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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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May. 2nd, 2017

GW2 leaks

So according to the leaks for the upcoming expansion, we're getting the Crystal Desert and northern Elona, plus the following new specialization weps/lines

Thief - Rifle - probably a 1200 range single target weapon based on sniper
Guardian - Axe - seems to be more fire based stuffs
Warrior - Dagger - seems to be anticaster?
Engi - Sword - no idea what they're doing with engi... *ugh*
Mesmer - Axe - no idea
Ranger - Dagger mainhand (since we already have dagger offhand) - pet based
Necro - Torch - seems to be related to the Scourge X abilities of GW1?
Revenant - either longbow or shortbow
Ele - ?? not on list?

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Apr. 21st, 2017

The Post-SAB report

Terra Volt
80 Asura Engineer
Created 4 years 7 months ago
Played for 306 hours
1,921 deaths (XD)

Milestones achieved:
- Got the SAB kitty
- Finished unlocking all blue skins, including backpack
- Unlocked orange rifle skin (for engi)
- Unlocked red pistol & shield skin (for engi)
- Unlocked green pistol (for thief)
- Banked 10/10/8 W1 tribulation tokens (5/5/7 + 30g left to complete collection)
- Banked 1x 8-day reward box (here's hoping for purple skins next year!)
- Donated ~165 furniture coins to [CAT] (mah fingers! T_T)
- RNG granted 2 blue SAB boxes (dumped in [Yaoi] guild bank for [personal profile] cashew)

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Mar. 31st, 2017

SAB Resource Post

Dulfy master guide (Dailies) W2Z1 bauble farm
(Trib overlay 2) stunbreak Trib speedruns
new w1z3 skips alt-sec23 alt-sec3 cloud-sec4

Current goals:
- Purple: GS (mez), pistol (mez), warhorn (ele)
- Red: n/a
- Orange: sword (war/king toad set reward), warhorn (war)
- Green (15 left): 10/10/8

world 2 cat (inf vid1 vid2)

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Mar. 21st, 2017

Comparing GW2 and STO

First of all, disclaimer: I'm really casual where it comes to STO, playing only a single character and not having paid much attention to the meta discussions on reddit, so I can't claim to be all that authoritative on it. With GW2 I think I can speak better toward it, since I've played all classes pretty far and I've read a lot on the high tiers of play (raids/high fractals) so I am familiar with what goes on there.

Read more... )

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Mar. 20th, 2017

STO balance changes

It's all Greek to me.

I only play STO casually, so I really hate it when I have to go out and redesign my character sheet, and all the EQ I've spent so much time getting suddenly become obsolete. At least these things don't happen all that often, I guess, and at least I haven't invested in the REALLY meta builds like plasma leech which apparently has gotten nerfed to the ground.

For the phaser beam builds which I use, it sucks that FAW has been nerfed, because I don't like any of the other phaser abilities (and it's not efficient to use more than one given shared cooldowns). DEM seems to have been nerfed too (boo). And I want my money back from all the copies of Destabilizing Resonance Beam purchased for my science officers (:p).

On the balance (ha!), tanking and healing skills all seem to have been...buffed? Hrm.

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Mar. 16th, 2017

Ahaha, cute.

Got linked in a completely unrelated thread: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwQAyskqG0g

Imagine it crossed with Hetalia.

EDIT: Huh, insanejournal is back.

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Jan. 23rd, 2017

Hawaii Day 5

Finished the last day of our Hawaiian tour with Maui. Not much to say about this island...we preety much just hit a series of beaches, and they weren't even all that different from one another. I'm guessing this was the island you come to to have fun, not to spectate.

There were two highlights today though. One was lunch, surprisingly. We finally were introduced to a chinese place, and we ordered an steamed local fish. It was a flounder like thing whose name escapes me, but was tasty (and expensive, but oh well).

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Jan. 22nd, 2017

Hawaii Day 4

Got up at 5 in the morning to catch the early flight to Hilo (the biggest of the Hawaiian Islands). Looks like today was sunny in Honolulu...but foggy and sprinkly in Hilo. Boo.

After we got to Hilo, our first stop was a beach named...Richardson? I didn't catch it, but it was a black sand beach. We got to take a few pics of the waves breaking over the volcanic ricks before we were told the beach was closing due to advisory warnings. Hm.

