A fannish update...

24 Jul 2017 08:15 pm
settiai: (Liara -- bleeding_muse)
[personal profile] settiai
Now that I've talked about real life a bit, I guess it's time for a bit of a fandom-related update. I'm not watching a lot of television lately, and the handful of shows that I am watching tend to be webseries rather than more traditional series. We'll see if that changes in the coming months?

I finally was able to start playing Mass Effect: Andromeda and have fallen back in love with the whole ME universe. I know a lot of people didn't like ME:A, but I really loved it. It's not my favorite game (that's still ME2), but I do think it might have moved to the #2 spot on my list. Could it have been better? Sure. But that doesn't mean I don't love it (and the characters) any less.

On a somewhat related note, I still love Dragon Age. I haven't been playing it as much lately, since ME has been taking up so much of my time, but I've gone back to working on fic. Which is a good thing, because DA is one of those rare fandoms that makes me want to write longfic. Even though I kind of suck at writing longfic and take forever to finish stories that are more than 5000 words.

I've also continued with my Critical Role obsession, to the surprise of nobody. The current storyline is slowly drawing to a close, and I'm expecting Vox Machina's tale to come to a close by the end of the year. Which makes me sad, since I love the characters. But on the other hand, a new story! With new characters! My chances of convincing people to start watching will greatly increase when they don't have 400+ hours to watch in order to get caught up.

Speaking of which, Dungeons & Dragons continues to eat a lot of my free time. I have two weekly games that I play in online via Roll20, one on Friday nights and one on Sunday nights. Then I have another Roll20 game on Saturday nights where I'm the DM. And then, because I have no sense of self-preservation, every other Sunday afternoon I walk over to the gaming store near my apartment to play in another campaign.

So, basically, every other week? I play four D&D games in a little over 48 hours. And even when I'm not cramming four games in, I'm still playing three. Which isn't much better.

Oops?

Um, let's see. What other fannish things should I talk about?

Geek and Sundry and Alpha are behind most of the webseries that I'm watching nowadays. There's Critical Role, of course, which I've already mentioned. Then there's Eric's TBD RPG, an awesome Doctor Who RPG that just recently came to an end and was replaced with Shield of Tomorrow, a Star Trek RPG. Oh, and Sagas of Sundry which is just... gods, it's hard to describe. It's creepy and amazing and I highly recommend it.

I'm not watching Vast yet (another one of their RPGs), but I've heard good things about it. It's definitely on my list, whenever I have free time again. (I also watch The Wednesday Club, but it's a bunch of geeks sitting around and talking about comics for two hours each week rather someone I'm particularly fannish about. It's a lot of fun if you like comics, though.)

Based on the recent Doctor Who casting news, I'm cautiously optimistic that I might be able to start watching regularly again. I managed to watch some of the episodes from this most recent series but not all of them. Still, the ones that I was able to watch reminded me just how much I miss this show. I really hope that, once Moffat is gone, it will feel more like Doctor Who to me again.

The upcoming fourth and final season of Star Wars: Rebels has me both excited and terrified. I want to see what happens, but at the same time... well, it's Star Wars. I know going in that there was a good chance a lot of the characters wouldn't actually live through the show. The question is this: who and how?

I really need to start thinking about Yuletide and what fandoms I want to nominate this year, since it's coming up fast. This might be the first time in years that I haven't even started thinking about it yet, though. That will deserve its own post in a few weeks, when I try to start brainstorming.

A long overdue RL update...

24 Jul 2017 07:42 pm
settiai: (Cass -- shoemoney2night)
[personal profile] settiai
So, yes, I'm still alive. Life in general has been busy lately, and the little bit of spare time I've had has been taken up by D&D and Mass Effect: Andromeda. Oops?

Work has been ridiculous lately. It's not really something that I can talk about in detail, but there's definitely quite a bit of tension between the higher ups and, well, a large percentage of the employees who aren't being paid six figures annually. Let's just say that the amount of work expected of most employees has gone up while salaries haven't (except for the higher ups, who magically were able to get raises when people making significantly less than them weren't), and I'm very worried the directors are going to find out first-hand just how screwed they are if a large number of people all turn in their notice and walk.

Mainly because I'm not in a position where I can afford to do that, no matter how much I might want to sometimes. Which means I'll also be somewhat screwed if anyone turns in their notice.

Add in the aforementioned extra work and the fact that several people have been out for health-related reasons, meaning our workload is even heavier, and... well, needless to say, it's not been fun.

Let's see... I should probably talk about the cats, huh?

Garrus and Percy are getting along surprisingly well. The first few weeks were a bit rocky, but once they got used to each other (and realized just how similar they are), things became a lot smoother. They're at the point where they're regularly grooming each other and sleeping just a few inches apart, which is a lot better than I was hoping for after less than two months.

