Stubblebine Wall

Fandom, I Can't Escape Youuuu

AHHHHH. Okay, I know I haven't posted in like, years, and nobody reads this journal anymore. But. But. But. I've been dragged (kicking and screaming, I say!) back into fandom by The Avengers. It started with Loki, because really, dark hair + blue eyes + major angst + trickster snark = OMNOMNOMNOM. ILU Tom Hiddleston.

And then, there's my ongoing crush on RDJ. Started out with KKBB and Harry Lockhart, because who doesn't love Harry, that adorable rogue <3. Even if he's a total loser in life, he's still such a sweetheart and I'd totally date him (but I may need to gag him at some point if he won't stop rambling). But mostly right now it's Tony Stark. Because. Ahem. My electrical engineering geek kinda fangasm'd over his awesome lab (that's how he got Bruce Banner into his bed!), and of course, he's a scoundrel and handsome and brilliant and has so many angsty issues andandand can I just be him for a day? Pretty please? Actually, I'm not sure if I wanna be him or tie him down and fuck him silly. Hm. Maybe both. Clonecest FTW? According to the Iron Man 3 trailer, it's pretty much IM Suit/Tony OTP.

But. Buuuuuuuuut. The real reason for this post is slightly... um, weird. Because I was browsing around for some Tony bondage (STFU OK THIS IS WHAT TURNS ME ON) and came across this delicious fic starring Justin Hammer/Tony Stark. And I just. Like. What. Hammer? JUSTIN HAMMER? THAT PATHETIC GEEK WHO TRIES SO HARD TO BE COOL AND FAILS MISERABLY?


Yes. THAT Hammer. Because I looked at his pics again, and hot damn, if you ignore his blowhard personality, the guy's pretty good-looking! Just check out this pic - man, I love that silk vest, and the gloves, and the shirtsleeves, and the GUN BABY, and even the freaking glasses are adorable in a silly can-I-just-steal-them kinda way. But most of all, I had forgotten this till now, but Justin has this oral fixation with his lolli~pops~~ that I CANNOT UN-SEE as basically his undying need to get down on his knees and suck Tony's cock. (Hell, he even admits he has a "sweet tooth" for the guy!). Also, his uber-envy and vengefulness make him a perfect non-con!Tony pairing ^_^.

And before you say, Fire, how can you fangirl over such a douchey loser like Hammer? Let me remind you that one of the primary reasons I got onto LJ was my love-hate for Tucker Carlson. Because, see, there's fuck, marry, kill. And then there's tie up, gag, and do dirty things to in order to teach a lesson >:3. A very ~sexy~ lesson, ifyouknowwhatImean.

Happy New Year!

A little belated, I know, but Happy New Year 2012! Had a fantastic night out in the city with kitsunec4 and sorairo_laina, first dining at a top-notch, very fancy French restaurant and then drinks at a classy bar afterward. The food was fantastic - they had a special New Year's Eve menu, which included among other things, foie gras, black truffle linguine, a beautiful cut of filet mignon, and various other dishes, one after the other, accompanied by some excellent champagne. The finale was a delectable red-and-chocolate layered cake, topped with a little plaque inscribed with 2012. I actually took a photo of it on my iPhone, it was so beautiful. Afterward, it felt so good to hang out with friends at the bar, trying out different mixed drinks, I had something pink and girly-looking, which hid a surprisingly strong vodka content ^_^; and later a... rum blend of some sort? Not sure, I was a bit tipsy by then, as my friends can attest. (*cough* Sorry for the embarrassing questions, sorairo_laina LOL). We actually retired back to the apartment before midnight so we could watch the ball drop in NYC, and ended up staying awake all night, watching The Tudors. Nothing like some good old-fashioned costume drama to ring in the new year, eh?

Anyway, I spent the last few days of break chilling at home, finishing up the feather-collecting in AC2, and stocking up on delicious food. You know, it's funny, but just these 3 weeks of chatting up old friends and relaxing among loved ones has done an immense amount of good for my mental health. Playing mahjong with the family was a great way to unwind. So for the new year, I have but a few simple resolutions: to separate work from play by going to the office regularly (when your workspace is home, it's hard to tell when you're off the clock), to learn to cook a variety of simple, healthy dishes so I'm not eating the same thing all the time, to take at least one whole day off every week from schoolwork, to make time every day for creative ventures - reading a non-academic book, practicing my writing/drawing skills, etc., and trying to exercise more. I've got a busy class and research schedule, but I'm going to endeavor to squeeze in a half hour jog or a visit to the gym. Less time in front of the computer.

