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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Things I assume you know about me.

Things I like in creative works.
alias_sqbr: (dagna)
It's not a real Bioware game unless you end up staring at your screen in horror thinking "What have I done?".

I try to go with the decision I feel in my gut that I'll regret least, balancing being in character, interesting plot, not feeling gross (eg I am ALWAYS anti slavery, even if it makes sense in the universe, unless I KNOW that choice is actually worse for the slave(*)), and gameplay advantage. And I have tried REALLY HARD not to go back to previous saves and change my mind unless I genuinely misunderstood what the question was asking, reminding myself that a character who screws up and is left traumatised is an interesting character.

Marijn Cadash is turning out to be more and more interesting.

SPOILERS )

(*)Yes the fact that I have had to make this choice multiple times does say something unfortunate about Bioware's writing decisions. See also: all the times I had to decide whether or not to commit genocide, and all the mercy killings of disabled people. Sigh.
alias_sqbr: (genius!)
Distract me from the fact that I don't know exactly when my copy of Dragon Age Inquisition is arriving and I want it NOW.

No zombies. No Dragon Age either, just for this round :)

All prompts will be DROPPED LIKE A HOT POTATO once the game does arrive, but I’ll get back to them…eventually.
alias_sqbr: (genius!)
I was boggling that I hadn't done one of these since June then looked at my post titles for the last few months and remembered how sick I was for a while there. But I managed to draw some stuff anyway through the fog :) Also I got a copy of Manga Studio 5, which does some lovely lines and painting...that make my computer cry :(

All art has transcripts/descriptions at the link.

Prettiest:

Snow White and Red Riding Hood


Most interesting:
News From The Sea: A little fantasy comic adapted from this short story I wrote. Created for a Comic Books and Graphic Novels course. Transcripts in chapter 2.

As far as I can tell I got...120% for this comic? And that's getting less than half of the available extra credit. lol coursera. But it was fun!

Person of Interest, Avatar: The Legend of Korra/The Last Airbender, Guild Wars 2, Dragon Age Origins, Mass Effect 2, Red Dwarf, Bastion, Dr Who, Original, Game of Thrones, The Hobbit, Fresh Pretty Cure )
alias_sqbr: (up)
By sheer chance I met a guy who adapts cars and motorbikes to use lithium batteries as a side business. I asked if he did wheelchairs and he offered to take a look, in the end I decided not to go for it but thought people might find it interesting.

He spent a while poking through parts lists to find a combination which would fit the space and give me the amperage the chair needs, this could all be different with different chairs or a scooter. Also I may be confusing amps and volts etc, for some reason I find electronics really confusing. It's possible other mechanics (electricians?) could do a different setup with different specs, especially since wheelchairs aren't his speciality.

The overall cost was about $1500. About $900 for the batteries alone, I think. Ordering the parts would take a while, but the installation would take a few hours at the house.

He wasn't sure it would give me significantly more than the 10-15km I currently get with a brand new acid battery, and unless I paid an extra for a fancy new charger it wouldn't charge all that much faster. Also he'd have to do a few cludges to get everything to work, including gluing a simple "amps drawn" guage to the side of the controller which I would have to reset at the start of every trip. I'd have to watch the guage and remember the number that meant "about to run out of juice" because my only other warning would be the chair coming to a complete and utter stop.

The advantage is that the batteries wouldn't degrade. Currently my batteries last maybe a year if I'm lucky, and cost about $600 to change. Which sucks, but given all the downsides lithium doesn't seem like it's worth the change right now.

I haven't mentioned his name since the only contact I have is his Facebook, but if anyone wants his details I'm happy to pass them on. He's friendly and enthusiastic and his electric motorbike didn't explode or anything :)

Journey

Nov. 13th, 2014 08:44 pm
alias_sqbr: (I like pi!)
Journey was as beautiful, subtle, and affecting as everyone told me it would be.

What noone mentioned was that it's a #%^%$ing jumping game.

An artistic jumping game where your characters floats across the screen aesthetically instead of coming to a neat halt where you want them to.

On the plus side it's all pretty easy, and there's usually a way to get yourself back on track without too much trouble. But some of the transendental beauty was definitely spoiled by me shouting "NO NOT THAT WAY" at the screen as the PC artfully floated down past gorgeous landscapes I wanted it going up. I am really quite remarkably bad at jumping games.

But I did finish it, and it's an amazing game, so chances are unless you are SUPERNATURALLY bad at jumping games you should be ok. Just accept that there are some cool look shiny things on hard to get ledges you're going to have to let go.

I haven't mentioned the plot because there isn't that much of one...basically you are a little robed figure going on a surprisingly emotionally affecting journey across different landscapes, facing different challenges. There's no fighting, just exploring and interacting and jumping. There's also the apparently EVEN MORE TRANSCENDENTALLY BEAUTIFUL option to connect to other players via the Playstation network, we don't have that set up and it was still pretty great.

