December 29, 2011

An Angry Letter

Dear Games for Windows Live,

I have no clue why you decide you are important in my single player game, or why you must force your update upon me when I finally have a chance to taste the awesome in Batman: Arkham Asylum with the threat of NOT BEING ABLE TO PLAY THE GAME I JUST RECEIVED.

Your DRM practices are atrocious and I'm sure millions of stolen copies of this game have been distributed around the globe.  Just like roaches, online pirateers never die.  And insulting their intelligence is only going to make them work harder at hacking your game.

You have now successfully made you games harder for legit purchasers to play for the small profit you might receive for being a jerk.  And knowing you, that profit is a pitiful amount compared to what you grossed off this game.  I mean, you still made it for consoles, right?  Then what the hell is your issue, you greedy twits?

In conclusion, Games for Windows Live, I sincerely hope you die in a fire.

With hate,

d20 Sapphire

December 25, 2011

Christmas in the Future

Merry Christmas, readers!

The only reason I'm writing on Christmas is because the rest of my family is sleeping away, including Mystic who was nice enough to join my immediate family for Christmas morning this year.  Being the first one awake means you wait until everyone else is up to open presents.

Writing my Titania Chronicles story has had me pondering in the future if there will be a Christmas?  Will it be culturally significant?  Will it fade away?

There are plenty of holidays that have remained through time and have merely evolved for the needs of the people.  Christmas is actually a good example of that.  Christmas used to be a simple holiday where you ate with friends if you were lucky enough to have the day off.  The super conservative Christians didn't even celebrate Christmas, and even tried to outlaw it in Britain.  Although the holiday had been around for a long time, it wasn't until the 19th century that it culminated into something close to what we have today.  It was molded into a day where one could spend time with family and friends with dinner and dances and games.  Gift exchange became popular at that time too.  In an era where strict rules on children seemed necessary (depending who was doing the raising, of course), it was nice to have a day where one could spoil one's family.

I think in this fashion, Christmas in the future will exist on Earth, and will probably evolve even more.  There may even come a day where there is a strict division in the kind of celebrations families have.  But I think as long as we remain on Earth, there will be some form of Christmas celebrated.

I think it's when you leave Earth, and start to colonize other planets, that the tradition of Christmas will probably fade away.  Christmas is strongly associated with the winter season, and to lose that change of season is to lose a lot of it.  Also, who will know how long it will take to establish the kind of community who can afford the gift giving on Christmas on a new planet.  It's going to take decades of investment to colonize planets, and they're not going to be ready for the kind of commercialism we have on parts of Earth right away.  On top of the fact many of the traditions are rooted in thinks unique to earth--snow, Christmas trees, holly, mistletoe, poinsettias--that recreating it all is going to be artificial, and I'm sure the first colonialists will feel that way.  Feasts won't be readily available.  Christmas, in it's entirety of the experience, will not be available.

Now I need someone from the future to tell me if my predictions are correct.

December 17, 2011

Nerd Christmas Questions

Is the star on the top of your tree a red dwarf?  White dwarf?  Is it a giant?  Bigger than the sun?

Does it have planetary bodies circling it?  A lot?  Asteroid belt?  Is there anything in the habitable zone?  Is it inhabited? Natives?  Or alien colonialization?

How far is it from earth?  How many light years away is it?

How old is it?  Just out of the nebula?  About to become a black hole?

Just something to think about as you decorate for Christmas.

December 15, 2011

A short discussion on biases in video game production

I was bad and I didn't write every day.  I'm sorry, I'll make it up to you somehow.

In the meantime, let's briefly talk about something that has been on my mind for a while. is a great source for amusing articles that make you think.  One that got me thinking was this one about prejudices that still exist in mainstream movies.  It got me thinking about video games, namely because the two are always compared to each other.  To be honest I don't think it's a fair comparison, but that's a different essay for a different day.

My first thought is that video games are better than movies when it comes to some of those stereotypes.  But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that video games tend to have their own problems, for different reasons.

One of the things that has been pointed out before (and of course as I write this I can't find the image I'm thinking of) is that many modern video game heroes look the same:  Well built Caucasian male with brunette hair and dashing good looks.  Unfortunately, like most of the opinions I'll be sharing, here, I'm not able to determine anything with any research.  But my assumption would be that it's because many of the people who have started in the video game industry, and many of the people who work in the cvdeo game industry, are white males.  Even if you have the marketing demographics in intense details saying that he demographic is leaning toward another audience, it's hard for someone creating something to create something that he or she would never be interested in.  And with video games, the appeal is that you are the hero.  If the "you" is a white guy, you're going to idolize what you can relate to--a  more handsome white guy.

I will say though, that a lot of good video games have been good at letting the player decide who they are idolizing.  I have never played a "white" character in any bioware game because I haven't had to play one.  I made the hero to whatever specifications I wanted.  Hell, I had Barack Obama Shepard save the universe in ME2.  This doesn't, however, mean that the developers are forward thinking.  This merely means they are willing to have their audience shape their own experience, and even then to a small extent compared to everything that they have shaped for their audience that won't change.  This isn't necessarily a sign of forward thinking.  This is however, a sign of acceptance that different people, for whatever reasons, want something different out of their gameplay experience.

Even then, sometimes games that mean well can use stereotypes and old ideas to shape the stories they tell.  Or they don't realize exactly what they're doing and what horrible history they're tapping into.  I've spoken about this a couple years ago when I was belatedly addressing the Resident Evil 5 objections.  It's not the only game to have touched upon that either.  I'm not real pleased that the evil Karma side to Cole in inFamous 2 is black swamp tribal lady Nix.  I can tell they tried to make a complex character in Nix, but the problem is that she plays to many of the stereotypes that western society has had for centuries about black people, and stereotypes that people still play to this day.  I'm not going to say these developers are inherently racist, that would seem unfair to label a whole team of people like that.  But I do think they are unaware of the societal norms they've played into, and how best to fight them for the betterment of mutual understanding among every human being.  It makes breaking stereotypes hard when they are validated over and over again in the media.

Speaking of stereotypes, lets not just pick on racial issues.  Gender is also something that video games has a hard time dealing with in a neutral way.  Again, I'm not trying to say the whole industry is (intentionally) sexist.  There is a lot of stuff that is buried in our societal norms that are going to be hard to fight.  Like the severe attraction to waify women who in reality are not strong enough to hold huge dense metal swords or traverse in caverns with arms that have no upper body strength. I have no problem with women being able to do these things.  It's just these women have arms like me, and I know I can't do that stuff.  Maybe a woman built like this could do all that stuff, but they're not idolized in these games.  We're still going for the frail frame build when women are in video games, because in video games women are sexualized 95% of the time.  The kind of sexualization process that mass media will do is making women weaker and more frail, something that you still want to protect from something.  Games do that stuff because it helps sell the game to their mostly male demographic.  In fact, you'll find in some games when they don't intentionally do that to the character, there is a fanbase who will.  Dont' believe me?  Talimancers.

Tali'Zorah vas Neema nar Rayya, now in the cannon Tali'Zorah vas Normandy, is probably one of the strongest, independent female characters in the video game industry, possibly up there with Jade and Alyx Vance with female characters who were not put in just to be sexual objects to oggle at while teen boys killed things.  Okay, maybe not that revolutionary, but she's up there.  When you meet here in Mass Effect, she is a pilgram looking for something that would help her people in fighting the geth, willing to take big risks on her own.  She's nerdy, sleeping in the engine room and able to hack AI from a mile away.  And by Mass Effect 2, you find her confidence and her duty has only grown.  You first meet her young and hopeful, then you find her again determined and steadfast.  She grows up to be an independent woman who chooses to help humanity fight the reapers merely because Shepard is a good friend.  Sure, you can romance her, but it's a mutual respect, a love that grows out of admiration that Tali and Shepard have for each other.  It's not all about allure, it's about deep feelings.  It has to be when you can't even see her friggin face!

Seriously, are you automatically attracted to a space suit?  Because you may want to speak to a professional about that.
On top of that, when her family's honor is on the line she has not problem cursing out her elders while in court.  She a tough, smart woman.

But that is not what you get when you read through some of the posts of her most "loyal" fans, the talimancers.   They talk about how they want to protect her, how she's shy, how she needs to be comforted.  Excuse me?  This girl has fought the geth off on her own and you think YOU can protect her because she occasionally stutters?  It's like they only are attracted to this intelligent woman if she's socially awkward and needs to be nurtured.  Don't worry, Bioware boys, you got you wish, just in a different universe.