So here's to a fresh start and a more creative, productive, and most of all, happier year ahead!

Finished ACR

I wrote a long entry about ACR and fucking Firefox ate it, so here I am posting everything again.

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In summary, the game's not bad, it just didn't live up to my expectations. The enjoyable moments were few and far between, while a lot of other elements got tacked on with no real plot purpose. I do have to say that I loved Ezio the minstrel, though. That was by far my favorite mission XD. I can only hope Ubisoft releases a skin~ so I can run around tra-la-laing to annoy the populace.

Merry Christmas!

A little late, but Merry Christmas to my f-list. (Or happy holidays if that's not your thing). I haven't updated in quite a long time, but there isn't much to report, aside from the continuing stress of classes and a big paper presentation I have due sometime in March. I haven't been able to prove any results yet for it, so I've been understandably worried.

Christmas gifts - lots of chocolate, some philosophy books, fuzzy socks, an absolutely gorgeous sherpa, jewelry from my aunt, candy from my grandma, and the ICO/Shadow of Colossus HD Collection :D. I was also supposed to get an iPhone, but unfortunately, the stores were all out of the 32 GB version, so we had to order it online... here's to hoping it'll make it here before I leave.

I also got to hang out with a couple of my old college friends, and I'm planning another game night with them tomorrow. We'll be playing Risk - while doing shots! - and I'm also gonna introduce them to mahjong. Because as much as I suck at poker, I can kill with those little mahjong pieces. I AM DEADLY.

Talking to friends and family has been hugely relieving from an emotional standpoint. Back at school, I felt so disconnected and isolated from everyone - no matter how I tried, I just never got close to any of my classmates there. We never had the easy camaraderie and in-jokes and all the breezy conversations that you'd expect from good friends. I didn't realize how much it was affecting my mood (I was honestly depressed for a long time) until I got back and could talk for REAL, not the empty "hey how was your day" followed by a one-word answer I had with everyone at school. Good food and company means a lot, apparently.

Lastly, my main purpose for this post is a bit of final housekeeping. I've finally decided to move to Dreamwidth. I'd been considering it for a long time, but was always held back because 1) I didn't feel there was much of a fandom community there, and 2) I'd have to essentially create a new DW layout, but I can't find any decent guides or examples to work off of. I've also been too lazy to figure out how to save my posts on LJ. But either way, I haven't been posting at all on here, and most of my friends have disappeared, so perhaps it is time to turn over a new leaf.

If any of you are around on Dreamwidth and want to remain friends, please drop me a line. (I have the same username over there, so you can view my currently empty journal). Otherwise, it's been good knowing you. Best of luck in the future.
  • Current Mood
    hopeful hopeful

Nostalgic Gaming

You know those games you loved as a kid, the old school games that you look back on with rose-tinted glasses? Yup, those were the days, you'd say... when games were good and featured real plot and fantastic gameplay and etc, etc.

Then you load them up again and realize you'd forgotten all the little annoying details like how characters die permanently when KO'd in battle?

Yeah, well. That's me and Baldur's Gate right now. I actually never played it before - I've played other D&D style games like Planescape: Torment (excellent storyline) and a little of Icewind Dale (bored by the dungeon crawling), but never this old classic. Nevertheless, I'd forgotten how you can literally die in two hits by some mangy wolf, because your character starts with around 10 HP. Also, the spell memorization system is severely outdated - it only ever fit tabletop RPGs.

And seriously, who the hell decided to include a forced encounter against a high level mage (relative to your party) at the beginning of the game? The battle itself is sheer luck - pretty much reload until you don't die from magic missile, and then hope someone's DEX is high enough to hit him.

