aesmael: (nervous)

Note: The following was typed on 2017-06-15

For a long while I've been kicking around the idea of running a Star Wars sequel role-playing campaign using the Pathfinder ruleset and based on a story idea by Ami. Naturally I'd been referring to it as Starfinder until Paizo went and announced a game of that same name which at least should make a more convenient platform for actually playing it out.

And especially lately I've been on enough of an RPG kick to take steps toward actually getting a group together and playing a game. Although not having really played a role-playing game before I'm wanting to try running some published adventures before diving into writing my own story-based campaign.

But I do have some pages of ideas for structuring that Star Wars game over a few seasons of play. And even if intending to use the Starfinder rules to run it means I can't really fully write up adventures for it until those rules are published and available for play, that doesn't mean I can't expand on those notes and craft a skeleton of where it could go and what they might do, who they might meet. In fact I think I ought to do so.

That will make something to work on. And meanwhile I can read up on advice for running and constructing RPG campaigns, and continue trying to organise that group for the Pathfinder Rise of the Runelords adventure path. Mostly want to have fun, and these sorts of games are something I've been interested in most of my life.

aesmael: (friendly)
So I check back in on dreamwidth after a couple of weeks of being swallowed by school and there's posts again? That's pretty exciting.
aesmael: (sexy)
I should definitely make new boots a priority. Only had these ones not quite 2 years, but got a blister on my toe after just four hours of mostly seated work and 90 minutes (total) driving today and been getting lesions on my heels for probably a few months now. Seems clear that however nice they were to begin with these boots are now doing my feet more harm than good.
aesmael: (tricicat)

Sorry about all the reading journal spam. I just wanted to clear out the backlog of things I hadn't crossposted from Tumblr and get it out of the way so I could disentangle from that site. Is all down now. Should be all back to the usual sluggish posting pace henceforth.

aesmael: (haircut)

I'm sure I have said this before, but I think I would rather love if it became commonplace for sff novels or series of any note or moderate success to receive some ~faithful audiovisual serial adaptation.

I don't think that having a television adaptation is some higher level of 'having made it' that stamps its recipients with a seal of worthiness. But, the prospect of having an additional format-shifted version of stories I enjoy delights me.

It would be neat to see such a trend take off in a plethora of visual styles, various animations or live action takes according to what ever style best suits the source material (really it would be wonderful to see more understanding that an animated story is not necessarily a trivialised story or strictly 'for kids').

Sometimes I'd rather watch something than read, or vice versa. Or sometimes watching something together is an easier way to share a story than thrusting a book into eir hands. But really, really, I want to see our narrative culture expanded to include such story translations as a commonplace of the landscape.
aesmael: (probably quantum)
LiveJournal and Dreamwidth are so desolate, I think I have seen more than one person refer to them as ghost towns. Even though I have contributed to this by having so little to say for so long, and not saying what there was of it here, I'm not happy about this. The two of them are to my mind the best-structured of any sites I have tried which might bear the label 'social network'.

Flaws, sure. But at least they are structured in a way that supports blogging or journalling and gives me some control of what happens to the post afterward and who can access it. Even though I mostly only post public anyway.

I have decided therefore to go all cargo cult about this. If I post more, talk more about what is going on in my life and thoughts, then I can pretend to myself this will have some sort of encouraging effect on the wider internet and these sites could live again.

This is an excellent plan.

aesmael: (sexy)

Act 3: Rei, Sailor Mars

I was very surprised to find myself immediately drawn to Rei. I regard myself as a spiritually tone deaf sort of person and so a shrine maiden really does not seem the sort of person I would match to.

It’s a bit annoying having a recap and re-introduction of Usagi at the beginning of each chapter but I suppose that is useful to do when you are writing a serialised story. I assume at some point that will become impractical to maintain and be dropped.

Also we do at last have as name for Queen Beryl and it turns out to be Queen Beryl. Also Jadeite joined by Nephrite, who possibly spares Jadeite a terrible fate for now. It is rather sinister that they have titles suggesting the villains are in secret control of much of the world already.

Forgot to mention about the Ami introduction chapter, it is very strange to have that recurring theme of the Sailor V game and especially that it dispenses tools for the protagonists to wield. I suppose there may be - I hope there will be - an explanation of some sort eventually.

Ami taking Usagi girl-watching.

I suppose Rei puts me in mind of Hana, the girl with electric senses and powers in Fruits Basket who I also felt drawn to. Actually, I ended up using a GIF of her as an icon on LiveJournal. They both have a sort of wise otherworldliness to them that I perhaps envy. She even has her own pair of moons!

