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Nov. 16th, 2017

GW2 update - griffin!

So I finally got the owl griffin mount last night. Yep, after the money made from Halloween, I went ahead and splurged the 250 gold. In packets of 50g per map. It was like paying mortgage.

I'll need to level it up now. I already have the mastery points saved up. So it's just a matter of doing XP.

I'll probably just do map completion that I need to do on all my characters anyway for their class spec collection. That should be more than enough.

No comments about the Mountgate rage going on in reddit/forums. I didn't bother buying the Halloween skins and I didn't bother with the new random mount skins. Unlike the default glider skin, I'm fine with the default mount skin. *shrug*

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Nov. 14th, 2017

TBG Omake - A Computer by Any Other Name

AN: This is an omake fanfic of a Quest (fanfic) called To Boldly Go, based primarily on Star Trek.

This plot bunny bit out of the blue. It's a direct sequel to The Definition of Life. Basically, the reward for the previous omake was to have Mipek and Yanag assigned to the USS Lightning, which is running the experimental testbed for the isolinear computer system before we can roll that out to the fleet. (And as a result, Lightning gets a +1 science stat out of it too.)

Then, I looked over the Q2 logs for the Lightning, and lo and behold, they had a mission to the computer-phobic Arcadian Empire. And so, this fic happened.

Also, I guess I'm starting to fill out the non-Seigaku expies. Though at this point, I'm just using the Tenipuri characters as the basis for coming up with names and rough job/skill profiles. Characterization is not going to be the same since they're not all high school tennis players.

omake )

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Nov. 12th, 2017

TBG Omake - The Definition of Life

AN: This is an omake fanfic of a Quest (fanfic) called To Boldly Go, based primarily on Star Trek.

Just to say this right off the bat, I wasn’t really aiming for suspenseful court drama for this omake, more fanservice-dressed soapboxing. That said, it also isn't intended to be an in depth essay to defend AI rights. I’m sure there are dissertations worth of that stuff elsewhere on the net. I structured things to be centered more around interesting cameos and the POV they might be able to offer, and what would make sense from an in-universe and in-character perspective.

To give a bit of background, Mipek was accepted by the USS Odyssey and has been living in Sol without problems for 2+ years now. So what changed to suddenly create this conflict? Well, the obvious antagonist was the Daystrom Institute and its record of problems with AI in Trek, and they just happened to have started researching the latest gen of starship computer cores as of the last research vote in-game.

I suppose, in another timeline where they actually brought up the M5 in the court case, this court drama would be an actual drama with the big reveal being DI was trying to revive the M5 program and sneak AIs into starships. And then Vice Admiral Eaton would put her foot down. Here however, they were savvy enough to cut their losses. After all, losing this one research request wouldn't hurt them as much as being kicked off their research spot would have been.

Absent that, this is mainly going to be about Mipek, and whether it gets to be treated as a sapient life form. In light of that (and previous depictions), there wasn't much room for the plot to go. So I ended up picking the fanservice soapbox route. *shrug*

As another aside, I'm proud I managed to sneak "yudan sezu ni ikou" in there for my Tezuka expy. ^_-

omake )

Foonotes:

Anthony Haftel is a canon character from TNG. Hopefully he'll learn his lesson here and not try to take away Data's kid in the future. Or maybe he'll come back later as an antagonist when we find Data. Who knows.

Areel Shaw is a canon character from TOS. I flipped a coin to see if she'd be too old to show up. But anyway, the last org chart I saw for the JAG department didn't have many high ranking spots anyway, so I guess most people there just languish at lower ranks or something...

Aaron Satie is yet another canon character from TNG. He was required reading for Picard at the Academy (and that's coming up soon too!) so he should be a famous judge around the current time.

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Nov. 9th, 2017

TBG Omake - Absent Friends

AN: This is an omake fanfic of a Quest (fanfic) called To Boldly Go, based primarily on Star Trek.

For once, this is an omake with only canon characters, no OCs. Sadly, it came about when we assigned Commodore Saavik to head a task force that got into a fight. They won (narrowly), with only 1 ship lost. Unfortunately, the destroyed ship was the flagship of the TF (USS Kumari), and it was destroyed by a warp core breach. Meaning, everyone died on it, including our flag officer. Kinda sad, since we've sent out task forces to fight before with OCs at the head, and they all made it though. I guess Saavik has just had awful luck by the dice rolls throughout this game-quest.

