alias_sqbr: (dreamwidth)
This is my personal/fannish journal. For topics I feel require a more serious and moderated approach I have [personal profile] sqbr.

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omg

Jun. 29th, 2015 11:12 am
alias_sqbr: (genius!)
I just sent the first chapter of the new and improved Wedding is Destiny to [personal profile] hl to be beta-ed o.O Only twenty more to go...(some of them are very short) I can't believe I wrote a SIXTY ONE THOUSAND word story. The new chapters all by themselves are nearly the same number of words as my next longest story. Apparently that means it counts as a NOVEL woo! (Of course my thesis was longer but noone's going to read that and I didn't have to write anyone talking about their feelings)

It's been a useful distraction to keep myself resting, Cam's going away for a week on Friday so I want to make sure I have my energy stored up for any emergencies I have to handle alone. I feel way more emotionally ready for it than I did for the trip six months ago, hooray for meds and therapy and nothing awful happening recently. Once again I have benefited from a Steam sale at just the right time, expect reviews of cheap games :)
alias_sqbr: (up and down)
So I couldn't sleep and REALLY felt like playing the new game Her Story, and since it's only $5 I bought it.

It's a game about database searching, woo! WAIT NO IT'S ACTUALLY GOOD. Like a more non linear Analogue: A Hate Story, you are puzzling through a mystery via old logs. In this case, they're videos of a woman being interviewed about her missing husband. As you watch new videos you get new search terms to try, which leads to more videos. I haven't managed to get them all, but it's pretty easy to get the basic gist of the story. Really, I got the basic gist a few videos in, and the rest was just figuring out the (sometimes quite interesting!) details.

This very positive review is what inspired me to buy it, and I have to say I was a bit disappointed with the cheesiness of some of the twists, they allow for interesting story telling but I was expecting something more plausible and less "Oh I've seen this movie". But once I got over that I really enjoyed the game: the underlying story has issues, but it's told REALLY well. The non linear, player controlled aspect is very cleverly done, and the actress makes you care about not only her but the characters you never meet. Since I wasn't overwhelmed with admiration for the plot I haven't bothered untangling all the complicated clues that might clarify some of the ambiguity. But there's definitely some sneaky clues to puzzle out if you're inclined that way.

But I CAN'T FIGURE OUT HOW TO FIND ALL THE VIDEOS. I'm stuck at around 75% /o\ For anyone else in this boat, here's my search terms thus far, roughly categorised by number of videos returned. I'd ignore the one video words unless you get REALLY desperate, most of the time they were the already seen video where I'd heard the word. EDIT: Have seen them now, wasn't missing anything significant.

Note: without spoilers, the game deals with some heavy subjects. I mean, the first suggested search term is "murder", and it goes on from there.

Spoilers! )

Plenty!

Jun. 24th, 2015 09:36 pm
alias_sqbr: (ham!)
Went to The Little Shop of Plenty in Maylands today with [personal profile] lilysea and had quite a lovely time.

It's as expensive and pretentious as it looks but they HAD FOOD I COULD EAT and the staff were all very friendly and helpful, so I'd still rec it to anyone with dairy/soy/gluten/meat issues who's ok with most of the dishes containing raw vegetables or coconut (sigh) and drinking out of a jar.

I drank a blackberry smoothie made with their in house almond milk, which was SUPER creamy and quite nice once I added extra sugar (which Lily had thoughtfully brought with her, the provided sugar is all made from the nectar of coconut flowers) And at least the jar didn't have a handle. (WHAT'S WRONG WITH CUPS)

The only mains I could (mostly) eat was lupin tempeh with grilled mushrooms, quinoa, and cashew based creme fraiche. Would probably have been nicer with the mixed greens I had removed but was still pretty tasty once I added (pink) salt, and satisfyingly different from the usual things I eat out.

Lupin tempeh was less "a thing I can eat" and more "a thing I did not even realise was a food so let's give it a shot" and it tasted ok and didn't make me horribly ill but I think next time I'll ask them to replace it with an egg. I got the same "This tastes weird and will also probably make you sick" feeling I get from eating soy bean stuff, so congratulations on mimicking actual tempeh I guess? The creme fraiche, while satisfyingly creamy, was too sour for me to eat quite so much of.

