alias_sqbr: Are you coming to bed? I can't, this is important. Why? Someone is wrong on the internet. (duty calls)
Am trying very hard to not be a jerk about the “what if Jane Austen wrote Star Trek” post a few people have reblogged today on tumblr but godddd how can so many people take these canons that are WALL TO WALL social commentary and jokes and throw away everything except (to me) secondary aspects like character quirks and a distinctive use of semi colons.

Like...I have been rereading a bunch of Jane Austen’s character descriptions recently for a Thing, and I am pretty sure she was incapable of describing anyone for more than a sentence without insulting them, and then probably making some jab at the hypocrisy of whoever is observing them.

I was going to say this is like people in two hundred years writing about Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert and putting a lot of effort into making the language and fashion accurate but having the Daily Show just be a mainstream, earnest news show that never makes jokes but...people kind of do that now, and I GUESS it’s ok that they’re enjoying themselves, and that not everyone has fun the same way I do. I GUESS. MAYBE.

It mostly annoys me because it's not just a subset of fans doing this. There's room for all sorts. But the intellectually shallow nostalgia driven approach is the default across all of popular culture, and the more visible and well funded the adaptation the more likely it is to ignore the things that make the original unique and challenging. (I just had the mental image of Zach Snyder's Pride and Prejudice. That would be...something)

It's also possibly relevant that I am ok at matching Jane Austen's sarcasm but gave up on the semi colons entirely; this may affect my idea of the core traits of an Austen pastiche.
alias_sqbr: (happy dragon)
(Where that season is Summer, regardless of what most internet sites assume is globally universal)
Books, movies, anime, manga, webcomic )
alias_sqbr: Nepeta from Homestuck looking grumpy in front of the f/f parts of her shipping wall (grumpy)
Cliche in the sense of the asshole dominant dude and sweet innocent woman etc.

The dynamic I don't like:

Her: Sure, he's hot, but what an asshole!
Him: Sure, she's nice, but so plain!
Him: I'm warming up to her...but cannot admit it!
Everyone: Naturally! Because she is the perfect woman.
Her: I'm warming up to him...but cannot admit it!
Everyone: Naturally! Because he is the perfect man.
Them: You're right! Let's get married ^_^

The dynamic I do:

Her: Sure, he's hot, but what an asshole!
Him: Sure, she's nice, but so plain!
Him: I'm warming up to her...but cannot admit it!
Everyone: Makes sense: she's nice enough, and doesn't seem cowed by your crap.
Him: ACTUALLY SHE SUCKS (actually she is perfect ;_;)
Her: I'm warming up to him...but cannot admit it!
Everyone: WTF. NO. HE IS AN ASSHOLE. GO DATE THIS NICER DUDE.
Her: I KNOW. IT MAKES NO SENSE. AND YET.

I'm not saying this dynamic is good or feminist, and there's others I like more. But it's surprisingly enjoyable considering how much I hate the first dynamic.

Current example, which I read in a block when I had insomnia last night but in the light of day am having to finish in small chunks so I can take a break from the ridiculousness: Midnight Secretary, a manga about a secretary to a vampire who selfishly gives women amazing orgasms because it makes their blood taste better. Which is a pretty clever excuse for sexy dubcon blood drinking that DOESN'T MEAN HE LIKES HER HE JUST GOT HUNGRY OK, congratulations Ohmi Tomu.

Previous examples: the manga (also an anime) Wolf Girl and Black Prince, Jane Eyre.
alias_sqbr: (happy dragon)
Which is to say, I was VERY WOOZY for some of these.

Games (mostly from the currently ongoing steam sale):

Scribblenauts Unlimited (windows only): Solve people's problems by creating/editing objects. Fun, but you play as a guy saving his sister, and everytime you finish a level you gain another sibling as a possible avatar and ALL FORTY OF THEM are male. I checked! WHY NOT MAKE HALF OF THEM GIRLS. OR EVEN ONE OF THEM. They're not even compulsory so dude players wouldn't have to play as a girl, but girl players could! This annoys me so much I have stopped playing. IT'S SO UNNECCESARILY SEXIST. (Non binary/ungendered characters would also be good but if they can't manage girls)

Grim Legends: the Forsaken Bride: a Hidden object game from Artifex Mundi, only just started. Graphics are a bit uncanny valley but it's a nicely immersive Olde Worlde village setting. So far you're a woman rescuing your sister.

