my night is complete now

So last night was a mess, I danced and sang in front of the camera until I puked but otherwise it was fine and dandy and fun, so thank you my friends for hanging out with me while i was drinking alone! <3

when i was really little i knew this really annoying girl who went around calling herself merlin and she made my life a living hell and one time she hit me with a broom and i should have known right then and there that would be a metaphor for the rest of my life

2

this weekend I went to the Melbourne Ahblxmas, dressed as a low-budget Christmas tree and had a brilliant time, even mustering up the courage to ask questions. one thing was when photo time came up I drew a blank and all I could think of was @consulting-cannibal‘s awesome picture of everyone overheating in sweaters. unfortunately I was far too broke for the actual sweater photo with everyone but I made the most of it so when it was my turn for a photo I said hi and showed everyone my phone. Mark got really really into it and loved Lucifer’s wings.
afterward I was thinking ‘oh shit, I gotta tell Scout, I hope this is alright with her’ and asked her if I could repost the pic. she was cool with it, told me to link back to her, and sent me the watermarked pic above to use. ^^

The lyrics “I hope the sun shines and it’s a beautiful day and something reminds you, you wish you had stayed, you can plan for a change in weather and time but I never planned on you changing your mind” will always hit me like a bus full of emotions.

The dwarves’ physical state in the Halls of the Maker corresponding to their mental state though- 

  • It takes decades for Thorin’s wounds to heal and they break open at the most unexpected moments. The worst was when he saw Kíli in the Halls for the first time. He is never fully whole again, although it does a lot for him to finally receive his sister’s forgiveness. The moment the last of his wounds, the one on his forehead, is completely gone is the moment when Dwalin, the last of the Company to die, finally joins them and feigns a punch in his face and then hugs him so hard he thinks his bones will break. (It is then that Balin’s wounds finally heal too, he who had sat in the Halls for hours with Thorin, talking about how they had both let go of their lives when there would have been so much more to live for)
  • Thrór’s throat kept bleeding for so long that he took to wearing clothes with high collars in the Halls. It takes his family a long time to bring him back to where he was - and only when both Thráin and his three grandchildren arrive and tell him just how much he meant to them despite everything that had happened does he dare to wear more open clothes again.
  • Everybody thinks Fíli is okay. He puts on a brave face, spends a lot of time with his brother, his family and tries to comfort his uncle. Nobody sees when he withdraws to his chambers from time to time, hand coming away bloody when he presses it to his chest under the clothes because he still thinks he failed them all. It is Frerin who finally picks up on it first (apart from Kíli of course, but Kíli knows everything anyway) and takes him aside for a talk, a small patch of blood blossoming on his own chest where the arrow had hit home so long ago for a moment.
  • Kíli always laughs, looks unharmed and brightens everyone’s mood. He is everywhere at once, meets family members from all branches long dead that he is never known - he seems as alive in death as he ever was. Only sometimes, when he looks at his brother and his uncle, who shouldn’t be here, who he thinks he should have protected because he is the spare, it should have been him who died, not them- he flinches slightly, hand rubbing over his chest where Bolg’s weapon had found its mark.
  • Dáin has tumbled in the Halls with a curse on his lips, but his wounds that still oozed blood for hours after he has woken up - he left them alone in the midst of battle, selfishly withdrew and died when nothing was safe yet - close up quickly when he hears a quiet grunt and a giant boar throws him to the ground, rubbing his enormous face on his clothes and he sees the smiling faces of those who await him.
  • Dís follows him not long after, fallen, too, defending the mountain her kin died for. She lightly punches Thorin only moments after Dáin did and her brother carries a brighter smile than he has worn in decades when she’s finally there. Her wounds had closed the moment she had woken up - she knows she has given everything she had for the mountain and her people and could go in peace, to finally be reunited with her family and friends again.
A Dance Guide to the Classes, Part I

1. The Bard’s Dance

Belly dance is all about desire. It’s an improvisational solo dance, performed for the viewing pleasure of others - and sometimes for more than just viewing. It’s supposed to make all present ache from sexual yearning and become hopelessly lovesick. It is lust and allure and playful wile and self-aware beauty and the uncaring glory of youth. Belly dance is guile and seduction: it’s the dance of the entertainer.