No need to project on Tali, Merril will help you with your insecurities.
It's frustrating.  The archetypes of what makes a woman attractive have become so ingrained that if we can't find on that fits it in our preferred fictional universe, we project what we want on one of those characters that would seem to fit it the most. Why wouldn't the industry cater to that if it gets them money?

This is one where even the choices still don't affect the build of the character.  You can have a different look in the hair, skin tone, and face, but the body will always be the same, and it will always appeal to the male demographic, or what the developers will feel appeal to that demographic.  I know that not all men want to oggle at small waists and big boobs, and it's not a crime to like that.  I'm merely asking for some better variety and support complex characters.

Like movies, video games have their tropes that they stick to, some of them prejudiced.  However, because of the custom aspects that games have introduced, and how it's more integrated with feedback from the fanbase, it'll be easier for games to evolve past these things in some respects.  Then again, it's hard to fight industry norms, especially when you're in an industry ruled by giants (console and developer-wise).  What's really going to matter is what we, the gamers, enjoy over time and end up going back to.  If we don't like what's become the standard, we'll just have to gravitate to games that break that standard.  Video games have thrived in a capitalist structure, and we'll have to choose what we want in that structure.  

With that in mind, support all kinds of games, the big and the small.  Choose the big production games carefully, and sing praises to the indie developers who are doing something you love.  This is true for all aspects of video games, not just the prejudice issues I've just discussed.  It's the only way the industry is going to have what you want to play.

December 12, 2011

Great Life Update

I have a new job!

Still leasing, still working on weekends, but I got a great feeling about the career potential.  I start next week, and have this week to get ready.  Yay!

This week will be devoted to nerd pursuits, including this blog!  I have a few things to write, so I'm going to try to write something every week day.  I need to get back into practice of continuously writing about something, and there is a lot of stuff to write about.  In fact, this is always true, but I'm finding more to write about myself.  But I wanted to let you all know my good news first!

In other updates, I think I am going to start playing Star Trek Online with my mother.  She is the one who asked about us playing an MMO together.  My mom is awesome like that.

Tonight is light writing, so I leave you with a video from George Takei.

December 6, 2011

The Mosh Pit Rule

I totally lucked out on winning tickets to an intimate concert of Chevelle, one of the best rock band in the world  from the Chicago area.  I give thanks to 95 Will Rock for not only know being the only modern rock station in the Chicagoland Area now (R.I.P. Q101) but getting tickets to me and some other awesome people last Tuesday.

Mystic and I attended and stayed on the second level.  Mystic doesn't like big groups and even though the Subteranean is a great intimate setting, second level was a bit better if you just wished to spectate.  Which we did, and Chevelle put on a fantastic show, and we got to hear a song from their new album (and coincidentally, that album comes out today, so I guess go crazy and buy Hats Off to the Bull right now!)

There was another show we could watch--the mosh pit.  I've never been in one myself but I fully support the idea of this controlled chaos.  There are a lot of people out there who scoff at the idea of a mosh pit being one of the friendliest things you can do, but it is!  There's a little system to it, like it's own law, that everyone in the pit understands.  Well, everyone who wants to stay in the pit, that is.  I'm sure some of you out there have had different experiences but these have been mine.

There are three different positions you can have in a mosh pit.  Two of them actually involve being in the circle.  I call them the Smashers and the Statues (terms I literally just made up, so don't think this is official lingo).  Smashers are the ones who go all out, looking for people to run into.  It's hard, yes, but it's not to injure.  They'll usually use the sides of their bodies, and not do a lot of limb flailing, instead just running around like pinballs in a machine.  Then you have Statues, who are not necessary for  a mosh pit but they add a little umph.  They'll stay in the middle of the mosh pit, solid and secure, and push any Smasher that bumps into them.  The one I saw used a little bit more arm than any of the Smashers, but you can also just make it a torso thing.  Smasher want to bump into everyone.  Statues want to show how solid they are.

Finally you have the people standing around the pit, which as a collective I refer to as the Boundary.  People in the Boundary are responsible for pushing Smashers back in the circle, keeping the mosh in one singular place and making sure it doesn't spread too far.  People in the Boundary don't necessarily want to be dragged into the pit, and that usually isn't an issue.

With the position are some simple rules.  You keep the pit in the pit.  You do not drag people into or out of the pit.  If someone falls in the pit, you pick them back up.  If you get smashed into, you do not take it personally; the pit is there for the enjoyment of horseplay and you should know that going in.  No weapons in the pit.  And do your best not to be drunk in the pit, because that is a great way to forget about all the other simple rules previously established.  Like I witnessed one guy do...

I can determined if he was drunk since he was a story beneath me, but I could see he was a trouble when he decided it would be a fun idea to pull the Smashers out of the circle while he was part of the Boundry.  He was this tall guy picking fights, and decided to really mess with one Smasher.  The Smasher almost gave him a fight but other people part of the pit pulled them away from each other, giving security at the club time to keep things cool.  After that the pit was back in action for a while.  The tall disrupting guy almost came back to start another fight, this time with anyone in the pit.  Security took him aside ASAP.  Mosh pit continues, with smiles and awesome music in the background.

It's just funny how something so violent can actually be an example of spontaneous governance.

November 28, 2011

In defense of nerd happiness

In my last post, someone responded they have never seen a nerd that is happy.  Bollocks I say!  Here is where I will list all my circumstantial evidence:

-Nerds know what makes them happy, and they pursue them without much hesitation
-It is now cool to be a nerd, so you can't claim they're lonely anymore
-Nerds are more likely to have close friends since not everyone is into their hobbies
-Nerds don't need people to reaffirm their awesomeness, they're used to being called out as weird and most life-long nerds learn not to care
-Depressed people are not as influential or successful as Gene Roddenberry, Isaac Asimov, Madame Curie,   or even Christopher Nolan.  You got to be dedicated to the nerdiness for that kind of success.
-Obama is a Trekkie and he's a genuinely happy guy in the public eye.

If you have never encountered a happy nerd, either you haven't looked, you don't know any nerds, or you're such a debbie downer  you never see happy people.  Nerd pride.

November 21, 2011

Graph Analysis. I promise it's fun!

From Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal by Zach Weiner:

Now, why would this even be true?  Why do nerds have more fun when they're older?

Well, when you are younger it's hard to be into something that is misunderstood, but you get a good close group of friends that way.  Over time, you get used to having your own fun without having to depend on the mainstream ideas of what's ideal.  Do you know what you want?  Do you know what you think?  Do you care if anyone else validates it?  No?  Then you're more likely to be happy than the guy who needs to be reaffirmed about his life choices.

Over time, doubts occur in life because the unexpected happens.  You can do you best to plan out everything the way you've been taught it's "supposed" to be, but it never really turns out that way.  And I think nerds, or people that our more independent of thought in general, know that.  Knowing that makes it easier to take the punches and move on.

Also, nerds are better making their own fun.  My mother taught me that one and she's right!

November 17, 2011

Rules of Acquisition fair?

The Occupy Wall Street Movement is now a staple of culture, and is probably something that will be fleetingly mentioned in my children's 7th grade text books, but we're in the middle of it right now.  And that means there will be humor, like this nerdy meme.

Hilarious, yes, but then it got me to thinking:  Is this fair?

For those of you who don't know, the Ferengi of the Star Trek world, when not being horribly misogynist, are capitalists to the extreme.  The Rules of Acquisition are essentially a capitalist code to live by, where clever selfishness is rewarded, and getting ahead is considered the ultimate goal in their culture.  It's something for a lot of viewers to look at and reply "Oh my that is soooo savage!"

However, when you think about it in multiple ways, it's very fair.  For one, it's Darwinism evolved.  In a trade based society having the best connections and more ownership guarantees survival.  Mercantilism, within the Ferengi at least, is still somewhat valued within an intergalactic society.  Trade will always be necessary.  

Also, one of the things that make it fair is how ruthless the system is.  There isn't any laws protecting anyone, so it's all fair game.  You can get to the top from being on the bottom if you're ruthless and cunning enough.  When there are no rules set by no one person, anyone can win.  

But those are the cultural values of the Ferengi, which may be rooted in some scientific reason for why this cut-throat race to the top has survived.  And also, they have gone to the furthest extreme of capitalism.  The system works merely because no one is safeguarded.  This also gives more incentive to "work ahead".

I'm a dirty hoo-man who likes to look out for my own, and even when we're having discussions about the elite protecting themselves, they're still protecting themselves as a group, not necessarily on the individual level.  I think as time goes on, the definition of "our own" will widen to include the entirety of the human race, and it's a slow progress.  It makes figuring out a democratic system that benefits everyone harder, but it's not impossible.