Higurashi When They Cry: Stalled on this completely. It's not bad, I just find it hard to keep up momentum with kinetic novels (like a visual novel but with no real choices)

Message Quest: a puzzle game about a lazy messenger in a fantasy world trying to avoid doing his quest. Has occasional simple turn based combat and I got stuck on a battle, but was enjoying it until then and will use a walkthrough to get past it at some point. Has some things that made me :/ about gender but is ultimately good hearted. It's a bit weird having to poke a lazy character who "just wants to sleep" when you have cfs, but he really is just lazy.

Audiosurf 2: Crashed on both windows and Mac :/
Books, manga, anime )
alias_sqbr: (happy dragon)
Books:

The Raven and the Reindeer by T Kingfisher aka Ursula Vernon: this is a very cute Gerta/Little Robber Girl retelling of The Snow Queen. It's in a light, fairytale style but has a bit more modern fantasy novel to it than the original 19th century children's short story. There also a bit more gore than I remember, of just the sort I like but other people may not. I haven't read the original in years so can't say how much is changed in general, but was attached to the Kay/Gerta friendship which is much more unhealthy here, I think it works really well as a new story but was still slightly sad to lose the old one. Also there's that undertone of slightly smug tweeness that tends to underlie all of Ursula Vernon's work, and it took me a while to get into it for some reason. Still, lots of well drawn, endearing, mostly female characters, and a cute fantasy story that hasn't lost the fairytale atmosphere, bittersweet bite and sense of place of the original.

(putting above the cut because "f/f fairytale" is relevant to a lot of my readers' interests :))

Aso, while I'm here: Steam is having a sale on anime themed games and I at least didn't get an email about some stuff on my wishlist which is discounted. So, check your wishlist!
More books and some tv )
alias_sqbr: Me on a couch asleep with a cat sitting on my lap top, with the caption out of spoons error (spoons)
As always, bear in mind that my standard go way down when I'm sick.

Books:

Sword of the Guardian by Merry Shannon (On sale right now!) This is basically a cheesy, tropey 90s-esque eurofantasy romance... with lesbians! AND I LOVED IT. Stoic, protective, crossdressing butch bodyguard and feisty, headstrong princess yesss. Many of the tropes are questionable-if-iddy (eg there's a bunch of dub con kisses that "don't count") to outright unfortunate ("swarthy barbarians", really?) and it is SUPER earnest but the ratio of cheese I enjoyed to cheese I didn't worked for me. nb the cover art whitewashes the bodyguard, who has a dark olive complexion which is a bit exoticised.

Apparently the sequel is about the buxom lesbian chambermaid, SOUNDS GOOD.
Books! Games! Movies, even! )
alias_sqbr: the symbol pi on a pretty background (I like pi!)
Since he is laaaate hooome ;_;

Julia Among the Stars: An interesting, plotty Czech science fiction puzzle game with some of the feel of a hidden object game. You are a (female!) scientist on a space probe trying to figure out what happened to the rest of your crew with the help of the ships's (also female!) computer. Some of the dialogue was clunky, possibly because of the translation, but overall I liked the characters and story, it was about your average Dr Who/Star Trek episode level of scifi. The puzzles were mixed but overall enjoyable. Has some moderately dark/depressing/gory moments.

Amnesia: Memories: My first proper Japanese dating sim that's not about pigeons! Bought because it was on special and I heard one dude liked maths. I really enjoyed it, but (a) Cam is away, so tall, glasses wearing, mathsy dorks are very appealing right now (b) a fair proportion of that enjoyment was horrified laughter. The premise is that you are an 19 year old Japanese uni student and have lost your memory because a spirit basically collided with your head and got stuck there. You end up in one of several alternate realities trying to regain your memories with the help of the spirit, who is a lovely ally in sometimes scary and lonely situations, but whose existence means you can't just tell people what's up. In each reality you turn out to be dating one of the dudes, and you are motivated to get to know him to learn more about yourself. So even on paths where I didn't like the dude I enjoyed it as suspense/mystery, but it gets QUITE SUSPENSEFUL, culminating in a surreal and kind of meta final path with SEVEN DIFFERENT increasingly violent bad ends where you die in various ways (and 2 happy endings where you don't die ;)) The love interests are basically: tsundere, playboy, spock, technically-not-your-actual-older-brother, ????. You have to be prepared for some sexist douchery from even the nicest love interests on the good ends and some AMAZINGLY awful behaviour from the less nice ones on the bad ends. Like, trigger warnings ahoy, though there's no sex scenes of any kind which limits the inevitable consent issues. There's some "craziness" handled about as badly as it usually is. Also, the maths dude makes you solve actual algebra problems (The answers are online though :))

