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February 21st, 2012


08:24 am - Marvel 1977
I just finished 1977, except for how I'm about to catch up on Star Wars. (I wasn't gonna bother, because, unrelated universe is unrelated, but then I keep seeing people talking about how Marvel would have folded that year except for Star Wars, and it makes me think they must be pretty good EVEN THOUGH the reality is almost certainly that the masses were non-discriminating instead and just excited to see more Star Wars in any form. I am especially weirded out by how the first issue or two pretty much had to have been released before the movie. That is so not today's George Lucas.)

The trick is, what to talk about? Oh, okay, so Jack Kirby! He is gone! I'm so happy, even though the Captain America I've read since then has been lame, it's only been lame in comparison to my memory. So I'm hoping it will get pretty good again, like mid-70's political crisis Cap was. Too soon to tell, but at least I get to be done resenting. (I will say, having looked over more of the "Kirby got screwed over by Marvel" documentation, that seems really very true. I cannot deny (and amn't inclined to try) his facility with creating cool characters, and a really good look for those characters. I just wish nobody had ever told him he could write dialogue. ...or possibly that he could plot.)

Also, he's nearly out of Black Panther, which is also pleasant for me, but I haven't actually seen that happen yet. Goodbye, Mr. Little and your underdressed adversary in the high-stakes world of Collectors! (ie, treasure hunters; the overall plot here has been pretty okay as I think I've said before, sort of an Indiana Jones vibe if Kirby was more into swashbuckling and less into sci-fi, it's just that the characters waver between horrible and insulting and the storyline that it was interrupted for was being told really well both verbally and artistically and it had real social merit.) Man, do I hope that they just pick up the previous storyline right where it left off. That would be amazing.

But what else has been going on? So, okay, Daredevil: Bullseye, despite the terrible costume, is one of the best new villains in I honestly can't remember how long. Skill, panache, bastardry, he has it all; way cool. (Daredevil himself is kind of a sad panda, between constantly not having time to save his girlfriend's father and having just gone bi-monthly. Maybe if people would stop attacking him every five minutes?)

Super-Villain Team-Up: mostly over. Oh well. Less Doom is sad, less Namor is... less sad, though this was the most I've ever liked him.

Marvel Two-in-One: aka Team-Up with the Thing. He's always fun, even if the comic is a little bit thin. And to be fair, the whole year's worth kind of tied together, mostly via an extended vacation to London in which Marvel tried and failed to get me interested in Spider-Woman.

Spider-Man: You know, not much has happened here lately? Which is flabbergasting when you take into account I'm reading three(!) monthly Spider-Man comics. Everyone around Pete is having relationship troubles and he's mostly reacting to those instead of actually developing his own life lately. It's cool and all, but when I'm more interested in what will happen in Harry Osborn's life than Peter Parker's, I think they've gotten a little off-track. PS did you know that there's a CB-themed trucker superhero from Texarkana? YOU DO NOW.

Hulk: In my last post, I talked about most of what I have to say about him. I hope they keep exploring the deep divide between the two thinking characters sharing the same physical space, one at a time. There's something cool in there, I hope.

Defenders: Man are they falling apart without Doctor Strange. I wish I wanted to read about the hoary hosts of Hoggoth, because he's so great in other peoples' stories, but anytime I see him by himself I die inside, and right now he's not in anyone else's stories. Meanwhile, most of the Defenders are off trying to save their sometimes communist teammate (the Red Guardian, one of the first artistically-hypersexualized Marvel women; the mid '70s have very clearly been when that trend took off, and I wonder about the psychology behind it. The Comics Code stamp still appears on every issue, so they must not mind; did their standards change, or had no artists wanted to start, er, emphasizing certain attributes until now?) while the Valkyrie, for no apparent reason, is trying to get enrolled at college and get introduced to '70s swinger culture. She is, as yet, too naive to know that's what's happening, which is probably nice for the men involved. But all the same, it's extremely bizarre, both because she has not had anything superhero to do for like half a year and especially because any "find yourself in college" empowerment is being so severely undercut.

Avengers: They're almost as infighty as they were in the first couple of years! Everyone hates Iron Man, Hank Pym is still a total chump, Thor gets more deus ex machina with every appearance, the Beast has been reduced to a catch-phrase, and the Vision / Scarlet Witch relationship is parked in neutral, which would be fine if they were happy, but it's got more of a detente feeling to it, at best. I think what they really need is to trim back on their numbers by about half and actually characterize whoever is left.

Champions: Very nearly doomed to the dustbin of obscurity. Too bad, as I always want to see more of Black Widow and I assume she'll vanish for a while now too. Plus also, the concept was pretty okay; I even didn't mind Hercules, contrary to my expectations. But their foes are v. lame and Ghost Rider never fit in at all, which frankly is not dissimilar from his relationship witht he rest of the Marvel superhero line, so what did I expect?

X-Men: Dude. They just saved all of reality. Beat that, Kree-Skrull War! But yeah, the only problem I have with the X-Men is how can it possibly still be bi-monthly, and oh yeah, I already read these back in like 2005 when this plan was just starting to turn into reality. Maybe as far as 1979? I read a *lot* of them, for sure.

Iron Man: another sad panda. Everyone hates him too, he lost his company for what is sure to be the first of many times, and he's still not even drinking yet. But man do a *lot* of people know his identity at this point. I thought he made a bold declaration, but it looks like he'll just be admitting to an open secret by the time I get there. At least Jasper Sitwell came back? (Too bad he's part of the everyone hates Iron Man club.)

