Long time no see, eh?

18 December 2014 12:40
ruuger: My hand with the nails painted red and black resting on the keyboard of my laptop (Default)
[personal profile] ruuger
So the December talking meme was a total bust because my back went sproing and I've been again avoiding non-work-related computer stuff (plus work has again been interesting lately, but not necessarily in a bad way - in fact, looks like for the first time since forever I can leave on a vacation early instead of having to do overtime on the last day to get everything done), and I've decided to just turn it into the January talking meme.

(especially since I still need to finish my Yuletide fic)

The only internet stuff that I have been doing regularly the last few weeks is then keeping up my streak at Duolingo. I've been using it to practice French for almost a year now, and I'm now nearing the end of the French tree.

I am far from fluent still, though, because I was just reading a French article about The Mentalist and spent a good few seconds wondering if "emu with arms" was some quaint, French colloquialism for an Australian. Then I looked it up on Google translate and turns out that "ému aux larmes" actually means 'moved to tears'. But it could have been an emu.

(This is like when I thought that 'car key' was a colour in Australia.)

foreign babies

18 December 2014 08:09
deird1: Spike looking at Harmony, with text "you were meant for me; perhaps as punishment (Spike Harmony punishment)
[personal profile] deird1
People have different first names in different countries, for the record. It's like this whole thing.

I have found it very interesting having a son in Germany, for many reasons. But mostly because his name's gone all weird.

In Australia, he has one of the most common names ever to exist. It's been in the top 20 Aussie baby names since before we were even a country. In Australia, everyone already knows the spelling, the pronounciation, and the nickname, without having to ask.

In Germany... it's not just an uncommon name; it's a non-existent name.

Here, I'm getting very used to having the exact same conversation over and over:
"What's his name?"
"...Lach-lan?" (as though I've just presented them with a random mash of syllables that must be carefully tested)
"Yes. Lachlan. It's Scottish."
"...so she's a girl, then?"

They cannot pronounce my son's name. They cannot spell my son's name. The correct spelling convinces them they were wrong about the pronounciation. And they're all sure he's a girl.

It's rather fascinating.

More Links Than A Bag Of Sausages

17 December 2014 03:28
petzipellepingo: (more links by eyesthatslay)
[personal profile] petzipellepingo
The Perfect Present , Spike/Drusilla/Darla/Angelus by [personal profile] shapinglight.

Christmas Spike banner not worksafe by [personal profile] comlodge.

StoryWonk podcast on Inca Mummy Girl .

Buzzfeed ranks Willow's sweaters.

March solicits!

16 December 2014 18:10
snickfic: close-up crop of Storm (drawn by Ibanez) (Storm)
[personal profile] snickfic
I've been feeling just much more enthused about Image than Marvel lately. It isn't that Marvel isn't producing stuff that is at least in theory relevant to my interests; in March alone there's an all-female team book, 10 female superhero solo books, the Peggy Carter + Howard Stark team-up, and a Princess Leia solo. Compared to even a year ago, that's AMAZING.

The thing is, I've been reading Marvel for a year and a half and I'm already tired of falling in love with books only to have them canceled, tied up in crossover events half the time, or on the creative team merry-go-round. Then there are the ones that I can't fall in love with because they are so deeply mediocre; I don't know if that's better or worse. I am particularly sick of all the things I like getting canceled while all the things I find so mediocre go on for 30-40 issues. I covet that kind of length for the titles I love, so that writers can really dig in and take those characters places.

Meanwhile, over at Image, we get the same creative team for dozens of issues, crossovers are vanishingly rare, and when things get canceled, at least we can chalk it up creator decision and not that of some marketing department somewhere. Plus, from Image I can get my space western AND my pulpy women's prison AND my cosmic SF myth retelling AND my space opera. And no prior knowledge required!

Basically I'm starting to believe that standalone comics with the breadth and artistry and creative control we see at Image are the wave of the future, and in fact the future might already be here.

Ahem. With that, on to the March solicits.

* New title Descender, Dustin Nguyen (!!) does a sad child robot story. Just lookit this cover:
cover )

* Southern Cross - the actual premise doesn't do a lot for me, but come on, grungy SF + weird fiction + female protagonist + Becky Cloonan? I'll definitely give it a try, at least.