Anyway, after seeing the combat results, I originally wanted to write an omake on Spock's reaction to what happened. Unfortunately, it turned out that trying to write Vulcan grief was like bashing my head against a wall, so I gave up and went for easier pickings. As it turned out, the career timeline of our current Commander of Starfleet, Sulu, jived really well with Saavik's career timeline. So, this fic happened.

read omake here )

Quest Timeline Reference:
2306.Q1 Sulu appointed to RA, Director of Starfleet Explorer Command
2308.Q1 First reference to Saavik as XO of USS Sarek under Captain Straak
2309.Q1 Start of Saavik’s 5YM on USS S’harien
2309.Q2 Sulu promoted to VA, Director of Starfleet Tactical
2313.Q4 End of Saavik’s 5YM on USS S’harien
2314.Q1 Saavik assigned to Starfleet Tactical
2314.Q4 Saavik promoted to Commodore
2316.Q1 Hikaru Sulu appointed Commander Starfleet
2319.Q2 Eternal Empire arc begins
2320.Q2 Battle of Exar Draconis; USS Kumari destroyed
2320.Q4 Sulu expected to step down as Commander Starfleet

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Nov. 6th, 2017

TBG Omake - Academy Extensions: Down the Rabbit Hole

AN: This is an omake fanfic of a Quest (fanfic) called To Boldly Go, based primarily on Star Trek.

Both cadet OCs are Tenipuri expies. I decided not to make it part 5 of The Academy by the Bay series since it doesn't take place in San Francisco, mostly.

omake )

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Nov. 2nd, 2017

TBG Omake: The Academy By The Bay 4

AN: This is an omake fanfic of a Quest (fanfic) called To Boldly Go, based primarily on Star Trek.

OCs are Tenipuri expies. Names are quite obvious.

omake )

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Oct. 6th, 2017

Mediterranean trip day 10

Last official tour day; tomorrow we head back to the US.

This morning we hit the Topkapi Palace and Hagia Sophia, both museums now within walking distance of our hotel (called Sura). The palace is a little bit reminiscent of the Forbidden Palace, if only in gaudiness, though of course not nearly as big as the chinese emperor's epeen.

Lunch was at a random restaurant and not much of note. Afterwards we visited the Basilica Cistern, which was pretty cool and Moria-esque. Unfortunately my camera couldn't see a thing down there and gave up the last of its battery trying. Oh well, just as well I didn't need it anymore.

The remaining afternoon was spent at the grand bazaar. I got my Istanbul T-shirt for the collection. My mom spent the rest of our Euros on some scarves and a lamb-skin jacket. Pft.

Dinner was at this seafood place. Their grilled bass (and other fish servings) were pretty good. Comparatively, though, I'd say I've preferred the Greek restaurants to the Turkish ones (cruise excepted). Better salads and more tender meats.

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Oct. 5th, 2017

Mediterranean trip day 9

Aka day 2 Istanbul. Also, it appears Turkey is a kitty kingdom too. Cats cats everywhere.

Our hotel is very well located, so our morning walk passed by several items of interest, including the outside of the hippodrome, an Egyptian obelisk and the original of a spire we just saw days ago in Delphi.

First major tour spot was the Blue Mosque, and all the women had to put on head scarves to get in. Otherwise, thr inside aesthetics seemed pretty similar to medieval cathedrals to me. =P

Then the Chora, a church turned mosque turned museum, known for its frescoes and mosaics.

Then the...Sulaiman Mosque (?).

After that we had lunch near the Egyptian spice bazaar. Grilled fish sandwich sold off a boat. Kinda gimmicky, and taste was meh otherwise. Afterwards we had time to shop a bit, and ended up buying 2 boxes of Turkish Delights.

Afternoon was a 2 hour cruise on the Bosphorus Strait, which was pretty cool to have Europe on one side and Asia the other.

Finally, after a brief rest at the hotel, dinner was at a nightclub with a (traditional?) Turkish dance show. Yes, with bellydancers.

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Oct. 4th, 2017

Mediterranean trip day 8

Our last destination in Greece this morning was the Temple of Poseidon at Sounion. A very pretty place, but it was on the way there that I had my completely unrelated epiphany on just why the Hetalia character for Greece was a narcoleptic cat lover.

If I had to estimate the number of cats I've seen so far on this tour, it would be *at least* 5, per *day*. And I'm not talking half wild cats that are appropriately wary or humans. These are all domesticated felines just placidly waiting for tourist to coo over/pet/feed them.

Also, Greeks have a waaaay easy lifestyle. Most retail stores only open 3-4 days a week, and even places that do open daily for tourist have short hours by US or Chinese standards.