I still miss Tali a lot, obviously, but the fact that Garrus and Percy are getting along so well is definitely helping. Percy is a doll, and I'm already at the point where I can't imagine him not being here. I just, you know, sometimes wish that I could have had all three of them, even though the realistic side of my brain knows that I never would have met him if I hadn't lost her.

VividCon is next week, which... I have complicated feelings about. Brain weasels! Aren't they fun? )

Anyway, I'm hoping that my brain weasels will go away once I'm actually in Chicago. At the moment, though, I'm not nearly as excited about the con being next week as I usually am by this point. Which makes me sad. Hopefully that will change somewhat over the next week-and-a-half?

... oh, I just realized that I never posted about my week of hell with FedEx here on Dreamwidth. I should rectify that. I want to make a separate fandom-related post first, and then I'll post the whole terrifying tale.

(no subject)

24 Jul 2017 04:26 pm
meganbmoore: (hysteria)
[personal profile] meganbmoore posting in [community profile] fandom_icons
 139 x Galavant



@ my DW
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Posted by Mark Oshiro

In the second episode of the second season of Enterprise, T’Pol tells a story. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Star Trek

This is like a more charming version of “Little Green Men,” or perhaps a spiritual successor to “The City on the Edge of Forever,” which isn’t a suggestion that this is merely a copy of something that’s come before. Indeed, there’s a lot here that made this feel unique. For one, it’s a bold choice in terms of focus because the entire episode is devoted to three characters we’ve never met and will likely never see again. It’s an extended flashback AND a story within another story. And it’s all about Vulcans!

Ultimately, I thought “Carbon Creek” was endlessly charming and endearing, which is a feat in and of itself, given that T’Mir, Stron, and Mestral themselves were often so stoic. (Well, maybe not Mestral, but more on that in a bit.) As a storyteller, T’Pol is very matter-of-fact, which is not that surprising, but what thrilled me about this was all the small moments that revealed that Vulcans are not as un-emotional as they claim themselves to be. Here, after crashing on Earth in the 1950s, three Vulcans (including T’Pol’s great grandmother!) attempt to survive on their own before being forced to interact with the people of Carbon Creek, Pennsylvania. The writers exploit a lot of the awkwardness and tension that I expected from this sort of scenario, so in that sense, this was familiar. They’re aliens trying to blend in with humans while avoiding detecting. Of course, there’s gonna be a lot of culture clashing that almost risks spoiling who they really are.

Yet the big thing that distinguishes this from the episodes I mentioned at the start of this is the character work. You can see a similarity between T’Pol and her great grandmother, T’Mir, though T’Mir is much more rigid and strict than T’Pol usually is. There’s Stron, who is unimpressed with humanity and just wants to get home as quick as possible. But Mestral finds humanity fascinating AND THEN PROMPTLY BREAKS ABOUT A BILLION PROTOCOL OUT OF THIS FASCINATION. But it’s rewarding to watch this because he’s so sincere about everything he does. From his decision to hustle people in pool to make money to his interest in Maggie, he commits to everything so completely. He doesn’t half-ass anything in this episode. Why? Well, unlike T’Mir and Stron, he’s willing to engage his emotions. Mestral begins to develop an intense compassion for humanity, and I’m not just referring to his romantic interest in Maggie. That’s a part of this, too, but in hindsight, I see how Mestral rethinks his perception of humans and adjusts himself accordingly. He goes from a curiosity to caring. Look how determined he was to risk himself, his well-being, and the safety of the Vulcans so that he could rescue the other miners! Yes, it was the kind of behavior that could have gotten them all discovered, but that’s partially why this was so rewarding to watch. Mestral became emotional about humans. OF COURSE I WAS GONNA LIKE THIS.

Yet this transformation is not reserved for Mestral alone. T’Mir developed a quiet compassion within “Carbon Creek” as well. She comes to see the tragedy in how money can often limit a person’s opportunities, no matter how “fair” this is or not. Should she have intervened? According to Vulcan protocol, no. She should have left Billy alone and let him delay going to college. BUT SHE INSTEAD “INVENTS” VELCRO, SELLS IT, AND THEN GIVES THE MONEY TO BILLY. Also: oh god, how cheap was tuition back then? I don’t even want to know because I’m sure it’ll make me mad.

So, is every detail in this episode true? I think I’m delighted more by the idea that T’Pol made some of this up; that implies that she’s more creative than she’s letting on. But I don’t doubt that first contact was made in Carbon Creek over two hundred years prior. Instead, I’ll just accept T’Pol’s story at face value. It’s just a story, right?

The video for “Carbon Creek” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

Mark Links Stuff

– Please visit my new site for all announcements. If you’d rather not have to rely on checking a website regularly, sign up for my newsletter instead! This will cover all news for Mark Reads, Mark Watches, and my fiction releases. 