We finally get to learn Tuxedo Mask’s name, Mamoru Chiba, which I write down here because I have been having difficulty remembering it. Most importantly to me, when they meet on the bus Usagi notes his resemblance to the Tuxedo Mask she’s been admiring. This immediately makes the signalled romance more interesting to me, since I am not finding a game of anonymity appealing at the moment.

This time I realise the strange mist from the last chapter must have been Sailor Mercury’s mist power, despite her not having been aware to use it at the time(?).

Bit disappointing having Jadeite vanquished so easily, I was assuming each of the actual villain characters would take a long saga before being defeated. Also hoping this is not going to be a trend of Usagi disguising herself briefly in what feels like a fetish costume each chapter.

Battle at the end felt like Luna was playing a computer game more than something serious going on. Aaalso Ami’s expression and speech in the background reminded me a bit of Hyatt from Excel Saga a bit.

I feel like I am waiting for this story to settle down into something more stable or less hectic. Maybe once it stops being ‘new lead character every chapter’ season.

aesmael: (tricicat)

Act 1: Usagi, Sailor Moon

Picked this up from work a few days ago instead of shelving it. I recently watched with [personal profile] ami_angelwings  the first episodes of Sailor Moon Crystal and the original series. The story there was surprisingly disappointing, in contrast to what I’d been hearing about the manga and about the new series compared against the old. In the old show, Usagi’s presentation seemed just enough more already heroic and engaged to be jarring and disappointing against the new. This surprised me because I had formed the impression the manga, and thus the more faithful Crystal series, were comprehensively superior.

Then I was surprised further to see that this chapter is just about beat for beat identical with the first episode of Sailor Moon Crystal. Clearly I’d slipped into thinking it must be an unfaithful adaptation after all.

It’s only a first chapter. I want to see where it goes further before deciding to read or not read further volumes. Mostly, I’m worried I won’t like Usagi; I tend not to like heroes who are disinterested in the world they find themselves in, or who prevail primarily because destiny and not because of any effort or interest they put into their achievements. Usually these characters are boys (like in Ben 10) accompanied by diligent anti-fun girl stereotypes. I’m hoping that isn’t the best comparison I’ll be able to draw here.

Also worried at the romance since so far it seems to just be Usagi getting starry-eyed when she looks at Tuxedo Mask while their ‘civilian’ selves have a growing antagonism and I don’t like that sort of romance as a rule.

On another level, with this and my thoughts on Aunt Dimity and The Duke I’m worried it will seem that I just do not like romance whereas increasingly I have been regarding myself as someone who does often enjoy romance as a non A-plot in stories. There’ve been a few cases where the romantic side has ended being a large part of what held me to mediocre adventure series, mainly superhero-featuring so far.

But, I suppose what appeals in romance is often as individual as what appeals in smut, and if that’s the case then by analogy it may be almost impossible for me to find takes I really like without writing them myself.

aesmael: (probably quantum)

Started reading this on Tuesday afternoon before my shift. I borrowed it from my mother’s collection although I’m fairly sure this copy is previously unread, and I’ve no clue by what path it ended up there. I think I would not otherwise have picked this book up to read, but then broadening my horizons is precisely why I am interspersing her books into my reading.

If I wanted to have fun with genre labelling, I might call this a paranormal romance. But I think this book both pre-dates and belongs to a different tradition than most books which currently bear the paranormal romance label. From the buzz I looked up, it seems what I can expect from this book might best be described as an ultra-cosy mystery. With romance. This story is thick with the scent of romance being laid out, and I’m waiting to see if I will love or hate that.

At the moment I’m only at the start of Chapter 3, 34 pages into this 290 page novel.

What I’m dreading: this is a ghost aunt mystery series set in Britain but written by a US author. I’m worried it is going to romanticise imperial England, as for example in the love story told in the prologue.

"In the first gray light of dawn she saw the ship, the great four-master bearing spices and gold and the treasure of her heart.["]

Discomfiting having this act of looting drawn so casually into a tale of romanticism, like it’s just a neutral or good thing that happens. I’m not sure if there was a second specific moment that further aroused my worry, but the overall tone so far seems to be idealising England as embodying a sort of pastoral innocence against the City that is America.

The other thing I dread is how exactly this might pan out as a romance, what tropes will be deployed. That’s likely to have a very strong influence on whether I am happy with the outcome of this book, or angry.

For the beginning there is very much a sense of the story being laid out like cards, or a stage being set. We have Emma Porter, senior in a computing company who is taking bafflingly[1] well being left by her open-relationship partner of 15 years for a younger woman.