So in a way, the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition are fair, but we as a culture have to decide what we value and how that can help our survival as a species.  We're some of the most complex organisms to ever live, alter, and explore Earth.  There's definitely a possibility that we can finally find a way to exist on it together without being ruthless.

November 16, 2011


I'm sorry I haven't been writing much, but luckily after the disappointment of Terra Nova, I've found a better show. Grimm!

Now is Grimm super duper fantastic?  Well the first episode was giving me some doubts.  They gave a lot of background in a short amount of time, letting the audience know as much as our hero Nick did before seeing his aunt take on a monster with her bare hands.  Turns out Nick and his family are Grimms--they can spot the supernatural threats to human society, including werebeasts and such.  First episode was based on Little Red Riding Hood, and that at first turned me off.  I fon't want to be reliving all the old fairytales ill fit for modern Oregan.

But the second and third episodes took care of that.  Werebears and bee-people are not something I expected.  And Nick, being a detective, has the know-how necessary to truly investigate.  He gets a little help from his aunt before she passes and he's off on his own with only her notes.  He also enlists the help of a werewolf named Monroe who has reformed his ways.  We haven't, 3 episodes in, have something that would endanger his girlfriend Juliette yet, but hopefully the writers will be creative with the trope.  Come on, we all know it's coming.

The cast is pretty good.  Phenomenal?  No, but they definitely get you hooked enough to the stories.  The setting in Oregon is perfect, the forest and urban areas intertwining is believable and not forced.  The writing is shaky in the first episode, but it gets better as the show goes on.  I will say on all fronts the show isn't shit-your-pants amazing, but I feel like that there is finally a good amount of nerdy shows and this is one is well done and not just milking the from the current nerd popularity teat or ratings.

November 2, 2011

4. Sneaking. Listen.

[If you want to reply to this entry in character/universe, feel free to do so with IC in parentheses in the beginning.]


I was bad.

Don't be surprised, not like I was going to be obedient this trip. I just snuck out without an escort. Back home that wasn't even a thing, but apparently when you're part of Titania society, you must always have an escort.

I didn't learn that until I talked to Georgia and Garrison. Georgia had mentioned this little jazz club that she thought I would like and she said she wanted to go but two women alone wouldn't be proper.

“Proper?” I said.
“Right, proper, you can't be out without an earning escort when you're in high society. It reflects poorly on the head of the household.”
“I never heard of that before. That's...really weird.”

Apparently around here if a person doesn't have the free time to treat his spouse it's a big deal. Or children, or anyone really. It's all a whole head of household thing. You want a job where you're important but you still have time. That explains Garrison's messed up schedule. I never know when he's going to be home. I guess that means he should be able to treat her to a meal every once in a while.

Garrison offered to take us but then he started complaining about jazz. “I would much prefer a classical show, the theramin is much more soothing and I hear blah blah blah blah blah” Yeah I made up the blahs but you see where I'm going with this. He just kept going. And it was all monotone too, like he was complaining but he didn't want to sound like he was complaining. It was weird. Georgia gave a face. Garrison is an only child, and it definitely shows.

This is not the only time he's done this. He tried to explain to me the other day why it was more logical for me to keep my shower soap outside the shower. This went on for 20 minutes. He's one of those guys.

Not someone I want to see a jazz show with.

I looked up the club that Georgia mentioned on the stream. It's open until really late. Alick knows, I'd drag him places until 3 a.m. Oh, I guess you weren't supposed to know that Dad. Oops.

So I decided to go when they were asleep. Garrison goes to bed early and Georgia usually follows soon after. Garrison also gets up early too, so that's the problem. I couldn't stay out too late, but at least I could leave the house early.

I waited a couple of days after I talked to them to do it, and it was totally worth it. First, I made sure to get a fashionable hat to hide my face. Hats aren't that popular here though. I guess when you stay away from the sun all day you don't need a hat. So it's really more like a fashionable brim across your face. You're supposed to style your hair over it. I did something “simple”, and by simple I mean something that took merely an hour and a half. Women here have way too much time on their hands.

Georgia and Garrison didn't notice, and by the time they must've been asleep I snuck out of my room and out of the apartment.

Took the el over to the club. It's literally just called The Club. I guess it was one of the first one's here, built when the company who started Titania was trying to look inviting. So I guess they only needed to call it The Club. It does look a little older inside, some of the walls need to be replaced, the edges are rusting and they have a collection of dents and punctures. The stage is an old-fashioned cabaret thing, but it has a grand piano. I didn't know they had grand pianos out here. It's kind of funny, I know they don't make wooden instruments out here so someone must've shuttled that thing over, possibly over a century ago.

They had some background music, I got myself some weird sounding drink made from some exotic liquor and some exotic juice. I just told the tender to make me something sweet, I was new. He did. It also was kind of strong, so I didn't drink anything else. Not ordering from that tender again, if I go back.

I sat close to the back. All the lighting was dim so no one would recognize me. And then around half an hour after I got in, I hear some dorky guy's voice announce “The sensation across Titania, Erin Kay!” There was some modest applause, and then this tall, slender woman with way too much orange hair on top of her square face came out. She had a simple short tunic and leggings, but they sparkled a bit and she had a little cape on too. I think that's something I forgot to mention, I guess people love capes here. It's like an evening wear must. I don't know why, they don't even have weather. Maybe they like to pretend they'll pump in some wind every once in a while.

This Erin chick could sing though. It's sounds like the old earth jazz singers, and I mean OLD earth jazz singers. The light voice and the high cooing and all that stuff. I never heard it in person before. Everyone back on earth is busy being loud in wide open spaces. I guess when everyone is cramped in together, you don't have to be loud. It's to everyone's benefit, I tell you. I could hear her so well, she had no mic or speakers or anything and she was playing the piano. It was great. I barely remember what she looked like because I closed my eyes to hear her sing, focus. One of those songs is stuck in my head.

I try to leave my past behind
Forget the day I walked away
But the cracks still show
And now I know
I'll be leaking forever

I'll try my best to save the tears
Another dance in the rain
And I'm crumbling
I'm still stumbling
And leaking forever

I think that song was my favorite. They way she sang it, I choked up a bit. I'm not a super emotional person, but she hit me in the ticker.

I got home way before Garrison would wake up. Before I got in I rode the elevator with the neighbor next door. Or one of them. The guy that was arguing. He looked tired Sunken eyes and messed up dark hair. Tall and slouched.

Why's he staying up? Cheating on his wife? I don't know. I'm so bored here that I'm sneaking out of the apartment and making up stories about my neighbors. I think I'm going to see Erin sing again. Got to figure out how. Maybe I can buy some of her music on the stream. I hope so.

Now to find another romance novel. Georgia's watching her vids all today.

Oh! New Year soon! Maybe I should schedule a hair appointment.


October 30, 2011

Life Bullet Points

And once again I'm thrown through a loop.  Here's a little taste of what I'm doing and dealing with.

-Job is getting really bad.  To the point where I think the EEOC may want to do an investigation.  I don't want to get into details, this is a nerd blog and when I bitch I'll bitch about interesting stuff.  With that being said, I'm working on making my situation better by whatever means logically available.  Unfortunately that can distract me from my writing pursuits.  I'm sorry I've been delaying, but I hope soon my situation will improve, which means your reading material from here will increase.

-Mystic and I are motivating each other through the crazy.  He is still working on his video game, and if you would like to help him go here and donate to an innovative video game project.  Keep up with his blog, he's been working, but having 2 jobs (one you love and one you need), things are just moving slowly.

-Nerd life is excellent!  Mystic and I are trying our best to watch through Deep Space Nine and catch up with Next Generation.  LARP is going great with both characters Ellen (who's survived her first Prince as seneschal and is working with her second) and Rose (my sabbat vampire who now has a pack), and I even brought my nerd mom to a game and she loved the people!  I'm not sure if she'll come again.

-I'm going to wait some time before running another game, but one of my LARP friends is going to run a campaign and I'm excited to try something new.  It's not D&D, it's something ridiculously different and indie and no longer published.  Yes, I shall keep you posted.

-I know I'm late in the game, but I'll soon be getting into The Witcher, which I heard was based on a pretty good book and had some interesting story choices.  I hope to then start The Witcher 2 soon after that.

-The podcast will happen again soon, but I'm also hoping in the summer my brother and I can work on some nerd raps... what?  Why are you looking at me like that?  Not like it hasn't been done before.  I know I have a problem of starting projects and not finishing them, but this is something I want to finish, I think it would be good for me and my brother.