2. The Fighter’s Dance

Zeybek is all about pride. It’s the men’s folk dance of the Zeybeks, performed typically in a circle as a rural community’s rite. It’s supposed to emulate the flying of the eagle or the hawk. It is honour and bravery and battle ardor, and the mountain’s eternal strength and serenity. Zeybek is soaring in a clear blue sky: it’s the dance of the warrior.


3. The Rogue’s Dance

Zeibekiko is all about despair. It’s an urban evolution of the Zeybek, an improvisational solo dance ideally performed for none other than yourself. It’s supposed to emulate the unsteady, stumbling steps of the drunkard. It is pain and loss and agony and heartache, but it keeps a tiny, perhaps misplaced, fraction of the original Zeybek’s soaring pride. Zeibekiko is celebrating your own demise, feeling your very soul immolating and not giving a flying fuck: it’s the dance of the outcast.

I really think it says a lot to watch Josh interacting with the other members when they try to speak English to him like whenever Hosh goes “Yo Josh yo Josh” and he straight up goes “Heyyyy Hosh what’s up man” like asdfghjkl; it’s so cute because he doesn’t go “don’t speak English” or even usually corrects their words harshly he just is such a cutie and will speak English with them as much as they want 

Whose dream was it anyway?

Oh fuck how slow am I!! I’ve been thinking about the movie Frequency (along with Inception, yes), where due to a freak storm of electromagnetic nature caused by an aurora borealis (northern lights), a homicide detective in 1999 makes contact over radio with his father in 1969.

The reason I’ve been thinking about this is, I’m still not clear as to whose drug-induced-or-not dream was this episode. Was it modern Sherlock’s who took drugs? And ended up solving the mystery of Moriarty’s death? Or was it Victorian Holmes’s who was embroiled in in his own demons and solved a case of dead-yet-not-dead wife? Because the end shot of the episode was Holmes wistfully looking out of the window thinking that he was the man out of his time, (something Moftiss have talked about endlessly, just another one of your self-referential scenes :/) since he had imagined a future with jets.

That made me think: it was the dreamscape of both the Holmeses, like the two time streams crossed somehow, and both Holmeses ended up making some sort of contact with each other. Like in the movie Frequency. And this is where I’m being slow:

(source)

I realized that there was a diagonal matrix and Maxwell’s equations of electromagnetism there earlier, and left it at that without thinking too much of it. (Sleeping is not that boring, ok? It was 5am at this point.) But now that I’ve seen it again, I realized something.

It isn’t JUST any other diagonal matrix. It’s Minkowski metric matrix.

Do you see a circled letter in front of that matrix in the screencap? It has an equality sign buried under it, and the letter pretty much looks like greet eta as in above matrix. Now what is Minkowski metric?

Simply speaking, metric is nothing but a description of how we measure distances. So in our day-to-day life where we use Euclidean geometry, if we know the coordinates of the two points, say (x1, y1, z1) and (x2, y2, z2), then the distance is simply 

Now, that’s a working formula. What do we see? There’re only terms in squares. There’s no wonky cross terms like (x1-x2)*(y1-y2), right? So in abstract maths, this fact would be represented as a Euclidean matrix:

Forget the left hand side. What it means is, if I want the distance between two points, I’m only going to look at where 1′s are. If they are on the diagonal of this arrangement of numbers, I’m only going to consider squares of coordinate difference. If there’s a 1 somewhere else, I’ll have to also consider wonky cross term like above. But fortunately for me, there isn’t any here, so good.

