DonAithnen
13 June 2025 @ 02:21 am
This is my journal. Some posts are public, some are friends only. I'm usually quite happy to add new friends, as long as you're not one of those random people with a week old journal who's trying to accumulate a couple hundred friends for no good reason.

I do have a couple levels of filters to deal with a few topics, mainly to block out stuff that i think might be exceptionally boring or possible offensive to some people. If you're curious just ask and i'll tell you about them.

Also, i have a profile on G+ that i post to a lot. It's mostly just cross-posted stuff from here, but if you want to see it, here it is.
 
 
DonAithnen
22 January 2015 @ 01:17 pm
A friend has been replaying FF13 and discussing various parts he's gotten to or finished and items he's collected and tactics he's using. And i realized that i remember far less of that game than seems reasonable given how recent it was. Which led to two thoughts.

1: Do i _actually_ remember more about the other FF games, or do i just think i do because i'm not comparing my knowledge against someone currently playing the game?

2: Is there any correlation between how much i remember about the other games and how much i liked them?

So i decided to experiment and write down what i could remember about each Final Fantasy game and see how those lists compare. At first i figured i'd just write them all up and then post about the whole thing, but then just writing up just two of them took far longer than i initially estimated, so i decided to split it up and post over a couple of weeks or something. (Hey, more posts that way! =)

So here's my notes from the original Final Fantasy, as best as i can remember.

Final Fantasy 1

Times played: 2-3 (Complete) 2-3 (Incomplete)
First played: 1990
Last completed: 1995 or 6?
Last played: 2000ish? Maybe later?
Last seen: Watched a Let's Play by Sulla through the Elf town part a couple months ago.

Cast:

Four blank slates
Princess and King of Cornelia(?)
Garland
Matoya
Greedy Elf Prince
The Crescent Lake(?) Sages
Bahamut

Synopsis:

I'm going to put a cut here, because this is obviously spoilers and moderately long. (And maybe others want to play along, who knows?)

Spoilers (duh)Collapse )

So this is kinda of a Throwback Thursday thing, right? :)
 
 
Current Mood: dorkydorky
 
 
DonAithnen
21 January 2015 @ 12:59 pm
We went to see the Into the Woods movie with thumbie and shamiksan on saturday. Avalyn has seen the musical before, but i think just once or twice, and it's been years since then. Thumbie knew it had been a musical but had never seen it. Shamiksan didn't even know it was based on a musical until we mentioned it to him.

I on the other hand saw it once or twice as a kid on PBS. Then got the DVD while i was in college and must have watched it at least four or five more times since then. And then i got the soundtrack CD, ripped it, and made it a part of my regular music rotation.

They all liked the movie. I liked it _but_ every time they changed a line or skipped something my brain immediately latched onto it. Trying to put aside the constant distraction of that, i think it was reasonably good, but still not as good as the original musical.

One part they did do very will was the "Agony" duet, which really played up the one-upmanship between the princes in a hilarious way. Of course that makes me doubly sad that they never did the reprise of that song in the second half.

I also really miss the Narrator character. I presume he just got cut for time, because i can't think of any plot specific reasons why they got rid of him. They also left out the death of one of the characters. I'm not sure if that's because they wanted to lighten it up a little, because it let them save some more time, or both.

So yeah, all in all not ideal, but not as bad as i feared. If you haven't seen the musical, or haven't seen it in a long time, definitely go see this. (And then watch the musical.) If you've already seen the musical recently or are very familiar with it... your call.
Tags: ,
 
 
DonAithnen
20 January 2015 @ 01:10 pm
I'm not a big fan of sportsball in general. In fact most years the only time i see the game is during the Superbowl, which i usually turn on more for the commercials than the game.

So it was kind of surprising to me the first time my "home" team, the Seahawks, made it to the Superbowl in 2006. I kind of expected them to lose because i'd been used to the Seahawks losing all throughout my childhood, and they lived up to my expectations.

Then they got to the Superbowl again last year, and from what i was hearing from family and friends it sounded like this time they actually had a chance. I found it hard to believe, but we've already established i don't know much about the sport and they went on to clobber the... Broncos? (For a Seahawks "fan" who knows very little about the game it was a great one to watch. I still have a gif of the opening toss thing going past the quarterback's head as he stares at it dumbfoundedly.)