-And speaking of finishing projects, I will be continuing the Titania Chronicle, I'm not sure when I'll have time, or make time to write, but I'm not quitting the story.

October 22, 2011

Zombie in a Penguin Suit.

It really is that simple.

It gets poignant when you get to the credits. P.S. This is a short film by Chris Russel, who luckily has tapped into my re-burgeoning zombie love.

October 19, 2011

The Walking Dead, Season 1.

You would think that by now, I would've watched this series already.  I am a fan of zombie genre, and especially the modern incarnations of it.  But it wasn't until a friend of mine was talking about how he was excited for season 2 that I was finally compelled to see season 1.  

Totally.  Worth. Your time.

You don't have to be into zombies to appreciate the themes in the story.  It mainly follows Rick Grimes, in his quest to find peace in this new zombie world.  Throughout the story you not only follow Rick and the group he's surviving with, but there are also little vignettes of other's lives and sacrifices, and it's tears through your heart.

For those of you looking for a general review, I highly suggest it.  I always go on and on about how well written TV is in short supply, and the Walking Dead gives me hope.  Characters that have depth, setting that doesn't feel forced, and dialogue that isn't ridiculous.  If there are cliches, they are hidden very well.  

It's a well produced show, gross enough for a zombie epic without trying to be over the top.  Nothing is done merely for spectacle, even though spectacle is a tool used.  

If you haven't seen it, and you like a good story, watch it.  Consider the zombies as an extra bonus.


For those of you have watched the show... I am seriously saddened that I can't watch season 2.  Season 1  was brilliantly executed, which although started the way many zombie sagas start: Guy waking up in a coma in the hospital, doesn't know all about zombies.  However Rick Grimes is smart enough to survive the first 2 hours to get to home, and then almost gets eaten.

Throughout the series, helpful strangers seem to be the theme.  We first meet a father and son team that teach Rick about the world.  Then Glen introduces Rick to the idea of escape.  There's the "gangsters" that took over the abandoned old home, the group that took in Rick after he screwed up their escape plan, the scientist that lets the group into the facility on a whim.  Kindness is not lost in this world.

Nor are the stresses of regular life.  Siblings squabble.  Spouses argue.  Bigotry infects.  It's all just amplified with the new stresses of having the undead trying to eat your face off.  And there's no therapy session to help you work through it.  The people who end up surviving in this situation are tough not only on the outside, but on the inside too.  Their convictions are keeping them through.

There's also a good mix of characters to "like" and "hate".  There aren't ones specifically designed to feel  one way or another, throughout the 6 episodes you can empathize with them all.  Shane just wants the comfort of a family, and took it from Rick when he was "dead".  With Rick back, his opportunity of having that is now completely gone.  Who's going to be making a family now?  Jim was probably never going to be fully sane anyway with his survivor's guilt on top of his general traumatic experiences.  Darryl flies off the handle, but he probably has the best survival skills out there.  They get on your nerves, but you can never fully hate them.

And now I'm kicking myself for not being able to see season 2.  Season 1 made it sound like there's no hope for an actual cure, or at least a sanctuary, but I'm still hopeful.  The bullets will run out, the cars will stop moving, and I'll still think they have a chance with their bare hands.  That's just me.  And the show helps you have hope too.

So if you're watching Season 2, don't tell me a thing.  I'll hold on to hope until the last minute of the series.

October 16, 2011

Congrats to Quinto on coming out.

I'm a nerd who appreciates people of all different backgrounds, so when I just read this morning that Zachary Quinto has come out of the closet, I want to say "Hooray!  Congrats!  Here's to knowing what you are and being proud of it!"

But to be honest, my first thought was "Aww!  I'll never make out with Spock."

Yeah, I was disappointed a bit at first.  But let's be honest, not like I would've been able to make out with Quinto in this universe.  I'm sure I'm not the only nerd girl who felt that way.

However, now there are another group of nerd girls who are excited for the new possibility of their fan-fiction fantasies becoming true.  I'm not sure how scared I should be now.

Uh... well congrats anyway Quinto!

October 13, 2011

3. Bored. Reading.

[If you want to reply to this entry in character/universe, feel free to do so with IC in parentheses in the beginning.]

HEA 10.29.406

I’m trying to write this but there seems to be a fight next door. I didn’t realize the walls were thin, but Mom always said I was horrible at listening. There is a couple living next door, hetero, and the guy is very upset about something. He’s not speaking loudly but he’s slamming something around. Stomping a little bit. It could be a tantrum, I don’t know. But I didn’t even think about the fact that I lived next to anyone. Back home you have some space and a yard, with a tastefully hidden compost heap so you and your neighbors don’t have to smell like filth. But here everything was pretty isolated until I heard some stuff happening over there. Sounds kind of serious. Maybe not. I don’t know. It’s the most interesting thing that has happened to me today.

Things are horribly boring here. Georgia and I went on another shopping trip, this time to more boutiques on the other side of downtown, a little father away. Not as chic as the place with Hetha, but still lots of shop keepers and workers with ridiculous curl sculptures on top of their heads. So it was trendy.

Georgia wanted to make sure that I had a dress I felt fit me. I got to say, even though she’s helping Mom marry me off, she’s doing it a lot better than Mom did. Georgia is not insisting I’m entirely trendy, she says that at least marry a husband that appreciates your style. That means I’m going to be the exotic beauty with how everyone likes to dress here.

I’ll be introduced to high society on New Year’s Eve, at the annual Entrepreneur Ball. Businessmen hold it so that they can thank government officials, and the rest of the big people. It’s a lot of people with old and new money. And a good number of them are single.

So, Dad, tell Mom I’ll be meeting potential husbands soon. I’m sure she thinks I am going to run off and become a vigilante or something, go to some other colony like Progress Point or some other liberal place with free woman that dance all night and have careers during the day. I’m sure she’d find me and drag me back to civilized society. She doesn’t have to now.

I got another nice dress, but I think I’ll stick to the one I bought before. It’s simple, got colors that look good on me and I don’t need it tailored. And yesterday Georgia and I got jewelery for it. Stellarous. Since it’s not on trend on the planet it’ll enhance the fact that I am an exotic import. Like a coconut or something. I should say a fresh coconut, I don’t think they have anything fresh here.

But other than the shopping I’m bored. I’ve finished three romance novels in a week. I don’t read. Ever. I am kind of surprised that I even thought of it but Georgia can hog the projector for hours either watching vids or bidding on art. I don’t even think she really likes the art I just think she tries to seem cultured.

She’s a little homesick from time to time too. Yesterday she talked about how she missed biting into the apple. They have apple juice and apple treats here but it’s not the same. Fresh fruit has a different smell or texture. I’m sure they have some around here somewhere, how else do they make stuff taste like apples?

I gotta get out of the house. I’ll ask Georgia and Garrison what there is to do tonight. I hope something. Anything. SAVE ME!


October 5, 2011

R.I.P. Steve Jobs

For those of you who haven't heard, Steve Jobs, founder of Apple and technological visionary, died today. He's been fighting cancer for years, so it's not super surprising.

I have to say, as much as I have become less enamored with Macs, without the progress that Jobs had made, the idea of making computers accessible to the general public and marrying the form and functionality, have made computers and other electronics the way of the future.  If electronics were not easy to use, then very few people would use them.

I'm not saying that Jobs was the one who invented easy-to-use gadgets, but he popularized them, which makes them more viable options in the future.

With that said, may I suggest anyone with Apple stock consider selling it, not a mad dash though.  Jobs kept that place afloat, and I'm very wary with what Apple will do next.

October 2, 2011

Terra Nova fails... kinda.

Real Sci-fi these days is hard to come by, so hearing about Terra Nova gave me a little bit of hope.  I didn't expect it to be hard sci-fi like Star Trek, but I figured it has the potential for some good story telling that makes the view think a little bit.

The premise for the hour and a half long premier is at least somewhat interesting.  Jim and Elizabeth Shannon are trying to raise their children in a world where the environment is shot to hell and there's a quota on children, which of course they've decided to break.  Jim's in jail when the family has been given the opportunity to go to Terra Nova, a settlement 85 million years in the past, accessible due to the fact that it's a split to a separate universe.  They conveniently sneak everyone through to a paradise surrounded by dinosaurs and fresh air.

So I watched the premiere.  It's decent, I guess, but I don't think I'm going to go past that.  Its not the acting.  It's well cast (take a look, they all have decent careers), and I'm definitely loving Stephen Lang as Nathaniel Taylor, the tough leader of Terra Nova who survived in the Jungle 181 days before any other civilization joined him.  Stephen Lang brings some smarts to a character that could easily be brushed aside as a musclehead in the wrong hands.  Also so happy to see Allison Miller back after her great short showing on Kings.