[1] Everyone in her life is baffled, and so is she.

We have Derek Harris, widower with a couple of kids who happens to fit the description Emma briefly daydreamed about, and who is set to engage in prophecy-related restoration work at home of the titular duke. AND whose son apparently has been wearing himself out doing the housekeeper’s work for years to protect his father and keep the nagging sister-in-law at bay, who is fixated on the restoration as promising a supernatural salvation that I would say is sure to bring bitter disappointment except the whole series is premised on ghost aunt so maybe it will happen.

And their paths are surely set to intersect, as Emma is redirected to this same location, drawn from the prologue, by elderly twin sisters whose synchronous speech and manner speaks so much of an author giggling to herself that I had to look up online and confirm they are regulars, these Pym sisters.

That’s where I’m up to. Mostly I’m nervous to continue reading rather than excited; there’s so much potential for this to proceed on paths I detest that the anticipation of Aunt Dimity and The Duke failing me dominates my attitude toward the book so far.

aesmael: (just people)

22. “Jeff Beck” by Lewis Shiner

Strange little story in the ‘be careful what you wish for’ vein when - I’m not sure - but gaining the ability to play guitar like a master doesn’t make for effortless fun, because your standards and aspirations are raised correspondingly higher. Also, blowing your savings on a guitar is bad for your relationship.

aesmael: (haircut)

7. “Into Gold” by Tanith Lee

For most of this story I was dreading what it appeared it might be - the daughter of a Jewish peddler bewitches and brings to ruin the people of an Imperial Roman tide-pool.

Fortunately this was not the case. Rather, a nifty retelling of a certain fairy tale, and no villain but the curving of fate to tragic conclusion. Ultimately I quite liked this one. [edit] Actually the undoing comes from the protagonist’s anti-Semitism so never mind.[/edit]

Not science fiction, though. (and I should keep an eye out for more by Tanith Lee. I quite liked “Nunc Dimittis” in the first collection, although there is a particular scene in it which still haunts me at times. also her “Foreign Skins” in the second was a bit… colonial IIRC.)

aesmael: (haircut)

Successfully assembled and tested my first map for Doom over a couple of nights. It isn't pretty, nor would I claim it to be especially good in other ways, but it exists and that is its own kind of triumph.

It's got a lift (so many texturing mistakes before I got it okay), a door (had to set aside the map after about an hour of failing to get that right and re-check a tutorial), monsters, a key, and a remote-activated key door. Ended up being surprisingly difficult but consistently beatable for me with keyboard + touchpad, which is also a small lesson in how to balance encounters.

Am quite satisfied. Will probably make a go at building a more serious practice map in a day or so and see how that goes.
aesmael: (nervous)

I derailed
the point
that you made
while arguing

and which
you were probably
hoping
to convey

Forgive me
it was persuasive
so pointed
and well-formed

- derived from the original by William Carlos Williams

Originally published at a denizen's entertainment. You can comment here or there.

Rattle-tattle, rattle-tattle. In darkness misty shrouded, world closed in, small dome surrounding Peering ahead for haloed lights, red-glow show too fast or slow. Yellow and orange scattered around, passing by, hints of wider world in darkness. Light arcs blue and white overhead, showing momentarily a sky there still be, silent flashes unheard under-

Rattle-tattle, rattle-tattle.

Originally published at a denizen's entertainment. You can comment here or there.

Increasingly less recently I had been discussing with Pazi a game project. I wanted to do something useful so I offered to craft a little program module which could generate 'realistic enough' star systems. Something that would not simulate stellar formation and evolution directly, but which could use information derived from those simulations. I suspect such a tool could find a few uses, all of roughly the same sort, but apart from being useful I mainly think it a pretty nifty idea. Of course I would need to first finish my current project, but that is badly in need of finishing anyway.

Trying to determine what I would consider a 'first finished' version, not the first steps I would take in writing it but what it would need to do for me to consider it getting to completed. That, and some sorting out in my mind of how to approach the workings of this thing.

My thinking is to start with the star itself and build up the system around it in a sort of abbreviated history. Presumably, get it working for single stars before worrying about multiple systems, unless those turn out not really harder to put in. We get a few basic figures for the star, stuff like mass, spectral type, luminosity, then use those to proceed. Stellar mass typically correlates with disk mass available immediately after its formation, determining how much material is available to form planets and potential early migration activity for them. Plus, the distances at which various sorts of planets can form. I think we can relate those figures to get some nice functions for populating planets from. Start by placing giant planets, unless consensus has changed on the order of formation, then the little ones, abstract some pseudo-orbital-evolution and there we have our own impromptu planetary system.