Now when one goes to Special Relativity, the geometry doesn’t remain our day-to-day Euclidean. Because time itself is very much equivalent of space, is relative and has to be considered in measuring distances. Because two events in a this joint space-time geometry are not just separated in space, but also in time, right? Some events may occur at the same place, like me coming to sit in my chair now and going somewhere later, coming back to sit again some time later. It happens in the same place but at different times, so these two ‘events’ have two different coordinates, this time denoted by (t1, x1, y1, z1) and (t2, x2, y2, z2).

When one tries to put in time into the geometry, one needs something different. Such geometry was devised by the Russian mathematician/physicist Minkowski. But when geometry changes, so does the concept of how to measure distances! I mean, you wouldn’t use the same formula for distance in a plane and on the surface of a big ball, would you? (Just trust me, you wouldn’t.) Adding this weird coordinate of time reaaaally screws our usual concept of distance, and we need that Minkowski matrix above! All that it means is, when I’m considering space-time as a continuum and then measuring the separation of ‘events’, I will still use squares of differences like in my daily Euclidean geometry (because there are 1′s on the diagonal of the matrix), but instead of simply adding all those differences, some have to be subtracted.

Coming back to the screencap, there is another thing on that list: Maxwell’s equations of electromagnetism. (To be precise, we see 2 out of 4 of Maxwell’s equations.) They basically tell you how light is nothing but an electromagnetic wave, and how it behaves.

Now what the fuck does this have to do with that scrap of list?

I think, and maybe I am over-reading here, the idea of the matrix + Maxwell’s equations is that like in the movie Frequency, due to some weird electromagnetic storm or other such unseen-by-us-free-to-use-our-imagination event, space-time continuum was warped, and two time streams crossed. One paralleling and aiding the other. So it wasn’t just the drug induced dream of modern Sherlock, but also a dreamscape of Victorian Holmes, where both delved deep inside, and connected with each other, paralleling and aiding each other.

An honest look at Mass Effect: Andromeda after 10 hours of gameplay

After playing for another solid 10 hours last night I feel the need to update my view on Andromeda, especially after the scathing post I wrote yesterday. I’m actually really, really enjoying the game now. I completed my Trial last night and preordered it, and I’m looking forward to playing more next week when it officially releases on Tuesday.

I know, I know. It’s a complete 180 from my last post shitting on it. But it all began to click for me once I got used to the controls. Combat feels far different than in any of the prior games, which initially threw me for a loop. But once I got the hang of how movement affected the fights I began to warm up to it – Mostly due to the great Skills and Profiles system.

It’s very rare that a game keeps me playing past midnight when I’m due in the office at 7:00 AM the next day, so it’s certainly doing something right.


It still has some serious problems, though. So let’s start off with The Bad first.

Possibly my biggest criticism of the game thus far is the removal of the power wheel, and with it, two things that are an absolute necessity to Mass Effect in my opinion: The control of your squadmates’ power usage, and pausing in order to assess the situation. Both are all but gone in this game, and it’s a far worse game for it.

Squadmate AI in Andromeda is still better than it was in Mass Effect 2, but it’s still not good enough to warrant taking away micromanaging from the player. As a biotic player I need to be able to set up and detonate biotic explosions, and it’s pretty much impossible in this game. Squadmate AI is too unpredictable to allow for solid tactical gameplay. You’re instead left with messy combat as your squadmates use their powers at inopportune times. There are times when I’m throwing out a Singularity in hopes that Cora will charge in and detonate it, but nope! She sits there taking potshots instead. And there are other times when I’ve got Cora firing at some other enemy, so I pull one on the other side of the map with the intent to detonate an explosion with throw, and – BOOM – Cora charges in, detonates the lift, and I’ve just burned a Throw with an 8 second cooldown and have no more powers left to stem the tide of Kett that Cora was supposed to have been handling.

Also departing is the ability to pause and pan in the camera in combat. You can still pause combat to look at your consumables, but you’re unable to adequately assess the situation in combat. The game forces you to make decisions on the fly. Which, honestly, I could live with if I still had the ability to tell my squadmates when to use which power.