So since some friends from Washington have been in town for the last week on business we actually ended up watching the game against the... somebody or others the saturday before last over at thumbie and shamiksan's place. And then we got together at a Karl Strauss on sunday to watch the final pre-Superbowl game against the Green Bay Packers.

As usual, i expected the Seahawks to screw everything up, and my friends expected them to pull it out of the fire in the second half. In fact the Seahawks managed to fulfil both of our expectations, to the consternation of pretty much everyone.

Game detailsCollapse )

So all in all it was a pretty exciting game, and we'll definitely be watching the Superbowl as well as the commercials this year. Still not enough to turn me into a regular sportsball watcher though. It may be fun to watch your favorite team in the championship games, but most of the games involve neither your favorite team nor the championship, and apparently i just don't care enough without the combined incentive.

Also, i think i need to see if i can get a gif of the ball boinging off the Packers guy's helmet to go with my gif of the Broncos guy completely missing the opening ball :)
 
 
DonAithnen
08 January 2015 @ 01:11 pm
What did i do with my time off over the holidays?

I started a new game of "Recettear". I forget what the original inspiration was, i think maybe i wanted to play something Zelda-like? In any case i was rather sad to discover that i somehow missed this save when transferring things over to my new hard drive. It didn't take me _too_ long to "finish" the game again and get to Endless mode though. Don't want to think about how much dungeon progress i lost though =P

I played a game of "80 Days". I stumbled across a recommendation for this game somewhere and gave it a shot. It's on both Android and IOS. It's a game version of "Around the World in 80 Days", except set in a alternate steampunk world. There are locations scattered all around the world with a number of different kinds of routes between them. Some routes appear automatically and some are discovered by story events. In each city you can buy items, some of which provide a benefit and some of which can be sold for a huge profit if you happen to go through the right city. You have to balance the time each route tacks vs the cost, balancing in the fact that you may really want to go through city X to sell that doodad you picked up for an obscene amount of money, even if the trip takes a little more time. It was rather fun, but i only got through one game because i then got distracted by...

"Plague Inc." I played a lot of Pandemic on the web back in the day. Yet for some reason even though i heard a bit about this several months ago i never picked it up until seeing a good review of it over the holidays. It's your "standard" evolve a disease and try to wipe out humanity game. The developer freely admits the game is inspired by Pandemic 2, and although some people have accused it of being a simple clone of Pandemic 2.5 it seems to me that they've added enough depth and complexity to show that's not the case. Although like Pandemic it keeps the silly convention that when you evolve your disease all of it instantly evolves together worldwide. It's a pretty reasonable thing from a gameplay standpoint, but it does demonstrate that if any diseases ever develop telepathy we're definitely all screwed.

But in any event i played a fairly large number of hours of it on my phone, and then when i got home i discovered there was a PC version available on Steam, which i picked up and have played a couple more hours of. (The PC version definitely seems a little more difficult, though it's possible i just think so because i had to start over without any of the boosts i'd previously earned.)

A little later i ended up watching a Let's Play of Dungeon of the Endless and ended up deciding to grab a copy of that too. It's definitely very interesting, but also rather hard. The Let's Play guy said at the beginning that he'd already played a couple games and hadn't made it to the end yet. So i went in expecting it to be difficult and it exceeded my expectations. This is a rogue-like where you start out with two people and can recruit up to four. Each level you explore a series of room. You have a limited resource that can light up rooms, and every time you explore a new room any rooms that are dark can spawn monsters. You can fight the monsters with your characters and/or you can build defenses in rooms you've lit up.

And finally, on thursday Avalyn saw an add for a free trial period of Final Fantasy 14. She's been a WoW player forever and has made intermittent attempts to get me to join her. So she said "you like Final Fantasy right? We could play this together!" So i finally gave in to temptation and started playing my first MMO ever.