I wonder how many of these 5-star reviews are from nostalgia... I do hope the story eventually hooks me, because right now, I'm less than impressed.
  • Current Mood
    bored bored
Not Amused

I Don't Think That Word Means What You Think It Means

After surfing around the various game shops, I think I really need to rant about the misuse of the label "role-playing game". I see this tacked onto anything from pure action games, which happen to allow you to spend some points improving your stats (big whoop), to strategy games where there's almost no character development (in the sense of story/dialogue), but I guess you're still somehow playing the "role" of nameless army general.

Um. What. Is. This. Shit.

No, role-playing games are NOT defined by the ability to change character stats. (Seriously, I get the feeling some of these players are armchair statisticians, with how much time they put into min-maxing. Me, I play games as a break from my day job of heavy-duty math). Nor are they defined by point-and-click combat, like in old CRPGs. A role-playing game, in my opinion, must adhere to the following tenets:

1) You must actually be taking on a role, with a substantive personality, backstory, and some sort of control over stats/skills/abilities/whatever. If my character spends the entire game not saying a word beyond the occasional grunt at getting shot, that is not a role. That is a random bunch of pixels I am pushing around the screen.

2) You must be able to interact with other characters through significant dialogue. Whether it's cutscenes or actual choices in-game, this forms the crux of the role-playing experience. If all I talk to are interchangeable cardboard cut-outs, then those are not characters, those are essentially the little blips I shoot down in Space Invaders.

3) You must be the focus of a story, which your actions have an impact on. The more interesting the plot, the better, but you know I won't bash the stereotypical "slay the evil dark lord"... too much. What I'm against are "role-playing games" where the story is just window dressing on the gameplay of... oh, I dunno... jumping on Koopa shells. If the plot is not at least one central selling point of the game, then you really need to re-examine the role-playing label.

My personal bias says that RPGs only fall into two categories: console JRPGs, like Final Fantasy, that I grew up on. And Western RPGs, like Planescape: Torment, which are based on the old pen-and-paper D&D style games. Oh, you might have a little more action here, or a little more strategy there, but the formula is basically the same. What I'm looking for are characters I can identify with, feel sympathy for, whose motives and personalities flesh out in the game. And I want my own player character to have a significant influence on the events that unfold.

Everything else, you can stick in the "action adventure" category, because it sure as hell does not belong in "RPG".
  • Current Mood
    aggravated aggravated

Writer's Block: It’s Women’s Equality Day!

Do you think women are treated as equals? What changes would you like to see?

Well, technically it was yesterday, but I missed the question. No, I do not think women are treated as equals, and I believe the inequality runs far, far deeper than most discussions seem to realize. It is obvious in the developing world, where female infanticide, genital mutilation, and so forth are still major problems, which I think everyone on my f-list can agree is not equal by any measure. So let us restrict attention to the "developed" world, like the U.S. On the surface, you have statistics on the glass ceiling, career attainment, work-life balance, etc. One wonders, for example, why more women aren't tenured professors in the STEM fields until you realize that the "tenure clock" was originally conceived for men living in a bygone era, when they got married to a nice wife who took care of the home and babies, while he could focus on his research. Even with liberal gender roles these days, how many couples do you see where men are the primary family caretaker? How many where it's women? What are the expectations still in place? (I know my mother often says that if the household is a mess, it can all be blamed on the woman). And of course, there's cultural influences - a lot more emphasis is put on how women look, dress, their attractiveness than men. Don't even get me started on dating rituals. Or the abortion debate. Or the military. (Yes, we do benefit from not having to, say, worry about the draft. However, it's still inequality).

But like I said, this is all on the surface. People often argue that, well, women still have a choice in lots of these, and many do choose to stay at home, rather than climb that corporate ladder! This is missing the point. For the vast majority of history, women have NOT been seen as equals, and this was taken for granted by both sides. To achieve equality, we must overcome all the ingrained biases from centuries of this attitude, probably more than any other minority group. The problem is that many of the qualities traditional to women are associated with weakness - emotionalism, nurturing, empathy - while those traditional to men are glorified. This defines "maleness" and "femaleness". However, don't you think that if women were in charge for the majority of history, what is glorified would exactly be the reverse? To take an example: being a secretary used to be considered a high-skilled job, which only men could take. It was prestigious to some extent. Then, the workforce changed and the job became more the domain of women, and now just the word "secretary" conjures up images of some naughty after-work shenanigans from a B-rated porno. My point is, to truly achieve equality, we need to change the very attitudes that define feminine qualities as weak and masculine qualities as strong.