Both of these changes are absolutely mind-boggling to me. The developers are constantly preaching that they’ve made these cuts in order to “speed up combat”, but all the cuts have done is make the core combat mechanic a messy, chaotic jumble of power usage. I had so many amazingly tactical, surgical fights while playing through the trilogy on Insanity; So many instances of just scraping by with a squadmate dead when one last combo won the fight for us; Such a triumphant feeling to finish those tougher fights on the other games in the series… And all of that is gone now. They’ve stripped away the core tactical gameplay that made Mass Effect what it is, and they’ve done it all in the name of “faster gameplay”. Well, would you rather have faster, poorer gameplay? Or slow it down a bit so that it’s a deeper experience? Because all the devs have done is taken a tactical, thinking man’s shooter and turned it into a superhero brawler with guns. It’s seriously disappointing and it’s by far my biggest criticism of the game.

There are also other meaningless cuts, such as the inability to select and modify your squadmates weapons. I’m not quite sure what was going through BioWare’s head when they made these decisions. They make what were once deep, strategical decisions into more of a shallow, disposable experience. Normally I find the “dumbing down” criticism of previous Mass Effect games to be hyperbolic but for Andromeda I believe it’s completely warranted.

The memes and serious complaints surrounding the animations and human character models really cannot be overstated: They are ungodly awful. Inquisition had better character models and it’s 3 years old, uses the same engine, and was designed by a lot of the same people. Seriously, some of these Andromeda characters are animated worse than the characters found in ME1 ten years ago. It’s that bad.

Luckily enough, these pitfalls actually look worse in gifs because the voice acting does a lot to cover them up. Seriously, the voice acting in this game is excellent. Both Ryder actors do a fantastic job, and almost all of the NPCs are great as well.

The “Checkpoint only” no-manual-saves disaster that exists in story missions is still a huge complaint for me. Possibly even moreso than the poor animations and character models. This is an awful design choice that removes freedom from the player and damages the game. It’s also something that’s easily rectifiable with a patch. So I implore BioWare to do the smart thing and remove this fucking nonsense. Let us save and experiment with roleplaying like we’ve always been able to. And please, for the love of god, let us save manually while we’re playing on Insanity so we don’t have to constantly fall victim to your fucking abysmal checkpointing. God, what a nightmare that’s going to be. I can already see how infuriating it’s going to be to have to scan the same plant bullshit 18 times as I repeatedly die trying to figure out how to handle a situation on the fly without being able to pause and set up biotic detonations. Argh.


I really got off on a tangent there, because I am actually greatly enjoying the game; certainly far more than when I wrote my last post. So now let’s talk about some of The Good.

I found it hard to nail down exactly what changed for me when I brainstormed about writing this post during my commute this morning. After playing the first 2 hours two nights ago I was so down on the game that I was content to replay WItcher 3 on Death March in lieu of buying Andromeda. I was about to skip the release completely. I had no desire whatsoever to go back and play more, but I decided to anyway simply because I had already invested $5 for a month of EA Access specifically to play this game for 10 hours and make a decision on it. I figured I’d better give it a fair shake before I was done. And a series I’ve loved so much over the years certainly deserved at least another 8 hours of my time.

And boy, am I glad I went back. But, to be honest, I’m still not quite sure I can properly articulate why I’ve warmed up to it so much. It may just be because “it’s Mass Effect”. And while that sounds like a weak justification for my abrupt 180, I’ll try and nail it down further in the following paragraphs.