* Otherwise my comments this month are primarily "Yay! More issues of that comic I like!" Such comics include Bitch Planet, Ody-C, and SAGA (YAY MORE ADVENTURES OF [SPOILER] AND [SPOILER] :DDDD)

* New Hawkeye. Very much doubt lightning strikes twice, but apparently it is still a book with two Hawkeyes, so I'm pleased to see that, at least. The cover art is intriguing; I wonder if this is anything like what we should expect from the interiors:
cover )

* Silk, Spider-Gwen, and Spider-Woman. Someone will have to tell me which if any of the spider-lady books to read.

* Judging by the Thor solicit, the identity of the lady Thor is STILL a mystery in MARCH. Erg. How are we supposed to get any kind of character development when the book won't even tell us who she is?!

* Again, someone will need to tell me if this Operation: S.I.N. book with Peggy Carter and Howard Stark is good. Likewise, if G. Willow Wilson manages to rescue X-Men from the mess it is, someone let me know. Apparently March's issue is big on Psylocke, and that is a plan I support heartily.

* Black Widow summary continues not to enthuse, but I think I quite like the cover design:

* More Ms. Marvel, yay. More Storm, yay. Those are my two favorite things out of Marvel right now, I think.

comics linkage

16 December 2014 12:56
snickfic: [X-Men] Psylocke (art Olivier Coipel) (Psylocke)
[personal profile] snickfic
Artist Jake Wyatt is selling prints and originals on Etsy, including several original pages from Ms. Marvel.

Meanwhile Comixology is giving away free #1s of various books, one per day through the 22nd.

Fleury: not quite perfect

15 December 2014 22:40
snickfic: photo, Marc-Andre Fleury makes a save (fleury)
[personal profile] snickfic
One aspect of the game where Fleury has not been good at all is scoring. 647 NHL regular-season and playoff games, and not a single goal scored! That's even worse that Zack Sill, our 4th liner who presently holds the NHL record for number of games played by a forward without a goal.

However, Fleury's failure to score is not for lack of trying, as he showed again last night:
gif behind cut )

One of these days!

More Links Than A Bag Of Sausages

16 December 2014 03:26
petzipellepingo: (more links by eyesthatslay)
[personal profile] petzipellepingo
The Most Wonderful Time of the Year , AU Spike/Buffy by [profile] brutti_ma_buoni.

Chapter Thirty of Shattered Remains by [profile] xspike4evax.

Thinky thoughts on why BtVS is the best of ME's projects by [profile] shadowkat67.

EW re-watches What's My Line, Part Two .

and now hockey

15 December 2014 18:54
snickfic: close-up photo of Marc-Andre Fleury (fleury close)
[personal profile] snickfic
Pens 4, Tampa Bay 2. Wow, that was a game. We were SO TERRIBLE that first period, I really wasn't sure we were even going to get a goal. And then we got four, including a short-handed goal for Sutter and two first NHL goals, one for Rust and one for Dumoulin. Good job, kiddies.

But meanwhile in that first period Fleury was SO GOOD. Wow. As soon as a gif turns up of that one really spectacular head-to-post save, I will link. EDIT: Here it is. You finally get a really good look at about the 20 second mark.

I just looked up his numbers, and he's .926 for the season so far, which if he maintains will be his best season EVER - even better than 2007-2008, which all the naysayers call a fluke. There's evidence that suggests we're seeing more this season than statistical variance, however. Mike Darnay at Pensburgh calls it the Mike Bales effect, which includes a graph that shows both how much more consistent Fleury's play has been since Bales was hired as the goalie coach and how his play is on the whole trending upward.

I've seen discussion of the fact that Pittsburgh, cash-strapped as it was when Fleury arrived, never really found him a goalie coach in those early years, and how the guy who eventually filled the position before Bales was not so much a coach as a cheerleader. So what Fleury's getting with Bales may very well be the first NHL-level goaltender coaching he's ever had - and hey, it only took nine years in the organization to get it. It means he finally has someone helping him consciously develop his positional play, his puck playing skills, and similar technical skills to supplement the famous athleticism that even all the detracters agree he has.

(Just think if he could have gotten that kind of instruction five years ago. Ouch.)

So basically, Fleury's best years may very well be ahead of him. Certainly all signs point to him being in one of them right now. As someone deeply invested in the Fleury Redemption Story, I could not be happier.

one more Saga thing today

15 December 2014 18:44
snickfic: (Saga)
[personal profile] snickfic
One piece of Saga meta I have seen is this panel discussion of the first three volumes by the ladies over at [community profile] ladybusiness. I particularly like the ideas tossed around about how the structure of the story, with Hazel narrating, might affect the story down the road.
snickfic: [Saga] Alana cradling Hazel and holding a cudgel (Alana)
[personal profile] snickfic
(So right now my plan for dealing with my Saga feelings is just to make a whole bunch of observations which are maybe obvious but which I nonetheless don't see anyone making. For being a hugely popular comic, I've seen very little actual discussion about it, what it is, what it's doing, or even what's happening in it or how its plot elements fit together. Maybe I'm just looking in the wrong places. Anyway, more observations of dubious value forthcoming.)