Here's a simple experiment: go to this site and run the re-gendering program on a couple of sites. Believe me, it will open your eyes.

So that brings us to a question: should women and men be treated differently in our society, based on basic biology? We have to be careful when we answer that. Yes, there are biological differences that will always exist, and they must be kept in mind when debating policy. Not even the most hard-line feminist would advocate sending a pregnant woman to the front lines alongside a healthy, middle-aged man. (Although there were some kickass women in the past who managed surprising feats while pregnant - see Caterina Sforza, for example). However, with technological innovations like birth control, those differences are not so central as they were in the past. Now, women have far more control over when they take on the physical burden of bearing a child. Similarly, in the past, man's primary concern was plowing the fields and defending his children against invaders, and to do so required raw physical strength. But nowadays, that concern is practically moot. Instead, accomplishment today is defined far more by education, intellectual ability, and social connections, where intrinsic disparities are slim to none. Taking all this into account, I believe feminist policy should push the boundaries of equality to where current technology has reduced the importance of biological differences (again, birth control and abortion are primary examples), while chipping away at the attitudes that label "women's work" and "femininity" as inferior, especially among the younger generation.

You might ask why I've been thinking about this so much of late. Well, I used to care little, until I played this little text adventure, Choice of Broadsides, and chose to be a female. Rather than treat it as an afterthought, the entire setting (which is sort of set during the British colonization days) changes to reflect the reversed gender roles, with women being the pioneering sailors and men the stay-at-home marriage material. The courtship scene in particular is quite telling - when I read a flirty redhead woman, many stereotypical images immediately spring to mind, but when I read those same words and try to envision a man, my mind goes blank. Clearly, the mass media has ingrained certain archetypes in our head, associated with one gender. (Another experiment: think of a "grizzled private-eye", I bet you envisioned a man, right? Well, nothing about a gray-haired private investigator denotes either a man or a woman, but your mind is probably reaching for some old noir film).

Then, recently, I started reading fantasy again and observed how the vast majority are still set in that narrow, feudal patriarchy of a vaguely European nation, despite the fact that it's FANTASY, so anything goes. Well, in my head, I started formulating a setting where women ruled, and not just in some oddball country or because of a spunky heroine, but women always ruled based on the fact that they were born with magic, whereas men were not. (This is before I discovered Wheel of Time already did this >_<). Just following through on the evolutionary implications - for example, the division of labor would be quite different, if say women had the power of "earth" or what have you and could farm far more efficiently - led to some surprising revelations.

This post is dedicated to my mother, who while still holding on to some traditional views on gender roles, is still far more of a feminist than many women I know. I am grateful to her for bringing me up as a strong, confident woman. She tells me I inherited her stubborn attitude toward dating, so I guess I have her to thank for my Artemis spirit ^_~.
  • Current Music
    Bastion - Setting Sail, Coming Home
  • Tags

Gaming Update!

I've been playing this wonderful little indie game called Bastion, which I picked up on Steam, partly because it looked like a JRPG, and partly because of the awesome music, which I just have to share. It's kind of a folksy, Western guitar with drums and some classical instruments in the background, perfectly fitting the setting of the game, since many of the weapons and locations have this Wild Wild West feel. There are a few vocal pieces that stand out - in particular, I guarantee you'll find yourself humming Zia's theme by the end.