Fantastic Four: Reed Richards has changed from intergalactic douchebag to useless whiner. Not much else going on with them lately, mainly because Roy Thomas is way too enamoured of the Impossible Man to remember what the comic is named. This is not to say I dislike it, because I don't, but it is to explain why nothing except for Reed's inability to stretch and his slow conversion into emo when emo wasn't coo-... I can't finish that thought with a straight face. Anyway, that's why nothing has happened with these guys in a year. Well, okay, they did fight some witches I guess, and Franklin Richards can speak now.

What If?: Hooray for alternate histories of the Marvel universe. Cool stuff here, though of course sometimes they talk about what if these people we've set in the '40s but only started writing about last year had something different happen? By which we mean, of course there's nowhere near enough backstory built up for that question to be valid yet, but we still want you to buy that comic set in the '40s we started writing last year, so we'll remind you it exists now. Cool? No, not very cool.

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February 1st, 2012


11:48 am - DID and the Hulk
Note, this is not fit for publication; in fact, it will be closer to stream of consciousness than anything.

But, so anyway, Bruce Banner and the Hulk, right? I started by pondering the Defenders and how they have befriended the Hulk.[1] Lots of people have done this over time, but what separates the Defenders from one-time and rarely-recurring individuals is that they spend a lot of time with the Hulk and must know that he shares bodies with Bruce Banner. So people like the mermaid he just met in the 11/1977 issue only ever know the Hulk, is my point. And then people like Rick Jones and Jim Wilson know both the Hulk and Bruce Banner, and are usually trying to help Banner regain himself while simply trying to contain the Hulk's rages. But the Defenders, they are interested in the Hulk and actively disinterested in a Banner that they must know exists. So I started by thinking, "Damn, those guys kind of suck. Poor Bruce Banner, cursed by heroism and a Commie spy to be sporadically trapped in this body that destroys everything around him, that in fact hates him almost more than anything and is compelled to make things worse for him, and they don't even care, they just like the giant green dude and what he brings to their team."

Then I realized I was being unfair in a few ways. For one thing, they really do like the Hulk for himself, not just his smashing ability. And another, much more important way is the part where the Hulk hates Banner. ie, views him as a separate identity first, and actively dislikes that identity on top of it. ie, the Hulk is a fully realized person in his own right, albeit a generally unlikable one. Sure, Banner's the primary, in that he can usually remember things that have happened as the Hulk, in a foggy way, while the Hulk is only aware of existence when he exists, although he's also aware that sometimes he doesn't exist, and that it's Banner's "fault". None of which would matter much, it's still a pathology to be cured, except that the Hulk has a completely different body on top of it. They can't exist at once, okay, but he's not merely a personality, which makes the pathology diagnosis a little murkier, to my amateur eye.

And, okay, that's pretty much it. The psychology and the morality of interacting with Hulk as though he is not a pathology trapping Bruce Banner from being a fully realized person, and equally of trying to cure Banner of what might be an actual whole person who depends upon him to exist instead of just a pathology, both of them are incredibly compelling. They are not actually addressed questions in either direction, at least so far as I have read to date, and the fact that now and again Banner's personality lives in the Hulk's body[2] makes things WAY MORE CONFUSING.

This is the kind of thing I end up thinking about as I read, sometimes.


[1] The Avengers tried to, but I am discounting them both because of their lack of success and also because at the time they tried, Hulk was not a stand-alone character and so they never really interacted with Banner at all; it is interesting to note that the movie / Ultimate versions bypass this trouble because the modern Hulk is an amplified, id-driven version of Banner's personality, not a completely separate personality in his own right. But now I'm getting ahead of myself, unless you are weird and read footnotes at the end.
[2] It occurs to me that the Hulk's intemperate personality in Banner's body would probably not survive an hour, if let loose in a populated area.

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January 24th, 2012


06:49 am - Dear people I know who play on XBox Live
So, Dead Island is become cheap via the gold box daily deal. I'll get it either way, but I'm kind of hoping that, it being a primarily multiplayer experience, other folks will too. So, FYI, here's the link:

http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Island-Xbox-360/dp/B004PAGJOC/

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January 2nd, 2012


09:27 am - AssBro: The Completening Part II
Insofar as whenever the last time I used that title, I didn't complete the game a bit. I still haven't, but I think I will before I stop playing for months, this time.

The thing about it is that it really scratches my completionism itch that keeps people going for one more turn in Civ. I can look at the map, and there's always something easy to do nearby. Especially now that I'm heading closer to the end of the game.

Things I have completened:

1) the renovations of Rome. Yep, Everything is rebuilt, re-opened, or purchased. Though I have to say it's not really clear what purchasing said things grants me, when there's still a French army patrolling around one of my purchased ruins. (Why is there a French army in Rome in 1505 or whenever it is? I wonder if that happened, or if something similar but unlike it really happened and they are just putting it there because the geography of this game is so much more compressed than the others have been. It seems suspicious, is all.)
2) collecting feathers. It gave me a cool cape to wear which, as I understand things, will probably just make everyone recognize / want to kill me. That seems like a mistake, and I can't really tell why I wanted to do that one, except, like all of them, there are no longer map markers and that makes me happy.
3) Courtesan missions. It probably says something about me that I finished that chain of quests first when, if you'd asked me, I had no intention of finishing any of them yet when there's so much to collect.
4) As an obvious side effect of 1), all Borgia towers are reclaimed. Reclaiming Borgia towers is cool.
5) All viewpoints. Man, it makes me itch that they put viewpoint towers behind memory barriers. If there's anything I hate, it's seeing a grey spot on the map, seeing the way to make it not be a grey spot on the map, but not being allowed to go to there!