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Posted by Mark Oshiro

In the twenty-fourth and penultimate episode of the fourth season of Steven Universe, Steven realizes that residents of Beach City have gone missing. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Steven Universe

By virtue of the fact that I’ve watched season four over the course of many months, I felt like “Are You My Dad?” hit a whole lot harder than if I had watched this straight through. So… yay? Except BOO TO MY HEART, which was not ready for the final scene of this episode. I wouldn’t say that the hints towards this end were subtle, necessarily. It was pretty blatant that two creatures or people were stalking about Beach City. But this episode reveals that everyone who saw them disappeared shortly afterwards.

And while most of this episode is a set-up for something else, it’s not without meaning or emotional power. If anything, it’s kind of sad. We’ve never seen Sour Cream look so dejected as when he’s setting out to plaster the city with posters advertising his missing brother. The same goes for the eerie vacancy inside Big Donut, which is always so full of life and energy. Once you take Lars and Sadie out of the picture, it’s just creepy.

That’s a large part of the tension of “Are You My Dad?” We know that the people of Beach City make it such a vibrant and wonderful place. So what happens when those people are missing? How does Beach City feel then? That sequence where Steven wanders the boardwalk is a great example of how the show uses open space to unnerve the audience. Doesn’t the arcade just feel wrong without anyone in it? It’s the characters who give it life, who make it feel like a place you want to be. Thankfully, Steven finds Barb at the Big Donut, but they’re together for only a few minutes before they realize that this might be the start of something terrible. For the most part, Steven is alone.

Until her. I am not sure if her name is Topaz (was she referring to herself in the third person???), or if that gem was referring to someone else. But up to this point, we’d never seen a gem quite like Topaz. And I had so many questions upon her appearance! What role does she perform within gem society? Why did she act like she was innocently looking for her father? HOW CAN SHE EVEN HAVE A FATHER? What’s with the tear? WHERE DID SHE EVEN COME FROM?

I think it’s natural to assume the worst, and even before the reveal of what she was doing (alongside someone maybe named Chompers???), I figured she had to have come from the Homeworld. After everything that happened at the start of the season, it was only a matter of time before Homeworld retaliated. But… what the hell kind of retaliation was this? An innocent looking gem asking people for her dad? WHAT IS GOING ON?

In hindsight, I see how the writers set this up for maximum impact aside from how creepy it was. Once Steven and Connie head out to find the unnamed gem, there is just so much hope. I LOVE THEIR CONVERSATION. And after all the training that Connie had done, I felt like whatever they faced, at least they had a chance. But the reveal of what was behind those shadows was so completely out of left field that NO ONE, NOT EVEN THESE CHARACTERS, WERE READY. Just… WHAT IS THAT GEM??? If the blue one is Topaz, WHO IS THE OTHER ONE? The one I thought was called Chompers??? How can they just fuse organic bodies within their own? WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH THIS SHOW? I recognize that this has a very common structure for hero narratives, given that the final image is absolutely Steven at his lowest. He’s been knocked out, and he’s watching these horrifying gems (ONE OF WHOM HAS A WAND WHAT THE HELL IS THIS HARRY POTTER SHIT) leave with his friends fused inside of them.

I don’t even have a theory. I am just messed up.

The video for “Are You My Dad?” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

Mark Links Stuff

– Please visit my new site for all announcements. If you’d rather not have to rely on checking a website regularly, sign up for my newsletter instead! This will cover all news for Mark Reads, Mark Watches, and my fiction releases. 

17 July - 24 July

24 Jul 2017 04:43 pm
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Posted by kidmarathon

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Posted by Mark Oshiro

In the forty-first episode of the second season of Gargoyles, the team travels to Flagstaff to help Elisa’s father resolve a part of his history. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Gargoyles.

I still see some of the same problems within this episode as I did in “Heritage,” especially the cardinal sin that we non-Native and non-indigenous folks commit so frequently: equating every tribe and nation with all the others. This episode did feel closer to something far less ambiguous than “Heritage,” but as far as I could tell, the writers still appeared to have grabbed customs or visual references from multiple different groups and combined them all in one. Like, are these people Hopi? Navajo? They could certainly be both, but the episode doesn’t ever make that case at all.

It didn’t help that the flashback at the start of “Cloud Fathers” tread familiar ground. That whole set-up – Peter leaving home despite his father’s protestations – seemed to be the same thing we’d already seen. Peter rejected his heritage and his traditions to seek a better life in the outside world. IT’S BASICALLY THE SAME STORY. Thankfully, that’s about the only thing that the two episodes share. Instead, this is about how Team Gargoyle guides Peter Maza back to his home and what that means for him. Initially, he just wants to stop Xanatos, A NOBLE CAUSE INDEED. There’s something deeply satisfying about that, y’all, because it shows that the Maza family cares about the world independent of Elisa. They’re not involved because of her. And I respect that the show is willing to give us glimpses of their lives outside of the main action, you know?