Also noticed that even the middle of Athens is closer to US suburbia in the amount of foot and car traffic you would typically see on the street. That is to say, very little of anything seems to be going on. The only places that are full of people are the tourist spots.

Comparatively, arriving at Istanbul this afternoon was rather reminiscent of arriving in China (or HK or Taiwan, etc.) in terms of all the masses of people, construction, and general activity.

(Current time is 9:15 pm)

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Oct. 3rd, 2017

Mediterranean trip day 7

Left Paktos at a leisurely 830 am today. On the way out of town, we drove its venetian harbor and some old castle.

Then it was a long drive across the bridge to the Pelopponesian (sp?) peninsula and over to the Olympia archaeological site. More walking, ruins, and museum with statues of nekkid men (with the dangly bits on display). *eye waggle*

Then a lunch at a place near the museum, befor starting the long drive back, this time by way of the bridge over the Corinthian canal. It looked more narrow than I expected, but apparently all canals are like that and modern ships do make use of it.

The hotel tonight is the same one in Athens that we first used, Elektra Palace, though not the same rooms obviously. Ah the small niceties of a 5 star hotel...

(Currently 9:20pm)

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Oct. 2nd, 2017

Mediterranean trip / Agean cruise (day 3-5 + 6)

Current time is 9:25 pm.

My last 3 or so days were spent on a cruise ship, where Wi-fi was hella expensive. So didn't get a chance to post interim updates. Figured I'd just do a data dump now.

Day 3

Took all morning to check onto the Celestyal Olympia. My first time on a cruise ship, so lessons learned: they take your passports for the duration of the trip, but on the bright side, we didn't need to present either passport or visa on our one stop in Turkey.

Jetlag mixed with a bit if sea sickness was the pits on this first day, but it cleared up mostly after a night's sleep on board.

In the afternoon, we stopped at the island of Mykonos, a cozy and windy seaside tourist trap. Has dinner there as well. Grilled fish, although fresh, was rather meh. The tiger shrimp were slightly better.

Day 4

Landed in Kusadasi, Turkey for the morning, and the cruise also provided a local guide. This guy was the best tour guide we had so far (up to day 6).

First tour destination was the House of Virgin Mary. I'm not Christian, so it was kinda meh to me.

Second destination was the ancient city of Ephesus. Now this was more like it. We walked for hours in the archaeological site of the Roman city, covering everything from the gymnasium, forum, temple, fountains, baths, bathrooms, library, to theater. All marble all the time. It was pretty awesome.

On our way back to the ship, we also stopped at Turkmen, apparently a government sponsored place to do/teach/sell handmade carpets. Unfortunately our tour group were all American-Chinese, so no one bought anything.

There was another tour announced in the afternoon for Patmos, another religious place, but I wasn't interested and didn't go.

Day 5

Morning was Crete. We saw thwe archaeological site of the Minoan palace of Knossos. Not was intact as Ephesus but it is a much older city. Then we did a brief tour of Heraklion, apparently the capital. But as it was Sunday, not much was open.

In the afternoon we arrived at Santorini to look at the sights. Unfortunately thick clouds rolled in about 10 mins to sunset, sono one got to see it that day. Not that we'd have been able to anyway, due to bus and ship schedules.

Had lobster on the ship for dinner. While the lobster was quite big and cheaper than in the US, the cooking was mediocre.

Day 6

Docked back at th Piraeus port in Athens. Apparently this major Grecian port is now 60-80% Chinese owned nowadays. Hah.

Then had a 2 hour drive up to the monastery of St. Lucas. Expacted sights of medieval religious building.

Had lunch at this random place, which was actually rather good.

Then drove over to Delphi and the archaeological site of the temple of Apollo. Not much remaining to see...

Finally, our hotel tonight is in a random small town on the way back to Athens, called Nafpaktos. Ok place, good view of the bay at least.

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Sep. 28th, 2017

Mediterranean trip day 2

Current time 9:07 pm

Took an Athens city tour today. Started off with a quick driveby of the Temple of Zeus (or remnants thereof) and a bit of Hadrian's Wall. Then headed to the Athens city Acropolis which is the main attraction of the city. It involved a long climb up jagged and slippery marble paths through to the Parthenon. And from the higher vantage, we could see below the smaller temples and the Theater of Dionysus.

Afterwards, feet still sore from the long line getting out of the Parthenon, we went over to the new museum and walked through allof the major exhibitions. I have to mention here that for today's tour, we actually had a local guide doing much of the show and tell in English. Unfortunately, her accent was impenetrable and her English vocabulary was kinda...lacking too. Oh eell, I'm sure most of the historical into cam be found online anyway.