Things I have not Completened:

1) The main quest chain. Obvs. this goes last, as who wants to walk around a finished game collecting things? Nobody, that's who, or at the very least nobody who does not want to feel OCD.
2) Assassinations.
3) The growing of my assassin-y brotherhood. (I am simultaneously pleased that I had the option to recruit so many women, sad that the proportions are not more even, even though they are probably implausibly skewed toward female presence relative to history[1], and troubled both by my inability to put the few women I have in serious danger to level up faster and by my wanting them all to have been chicks. It starts seeming uncomfortable harem-like, at that point, don't it?)
3a) So, like, these "send people on" missions are starting to feel infinite. I assume that is because of how many assassin slots there are and all. But then I notice that even my full-fledged assassins have really bad odds on the 5 star / 5 templar cross difficulty missions. Is there any benefit to finishing those, or at least to finishing all the templar-themed / extra-difficulty ones? I'll send them to their deaths, but not for nothing.
4) Treasure chests and Borgia flag collections. I'm going to be sad when I inevitably missed one Borgia flag in a hidden location and have no idea which one it is and have to stare at that uncompleted collection or actually go wandering through most of the dungeons wondering where it is. So very sad.
5) Shop quests. I have three to go[2], and no idea whether I will find the last few items in treasure chests, hidden treasure chests in remaining dungeons (or, like that one flag I was predicting earlier, in a chest I missed in a previous dungeon), or if I just need to find more of those gangs that randomly attack me sometimes, and then the guards jump in and help, but they also fight me if I dared to defend myself. That's a little annoying.
6) Those remaining dungeons for the Romulus cult quest. There are only two left, and at least one of those currently accessible. Probably only one.
7) Oh, right, and I bet the end of the Cristina story has not yet occurred, though I have no way of being sure.
8) Oh right again, and I have two more secret glowing rune bugs in the construct to untangle. I gotta say, there are times in those when the game comes very close to actual libel on some real modern people. Which is pretty awesome.


Not that I think you would, but no plot spoilers, please.

[1] Seriously, this Ezio guy is super-forward thinking, if you are not his girlfriend or his sister.
[2] One aconite (or something like that), one Vlad the Impaler coin, and two silks.

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December 20th, 2011


06:15 am - I'm not saying Obama would have been elected decades earlier, but I'm not saying he wouldn't, either
In the mid-70's, I read the Black Panther's first solo comic, where he was attached to the blaxpoitatively named Jungle Action. Despite that, it was a really good strip drawn beautifully and laid out very experimentally by Billy Graham (not, I assume, the same one) and written by I want to say Don Gregor? I really cannot oversell how cool the layouts were, and how different from page to page and issue to issue. And there was a two year civil war in Wakanda (which is the small, wealthy country in central Africa over which the Black Panther rules, in case you do not know this), after which he headed back to America to investigate his girlfriend's sister's suicide only to unearth a vast KKK conspiracy. Both tales were thoughtful, dark, full of reader-solvable mysteries, character redemptions, and allegories to spare. The latter storyline was maybe halfway done at the end of 1976 when, suddenly, the strip was canceled. I have no idea why, but I have to assume it was nepotism.

Now it is January 1977, and exactly on schedule where the next chapter of the KKK story should have been, there is instead a new strip actually named Black Panther. Here are the things it says on the cover:


First Issue! The all-new, all-exciting Black Panther

They searched for it! They fought -- and even killed for it! What was it?

King Solomon's Frog!

He's back! As only Jack Kirby can do it!


You know, Jack: that is almost certainly true, and the truth of it is pretty much exactly what I fear.

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November 14th, 2011


05:39 pm - Marvel 1976
That is the year I have recently finished, you see, so I'm supposed to talk about it, right?

So, first of all, I still don't really care for Reed Richards, but two things are alleviating that. One, I'm pretty sure he's a lot less objectionable lately. Not unobjectionable, whatsoever, but less. Two, though, is that I'm reading so many more comics per month than ever before, and coupled with that, he's one of the only characters that is in his own magazine and not anything else. So I kind of feel like I just never see him, period. Thankfully, this is not that big of a deal.

Meanwhile, Spider-Man, right? He has three titles now! And just like I was sure of, Spectacular Spider-Man is intimately connected to Amazing Spider-Man, so it's not like I could have just skipped it without hating all the things all the time. Which means that once I'm reading four of his and four X-Men titles a month, goddamn that's going to be annoying. Except that I still like the stuff I'm reading, which makes it hard to honestly complain. Also, it's nice to see him finally dating Mary Jane, although the clone of Gwen Stacy sure did just drop off the radar awfully fast, as soon as she was revealed to be all cloney, and that seems weird to me. Probably because I'm used to the much more tightly personal storytelling in Ultimate Spider-Man. *sigh*

But then there's the X-Men. Yay them, mostly! Wolverine is getting the shortest shrift of the surviving newbies, and since I pre-existingly like him, it doesn't bother me. But man, does he seem like an annoying prick if I were comparing him to the other newbs for the first time. (Storm, Nightcrawler, Colossus, and he's the most boring of the three, but still likeable.) On the downside, they are bi-monthly, so almost nothing has happened yet except for the first Phoenix event.

So, lessee, what else. The Black Panther used to be awesome, but they cancelled the strip to give it under a re-branding to Jack Kirby, which makes me miserable, because I'm going to have to try to find them and yet I will hate them. With hate. Speaking of which, if this had been Captain America all the time? Never would have read him, might have dropped the Avengers out of protest. Hooray for Stan Lee! I wonder if he's ever going to write an issue again, in my timeline I mean, not the present.