The Bridge: I enjoyed the first two levels of this Escher themed puzzle game but then there was a thing that can kill you and it stopped being fun :(
alias_sqbr: (happy dragon)
Including a bunch of very cheap games still on sale on Steam, unless the sale is done.
Read more... )
alias_sqbr: (up and down)
This pile of links got so big I got intimidated and just... forgot about it. So it goes back a while. There was a broken link to a post that seemed to be about "missing e" (what we used to fix tumblr before xkit). And then I decided half of them weren't worth keeping, or belonged elsewhere, so in the end it's not even that big!

Given What You Now Know, What Would You Have Done Differently With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS)?

Colloquial catchy statements encoding serious mathematics

Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Was Learning How to Code

Self-help for Anxiety Management I used this a few times, it didn't do a lot to help but might work for someone else.

What Sanguinity Likes (and dislikes) About Mathematics

Visualizing Algorithms

​A Beginner's Guide To All Things Dragon Age

Hapax and Heyer, Austen and Irony, or, What I should have said The differences between Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen

PAX Australia And The Strange Catharsis Of Video Game Violence
alias_sqbr: (happy dragon)
Graphic Novels:

The Wicked and the Divine: there's a queer comic book club this Sunday discussing volume 1, and since I've been meaning to read it anyway I bought the digital version. It was, as others have said, an interesting premise with middling execution, but it does have a lot of lgbt characters and an ethnically diverse cast. Basically: a group of young people have become/realised they are the incarnations of various gods. This means being immortal, having powers like fire, and the ability to "sing" in incomprehensible tongues that cause listeners to be inspired/overcome. So they act exactly like rock stars, with popular cheery goddesses, literally underground gothic death gods etc. The main character is a teenage god fangirl who gets caught up in a mystery around the gods when she befriends "Luci" (Lucifer), basically rule 63 Sandman Lucifer. The plot is moderately interesting though I've been massively spoiled for some major twists by tumblr. The characters are...ok. The dialogue is nowhere near as clever as it thinks it is and mistakes sexual references and clunky one liners for wit. The art is good asides from the bland expressions, like it's traced from 3D models. I'm in that annoying in between place where I'd like to see what happens next but don't like it enough to spend any more money or effort on it. I think I'll wait until it's done then see if I can be bothered.

Miss Marvel (vols 1,2 and 3): this is the other diverse comic the teenagers on tumblr keep posting gifs of and I liked it a lot more, though it's less my kind of thing. A lower middle class muslim teenage superhero fangirl gains super powers, and decides to defend Jersey from evil. It's a pretty straightfoward "optimistic teen gains superpowers" story, but charmingly done, with likable characters, light humour, thrilling fights etc. There's some heavy handed Young Adult Fiction elements, like Consent Is Important, Teenagers Have Value But So Do Parents etc, as well as some plain silly aspects, it felt very aimed at young people. But I still quite enjoyed it as someone who was once a teen fangirl and still gets a kick out of imagining befriending Wolverine (this scene was so cute). Also there's a little Agents of Shield crossover at the end of Vol 3 with Simmons (and Coulson) which I enjoyed.
Read more... )
alias_sqbr: Dagna from Dragon Age reaching for a book (dagna)
Anime:
Diabolik Lovers (ep 1): So since I'm making a dating sim about vampires it made sense to watch the anime adaptation of the Dating Sim About Vampires. But as expected it was really not my thing: it's all creepy vampire dudes stockholm syndroming the sweet protagonist. At one point a sexy evil lady vampire showed up briefly but I looked up spoilers and that plot does not go anywhere I'd enjoy. Still, it was interesting as research, and now I'll know more context when people talk about it.