One of the things about Saga that I think is neither good nor bad (though some might disagree) but definitely different from a lot of comics, especially mainstream superhero ones, is how simple the page design is. Greg Burgas at Comic Book Resources has been analyzing comics art every day this year (which I HIGHLY RECOMMEND), and in the scans he's chosen of significant comics artists, there's a lot of pyrotechnics going on in page design. Staples forgoes all that. She never goes for scenes bleeding into each other or overlapping panels. Her panels rarely even have anything but square corners (or corners that are clipped, like photos - I guess for visual interest?), and they pretty much ALWAYS read left to right and top to bottom. IMO it's one of the many reasons Saga is such a great comic to start people with - as comics go, it is super easy to read.

She's also fonder of splash pages than most artists I can think of. It feels a little self-indulgent sometimes, because the story doesn't usually need full pages devoted to a single panel - it's not like we're using the extra space to show off a battle scene or spaceship schematics or anything like that. But man, she uses them so well. Frequently she introduces new characters that way, which means we get to luxuriate in her absolutely gorgeous character designs. The introductions of The Stalk and Gwendolyn are both great examples. Another one is these guys, the fishy journalist boys in love from Jetsam:

image )

More often, though, Staples uses the splash pages as emphasis. Often they function as reveals - of new characters, changed situations, what have you. Other times, you know, we really just need a full page of The Brand in her tie and crash helmet, saying pithy things about governments and PR.

Below we have one of those changed situations. It's also the last page of #24, so beware huge honking spoilers, but ugh, this panel made me SO HAPPY.
spoilery image! )

On breastfeeding

15 December 2014 11:38
nanila: (manning: uberbitch)
[personal profile] nanila
At my last visit to the midwife, she waxed lyrical over my assertion that I plan to breastfeed Keiki as I did Humuhumu for the first six months, tapering off once I went back to work and switching to the bottle. I found myself getting deeply uncomfortable as she carried on talking and became more obviously comfortable extolling the benefits of breastfeeding over bottle-feeding. I distinctly felt as though she were trying to make me feel somehow superior to someone who replied, “No, I plan to bottle-feed from the start,” and I did not enjoy the experience.

It reminded me of the NCT* classes we took before Humuhumu was born two years ago. We have made some good local friends from the classes, so overall I was pleased with the outcome, but there was one portion of it that I loathed: the breastfeeding session. It was held on a Tuesday evening, and we sat for 2.5 hours listening to a woman bang on about the gloriousness of breastfeeding. When we asked if any information about bottle-feeding was to be presented, she reacted not quite with horror, but certainly with disapproval, and ultimately refusal.

Of the eight sets of parents in that NCT group, two of us ended up breastfeeding our babies. (One very determined mother couldn’t get her baby to latch, but she pumped milk for five and a half months, every four hours, and bottle-fed her little girl. I don’t like to imagine how exhausting that must have been.) All the rest ended up bottle-feeding, and found it their stress levels elevated because of the lack of information and encouragement given in our classes. In my opinion, everyone in our class should have been given a checklist of the size and number of bottles that would be needed, the type of teats to use, sterilisation techniques and a quick tutorial on measuring and mixing formula. Figuring all that out on the fly when the need became immediate was terrible for the new mums in my group, especially the ones who had difficult births and were very unwell in the early days.

I am not a big fan of using ignorance, scorn and guilt as tactics to force people into a certain course of action. I consider this to be pretty clear (albeit anecdotal) evidence of why that doesn’t work.

My own experience with breastfeeding was not all sunshine and roses. The first two weeks were a nightmare. Humuhumu didn’t know how to latch properly at first and the damage her little mouth did in the first few days took some time to heal. I was in excruciating pain. I very nearly gave up and switched to bottle-feeding until I discovered Lansinoh (lanolin cream). It became easier after I’d healed, but it is still no picnic being the one who has to wake up at least twice a night for weeks in order to feed the baby, with no help from your partner**. Nor is it fun working out how to breastfeed in public. It takes practise to do it discreetly, and even if you are nicely covered you still get people glaring at you. Because despite the pressure to breastfeed because of its benefits (most of which are both temporary and slight), no one actually wants to see a woman doing it, so we should all stay at home until our children are weaned. Slow-clap for society on that one.