Next was a small waterfall called Rainbow Falls, which I'm sure is normally pretty, were the sun out to actually form a rainbow. Yeah, with the day's foggy weather, it was just a small yellowish waterfall.

Lunch was meh, though the gardens next to the restaurant was nice (even if they added a charge for it to the meal fee). The rain kinda put a kibosh at looking at the place closer than from the covered walkways though.

Afternoon, we went over to the Mauna Loa caldera, I guess it's called. Couldn't see much given the rain (or just the wind blowing the clouds into our faces), but we managed to make our the caldera mouth and at least one active lava plume. It was way too far/vague to photograph though.

We also visited a lava tube, which was neat eccept for the wet puddles and the rain on the was to the entrance. Sigh.

New hotel for the night, then tomorrow we hit Maui before heading back to Honolulu.

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Jan. 21st, 2017

Hawaii Day 3

This morning's tour itinerary was a drive around of some of Oahu's scenic spots. Unfortunately, it was a bit spoiled by sudden bursts of rain showers. Apparently unusually severe ones too. Boo.

Lunch was unremarkably spent at a convenient fast food place, much to my disgust.

Afternoon, we went to a submarine tour. I thought it was pretty cool. We did spot a few big turtles. Unfortunately, it's hard to take pics out of the portholes. A lot of the shots come out all blurry, and the colors are all blue shifted. Still I got a 'face' shot of a Dory-fish, which I found amusing.

Directly after the submarine tour, the shuttle service dropped us off at the entrance to the Wakiki Aquarium (which was sooo nice of that driver since I'm pretty sure dropoffs outside of hotels is outside their job). Anyway, at the aquarium we got photos of all the fish we saw in the sea (and more), without the blurring or color loss.

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Jan. 20th, 2017

Hawaii Day 2

Got up before dawn to visit Pearl Harbor right as it opened. Apparently lines are horrible there afterwards. Had a single sandwich for breakfast from the gift shop there. (Ugh, our itinerary for most of the days in Hawaii involves setting out before breakfast hours; no wonder our hotel reservations didn't include breakfast even though the hotel has that service.)

Anyway. Pearl Harbor. Saw the wreck/memorial of the U.S.S. Arizona. Watched a movie about the attack. There were also a coupleof small museums that were information's but not very photogenic.

Lunch was a udon place near our hotel, chosen because it was one of the few places open before 11. The place was still quite popular even as we were leaving closer to lunch hours though. I did like its a la cart tempura selection.

In the afternoon, visited the Polynesian Cultural Center. Pretty plave with pretty people and a LOT of dancing and singing (hollering). I liked the fire dances most of all. Those were...hot (badum-tish)

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Jan. 19th, 2017

Aloha Day 1

Flew to Honolulu this morning, and arrived to a warm summer temperature. I can see why Hawaii is such a nice tourist place. You get perrenial summers and none of the scary bugs from Australia.

Anyway, took a cruise on the Star of Honolulu in the evening. The view was pretty good, and there was even a whale sighting! Alas, it was too quick and shy to captute on camera. Also, there were some nice dances for entertainment.

The food...ugh, in hindsight we should've bought the deluxe ticket instead of basic. Apparently for just $10 more, you get lobster. Sigh. The tour pamphlet said it was just crab legs. Those were not crab legs I saw at the other tables. Actually, it turns out there were three tiers and only the five star one has lobster. But our tour service only offers the 3 & 4 star tiers, so we weren't missing out on anything after all. Ah well.

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Jan. 18th, 2017

The shared bathroom conspiracy

So, one of the most persistent minor bits of fanon I've seen in KS fandom is the shared bathroom trope. You gotta admit, it's such a useful plot device for getting our heroes into each others rooms (and beds) without having to worry about prying eyes and a morning-after-walk-o-shame. But, there isn't really any canon to support this cabin arrangement.

This reddit thread links two images, from probably one of the tech manuals, on what cabins on the TOS Enterprise looks like. It notes that the officer quarters have their own bathroom.