I also had a free sample of the date and nut based peppermint fudge which was ok, but much like other date-and-nut based bars I've had. I think my main enjoyment was the peppermint, since I haven't been able to eat that in larger than free-sample level quantities for a few years. Looking at the site it has coconut oil in it because OF COURSE IT DOES.

All that cost $32. Right now I feel a little odd, but it was worth it to have a genuinely interesting and original meal. I don't get those very often. Lily can eat more of the menu and speaks well of all the mains she's tried.
alias_sqbr: (happy dragon)
Went out yesterday and saw [personal profile] sami, [livejournal.com profile] myfyr and Dave whose username I have forgotten if he ever had one (sorry Dave).

And it was GREAT. We've been trying to organise a get together for LITERALLY YEARS but mutual health problems and distance made it difficult. But we prevailed and it was great!

I'm kind of sleepy now but not too wasted, and managed to write some thinky posts about stuff I've been thinking about for a while which was cathartic. And I have not many plans for the next week or so.

What I would like to be thus doing over the next few days: I have been WORKING ON WEDDING IS DESTINY. YES REALLY. I have about 4000 words written and am moderately confident I can get these wacky kids together within another 3-10K. (For those who have only tuned in recently, eg within the last three years, this is my eternal Anne/Mary Pride and Prejudice WIP that has not been updated since 2012)

And I just had a nice chat with [personal profile] lilysea!

Also my cat is adorable. We watched fish videos this morning and she was FASCINATED. And then it all got too intense and she went to sit somewhere else for a while.

Cam is going away in a couple of weeks for work but I have a bunch of games I got in the Steam sale and should be ok.
alias_sqbr: Nepeta from Homestuck looking grumpy in front of the f/f parts of her shipping wall (grumpy)
Anime:

Natsuyuki Rendezvous: A bittersweet josei romance about a young man who falls for a florist but then comes into conflict with the ghost of her dead husband. About grief and love and moving on. I really liked it, it had a happy ending but still made me cry. The husband had what is heavily implied to be cancer since childhood, I thought the show did a pretty good job of showing the ways chronic illness can affect a relationship, and while it did have a young healthy guy telling an older sickly guy to give up on his wife seemed to have the reasonable moral that ill or dying people can make perfectly good partners, but dead people not so much. The "two guys fight over a girl" aspect was a little annoying sometimes but it makes the "women are not actually objects to be fought over and the first priority should be making them happy" point pretty clearly, and we got her point of view some of the time. I liked that neither of them are too Alpha Male Shoujo Hero, though I'm amused how similar the hero is to the floppy haired (and often taciturn) younger LIs from other josei like Gokusen and Kimi Wa Petto (thank you josei writers, floppy haired younger men are the best)


Game:

Fairway: A golf themed solitaire game which I have been quite enjoying. I found a lot of the golf aspects annoying and turned them off/skipped them, but as a game it's quite well designed, there's lots of levels of increasing difficulty and you can "grind" for money and wild cards. After 27 hours of play I've bought all the powerups, gotten all but one of the trophies, and gotten 3 stars on almost all the levels. Not sure I'll play much once I've done all that but I can see myself just playing through all the levels one by one and seeing how well I can do using as few wild cards as possible. Unlike Regency Solitaire the money you earn is always useful since you can use it to buy wild cards, though I am earning way more than I spend even on the trickiest levels.
alias_sqbr: (genius!)
The structure is like Magnolia or Pulp Fiction: a series of somewhat disconnected scenes with different characters that all add up to a coherent interconnected story.

At the start you wander around as the starting character and have the chance to talk to different people/do different things. At some point you trigger a cut scene/scene change etc, and there are multiple different ways to do this.

The game then switches to a new character with a different point of view, possibly even a flashback. This is chosen to connect to whatever scene you triggered last time. The game keeps switching between scenes, each scene chosen to connect with the story/plotlines created thus far. There will be scenes/plotlines that show up in every game but in different orders depending on the player's choices, and others that only show up in some games.

A simple example:
A1: You start out as character A, and can talk to B or C.
A2: something happens to continue A's plot
A3: something happens to continue A's plot
B1: Flashback to B's past where we play as B
B2: continuation of B flashback
C1: we flash to an assassin coming to murder C, play as the assassin
C2: Assassin plot continues
AC: Scene involving C and A
AB: Scene involving B and A
ABC: Assassin attacks, A, B and C defeat it. Everyone's arc is finished.