I’ll also admit that I love the trope of someone being introduced to something fantastical – like Peter learning of the gargoyles – and then refusing to believe a separate fantastical thing. LIKE COYOTE THE TRICKSTER GOD. Dude, there are living, breathing gargoyles literal inches from you, and you don’t want to believe in one of the gods of the religion you were raised in? “Cloud Fathers” paints Peter as stubborn, both in the flashback and in the present time. He’s incredibly resistant to change! And it made me wonder: how had he reacted privately after learning about Derek? About where Elisa had been? I got the sense that it was much harder for him to acclimate to new things than his wife, who dealt with the strangeness of Elisa’s life in stride. But that stubbornness wasn’t just a negative thing, and I’d argue that his dogged pursuit of the truth led him right where he was supposed to be: in Xanatos’s warehouse.

I haven’t said it in a while, but: fuck Xanatos. Y’all, he openly brags about being a villain in this episode! It’s him at his most antagonistic, his most egotistical, his most uncaring. There’s a vicious criticism of cultural appropriation within this story, intentional or not, since it’s about how Xanatos re-purposes and steals things of great cultural value for his own need. The sacred carvings he uses to lure Coyote to that site represent this perfectly: he takes them and gives them a new meaning. They’re part of a trap, not a cultural tradition. He also melts down the Cauldron of Life to make Coyote 4.0’s new suit. Nevermind the cultural meaning of THAT, either! We don’t even find out what happens with that vat of acid, which probably destroyed those carvings.

Xanatos is unchecked greed. He is the force of capitalism within this story. He does what he does because he wants to and because he can. He always escapes responsibility, and it would be silly to discount how much his wealth acts as a shield.

Thus, Peter’s return to the Coyote trickster has an extra meaning. He manages to get Xanatos to leave Flagstaff and the land he leased from the tribe. But Peter also finds a connection to his heritage that he thought he’d lost. SO THANKS, GARGOYLES, FOR DEMONSTRATING THIS THROUGH THAT ABSOLUTELY NOT OKAY SCENE WHERE PETER VISITS HIS FATHER’S GRAVE TO APOLOGIZE. NO, NOPE, NOT READY FOR THAT NOW OR EVER.

The video for “Cloud Fathers” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

Mark Links Stuff

– Please visit my new site for all announcements. If you’d rather not have to rely on checking a website regularly, sign up for my newsletter instead! This will cover all news for Mark Reads, Mark Watches, and my fiction releases. 

still aching

24 Jul 2017 12:12 am
dragonyphoenix: Blackadder looking at scraps of paper, saying "It could use a beta" (Default)
[personal profile] dragonyphoenix
I told Dad about the auto accident. He thinks I should talk to a personal injury lawyer. Does anyone here have any experience - good or bad - with them?

Brainstorming For Yuletide

23 Jul 2017 06:12 pm
calliopes_pen: (lost_spook will serve for lives)
[personal profile] calliopes_pen
I am compiling a list of things I would want to see nominated (or might nominate on my own) when Yuletide nominations do open in September. These are what I am currently taking into consideration:

-Makt Myrkranna | Powers of Darkness - Valdimar Ásmundsson
-The Haunting (1963)
-The Innocents (1961)
-The Uninvited (1944)
-Dark Shadows (1991)
-Dracula - Bram Stoker
-Dracula (TV 1968)
-Count Dracula (1977)
-Nosferatu (the 1979 remake) -Hammer Horror Films
-Universal Monster Movies
-Crimson Peak (2015)
-Fright Night (1985)
-Ghostbusters (Movies 1984-1989)
-The Last Unicorn (1982)

At the moment, I suspect that I’ll be nominating Makt Myrkranna (the Icelandic version of Stoker's Dracula that I discussed a while back) in that first slot. Either Dracula (TV 1968) or Dracula - Bram Stoker would go in the second slot unless someone else eventually nominated either one of those.

If it were going to be being released sooner than December, I would be able to add Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water to my list of potential things to throw in there.

Oh, and on a note that doesn’t involve Yuletide: I finally watched Jack The Ripper (1988), and I loved it.
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(53) Justice League trailer & Comic Con sneak peek
→ Diana Prince

Previews;


OVER HERE at [community profile] megascopes

none for you

23 Jul 2017 11:28 am
dragonyphoenix: Blackadder looking at scraps of paper, saying "It could use a beta" (blackadder)
[personal profile] dragonyphoenix
I heard back from the auto shop about my car repairs. Apparently it'd be over a threshold. The guy at the shop told me State Farm won't pay for the repairs. I can either keep the car as is or accept a check and give them my car to be totaled. It's scrapes on the side of the car requiring both doors to be replaced. Since Saturns have been discontinued, parts are rare and pricey.

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