Afterwards, there were some more drive-by sightseeing. There was the Parliament building, the three neoclassical buildings built in the 19th (?) century: a library, a museum, and a...university? Etc. We did make a stop for the original olympic stadium though.

Finally,we paused for a very late lunch, for which I just got a sandwich to go and ate at the hotel. Then there was a brief pause at the hotel (for siesta or whatever they call it here?) And its straight to dinner at a local small restaurant. That wasn't too interesting. We did do some shopping along the small street shops after. Got a T-shirt to go with my Auusie/NZ one.

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Sep. 27th, 2017

Mediterranean trip day 1

Currently 11:47 pm in Athens.

It was a 13 hour flight to Instanbul (over the US and Atlantic), and then a transfer backwards to Athens. Eh, something something prices I guess.

Turkish Airlines was kinda meh. No adjustable fans for cooling downn and food was blah. Watched 3 in flight movies and stuck to light stuff like Ice Age (Collision Course), Kungfu Panda 3, and Lego Batman. KP3 was a great laugh, but I thought the other two were trying too hard.

Also, while waiting at the airport, I browsed a bit on the details of the new Star Trek Discovery pilot. Not too impressed, honestly. Sounded to me like they tried to do Kelvinverse style squished into Prime universe, and I'm not just referring to the lens flares.

To wit: A tramatised faux-emo main character which is going to a actual main character (since when has any Prime Trek had a series MC?) and whose backstory reads like a bad fanfic Mary Sue. Seriously, haven't they learned from the last time they tried to give Spock a sibling?

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Sep. 25th, 2017

GW2 Path of Fire Initial Review

So I've completed the personal story and all 4 of the free mounts mastery tracks. Also did a bit of dabbling with weaver and did the starting personal story on 2 more characters to check out a few things. Also, staked reddit for news and stuff. So I'm ready to do my initial review.

I think in a lot of respects, PoF is the culmination of a lot of learning and feedback taken from the players in response to HoT. It attempts to capitalize on the things people liked, correct what they didn't like, and sometimes go overboard in the attempt.

Read more... )

There's probably more stuff that I can't remember right now. Ask me and I shall trying to give my thoughts on it.

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Sep. 13th, 2017

TBG Omake: Work-Life Balance

AN: This is an omake fanfic of a Quest (fanfic) called To Boldly Go, based primarily on Star Trek.

This one's not tenipuri based. Both adult OC's are in-game characters. Here's hoping I did Vulcan romance domesticity justice.

omake )

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Sep. 10th, 2017

TBG Omake: The Academy By The Bay 3

AN: Again, this is an omake fanfic of a Quest (fanfic) called To Boldly Go, based primarily on Star Trek.

Takes place around... 2318.Q4-ish. Tezuka-expy shows up, and Atobe-expy gets a name drop.

omake )

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Aug. 22nd, 2017

TBG Omake: The Academy By The Bay 2

AN: Again, this is an omake fanfic of a Quest (fanfic) called To Boldly Go, based primarily on Star Trek.

Both this and the previous segment takes place in early 2318.Q1. Betazoids and Caitians are both canon species.

omake )

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Aug. 21st, 2017

GW2 demo weekend 2

Ok, first off I'm going to admit that I didn't really spend that much time playing the demo this weekend. In my defense, I was kidnapped by my long-departed mused and held hostage over at google docs. (I have a 2nd chapter of my TBG omake series written and parts 3 & 4 vaguely plotted.) So, since inspiration is harder to come by and I've already prepurchased the game, well, that sorta set my priorities.

Confession over. I sort of tried out three of the new elite specializations that I most cared about in the recent demo:

Read more... )

Anyway, I'll still probably get the HPs to fill out the new specializations even for the ones I don't plan to use. That's assuming the collections for getting a "free" ascended weapon is still going to be added, similar to HoT. That will be 2 daggers, 2 swords, 2 axes, torch, rifle, and shortbow. *licks*

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Aug. 20th, 2017

TBG Omake: The Academy by the Bay 1

AN: This is an omake fanfic of a Quest (fanfic) called To Boldly Go, based primarily on Star Trek. I've based my OC character on another fandom of course, as it will become more obvious.

Anyway, to understand the background...
- Here is a brief on the Apiata species. I'm using the female pronouns for queens, and neutral pronouns for drones (b/c all da zzzz's).
- Michel Thuir is an official NPC of TBG, first seen as a captain of uncommon good sense at the beginning of the quest, and has since moved up the ranks due to having the favor of the players.