We then stayed up until about 5am playing. Then on friday we restarted because we found out that coraa and jmpava have characters on a different server. (I was very happy that we were able to grab "Ultros" and only reluctantly moved to "Midgardsormr". What kind of a name is that?) Thankfully it was _much_ quicker to race through the early content now that we knew what we were doing and it only took us a couple hours to get back to where we were. We "only" stayed up until 3 am that "evening", and then saturday and sunday night we managed to cap things off at a fairly sane time.

FF14 DetailsCollapse )

Jack of all trades, master of none: Nailed it!
http://na.finalfantasyxiv.com/lodestone/character/9582742/
 
 
Current Mood: energeticenergetic
 
 
DonAithnen
04 January 2015 @ 03:08 pm
Avalyn was complaining that she couldn't get one of those twisty metal puzzles to come apart, so i started fiddling with it behind my head without looking at it. A minute or two later it popped apart and i took my hands from behind me head, holding the two separate pieces with a bemused look on my face.

I don't know how i got it apart, i don't know if i could get them apart again if it was reset, and i can't actually get it back together again now. But despite explaining that to her Avalyn is still glaring at me and accusing me of being some kind of puzzle genius =P
 
 
DonAithnen
31 December 2014 @ 09:51 pm
Been busy with holiday traveling and stuff for the past two weeks so haven't been posting at all, but belated happy SolChanZaMas and a merry New Year! (To those who celebrate it in this approximate time frame.)
 
 
DonAithnen
18 December 2014 @ 01:07 pm
It's not quite a throwback thursday, but one of the people working on a Russian geostationary satellite compiled a bunch of the video data into a pretty impressive film of Earth from orbit over a 4 day period.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ybh11kcDhfM

Then someone had the brilliant idea to combine the video with the theme from Civilization 4. They did it on the cheap and easy via a website that lets you play two YouTube videos at once, but if you follow the link and make the satellite imagery video fullscreen the Civ theme will keep playing in the background. Despite not actually being edited it works out rather well.

Planet Earth in 4k vs Christopher Tin's Baba Yetu

Of course that got the Civ4 theme stuck in the head and reminded me of the "What if Civilization Had Lyrics" song from a couple years ago. The guy who did this does a whole series of "What if Game X Had Lyrics" (hence the name, even though the Civ4 theme _does_ have lyrics,) and some of them are pretty bad for various reasons, but i really liked this one.

(I suppose i should note that there are some "mature themes and language")

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aL6wlTDPiPU

And then if you want to get even more meta, someone made What If Civilization Had Lyrics Had Ponies :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLLO4DgVWac

I'm sure i've shared those last two before, but they're worth resharing :)
 
 
DonAithnen
17 December 2014 @ 01:16 pm
Speaking of space stuff, here are three NASA music videos, one newish, the other two not.

All About That Space
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHy08ZPav88

NASA Johnson Style
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Sar5WT76kE

Space Oddity (IN SPACE!)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KaOC9danxNo

So is it just me, or have we not seen a massive explosion of well done parody videos since 2012 when Gangnam Style and Call Me Maybe came out in relatively close succession? Or have there been some massive parody hits since then that i've been missing out on?

People certainly had some fun with "Let it Go", but not quite to the same extent i think. "What Does The Fox Say" _wanted_ to be the next super popular crazy music video but couldn't quite pull it off.
 
 
Current Mood: sillysilly
 
 
DonAithnen
16 December 2014 @ 09:06 pm
Saturday we went over to inkbot's place to set up the christmas tree. Avalyn and i helped get all the christmas stuff out of the garage and then Avalyn set up the tree with a little help with inkbot and i, and then inkbot and i just stood back and let Avalyn put most of the ornaments on.

Avalyn has an extensive collection of fancy Star Wars ornaments which she has been collecting for the past... two decades? Maybe a little more? In any case inkbot and i are wary of helping her put them on the tree least we screw up somehow and break one. Once all the Star Wars ornaments were up i helped Avalyn put up the remaining, more mundane ornaments. (Some stars and some icicles and some stuff like that.)