Are there other things? The whole Vision / Wanda relationship got boring, which, alas. Iron Man is still in boringtown limbo, as is Daredevil. I'm assuming nothing else is going to happen with them until their big first storylines hit. (Demon in a Bottle, the rivalry with Kingpin, respectively.) And, um... if I read other things, they must be boringer still, at least in this moment. That said, except for if it is written by Jack Kirby (and frankly, drawn by Jack Kirby... I respected his work in the '60s even while admitting it was not to my taste, but it has gotten worse, and the letter columns are full of lying liars), I still enjoy everything I read. Boring for these purposes equals no big storylines worth responding to or at least that I remember anymore, as opposed to actually boring. Shit, even the Kirby stuff isn't boring; it inspires the bursts of rage I usually reserve for Laurel K. Hamilton, who, whatever else you may wish to say about her, at least doesn't illustrate her books.

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October 31st, 2011


04:07 pm - The Hunger Games
So,obviously this is not a review. It's not even per se a big enough post to warrant an LJ post[1], except possible comment spoilers makes me want to put it somewhere where the comments can be screened at will.

But so anyway, I have two thoughts so far.

1) This is shockingly good for the young adult category. Better than early Harry Potter, which was itself good enough for me to want to get to late Harry Potter's objective quality.
2) Katniss: she might win[2], but I worry that she is too hard to win in such a way that I will still like her at the end. Considering I'm only six chapters in[3], I'm impressed by both my having an opinion that nuanced and also that I care enough about her to have tried to form it. Which goes a ways toward explaining my first point, I reckon.

[1] Converting the terminology will be much harder by far than converting the account was.
[2] I don't even know exactly at what yet, though I know I don't mean the Hunger Games themselves. (Or at least not just them.)
[3] Which is where the comment spoilers come in: don't spoil me in them!

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October 22nd, 2011


02:35 pm - So, I am in Portland
The number zero thing you should understand about this post is that 1.5 days is not enough time to make important decisions, plus also Dallas still counts as base regardless of anything else I might say.

But the number one thing you should understand about Portland? It is: my God I love Portland. I has all of the benefits of Chicago and thusfar none of the obvious downsides, or if you prefer it has all of the benefits of Austin and none of the obvious downsides. (Well, that's not fair, I need a larger sample size to determine whether the local cool people engage in the annoying oneupsmanship games that happen in Austin.)

Here is what I have done: Met [personal profile] publius at the airport, and he graciously took me to the hostel because apparently people get stabbed by the homeless late at night on public transportation. Checked into the hostel, which is if not the best place I've ever stayed, more than homey enough to make up for the slightly thin bunk mattress and sharing sleep space with five other dudes. Plus also, zomg cheap.

Then it was Friday morning. So I walked a couple of miles to the haberdashery (and no, I will not get tired of that word anytime soon) where I bought a sage-colored fedora (picture likely forthcoming on twitter, @pokeyp) and bemoaned my inability to also get a charcoal-colored bowler, but one expensive hat was my limit. Then I walked to Powell's, who have in fact a pretty amazing bookstore that reminded me most of the big Half Price Books in Austin before they moved to a more sterile warehouse setting and also Powell's is probably quadruple the size of the old homey Austin spot. They had kind of a ton of used Deathlands and Outlands books, but alas none in the next couple of each series that I need, and if I buy ahead I'll just screw myself up later, so that was a wash. And also lots of new but no used copies of several other books I have been seeking, and also also no copy of the book I accidentally left on my first plane Thursday night. *sigh* That was dumb.

Then [personal profile] publius arrived after his half-day of work and we had a pub lunch (at which I had the best mac&cheese of my life, hands down, not that I don't still hold Slows in the highest respect plus also a pretty amazing black cherry porter), sought replacement sandals for me with no luck whatsoever, and then went to the zoo! The zoo... okay, it has a little bit of a problem where there just do not seem to be nearly enough animals. HOWEVER, many of the animals it has seemed extremely cool (river *and* sea otters you guys! All the otters!), and the setting is basically "Pacific Coast RainForest, now with some animals", and even if the animals were not in the main overwhelming, the setting still made it up to among my top 5 zoo experiences. (Fort Worth, DC, this, and Detroit, if you are counting. Fort Worth and Detroit both have implausibly good zoos.)

Then, after more sandal failures, we headed to his apartment, which it turns out has really amazing views, even if one of them was (perhaps characteristically?) hidden behind cloud cover. There we lounged a bit, both pretty sore from a ton of walking, and I watched my first ever episodes of Community. Then off to dinner at Oswego Grill in far suburbia, where I learned (okay, it is certainly "re-learned", but it *has* been a while) that salmon a few hours from the coast by car tastes significantly better than salmon a few more hours than that from the coast by plane does.

Then I immediately collapsed into sleep. Technically I struggled to stay awake, and even rallied for close to half of a third episode of Community, but the truth is I was already done as we headed for the car after dinner. Another drive in to the hostel, where I all but immediately crashed, and slept for another, less frequently interrupted, 8 or 9 hours.

Then it was today, and here is what I have done today: first, my google map directions indicated a free trolley that it failed to mention on Friday. Maybe it is not free during the week? Maybe the maps app wanted me to exercise? It is not for me to solve such a mystery. So I rode the streetcar, which had a lovely family whose mother was telling her two small sons a spooky story starring them, in which they got trapped in a giant's house, separated from their parents, and threatened with all manner of devouring and at one point a slime-filled bathtub. I got distracted and don't know how they escaped to a streetcar, only that once on it they realized it was filled with zombies, but then the family exited said streetcar, so I don't know how things turned out. Thankfully, I avoided any inspirational zombies that may have remained on the car.