I was also absurdly lucky in that Humuhumu began to sleep through the night at two months. (I tend to keep this fact to myself, as it often elicits disbelief and rage from other new parents.)

There are enough pressures on new parents to do exactly the right things for their children in order to raise them in the best and healthiest manner possible. I’m tired of seeing people judge one another for their choice of breast v bottle. Judgy person, you have no idea why a mother at the cafe is bottle-feeding her child instead of breastfeeding. Maybe that’s pumped breast milk because her nipples are really sore. Maybe her newborn was tongue-tied and couldn’t latch. Maybe she went three continuous weeks without more than an hour of sleep a night. Maybe she’s on medication that enters her bloodstream and could be harmful to the baby. Maybe she had to go back to work as soon as possible to support her new family. Maybe her boobs blew off in a typhoon. Maybe it’s none of your damned business.

* National Childbirth Trust, which offers classes for clueless middle-class career people in how to look after an infant after a couple of decades of selfishness. They don’t advertise that way but that’s effectively what they are.
** I hasten to point out that this is not necessarily because Partner is unwilling to help, but because it makes more sense for Partner to get some sleep and be able to take care of things like cooking and cleaning and holding down their job.

More Links Than A Bag Of Sausages

15 December 2014 03:25
petzipellepingo: (more links by eyesthatslay)
[personal profile] petzipellepingo
Last Night , Spike/Willow by [personal profile] dragonyphoenix.

Chapter Four of Dreams and Mirrors by [profile] kikimay.

The winners of the Sunnydale Memorial Fanfiction Awards have been announced. Congratulations to all!

Noel of Spike is now open .

A virtual memorial for the beloved [personal profile] pickamix is now up.

Santa Spike banner by [personal profile] comlodge.

More news from the Sunnydale Press.

NB does the Snoopy Dance.

The Will and children (Saga meta)

14 December 2014 21:36
snickfic: (Saga)
[personal profile] snickfic
(Can we pretend someone requested I talk a bunch about Saga for the talking meme? Because if we do, then look, a talking meme post!)

So I've been rereading Saga from the beginning, and I'm noticing things I didn't the first time. I actually have a whole bunch of observations, but it's late, so one long one is all you get. Spoilers through #24 (the most recent issue) under the cut.

spoilers! )
snickfic: (Willow magic)
[personal profile] snickfic
As of Jan 1, Pinboard is going to an annual payment model versus the one-time-only payment model it uses right now. Which is to say, if you want a lifetime account for $10.55 on what is as far as I can tell the internet's best bookmarking site (to be fair, I don't know of any others besides Delicious), do it by the end of the month.


14 December 2014 22:23
next_to_normal: (Bossa Nova)
[personal profile] next_to_normal
* So, The Newsroom did an episode on college campus rape. That went about as well as you'd expect. So in case you need a reminder of why we put up with him despite his being an enormous douchecanoe, here you go.

* It feels like we're reaching the point where everything - even, apparently, single episodes of television - now get "oral histories." Whole TV series, I can understand. A film, if it's especially interesting, sure. If you can get most of the cast and creative team back together to talk about the experience, it can be like a reunion. But here we have basically four people talking about the BtVS episode "Hush."

* Showrunner John Rogers' post-mortems are back! He used to do them after every Leverage episode, and he's doing it again for The Librarians.

* Jed and Maurissa talk about the Agents of SHIELD midseason finale. Plus, an interview with the show's latest casualty (which I was semi-expecting, but it's still annoying, since there are at least four or five other characters I'd rather they'd killed off instead). Also, Blair Underwood will be appearing as Melinda May's ex when the show returns in the spring.

* Mindy Kaling talks about the midseason finale of The Mindy Project.

* Director Rob Marshall gets defensive about changes to Into the Woods.

* Meanwhile, the folks behind The Last Five Years (seemingly a much more difficult show to adapt) talk about making it work as a film without cutting out songs or characters I'M JUST SAYING. Plus, here's the trailer full of singing.

* Mark Hamill will be guest-starring on The Flash, reprising a role he played in the 1990s series.

* Felicia Day has written a book. Or is writing. It's not quiiiiite done yet, but she's announced it anyway.

* Here's a trailer for the new season of The Americans.