The Academy by the Bay 1 )

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Aug. 14th, 2017

GW2 demo weekend 1 thoughts

The first demo weekend just finished. That demo covered just a preview of the PvE map content for PoF, mainly focused on showing off the new area and the mount system. None of the new class specializations were available; apparently, they're showcasing those separately in the next demo. Because of that, I didn't play all that exhaustively. But from what I did play, here's some thoughts...

the review )

Anyway, the upcoming weekend will have the specializations demo. Currently, it seems the demo characters will only have access to WvW and PvP for testing. Players are also arguing for aerodome (raid testing) access. Also not sure how it's going to work with existing WvW queues and maps... Best case is they'll make a new WvW instance for the demo to avoid conflicting with actual WvW games. Either that or just restricted to Edge of the Mists, I guess.

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Aug. 7th, 2017

GW2 pre-expansion updates

So, the big news is that the next expansion, Path of Fire, will be coming out in late September. It's going to take place in Crystal Desert/Elona, and the big bad looks to be Balthazar, though Palawa Joko and/or Kralkatorik may or may not (probably not) also bite the dust.

Before we get to the expansion though, there's a bunch of other updates that's coming out in preparation for it...

* Gliding is being added to WvW tomorrow. Since gliding only comes with HoT and PoF can be bought separately, I'm guessing it's just enticing new players to buy both.

* Consumables are getting revamped to use Concentration/Expertise instead of condi/boon duration % value. Results in a nerf on those stats, which is a hit to meta HoT-based builds. Doesn't really impact me, since even my vipers engi doesn't use condi duration food often.

* Human Elona-based faces and hairstyles are already available in character creator (and makeover kit).

* There will be an open demo starting this Friday, available to everyone. If it's anything like the HoT beta, it might be a good idea to move all legendary/ascended gear into the bank beforehand so the demo character can use them.

Actual Expansion stuff )

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Jul. 7th, 2017

Recs

Finally coming up for air...

Been reading THE Pokemon fanfic Ashes of the Past. A fic which probably contains most of the cliches in the fandom (aside from the harem ones), many from before they became cliches, and even several elements that later became canon. Also, a 1.3 mil ongoing fic that incidentally completed nanowrimo without intending to.

Quality wise, the first few chapters are a bit lacking (didn't feel like the author was taking the actual writing of it seriously enough), but the quality does improve, especially after the author dropped it for a few years to write a lot of other stuff and generally improved her writing skill before picking this story up again. I think everything from Orange Islands onward is much better quality. Updated in snippets almost daily on the SB forums, and completed chapters are posted semi-weekly to ffnet.


The same author also manages the MLP Loops round-robin-ish meta story. While there's a lot of fluff there, there's also some coherent story lines there that are pretty good too. And yeah, I also read through this 2 mil word monster once or twice too... >.>;


Next, To Boldly Go... is a very well written and well organized Star Trek quest that takes place post STVI (and Generations prologue) at the turn of the 24th century. While it's not entirely compliant to canon in the nitty gritty details, it certainly is spiritually compliant to Star Trek, IMO.

I've read a lot of Star Trek quests/OC fics and this is perhaps one of the only ones where I've really loved OC characters depicted and the general theme of things. My favorites so far are Nash (the Andorian captain who took over the Ent-B after Harriman who has shades of being the second coming of Kirk) and Straak (Vulcan combat-geologist captain that in-story earned the name of "The Rock Whisperer"), among others.

There's also call-outs to some canon characters (most of the guys from TOS are still alive, after all) but for the first 10 years of the timeline none of them were in the focus.

I'm also very happy that the playerbase has consistently avoided the pitfalls of going 'rawr-Starfleet-military-buildup-let's-shoot-everything'. Something must be right when your voters are actually wanting the Pacifist faction of the Federation Council to gain the majority...

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Jun. 13th, 2017

Pokemon Doujinshi

http://kissmanga.com/Manga/Pokemon-Dating-a-Team-Magma-Grunt-Doujinshi

This is kinda adorable. Game continuity based, looks like.

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May. 23rd, 2017

NieR Automata presents: Romeos and Juliets

Robots from the 120th century reinterpreting Shakespeare. XD



I've recently got rather sucked into the story for this game, even though I'm never actually going to play it. Most likely. Probably.

... >.>

EDIT: Also finally finished my new GW2 backpiece.

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May. 14th, 2017

Quip P/P Raid

A dev made the challenge and the gamebase answered. They made it before the enrage timer too.

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