We always start with A1. If the player chooses to talk to B, the order would be:
A1 B1 A2 B2 AC C1 A3 C2 ABC
If they talk to C it would be:
A1 C1 A2 C2 AB B1 A3 B2 ABC

But with more continued player choice. Maybe some random plotlines that only show up sometimes, too.

I am still pretty sleepy so I hope this makes sense. Needless to say the version in my dream was fairly incoherent and silly. I can see a bunch of ways this could be difficult to implement and make enjoyable, but it's interesting to ponder. If any of you have encountered games anything like this I'd be curious to hear about them!
alias_sqbr: Apologises for the terrible prose it's probably accompanied by, reads an e e cummings poem (Default)
Finished "Fire" by Kristen Cashore, second in the Graceling series but third for me. I mostly enjoyed it, but there were things I didn't like, and despite everyone saying the books are very different I found it a bit too similar to the other two and need a break from her shtick.

Fire is set in a land "over the mountains" from the countries the other two are set in, and the worldbuilding is so incompatibly different I'd have found it more plausible as a literal different world with a portal or something. Basically, there are "monster" versions of humans and animals: beautiful but oddly coloured with mind reading and control abilities they generally use to lure prey. The main character is such a "monster", and spends the book finding a place for herself in a world which both adores and fears her, especially given the legacy of her father, who evil-psychic-grand-vizier-ed the country into ruin.

Like the other two, it's an engaging and effective story of a young woman brought up to use her power for evil overcoming trauma, loneliness and mistrust to find love, happiness, and purpose. But like the other two there were a few things that bugged me.
no spoilers it just got a little long )

Jukebox!

Jun. 7th, 2015 10:55 pm
alias_sqbr: Apologises for the terrible prose it's probably accompanied by, reads an e e cummings poem (Default)
My gift, which was everything I asked for PLUS DRAGONS:

Hail the Hunter (3510 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Original Work, Girl With One Eye - Florence + The Machine (Song)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Girl With One Eye (Character), Narrator
Additional Tags: Fictional Religion & Theology, Servants, Dysfunctional Relationships, Power Dynamics, Non-Graphic Violence, Recovery, Dark Fantasy, Jukebox Fanworks Exchange
Summary:

A story of fate, devotion, cruelty and betrayal.



And my favourite of the works I've seen, a short but interesting little interactive poem:
You are Building an Abbey for Lovers (54 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Bele Doette (Traditional Chanson)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Characters: Bele Doette
Additional Tags: Interactive Fiction, Jukebox Treat
Summary:

You are building an abbey for lovers
For lovers who've always stayed true
You are carving your heart
So it says press to start.



My assignment has gone down pretty well which I am happy about!
alias_sqbr: (yay copyright)
Just had someone ask to do cosplay based on my Sera modern AU fanart HOW AWESOME IS THAT. (We shall ignore that they were apparently mostly motivated by it looking easy to do ;))

I love when people do this kind of thing. So far, asides from Big Bangs/remixes I have also been translated into Czech and podficced. It doesn't happen very often (each of those has happened once), and it makes me feel super special. I feel like someone has drawn fanart of my fanworks at some point, too, but I am drawing a blank. Sorry fanartists, I'm sure it made me very happy!
alias_sqbr: (dw!)
Dreamwidth Friending Meme, 2015 edition!

If you're reading this because I added you, no stress about adding me back if you don't want! (Does that sentence make sense? I am sleepy)
alias_sqbr: (dreamwidth)
I haven't done one of these in a while, and have added a bunch of new side blogs (which I update like once every 2 months but hey)

All have image descriptions unless stated otherwise.

Dreamwidth:
[personal profile] alias_sqbr Fannish and personal stuff. Updated frequently, usually a mix of reviews, art dumps, and health stuff, for which I have a special filter.
[personal profile] sqbr Serious social justice discussions. Quieter than it used to be but still updated semi regularly, though posts these days are usually locked.

Livejournal:
[livejournal.com profile] alias_sqbr: Crossposts of [personal profile] alias_sqbr. I answer comments etc but dreamwidth is the blog's real home.