During the ornamenting of the tree inkbot put on "Mixed Nuts", one of their favorite christmas movies which i had never seen before. It was filmed in 1994 and features a very young looking Steve Martin and also what seems to be Jon Stewart's first ever feature film role, in a very bit part. It was also one of the first movies that a friend of theirs ever worked on. On the downside, it also had Adam Sandler in a not-as-bit-as-i-would-have-liked part. Also, i managed to annoy Avalyn by predicting the plot twist at the end :)

Inkbot was going to a concert that evening so Avalyn and i headed home pretty soon after the decorating was finished. We spontaneously decided to head by Del Taco on the way home.

We'd been vaguely thinking of doing something for the Geminid meteor shower, and around 7 i got around to looking some stuff up. The last time i went meteor watching it was over a decade ago when i was living in Pomona. It would take us almost an hour and a half to get to the spot i remembered there. I decided to go up on the roof of the apartment complex to see if the weather was clear enough to even merit bothering.

I went up for about 5 minutes and it looked moderately clear. There was one moderately large bank of clouds to the south and a little haze elsewhere, but mostly clear, especially straight up. Towards the end of the five minutes i even saw two meteors, even from the middle of LA.

After heading back down we discussed it for a little bit and decided we weren't quite up for a three hours round trip out to Mt Baldy. But after doing a little research into alternative locations we decided that it might be worth trying the Griffith Observatory, a 45-60 minute round trip.

MeteorsCollapse )

If we decide to try this again in a year or two we'll probably want to scout out a better location. I found this article suggesting some places in and around LA to do stargazing. Griffith Observatory is one of the possibilities suggested, but unsurprisingly it is both the closest and least promising of the options.


http://www.kcet.org/living/travel/socal_wanderer/night-sky/stargazing/8-places-to-see-stars-in-los-angeles-county.html
 
 
DonAithnen
15 December 2014 @ 10:37 pm
Avalyn and i were kind of hoping that the Burger King wasn't _closed_ closed, that it was just being renovated. Or maybe that another fast food chain had bought it out. (I would have been ecstatic about an In-n-Out going up, though that would be only so-so for Avalyn) but we weren't really that optimistic.

Then Avalyn poked around and manged to find a local article about it. It turns out that some local church group bought it so they could build a new church, along with the not-quite-historic-enough-to-be-protected movie theatre next door. (The article didn't really specify what was wrong with their old church.)

I'm sure that's great for the people who are going to use it, but it's not so great for Avalyn and i =/
 
 
Current Mood: sadsad
 
 
DonAithnen
12 December 2014 @ 12:38 pm
Remember how i said yesterday that i'd coincidentally been listening to the Final Fantasy OCRemix albums, Balance and Ruin in particular, over the last two weeks?

And remember how i said on wednesday that i'd been catching up on old Extra Credits videos and how they'd diversified into the "Extra History" videos that i shared?

Well when Extra Credits announced the new shows they were doing one of them was a set of episodes dedicated to the video game remix artists, many of them from OCRemix, that they've been using for the closing credits music since the series began.

Maybe it was knowing those videos existed that prompted me to turn off shuffle mode in winamp when it randomly started playing the Final Fantasy remix albums, or may be it was the fact that i'd been listening to the remix albums that prompted me to start playing the "Extra Remix" videos. Or maybe both. (It might be possible to narrow it down if YouTube actually displayed timestamps in your viewing history, but no such luck.)

But in any case i'd gotten through Echoes of Betrayal and had been listening to Balance and Ruin for the past two days on friday. I'd already listened to the first couple "Extra Remix" videos on my own, but that evening i decided to play the episode for one of my favorite remixers for Avalyn. I played the intro video first so she'd have some idea of what was going on, and then played her the video for djpretzel, the founder of OCRemix.

For each artist they play a number of clips from various songs and then one song in full. And one of the songs they played was... from Balance and Ruin. And i said "ha, i was just listening to that at work!"

And when we were done with that i saw that a little later in the queue were zircon and PixieTricks, and i thought "hey! i like both of their stuff! Let's queue them up too!"

I had not known that Zircon and PixieTricks were married when i queued the videos up and had not been looking at the full list of videos, so it was amusing when they mentioned they were going to be doing the PixieTricks video after the Zircon video. "Ha, i already did that!" And then for one of the Zircon songs they picked Balance and Ruin again. To which i replied "wow, they really seem to like that album, they keep picking stuff from it."