Hugo-eligible suggestions?

14 December 2014 17:16
likeadeuce: (Default)
[personal profile] likeadeuce
In pursuit of doing productive stuff with my weekend that is not actually "working on Yuletide" (yes, yes, I'll get there), I went back through the stuff I've read on GoodReads to see what would be eligible for a Hugo nomination in the coming year (since I signed up to vote last year, I get to nominate this year I THINK IS HOW IT WORKS?) Then I figured I should do some organization of my future reading to get in as much SFF published in 2014 so that I have some kind of basis to nominate from.

So far I have three novels that I have read on my "at this point I think this is Hugo-worthy" list: 1. The Girl with all the Gifts by M.R. Carey (I just finished this, which is what prompted the list making; 'reasonably science-based zombie apocalypse fiction, with great characters and some amazing twists on tropes, sort of "Never Let Me Go" meets "The Passage," but better than either of them, a majority female cast including an awesome woman of color, if any of this appeals to you go read);

2. The Magician's Land by Lev Grossman -- or possibly the whole trilogy if it's eligible for nomination in that form;

3. The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley. I've also got a to-read list of stuff that will probably get lots of nominating votes, including Jeff Vandermeer's Southern Reach trilogy, Katherine Addison's The Goblin Emperor, E. Bear's Steles of the Sky and Robert Bennett's City of Stairs Scalzi's Lock In and of course Ancillary Sword (I'm saving this to reread back to back with Ancillary Justice WHEN I HAVE TIME, lolol). So that's a decent reading list (and includes some books I already bought when I was feeling optimistic...) but of course I'm leaving off stuff that I haven't heard about. Also, note, that's a bunch of white people (they might not all be, but as far as I know...)

Basically -- rec me stuff that was published in 2014, particularly novels and novellas, with a strong preference for work by writers of color/ queer writers/ marginalized or otherwise under-the-radar stuff that you think deserves more attention than it got. Tell me why you like the stuff, too, of course, and why I might like it because that should help it get to the top of the pile. This is for Sci-Fi Fantasy, of course, but the Hugos seem to have a fairly generous definition of those categories. Also, I think YA and middle grade eligible/ in the same category as everything else (didn't Harry Potter win at least once?), though nothing that I've listed here is considered YA as far as I know. But I'm open to that too!

ETA: Re: wanting more writers of color, I'm going to do my own homework too, I swear, I just noticed the list I had accumulated through whatever usual means was very white and I am trying to consciously counter that.

More Links Than A Bag Of Sausages

14 December 2014 03:40
petzipellepingo: (more links by eyesthatslay)
[personal profile] petzipellepingo
Restoration , Spike/Willow by [personal profile] theladymerlin.

Spike banner by [personal profile] comlodge.

EW re-watches Pangs .

The Fall 2014 issue of Watcher Junior is now online .

EW's Esther Zuckerman confesses love for Season Six. "I really love season 6 of Buffy, and not just the musical episode, though obviously that’s great, but the whole messy, depression/drug metaphor thing. I know I’m not alone in this, but I also know that many consider it a low point for the series. Maybe it’s that I watched it when I was an emotional college senior, maybe it’s the amount of Spike in that season—but I love it". Maybe we should make her an honorary member of [profile] lateseasonlove.

JM, NB & ED meet the fans.

More Links Than A Bag Of Sausages

13 December 2014 03:25
petzipellepingo: (more links by eyesthatslay)
[personal profile] petzipellepingo
Chapter Five of Spike to the Rescue by [personal profile] forsaken2003.

EW asks "The Doctor vs. Buffy Summers" - who would win?

Vox complains about BtVS in HD.

And EW 's recap of the Vampire Diaries mid-Season episode makes a comparison to The Body . Spoilers for that episode of course .

The MindRobber podcast talks Listening to Fear and Into the WOods .

spiffy hockey ad

12 December 2014 22:09
snickfic: black and white image of Sidney Crosby, text "Crosby" (crosby)
[personal profile] snickfic
There seems to be no way to make DW embed this properly, but this Pens ad is by far the coolest hockey ad I've seen since, well, since Sidney Crosby recited a bunch of hockey terms. (Except that one was more hot than cool.) Really like the editing on this.

Seasonal Giving, Part 1: Follow-up

12 December 2014 09:06
nanila: (tachikoma: celebratory)
[personal profile] nanila
The nominees for paid account time on Dreamwidth have been put into the virtual hat, and the Random Thing Picker has chosen the winners.