Title: Bastion Original Soundtrack
Artist: SuperGiant Games
Date: August 5, 2011
Bitrate: 320 kbps
Download: Multiupload

01. Get Used to It
02. A Proper Story
03. In Case of Trouble
04. Bynn the Breaker
05. The Sole Regret
06. Twisted Streets
07. Terminal March
08. Percy's Escape
09. Faith of Jevel
10. Mine, Windbag, Mine
11. Slinger's Song
12. Build That Wall (Zia's Theme)
13. Spike in a Rail
14. What's Left Undone
15. Brusher Patrol
16. The Mancer's Dilemma
17. Mother, I'm Here (Zulf's Theme)
18. Pale Watchers
19. The Bottom Feeders
20. From Wharf to Wilds
21. Setting Sail, Coming Home (End Theme)
22. The Pantheon (Ain't Gonna Catch You)

As for the game itself, it's basically an action RPG. Lots of weapons to play around with, some quite unique, though the actual areas are pretty linear. You won't get tired of the environments though - all hand-drawn with lush, gorgeous colors. The story's also told in a unique way. Essentially, the narrator (who seriously has the deepest, richest Western cowboy voice ever) is recounting what happened to you, the hero, as you're playing the game. So different actions will provoke different, sometimes rather funny, descriptions by him. All in all, a cut above most indie games, and worth the $15 price tag. (The OST is only $5 and I suggest you buy it to support the developers. I want to see more RPGs from them, there aren't enough good indie RPGs).

In other news, this has got to be one of the most fantastic fan vids ever:

It's for the game Portal, which if you haven't played then... well, you're just missing an essential part of your soul. Kind of makes me jealous. Why couldn't I have majored in fandom and minored in slash in college? ~_~

Edit: Bastion OST is now $10, but still absolutely worth the price. I just finished the game yesterday night, and OMG I was nearly in tears with Zulf's theme playing in the end T_T.

Poor, Lonely LJ

Well, I'm back from my hiatus. Mostly. Life's very busy - in a good way! - so I probably won't be back up to posting speed until late September. Anyway, a summary:


- Working at a research internship in the city. It's kind of tough going, since it's my first time doing serious mathematical proofs (essentially, solving a complicated, dynamic game theoretical model), but I'm slogging through... slowly. Made some progress, hoping to get further before summer ends, since I need to present a paper in the fall.


- Went home for a week of vacation and celebrated my birthday with my sis. She got me a cute panda pillow, while I bought her a Chococat messenger bag. Took a short trip with the family at the beach, very relaxing, wished I'd stayed longer. Also, bought some nice fall clothes and this ~*fancy*~ white purse ^-^ I can't believe I spent that much time shopping for a purse --> very picky.

- Did I mention I passed my exams? Cause I totally did. And with flying colors, too! Okay, well I missed one of the REALLY difficult theory questions (only the genius Russian dude got it ~_~) and made some smaller mistakes, but overall, my prof was quite pleased. He shook my hand today, congratulating me! Also said that I now had to smile more :) because I was the bubbly, happy one, before I got crushed by last year's exams.

Anyway, there's probably more to tell, but that's the biggest part of it! I sent off e-mails to some of my friends and old profs, who were all quite pleased to hear from me. Also met one of my elementary school teachers for coffee - I was a total misbehaving brat to her when I was young, so I apologized XD and said that hey, my stubbornness paid off with these exams, didn't they? She was so happy to see me ^_^. I really wish there was a way I could get in touch with my other teachers from so long ago... especially my math teacher, he was a strict old man, but underneath his glower, he really, really cared that we all learned. I still remember the project I did on base conversion from 7 to 10, hah.

On the fannish front, I've mostly been writing long-winded AC RPs with yumearashi, and alas, with work monopolizing my time, I haven't gotten much real fic writing done. I've a half-cooked plot bunny in my head, after reading Magnifico, which ties a real life assassination plot against Piero de' Medici (Lorenzo's father) to conniving Templars and the death of Giovanni's parents, but I've yet to hash out the details. I did however get a new tablet computer, the Lenovo ThinkPad X220T! It was paid for in full by the school ^_~ good thing I waited until this year to get the laptop, since it's a brand new model. Took me some time to get the pressure sensitivity working on the pen (GIMP still doesn't support it, apparently, something to do with it being a tablet driver), but now I expect to get back into art. I downloaded some nice tutorials on digital art, here's to hoping I will have time to follow them through! The one thing I am lacking most of all is TIME.

Plans for the weekend - drop by Borders again to raid the Renaissance history section (this is what Assassin's Creed has done to me LOL) and possibly some fantasy/sci-fi, if the price is reasonable enough. Clean up my apartment for the sublessee on Monday. Work more on this tedious proof. But most of all, sleeeeeeeeeeep.