Another DA canon in the books

Jun. 21st, 2017 11:55 pm
owlmoose: (da - seeker)
[personal profile] owlmoose
It's been a week for finishing video games; first ME:A, and now this. I've been slowly working on a Qunari mage Inquisitor, Nazlin Adaar since about ten minutes after I finished up my Trevelyan warrior playthrough, and I wrapped her up through Trespasser yesterday. She is easily my favorite Inquisitor so far: fun and snarky, thoughtful and caring, and I loved playing out the Josephine romance with her.

I went into this playthrough with three goals in mind, besides the obvious ones of seeing how the game plays out for a Qunari and with a mage, and wrapping up my Garrett Hawke's canon: 1) an F/F romance; 2) seeing a different outcome at the Winter Palace (both of my previous Inquisitors put the same person on the throne); and 3) befriending Solas, something that neither my Cadash nor my Trevelyan remotely managed. Other than that, I let Nazlin make all her own decisions, which may be why I enjoyed her so much.

It was a fairly light playthrough, all things considered -- I didn't quite finish Jaws of Hakkan (even with difficulty turned down to Casual, it was clear that I was never beating the final boss with the team I wanted), didn't even start Descent, and left a lot of the optional areas only half explored. And I'm okay with that, considering how little bearing most of the sidequests, even the major ones, have on the outcome. Even the ones that are interesting for their own sake tend not to differ from Inquisitor to Inquisitor. I doubt I will ever play a thorough game again, which is kind of too bad, but I feel like that's the best way to feel like I'm seeing different stories each time: concentrate on the content that can change.

Next up is DA2, where I will continue Loral Mahariel's universe. I started that game awhile back and got a little into Act 1 (meeting Merrill and her clan). This Hawke is a female mage, mostly aggressive so far but with a side of snark; I want her to romance Isabela, but otherwise I don't have much of a concept for her yet. That will set up my elf Inquisitor, probably my first male, probably to romance Dorian or maybe Cassandra. Since Loral was my Morrigan romance, I'm pretty much dying to see that play out in DAI, but I do need to get through DA2 first. It'll be nice to get back into that story -- it's been quite awhile.
owlmoose: (da - aeducan)
[personal profile] owlmoose
We finished playing through the main storyline of Mass Effect Andromeda this weekend. I've heard many of the complaints about the game, and I'm hard put to really disagree with any of them -- sub-par graphics, too many meaningless sidequests, an uncomfortable colonialism narrative, etc. But ultimately, I enjoyed myself. I found most of the characters interesting, played out a satisfying romance, and for the most part had fun with the gameplay. Since I feel no deep personal investment in the Mass Effect series overall, I feel like I spent less time comparing it to the other installments, and more time appreciating the game for what it was.

Rather than a straight up review, I'm going to tell you about my Sara Ryder and use her story as the framing devise for my thoughts on the game overall. Spoilers ahead.

Pull up a barstool and settle in as I tell you a tale of a lady, her spaceship, and her traveling companions. )


Jun. 19th, 2017 05:56 pm
seventhe: (Default)
[personal profile] seventhe
Today I learned that my phone autocorrect and predictive texting have pretty effectively picked up my mannerisms and habits and vocabulary, SOOOOO as a game whose bounds are "hilarity" or "creepily accurate", leave me a one-word prompt to start a phrase and my phone and I will read you your fortune.
owlmoose: stack of books (book - pile)
[personal profile] owlmoose
It's E3 time, and although I haven't been paying super-close attention, a few things have broken through. One of the harder stories to miss is the controversy over The Last Night, a side-scrolling platformer in a cyberpunk setting. Among other issues, the game seems to be set in a dystopia designed to be a critique of socialism (in contrast to most cyberpunk, which tends to be anti-capitalist). I'd seen a number of takes on the issue, but the one that broke through and inspired me to write my own thoughts was this Twitter thread by [ profile] petercoffin (the thread and replies are recommended reading, both up and down):

I retweeted it a couple of days ago, with a promise to come back and say more, and here we are. My thoughts are going to be less about capitalism vs. socialism and the many issues with this specific game (Peter and the rest of the Internet have that aspect amply covered) and more about the economics of creativity, specifically the economics of fandom, which is where my creativity has lived for the past decade and more. I said in my tweet that I have "literally never" been paid in money for creative work; there are some hairs to split (I've written freelance a little bit, mostly advertising copy, and [community profile] ladybusiness launched a Patreon about six months ago), but I think it's fair to say for the creative work that's personally meaningful to me -- fiction, fannish meta, book reviews, essays like this one, etc. -- I have never received renumeration. I consider this to be choice, because I have immersed myself in fandom, writing fiction of a type that I legally cannot sell. I've chosen not to write original fiction, or file the serial numbers off my fic; I've chosen not to pitch essays or reviews to paying venues; and I've chosen not to set up a personal Patreon or any kind of tip jar. Within my corner of fandom culture, we mostly accept that we're creating for the love of it, and for the personal satisfaction of sharing our creations with others.