These are:

12 months of paid account time for [personal profile] strangecharm and
6 months of paid account time for [personal profile] aella_irene.

Thank you to all those who participated!

More Links Than A Bag Of Sausages

12 December 2014 03:12
petzipellepingo: (more links by eyesthatslay)
[personal profile] petzipellepingo
Chained Holiday , Spike/Buffy by [personal profile] gillo.

Not Alone , Dawn/Amanda by [profile] killing_kurare.

Spike banner by [personal profile] comlodge.

TVGuide gives us an oral history of Hush.

More news from the Sunnydale Press.


11 December 2014 09:04
snickfic: text: Geno 71, I'm Score (malkin)
[personal profile] snickfic
* Look look, someone made me Geno icons! I think I'm snagging numbers 1 and 5 for immediate use, but if anyone wants to nab any of the others, I am happy to share. :)

* Someone asked for Spike/Buffy prompts, and I am trying to oblige, but SO MUCH Spuffy fic has been written, and I'm having trouble thinking of things I haven't seen. Most of what I'm coming up with is either verrrry Snick specific (for example, a/b/o) or things that are not new ideas, but that I just want new treatment of. I was not happy with a lot of Spuffy fic at the time for it treated their dynamic, but now I'm a lot more able to put my finger on things that bother me, most of which boil down to Spike being predatory towards Buffy and the fic treating that as both okay and IC for Buffy to put up with.

But "Write this premise lots of other people have written, only better" leaves something to be desired as a prompt. I think this person may very well end up with a space AU as one of their prompts.

(If it turns out the person with that request is on my flist, I'm going to be very amused.)

More Links Than A Bag Of Sausages

11 December 2014 03:28
petzipellepingo: (more links by eyesthatslay)
[personal profile] petzipellepingo
[profile] fray_adjacent12 talks top 5 Buffyverse women .

StoryWonk , podcast on School Hard .

The MindRobber podcast on Darla and Shroud of Rahmon .

MetalFloss includes the "Second Hellmouth" in their "5 Geekiest Cleveland Appearances In Pop Culture". "The one that sticks out in my mind most, though, is Joss Whedon repeatedly dissing Cleveland by mentioning it as the location of the second Hellmouth in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Not only does it poke fun at the convenient Hollywood logic behind the first Hellmouth, the one Buffy is assigned to patrol, being under the incredibly telegenic idyllic LA suburb of Sunnydale, but it also serves as a kind of understated joke. No one outright talks about what’s going on with that other Hellmouth in Cleveland, but clearly there is no vampire slayer protecting Clevelanders from their city being above a dimensional gateway to Hell, and nobody in Cleveland seems to notice.

My favorite time this was referenced? The Season 3 episode “The Wish,” where we see an alternate universe where Buffy went to Cleveland instead of Sunnydale, causing Sunnydale to become a grim dystopia ruled by vampires (implying that that’s what Cleveland is like in our world). When alternate-universe Buffy arrives in Sunnydale, this version of her is, unlike the lovable Slayer we know, a brutal, merciless killing machine incapable of friendship or trust. Cleveland will do that to you".


10 December 2014 17:16
rebcake: Buffy, pretty slayer (slayer)
[personal profile] rebcake
I had a plan, and it was to do more fandom things this fall. Things have not been going according to plan, as you may or may not have noticed. If you want to hear the Flying Spaghetti Monster laugh, tell it your plans, amirite?

Storms a'coming. What shall I do? )
nanila: Will not be surviving the zombie apocalypse (me: braaains)
[personal profile] nanila
I’m spending some of my pre-maternity annual leave indulging in a pastime I don’t get to very often: computer gaming. I occasionally play something on my phone or tablet (Scrabble, solitaire, crosswords, Angry Birds, Plague Inc) but it’s not the same to me as firing up something on my desktop machine and diving in for a while.

It’s taken me a couple of decades to accept, but I’ve refined a set of pretty clear desirables that keep me from wasting money on new games. I don’t go for console-based games (there are enough electronic gizmos ruling my life, thx), first-person shooters, racing or anything requiring a monthly subscription. I only ever get to play for 2-3 weeks a year if I’m lucky, and I’d rather keep from getting wound up and frustrated by them instead of relaxed, which is the point.