Games:

Monument Valley: fantastic, beautiful, understated little phone puzzle game. You are a little girl wandering minimalist fantasy landscapes with Escher-esque topology that uses forced perspective in very creative ways. I found it fairly easy, there are a few minor timing puzzles I didn't always like. It reminded me a lot of Journey.

Descent (Dragon Age Inquisition DLC): really not worth $25, but otherwise moderately entertaining Deep Roads story. Focused very much on two not very interesting DLC-only NPCs with basically no other background characters and nothing for the companions to say or do. Some mildly interesting environments and dwarf related worldbuilding, but the (level adjusted) fights were difficult and dragged on and on, making the fun bits feel stretched out. Sidequests were dull as dishwater.

Cute Demon Crashers: Cute free sex positive dating (well, friends with benefits) sim. A college girl gets to know 3 incubi and a succubus and possibly has sex with one. Strong emphasis on consent and fluffy happiness: you can say no at any time and there are no bad endings. I did the f/f path and it was endearing but a bit too sex focussed for me (which I knew it would be but THE ART WAS TOO CUTE) The demons are all aromantic, it's the fantasy of the perfect calm, knowledgeable, non judgemental older partner with no expectations who wants nothing for themselves but to make you happy. Which is not really my thing (I prefer pining losers haha) but is certainly a contrast to the Diabolik Lovers style love interest.

Dark Parables: Ballad of Rapunzel: Servicable continuation of this series of fairy tale themed hidden object games.

Love Chronicles: Salvation: really quite terrible hidden object game. I didn't mind the previous games in the series but this is set in a demon underworld and is just ugly and unpleasant, and the puzzles aren't much fun.
alias_sqbr: (happy dragon)
Games:
Borderlands: Fun, cool first person shooter set in a post apocalyptic/wild west-ish planet. I've played like half an hour but it was fun and I wasn't totally bad at it! You choose one of four pre-generated characters: a white woman, a black dude, and two white dudes.

Remnants of Isolation: A cute rpg by someone I know, about people escaping a prison for magic users. Again, haven't played for long but it was cute and interesting with a diverse cast.

And for both I need to find out if you can grind to make the game arbitrarily easy, cos then I'll be safe from getting stuck and not seeing the end. Once I know that I'll feel more motivated to trek all the way to the windows machine to play them :)

Manga:
Genshiken (first two omnibuses): A slice of life comedy about a university club of anime/manga nerds who are all into porny doujinshi. Starts off very male dominated, ends up with more and more female yaoi fans. Fairly funny and charming and not as skeezy as it sounds, reminds me of both unisfa and fanfic fandom. Can be a bit...well, the author obviously respects his female characters, but it's written by, for, and about moderately conventional Japanese male nerds, talking a lot about sex. Also one of the characters cosplays as Hitler in a character title image WHY WHAT.

Anime:
Snow White of the Red Hair (first 4 episodes): well made, fluffy, fairytale-ish wish fulfillment about a Miyazaki-esque feisty, hard working, sweet natured girl with unique red hair who overcomes adversity to strike her own path. Adversity seems to often take the form of dudes who are struck by her beauty but don't respect her agency, and she's usually rescued by her male friend who is clearly secretly in love with her but not saying anything because he respects her desire for freedom. In the first two episodes there's threats of being forced to be a concubine, but it's free of explicit sexualised violence or creepiness.

Books:

A Season for Scandal by Theresa Romain: This is an arranged marriage regency romance which was mostly quite enjoyable but occasionally so annoying I had to give up. Spoilers for why below the cut:spoilers for A Season for Scandal )
alias_sqbr: Dagna from Dragon Age reaching for a book (dagna)
Books:
A Season for Scandal by Stephanie Laurens: marriage of convenience regency romance I was enjoying until the Evil Irish Villain got a bit too irritating, will go back to it eventually.

Anime:
Tsurimita: cheerful and deeply confusing story about teenage boys in a seaside town where one of them is...a fish? Or an alien? Or something?? I only got through the first episode, I may watch more when I don't mind being confused. The main character seems to have some sort of magical anxiety disorder (EDIT: apparently not magical)

Games:
Read more... )
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.

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