NOTE: it's only on Playstation. 3+ I think. We got one as a media centre which is working pretty well apart from the inability to read subtitles on avis.
alias_sqbr: (I like pi!)
So after putting it off for ages I sat and devoured books 2, 3, and 4 of the Steerswoman Series over the last day or two (here's my previous review: I am Doomed). And they were great, and the ending was satisfying enough for the middle of a series and no new books have been written in the series in over a decade.

They continue to be very readable, engaging, clever, compassionate science-y fantasy. They remind me a lot of Lois McMaster Bujold, though not as well written or morally complex and more science-y. The two flaws that bugged me were (a) The occasional Stupid Girly Mean Girl, and not many sympathetic girly girls to make up for it and (b) certain repeated plots. I like those plots, and they were all done well, but they were so similar it feels almost insulting that she still expects us to be surprised by the same twists.

She does the "wait did they have sex in that gap between chapters?" approach to relationships, but friendships are taken much more seriously. Some pretty awful things happen (including, very occasionally, to children), but the stories are mostly pretty optimistic. She seems to enjoy fridging men more than women :D

There's an unselfconscious diversity I like, gender and physical disability being the two done best, women and disabled people are just there being common and competent and actual people. The racial diversity is a little more heavy handed (and almost perpendicular to ethnic groups, whose depiction I'm still chewing over) and there is a single clunky scene of IT'S OK TO BE LESBIANS. Not so much with the trans or non binary people, while gender roles vary there's definitely Men and Women.

Anyway! If you can handle ending on "we have won this battle but not finished our overall quest" I reccomend the books pretty strongly.
alias_sqbr: (atlantis)
Do you like space? Like, really like space? Do you have a soft spot for theoretical physics taken to imaginative extremes? Can you cope with yet another story about the future and fate of the world which centers entirely around white american dudes (and a light scattering of white american ladies and black american dudes) to the extent that the entire rest of the world might as well not exist? Do you really like space?

Then you might enjoy Interstellar.

I do really like space, as long as it walks that careful line of realistic enough not to make me roll my eyes but over the top scifi-ish enough to be fun (eg more Contact than Gravity) And this movie walks that line pretty well, getting some physics right that NOONE EVER GETS RIGHT but willing to sacrifice accuracy for rule of cool here and there (also The Power of Love. Like Contact with The Power of Faith, except Mathew Maconnahey is older and on the other side of the argument. And the main character :/)

It's like a live action version of the 90s hard sf I devoured enthusiastically all through my late teens, getting through the slightly hackneyed personal relationships and self indulgent dull sections through solid sensawunda. Definitely worth seeing on the big screen, you have a lot of long 2001-esque shots of slowly revolving space stations to sit through.

The world building has some interesting aspects if you don't think too hard, and the plot is ok if ponderous and unsurprising. The female characters aren't quite as useless as the trailer implies, and the black guy gets...some lines...and they're all competent, driven science nerds. But this is very much a Christopher Nolan movie, with all the incoherent morality, skeevy subtext and parochial blather that implies. ALSO NOTE: the start of the film is literally just about farming. For ages.

But, eventually...space!

(Also some background AIs. Predictably, I am both impressed at how well they were made to feel like a natural part of the background worldbuilding without the movie ever losing Space momentum and becoming About AI, and wanting an ENTIRE MOVIE about them. Set in space. Starring all the non white dude science nerds, and space)
alias_sqbr: (ham!)
Last panel of the con! I may post some photos but otherwise I am DONE.

Let's get Serious: Games are changing, get involved!
Jane Cocks [University of Sunshine Coast], Izzy Gramp [Independent], Dan Monceaux [Danimations Pty Ltd], Amani Naseem [Copenhagen Game Collective], Paul Stapelberg [Well Placed Cactus]
Read more... )
alias_sqbr: A stack of turtles against stars (turtles all the way down)
I went saw the "gender creative cosplay" compeition which was pretty great. A mixture of Rule 63, crossdressing, and canonically gender divergent characters, plus some regular cosplayers who saw COSPLAY COMPEITION and hoped for the best.

And I hung out while my chair was recharging with the Bisexuality Victoria peeps who were really nice and James Dominguez taught us how to play the quick and fun card game Love Letter.