  1. Single player. I don’t do multiplayer games, let alone MMORPGs. I don’t want to set up times to play games with people I know I like (I spend much of my working life organising things) and the time I tried World of Warcraft, which was very pretty and I liked flying around and fishing and making potions but disliked pretty much everything else, I had exactly one enjoyable interaction with a random person. I recall an old webcomic in which a female character goes into a shop to buy a game, and the (male) sales attendant tries to get her to purchase the latest, shiniest MMORPG which he insists is much better than the single-player game she wants. Eventually she shouts at him, “The last thing I want to do to unwind is interact with other humans!” Yep.

  2. Vital formulaic elements. These are: Rewards for thorough explorations of areas, puzzles to solve, monsters to kill and treasure to find. I also don’t want anything to be stupidly difficult. I never play above “normal” settings (mostly because to play on the harder ones usually requires practice and/or cheat sheet research, neither of which I have time to indulge in). I like a nice steady pace of leveling up, and finding and using shiny new toys on a regular basis.

  3. Minions. I may not want human interaction whilst playing games, but I do like to tackle monsters with companions. I tend to prefer ranged classes of attackers rather than tanks.

  4. Crafts. I like it when there are side pursuits for the characters. (Chocobo-breeding!) Making weapons/armour/potions/gems and collecting materials for these is a fun diversion when I’m bored of building up my character to the next boss fight.

  5. Pretty. Darkly pretty is even better. There should be time to enjoy exploring and appreciate the pretty, and ways to customise my character so they are pretty too.

  6. Bite-size. I rarely play for stretches longer than an hour. There are too many other activities I want to mix in, like working, tidying, writing, putzing on the internet, editing photos, etc. The style of play has to be reasonably forgiving. I need to be able to put my character down someplace safe and leave them for undefined lengths of time (er, up to a year) on very little notice.

For those of you who play games, whatever the medium, what do you consider essential to your enjoyment of the experience?

(On a different note: The Seasonal Giving poll for DW account time closes this Friday, 12 December. If you'd like to nominate someone, please do so here.)

More Links Than A Bag Of Sausages

10 December 2014 03:37
petzipellepingo: (more links by eyesthatslay)
[personal profile] petzipellepingo
Non-Recall , Dawn by [personal profile] gillo.

A Stranger in the Garden , NC-17 Spike/Buffy by Linnae13.

It Seems That All My Bridges Have Been Burnt, Wesley/Dawn/Spike by [personal profile] enigmaticblue.

Holiday ficlet , Xander/Giles by [profile] brutti_ma_buoni.

Gossip & Drinks , Harmony/Eve by [personal profile] aaronlisa.

Cruel Game , Spike/Xander and Reflections , Xander by [personal profile] dragonyphoenix.

Chapter Nine of The Mangy Lion by [profile] thepuddinhead

Spike banner by [personal profile] comlodge.

EW re-watches What's My Line, Part One.

More news from the Sunnydale Press.

ComicBookResources previews Season Ten, Issue No. Ten.

Christmas Amusement

9 December 2014 14:33
shipperx: (Default)
[personal profile] shipperx

Heh.  From The Concourse.

Excerpts from The 2014 Haters Guide to the William-Sonoma Christmas Catalog

Item #66-7072176 – Snowman Cake Pan ($29.58)
Copy: "Only our bundt pans have a premium nonstick coating that helps capture every detail on the pan."

Concourse Says: This is the perfect low-end Williams Sonoma gift because a) it costs $30 but is also somehow utterly pointless, b) there is no way that, in real life, your stupid snowman cake will stay upright (how does all that icing stay up on his face? I call bullshit), and c) it's perfect for making a cake that you do not want anyone to actually eat. How do you slice the idiotic snowman cake? You don't. You bake it, you put it in the center of the table, and then you yell at the kids to not fucking touch it. That's how people roll with a snowman cake.

Items #66-1649441, #66-57921819, #66-4974309 – Peppermint Bark Cookies ($24.95),
Peppermint Bark Marshmallows ($19.95), Peppermint Bark Cups ($24.95) 

Copy: "Artisan (Ed. note: Of course) candymakers layer creamy white chocolate over dark Guittard chocolate and then top it with crisp, homemade peppermint candy bits."

Concourse says: Those $30 tins of peppermint bark represent 90 percent of all W-S holiday sales, so it makes sense that they would do a Marvel-style rollout of sequels and spinoffs: Peppermint bark cups, and peppermint bark cookies, and peppermint bark cakelets, and peppermint bark-coated beef roasts, etc. Soon we'll have a peppermint bark origin story. Very dark. Very gritty. I worry about franchise dilution. It used to be about the BARK, man. Anyway, you can make peppermint bark at home with four ingredients, but why do that when you can have an ARTISAN CANDYMAKER do it instead? Let me tell you something: If my kid went through college and then told me he wanted to follow his dream of being an artisanal candymaker named Williamsburg Wonka, I would beat his ass. No remorse. We don't need this many people trying to elevate candy.