So I look at a sentiment like the one that Peter describes, and it's alien to me. Many years ago, at my first FogCon, I got into a brief debate with a professional author during a panel about fanfiction, and why anyone would put time into writing something you couldn't sell. (Perhaps ironically, it was a panel about cyberpunk and other "-punk" genres.) Although my comments were well-received in the moment, the pro who raised the issue admitted that he still didn't really get it; he offered to continue the discussion over email, but I was too shy to take him up on it, so it ended there. I still think about it sometimes, though. There are plenty of people who undertake creative pursuits with no expectation of making them into a career: crafters, home cooks, musicians. I've never made money off music, either -- I actually pay for the privilege of singing in my chorus. Amateurs often create for love, in all kinds of fields. Why should writing be any different?

Fandom has an economy, of course. Most often it's described as a "gift economy", meaning that you publish your work as a gift to the community, with no expectation of receiving anything in return. Another, in my experience more accurate description, is the "attention economy". Instead of money, creators get "paid" in attention: likes, kudos, clicks, reviews. Both of these models are somewhat limited, and the "attention economy" frame in particular is still rooted in the paradigm of capitalism, but I think there's something worthwhile in both descriptions. One of my favorite articles on the subject is The Economics of Fandom: Value, Investment, and Invisible Price Tags by [personal profile] saathi1013, which goes into detail about the "work" it takes to be in fandom, and the different ways in which we value and/or are compensated for that work.

On the other hand, there are signs that this may be changing. In this respect, there's always been a disconnect in fandom between fanfic and fanart -- unlike fanfic, there's a long tradition of selling fanart: at comics conventions, for example, or via commissions. In professional comics circles, there's an expectation of sorts that artists will cut their teeth on fanart and perhaps even include it in their portfolio. And increasingly, fanfic authors have been questioning why they can't benefit from selling their work, too. I've known fanfic authors to take commissions, or set up Patreons. And the practice of "filing off the serial numbers" has gotten more transparent with the success of authors like E. L. James and Cassandra Clare. Everyone knows that 50 Shades of Grey was originally a Twilight AU, and that Clare was offered a book contract on the strength of her following in the Harry Potter and LoTR fandoms. As IP holders have grown less likely to bring down the hammer on fanfic authors, fanfic is coming out of the shadows. Can a growing commercial acceptance be far behind?

To me, maybe it doesn't matter. Although I certainly appreciate no longer living in fear that I'll receive a cease and desist letter someday, I don't know that I would try to sell my fic even if I were given the opportunity. Essays and reviews might be a different story, further down the road, but for now I'm happier where I am, in (what feels to me) like the lower-pressure environment of fandom, where I can write for the love of it, and in the hopes of finding fellow travelers who will love what I love with me.
seventhe: (Quistis/Rydia: Yeah I Ship It)
[personal profile] seventhe

so i've talked here a lot about fibromyalgia, and stress, and energy and chronic fatigue, and the concept of overcharging on a credit card and then having to pay the balance and interest later; it's an analogy that feels pretty close to the experience, just another way to phrase the spoon theory. I've been managing this on a microscale for the last couple years: spend all my energy at work, push off the crash until i get home, have no energy to do anything; repeat. well, it turns out this happens on the macroscale as well, as i found out last week when i finally had the first part of the breakdown i've been holding off for four years running.

i took two days off of work to manage it - yeah, i haven't even been here a month and i'm taking vacation, but they know about my health problems and are v understanding - and it was ... just ... weird

it's very overwhelming when all the bullshit you've been suppressing for four years straight decides to come due and crash down on you all at once. and it isn't over -- you can't recover from four years in ten days, you just can't.

but that's where i am, and that's what is happening, and my partner and i had an incredibly pleasant lazy weekend and he also cleaned my entire kitchen (as in, exiled me to the couch to relax while he cleaned it, which did lead to a massive meltdown on my part, but worked eventually when i fell asleep on the couch) and we went to the farmer's market and bought delicious fresh local food and veggies and fruits, so i have good motivation to eat well and take care of myself this week.

i'm very wary of what else might be behind the (cracking, breaking) dam, waiting to flood me out, but ... if i could handle those four years, i can handle whatever backlash they're gonna dish out

spindizzy: Sherlock Holmes as played by Jeremy Brett, laughing with a hand covering his face. (You do make me laugh)
[personal profile] spindizzy
  • OKAY, I know I make the "I live, I die, I live again" joke on the regular, but SERIOUSLY THIS TIME. I was Ill on Wednesday. Like, got out of work and it was full on "shivering and chills, then swinging to boiling hot, then back again to being COLD!" levels of Ill. (At one point I turned round to Lex and announced "Look! I have goosebumps! I didn't think it was that cold in here!" in tones of great excitement. Apparently it wasn't and I was doing him a concern.)Cut for fun with illnesses! )