Play the Rainbow: Diversity in video games
James Dominguez [Games writer, Fairfax Media], Alice Clarke [Columnist, News Ltd.], Jade Starr [Musician, Independent performer], Lysander Wilkins [Designer and artist, Wonderworld Games]

(I only saw the very end of this panel)
Read more... )
alias_sqbr: (femininity)
Women in Video Games
Rebecca Fernandez [Chapter Leader, IGDA Sydney], Mary King [Digital Marketing Consultant, Contractor], Nicole Stark [Co-Director, Disparity Games], James Dominguez [Journalist, Fairfax Digital], Tara Brannigan [Community Relationship Manager, PikPok], Leigh Harris [Director, Flat Earth Games]
Read more... )
alias_sqbr: (femininity)
A piece of paper came out of my notebook around here, so I'm not 100% sure where one panel ends and the next begins.

Everyone Games: Creating Inclusive Gaming Communities
Ethan Lesh [Founder, Melbourne Gaymers], Alice Clarke [Diversity Lounge Co-Curator, PAX], Joshua Meadows [Co-Organiser, Sydney Gaymers], Jayden Williams [Writer, MMGN], Ashley Zeldin [Independent Developer, Adorkable Games/IGDA Los Angeles]
Read more... )
alias_sqbr: Apologises for the terrible prose it's probably accompanied by, reads an e e cummings poem (Default)
While I wait for Guild Wars to finish updating...

Doctor Who: Became increasingly irritated with this latest season, may give it another go if I get sufficiently bored.

The Flash: Mostly an ok if bland superhero show about a regular Dude Who Gets Powers, but without giving spoilers...despite one of the major secondary characters being in a wheelchair this is not the background-depiction-of-disability I was hoping for :/ :/

Yuki Yuna Is A Hero: Moe magical girl show where one of the girls is in a wheelchair. Started off GREAT, the chair wasn't even mentioned she was just one of a group of friends. But once the first monster arrived it was all "plucky able bodied girl loyally defends sad useless disabled girl" and "leave me to die, I will just slow you down". Apparently she gets powers in episode 2 that allow her to fight without removing her paraplegia, which is great, but I haven't had the heart to try it.

Sakura Trick: So I made it to the end and did actually enjoy this, god help me. It is solid male-gaze moe f/f fluff, but there's no rape, underage sex, or incest, and only a small amount of sexual harassment! And the girls friendships are genuinely pretty sweet and the f/f relationships are taken seriously rather than being a cute phase they're expected to outgrow. And it was mildly funny sometimes! IT IS ALSO EXPLOITATIVE AS HELL. It depresses me that this is apprently the best I can hope for :( :(
alias_sqbr: (bookdragon)
TV:

Sailor Moon Crystal: things are coming to a crunch! This show really isn't very good but it's cool to see all the Sailor Moon mythology play out after seeing bits of it all over the place, and it's a compelling if kind of silly story.

Korra: Continues to be good! Asides from hitting a bunch of really awful buttons about invisible physical disability, which it hopefully won't be doing any more. Curious to see how everything is going to get resolved.

Strange Empire: Based on the pilot, a really good Quality Western set in 19th century Canada centering on *gasp* women and POC. With a badass Métis (First Nations/European) female lead and an autistic science nerd as secondary female lead. Unfortunately the first episode, while overall hopeful, hit my "bad things happening to children" button with a great big hammer. It was all very subtle and tasteful but there was a LOT. Will be waiting until the season is done and seeing how the children fare before watching more :/

Books:

A Mosque Among The Stars (a book of muslim scifi): The first one and a half stories were so depressing and awful I had to stop. Can someone let me know if there are any that AREN'T about death, doom, and horrible things happening to children? Also they were both very much critiquing the mainstream US pov about muslims from the inside, and while that's legitimate, part of the appeal of the collection for me was a break from the mainstream US POV.

The Posterchildren by Kitty Burroughs: Gave up on this on the last trip to Melbourne, on the plane this time realised I'd forgotten to add many more books in the intervening years (aside from "A Mosque Among The Stars" :/) so read some more. Continues to be well meaning but stilted superhero YA, I may finish it out of curiousity idk. It is pretty diverse, which is nice.

How to Capture a Wild Viscount by Tessa Dare: Added to the kindle for the way back. Was exactly the light fluffy regency romance where NOBODY DIES I needed. Only a novella, and really not very deep, and the hero is a bit too much of a jerk at the start, but it's overall pretty cute. Does the whole "wounded war veteran thinks he is Too Broken for the Sweet Heroine" thing, and the side pairing felt shoehorned in.