But for real, I'd eat the fuck out of all these items.

Item #66-5832014 – Hot Chocolate Pot ($60)

Copy: "New & exclusive! Award-winning mid-century design from the Dansk Kobenstyle collection. Engineered for uniform heating in heavy-gauge steel with a stay-cool teak handle."

Concourse Says: Yes, a hot chocolate pot. Because a fondue pot wasn't quite useless enough. Hey, you know what other kind of pot is good for making hot chocolate?  A POT. Like, any regular pot that you already have. I know sometimes it dribbles down the side when you pour the chocolate out, making you want to kill God. But if you use a ladle, you'll be fine. The Williams-Sonoma catalog will not rest until you need a separate pot for every single goddamn thing you make. QUICK! SOMEONE FETCH ME THE GOAT CHEESE FRITATTA SKILLET! No, not the Western Frittata skillet, you MORON! It's $60. For a hot chocolate pot. Goddamn.


Item #66-210252 – Mushroom Logs ($29.95 For Shitake, $29.95 For Oyster)
Copy: "Exclusive! Grow organic mushrooms every two months for three years … Glass cloche protects mushrooms as they grow."

Concourse Says: The cloche does not come with your fungus log; it's an additional $189.95.! And you have to buy it, right? You can't just leave your shiitake log exposed to the elements like that. Your mushroom risotto will end up being 50 percent cat dander that way.

Let's be clear on this right now: If you invite me into your home and serve me mushrooms from your home log, I'm not eating them. You are trying to drug me, and I'm not having it. Don't be a fungus person. They're right below entomologists on the creepy scale.

Item #66-4052924 – Lobster Mac And Cheese ($99)
Copy: "Gourmet comfort food made in Maine with lobster and shell pasta in mascarpone cheddar sauce with Panko-parmesan topping … four ramekins."

Concourse Says: Four fucking ramekins! For $100! At least the $180 ham in this brochure is 18 pounds. I wanna run a business where people pay me that much to ruin lobster. Why does mac and cheese get a pass from the "don't put cheese on seafood" rule? Is it because Americans just blindly eat any mac and cheese you put in front of them? OH WHAT A UNIQUE TWIST ON COMFORT FOOD. There is nothing comforting about shelling out that much money for four frozen thimblefuls of lobster glue.  For a hundred bucks, I want LOBSTER.  Send me a five-pound Tupperware filled with nothing but shelled lobster meat, and then I'll decide the proper way to deploy it.

Item #66-5541453 – Breville Oracle Espresso Machine ($1,999.95 – "New Special Value: Save $500")
"Features automatic grinding, dosing, tamping, and milk texturing."

Concourse Says: Oh, well, if it textures my milk for me, I'm all in. I wanna meet the couple (and it has to be a couple) who share such an obsession with coffee that they need to drop two grand on a NASA-designed espresso spaceship that grinds every burr to a precise atomic measurement and heats up your coffee cup to a temperature that was calibrated using advanced fractals. I wanna find this couple, and then piss in their coffee. I really do. Send me their address, and I'll figure out a way. No jury would convict me. 


PSA: calcium for PMS

9 December 2014 17:24
rydra_wong: Text: BAD BRAIN DAY. Picture: Azula, having one. (a:tla -- bad brain day)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
A thing I realized I'd mentioned in comments to various people, but never posted about.

This is a "holy shit why did no-one ever tell me this" thing, for anyone who gets PMS or pre-menstrual worsening of depression (or other brainweasels).

I'd never heard calcium mentioned among the usual anecdotal tips (evening primrose oil, B-6, whatever), but it turns out there's a tonne of fairly large-scale, solid research supporting it.



Personally, I've had dramatically positive results from taking a calcified seaweed supplement (because it's cheap and relatively easily-absorbed) that provides about 900mg of calcium a day, and (unlike in the studies) just taking it for 7-10 days before my period's due.

I still get, say, a day or two of irritability, but nothing like the breakthrough depression I was getting before.

(It also seems to reduce the pre-menstrual loss of climbing ability, which I greatly appreciate.)

I'm guessing that, as with everything, YMMV. But it's been amazingly useful information for me.


quinara: Sheep on a hillside with a smiley face. (Default)

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