Then, when I got off, a lady who once worked for the London Symphony, now possibly teaches at Portland State University, and occasionally works the local renfair performing period music complimented my cloak. I am used to two things when it comes to my cloak. Hobbit jokes, or half-hearted references to the cool cape. I am *not* used to compliments, much less on the actual nomenclature of the object in question. So, with a spring in my step, I entered the Portland Farmers' Market. Everything smelled amazing, and if I lived here I would have accidentally bought far more than I could have eaten before freshness gave way to not so much, but as it was I came through pretty okay. Spearmint tea to warm me up and the recommended breakfast burrito, which was immense and delicious. Then I wandered a bit more and snagged a pint of fresh, unpasteurized aka guaranteed to kill small children, the elderly, and the immunodeficient apple cider, which was also amazing, and at this point I'm wondering if the truth is that the food is still basically the same as everywhere and just vacation food tastes better? But either way, it was quite yum and I shall finish it as I walk to the Old Church for the wedding here in a bit. Also, I got a bottle of local [alcoholic] cider which I was going to try to bring home, but then she told me they can ship to Texas, so I'll instead have it here and order it occasionally if I love it. Which I expect to, because naming it Wanderlust was basically a guarantee that I would both try it and forgive it for any small errors.

Then I took a couple more streetcar rides culminating in another used book purchase failure, and now I'm at a local brewpub (McMenamin's) about a block from the church, drinking raspberry ale, eating salmon chowder, and waiting on Kristy to show up, and then Mel's wedding as previously mentioned! And I still have an additional 1.5 days of vacation left!

And I forgot to mention the lovely Australian gentlemen I met at the hostel who is two months into a fifteen month winery tour of the world, whose adventures you may be interested in following at intrepidwino.blogspot.com. Probably other things too?

But yeah, Portland? I dig it.

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September 29th, 2011


09:27 am - A random assortment of unrelated crap
1) I have had a lot of packages from Amazon lately, between videogame sale day, movie sale day, and some overdue camping gear. Still, I noticed that one of the boxes in my doorway yesterday seemed extra. When I got it inside, even though all the words were addressed to me on the forms and stickers and all, the contents were a couple of books that seemed to be for someone's college classes, and had been paid for overnight shipping and all. I checked my history, I definitely didn't order them. The "return a gift" button found the order, with even a third book I hadn't received, but still no indication of where they came from / who paid for them. I am mystified, and not really sure what to do. I wish the topics had been exciting, but... (Yeah, I can't even remember. One was a 60-year history survey of some town or other, and the other had something to do with Jews, but I forget any details.)

2) My grandmother died on Friday, of, well, being old mostly. She had years of emphysema, but the last several months it just seemed like she was going gradually vague (like senile, but less horrible), and then over the last month or so, everything slowly stopped working. I'm not sure if there's an official cause of some kind, or if it really was just "got worn out". I talked to her on the phone a few times over the summer, but I hadn't seen her since Christmas. It's not so far that I shouldn't have gone, but at the same time, I can't decide if I regret not going. Even the last phone conversation or two makes me remember her in a way I wish I did not have to, and seeing her maybe or maybe not recognize people and not really be in shape to do anything but nod around an oxygen machine would have been so much worse. But then again, what if she missed me and wished I had come? ...I mean, separate from the way grandparents already wish that kind of thing. I guess there aren't really answers to those kinds of questions, but I have no doubt I made a selfish choice. I just hope it didn't hurt anyone. I am sad to no longer have any grandparents, though. They were pretty cool. (Except the one who died when I was six months old; I have no real opinion either way, on him.)

3) The funeral on Tuesday marked the start of six days off I have between this week and the end of October. Next week, I am off to Myschievia, which I have mentioned before but am too lazy to link to. We will be doing honestly really cool things between now and Columbus Day, and are apt to provide entertainment to lots of people beyond ourselves. I'm looking forward to that, kind of a lot. Enough that working effectively is going to get harder and harder between now and when I ditch work Wednesday to get on the road.

4) My good friend Mel is getting married in October! That is, Melani Smith, not Mel Allen. She was once my roommate, but then she had to go and move to Portland, so I will be there from... Thursday night or maybe Friday morning? Who can remember? But anyway, from 10/20 or 21, and then I leave on Monday the 24th. Other than my Saturday being taken up with various celebrations, I have no plans as yet. Also, I've never been to Portland, so I'm hoping to form an impression of it on Friday and Sunday. My other, far more recently-ex roommate Kristy will be in town as well, I am told. (She just moved to Seattle, like earlier this week.) Plus, it seems possible that I know someone else in Portland. POSSIBLE, I say.

5) What with all the travelling and having been sick this week, I anticipate that I will be stuck on week three of Couch to 5k for most of a month, but I'll still run it as often as possible and not screw up what little re-progress I have made so far. And eventually, I'll get farther again, I reckon. (I once got as far as week 6, but certainly never finished it. And that was more than a year ago.)

6) Someone contacted me on OK Cupid, which was a pleasant little message to read on Tuesday morning, all things about Tuesday considered. If anything else happens, cool, if nothing else happens, the day was still a little better for it, and I like days like that.

7) The end.

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Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative

 

August 21st, 2011


03:00 pm - The First Bit of the First Doctor
After an unreasonably long time, I have finished the first season of Doctor Who. The one from the 1960s, is what I mean. I gotta say, it's an interesting show, very, very different from the one we're watching now.