It's not really the setting either.  There's a lot of interesting stuff you can do when you go all they way back 85 million years, where humans have a plentiful jungle and countless resources alongside some hugely dangerous monsters. The way cultural naturally evolves would be interesting to look at too.  There is a lot I can think of that would be great to think about in the show.

But right now it seems like it's kinda full of cliches in the writing.  A lot of the cliches are in the character relationships, and they're not all ones that you would recognize in a heartbeat (thankfully no star-crossed Romeo and Juliet b.s. just yet), but you definitely could sit at the story and think "huh, I've seen that a hundred times before."  You probably have. And it's something that I'm discovering on a lot of new shows, that now certain things that used to be considered unusual are being played out.  Again, it's mostly in the character relationships, but you also feel it in the threads of separate plots that spill out of this first episode.  They just give 5 different ideas of what could be popular, and you can tell they're just waiting to see which ones will increase ratings.

Of course there's little nitpicky things too that you wish weren't glossed over.  The Shannons never really explain why they decided to break the child quota with their aptly named daughter Zoey.  They never show how Jim breaks out of prison even through he was stuck their for 3 years.  There's not a lot of build-up for the glory that Terra Nova is in this not-so distant future.  And part of me is willing to gloss that over, but another part of me is reminded that this is a symptom of lazy writing.

It could just be the pilot, but I honestly don't care enough.  There are smart shows out there like Fringe that I need to catch up on and fulfill my nerd tv needs.  If you want something entertaining, I'm sure Terra Nova can fill that void.  The cast carries the show well and of course parts of it look GORGEOUS.  But it doesn't have the brains I'm looking for in particular.

September 30, 2011

You are NOT an original schemer, Mr. Reality TV Star

First of all let me apologize for the absence.  Work once again has me worried, so I'm looking around.  My writing has been focused on less public mediums.

Second, this is the nerdiest of blog posts but I felt I had to share.  I've been dragged into watching Top Shot, all of the third season on hulu.  It's a marksmen competition that hasn't been around long, but it's definitely compelling.  It's young enough that Top Shot is not focused on superb drama.  Many a good reality tv shows have fallen victim to this, included my once favorite Project Runway.  We can talk about Project Runway was ruined by moving to Lifetime later, but that's not the point of this post.

Lately some drama has worked its way on Top Shot, which considering the kind of competitiveness that this show invites it's a little surprising.  Other than sometimes leaning a little sexist, it's a very honorable sport on the show.  But then you have Jake, who decides that boasting about his abilities and underestimate everyone else.  He gets pouty when people don't call him a team player and try to vote him out.  He decides he doesn't need his team and then sleeps outside.  He teases weak players and encourages to keep them on.  And he tries to get one of his own team members to hit him so he has a strong competitor out of the game.

And that is not what annoys me most about him.

In this last episode that aired, Jake tries to sound all original, and that he's brilliant like Atilla the Hun. He's a schemer and a planner and you should be impressed with that.

I'm sorry Jake, but no.  You see I remember when Reality TV was cool, when Richard won Survivor from being a huge dick, when Omarosa was the reason you watched anything with Donald Trump in it, when Big Brother was entertaining in America and Britain.  I'm sorry, but you your tactical maneuvers have been done and played out.

So I hope that even though not a lot of people check this blog, "sneaky" game players in reality shows will SHUT UP about being original and smart and realize every other show has done it.  Ever.

September 26, 2011

2. Shopping, Looking

[If you want to reply to this entry in character/universe, feel free to do so with IC in parentheses in the beginning.]

HEA 10.27.406

I did something I never did on Earth today.

I went to the library, pick up an upload chip and started reading a book.

Believe me it’s some ridiculously trashy romance novel that takes place on Earth right when they started they had this thing they called “internet”. It’s like the stream, except with wires that went everywhere. Anyway, this chick lives in Japan and she’s chatting with this businessman in France she’s never met, and he’s actually going to a business trip in Japan but they keep on missing each other online to set up when to meet and OH STARS IT’S SUSPENSEFUL.

Why am I reading? Georgia does nothing but clean the house and watch vids every day. I think she has a couple of friend visit every once in a while, but she likes to be home. Apparently Garrison’s job involves weird hours. This week he’s been working a lot but some days he is only in his office two hours and then he comes home, and Georgia likes to be ready to pamper him. I haven’t seen much of it. When she started with a head massage technique she learned here I got creeped out. Garrison seemed to really enjoy it and neither one seemed to remember that I was in the same living room, so I rushed over to my room and closed the door and hid. I don’t need to witness foreplay. You guys are probably laughing at this right now but let me tell you Garrison seemed a little too excited about index fingers on his collarbone.

So, Dad, to answer your question, I think Georgia is happy with her hub here.

Georgia did help me find some new dresses yesterday. Went on the el to this boutique that was on 10 minutes away. We could’ve walked there but Georgia insists we’re above that. The el stops at any intersection you need to, if you know which line to take. They’re numbered, and the numbers have color coding too. A red means express, which won’t stop at every intersection, and a yellow is standard. Out of service is blue. We took a red el to the boutique. It’s called Katzy’s or something crazy like that. The outside wall looks like a bubble, with screens displaying the dresses inside on models. The shop had a lot of clothes, but it was super tiny.

There weren’t a lot of people in there so we had this crazy looking chica named Hetha with ridiculous curls in her loud blonde hair. Apparently the big thing to do here is to sculpt your hair into these complicated curls, and that’s what Hetha has done. It’s like a statue of half bubbles arranged as delicately as a mountain range. Did she sleep on them? I don’t know, the curls looked neat but they were jumbled all over the place.

So Hetha decides that my color is green and she gets me this green spotted dress with all this flotsam around my feet to trip around and frills on my shoulder and sheer stuff on my arms and spots that make me look like I’m wearing the skin of a sick leopard. As much as Hetha thought that it looked good, Georgia kindly put it to her that green was not a color I flocked to, saying there was a long family story. She may not know me well, but it’s good to know my sister has my back.

Georgia proceeded to watch Hetha closely as possible. She knows i gravitate toward simplicity, even though it seems on this planet that is not what’s in style. There is extra fabric hanging from everything and patterns that mismatch all over the place and I don’t even know! Dresses are still slinky but they’re slinky with extra garbage attached and I am so afraid I am going to trip over it. Georgia knows because that was the one thing we would both complain about in our vids to each other, and even though she is more in fashion with what’s going on in Titania she definitely doesn’t want to trip. Like our father, we’re clumsy.

Finally Hetha (with a lot of help from Georgia) finds this black and red dress with not much going on in the skirt area but it has this nice sheer overlay, covering my arms and it has some light, sparkly beading that usually isn’t my thing, but I’m realizing most stuff isn’t here in this shop. So Georgia gets it for me and Hetha the entire time is shaking her curls and going “That green would’ve been interstellar on you!”. She’s crazy.

Georgia promises me we’re never going to that boutique again.

We went to another one that had more casual clothes for when you go to the country club. Georgia says she knows women that spend all day there. They say they watch the men play racquet ball and other sports but really they’re drunks. Apparently that is why Georgia spends a lot of time at home, she’s not a drunk. Good to know.

Food out here in the restaurants doesn’t taste anywhere near as good as home. You can tell they faked it to some extent. Earth is able to get a lot of stuff fresh these days, but here on Titania I don’t think they know what a farm looks like. It’s all stuff that’s either grown in a tube or has been freeze dried across space, and that second one is what the rich people eat, so I get to have a lot of freeze dried fruit for dessert. There’s apparently a bunch of other stuff they do as well to get food to taste like something. Georgia says Garrison knows all the techniques but she wouldn’t share them with me. He is a very technical guy, apparently, learns things in every little detail. I guess that’s why he’s so uninteresting, he is too focused on the small stuff.

It was a nice sister’s day out I guess. Georgia talked a lot about herself and how Titania is, but I don’t want to bore you with it. I don’t even remember half of it. The restaurant had fake pictures of the old french rvieria circa 2105 C.E, well before even the H.E.A, as if it’s supposed to be like a window to look out on. But windows change, and this wasn’t, and all I cold think about was how much I thought my window at home was boring when it looked out to the desert with cacti and my neighbors. But there were some animals and people to look at.

Out here, no one misses that.

I didn’t think I would.

