episode, in a good way. I have a bad memory.
5 - Personal favourite

expand table )

- About the same as Season 2
- The Tok'ra and the Tollan can't be trusted
- Which must be why the Asgard never go running to them for help.
duinemerwen: (that's not how the force works)
2016-12-01 07:25 am
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Embracing Satan

Today, I told Adam to embrace Satan into his heart so that he'd burn at the threshold of the church and wouldn't have to suffer through the Christmas service with his girlfriend. He is an atheist, I'm gently agnostic, and his GF is quite Catholic.

Later, I asked him to explain cross-nested choice models to me and he said he'd do it, "but what's in it for me?" I said I wouldn't mention Satan again. And he said, "I'll take it."

ALSO I did catch a Bioware employee in a Platinum PUG in Mass Effect 3 (Hydra/Cerberus) last night. I outscored him (and everyone else) by 30%. I would have been happier if the host hadn't taken advantage of the Hydra map glitch and spent the entire match camping behind a decorative box.
duinemerwen: (Ampersand)
2016-11-15 01:32 am
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Dishonored 2: I got an early birthday present

Dishonored is depressing as hell but it is one of my favourite games - definitely on my personal top 5 list. So, I was hyped for Dishonored 2. I was so hyped that Justin bought it for me as an early birthday present to put me out of my misery. Also, my birthday comes AFTER Christmas.

There was something special about the first game. It was simple in concept and brilliant in execution. You play an assassin who has been bestowed magical powers by an amoral entity with a beguiling voice. Well the voice was beguiling and intriguingly neutral in the first game, and aggressively petulant in the second. A bad decision on the part of the developers. Compare:

Othertimes, the voice acting feels rushed in cadence during the cutscenes. A bit like certain cutscenes in the Witcher 3. I do appreciate a voiced protagonist, though.
"Having a voiced main does limit some dialogue options, but it's still much better than dozens of heroes who all seem to have lost their voice-boxes in tragic childhood boating accidents."
-- pokeybanana (2012)

I also resent the way that the game spells out the objectives every level and recaps at the end of the level.  And the plot points. In the first game it was only implied that Corvo was Emily's father. In this one the game slaps it right on us in the tutorial and then tells itself that's OK with flavor text later in the first level because it was "the court's worst-kept secret."

Also crafting. Every game has crafting nowadays. If Mass Effect Andromeda has crafting I will be a little bit unhappy (It will definitely have crafting). And it's not even good crafting, it's half-assed crafting designed to check the "crafting" box in Bethesda's publisher checklist. It really breaks realism if I can slap together a trr-effect whalebone charm while perched on top of a streetlight. There are vices all over every single level, couldn't crafting be limited to those vices only?

However there are many aspects of the game that I feel are improvements on the original. Nonlethal drop-takedowns and combat moves now exist! Karnaca is painterly and beautiful. The level design is as good as in the first game but bigger. Emily's powers suit my playstyle better than Corvo's in the first game. I spam F5 and F9 less frequently but according to the stats I've died about 150 times and I haven't even finished my first playthrough yet.

Different game, same principle.

There have also been a lot of reports about performance problems on PC - mainly mouse acceleration weirdness, low frame rate, and stutter. Though I haven't turned on Fraps or anything I haven't personally experienced any of these issues playing on (mostly) Medium settings.

Some of the level design, in addition to being much sunnier and varied than in the original Dishonored, is really creative. The clockwork mansion, for one, is a house whose configuration shifts if certain levers are pulled. In another level, you have to use time travel to solve puzzles and traverse obstacles in an overgrown mansion. My sense of direction is not great so I got lost and confused frequently. It was great. The level design in the original game was also very good but this was better. That said I sure am sick of overgrown mansions and bloodflies. Or for that matter, an overgrown asylum or an overgrown conservatory... Would have liked to see an industrial setting too, like the whale processing plant from Knife of Dunwall. Or a prison.

I also found some unexpected consequences to my actions in unmarked and unlisted objectives. I don't want to spoil this one too much but you can kill nearly anyone (and it only sometimes leads to a game over.)

I feel a little uncomfortable having so much of the plot hinge on the original Dishonored' DLCs - The Knife of Dunwall and the Brigmore Witches.

To summarize:

- Gameplay
- Level design
- Extreme replayability

Steps back:
- Outsider's voice acting
- Objectives really spell things out for you

I think I would be a lot more impressed if I hadn't played Dishonored. To put it another way, Yahtzee says a good sequel should build on the original.
A good sequel--like Half-Life 2, Silent Hill 2, Tranmere Rovers 3--is one that uses the original as a jumping-off point for a whole new story with whole new technology, while a bad sequel merely wallows in the original, like a hippo in a vat of liquidized children.
-- Zero Punctuation: Bioshock 2 Review

Dishonored 2 doesn't do anything particularly innovative but it does make a lot of improvements over the original. The ratio of Dishonored 2 / Dishonored is close to the ratio of Mass Effect 3 / Mass Effect 2 or Portal 2 / Portal. It's lower than the ratio of Mass Effect 2 / Mass Effect 1 but a lot higher than Assassin's Creed Brotherhood / Assassin's Creed 2. I'm not gonna try to compare the Dragon Age games in this context; they're just too different.

This review comes off as kind of negative but at the end of the day I hurt my hand because it's fun to play and I'll happily buy the DLC when it comes out and the university reimburses me for the dang conference.