Laura's Wolf by Lia Silver: A contemporary romance about a war veteran werewolf on the run who ends up taking shelter in a cabin owned by a ex con artist who has her own demons and secrets. This was a whole bunch of things I've been looking for for ages, especially in romance novels. Informed and sastisfying treatment of disability! (PTSD and magical-but-believable physical Werewolf Issues, both treated like actual disabilities not just convenent angst) BOTH partners a mixture of screwed up and nurturing! Fluffy romantic (mild) femdom! Fat female protagonist! Female werewolves being just as common as and equivalent to male ones! Paranormal romance with no gender essentailism about women being natural victims and men natural predators! Background mogai characters! Two lonely people find solace in each other...and then find even more solace in some close friends! And it was fairly thrilling and a nice romance. Not the MOST thrilling, romantic, or sexy book I've ever read, and a bit heavy handed with the therapy talk in parts (the author is a PTSD therapist and it shows. Mostly in a good way) but it made me pretty happy. A bit heteronormative in parts. Reminded me a bit of the Liaden books in both good and bad ways. I knew going in that the author was in fandom but it was only after finishing I found out it's [livejournal.com profile] rachelmanija, who moves in a lot of the same circles as me though we don't actually know each other.
alias_sqbr: (dagna)
Playing as a Female Character - does it matter?

Hex [Presenter, ABC TV], Siobhan Reddy [Studio Manager, Media Molecule], Peter Hines [Vice President of PR & Marketing, Bethesda], Aidan Scanlan [Assistant Director of Design, BioWare], Randy Pitchford [CEO, Gearbox Software], Rex Crowle [Creative Director, Media Molecule]

This was a MASSIVE panel in the huge main theatre, I barely got in. I had to sit right in the back with another guy in a wheelchair, but there was a big screen and decent microphones so it wasn't too bad. It was cool seeing so many people caring about this!
Read more... )
alias_sqbr: (dagna)
I will repeat a little from my previous post here to keep all my notes for these panels together.

Queering video games )

Pre-gen vs custom characters )
alias_sqbr: (dagna)
Back! Had a great time! VERY TIRED! So for now here's some stuff from random fliers I want to record before I lose the bits of paper.

From the Diversity Lounge:

Victorian Bi Alliance Played a cool game of cards with these guys, and let another biromantic ace type know she wasn't entirely alone :) They have general online stuff I mean to look into.

Gaymers.com.au Has a Perth branch??

From the Indie Pavillion:

Influent Vaguely interesting looking language learning game

Appointment with Fear Visual novel/kinetic superhero comic thing, looked interesting!

Boy Goes To Space Atmospheric looking minimalist story

Bonza WORD PUZZLE GAME. The only game in the pavillion I actually got excited about :)
alias_sqbr: (dagna)
Trip: Went as well as could be expected and still HORRIBLY EXHASUSTING
Hotel (Oak on Collins): Pretty nice except for the FIVE STEPS that mean I have to use a slow, out of the way wheelchair lift that is accessed through the bar and behind a curtain and refuses to work at all if the gate at the top isn't closed properly, which is super convenient when you're at the bottom.

Went to visit a friend and her ADORABLE BABY yesterday, made self even more tired and sore and it was worth every minute. Babbbiieesss :D :D (And he is a particualrly cute one)

Today: Realised as I neared the concention centre that I had forgotten my recharger, barely made it back and spent the rest of the day lurching from power point to power point. Note to self: find somewhere better than Rehab Rentals next time.

Cam told me about a Dragon Age playtesting thing and I thought "nah", then as I toodled around the exhibition floor I found myself thinking more and more "YES".
No spoilers just some panel notes and the rest of my day )
alias_sqbr: (genius!)
I have to draw a four+ page comic for a coursera course I'm doing and I am TOTALLY BLOCKED.

I'm thinking I'll just adapt part of an existing story, either one of mine or something in the public domain.

Current thoughts tend towards Northanger Abbey but I am open to suggestions! Are there any public domain works, or original/fanfic of public domain works by me that you'd like to see me draw a short story about? Any art of mine you'd be curious to see expanded into a longer story (and have plot ideas for)? AUs are totally welcome but not nonsense crossovers because then I get tangled up figuring out how it WORKS.

It has to be accessible to random strangers so no asking me to write an ending to A Circle of Stars :P Also there is no guarantee I'll actually draw any of it comics are haaaard. BUT I WILL TRY

Also: Penny, I have not forgotten your Asama & Korra prompt, I plan on drawing it the moment the show gets them to a point where I'm not all "Asama & Korra ;_;"

ALSO speaking of AO3 today was FEMSLASHEX REVEALS YAYYY. I drew some Velanna/Sigrun. And I got TWO gifts: Undercover by kiki_miserychic, which is some sexy Root/Shaw art, and Quantum Relations by Settiai which is a very cute EDI/Sam fic.

This course is good but hardddd. I had to write TWO ESSAYS. With an introduction and a thesis and a CONCLUSION. urrrrggghhhhhh essayssssss. Of course we got half marks for even trying because coursera. But the peer assessors said I LACKED A COHERENT THESIS. Luckily we get to do self evaluation too so there was a "you are amazing and all your ideas are gold" to balance things out.

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