Then, I also found this thread with a bunch of actual screenshots. Particularly useful are the outside and inside images of Spock's quarters from "Amok Time", and Kirk's quarters from "Mirror, Mirror". (Ok, granted, "Mirror, Mirror" is of an alternate universe, but from all reactions, the layout of the ship ought to be the same as in the Prime universe). Of particular note is that both of their quarters are the first room on the left turn of a corridor intersection, which makes it impossible to be next to one another.

But, you say, what about the Kelvin Timeline Enterprise? Well...that ship is over twice the size of the Prime TOS Enterprise, so it seems unlikely they'd shrink people's quarters comparatively...

That said, it's still a really useful plot device for fanfics, so we can probably just apply SoD over it all.

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Ciao

Heading off to Hawaii tomorrow, and then from there onto China. Packing has been nuts since I'll have to take summer and winter clothes. Also, ugh for Nanjing in winter...

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Jan. 13th, 2017

Star Trek K/S fic recs

These are (almost) all Kirk/Spock slash fics, so caveat lector and all.

Read more... )

Also, as a note to self, the ancient Side by Side zine fics can still be reached via the wayback machine (index).

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Jan. 10th, 2017

Spock in TOS

Was watching some TOS vids lately and came across this one that brought up some revelations about fanon vs canon.

No, I'm not talking about a potential Spock/Uhura match. But rather, how he interacts with the rest of the Enterprise crew.

For one thing, fanon seems to have adopted the view that vulcans hate to be touched, ostensibly because they're touch telepaths. And, of course, the fact that he and Kirk get a lot of physical contact is a sign of his feelings for Kirk.

However, based on that vid, it's obviously not true. And I'm betting that there are a lot of other instances where Spock manhandles fellow crewmates without any problems. (He also gets into physical altercations with enemies, but naturally those don't count.)

Also, I did a brief search through ENT scripts to see if this fanon idea originated from that series. But no. Nowhere in ENT does it indicate vulcans avoid physical contact. T'Pol does say vulcans don't like to touch their food with their hands, but that just might be an etiquette quirk. When they visit P'Jem, she's careful to tell the crew not to touch any artifact or speak out of turn with the monks, but don't mention anything about not touching said monks.

So yeah, total fanon.

The other thing I noted is that clip at the end of the vid, where Spock does an extemporaneous musical performance with Uhura singing ad hoc lyrics that's pretty much making fun of him. He does this in the middle of the rec room, with lots of other junior crewmembers around to listen and laugh along. He also shows a lot of expressions, including smiles, grins, and exasperated eye-rolls. Now, you could say that this was in TOS season one where they haven't nailed down vulcan stocism... but this episode came after "The Man Trap" (the clip before it) where Uhura berates Spock for being emotionless on receiving news that a member of the landing party (potentially Kirk) had died. So yeah.

Anyway, back to the earlier point... TOS fanon tends to depict Spock as awkward and not well socialized for human contact, and needed Kirk to teach him how to socialize with the human crew. This...is very obviously not true, given that rec room clip. Spock seems to get along with other humans in a recreational setting just fine. Also, even lacking that clip, the idea is unlikely, given that Spock had previously served at least a decade on the Enterprise under Pike, and he gets along just fine with others in "The Cage".

Besides, do we even see TOS!Kirk ever socialize with any of this crew that isn't Spock or McCoy? Now there's a question.

EDIT to add:

One more fanon item I've noticed... A lot of TOS fics have stuff like Kirk and Spock sparring with each other while off duty. Now, I don't think it's out of the question for the Enterprise to have a gym/dojo. The security guys have to get their exercise somewhere. I can even buy TOS!Kirk occasionally working out with his security guys, given how often he breaks into the melodramatic flying kicks.

But Spock? I dunno. Aside from "Amok Time", where he was hopped up on the really good vulcan hormones, his record of fisticuffs with various alien bad guys, when compared to that of his human colleagues, isn't all that special. Certainly it doesn't seem to match up to the 'vulcans are 3x the strength of humans' claim.

Honestly, I think it would make more sense to think of him as the geek who sits in a lab all day and *doesn't* do practice martial arts in his spare time, and thus why his abilities in fights are comparable to his human teammates. Also, the whole '3x strength' thing could just be comparing the average (pure) vulcan against the average human, and not Spock himself in particular.