  • Sooooo HOW ABOUT THAT ELECTION? I am immensely satisfied that the Conservatives lost their majority, I am concerned about what they're trying to do to get one back. As far as I can tell the DUP are somewhat... Not Great? I am taking some satisfaction that even though there are STILL people who think the Tories are the people to vote for, UKIP are fucking OUT, and the left did pretty well! I mean, there was low-key voter suppression going on in a few counties, and we still managed a hung parliament, that's not nothing. I'm... Honestly hoping that the left gets its shit together for a proper coalition government, but failing that I am happy with them doing this AGAIN next week if that's what it fucking takes. I CAN WAIT ALL MONTH, GOVERNMENT, IT'S ONLY YOUR OWN TIME YOU'RE WASTING.

  • I am Attempting Femininity, which means that I have a SUPER FUCKING CUTE DRESS (It's a Corinna from Lindy Bop) and Bandelettes so that my large leaden thighs don't get rubbed raw. The bandelettes are kinda neat - I've got the unisex ones, so it's a nylon/lycra wrap with silicone around the top and bottom so it actually stays in place on your leg. (Advice I have been given: if you're buying these and you are between the size bands, SIZE DOWN.) So far, I've worn them under a dress while chilling in someone's house, and I'm wearing them under trousers at work today because guess who only just realised these trousers have holes in the thighs, oops. POINT BEING, they have worked so far but I don't know if that's because I am not using them to the full extent or what.

  • (It is really hard to admire them, because they make my thighs actually look decent! But then I get distracted by my belly being gross, so I guess I will have to appreciate their existence without looking at them.)

  • My nail varnish choices are EXCELLENT.

  • [ profile] hardlyaverage has promised to teach me how to sew so that I can make my OWN cute sundresses! I am so excited!

  • Speaking of excited, our [ profile] jilliferium is coming down to Nottingham AS I TYPE and I'm going to get to see her tomorrow! She is here to see her friend the Slammin' Salmon and I am kind of a "Well, I GUESS you're here too" and THAT IS FINE because we're gonna go to a craft shop and probably fail will saves against fancy wool.

  • (Oh, yeah, three of my friends have moved house to down the road from TWO DIFFERENT CRAFT SHOPS, this is the best and also the worst.)

  • Sign language is going... UGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGH. I failed my exam by two points, which is still better than auto-failing it, but it is stressing me the fuck out and the closer it gets to my next exam date/my resit (July 4th) the worse it gets.

  • Apparently the internet has been out at home since Friday (to which my instinctive response was "Wait, has it?" because I have SO MUCH PHONE DATA for just this occasion and also I literally haven't been at home and conscious long enough to get my laptop out since Wednesday. Turns out there was a relay switch that was nearly as old as I am that had died, so... Yay for technicians, I guess?

  • Went to the dentist on Saturday for a filling. D: Decided not to get my face numbed (Like, fillings don't hurt? Needles do though.), which meant that I was in and out in about twenty minutes, which is REALLY GOOD. Full on "Wait, did I miss it?" levels of speedy. My dentist knows that dentists freak me out, so she's really good about getting me in and out as quick as she can, and Lex went along to look after me so I only shook a little bit. Apparently not getting your face numbed is unusual, but seriously it makes everything take longer, and I don't care that it hurts I care about the noises and the way that fucking hook feels inside your face. (Fortunately, the vacuum thing drowned out most of the drill noises.)

  • My "I am one with the Force, the Force is with me" bracelets from [personal profile] thebaconfat are super great and I am glad I wore them to the stressful thing.

  • I am so ready to be done with Hugo reading right now, I've hit the doldrums of Important SFF that is Doing Something Interesting that happens to bore me to tears, and I am probably going to throw it all over for reading viciously for the series stuff. How much of these doldrums is because I'm ill? Who could say!

  • FLIGHTS BOOKED FOR WOLDCON, SOUND THE ALARMS. Also as far as I can tell, I've got everything paid for for Nine Worlds (Ticket, trains, hotel), so I'm definitely going to that too! If you're going to either of them, let me know! Maybe we can meet up and I can be awkward in your general direction for a bit!

Nice things

Jun. 10th, 2017 09:58 am
cesy: "Cesy" - An old-fashioned quill and ink (Default)
[personal profile] cesy
I had a lovely time at [personal profile] kaberett's place last night. We had vegetarian toad-in-the-hole and vegetables and fancy tart and lemon-and-mint cordial and it was delicious. And we watched the first episode of Korra, and I would love to watch more on with people if anyone is up for that. And we talked wheelchairs and other mobility aids and I tried out theirs and it was really helpful. And the political situation is not nearly as bad as either of us were expecting, so that's good.



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