So then we got to the PixieTricks episodes and they announced that one of the clips was from Balance and Ruin, and something to the effect of "you may have noticed we keep picking stuff from Balance and Ruin, that's because we think it's a great album."

So we spent awhile listening to a bunch of good music and some pretty amusing synchronicity :)

Extra Remix: Intro
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxkPT61aXQU

Extra Remix: djpretzel
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUKoU82iSMM

Extra Remix: zircon
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJVyInWdfmw

Extra Remix: Jillian Aversa (PixieTricks)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPevj0vT7-I
 
 
Current Mood: bouncybouncy
Current Music: FF6 BaR - The Megiddo Brigade (Devil's Lab)
 
 
DonAithnen
11 December 2014 @ 01:41 pm
Today is the 15th Anniversary of OCRemix!

For anyone not familiar with it, it's the biggest site hosting remixed video game music on the web, and if you like video games and music you should follow one or more of the links below to check it out!

At first it seems hard to believe it's been around that long. Then i realize i've been enjoying it for at least 13 of those 15 years and i feel kind of old =P

But anyways in honor of the anniversary they put together a "mixtape" of songs from the site on the AVClub.

http://www.avclub.com/article/staff-and-artists-overclocked-remix-make-us-list-t-212621

I haven't heard most of those particular songs, but i'm sure they're all good. (Of the two i am familiar with, "Fillmore Freestyle" is an old favorite and "A Fistfull of Nickels" is a new favorite.)

Coincidentally i've spent most of the past two weeks listening to the Final Fantasy albums i got from the OCRemix Kickstarter, Random Encounter (FF1), Echoes of Betrayal (FF4), Balance and Ruin (FF6), and Voices of the Lifestream (FF7).

I got physical albums from the Kickstarter, but it should be emphasized that the digital albums are available on the site and (like all the other remixes) are free!

And just to make it really simple, here's a link to the site :)

OCRemix!
 
 
Current Mood: bouncybouncy
Current Music: djpretzel - F-Zero Mute Radiology OC ReMix
 
 
DonAithnen
I've been catching up on "Extra Credits" for the past couple weeks. Normally it's a show about video games, the main focus is on stuff relevant to people in the game industry, people who want to work in the game industry, and people who are just interested in the theory game design. Although they do occasionally have videos that are relevant for everyone, most particularly the "Games You May Not Have Tried" sub-series.

They originally started as part of the Escapist, then after a dispute with them moved to Penny Arcade, then after PATV was shut down they just became a YouTube channel. Right around the point they moved to YouTube they got hired by the people who do the Total War series of games to do a video about history. Apparently the developers are fans of the show and discovered they have some leftover marketing money, so they just gave it to Extra Credits with no strings attached.

Extra Credits took the money and did a set of videos about the second Punic War. The response to that was apparently so good that they then did a video about how World War I got started (without covering any of the war itself,) and are currently in the middle of a series about the Warring States period of Japan.

Since this year is the 100th anniversary of the start of WWI let's list that one first.

Extra History - World War I: The Seminal Tragedy - Chapter 1: The Concert of Europe
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-wSL4WqUws

Extra History - Rome: The Punic Wars - Chapter 1: The First Punic War
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbBHk_zLTmY

(Okay, it's mainly about the second Punic War, but they go over the first one in brief for the first episode just to give you a grounding for the second one.)

Extra History - Warring States Japan: Sengoku Jidai - Chapter 1: Battle of Okehazama
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDsdkoln59A
 
 
DonAithnen
09 December 2014 @ 01:25 pm
Last friday was The Game Awards, which is a "new" award show that would like to be the Oscars for video games. I say "new" because although they're claiming it's the first one it's clearly the successor to the Spike Video Game Awards (the VGAs), which did their final show last year, and produced and MCed by Geoff Keighley, who was also the same person who produced and MCed the VGAs.