Not in the obvious ways, like the special effects budget. Honestly, the first season hardly had any effects. The majority of the episodes were spent wandering through earth's history (Marco Polo, the French Revolution, One Million BC, the Aztecs) with no alien interference of any kind; the Doctor was just really good at being separated from the TARDIS for days or weeks at a time, so there they would be, providing a history lesson of some kind. The only thing I recognized were the Daleks, and let me tell you how weird it was to see them not recognize each other. (I may watch that one again, it was pretty short and seems relevant, y'know?)

But mostly what has struck me as odd about the show is how different everyone is. Sure, okay, the Doctor is different every time, and by design, but I mean the way he interacts with his Companions. For one thing, he has a granddaughter, which is really weird in its own right. But the brain-hurting part is Ian. (The companions, I should mention, are the granddaughter, Susan, and two of her teachers who followed her home one night because she seemed odd and they wanted to check on her, and suddenly Ian and Barbara are caught up in these adventures when the Doctor, a classically grumpy old man, proved to them that everything Susan was telling them was true out of pure spite.) So, anyway, this guy Ian? Most of the time, he's in charge. Yes, the Doctor has all the actual power over the machine, where they go next, etc. (except when he doesn't and they end up in the wrong place, and man do I love that it's not a new trope), but whenever things start to go wrong, Ian always seems to be the one who takes charge and assigns the troops and etc. The Doctor still has good ideas now and then, and he usually wins when he argues, but the fact that he argues so rarely and especially that sometimes Ian wins? That is so not the Doctor to me!

But at the same time, it's really interesting to watch, it's not like I have decided "This is bullshit!" and ditched it or anything. I don't guess I have a particular point, I just never thought I'd see the Doctor be as different as all that. In unrelated news, I am impressed at how well-made the reconstruction episodes have been, so far. Both that there is enough information to do a really good job, but also the care that has been taken in doing it. Still, I look forward to getting a few seasons ahead, out of black and white and into "we have all of these from now on, honest" territory. Next season is the same people all around, I wonder whether the Doctor will start taking more charge, as he seems to be doing finally?

(I have no idea when I'll actually get to next season, but I bet it will be kind of a while.)

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July 31st, 2011


10:30 am - AssBro: The Completening
So, I remember [personal profile] publius being told that if he insisted on getting 100% completion in absolutely everything that happens in this game, he'd be driving himself crazy to no good effect. Here's what I'm wondering:

How many things do I have to complete to not miss any of the subconscious memories storyline? Well, really I mean, how many can I miss completing? 'Cause that "kill everyone without getting wounded" fight? At first I succeeded, thinking they meant without losing a bar of health. But no, they meant literally without getting touched. Then I thought, hey, smoke bombs will save me! ...but apparently if you really like Romulus, you are immune to smoke. WTF. Then I cried a little (unrelatedly), then I gave up. So far that and only one of the 8 minute trials have eluded me so far (though to be fair I haven't even made a second attempt now that I got through it for the actual game purposes), but I think to myself, so, how many of these *can* I skip? Or, if I have to get them all, that fight is clearly impossible for me so how many *more* can I skip before I miss more than one memory? And my point is, I hope this is not as doomed an enterprise as I fear, 'cause after completing literally everything in AC2, I will be sad to miss actual plot in this game.

Side note: the few things that annoyed me about the last game, and they were few indeed, have been fixed here. Mainly, the ability to tag building locations from within the database, and the ability to mark on the map collectibles you have seen but not retrieved. Brilliant!

(I don't see anything here that lends itself to spoilers in the comments, but just in case, I have finished sequence three and not started sequence four.)
Current Location: American Telephone and Telegraph
Current Mood: boredbored

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July 1st, 2011


12:43 pm - [D&D] More Annals of the Black Company, in which a new chapter begins
I am still gradually catching up my D&D game session logs toward present time. (I apologize for not having closed the gap any while we were not playing for two months, but I've actually been that busy at work. Sheesh.) Things you should know that will make your life easier:

1) Several characters have changed in some slight or extensive way as we learned the system and found things we didn't like, or as we had new releases open up possibilities to the players. This is probably over now, and, I've finally caught up to the point by which I mean "now"!
2) I have not read the book yet, but some of the core concepts, including some names, are drawn from Glen Cook novels of the same name. Even if I had read them, I would not know to what extent to expect themes or events to map directly.
3) These annals are written by a plane-shifted kender that has leaking memories of multiple quantum timelines / lifetimes (like Sliders, only you don't go visit the other timelines, they just peek into your brain through the window now and then).
4) If you have previously read these in another format, be aware that they may be edited for clarity (okay, not really) and lyrical flow.
5) They are also frequently and retroactively annotated from a non-specific future point of view.

Session Twenty ThreeCollapse )
Current Mood: sadsad

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June 16th, 2011


10:22 am - Dreamwidth
I added a dreamwidth account, which should be as easy to find as you imagine. I see no reason why you should care, at this time.

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May 13th, 2011


12:49 pm - Marvel 1975
1. There were big ads as 1974 wound down about how the Marvel 1975 calendar was going to be a huge big collector's item, as evidenced by how much Fantastic Four #1 was going for in 1974. It looks more like it retained its value with inflation, which is still nothing to sneeze at in a 36 year old calendar. But yeah, still, no.

2. Anyway, though, I'm starting to think of 1975 as the year that everything started to be connected to everything else all the time. There's this dude Black Lama who's getting all the supervillains into cage deathmatches, Spider-Man is hanging out on the same cruise ship as Dracula, and the Avengers... well, that's point 3. I'm not going to cave, I don't think, but it's starting to seem like I'm missing something by not reading Captain Marvel. Still, my hatred for Rick Jones is only topped by like Namor, so no.