To properly explain this I’ve got to first explain what drew me to Mass Effect in the first place. I’ve always loved story-driven games, and the Mass Effect series is certainly that – For better or worse. I actually find some of the writing in the series to be grossly overrated, but that’s a discussion for another day. What actually kept me coming back and replaying each Mass Effect a dozen times was the way you built your character and, especially in ME2 and ME3, the approach to and challenge of the combat on Insanity. I love nerding out over skill/ability builds and character progression trees in video games; it’s why I’m a big fan of Dota 2, it’s why I liked Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, and why I love the materia system in Final Fantasy 7. And Mass Effect has always done classes and skill builds really, really well. For skill building to grab me there’s got to be a steep spike of power between base level and peak level of your character’s ability. And there’s nothing quite like the feeling of struggling against Geth Destroyers as a level 15 Shepard in Mass Effect 1 only to be lifting their god damn Armature tanks and holding them there as you mercilessly slaughter their helpless forms as a level 60 Adept. You almost literally become a god in that game as you gain levels, capable of moving several ton battle tanks with your mind and killing them with just your pistol. The power progression is like the video game version a drug. It’s a slow drip that keeps increasing in intensity until you peak, finish the game, and sit back and ruminate about how enjoyable an experience it was. And that’s a big part of what I like about Andromeda, because it allows you to build your character with a depth unseen in this series since the very first Mass Effect.

ME2 exhibited only a fraction of the skill/ability build depth found in ME1, and while ME3 was better, it still didn’t hit ME1′s level. Andromeda actually surpasses ME1 because your skill builds are no longer limited to which class you choose in the beginning of the game. You can take every single ability from each skill tree (Combat, Tech, Biotic) and mix them on the fly in-combat. There are dozens of abilities to tinker with and a virtually unlimited combination of them to put together, and so far it works amazingly well. It makes the weak, stripped-down combat I mentioned earlier actually a lot of fun despite BioWare’s best efforts to gimp it. And the constant positive feedback loop of explore, kill enemies, finish side quests, gain levels, get stronger, tinker with builds, repeat, is going to keep me coming back to this game and replaying it despite the qualms I have with some of the combat design choices. It helps that the environments are beautifully designed, interesting, and generally just a joy to explore. I can’t really say more or give specific examples without spoiling anything, which I’m wont to do when I’m writing before the actual release date. But you can tell that there was a laser focus by the dev team on creating appealing worlds to explore. It definitely shows. I liked the environmental design in Inquisition (it was the best and maybe only exceptional part of that game, to be frank), and I like it here as well. I’ve often found myself lingering around a camp, or an outcropping, just taking in the sights. I’m exploring without even chasing waypoints – something I’ve found myself doing in prior Mass Effects, the best Assassin’s Creed games, and Witcher 3 – which is always a key to me that I’m enjoying a game’s and that they’ve got me fully immersed. I can already tell I’m easily going to spend over 100 hours in this game, similar to my experience with Witcher 3, which I put nearly 200 hours into during my first playthrough.

I’ve seen a lot of ragging on the sidequests, which I find a bit odd. They’re a far cry from the “run out and scan this planet then return to the NPC” fetch garbage found in Mass Effect 3. They’re an improvement, in my opinion, even on Inquisition. They are certainly not as deep or engaging as the ones found in Witcher 3, but that’s fine because I played Witcher 3 primarily for its story, and I will not be playing Andromeda primarily for its story.

Speaking of that, I find the story and characters to be passable so far, if hampered by some odd conversation direction that creates some really awkward movements and pauses. The cinematic quality of story cutscenes is really good, though, so it’s not like the team couldn’t handle it, but probably more an indication of the need for more development time. Run-of-the-mill conversations you have with NPCs are really jarring and do a lot to damage immersion; they actually remind me of conversations in KOTOR. 

I haven’t had nearly enough time with the game to make a call on its writing yet. That will be something I comment on once I finish.


So while I still have some serious bones to pick with some of the design choices they’ve made, I can honestly say that I’m enjoying my time with it. If you’re still on the fence about whether or not to purchase it, I’d say you should definitely give it a shot if you’re a fan of the series like I am.

There’s that warm, intense feeling of contentment you get when playing a good game or reading a good book, where all you want to do is sit down with a blanket and a coffee and your dog next to you and spend hours in that world to the detriment of everything else. That’s where I’m at right now with Andromeda. I can’t wait to get back into it on Tuesday.

Well.

I 80-hour week of inpatient nights now complete. My awesome R3 gave me a congratulatory can of beer after our last signout.