If you wish to watch it yourself, it's still up on youtube:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KlLvCLP2h84

I did not watch the VGAs, but from what i heard they were, if not actually a disaster, certainly very underwhelming. The biggest complaints were A: the shows were clearly targeted at what Spike TV imagined their demographic was, ie lots of stupid humor, and B: they featured appearances by numerous Hollywood people who very obviously didn't know anything about games and were only there because of the paycheck.

After Spike TV discontinued the Video Game Awards the Game Awards show was clearly intended to address those faults, and is much more in line with what one would expect from a "normal" awards show. (Which presumably means that either the faults with the VGAs were things pressed on Geoff Keighley by Spike TV, or that he learned a lot from his mistakes.)

What They Got RightCollapse )

What They Got WrongCollapse )

Noteworthy Things That I'm Not Sure Were Right Or WrongCollapse )

How To Improve It (aka TLDR):

If i were Geoff, here are the first things i would change for next year.

#1 Find a way to at least mention all the nominees for all the awards. It doesn't have to be a full presentation with clips, though a lot of the ones that were skipped this year clearly deserved that. Make it 15 minutes longer or cut 15 minutes of commercials, it doesn't matter. This is what we're supposed to be watching for.

#2 Make "fake" commercial breaks to stick the regular commercials in. It's debatable whether or not the "World Premiere" promotions should be included in such breaks, but it should certainly be looked into.

#3 Encourage more companies to create skits rather than regular trailers/commercials. The Dragon Age Inquisition one was brilliant, and since i still remember that one but can't tell you what any of the other commercials were it clearly did its job. They should also consider producing some shorts of their own, especially if they have trouble getting the companies to follow through on the idea. Perhaps they should talk to the How It Should Have Ended or Rooster Teeth (the Red vs Blue people) or some other group like that.

Finally, as a "bonus," here's everything i tweeted about the show while watching it. You'll notice some obvious similarities to my later thoughts :)

TweetsCollapse )
 
 
Current Mood: geekygeeky
 
 
DonAithnen
08 December 2014 @ 12:58 pm
When i first moved in with Avalyn there was a Burger King a quarter of a mile down the street. This was awesome because according to Avalyn Burger King is the only cheap fast foot burger chain with a real veggie burger. So fairly often i would walk there and come back with one or two burgers for me off of the "cheap" menu, a veggie burger for her, and satisfries and onion rings to split.

In theory the satisfries were supposed to be good for you because they had less fat or something. The important thing to us was that they were thicker than their regular fries and crinkle cut. They weren't quite as good as Del Taco fries (the excellence of which is something that continues to amuse me) but they were a lot better than "regular" fries.

Unfortunately it seems that a lot of people were put off by the "low fat" thing, so they didn't sell very well and Burger King discontinued them at a lot of locations, including ours. That made us sad, but at least we could still get the same order with the somewhat less appealing regular fries, so overall it was still pretty good.

Given the previous use of tenses you can guess where the rest of this is going. I got home from gaming last night and we decided we wanted something quick and easy for dinner, so Burger King. I headed out walking down the street, listening to audiobook and not paying that much attention, because it's pretty obvious when you get to the Burger King.

A block or two later i ran into one of those temporary sidewalk tunnels they put up for construction. "That's weird" i thought, i wonder what they're doing? I continued on through the tunnel and when i got to the other side i realized i'd gone too far. I stood there confused for a second before putting two and two together. With a feeling of trepidation i walked back through the sidewalk tunnel and when i got to the other side i peered up over the walls blocking off the lot to see the once brightly lit Burger King sign now dark and partially dismantled. (Or at least that's how it appeared at night, maybe it was just my shattered hopes projected upon the form of the sign.)

So i continued on to the Fatburger that's half a mile from our place, where i spent almost twice as much for close to the same meal. (Plus: i did get a salad too. Minus: their onion rings aren't as good. And the burger was larger than i really wanted at that time of night. Indeterminate: Their fries are better than Burger King's regular fries, but not as good as the satisfries.)
 
 
Current Mood: sadsad
 
 
DonAithnen
05 December 2014 @ 08:28 am
At some point near the end of October, around the time we were going through Season 4 of Babylon 5, i got the idea that that perhaps i should create a Marcus-esque Ranger costume for LosCon. (Since the reason we were watching B5 at that particular time was because JMS was the guest of honor this year.)