Tumblr:
[tumblr.com profile] sqbr Fairly active, random mix of nerdery, pretty things, and social justice.
[tumblr.com profile] alias-sqbr Creative things I have made. Updated semi regularly eg whenever I make something. Mostly fanart.
[tumblr.com profile] miscsquarebears Inspiration/resources blog. Quiet. No image descriptions.
[tumblr.com profile] pinkandpurplepixels Resources for female game developers. Not QUITE dead but pretty close.
[tumblr.com profile] fanartremixexchange Fanart Remix Exchange. Quiescent, possibly dead unless I hand it over to someone else.
[tumblr.com profile] emeryai An ask blog AI. Dead, but it was fun while it lasted.

Twitter:
[twitter.com profile] sqbr Quietish, mix of reblogs, Australian politics and silly comments about my cat. Mostly used for following people I know in Perth.

Creative things:
[archiveofourown.org profile] sqbr AO3: fanfic, art for exchanges or with multiple pages, the odd game or piece of original fiction.
[deviantart.com profile] sqbr Deviantart: art, mostly fanart
[fanfiction.net profile] sqbr Fanfiction.net: fanfiction

I also have a Facebook account under my legal name which I try to keep separate from all the rest. I tend to only really add people I'm friends with offline, especially family and people in Perth. If you fit that description and know my legal name then feel free to friend me.

Other than that pretty much anyone is welcome to follow any of my blogs. I'd rather noone followed me for hatereading or whatever but if you're doing that you presumably don't care.

I think that's everything!
alias_sqbr: (ham!)
Bare Crush 100% fruit icy poles, had the mango today and it was quite nice.

Nutty Bruce almond milk, from Maylands IGA: The only almond milk I've found in Perth that doesn't contain vegetable gums. A little bitter but thick and great in cooking, I made the tastiest chicken curry with it as a replacement for coconut milk (which it is not as thick and tasty as, but it's still better than rice milk)

Dripping: Being 100% animal fat it is not exactly the kind of vegan health food one usually associates with "dairy free", but it doesn't set off my food issues and makes for a tasty butter/oil substitute on vegemite toast and roasted potatoes. Available from all supermarkets super cheap!

Microwave rice pudding (would also probably work with dairy), adapted from this stovetop recipe
Ingredients:

1 cup cold white cooked rice
enough "milk" to make it soupy, maybe a cup?
large pinch salt
1 egg
optional:
dash vanilla essence
1/2 cup tinned fruit or a mashed banana
pinch cinnamon
sweetener eg 1 tsp to 1/4 cup sugar


Method:

Mix everything but the egg in a wide-rimmed microwave safe ceramic bowl. Microwave for 4-5 minutes on high, checking to make sure it isn't boiling over especially if your bowl doesn't have a wide rim (it helps for some reason) THE MOMENT it's done crack in the egg and stir briskly so it forms a custard with some of the rice, then mix evenly into the rest. Leave to sit for a minute or two. Eat!

It's really important that the mixture be SUPER hot, if you get delayed after the microwave goes off microwave it again until it's bubbling. You still can't guarantee the egg is 100% cooked but microwaving it once it's mixed in ends badly and personally I am ok with slightly raw egg.
alias_sqbr: (naughty shell)
Went to the Baigup wetlands today, it was lovely! After the wetlands there’s a dog park full of happy dogs prancing through the river and happy children scootering after them (when did scooters become in again?) and then there’s a pretty little bird sanctuary.
Here is a photo of a little wooden boardwalk passing under some paperbark trees and ending in a patch of glorious Perth sunlight. The main path is pavement but the wooden bits are prettier :) There’s also AMAZING views of the Swan River but I didn’t think to photograph it.
alias_sqbr: (genius!)
I have been feeling a little down about having so many ongoing game projects and so rarely making any progress, but today was good for all of them!

Copper Rose aka the f/f vampire dating sim: Had a very productive conversation with co-writer a few days ago, since then have had a bunch of Inspirations and sent her long rambly emails she will hopefully find inspiring and not overwhelming. She's currently in crunch mode for an actual paying writing gig so veers between "no time for Copper Rose" and "please distract me" and is only up for planning, not writing, but we've been hammering out lots of world building, plot and characterisation details.

