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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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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. (I'm guilty of this myself because it can be a plot device used to drive slashy plotness.)

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

Read more... )

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