So after Halloween i stopped shaving (and was quickly dismayed by how many more white hairs my face has since the last time i did that =P) to get the full Marcus effect. (Or at least as full as i can manage anyways.)

I (correctly) expected the hardest part of the costume would be getting a decent duster/trench coat I tried checking the place i got the brown duster i use for my steampunk pirate costume, but they didn't have any options in black, so i reluctantly went to Amazon and found some things that were close, but not a great match.

The long process of finding a good coatCollapse )

So the plan was get the package on wednesday, spend thursday morning doing some sewing before Thanksgiving, finish things up early on friday and go to the con in the evening.

So i got home wednesday to discover that "expedited shipping" = "USPS Priority 2-Day", which be default requires you to sign for the package. And since i wasn't home in the middle of the day they just left a note saying i could pick it up at the post office. On friday. @#$%%&*(%&@!!!!

Side-note: The Post Office, and every other shipping company, needs to differentiate their shipping methods better. "Priority" means very little in the way of specifics (even aside from the fact that it was called "Expedited" rather than "Priority" when i placed the order on Amazon.) They need to have a clearly labeled "Fast" option and a clearly labeled "Secure" option, and of course a "Fast & Secure" option. This is not the first time i've asked for some kind of "Expedited" option because i thought "Fast" but they thought "Secure" and refused to just leave the package for me.

In any case, after that disappointment we decided we ought to go pick up the supplies anyways, even if we didn't have the coat available to measure exactly how much fabric we'd need. We figured we'd just overestimate a little and everything would be fine.

Buying staff parts and fabric, sewing and paintingCollapse )

We got ready and got dressed, me in my costume except for the coat. (So aside from the vest, belt and sash, just a black t-shirt, black cargo pants and black boots.) And i grabbed a garbage bag to stick the end of the staff in in case it hadn't finished drying and we headed off to the con.

We got there about 11:55, but the parking lot was full and we had to circle around to find someplace else on the block to park and walk down. We ended up getting to JMS' B5 panel a little after noon, about halfway through.

After the panel i did take the opportunity to go sit outside and draw some lines on the staff to make it look less like a simple grey stick. Then we went to the autograph signing session JMS was in. There were a couple people ahead of us but no real line.

I didn't have anything to sign (i could have brought the DVD boxes i suppose, but those are starting to fall apart) but i asked if i could get a picture with him. He said yes and after the picture was taken he complimented me on the costume! I think the words he used might have been "that's a great costume", but my brain wasn't really firing on all cylinders so i can't remember that clearly.

A couple other people asked for pictures of the costume later, which was also nice. On the other hand i don't think i saw any other B5 costumes there, though we didn't look that hard for them. I certainly didn't see any other Rangers. So i could have just shown up in a t-shirt and shorts with the Ranger pin attached and i still technically would have been the best Ranger cosplay there :)

And i did discover over the course of the day that although the _surface_ of the staff was dry, there were bubbles where the paint had collected and just filmed over. Every so often the heat and pressure from my hand would cause one of these to burst and smear my hand with paint. I had to go to the bathroom a couple times to wash the accumulation off.

I thought about wearing the costume again on sunday, but we were already running a little late and were only going to be there for 4-5 hours, so i decided to skip. And even though wearing the costume didn't feel that bad i've got to say that it was amazing how light and free it felt to just be walking around in shorts and t-shirt again after that.


Final costume price:

Ranger pin (off of Etsy) - $33 (with shipping)
Black duster - $105 (with shipping)
PVC pipe + paint - $20
Fabric - $75

Total: $233


Final costume time (very guestimatey):

Ranger pin: 2-3 hours researching and purchasing
Staff: 1 hour buying parts, 1-2 hours total constructing it.
Black duster: 6-7 hours researching, failing to find at Goodwill, buying online, and going to post office to pick up.
Fabric: 2-3 hours over two trips.
Cutting and sewing: 12 hours for me, 3-4 for Avalyn.

Total time: ~30 hours

A couple pictures will be following shortly in a friends-only post.
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DonAithnen
03 December 2014 @ 08:49 am
Wow, the original PlayStation came out today in 1994, happy 20th anniversary!