Didn’t kill anybody (though caught myself making a couple of rx errors; MUST SLOW DOWN even when being hammer-paged), participated in a couple of codes. Quickly learned some important shit about being on days by being the person on nights who has to clean up messes. It was good.

It was also really exhausting. Even though I slept surprisingly well during the day, I felt sickeningly tired by 2am every morning, and I’m sure I was cranky by signout. I tried to hide it.

Nurses. Nights are all about nurses. Most nurses were wonderful, super on top of their shit, totally understanding about my inexperience, helpful, and appreciative of my attempts at high-quality doctoring. Other nurses yelled at me, hung up on me, manipulated me, and generally made life hard. I tried to ask for their input, say ‘yes’ as much as possible, be physically present whenever that was helpful (eg. agitated delirium)…I tried to be a good colleague. I’d say that was reciprocated 80% of the time. Thank you, awesome nurses. I will get better at this, I promise.

But, those other 20% of nurses, working at teaching hospitals in July? Please believe me when I tell you that we are trying. That being a brand-new doctor is very, very hard. And that being mean to us does not help, and is also really unprofessional and ultimately bad for patients.

I couldn’t wait and introduced my mom to gw2 before our new computer came in. She’s commandeered my computer for two nights now to map complete Divinity’s Reach on her elementalist human lady.

She named her Elynn Tydewatyr, and has opened every door she can and stopped at every NPC to ask me if they’re a real person.

Earlier she accidentally zoomed the map all the way out and just goes “motherfucker. No wonder you’re always playing this game.”

This is her very first computer game that isn’t Rollercoaster Tycoon (the first one) and it’s both incredibly frustrating watching her go ‘WWWWWWAAWWWWWDDDDWWWWSSSS’ because she hasn’t quite gotten that you can hold down a button or even two and adorable when she’s like discussing a complex strategy for getting the Grenth vista.

4

DTsLE on a Grand Night In  

AkaYona 122 “I want to touch you” (ハクに触れたい)

So I should clarify a bit more about this particular speech bubble, because a brief misunderstanding and a translation note I forgot I added have caused a little bit of confusion. 

Someone just asked me the following:

Actually I just read your translation for AkaYona 122 and I noticed something. At the end she says ハクに触れたい which you wrote means she wants Hak to touch her… but wouldn’t that be ハクに触れられたい? When I read it I got the sense that it wasn’t the literal sense of touching, but more to touch on a experience, to have the experience of something… so more like, “I want to be near you” which is why it’s ni…に without the passive られる… IF THAT MAKES ANY SENSE.

At first I was very confused, because I was sure I had translated it as “I want to touch you”, then I re-read my translation and I remembered - the に here had initially tricked my sleepy brain into thinking Yona wanted to be touched by Hak, so I translated it as “I want to touch you” because it sounded less sexual and more correct.

The thing is I later realised my translation was actually what Yona was saying: the に here is indicating what/who it is you want to touch. That’s why it’s not in passive form (dear follower who asked this privately).

I had arrived to this conclusion myself yesterday during flamenco an hour or so after posting the chapter, because I kept wondering why on earth I had assumed Yona wanted Hak to touch her when the sentence was screaming I WANT TO TOUCH YOU in my head. I was glad I had actually translated it correctly at a subconscious level, but forgot I made a joke out of it (woops)

SO CHILDREN (and especially those who don’t study Japanese who are probably reading this post and have no idea what’s going on). No, Yona does not want to be touched by Hak, she genuinely wants to touch him and initiate the contact herself. Luckily I translated it correctly anyway, but hey, I still told everyone that Yona was the one wanting to be touched, so apologies for the incorrect translation note >__<

IT STILL SOUNDS SEXUAL EITHER WAY BUT TRUST ME IT DOESN’T IN JAPANESE

I also decided to keep Yona’s last line as “Can I go to you?” and keep the idea of her wanting to walk towards him that was present in the original Japanese. I thought about it last night and decided I’d rather preserve that aspect of the line rather than the “beside you” part.