Marathon Twine Game aka the SUPER SECRET FFA PROJECT (not actually that secret): just saw my cowriter make a comment about working on stuff I sent them a different long thinky email about, hooray! Have I mentioned Marathon here? It's a 90s FPS with some very cool plotting, mostly in text based terminals. You can also just read the terminals separately if you don't want to play/watch a Let's Play. FFA has a small but evangelical group of Marathon fans who sucked me into it by talking about it's cool morally ambiguous AI, who is indeed very cool. I made an off hand remark about how it would be cool if there was a Twine version putting the terminals in context and then ended up coding one, and another anon agreed to help me out with the text *waves*

SOON remaster aka that time travel game I actually finished but only by massively cutting corners: finished another sprite! I'm redrawing all the art and it's slow going since I want to make sure everything is consistent and pretty as opposed to the very rough quality of the original game, and I have to be in just the right mindset.

Northanger Abbey the dating sim aka exactly what it sounds like: continued adapting the text! I overdid this for a while and needed a break, today's the first time I've done any in ages. They have just arrived at the Abbey. Still not sure how well I'll be able to make the original sections mesh with the adapted parts but will cross that bridge when I come to it!

Gastro

May. 21st, 2015 02:05 am
alias_sqbr: (spoons)
Also! Cam and I both had gastro ("stomach flu" to those from the US, apparently, which always makes me think of a sneezing stomach) For me there was only 24 hours between "uh oh this is not my normal level of nausea" and "hooray eating is fun again" but those 24 hours were a wild, deeply unpleasant ride and I am still feeling the after effects. Cam was sick a little longer but bounced back faster or at least higher, which I guess isn't that surprising. The cat has been enjoying how much time I have been spending horizontal, at least.
alias_sqbr: (up and down)
I have very mixed feelings about this book and it dredged up a lot of Feelings so I'm going to write about it while it's fresh so I don't keep mulling over it and trigger myself.

This is a rough sequel to Graceling. In that book we meet the princess Bitterblue, rescued from her awful father. In this one we see her, and her kingdom, recover from his rule. Other than that it's a moderately engaging "new young monarch tries to figure out the political situation, rule wisely, and not get killed while also figuring out things like friends and relationships" plot. That aspect I thought was handled pretty well, though some might find the way the romantic subplot was handled frustrating.

What I have mixed feelings about is the handling of recovery from trauma. Literally the entire country, including most of the main characters, has PTSD. This is mostly handled pretty well, with one very significant and unpleasant exception.
discussions of rape and trauma, vague but significant spoilers )

I still plan on reading the remaining book in the series, Fire. But I will have my guard up.

EDIT: Oh and I might as well mention that the book contains a lot of VERY triggery subjects: self harm, child abuse, rape, torture, animal abuse, probably others I'm forgetting. It's overall pretty optimistic in tone and doesn't describe much in detail but could still be upsetting.

Consumed!

May. 17th, 2015 05:44 pm
alias_sqbr: (happy dragon)
Books:

Spirits Abroad by Zen Cho: I finished this a while ago but forgot to say. Overall really fantastic short fantasy stories from a Chinese Malaysian point of view, with a light touch and lots of empathy and optimism. The author's notes are really interesting too. The one story I kind of regret reading was the one with a self harm warning, it did unpleasant things to my brain.

Bitterblue by Kristen Cashore: Just started this. It's the sequel to Graceling, following the little girl who gets rescued in that book. It starts when she's still trapped and I'm glad I've already seen her escape because wow is it an unpleasant situation.

Games:

Dreampath: the Two Kingdoms: incredibly fluffy hidden object game where you, a princess, solve puzzles with your talking cat companion to get help from a dragon to save your sick sister. Not very deep or especially well made but I enjoyed it.

Mystery Trackers: The Void: The first Hidden Object game I've played where I seriously considered stopping just because it was so annoying. The games themselves are fine, but it's ugly and silly and meanspirited. I get that it's horror/mystery, and maybe that's just not my genre with these games, but it was really unpleasant and I didn't like anyone, even the victims or the detective, and it wallowed in ableism.
alias_sqbr: (train)
I overall quite enjoyed this film but there were definitely things I didn't like. My feelings are a series of ambivalences which average out positive.
Spoilers for the premise )

June 2015

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