Which is why I’m reading this historical book I guess, even with less nature than Earth has now, this Japanese woman can still think under a tree in a park. I got to go across town to see one flower.

I didn’t think I would miss this stuff.

I need to stop ending these things on a bad note. Next time I’m going to do something exciting. I don’t know what, but something. Make suggestions, guys!


September 8, 2011

Mystic's Project

My boyfriend, Mystic, or "The Boyfriend" for you long time readers, is working on a project that he can do mostly on his own.  Unfortunately it's what happens when you're trying to start a business and can't even pay yourself.  He has a dream for a really smart game that is going to be much more about choice and it's affects on the story.  Bioware games do not meet the amount of choice that Mystic wants to put in his episodic scifi adventures.

Read more about it here, and please see if you can help him out.  As things come out you know I'll post about it here.  I hope with enough help you'll be watching the beginning of a great video game dev company.

September 6, 2011

1. Stopping. New.

[If you want to reply to this entry in character/universe, feel free to do so with IC in parentheses in the beginning.]

HEA 10.24.406

I guess I settled in.

Should I start from the beginning? Yeah, let’s do that.

I thought flying sucked, but that’s only two hours of cramped space with a stranger. Try 4 weeks in a chemical sleep by yourself. You’ll take no armrests next to the tall guy any day. They didn’t tell me I could have headaches for a week.

So you finally wake up for the last time, you get your bags together and you’re ready to go, and then they totally make you wait for 2 hours while they inspect and disinfect every. single. pod. All 80 of them. They put this powder around everything, so now I go out with my peacock powdered luggage, that is way too heavy for not having really walked in five weeks, and the air tastes like soap and metal. Apparently this is biodegradable and isn’t going to make me sick, but it doesn’t make up for the fact I haven’t showered in over a month. They probably lied. They probably put that powder on everyone to make sure that it doesn’t smell like ass. God, if I smelled as bad as I think I did, I can’t imagine how it smells to go out in the terminal without that powder. Oh wait, I can. I gagged a bit. Don’t imagine that.

You exit one at a time, because a good number of the people suffer from hyper-strain. I don’t know why it’s hyper. Probably something to do with physics or something stupid like that. They send you out one at a time in the hopes people don’t topple over each other, and that way it’s easy to figure out who’s going to take an hour to walk. Thank stars I could walk. I was so afraid I wouldn’t be able to, so I would be a bumbling debutante. My mom had me wear this really nice dress with sheer layers on the trip, just in case I met some rich guy right at the terminal. I think when she looked around the terminal back at Earth she realized it was nothing but laborers and young graduates. Because she thought I would get engaged right away I got this powder streaking over my black and red dress with the sheer thingy. Mom says it looks good on me, but it didn’t anymore.

Georgia barely recognized me. Last time she saw me I didn’t even have tits, and I was half a foot shorter. Now I have heels and a fancy dress, blearily stumbling with a ton of luggage that looks like monsters eyes and all of it and me are covered in this forsaken powder. And she just breaks out laughing. She’s practically tearing up with how hilarious I look. I didn’t even realize it until shuttle back because I was on auto pilot. She sat across from me in the shuttle, and I finally wised up enough to ask why she was crying. She just said “The image of it all. What a reunion.” She started laughing again.

Garrison looks like what aliens would draw if they needed a stereotypical human male to describe us. If we ever do find other life out there I’ll point them his way. He’s medium; his build, coloring, height, even the tone of his voice is just average. I have never met someone who I would never be able to pick out of a crowd. It’s almost eerie to look at him. He doesn’t talk much either. He gave a bow and said “pleasure to meet you” and that was it. I don’t think he’s said a word to me since.

Georgia and Garrison kept their distance from me. They got really dressed up. Or I think they did, maybe they dress in fancy clothes all the time. I guess purple and green are fashionable on Titatnia because that’s what Georgia was wearing, with her hair pinned close to her face and her bracelets jingling along. Garrison had a nice suit on in an olive color. It looked like a bog puked him out. How’s he supposed to know though? He’s never seen a bog. He’s never seen nature.

I already miss tress. Every walkway here has high ceilings and bright lights and light colors. It’s not sterile white like some of the other colonies I’ve seen through vids. They have pale blues and pinks and purples as you walk along. There’s no graffiti. The walls are asking for something more but they just sit there, happy to be one color.

We weren’t on the walkways for long. Georgia and Garrison led me, the powdery embarrassment, to the El station. The cars go around above most of the colony, hence, “el” or elevated train. How original. Half the time you’re on the edge and you get a view of the planet outside. It’s totally desolate out there. Golden craters and recycling depots left outside civilization. In space no one can smell your funky trash, so there is sits. A faint atmosphere exist so that you an have a yellow tinge to the sky above. Apparently they thought there was enough H20 to help terraform this place years ago. That’s what Georgia told me. Who thought water was up in that sky? Especially enough to harness for people? You can still see every star when the sun is out.

Oh yeah, looking into the sun on earth is painful, but here it’ll make you puke. I almost did. The shades they put on the El help enough to give you time to turn your head if the sun is up. It’s tiny but it will kick your head out of your eyeballs if you try to look at it. Apparently it keeps the colony warm enough without any extra man-made heaters, considering what the biodome is made out of. Biodome is a weird name too, considering a lot of this isn’t strictly circular. It’s more triangular. Biotriad, however, is not as easy to say, so biodome it is.

The ride to Georgia’s neigborhood was only 30 minutes, so I got there fast. I was still carrying my own luggage when we walked to her building and took the lift up to the 31st floor, only 3 floors from the top. Apparently that means something. They have one of the two flats with a bay window out there. When I first walked in I’m introduced to all this earth art Geogia collects. It costs a fortune out here and Garrison is happy to buy her all of it. But the living room is kind of small. It has just enough space for a couch, a love seat, and a coffee table. Not much else going on but the view, and of course the projector. they have a screen that drops down from the ceiling to project what’s on the net to watch. I guess Georgia can keep up with all her Bahn Estrada vids from years ago. Not like any of it is new.

My room is skinny. It feels like a long closet. The sheets are nice, but Georgia forced me to change in the bathroom before I got powder on anything. As soon as I did I went to the bed and slept like death. When I woke up breakfast was ready the next morning. Georgia had bots doing it for her. It was food, I guess. Still good. My eggs were a little too runny. They’re not really eggs anyway. Those you save for baking here. On Titania there’s a lot of synthetic food that looks and tastes pretty legit. The waffles were not so bad.

By the time you guys see this thing, I think I’ll been here a week. Don’t matter, I’ll definitely keep you updated. Let me know how life is back on Earth. Especially the weather. I’m thinking I’m going to miss seeing different weather out my window. It helped paint the day. Each one unique. Like a cloud or a snowflake.

Didn’t mean to get into preschool territory there. Anyway, when something exciting happens I’ll let you know. Let’s see if I can find me a rich husband, preferably one who knows how to dance.


September 5, 2011

My New Sabbat Character

The last LARP game I wasn't able to go because I had twisted my ankle at work, driving to and from LARP wasn't going to be easy with two crutches.  I realized I missed my peeps too much so I decided to try Sabbat, knowing that I would probably get pulled into going every game and now gaming 3 weekends out of the month.  Is that such a bad thing? No. 

So up to the night before I wasn't sure what to make for a character.  Luckily a friend of mine told me a general idea of Sabbat.  It's not related to my Vampire: The Requiem character or world at all.  That's new World of Darkness, with different rules and a different setting.  New World of Darkness doesn't have the presence of Sabbat, just the Camarilla with smaller sects of off groups that go against the, like the Brood and Seven.  Old World of Darkness had the Camirilla, a group of Vampires who were extremely hierarchical by age and were about being hidden from mortal society by almost hiding in it, and the Sabbat, who were about freedom and earning your status and being proud of the fact that you are Vampire and not hiding it.  You still couldn't reveal to mortals you were a vampire and make it obvious, but killing a mortal when drinking or eating them is not a bad idea.  Ripping people's faces off with your brute vampire force is cool if you know the fucker is going to die and not tell anyone.   Have some fun, just don't be stupid.

Now with this in mind I decided that for once I wanted to play a character who could actually kill somebody.  I love Ellen, she's a brilliant quiet power player who kind of fell into being Seneschal of Chicago (and gladly), but she is not a fighter and she rarely uses any of her powers.  With that in mind I made a character that wouldn't mind getting her hands dirty.  Also, my friend asked me "what kind of monster do you want to be?" And my reply was "motherly".  With that, and mostly on the car ride over to game, I figured out the story of Rose, my Sabbat vampire.