3. (I lied.) I just saw the start of what will probably be a very long-delayed and not currently planned reveal on the latter fate of Gwen Stacy. In some ways, this seems like a bigger moment than when she died in the first place. And this is the real point I'm making over this and the last point, is I'm really excited to see how all this plays out. I expect the '80s to be mostly full of terrible over-the-topness, but right now, there are just infinite vistas of possibilities, and I wish it could always be like this, and now more than ever I'm glad I'm involved in and caught up with Ultimate Marvel, because being honest with myself, this old Marvel project will fail someday. It has to, it's unsustainable. Whereas the Ultimate thing is demonstrably sustainable in that I have sustained it and am live. (Well, two books behind right now, but only in the past couple of weeks; I'll be caught up again before June ends, which makes me not behind at all, really.)

4. Yesterday, I saw the weirdest damn thing I have ever seen in a comic book. There's this kung fu chick, right? And she has been molded by aliens to be some kind of big important mover-and/or-shaker in the universe. (The literal one, stretching into infinity, not the story-proscribing one. Although that too, I suppose?) And now she has come into her fate, which is.... to marry a tree, and since she is herself a person instead of a tree, be given the possessed zombie corpse of a dude that was buried under the tree so that she will not have to feel weird about procreating with a tree and creating a killer doll offspring who will be popular in late '80s cinema. Whether she will instead feel weird about procreating with a possessed tree zombie is not explored, but by implication, she will not.

Oh, comics. How you gotta be so awesome?
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April 28th, 2011


11:22 am - [D&D] More Annals of the Black Company, in which we are friendless and forever alone
I am still gradually catching up my D&D game session logs toward present time. (I may close the gap more than usual, since we are failing to play for approximately two months in a row. But I may not, as the lack of playing seems to have a direct correlation to a lack of remembering to move these to LJ.) Things you should know that will make your life easier:

1) Several characters have changed in some slight or extensive way as we learned the system and found things we didn't like, or as we had new releases open up possibilities to the players. This is probably over now, but tragically, it'll be a little longer before I catch up to the point by which I mean "now".
1a) Tragically for the narrative flow, is what I mean.
2) I have not read the book yet, but some of the core concepts, including some names, are drawn from Glen Cook novels of the same name. Even if I had read them, I would not know to what extent to expect themes or events to map directly.
3) These annals are written by a plane-shifted kender that has leaking memories of multiple quantum timelines / lifetimes (like Sliders, only you don't go visit the other timelines, they just peek into your brain through the window now and then).
4) If you have previously read these in another format, be aware that they may be edited for clarity (okay, not really) and lyrical flow.
5) They are also frequently and retroactively annotated from a non-specific future point of view.

Session Twenty TwoCollapse )
Current Mood: aggravatedaggravated

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April 14th, 2011


08:51 am - [D&D] More Annals of the Black Company, in which the plot, not unlike a dying merc's blood, thickens
I am still gradually catching up my D&D game session logs toward present time. Things you should know that will make your life easier:

1) Several characters have changed in some slight or extensive way as we learned the system and found things we didn't like, or as we had new releases open up possibilities to the players. This is probably over now, but tragically, it'll be a little longer before I catch up to the point by which I mean "now".
1a) Tragically for the narrative flow, is what I mean.
2) I have not read the book yet, but some of the core concepts, including some names, are drawn from Glen Cook novels of the same name. Even if I had read them, I would not know to what extent to expect themes or events to map directly.
3) These annals are written by a plane-shifted kender that has leaking memories of multiple quantum timelines / lifetimes (like Sliders, only you don't go visit the other timelines, they just peek into your brain through the window now and then).
4) If you have previously read these in another format, be aware that they may be edited for clarity (okay, not really) and lyrical flow.
5) They are also frequently and retroactively annotated from a non-specific future point of view.

Session Twenty OneCollapse )
Current Mood: pissed offviolent

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March 31st, 2011


11:35 am - [D&D] More Annals of the Black Company, in which the center cannot hold
I am still gradually catching up my D&D game session logs toward present time. Things you should know that will make your life easier:

1) Several characters have changed in some slight or extensive way as we learned the system and found things we didn't like, or as we had new releases open up possibilities to the players. This is probably over now, but tragically, it'll be a little longer before I catch up to the point by which I mean "now".
1a) Tragically for the narrative flow, is what I mean.
2) I have not read the book yet, but some of the core concepts, including some names, are drawn from Glen Cook novels of the same name. Even if I had read them, I would not know to what extent to expect themes or events to map directly.
3) These annals are written by a plane-shifted kender that has leaking memories of multiple quantum timelines / lifetimes (like Sliders, only you don't go visit the other timelines, they just peek into your brain through the window now and then).
4) If you have previously read these in another format, be aware that they may be edited for clarity (okay, not really) and lyrical flow.
5) They are also frequently and retroactively annotated from a non-specific future point of view.

Session TwentyCollapse )
Current Mood: crushedcrushed

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March 22nd, 2011


08:52 am - [D&D] More Annals of the Black Company, in which cults abound
I am still gradually catching up my D&D game session logs toward present time. Things you should know that will make your life easier:

1) Several characters have changed in some slight or extensive way as we learned the system and found things we didn't like, or as we had new releases open up possibilities to the players. This is probably over now, but tragically, it'll be a little longer before I catch up to the point by which I mean "now".
1a) Tragically for the narrative flow, is what I mean.
2) I have not read the book yet, but some of the core concepts, including some names, are drawn from Glen Cook novels of the same name. Even if I had read them, I would not know to what extent to expect themes or events to map directly.
3) These annals are written by a plane-shifted kender that has leaking memories of multiple quantum timelines / lifetimes (like Sliders, only you don't go visit the other timelines, they just peek into your brain through the window now and then).
4) If you have previously read these in another format, be aware that they may be edited for clarity (okay, not really) and lyrical flow.
5) They are also frequently and retroactively annotated from a non-specific future point of view.