Each planet's numbers - semi-major axis, eccentricity, mass, composition - get to interact with the host star's numbers, and we get a rough guide to the world's likely surface conditions, atmosphere and chemistry of note. There might be more than one class a given world could fall into.

I find the prospect of this fairly daunting. I imagine for an experienced programmer it would fall into the class of 'relatively simple' but for me, it's not. I'm only just barely learning, still. But I look forward to accomplishing this. I suspect the first thing needing doing is collecting papers with relevant modelling statistics to use; been wondering if it might be much harder too to get information for moons and small bodies.

I worry I have somehow done badly by describing my goals in the terms I have, rather than some technical description of coding intentions, but suspect this to be a silly worry. Am expecting to be learning a lot of how in the doing, and believe it is advantageous to have clear ideas on what I want the outcome to be.

Once that 'first finished' version is working I would want to add some fancier abilities, like aging. This would be needed anyway to incorporate giant stars since those again modify their planets as they age and expand and brighten, but also would be useful for incorporating very young stars still in the process of forming planets and details like at what point terrestrial worlds are likely to become tectonically dead. I suppose an approach that might work is to generate values for the whole system's duration (at least, mark points when things change and the values before and after). I suppose it is unlikely this program would get used for anything that depicts time-spans long enough for stars to visibly age, but at least for some sort of manual editing or inspection it would not end up generating a new history every time the age is tweaked. Perhaps too much, but I cannot help but feel it would be a useful approach somehow.

As for populating a larger 3- or 2-dimensional space, I suspect that would be harder to do, maybe want for another tool that talks to this one. Currently I'm thinking finding a good way to place stars in a field would be a more difficult thing to do than getting population kind distributions for various stellar environments. Hopefully by the eventual time I get to attempting that I will know much better.

That's main thoughts and plans on this for now.

[At Systemic can be found an excellent example of why this will likely be difficult to do. At the moment our models aren't reliably predicting the sizes of giant planets in some important situations. And we're still finding situations where our models are in error, which is why I suspect I will have to aim for 'realistic enough' and post refinements as astronomers make refinements. Or as soon after as I am able to.]

Originally published at a denizen's entertainment. You can comment here or there.

I came across this post and was bothered by it.

Mainly what bugs me is the read I get off it that feminism and capitalism are in necessary opposition. From what I see of capitalism it has no particular call to reinforce sexism or other oppressions[1] and indeed might function more effectively by not doing so. The problem with capitalism perpetuating societal oppressions is I think a matter of historical contingency, and if a hypothetical world without sexism were to invent capitalism I doubt the people of that world would also invent sexism to accompany it.

None of this, of course, vanishes the practical issue of women who claim feminism and vote or act politically against the interests of women generally.

There were also some remarks in a later comment which peeve me in a personal way.

But its time we get back to our roots and say “we are against all oppression, all hierarchy and in support of autonomy, make your politics follow us!”.

[...]

Honestly, we have to ask what feminism is about. Are feminists against all systems of oppression, or just the ones that personally afflict them? Are they only against patriarchy or against other/all forms of hierarchy?

I see plenty of feminists complain about people, often men, saying feminism ought to be renamed something more inclusive like humanism - and rightly so, as typically these proposals exist as part of a pattern of behaviour which has the effect of impeding feminism by refocusing attention on men and the concerns of men (which is strictly unnecessary, since men are also beneficiaries of reducing and eliminating sexism and these attempts are mainly manifestations of the incompleteness of that liberation).

Anyway, my annoyance is the confluence of those complaints with the pervasive attitude I perceive from feminists that feminism is a movement against all oppressions. It is pretty well impossible to untangle one form of oppression from another, but to claim membership of a anti-specific-oppression movement entails opposition to all forms of oppression seems a bit much. I would rather see feminists claim to be for example anti-racism on the basis of being anti-racism, rather than in some way suggesting feminism forms the heart of anti-oppression overall.

Plus, if pressed to identify my values one way I'm likely to answer is humanist, for reasons broader than merely anti-oppression politics. I don't appreciate seeing feminists object to the term humanist yet claim feminism means anti-all-oppressions when it would indeed be a more fitting term for that attitude.

[1] Except I think capitalism would have a difficult time not driving some sort of classism.

Originally published at a denizen's entertainment. You can comment here or there.