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Pretty awesome

Awesome site giving you an idea of how vast space is:
http://joshworth.com/dev/pixelspace/pixelspace_solarsystem.html

Warning: May eat up a significant chuck of your time. But not as much as actually going there.

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Dec. 30th, 2016

Thoughs on (nu)Trek fic tropes

Been reading a lot of KS fanfics lately, and coming across a lot of common tropes that got me thinking about just how justified they are by canon. Figured I'd jot down some of my ramblings so I can keep my thoughts straight. =P

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Dec. 21st, 2016

Before Hollywood Hacking

Say what you will about TOS, but they sure had their data security down pat. I was watching a review of The Menagerie, and in order for Spock to hijack the Enterprise, he had to:

1. Falsify orders for the ship to visit a nearby Starbase
2. Ninja the starbase records officer and create false orders to be transmitted to the Enterprise
3. Pop back over the Enterprise and lock the computer into the new orders

Step 1 would've failed if anyone had called ahead to the starbase to verify orders. Step 2 would've failed if the records guy he jumped thought to call out an alarm rather than get into a fistfight with a vulcan. Also, the whole thing would've fallen apart if Kirk had believed the starbase Commodore's insistence that no orders were sent and thus Spock must've lied.

Now compare to how the Enterprise D was:
1. Hijacked by Data from the bridge by mimicking Picard's voice. (Seriously, the computer doesn't even check the location of Picard's combadge, much less biometrics?)
2. Hijacked by Ferengi, the comedic relief of the universe
3. The Binars...well ok, they had admin access for repairs, so we'll give them a bye.
4. Moriarty...who lived in the computer core, so I guess he can have half a bye.
5. Hijacked by Wesley's magic nanites, because nanites are the other Hollywood all-doing macguffin

And then in Star Trek Beyond, the villain was able to reverse hack Starbase Yorktown from light-years away with some stolen probes, and then proxy-hack the Enterprise via the connection to Yorktown. Ah, the double edged dagger of networked computers and cloud computing, how I loathe thee.

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Dec. 13th, 2016

The Kobayashi Maru

I've read several KS fics now where the author takes the chance to get all soapbox about defending nuKirk's cheating on the Kobayashi Maru test. Mostly it's all waxing poetic about how Kirk is smart and wise and better at designing tests than all of Starfleet, with a retread of the usual criticisms of the idea of the Kobayashi Maru test that I've seen floating around fandom/fanon...

IMO, the idea that the author feels they have to put themselves in nuKirk's mouth to defend him like that says a lot. (Then again, the excessively Mary Sue treatment I'm generally seeing of nuKirk in fanfics is a whole separate issue that I have.)

I agree with nuSpock that nuKirk completely missed the point of the exam. However, I also think nuSpock might have missed the point too. Or, at least, he was horrible at trying to explain it during the inquest (and not just because he hits on nuKirk's berserk button). The meta reason for this is obviously whoever wrote the scene failed to think things through and just wanted to stir up interpersonal drama between the two main characters. In-story however...

Look, the Kobayashi Maru as shown on screen in the reboot movie cannot be to experience "fear in the face of certain death", because the people taking it are aware that it's a simulation! This isn't Wesley Crusher's academy entrance exam in TNG where he doesn't know it's a simulation when he's psychologically tested. If it's fear the test taker is experiencing, then it's the fear of failing the test, not the fear of death!

On the other hand, I don't agree with nuKirk's argument that "the test itself is a cheat" just because the simulation is unwinnable either. Because the fear of failure is still a valid driving force and stressor, and the test itself is not asking for the testee to have a "correct answer". It's not asking them to find the "right" solution, it's trying to reveal the *method* by which the cadet approaches a problem, under stress.

I'm reminded of interviews I've done at work (for a sorta IT-ish position) where the question is an opened scenario of "the customer reports this thing is not working, what do you do?" Then as the interviewee goes through the things they'd ask or check for, the scenario builds with "and then what happens if this didn't work out?" and "what if you get this result back?", etc. The point is not to actually fix the hypothetical problem, but to test if the person knows enough about the technology to go through enough relevant steps, and if they can approach troubleshooting in a methodical way rather than just throw wild guesses at the board.