Session NineteenCollapse )
Current Mood: embarrassedembarrassed

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March 16th, 2011


11:51 am - I did a weird thing last night
I mean, not that weird in the scheme of the world, but I'm pretty sure I'd never done it before. And Foursquare even kind of knew; it told me it was the first time I'd ever been to an internet cafe, which may have been accurate, but the important part was, it was the first time I'd ever been to an open mic night.

Now, the reason I went was to see Zoe Boekbinder, formerly of Vermillion Lies (who I saw in Houston almost exactly two years ago, frontlining Amanda Palmer), who was the "featured artist". I can't decide if that's antithetical to open mic night or not? My instinct is to think that a pro would make people nervous, but I know all the music folks are tight and supportive with each other, plus also most of the people up there seemed like regulars, and it is weekly, so I guess they're all cool with it and more invested than a drunk karaoke singer or a douchebag who learned two chords to get laid more at parties.

But, and I got sidetracked there, as I do, but all the same, reason to be there or not, I watched a good number of open mic performers too. And they seemed so sortable that I'm going to. The first guy up was the political guy. He was way left of the spectrum, which seems like it would be typical of open mics even if not of Dallas in general. (I was way downtown, in Southside on Lamar, at Opening Bell, in the unlikely event that you crave details.) He sang about all of the animals going extinct and also about how terrorists are pussies, he's afraid of all our rights being taken away by the gummint jackboots. Then there was the uncomfortable-borderline-between-romantic-and-Christian-songs guy, about whom I think I've said all I need to. Then there was the serious hobbyist guy, who had only been coming there for five weeks and had missed the last two, yet he owed a new song every week so this week and next week he'll be catching up, and he really thinks he's a whole lot better than he is. On the bright side for me and him alike, he actually was talented, so it was just hubris, not misery. In fact, just about everyone was good.

There was also overly earnest guy that you just wanted to pat on the head and tell him it would be okay, and guy who was a lot better than he thinks he is, and country music chick, and guy who has a record coming out in a couple of months which is too bad because he really needs to be able to afford the anti-depressants today, and probably one or two I've forgotten about. Additionally, there were more skinny jeans than I've ever seen in one place before, and while yes I am including department stores in that list, I'll admit that I probably don't look closely, and there was not, I assure you, a thin-framed pair of glasses in the house.

Still, despite all the hipsterism, it was a pretty okay thing. My italian soda was iffy, but the wifi was good and the people all seemed very nice. If I didn't already have a local spot to hang out at where people recognize me and it wasn't so godawful far away, I could conceive of going there again sometimes. That part, I think, is the weirdest bit of all.

So anyway, though, Ms. Boekbinder was delightful, and the friend who joined me found her so too. Plus also, there was a mermaid that she was touring with,[1] and she was also quite good. I bought 2 EPs and a CD from them, which sometime soon I will rip and listen to! My favorite moment of the night was Zoe's first song; she's up there, singing, and it's a nice one, and suddenly I notice that she's got her tiny handbag purse over her shoulder, and I snickered internally at the oddity of it. Then, a couple of minutes later as she's adjusting equipment between songs, she notices she has it and takes it off, while her face and hands go through a quick pantomime about what a spaz she considered herself to be in that moment, and it was suddenly a lot funnier, and I wonder if anyone else had noticed yet?

That is why I go to live performances, I think. You can get things that are just yours. (Luckily, I'm still safe from being a hipster, because I don't really have a concept of "selling out", and also the skinny jeans thing is never gonna happen.)

How was your night?

[1] I guess, what with the scales, "furry" wouldn't apply, right?

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March 7th, 2011


01:27 pm - [D&D] More Annals of the Black Company, in which still one more ongoing threat is uncovered
I am still gradually catching up my D&D game session logs toward present time. Things you should know that will make your life easier:

1) Several characters have changed in some slight or extensive way as we learned the system and found things we didn't like, or as we had new releases open up possibilities to the players. This is probably over now, but tragically, it'll be a while yet before I catch up to the point by which I mean "now".
1a) Tragically for the narrative flow, is what I mean.
2) I have not read the book yet, but some of the core concepts, including some names, are drawn from Glen Cook novels of the same name. Even if I had read them, I would not know to what extent to expect themes or events to map directly.
3) These annals are written by a displaced kender that experiences occasional head trauma. Though this is nearly over too. (The head trauma part, I mean, which was always an excuse for when I missed a session, why it didn't make much sense but could still be annalized. The plane-shifted kender part is permanent.)
3a) In fact, I think the "head trauma" part is over as of this session. The plane-shifted kender that has leaking memories of multiple quantum timelines / lifetimes (like Sliders, only you don't go visit the other timelines, they just peek into your brain through the window now and then), well, that part is rather permanent.
4) If you have previously read these in another format, be aware that they may be edited for clarity (okay, not really) and lyrical flow.
5) They are also frequently and retroactively annotated from a non-specific future point of view.

Sessions Seventeen and EighteenCollapse )

[A] I think this moment of moral dismay was when I finally got fully invested in the story, both as a player and a writer. So if you've found these Annals to be a little bit tenuous regarding tightness of plot and/or presentation, the pair of sessions in this entry and the previous pair/entry are where I personally think of things as having shaken out into coherence. If you have problems with the voice, well, that part I have down, so. Sorry?
Current Mood: groggygroggy

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