Rose had always lived in the woods, near a river and a bog, always lived off the land.  Her parents were originally from city life and decided to rough it in the woods.  Rose was an only child, and her family was extremely isolated in there cabin.  They were self reliant and knew only a few neighbors.  They were pretty happy with only the three of them. 

Rose had seen her father hit her mother sometimes, but only after her mother had been hysterical.  Rose never thought much of it, so when she finally married Peter from three houses down, she tried her best to be a team with him.  At nineteen she was happily married with child, and still able to talk to her family.  Peter didn't start hitting her until after the boys were born, beautiful identical twins with blond hair and brown eyes.  Rose named them Andrew and Anthony.  She loved them.  Peter was jealous of the attention, something Rose never really thought about until she was already embraced.

Any time Peter felt that the boys were coming before him, or that Rose wasn't listening or moving fast enough, she would get some sort of hit.  Possibly to the face, but usually on her torso.  When the boys were just one her mother asked about a bruise on her arm.  Rose didn't tell, but that was when Peter insisted she didn't see her parents anymore.  Letters would have to suffice.

Rose was alone with the boys a lot, gathering food and water while they were nearby.  She didn't have the internet or even a telephone, nor did she have any news outlet.  She hadn't been to the town center since she married Peter, with him pleading that he could not live with her that far away.  Rose didn't know any better, and her only comparison was now shut away from her.

When Anthony and Andrew were four, they were little explorers.  They would touch anything that Rose didn't already say don't touch four times.  So it wasn't any surprised that Anthony found an old thing of Peter's to play with.  Rose never remembers exactly what it was, but it was something Peter had treasured since he was a child.  Rose can only imagine the rage that Peter had after coming back from butchering a chicken to see Anthony had broken one of his favorite things, in pieces on the floor.

Rose heard the screams and rushed inside to see Peter had swiftly chopped Anthony to pieces in the kitchen, his butcher knife spraying the blood along the walls.  She feared to make a sound, just rushed over to Andrew, covered his eyes and looked away.  When Peter was done, he took the pieces of their son out and burned them.  Rose tried to wash the walls, but she was thinking.  Would Andrew ever survive this life?  When would be the next time Peter would snap?  Rose had no problem with dying by Peter's hand, but she only wanted the boys to go in her arms if they had too.

The next morning Rose took Andrew out to the bog.  She told them that they were going to take a nap under the water, something no one had tried before.  They laid in and Rose kept him under.  His nature caused him to struggle, but Rose held him tight and close under her until he stopped, whispering "Trust me". She stood there for hours, grieving, crying.  When her eyes were dry enough and her nose stopped running, she went back to the house and cooked dinner.  She stayed away from Peter, who made a stand for his butcher's knife.

That night noises came from outside.  Peter always slept like a rock, but Rose shot up and got a lantern to look out.  She walked around, first to the chicken coop, then south of it into the forest.  She saw shadows moving, trying to follow them.  Who knew they were here?  Not even the mail man came by more than once a week, who would stop by here?  And then suddenly she was knocked back into a tree.  The lantern went out.  She felt the blood leaving her, a pain in her neck, a hand holding her on her waist.  She passed out.

She awoke abandoned in the middle of the night, a pain coming over her entire body.  She knew something was different, something was wrong.  She felt hungry, but nothing she knew would satisfy her.  She went back to the house, and she saw Peter, sleeping.  Instinct that had never been there before kicked in.  She jumped on his back and chomped on his shoulder.  She held on as he tried to get up.  She was stronger than before, the blood was helping.  He struggled, she sipped.  It wasn't a lot, but she didn't want much from him.  She jumped back and ran out the house.  Peter yelled out to her, threatening to get the knife.  She knew he couldn't kill her though.

Right before sunrise she made a shelter, but as the sky lightened it was now obvious what she had become.  She dug swiftly into the earth and made a canopy of leaves and dead branches.  It worked.  The next night she decided to head west.  Her mother always hinted the west was where people seek freedom.   Rose didn't know if she needed freedom, but she knew she had it. 

Rose would walk or run for miles, trying to stay near wooded areas and follow highways.  She would run when she knew no one could see.  When she  was starved nearby animals would be ripped apart and sucked dry.  Hunting them kept her focused.  She got to route 66, and stayed outside a rest station, where she heard somebody arguing.  He was saying something about being a Cainite, being more than human, needing to protect that.  And that's when Rose came up to him, explained her story, explained her urges, and hoped he understood.  He did

He was the leader of a pack, a ductess they called him.  They were The Defensive Line, fighting against anything that threatened the Sabbat.  What was the Sabbat?  Vampires who were proud.  So we are vampires?  Yes, didn't your sire tell you?  What is a sire?  The vampire who made you this way.

The pack taught her everything she needed to know.  What to avoid, how to hide, and even what her lineage was--Lasombra.  Everyone seemed confused that she was left to fend for herself and that she survived as well as she did, but they were happy to help.  And she was happy to help them when they said they would help with the siege of Chicago.

Rose had never been in an urban area before but she fought well.  Her newfound comrades, however, were cornered in the fight and all perished.  Afraid of what was to become of her, once again Rose fled, finding the nearest wooded area and sleeping there.  She got out to feed once in a while, hunting animals, keeping to herself.  Was there more sabbat?

After a year she went out to hunt only to careless miss a human that had been looking around the area late at night.  She didn't need him to know she was there, so she feed on him.  It was much more satisfying sucking his life out of him than it was a bird or a coyote.  But the woods didn't have enough people. She decided to find the Sabbat again, maybe find some other pack.  Did they still need fighters?  What if all of the Sabbat perished?  What if she could've stopped that.

One old contact was still around, a Revenant named Zoey.  And with her help Rose came back to find that the Sabbat was still around, but fighting petty fights amongst each other over hats and still quibbles.  But maybe she can still help.  There are some that need some guidance, some that need some teaching.  Maybe she can help.  It still seems to be better than being alone in the woods forever.

September 3, 2011

There isn't really a good reason for this.

Mystic found this website, and when he sent me the link he goes "I hope this is a joke".  It's advertising Slavery the Game.  I'm not going to post the video they put up there, I'm already supporting the site too much by linking it.

It's advertising Slavery the Game, where you can buy, manage and exploit slaves, during the time of European colonial expansion.  There's no real game footage (at least nothing convincing) and there's no company that's supporting it other than Red Javelin, that Mystic discovered was an advertising agency.

So now people are going to assume that gamers are sick twisted individuals because some company is "producing" this and instead of focusing on the product or idea Red Javelin was hired to sell, the focus is going to be how sick gamers are.  Great.

I might be wrong and they won't focus on that, but when was the last time they let gamer culture over something that gamers have no hand in? 

I hope I'm proven wrong.

August 31, 2011

Floating, Speeding

[The netbook is in, so I am delivering what I promised. Enjoy the beginning of the Titania Chronicle.  If you want to reply to this entry in character/universe, feel free to do so with IC in parentheses in the beginning.]

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HEA 10.12.406
I'm awake again, and I'm typing this up not sure when it will get to you all, but I figured I should make a first post for when I out in the middle of space.

They're right, your bones ache. I think Georgia told me that in her vid. No amount of stretching makes me feel better.

These little pods are a joke. They keep you in here, so you can't see anyone else the entire time. Some liability thing. But then they give you enough space to walk about when you're not strapped into your awkward bed thingy. It's the weirdest thing. It's like there's a bed to the wall and nothing else. My only company is my luggage.

By the way, I need to thank my mom for giving me this ridiculous peacock pattern on my suitcase. I wake up every week in a haze and and spook myself because I think some monster is across from me.

Dad, you're reading this right? Thank Mom for me, as long as she doesn't find out about this thing.

Same for the rest of you. I only wanted a few of you to read this. I'm serious, Alick, not a word to anyone else. Not your girlfriend of the week.  Not even your sister, Lexia.  I know she won't tell anyone.  But if I find out across galaxies that she knows, you will  lose access to this thing.  This is not something I want to share with everyone.  Just some people.  Just someone.

I don't want everyone back home to know my new debutante life. It's embarrassing enough that you're parents raise you only to ship you away so that they never see you again. Whoever thought of that? Mom cried and everything, but she never said she would miss me. I don't think she will.  Don't argue, Dad.

There's no stars out here. Not many. It's kind of empty.

So I'm going to meet Georgia and Garrisson in two more weeks. Or one. I think this is my third time out of stasis.

How should I take it that I'm going the farthest suggested to go in stasis because my mom insisted? She just wants to marry me off. Like Georgia. Except I think Georgia wanted to.