Anyway, IMO this is what should've happened in the movie:

nuSpock would've reported that nuKirk cheated on the exam. Instead of a formal inquest, whatever admiral is in charge of the academy should've called Kirk in for a personal interview to determine why Kirk did what he did, and then set him right on what's the point of the Kobayashi Maru exam. Giving him a commendation for original thinking may or may not be in the picture, depending on Kirk's answers and/or attitude. No disciplinary actions are filed though, since extreme persistence in the face of overwhelming odds in and of itself does say something about Kirk's suitability for command - which is what the exam is testing for to begin with. Now, afterwards, Spock may protest the decision, in which case, the same admiral should also take *him* aside and explain what the Kobayashi Maru is supposed to be testing for, and why Kirk's actions is not so much cheating as a valid solution to the exam. And then of course both of them are ordered into silence on the specifics of what happened, as well as maybe forced to work together to secure the exam against future tampering (you can sneak in interpersonal drama that way much more organically).

(I also think nuSpock should've taken the exam too, before he's handed the job of programming it, since he's obviously changed over to the Command track once Pike chose him for his future-XO. IMO the Academy should not be setting precedents of letting students skip critical exams based on race, and rather should be adjusting said exams to non-humans. Prime!Spock not taking the exam is more reasonable since he was Science track all the way, and served more as CSO than XO to Kirk, honestly. He basically had to pick up "how to command" on the job, as seen in the Galileo 7 episode, and didn't have the luxury of a stint at the Academy in between deep space missions.)

For my own reference, some interesting and relevant online discussions of the Kobayashi Maru exam and it's treatment in original TOS and the reboot movie:

https://www.reddit.com/r/DaystromInstitute/comments/4kwqbq/did_they_keep_the_kobayashi_maru_test_around_for/
https://www.reddit.com/r/DaystromInstitute/comments/1xxdkf/abrams_idea_of_how_kirk_solved_the_kobayashi_maru/
https://www.reddit.com/r/startrek/comments/580cjo/the_kobayashi_maru_ethics_discussion/

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Dec. 2nd, 2016

Limerick equation

Found this on the Daystrom reddit (a Star Trek reddit). A limerick that's also a math equation. Kinda neat.



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Nov. 18th, 2016

Food for thought

Was directed to this article from reddit and found it an interesting read. But, I don't think I agree with all of it.

The thing is, the article comes into the argument from the POV that the original political beliefs that STTOS was created with must be the objectively correct one against which all subsequent movies, spinoffs, and reboots are measured against. But I don't think that's true, either in terms of real life or in-universe.

Meta-texually, times change, and the prevailing political view, and what is considered objectively "right" changes as well. For a drastic example, just go back a century or a millennia back in time to anywhere on the planet and compare the accepted common morality against modern day mores.

More relevantly, TOS reflected the ideals of a generation who was still coming off the victory of WWII and still confident in the superiority of the USA/capitalism/democracy versus the USSR/communism. In contrast, TNG came after the post-Vietnam and counter-culture disillusionment with those same values. DS9 dabbled even more deeply into realpolitik and modern cynicism (thank god it didn't go full grimdark like so many other franchises did). And Voyager... ok I have no idea what Voyager was supposed to be.

The thing is, is any one of those POVs more "correct" than the other? TOS Kirk's "liberty or death" attitude is a strong sentiment certainly, but where does it cross the line between humanism and manifest destiny? Is it really an "universal truth" outside of US political rhetoric? And, looking at the modern world and where it's headed... will it still be an "universal ideal" decades into the future?

Still, it would be nice to see the question itself explored in-story, somewhere. That's probably not happening in the reboot movies though. Maybe the upcoming Discovery series. Eh. Maybe.

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Nov. 9th, 2016

WTF America?

Ngh.

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Nov. 5th, 2016

Star Trek Beyond review

No I didn't watch this in the theater. And for once I didn't bootleg it either. =P I watched it for $3.99 on Google Movies. After, of course, having already thoroughly spoiled myself on the plot already, so I already knew going in that it was supposed to be more like a normal TOS episode than the previous two.

And, y'know, I actually kinda liked it, as a Star Trek AU. And considering how much fanfic I read, I don't have anything against AUs in an of itself.

Read more... )

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