As you may have noticed, I stopped updating. I started graduate school in September, and even though I was expecting to have to scale back non-school related work, I didn’t think I’d have to stop completely. I’m trying to figure out a way to still use this blog, with shorter pieces, but haven’t quite worked it out yet. I hope to return to it soon.
In the meantime, please keep an eye on the “Publications” page for updates on my science fiction and fantasy stories as they’re published. I had four pieces of flash fiction picked up in 2017, and have more stories upcoming in 2018.
It has taken me eleven years to beat Titan Quest. The game was first released in 2006, and only now, in the year 2017 C.E., have I finally beaten it.
The beginning of the end
John Walker wrote a post for Rock Paper Shotgun in 2014 entitled “I Seem To Be Having Trouble Starting Titan Quest.” In it, he talks about “game-opening paralysis.” The stat o the game s so idyllic and peaceful, there’s a temptation to sit there forever, and to not start the game beyond the opening location, avoiding all the death and violence that the main quest entails.
Most times, playing videogames and looking for your reflection as a gay woman is tough. You find a game you love, it’s fantasy, and a return to Baldur’s Gate style narrative and gameplay! You sink hours into it, about uhh, 90+ hours at this point. You finish the game once and then make four new characters to eventually go through the game with, because that’s a responsible and reasonable use of your limited time on this Earth.
And even as you cherish the game, you think, wow I wish someone in this game world could be gay and okay.
Anyways, the plot of Pillars of Eternity, loosely, is that souls continue after death in a kind of wheel, inhabiting new bodies and lives over and over. In the game world, children are currently being born without souls, causing panic and strife in the populace. In the context of this tragedy, the player character is awakened as a Watcher, someone who can attune to their own past lives, and see the past lives of others. The player realizes they have some past soul history with a figure who may be behind the children being born without souls. So they set out.
Here’s my girl, fresh-faced at the start of the game.
In June, the San Fransisco Museum of Modern Art went live with a new project called “Send Me SFMOMA.” By texting the phrase “Send me….” and then a word or an emoji to the number 572-51, you’ll receive an image of a piece from their collections keyed into that phrase. From their website:
When you say “Send me a landscape” you won’t get 791 landscapes, you’ll get a landscape chosen just for you. You may one day be able to visit your landscape in SFMOMA’s galleries, or you may be the only person to see it for years to come.
You can, if you want more information, then check SFMOMA’s website, for things like if the piece is on display or not, and when it was acquired, which I think is fun. It’s a minor thrill, to see something is not on display, but it’s right here on your phone, like this simple text has let you in on a little secret.
I doubt I will get this out in any parameter that could remotely be considered timely, but with the announcement of Skyrim’s 10 billionth re-release at this year’s E3, I’ve been thinking about the Elder Scrolls series a lot, and realizing how much I genuinely loved Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. I’d like to reminisce, briefly, about how impactful the game was for me, and then I’m going to talk about an important mechanic that Oblivion had, which deepened the game’s immersion, and which Skyrim mostly lacks.
Alice Isn’t Dead is one of my favorite podcasts, and it’s starting back up again with Part 2 after a hiatus, so I thought I’d write about why it’s one of my favorites. As you can tell by this intro, I started writing this months ago, when Part 2 Episode 1 was just being hinted at, but then I went on some road trips and now we’re at Part 2, Episode 7. Go figure.
Alice Isn’t Dead is produced by Nightvale Presents and follows Keisha (voiced by Jasika Nicole), a woman who took a job as a truck driver in order to search for her lost wife (who definitely isn’t dead) across America, and is pursued by monstrous Thistle Men and falls into haunted and surreal parts of the landscape of the United States. Each episode is her broadcasting part of her travels over the truck radio, in the hopes that her wife is listening.
So, Wonder Woman is the most important character in my personal canon. I think sometimes fiction can guide us, can ennoble our lives, and at her best that’s what Wonder Woman is to me. Some people have King Arthur, some people have Aslan, some people have Batman. I have Princess Diana of Themyscira. If, somehow, all fictional characters were going to be erased from human history, but I could save one, I would save Wonder Woman. In a Fahrenheit 451 situation, I would memorize and preserve Greg Ruka’s The Hiketeia.
So, I must be enthralled by the new movie, beloved by audiences and critics alike, right?
Posted in review
Tagged Wonder Woman
I used to get really bummed if I felt I had wasted writing. If I started something and then abandoned it, or couldn’t execute an idea quite right, or finished something and then discarded it after so many rejections. It felt like I had failed in some massive way, and I would completely overlook any improvement I made in the process.
I don’t like making broad statements about what makes a “good writer,” or whatever, but I think for me right now, learning to not think of writing that isn’t publishable as wasted is part of me growing into a “good writer.”
It takes me a billion years to finish games anymore. I finally just beat XCOM 2, which came out in February of 2016, so that really changes my average time to completion of a game. Only like a year this time. I was excited to start and finish this game, as its prequel XCOM: Enemy Unknown is one of my favorite time sinks.
I love XCOM: Enemy Unknown because it’s super kitschy. The enemies unknown are all classic aliens – grey aliens, skinny men in black, decked out with laser guns and set against a background of bright colors. Its fairly goofy, even when played straight, an homage to jokey alien sightings.
I love this aesthetic. I love bug eyed greyliens, men in black sightings, and saucer UFOS. Earth is under threat, and while missions do feature civilians in need of rescue before a Chryssalid kills them and turns them into a zombie, or green goo covered corpses scattering the ground, its mostly window dressing. Its hokey. Its a delight. I used to replay XCOM: Enemy Unknown every few months, and part of the appeal was the simple threat of bug-eyed aliens. Classic, goofy, and charming.
The zombies have chased us into a flooded power building. Corralled us like cattle. there are dozens of use, standing in tepid, ankle-length water near the walls of the building. We try to board up the windows, to pile up debris and abandoned machinery in front of the doorways. I can hear the hordes outside – the way their feet shuffle and stumble across debris in the parking lot, the groans and idle sounds slipping from decaying lips, their hands pounding against the doors, so much dead meat.
I peer between cracks in the boards across one window. I can see him. The leader.