Recently I found some time in which I felt okay playing games and decided to make a proper start on Breath of Fire. Then I discovered that my right arrow key not working made it impossible for the character to move right. I could have remapped the keys to get around this problem but decided instead to put that on hold until I possess again a fully functioning keyboard (right arrow key not working, 'o' and F1 keys working but missing [edit: left shift key mostly not working]) and play something in the meanwhile which I'd not expected to get around to for some years yet: Roguelike Roulette.

The premise is pretty simple - there are a number of roguelike (or, in some cases, roguelike-like) games which I have downloaded, each of which gets played in alphabetical order until I lose the game and move on to the next one. Originally I was not intending to play these until I had played through my more conventional games, mainly because roguelikes are notoriously hard and likely to consume a lot more time in the attempt to complete than many other games. Once the Keyboard Criterion is met, they'll be placed back in hibernation.

Read more... )
aesmael: (it would have been a scale model)
Persons click here. Nifty words explaining that pretending characteristics which set people apart from the dominant group do not exist is in fact not a compliment and can lead to problems with lack of accommodation or plain ignoring of important aspects of identity.

Comments mostly okay, whiteness showing in the latter parts.
aesmael: (sudden sailor)
Forget the preamble ramble. I want to be reading again. So I am. These are the things I am reading today accompanied by brief reactions. Look how far behind we are!

a denizen's entertainment
  1. Geeky, philosophical and scientific things... [Still love the zombie movie. Not interested in reading the environment link again, but recall both agreeing and disagreeing with parts. Now, the paper on the hypothetical weakless universe? That was so fascinating I did not read it last time, wanting to save it for when I could better appreciate it. It looks to me like the purpose of this simulation was to probe the anthropic principle. Which is a tricky thing to phrase and apparently rather contentious, but the experiment appears to demonstrate that whatever factors constrain the laws of this universe to be what they are, at least in the case of the weak nuclear force it is not that were things different there would be no observers to observe this. It seems I misunderstood from the abstract, but what they did is no less fascinating. Please, do take a read of it yourself - it is fascinating and reinforces just how much I want to get back into astronomy.]

Everything Jake
Unlike most times I do this while reading through a comic, I am not going to link to individual strips to give reactions. I want to save talking about this comic until I am caught up.

Google Reader shared items
  1. Accordian-style USB drive actually solves a problem [via [livejournal.com profile] soltice. Not really clear on how it solves the problem of loseable caps.]
  2. I have no words :O [via [livejournal.com profile] gentle_gamer. Way back last time I was reading and using Reader, shared some posts I intended later to write on. Seems then [livejournal.com profile] gentle_gamer found [livejournal.com profile] lost_angelwings's blog interesting enough to inspect from this. And the links here linked, bizarre comic indeed. Manga girl Jesus.]
  3. What is Darwin? [via [livejournal.com profile] soltice. Interesting. Content took me a bit to find though.]
Paradise Lost
  1. Introduction [This looks very much in reference to the poem's contents. I will read it after the poem, when I have hopefully some context for this.]
Not really so much for a day, but more than none and I feel okay about it. Got distracted by being happy, which is a pretty decent distraction.
aesmael: (Electric Waves)
The words queer, as I understand it, is sometimes used as an umbrella term in a sort of way such that 'queer' could be typed or said in place of LBTGQQIA, even though at least one of those Qs is standing for 'queer' already. So perhaps I have this wrong.

However, I have tonight been wondering how far its scope goes as an umbrella term? Specifically, I have been wondering what people's thoughts about how much the term queer might encompass. Would it, frex, include people who are kinky, or who identify as furry?

Working backwards to find why I am inclined to include those examples, I think what I mean when I describe sexuality as queer is a non-standard sexuality. Preferably non-standard in a way likely to meet opprobrium in the present climate, although I am not succeeding at thinking of examples of any other kind just now.

This definition is not necessarily inclusive of trans people, I think. I also think the term queer can be applied to identity, following the precedent set above to mean a non-standard identity. This still is not necessarily inclusive of all trans people but that is okay with me now because a) I no longer care, I am happy for the moment with the term as I have described it and b) not all trans people wish to be included by the word queer and I am not interested in trying to make it happen anyway. Nor anyone else.

Noted for clarity: queer as in queer sexuality is not a term which would apply to everyone who identifies as furry, I think. Although queer as in identity might.

Further note: in an earlier mental draft of this post plurality was to be used as an example of something non-standard but not queer, before I considered applying queer as a term for identity too. Now... that is seeming complicated and I am tired and not going to go into it tonight.

[Further further note: there is probably a large body of literature on the subject of this post. I have not so much as looked at it. My primary aim writing this is to set out and clarify my own thoughts.]

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