It's been six years. And we were really good at keeping apart. Send a vid, catch up on petty stuff, and move on. I don't know if I can live with her again. And I barely know Garrison. He's apparently some hot shot for… something that makes money. I'm not sure what. Apparently he makes a lot of money, they have a 2 story loft so he must know what he's doing.

There's no open space where I'm going.  No yard.  No sky.  No plants I can watch grow.  No wild pigeons or squirrels to see eat my trash.  And there's no space whatsoever.  The room I'm getting is smaller than the one I'm leaving, and it's considered luxurious.  What scam is that?  Is my stuff going to fit?  Is Georgia even got a closet for me?  Dammit, now I'm worrying.  Maybe I will clean this up before I post it.

But then you guys would get mad at me.  You know how I think.  Dad would call me out in a minute.

There's the blue warning light. I got 15 minutes. A couple more naps and then I'm done and on Titania. I'm lucky I had enough brain power to type this.

Wish me pleasant dreams. And no more peacock luggage frights.


August 27, 2011

Help Out Extra Lives!

Every gamer should know about  I've talked about them before, but this time I'll spend a little more time about them since weather may impede their good deeds.

Started when a group of teenagers decided to be giving and awesome, the guys of Extra Lives decided to play video games for charity.  Now in college, the guys have raised over 60,000 dollars that went directly to charity.  They don't touch a red cent.  They have played everything from speed races of favorites to the dreaded Zelda videogames on the CDI, merely for your entertainment and the hope of building school and cleaning water for those less fortunate across the globe.

This current marathon of bootlegged games may be interrupted this weekend due to Hurricane Irene.  They're going to stream until they lose power, but may I suggest donating regardless.  These guys are actually entertaining to watch and will respond to the IRC chat set up in their website.  So donate!

Feel free to watch the marathon while it lasts below.  After the marathon, they'll show clips from marathons past if you still want to watch.

Free desktop streaming application by Ustream

August 26, 2011

Warning: Fiction will appear

Because of my promise, the day I get my netbook set up I already have my first fiction post ready.  I'm just going to start writing about Titania, hoping to get two posts up a week.

You'll be reading the posts from Virginia, an unwilling debutant living in a world where it's about who you know and how you breed.  She's leaving everything she's ever known in hopes of pleasing her family with a suitable husband on one of the most elite planets colonized.  Will she let herself be pursued, or will she try to strive for something more?

Sure, it doesn't sound like a standard scifi story, but I don't want to reveal everything now, do I?

It's not going to be super refined, it's going to be raw writing.  I don't have an editor.  It's going to be an experiment of sorts.

To be honest, readers, this week has stunk.  My car needs repairs, auto shops have been bogus, and then yesterday I twisted my ankle at work.  I'm hoping to get some normality in this chaos, and writing has always been with me.  The netbook is almost on its way (and thankfully my mother was able to make it an early birthday present) so it's time to get back to the real job.  And I hope you guys like it.

August 23, 2011

Fan movie of awesome

Today, I don't have much to write... right now.  But I definitely do think you will appreciate this fan movie, titled Portal: No Escape.

August 20, 2011

A promise to myself

I said in an earlier post that I'm looking for a netbook to replace my mac that is insistent on destroying itself.  But I need to make a promise to myself if I'm going to make such a huge purchase. 

I have to write something that is at least either a page long or complete EVERYDAY that I have this netbook.

Writing is a hobby that you have to make into a habit, something that you have to continue doing every day.  And I'm not doing it enough.  I figure with a laptop that I can actually take places, I should be able to keep to this habit and refine my skills, let alone get back to all the projects I have put to the wayside. It's a lot of project guys, and I'm determined to start working on ALL OF THEM.

Yes, my job is kind of sucky right now, and I'm looking for a new one.   But as a resident told me a while ago, that's the second job.  The writing is the dream.  How am I going to achieve it if I never do it?

So readers, I know I've given you this right before, but please feel free to nag me about it.  When I get the netbook, remind me to write.  Every. Single. Day.  Should make more blog posts on top of that if that happens.

In the meantime, back to the grind.

August 16, 2011

Only seems like a good idea

I recently watch Adam Ostrow's Ted Talk about death and social networking.  He brings up so pretty interesting points, about the continuation of existence online through social network after death.  And then he got to the end of his talk, and I got scared.

Ostrow mentions that hopefully in the future we can take everything that someone put on the internet and recreate an image of them from all their output.  Basically, say if I were to go tomorrow to the big MMO in the sky, you could take all my blog posts and twitter feeds and forum posts to compile a virtual version of my personality, where I could exist on after death.

Sure, for people who are like me and have blog posts that actually reflect your personality, that's fine.  But there are some people who are going to be remembered quite differently.  Do you think everyone wants their family and friends to remember them as the raiding elf lord in their favorite RPG?  Or what if you secretly checked out fetish sites?  Great, now your image to everyone you knew after life involves you licking feet every five seconds.

Ostrow's idea is not the worst in the world, but it does make me think of what the hilarious results would be.

August 10, 2011

Possible awesome zombie movie

I didn't find out until last night that they're making a World War Z movie.  

THAT'S RIGHT!  A movie about one of the most realistic fictionalizations of a zombie apocalypse.  Part of the reason I like it so much is that it is so thoughtful about what would happen on a global scale.  And now they're doing a movie about it.

Some of you would be like Mystic and somewhat skeptical about how they will redo the movie, knowing that they'll have to cut out something.  But I do have some hope.  The movie is still keeping the interview style of the book, as Brad Pitt as the UN appointed author that conducts the interviews.  There will be flashback.  Sure, they're not going to use every interview in the book to tell the story, but there are definitely going to be some awesome moments.

Set to open December 21st, 2012.  One of the few movies I'm definitely doing a midnight showing.  Who's with me?

August 6, 2011

She's still Shepard.

By the always entertaining Penny Arcade, I was alerted to something that has become an unnecessary shitstorm when it comes to the marketing of Mass Effect 3.  Fans are allowed to choose the next FemShep that would be on some of the advertising by voting for their favorite of 6 choices.  You like the picture (or pictures) on Facebook, and each like is a vote.  Whichever one has the most votes will "win", I guess.  Here are the 6 ladies you can choose from.

I made them big enough so you can get a good look at the differences.  Again, if you care,  you can "like" the one you want on their facebook page.

Apparently there is some controversy over the blonde one winning.  Which she is by a large margin.  I'm not surprised.  I am surprised that people are that concerned about it.  Anybody who has been engaged in western media should not be surprised that the blonde Shepard is the one that is preferred.  What makes it outrageous is that the people who are vocally opposed to blonde femShep say it's because she's too "Barbie" and suffers from a "personality vacuum".  How do you get that from one picture?  I see no high heels or designer prada bags, and right now the only personality point I get from any of these pictures is that Shepard is on the verge of using her gun on someone.

Penny Arcade recently posted their disdain for these opinions.  I have to agree.  To be perfectly honest, I'm not going to vote for one of those Shepards.  I have two female Shepards that I love to play.  Neither one of them look anything like the ones that are on facebook right now.  And my male Shepard looks just like Obama, because why not?  So why should I care what is on the advertising?  It obviously didn't affect my purchase or my enjoyment of the game.  It shouldn't affect anyone elses.

Maybe people are relating it more to how in American culture (and maybe others, but I'll speak about my own) the perception of what's beautiful tends to be somewhat anglo-fied.  Sure, maybe you don't like how that works.  But getting mad at a vote on facebook that is essentially "pick your favorite pretty picture"is not going to change the world.  You're expecting too much at this point.  Bioware has everyone right to figure out what people would prefer to play as in their video games.  They try to keep statistics on that stuff all the time.  God forbid they listen to what the majority of voting public would like.  Again, we're getting mad at a business for being a business when you do something like that.

If you want to push for heroes that are not always the standard pretty, go ahead and do something more proactive about it.  But if you're going to call one model of Shepard "Barbie" and a void of personality merely by hair and skin color alone, you're being just as prejudice at the culture you are trying to rebel from.  Shepard is still going to save the universe from the reapers*, regardless of his or her looks.  Mass Effect 1 and 2 proved that with every play-through every fan experienced.  One blonde model of Shepard on the advertising is not going to change what already happened in the story.  Only you as the player can.  Play with your Shepard, and move on.  The box art is not going to hurt.

Final thought: would these critics be saying this if is was a male blonde Shepard?  I think not.  Looks like ideals of beauty are not the only things we have to work on.

*That is, as long as your choices in the game didn't already fuck it up for your Shepard.  Which I can't predict right now.