I'd actually forgotten it was out that early. I'm sure i knew about it at the time, but at this point the first time i can remember ever thinking about it was when Square announced that Final Fantasy 7 would be a Playstation exclusive at the start of 1996. I finally picked up a used PSX during the summer of 1997, when i was sharing a room in a subletted apartment with kirinn. (The first time i ever lived away from home and not in a dorm.) It came with a bunch of PSX games, most of which were pretty crappy. The only ones i recall at this point were Beyond the Beyond and Resident Evil. However i did pick up a copy of Final Fantasy Tactics when i went to Japan that same summer and spent awhile playing that before FF7 came out in the US, the real reason why i'd gotten the PSX of course.

I played a bunch of FF7 (including beating the Weapons) and a bunch of FFT (though mainly after getting the English version later, i got stuck in the Japanese version.) And then eventually Wild Arms, FF8 & 9, Azure Dreams, Xenogears, Breath of Fire 3 and 4, Brigandine, Bushido Blade, Einhander, Monster Rancher, uh, i'm sure there are more, but that's what's coming to mind right now. (And that's only after a quick glance at the list of all games on wikipedia.)

But yeah, there were two and a half years of the PSX being out (although just two years in the US) where i didn't own one and only occasionally even thought about it.

Know what else happened in 1994 though? I started college.

We're reached the point where things that happened during college have started having 20th anniversaries. I feel really old now =P
 
 
DonAithnen
02 December 2014 @ 01:04 pm
On a more OMGWTFBBQ note, someone shared the Chinese version of the "What Does the Fox Say?" music video. If i hadn't seen that video first words would probably have failed me.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxzgwJ8tSE0

(I just couldn't wait until friday to share this one =)
 
 
DonAithnen
02 December 2014 @ 12:54 pm
Here's some armchair sociological analysis that i'm pulling out of my ass. (While sitting in an armchair. I'm talented that way.)

In the temperate latitudes it tends to get dark and gloomy in the fall and winter. Many people get depressed during that time to a greater or lesser degree. This may or may not be directly related to the historically very real possibility that winter might mean freezing to death or starving. People living in those areas created a number of festive holidays to compensate.

Thanksgiving-type: Yay! The harvest is in! We probably won't all starve to death during the winter!

Solstice-type: Yay! We're technically halfway through the winter! We probably won't all starve!

New Years-type: We're reached a turning point! Things won't keep getting worse, the world has been reborn and we're on our way to spring! and/or Spring is already here! Some cultures do it later when it's more clear that spring is actually here and some do it earlier when we more clearly need the cheering up, but a lot of them are clustered around January and February. (And of course some don't do it in the winter or early spring at all, but those seem to be a comparative minority.)

This presumably worked quite well when we were mainly agricultural civilizations.

Now however life has gotten a lot more complicated. Most people have jobs that are entirely unrelated to agriculture and which continue on throughout the year without a huge amount of variation in what they're doing on a month-to-month basis.

But even with a constant year-round workload you need to review everyone's progress from time to time. You need to see if people have met quotas, have accomplished goals, and if they ought to get a raise or bonus. And what better time to do that than the already previously established end of the calendar year? It just makes sense to review your progress over the past year right before the end of the year, right?

So starting about a month or two before the end of the year most companies ask employees to judge each other, and more importantly themselves. Which just happens to be during a period of time when, statistically speaking, everyone is most likely to be gloomy or outright depressed to begin with. Feeling depressed leads to poor self-assessments. Poor assessments lead to feeling depressed. And of course poor assessments can lead to lack of bonuses or even lack of a job (or at least fear of such) during a time when you're supposed to be spending money on presents and decorations and travel. And everyone is supposed to be happy during the holidays! WHY AREN'T YOU BEING HAPPY? IF YOU DON'T CHEER UP AND GET A GOOD PERFORMANCE REVIEW YOU'RE GOING TO RUIN THE HOLIDAYS!

And all because we wanted to cheer everyone up in the first place by stressing that this is (around) the time when the world is symbolically reborn.
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